Tuesday, 31 July 2012

89.9 Sprog gone !! boo

I ate "normally" while sprog was here..so weight climbed again, it was really good to see her though, am missing her already...I got her to say Daaaaad several times, and even made her cry a couple of times, not always on purpose :D

But back to normality now. I've been chasing a few freelance projects recently and it looks like some might come up, one in Holland is especially interesting so I'll see if I can nail that one and get back into programming again, its android stuff, but I guess I have to go with the flow.

I lost my coding mojo after the cancer, but slowly have regained it and am working on a nice project at work that I would like to be more involved in but as a part timer on it, I get quickly overtaken by some of the full timers. I need a more focused project where I can start and finish something without worrying about it being changed or completed by someone else...even if they do do a better job sometimes  :D

So the office is now the next target for my re-arranging and updating eye. I've put my "old" computer down there to get set up as a man work machine. I say old its really quite a good system and more than capable of being a coding machine its just not an I7 like my monster upstairs which will now be a mainly recreational machine with occasional coding.

I want to make a point of seperating work and play even at home, so no guitars in the office, no games on the Pc and no recording software. :D

On of my SSD's which don't work too well on the monster has windows installed on it, so hopefully it will slot back into its old home and fire up without too much messing about...1st attempt showed windows in place but it insisted on trying to update stuff without being on the web...grrr, running a startup repair on it now, so hopefully it will bypass the drivers that are no longer used...as well as some of the big old drive stuff it used to have.

Only thing missing is an office chair, a bit of a store space for the PC itself, I saw one in IKEA I will pick up, and somewhere to stick the printer...


Friday, 27 July 2012

Sprog day :D

Now that the weather has finally changed for the better, I did finally get to IKEA, and bought my sideboard and a couple of small chest of drawers for the spare room and office. But typical luck I couldn't get them delivered till Saturday..ooooh bugger. Still, quilts and pillows are now available in the usable spare room. Today is the big day, Danni and Kieren arrive for the UK, only a long weekend but I'm still looking forward to it. It will be the highlight of my summer. House is a little full though since new collegue Jack is crashing upstairs while he does a rapid hunt in Breda for an apartment, stopping me getting to my guitars at 3am..but hey ho, can't do that when Danni is here anyway. Recording is on hold till the visitors have all gone but probably just as well as I seem to have a couple of really sore fingers on left fretting hand, hope thats not going to stay. I'd hate the idea of getting arthritis or something that restricted my playing just as I was starting to get good....hmmmm lets not worry for now. Another step on the road to full seperation, Bina has cleared the joint flexible credit account which means it can now be closed. The normal joint account is still in use to pay for most of the main house bills but I'll start swapping those to my single account and get ready for that account to be closed. Still got a cracking big credit card bill to clear ASAP so I can get the mortgage sorted but progress is being made. I was late with my tax return but it was done last week and it looks like a nice 600 euro rebate will be heading my w...I mean the credit cards way. Ahthankyew

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

4 YEARS!!!

Since I moved to Breda, and spent that 1st uncomfortably night in a concrete shell on a leaky airbed.

Lots happened since, some good, some bad, some very bad. But overall I'd rather have gone though all the bad stuff here than 10 times the good stuff that was on offer in the UK

This is home. I love it here, the bad times melt away when you come across the ever present good times, good city, good friends, good job. !

Good Home!

Thank you Breda.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

88.8 recording going ok

Might get something done tonight but overall the recording is going well :d....

no not really just wanted an excuse to post the 88.8 :D
Recordings is goin gok very hit and miss, trying to overlay and stay subtle isn't something I've very good at yet, and I've not ever thought about how to sing it....I'd prefer to get someone else to do the vocals...might be an idea.


Friday, 20 July 2012

88.9 Still housebound

Though the weather today has been dry there has been threatening clouds all day just waiting for me to get on my bike and head out. I'm not falling for that.

I fooled it by staying in and doing a bit of recording and now about to do some cooking, then back to some recording.

Out of booze, so will have to stay moderatly sober tonight. :(
My liver appreciates it.

