Sunday, 30 December 2012

Huge number of Fushitsusha and Keiji Haino live shows

One of the consistently "hard" listens in modern music is Fushitsusha, Japanese noise at its finest, but difficult to listen to in anything other than small doses I find.  Yet it is also well known that many shows by this band are of extreme length - five hours plus in some cases.  So it is with some excitement that I stumbled across a huge stack of recordings of the band on a website that hosts "recordings of independent origin"

So I am now the proud possessor of about 20 live shows by either the full band or Keiji Haino on his own - and some are 6 cds long.  Will I ever work my way through them all?  Who knows - but certainly the first one I played got a firm thumbs down from Wife and I only played about 5 minutes. 

Oddly enough, they recently played some shows in the UK - there is a great clip of them on youtube playing a 45 mins set in Hackney.  And they played super trendy Cafe Oto then as well.  If I lived in London still, these are the sort of shows I would go to.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Little Yellow Door

My favourite blog at the moment might be just about coming to an end. "Little yellow door" has been following the exploits of a woman who has been building a house on a trailer for the past 18 months.  This has been a really good story, full of all sorts of good stuff about such projects.  But the house is now just about finished and she has been travelling about in it.  And all for about $16k apparently.

Most impressive

Couple more days in France, then illness


-5 overnight.  Who says it never gets cold in this part of France?

Paint tests continue.  Nothing is leaping out as the perfect colour yet.  My favourite so far is a slightly off white, but perhaps something a little more cream or even pale yellow might be better.

The doors are presenting a real problem.  I hate the two toned pattern they are currently painted, but have not yet got a good plan to replace it.

A visit from Grant this afternoon and a trip to Sainte to buy the bathroom cabinets.  He is starting to firm up a decent list of pending stuff to be working on and the timetable to complete everything before Easter is beginning to come together.

I had expected Daughter and I to go out for dinner a couple of times, but we have steaks in again tonight.  Now I am beginning to feel unwell - a cough is developing and some flu like symptoms.


I feel awful overnight and the journey back home is really bad.  We have lunch at the creperie in St Jean and then set off for the long drive to Caen.  This seems to go on forever.  I don't want to eat anything when we do stop and just want to get to Caen and go to bed.  I book a second cabin for us - we were going to have shared a four berth cabin this leg of the trip - now we have two four-berth cabins.

I was asleep about 3 minutes after getting to my cabin.  And on Friday, I manage to drive home before going staright to bed, where I more or less remain for the next four days

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A short trip to France with Daughter


Daughter is back from India and we are now off to France, so she can see the house we've purchased and so that we can have a few talks about her plans to return to academic pursuits.  So with the car loaded down with stuff as usual, we depart later afternoon for Portsmouth.  Dinner at Jamie's Italian and ready for a good night's sleep on the boat.


Daughter didn't sleep well on the ferry and so slept most of the way down this morning.  There is quite a lot of fog about on the way down.  We reach St Jean d'Angely about lunchtime and visit the creperie where they serve a dessert crepe of chocolate fondant and meringue.  A quick trip to Leclerc and then down to the house.

And the verdict is positive from Daughter.  She thinks it is all very nice, even though hardly any of the winter work has been started yet.  We lit the fire as soonas we got in and bumped up the radiators and the house is soon warmed up.  Daughter is staying in the asian themed room and I am in what Wife and I like to consider the master bedroom.

Grant, our property manager, has been hard at work already and the front area of the house has been transformed.  We have decided to really try and open up the garden space and so all the straggly bushes have been removed, together with a tree that seemed to be damaging the edge of the pool.

Before and after Grant's transformation

Daughter is on something of a health kick after her Indian trip and despite the sub-zero temperatures, went jogging down to the nearby woods.  She is the faint figure in the distance on the picture below.

The donkey was finding the grass a bit cold.  I wonder if anyone feeds it in such circumstances

Tonight we dine on steaks and watch the movie Looper, which makes no more sense than it did last time I saw it.


