.... throughout the day yesterday, so as hoped, we pushed ahead with varnishing the outside of the shed. We managed to get the second coat on three sides before time ran out, so that leaves just the back to be treated again today, then the outside is finished. As it was a chilly morning - very unseasonal weather still - I began by making a start on putting down the floor boards (below).
Today's new task will be focussed on insulating the ceiling - calculating what is required and buying in the materials. Hopefully that can then be tackled over the coming week end.
.... enabled a little progress with the shed project today. Getting the foundation level and square took quite a lot of time and effort - measuring the diagonals proved to be the essential method to get it square. Once we were happy with the foundation, we were able to screw down the first layer of boards. After that it was a question of slotting the pieces together - again this is not always as easy as it seems, especially since some of the planks were really quite warped - mo doubt because of all the wet weather we've had recently. The parts have been covered up to the best of our ability, but the air has been sodden and the wood will have absorbed moisture, no doubt. Unfortunately tomorrow's forecast is not promising, so it may be stuck at this stage for a while yet.
.... has been held up over the past few days on account of some very unsettled weather. Heavy rainstorms and some strong winds have made working outside impossible. Unfortunately, the forecast suggests that we will have to wait some time before any settled, fine weather comes our way.
I finally received confirmation today that the unpleasant illness which struck me down after my return from Borneo recently, was malaria.
... to treat every single piece of wood for the new garden shed. We have been trying to sort them into piles of similar size / length as we treated them - hopefully this will help when it comes to assembling it all. It doesn't really look that much in the photos, but there is a lot of wood in those piles!
The forecast suggests that some unsettled weather is on its way this coming week, so that may create some delay in the next stage of the project - we'll have to see.
Shortly after my return from Borneo last week I fell very ill. I have scarcely been out of my bed for the last four days. A high fever and frightful nausea have combined to incapacitate me totally. I'm still waiting the results of blood tests to know just which kind of fever I have. Today I have managed to crawl as far as the computer for the first time since it struck, so I'm hoping that may be a sign of some slight improvement.
I was supposed to be helping a neighbour re-roof his house this week - fortunately he has other helpers, including my other half, so progress is reportedly good so far.
There is so much that needs doing outside in the garden at this time of the year, it is very frustrating to be unable to do anything. I do hope this illness won't drag on too long.
The first of my three flights to take me back to Europe was due to leave Kota Kinabalu, Borneo at 19:15. This flight only started boarding at the take off time, so by the time we took off we were a good 25 minutes late. As the flight approached the peninsula, we were heading for KL, there were bad storms and we were diverted south for a while, then circled round until we were eventually able to land. By this time we were an hour late. I then had to wait 25 minutes for my luggage, as mine was about the last one off - I guess because I had checked in so early. Once I had my luggage I then had to rush from domestic arrivals to international departures to check in for the second flight, which was Amsterdam. By the time I arrived at check-in aisle J, it was in darkness and already closed. Not a good sign. A group of people were standing at the far end, and I walked down there to discover they were passengers hoping to get standby seats on the flight, which was fully booked. A lone clerk was behind the desk playing with her mobile phone and when I eventually persuaded her to look up I asked if I could still check in my bag for the flight to Amsterdam. Fortunately I had checked in online for the flight before leaving the hotel earlier in the afternoon. She said the booking was finished and I was too late, but when I protested that I had already checked in for the flight she reluctantly put the phone down and started treating me seriously. Boarding cards were produced, but I was told it was too late for the luggage - I would have to take it myself to the oversized luggage desk. At this point, what I took to be a supervisor who had been talking to the standby passengers, came over and told her to put my luggage on the belt in the normal manner. This done, I then had to run to immigration - no queue fortunately - then to security - massive queue! There was no help to deal with the urgent situation, so I just had to queue. When I eventually arrived at the boarding gate for my flight, I was just in time to join the end of the queue of passengers boarding the plane. Phew I thought!
That turned out to be just the start of my adventure. Once we had all boarded the captain came on and announced a delay - about 20 minutes - so we sat at the gate for at least that, and then finally started the taxi to the runway. It was a long taxi - probably a good 10 minutes - and during this a passenger just in front of me started acting strangely. The crew were summoned and it seemed he was having some kind of panic attack. Much rushing to and fro, then the captain comes on the p.a. and announces that because of a medical emergency we were returning to the gate. We taxied all the way back, the passenger was led off the flight and we waited ages whilst one of the standby passengers is sorted out and boarded. Then we still can't leave because they want extra fuel to try to make up time during the flight. By the time we took off it was 01.05 - one hour and forty-five minutes after the scheduled departure time.
Although they made up some time during the flight, we still arrived over an hour late into Amsterdam, by which time I had missed my connection to Paris. I was re-booked onto an 08:00 flight which boarded on time, but then, you've guessed it, the captain came on and announced a delay. That flight was due into Paris at 08:40, but we arrived at 09:30. It was now not possible for me to get to Montparnasse in time for the train I had booked, and since it was a budget ticket I could not exchange it! Thus it was that I had to buy a new ticket to get myself to Poitiers.
Fortunately, in true TGV fashion we pulled out of Montparnasse at precisely 12:12, the scheduled time, and arrived in Poitiers one minute ahead of scheduled at 13:51. Another hour south in the car, and I was finally back.
So not the ideal journey home, but I guess it could have been a lot worse.
Have you sampled any of the live recordings of choral music featured on the Moments Musicaux page of the website?
Or there's a Christmas Carol selection available here.
Michel - just an ordinary guy, I guess. A musician by trade and into 'techy' things as 'relaxation'. Originally from the UK, but resident in France for 13 years.