Recording is still hard...but starting to get some shape to it...not posting anything yet at leat till I get a full backing track done, may have found a cool way to emulate strings with my ebow but will have to play with it a bit more.

dinner now...there's a pork chop and a few chips with my name on them.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

89.3 :) mid day weigh ins are best

Especially when you have pee'd :D When we're talking under a kilo then the contents of ones bladder makes quite a difference.

But looks like slow steady progress is continuing, perhaps a walk or long cycle ride later.

Weather has finally brightend up, just as the shops all shut, I don't fancy rushing up to IKEA, in fact on reflection having bought the bed, I'll get the sideboard next week. Pillows and a double Duvet are a higher priority at the moment.

The ungodly hour wake up has left me shatterd all day dozing on the couch, so not really in any mood to do much just now...will go cook some dinner and watch some vids today.


89.8 :( Spare Room project phase 1

Hmmm expected to be down a few hundred grammes today..oh well..

Spare room has its most important feature, a nice double bed thanks to Get rid of it in Breda facebook page where I managed to pick one up reasonabely cheaply and get a nice couple to deliver it. They spent half an hour with Ed and I while we all jammed a bit...kinda...drink had a part to play in my hospitality.

After getting up at an ungodly hour for some reason, 6-30!! I have done a bit of pottering about and built aformentioned bed after dismantelling the not so far mentioned single bed frame what was left. Trying to shift that on Get Rid of it in Breda to but there seems to be a bit of a glut of beds, and no one wants a single steel framed jobbie. If it doesn't go before next week it'll have to go in the shed so the room is clear for D & K when they arrive.

Ikea trip for sideboard and a couple of small chest of drawers (and some pillows) for the spare room is again on hold till the weather decides what it wants to do. So far this morning there have been 3 or 4 short deluges with sunshine following...note I said deluges...as in massive though short lived downpours...just the kind that soak you to your skin as you cycle 4 miles to Ikea...so it can wait a bit.

Have some other things to do so will crack on until I see permanent blue skies.

Recording not going so well due to impromptu jamming with Ed, will continue later.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

89.3 Long Lie in's and recording fun

One thing I have to resolve is the fact that with no one in the house I will go to bed and get up when I want..I don't really have an internal body clock, or certainly not one that runs to 24hr cycles... so after putting down some intial tracks last night (which on relistening are crap) I finished around 3-30 and went to bed

Waking up at 1-30...hmm half the day gone...though I'm not going anywhere so it hardly matters...and I feel refreshed and awake which would not have been the case if I'd set an alarm.

Still I must try to get into a conventional sleeping pattern or I will be a hermet living nocternally before long.

Crazy in love is a frustrating project, but one I am going to push on with. I am going to have to change the key though, a bit of a practice sing in the shower (why do I always sound amazing in the shower) made it very clear I can sing something I like but not in the same key as Antony, so a bit of experimentation is needed to find a suitable key....if such a thing exists for my voice.

The blip in the diet is starting to fade and weight loss is back on...only a few hundred grammes a day but thats how these things work

I am however going to bite a painful bullet...and start going to the gym that I pay for every month as a concessin to trying to be healthy, as much as I hate it, it will accelerate the weight loss....I just need to find some better noise cancelling headphones to drown out the horrible noise of the music.


biting off more than I can chew

but I enjoy a challenge

I love the song Crazy in Love by Beyonce and have heard a couple of brilliant covers done in totally different styles, but none quite as amazing as this version from Antony Hegary of Antony and The Johnsons. Its utterly haunting with his strange weird but beautiful voice turning an upbeat uptempo number into something haunting and pained...

I tried to do a version of this months ago, but I didn't get anywhere at all, clearly I can't sing like him at all so needed to come up with a version that captured the style and pace and didn't need a full orchestra
I can't find a score or tabs for it anywhere on line, which is not surprising since its a bit of a hidden gem. So I've spent quite a lot of time working out the arpegios and timing..
Well I've got the chords worked out, which is not hard since its just riffing on a Cm and a G#m and I have some of the little solo parts worked out....now I just need to try and lay down some tracks for bass and some kind of fake strings and then we'll think about vocals...