The temperature was down at -3 when I got up this morning.  While Daughter exercised, I conducted paint tests on various locations.  In the main, Daughter was not impressed with the colours being tested.

Then we went to La Rochelle, about 75 minutes away from our house.  It was extremely quiet but you could see how it would be an amazingly popular place in the summer.  We had lunch at one of the harbour restaurants, visited several chocolate shops and took quite a few photos.  But Daughter wasn't feeling very well and we didn't stay long in the end.  She slept all the way back.

One of the many chocolate shops - our favourite today

Tins of sardines and the modest tower on the town hall

Our friend Dave came for a brief visit this evening and got my internet working.  Another small bit of progress.

Daughter has an early night, while I stay up late reading. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Our French house has its own website

The main work I've been doing since the return from France has been the creation of a website for the house and the listing of the house on various holiday website.  I had created a draft website before the house purchase was even completed.  The website uses Wordpress and a template acquired from a gite website designer based in France.  It is a fairly simple site but it does look good we think.

The house is now listed on four holiday websites.  I wanted to get this done very quickly as people probably start thinking about next year's holidays around Christmas time.  My target is 12 weeks of rental booking next year and 18 the year after (when we will have two properties listed).  So I only expect to get about one or two enquiries a week and maybe one booking every two or three weeks.  I doubt the phone will be ringing all the time.

So this is the homepage

and part of a page advertising the local area

We were rather pleased with the graphics for the links to the various holiday websites

and here is one of the holiday website pages

First mornings at the gym for 3 weeks

It has been three weeks since I last went to the gym, given the two weeks away in France and the extremely hectic week since I got back.  But yesterday, perhaps inspired by the lack of frost on the car, I did make it there at just after 6:30.

As expected, the first session back was pretty tough going.  After less than 10 lengths, a number of muscle aches had appeared.  Some of these gradually subsided as I warmed up more, but my left shoulder hurt more or less all the time I was there.  Nonetheless, I was able to do 60 lengths, though my speed wasn't very good - maybe 6 minutes slower than it had been for this distance.

Day two was a big improvement.  No early swimming aches, better rythmn, a stronger stroke, slightly faster.  So another 60 lengths, maybe 4 minutes faster than the previous day.

When I was swimming a few weeks back, there had been one regular there who was already in the pool whenever I arrived, no matter how close to 6:30 I tried to time my arrival.  She wasn't there yesterday - the first time I haven't seen her for over 30 trips.  But she was there today.  She swims a fast doggy-paddle / breast stroke and clocks up 40-50 lengths while I am there.  Perhaps the most regular of the regulars I see. 

There are maybe 10 morning regulars out of a morning session that usually attracts about 20 people.  About half are faster than me and plough up and down the fast lane doing front crawl.  5 or 6 are slower and swim breast stroke in the slow lane.  I am in the middle lane swimming a strong and steady breast stroke.  I would really like to be able to swim front crawl though.

Daughter is back from India . . .

After nearly three months away, Daughter has returned.  From her desert home in Jodhpur, where the day's temperature has never been less that mid-twenties, she is back in England where there has been a heavy frost this morning - all this adds to the culture shock of returning.

She had had a wonderful time of course.  Mostly she has been working for a micro-finance company, mainly making a short film where they interviewed people who have used the bank's finance.  But I am greatly impressed at the lengths she went to to immerse herself as completely as possible in the local culture, rather than try to cling to the few other westerners in the area. 

If all goes according to plan in obtaining visas for Vietnam this week, Daughter and I will be travelling to France next weekend for a few days at the new house.  And hopefully a good catch up on everything.  Then she is off to the far east in January for another three months.

Daughter with her host mum and host sister

Adopted by a school trip - more people wanting photos of Daughter

Daughter and her host family about to celebrate Diwali

Daughter attracting a large crowd when she became tangled up in a festival