Friday 15 June 2018

Au Revoir. The Final Chapter.

Madamoiselle d'Armentieres (Parlez vous?)
Readers who have been with me for EVER may recall that I am (was) part owner of an ancient (1960s) Citroën 2CV from the 425 cc era, once a twinning gift from the French town of La Chapelle d'Armentieres, to the North Kent town of Birchington. This twinning happened in 1989 with Birchington giving a red phone-box to La Chapelle while La Chapelle gave 'us' a non-runner 2CV OK for photo-shoots but not much else.

David Austen rose (sorry, we can not recall the name)
This blog took up the story after our 2CV club (The Kentish Hoppers) got involved in a 4-man restoration (during 2007/8) of this car to get it road worthy so that it could be used in the 20th Anniversary (of the twinning) Carnival to be held at La Chapelle in 2009. This we did and we had a great weekend which included us being spoiled like celebrities and driving our car (and 2 other 2CVs) at the front of the carnival parade. Happy days. We four lads owned a quarter of the car each. It would have been worth about £3100.

Sometimes it is not mice and shrews the cats bring in. This is
a dragon fly (Brown Hawker).
With the big weekend over, 2 of the lads wanted out of the project, so Andy B and I bought out their quarters and now owned half the car each. I saw very little of the car but kept my 'end' up by paying half of any garaging, maintenance, MOTs, tax etc). When I moved to Ireland in 2011 I decided to pull out too, but as Andy did not have the spare cash at that stage, we decided I would slowly withdraw by not paying my share of the costs, and Andy would calculate how much this had eaten into my half. 6 years later I am down to about £600's worth of the car owned. In a blog post at the time, I called it the "Long Goodbye".

European lime.
This week, I got a text from Andy and one of the other original four (Ian C) asking if Ian might buy back in by reimbursing me for my cut. Although I will be sad to 'lose' my only remaining bit of 'real' 2CV (I have a gazillion models, toys and dead/used 'souvenir' parts) this seems like a sensible move and will help to keep Madamoiselle where all old 2CVs should really be - in use, on the road, getting regularly driven, not stashed in a dusty lock-up under a bed sheet. So, there you have it. I will receive a cheque shortly and will then join the ranks of 'former 2CV owners'. Good luck Ian and Andy. Cherish and enjoy that Lady as much as I did. Au revoir, Madamoiselle d'Armentieres. Bon chance. [wipes away a tear]

Storm Hector barges through. 
Meanwhile, back in Roscommon we were enjoying, as you know, that lovely warm spell and a bit unimpressed by the rattly but dry thunderstorms which were letting us know that things were about to change. Nobody was quite ready for the announcement by Met Éireann of a winter-style "named" storm charging up the Atlantic. This was, we found out, Storm Hector and he came with the usual Status-Orange weather warnings for winds gusting to 110 kph. Put all those lumps of rock back on the beehives, lads, and anything that might go airborne. Close the poly-tunnel. Batten down the hatches.

The 'Chinaman's Hat' part of a jackdaw pot. Not worth
putting that bit back up, then?
That evening I had to collect The Woman of the House from the train station, back from her stint of house-sitting for Steak Lady, so she was here to enjoy it all too. We spent that night as scared as normal listening to the wind raging round the house in the dark (I can never sleep properly through one of these) and worrying that trees would be blown down and chicken house roofs would go airborne leaving the poultry open to the weather.

A few branches blown down from that
gate-side larch was the worst damage.
In the event we got off lightly. The worst damage was a big branch blown down from that larch that suffered in the last blow (Storm Eleanor?). There were myriad smaller bits of tree strewn everywhere. The metal cone 'Chinaman's Hat' bit of our range-chimney jackdaw pot was sent flying but when I found it, it was so rusty and broken that it is not worth putting back. We'll just go with the 'cage' bit and the fire heat to deter the jackdaws. It is quite new, so I was a bit surprised by the appalling state of the thing. They are presumably not designed for in-use chimneys, which seems a bit lame.

Making the best of foxgloves broken off by
the storm winds
Oh, and we had no power. I had to phone the fault in (they were not 'yet' aware of it) and they managed to get us back on at about half past 2, just in time for Elizabeth getting home from an exam as part of her Horticulture training course. No problem there either - we have the gas hobs on which to boil saucepans of water for tea/coffee and on which to cook if power is still off at supper time.

Dublin Bay rose flowers knocked off by 'naughty' Hector.
The only other damage was the knocking down of some tall flowers (mainly fox gloves and aquilegia) and the knocking off of a lot of the open flowers on our lovely red, 'Dublin Bay' rose. That was as if Hector was just a naughty boy with a stick bashing all the flowers off out of spite. Never mind. The rose will flower again. The foxgloves may not.

The broken branches get tossed in to the sheep for browse. 
It is all over now, of course. The wind has dropped to a light breeze, the clouds have cleared (we did not get much rain off this one, either) and the sun has come out. Tomorrow promises a nice day so we can get out in the garden again and clear up all the debris.

Very little else going on here, so I will finish up at this point. Good luck to niece J-M who is currently sweating through her 'Leaving Cert' school exams (think 'A' levels for the Brits). Knock 'em dead J-M!

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