I will try to lay down the main "harp" part on guitar tomorrow, then see what I can do about some of the overlayed stuff

I'm in no rush on this one, its a big project and I want to get a nice clean sound to capture the essence of this but do it my way..so plenty of time.....or I'l scrub it again and try in a few months.


Monday, 16 July 2012

89.5 Biblical rainfall

What the hell is going on with the weather...in 4 years here I don't recall a summer like it. They have rain allright but never this heavy or this constant...its been weeks since I smelled a BBQ (a national pastime here) and even then it got washed out.

Its stopped me going out to IKEA again, though that might be a good thing, since I will probably just end up annoyed and sideboardless again. I've focused on finishing up the house clear up, getting the office ready for use, and having a proper sort out in the studio. Taking books and work based things down to the office means I have more storage space upstairs for my guitar/recording crap so things are starting to fall into place. I thought the house was quite big for me on my own, but considering how much crap I have, it seems spreading it around multiple rooms solves most of my issues right away :D


Sunday, 15 July 2012

89.3 IKEA fail

Aside from the exercise of cycling there...IKEA was a dissapointment..
I wanted one of these

But had neglected to take a note of the name, thinking I would see it in the store and go collect it and a few other bulky items and then arrange for delivery
But desptie going around twice (arrgghhh let me off) I never saw it....without the name I was a little impotant on the instore stock control system..so I had to leave it.

bahh will try again later...its not as if I have anything else to do.

Also a mooch around the beddign stores proved disapointing too. I just need a simple and basic double bed for the new "spare" room, but all the stores were selling frames/slats and matresses seperately at extremes of price, so even the most basic bed is 4-500 euro's..

There was a decent cheap bed "frame" in Kwantuum, (a mega cheap tatty store) but no delivery option, or not I could understand.

Tiredness and frustration then drove me home, on a slightly more scenic route than usual...the rain almost stayed away, just a minor shower or 2...compared to the last few days deluges.

Diet is back on again now, so need to get back down to where I was before the break.


Rain Stopped play

That and a rear wheel puncture prevented my trip to Ikea yesterday, it was dreadful weather, worst I've seen in some time, massive cloudbursts every 20 mins or so.

As I went to risk a trip into town between downpours I spotted by back tyre down and looking pretty crap..so walk time to the normally cheap Habour bike shope.

The old bike has been in need of a full service for a month or 2, with the chain popping off and brakes becoming more a matter of judgement and faith rather than actual stopping ability, so it was time to bite the bullet and fork over the 30 quid for the full service and another 35 for a puncture proof back tyre and fitting..ouch...

They offer a while you wait service, but I went into town to have a nice goats cheese salad at my favourite cafe in the Grote Mark, Soho Kitchen. A few pints of cider and a catchup with fellow recent singleton and cider serving barmaid, Laura who's also getting on with things,then head to Blokker to buy a cheaper than 1st excpected before cost of bike repair was known, vac.

I just got a really cheap basic light one, with hardwood floors throughout you don't need much of a vac - and this isn't much of a vac. But it works. Lounge and bedrooms have been tackled, upstairs "studio" as it is now, needs a bit of sorting out 1st.

Ironic that for a slob, the house is now cleaner that its ever been. :D

Rain seems to be holding off today, so will pop along to Ikea later on the new improved stoppable bike and get my bits sorted.

If I get it all done quick enough today I'll get the studio sorted out and do a bit of recording..maybe some better versions of the Eurythmics stuff I noodled with a few weeks ago.


Friday, 13 July 2012

New order...

I've spent the day re-arranging the house a little, nothing drastic just chairs beds and office stuff. Making the house my own.

Sadly I got left with the crap vacuum which does not really work, and isn't making a dent on the considerable amounts of dust and lint...for all her moaning about how untidy I was, my ex seemed to have a serious problem with the concept of dusting.

But I've done as much as I can for now without a vac, so off to media markt and ikea in the morning for a few bits of gadgets and furniture.

