Thursday, 8 June 2006

Mother Nature

Well, yesterday went according to plan, such as it was. We dropped Alice off at Kids' Club and headed down the autoroute into Vierzon. As last year, we went to an excellent little clothes shop, where we found clothes for all three of us. Even Alice was impressed when we showed her some things we bought for her.


Back to Centerparcs for a swim, then on to La Grenouillere for an excellent meal. We ate most of it outside (until the flies became too irritating), in the garden under an apple tree. For me, foie gras followed by sea bass followed by souffle: for Jacqueline, langoustines followed by smoked lamb, followed by a strawberry millefeuille. Even Alice got in on the act, spurning the proffered "kid's dish" and going instead for rouget (red mullet), followed by homemade ice cream (peach, vanilla and chocolate). It was good from my perspective to see her appreciating the meal and the surroundings. Total cost was a whopping €170, but let's face it this kind of opportunity is quite rare for us these days, so it is worth making the most of it.

Today is a beautiful morning. For some reason I awoke at 4:15am and couldn't get back to sleep, so eventually I just got up. Looking out onto the patio I've seen innumerable birds, also three rabbits (munching on some lettuce left out by Jacqueline), a moorhen and the local (red) squirrel. I must admit that even though we didn't book in time to get the grade of cottage we wanted, we have benefitted this year from the quieter location. Whereas last year our patio basically overlooked a pathway (and a popular lakeside pathway at that), this year although there is a pathway 25 yards away, we're sufficiently remote to have seen people only on two occasions in the last ten days. Also there is far more animal activity, which again must be related to the remoteness.

On a sadder note the laptop appears to have developed a problem. I think it is something to do with the display. Yesterday and today I have had intermittent problems first of all with it powering up (i.e. nothing on the screen at all), also with it displaying hi- res graphics and to cap it all, the thing appears to hang every now and again. Yet for all this, right now it is working perfectly. To add insult to injury, this morning the transformer has refused to work, so I'm stuck on battery power. The transformer is less of an issue since I have a spare at home and, in any case, can pick one up for twenty or thirty pounds, but the display is worrying. Sending it back to Dell for repair could prove expensive.... I'll have to get a handle on the situation when I get home and have access to enough kit to be able to gauge how serious it might be. Pain in the ass.

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