Sideboard for the living room, with drawers for storage and some kind of filing system
Office chair
small chest of drawers for the office
Cheap spare double bed and matress...probably not from Ikea though they are quite pricey for beds.

and for electrics
Cheap monitor

There's a few more odds and ends I need and a couple of biggies, like wardrobes, but they can wait a little while, 1st order of business is to get the spare room usable for sprog on the 27th. Can't afford to spend too much on the card since its got to get cleared off as soon as possible to allow the mortgage transfer to go ahead.

Its been quite nice changing things around and filling in the gaps..picked up a few kitchen bits as well...can't quite work out why she took both cheese graters though!!!


At last

aside from a small bit of paperwork I need to finish tomorrow, I am now on holiday for 5 weeks or so

thank fuck...I am mentally and physically exhuasted. I really am I just want to vegitate for a few weeks not, sleeping without and alarm and getting drunk......I know its not good for you but thats just how I feel right now

This has been a hard few months and I need turn myself off and on again to coing an ICT phrase.

Though I am going to start with a trip to IKEA on Friday or Sat to buy some new furniture and re-organise the house to my tastes.

I managed to clear off my share of the joint credit at last, so now I just have to get my credit card down to 0 ASAP and then I can switch the mortgage..

That in itself is annoying since I am alrady paying he mortgage and my cc and my share of teh joint credit comfortably, but the only way they will transfer the mortgage is to take away my credit line ....silly banks.

Had the end of year meeting today which was nice in a way, I decided not to go to the BBQ though I just wasn't in the mood to part or get drunk around freinds....that rest really is needed 1st.

Anyway....time to refresh, regroup and renew...3 R's to focus on the future.

oh diet went a bit out the window today, and not weeighed myself...will get back on the wagon soon.


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bad Singing ROOLZ!!

also tempo keeping needs work :D

this though is why we have drummers.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

88.7 few side effects

I honestly thought I would have put more on that that after a week of 3 meals a day and booze, but I suspect the trip there and back burned off 10,000 calories each time.

Back on the diet today, and the hunger pangs are strong with this one!!! But no eating till 5/6pm and then only high protien and a bit of rice.

Trip back was not as bad as the trip there, it has to be said, I packed a bit more carefully this time, taking some things on my guitar bag on my back and carrying the amp which was the heaviest thing, but pushed it on the case when I could. I did drop it a couple of times, when the wheels got stuck, and it got totally soaked coming home...not plugged it in to see if it still works.

A few minor war wounds from the week/trip, got mossie bites on arms and legs that are bloody painful. and will take a few more days to heal, in the meantime itching like crazy.

Pulled a muscle under my rib too I think...or its from my guitar rubbing under my ribs for 6 -7 hours a day..not sure, but its painful...no guitars on straps for a few days.

Pulled the instep on my left foot, aooohhhhhwwww that is sore, and needs a bit of a gentle rubbing.
Of course the dodgy old right knee packed up as well, so that'll need to be treated gently for a bit.
Strangest thing is the balls of both my big toes ache...like chilblanes, but it can't be that since the weather was rainy rather than cold....but hurts/itches with no noticible sign of swelling or bites...

ahh just have to be honest with myself, I'm getting old and broken down and pushing my body to strange unusual limits is just not such a good idea any more....next time I plan a long trip with baggage, rent a car. I'm sorting out my dutch license next week in anticipaton of that.

After negotiating the multiple stairs at Breda station which was in the midst of a 40days of rain for the flood (but I managed to get some milk from the late night AH) I found myself limping back into the house, sodden wet and in pain.

It was strange to walk into what is now a home for one. Bina had taken some furiture and a lot of the cupboard provisions, which I suspected. but the house felt totally different, despite also feeling familiar.

It was odd walking round the rooms to see what was gone and not...Jodies room has been cleared out totally....so guess she won't be visiting anytime soon....:( Kinda thought that from the lack of contact.

Upstairs the piano had gone, wasn't really expecting that, though I had bought it as a present for Jodie, I never really considered she would take it, not the least reason being the sheer weight of it, which almost killed me when it arrived. Left the old TV on the wall too.

Office is also cleared out...I think I'll continue to use it as an office and seperate my work computer activities from the fun computer activities.

Most telling was the bedroom of course...the 2 long standing frame wardrobes where her clothes used to be have gone, and a pile of old junk left on the chest of draws..including the photo of us both that was on the top of the landing...that was kinda upsetting. Don't quite see why it had to be taken down and put on a junk pile....I put it back on the wall, for now anyway.

It dosen't feel much like home at the moment...I guess I need a few days to take stock, buy a few things and make it feel like "my" home rather than the broken home it is now.

As much as I knew all this was happening, it still feels strange.....

Bina seems to be hell bent on painting me as some kind of weird control freak, posting on facebook that she's looking forward to not being taken for granted and being allowed to believe what she wants and only clearing up after herself

"Thanks everyone for your kind concern - I am looking forward to a new life...my own .place, my own space, freedom to be who I want to be, think and believe what I want to believe, not to be taken for granted and only be responsible for cleaning up my mess! Its a big change but I am a strong individual and am excited at new possibilities :-)"

Very odd, and very unpleasent thing to post, I told her so, and got defriended...well it certainly sounds like she's been living with some ignorant slob of a control freak...

Strange that I never met him, but I guess telling the world that she decided to leave because we had a row over her wanting to put an earthing sheet in our bed and that I was so angry about her absolute faith in utterly innefective alternative medicines that I actually shouted at her...Is kinda hard to get people to understand, as a cause to destroy a stable 12 year relationship! Easier to suggest that I'm a monster!

Ah well....I'm genuinely not going to get into blaming and name calling after this, I was surprised and hurt she made those comments, but it does make me realise even more that splitting was 100% the right thing to do.

I'm moving on, life is too short, the strangeness will pass, my friends are still there and new friends, new times and new experiences await.

Once I have the house the way I want it and get some time to adust to things, I will get on with enjoying my life..MY way...something I've not had the chance to do for quite some time....surprisingly.

Theres a minor complication or 2 in the mortgage transfer, some legal crap to do, and annoyingly I have to pay off all my current credit, including my card before the transfer can be done, so its going to be a few months before we can conclude the last of the legal stuff...just have to knuckle down and keep the drink, drugs and debauchery costs to a minimum for a few months till its sorted.....At least I'm not wasting a fortune on takeaway every day, something to thank the diet for.


Saturday, 7 July 2012

On the road again....

They give you free Internet on the Thalys train from Paris to rotterdam, only it's utter rubbish, takes 10mins to log in and then entering any page is a case of press and wait 30secs before pressing and waiting again before you know your link has been activated. Still it at least let me read my mails, nothing new thankfully. I enjoyed the week away though could have done without the long marking sessions which meant missing out on a couple of nice events in cognac and drinks in the village. Jams were also kept to a minimum in an effort to finally get all the igad and coding student assignments done in time for the ridiculously short deadline. But think I just made it apart from a few stragglers. Will have a short marking session when I get home to deal with tho then turn attention to the admin for next week.....fun fun fun Ahthankyew

Monday, 2 July 2012

Daaayh Tooo in da Big Brother house

Had a really nice relaxing Sunday, getting to know people, doing some marking, eating and drinking a bit too much, which resulted in my usual reflux problems, fortunately I bought some pepcids from a chemist in Montparnasse but didn't stop me having a disturbed uncomfortable night....need to keep the bread and wine quantities down.

This morning, very bright and unnaturally early I got up at 6 since sleeping with the indigestion was not an option, and went for a nice long 45 min walk...that'll burn a few cals.

Todays plan is simple, guitar lessons, OSIRIS updates, marking, guitar lessons, marking...eat/drink, marking.

Today is also my first full official day as a singleton again....since if everything went to plan Bina moved her stuff out of the house yesterday...Which of course is a sad thing,I will be heading home to an empty house.. I still don't really want to discuss the ins and outs of things here..just marking the timeline.

Still debating the update of my FB page, it seems she's already changed hers to "seperated"...I think "single" is more accurate, no point trying to hang on to failed relationships.


Sunday, 1 July 2012


Well I arrived safely eventually, but with a clear view that despite seeming like a more relaxed way to travel, and do a bit of work while doing it, travelling on very busy high speed trains choc full of mostly Belgians heading to the south for their holidays is not a fun way to travel.

I had bought a mega suitcase the other day to carry all my crap, I figured its easier to pull 1 big case than 1 large case and a couple of bags...So I went shopping and brought back a large but cheap mega case, which is easily big enough to hold a small atomic dirty bomb, or several illegal immigrants.

Everything fitted in just fine, amp, pedals, stands, some clothes... all good. Of course the day started badly before I even got out the front door, with one part of my mega suitcase pull handle coming away...undeterred I pulled on the still attached side and chuntered down the road for the half mile or so walk to the station. Big case behind, laptop bag in hand and Libby in a softcase with a few extras on my back...we're off.

The wheels were ok, though bits of plastic and metal feel off every couple of hundred years and then the remaining handle contact cracked and decided to stay on just at a strange angle, making it no longer a viable way to pull..so then pulled on the top handle of the case...leverage being reduced the weight of the dirty bomb started to really tell on my arm and shoulder.

A few more hundred yards and a few more bits dropped off...then the handle started to give way..Commited now beyond the point of no return, I tackled the stairs at the station.....I failed..needed a passing gent to help me up, at which case the side handle I was hauling it up with started to give away... Eventually at the top of the stairs.......I realised the horror of what was next...I now had to go down a set of steps.... to get to the tunnel to lead to my platform.. I pulled on the case....and heard the horrible telltale scraping noise the indicated the wheels had come off....sure enough, the handle breaks and metal and plastic discarded on the way were the support system for the wheels which were now off their mounts... I did manage to push them back on, and taking care to keep pressure at the right angle to ensure the wheels were forced into their mounts I pulled and got movement.

oh it gets worse!

I managed 1 bag at a time to get the assorted dead weights down the stairs...I just knew at this point that the escalator to platform 4 was going to be down.....it wasn't..yeahhhh. And onto the platform to note on the display my train was 20+ mins delayed...since I only had 15min window to get on my researved seat this was kinda problematic.

Lucky for me the 20+ reduced to 10+ then 5+ but it still meant a bit of a rush at Rotterdam, a station thats been undergoing major rework for the whole 4 years I've been here.. Again someone helped me get the bag on the train, more ripping noises as the handles increased their commitment to seperation but not quite yet.

Rotterdam...ok, well it wasn't to bad there were elevators, though my wheels kept popping off I did manage to get to the platform and on the train...though storing the luggage was another matter, I leaned it (its stabalising stand being one of the bits of plastic/metal that had fallen away) up against the luggage and sat down, sweat dripping off my brow.

I may be off the diet this week but I sure as hell did some exercise. Paris Nord is massive.. but I had 90odd mins to get to Montparnasse so there was no need for me to rush through, and fortunatly the site of a huffing puffing fat bloke hauling a large possible dirty bomb though Paris's biggest station did not attract the police random stop and search at the end of the platform..they seemed more interested in people with arab scarfs or black skin who were running (to catch a train I assume)...bit odd I thought, my slow progress allowed me to see them do this 4 or 5 times and it was kind obvious who they were stopping.

And now the metro...an underground system to rival London's any day..its big, its fast, its effective, it has no elevators!!! Nope not one, at least that I and several other weary travellers from Netherlands and Belgium could see...people were crying I mean literally cying at the top of massive stairs with their pull bags half the size of mine. I manned up...heaved on the dirty bomb and got down 1 flight of steps...considered crying..but manned up again and got down the 2nd....to the gates.

The very, narrow gates the very narrow gates that had normal people sized people walking through I had a dirtybomb sized suitcase. It was wider than me. Fortunatly there was a wide gate, but no one manning it, so I scanned around for anyone in a peaked cap.....nope.

Eventually someone spotted me and a lady in sort of uniform ushered me though...and there was more stairs..... oh god! Manning up...and semi walking falling down the stairs past more crying nederlanders.

I got to the bottom and put it on its wheels which came off again...arrghh but then I saw it...a mirage in a sea of despair.

Until now I've never understood why there are so many small luggage shops in airports and railway stations....now I do, they are there to offer hope and comfort and expensive luggage to those in desperate need.

99 euros later I have a more solid and secure but slightly smaller red abs case and leave the now totally destroyed dirty bomb case with the seller...who will probably patch it up and sell it on to some other mug I had to take my pedal bag out and my stands since they were too big but the amp, clothes and assorted cables went in ok, I was mobile again.

Wheels..on the bottom as well as the edge of a heavy case are amazing I only had to push this bad boy around to get to the next ...set of stairs..up this time.

Basically that was the metro for me, very very crowded trains, and lots of stairs and the maddest station at Montparnasse I have ever seen with exits at right angles to entrances and the flows of human traffic mostly tear stained and pushing cases trying to negotiate a path through...madness.

But finally onto the train to La Rochelle stopping at Niorts. Crowded...hell yeah but again sweat dripping of me I was gratefull for my reserved seat and tried to recover from the metro gym workout.

Half way into the trip, I went to the loo and forgot where I was sitting, and panicked the I could not locate my ticket when challenged by 2 attractve but angry French ladies, worse I couold not see my laptop bag above me in the seat I found myself in...oops. It was 2 seats back...Profuse apologies didn't get me their numbers though...I suspect they were lesbians, or I was too old and sweaty...probably lesbians.

An announcment a little way into the travel, in French which I just understood said they were running 15 mins late...since I had 7 minutes window for my train that was going to be a big problem..but I can get the next one. I'm in no rush I have to wait an hour at the final destination for my lift.

I get there,and sure enough the train had gone, but no worries I already resolved to get the next one, as I go to buy the ticket only to be told their computers were down and they could not sell me one, but I could get on one on the train. Splendid, a break in the evening sunshine as I wait for the next train was just about perfect....I asked the station guard in my best french when is the next train...he had no clue what I said, so I resorted to Franglish,
 "le Train, pour Saintes...when??"

I wasn't quite prepared for the Gallic shrug that followed with the stereotypical nasal grunt and

"c'est Departe"....
"Qui, je compries, ...When...next..one"

Now its been a while since I did French but I realised that Demain didn't mee, soon, or now, or anything resembling a time....then it hit me...tomorrow??
"Oui" (pronounced wheeeh)
Merde!! (I'm better at French than I thought.)

But now rather pissed off I point out in angry english that I need to get to Saintes and its not my bloody fault they can't get their trains to run on time.... At which point the cashier with no computer but some english ability pipes up, having now realised that I wanted to get to Saintes today with my masses of luggage....

"Eeet has already gone seeer, eet waited 5 minootes for zee express"

Not much good when it was 15 minutes late...but having got tired of the guards gallic shrugs I went to appeal to the clearly much more helpful cashier... Eventually using good old paper timetables she worked out I could get a train to Saintes from La Rochelle (remember I got off the express to La Rochelle)

I sent texts to Chris my host at creativevacance.com but no replies, I tried calling but got a french answerphone...odd since Chris is english and probably speaks very good French but with an accent...anyway...no response so I had to take the advice of the cashier.

Cutting a very long story and a long blog post short I finally got on a train, the guard making sure I got on the right train to get me of his station...and got to La Rochelle....no elevators again....down 1 flight of stairs to change platform, up another....more workout.

Text to Chris letting him know I was still going to be in Saintes around the correct time, give or take a few mins...and head off

But I got on the train..I arrived..

I waited outside for a bit expecting Chris to drive up, only to see him walk over from the other side of the street...asking why I was late...I texted....this number.....oohh no my number is.... a pair of digits were transposed.
arrghhhhh...apologies to the french bloke getting daft texts for desperate english speaking dutch/scotsman..

I put my stuff in the van, got in, and Chris brought me to La Morau.

 I ate, drank and collapsed into bed.

This morning, after the day long workout I can barely move without pain....and I forgot to pack shampoo and toothpaste... It can only get better.