The French Blatting Company


June 2018


I went to the doctor at 0900. Nothing wrong with my blood tests but some slight changes to medication. When I got back the electrician is fitting the new consumer unit so, with no electricity, I go to bed for an hour and a half. We then go off to Morrisons for lunch and shopping. On the way we get the Mini washed, call into a tile shop and order the tiles for the kitchen walls. Lynne orders a bar stool in very bright red. Next stop is Halfords where a Garmin very large satnav is purchased. After that I call in to Carphone Warehouse to chase up the phone which is away for repair. Long one short, they took a week to send it off and the repair centre are now putting a high priority on the repair so I get it back next Friday. Lunch and shopping. The check out desks all have credit card machine failure so I have to join the queue to get cash out of the ATM. Get home and spend the rest of the afternoon dealing with emails. Seems I've cocked up big style. I've got the retyped menu wrong. This was pointed out some months ago and I rectified the error. However it would appear that it changes itself back to the original all on it's own :) I've sent out an email changing option 5 to 4a so the rest are as they should be.  The builders have been busy digging up the garden. Lynne decided we needed a fancy patio so they are getting fancy flagstones. Oh well, it's only money.

Most dug out and covered in shingles. Only the small strip on the right to do.

I may ask them to place the drain pipe from the roof further down and put a dog-leg at the bottom. I may be able to get through then.

I've got to get my fat body between the two downpipes. I'll breath in.


Spent some time on the Caterham but gave up when I realised the battery was giving 2 volts.


Charged the battery on the Caterham nad spent more time on it. I partly removed the carbs so as to gain access to the wiring under the carbs. The cable from the oil pressure switch to the warning lamp had become detached half way along. Having made sure it worked I refitted the carbs before putting the wired back into the wiring conduit. That'll be a struggle to come then.


Spent most of the day working on thge coast to coast spreadsheets and trying to reconcile the spreadsheets to the bank. Failed on that, the bank seems to have too much money


We met friends at a farm shop cafe near Utoxeter. Nice meal after wgich we set of to Derby to visit Lynne's sister. Got hopelessley lost. The satnav took us round in a circle and then told us to turn right when we should have gone next left. Finally found it, stayted asn hour or so and left for home at 1800. Lynne drove, I slept,


Progress on the extension. Getting there.

The interior wall will be brick. but without the white splodges... I hope.


This is where the windows will go.

And this side has bi-folding doors. From the peir to the wall of the house.


We left home to meet others from the South Yorkshire MG owners Club at Blythe services on the A1M. Great! The signage needs sorting out. It shows the junction being 1 mile and the sevices 1.3 miles away. So you would think the services are after the junction... wrong, the services are off the junction. To make matters worse at the 3 hundred yard marker the services sign indicates 1/2 mile. We went past, had to drive down to the next junction, turn around and come back. We all met up and went in convoy to a pub with a classic car meeting. After a half hour stay and a drink we went on to a pub by the side of a canal. Had a nice meal and then Lynne drove us home.


Messed about in the morning and after lunch went to collect my repaired phone.... only it wasn't. It had a letter in the case explaining the phone had been damaged and couldn't be repaired. I went ballistic, mainly because they should have told me before returning it. We picked up the new kitchen tiles on the way back. I ring the repair service and they ask me to email the letter which has a picture of the damaged area of the phone. By this trime I have realised that the piucture on the letter isn't my phone. I plug my phone charging lead into the phone and it starts charging. This was the fault, the cable wouldn't plug onto the board. The girl on the phone promises to ring back in half hour but, of course doesn't. I'm happy, I have my phone back and working and it still has all the data on it. I do have to get HSBC to reset the banking app as it won't work since I've been using it on the old Samsung. Had a good evening at the quiz.


I go to physio for 1300 and get back at 1500. My arms are beginning to work. I go to bed for the afternoon. The builders build.


Didn't do much at all. Simon the electrician and his father came to take the greenhouse away. I gave them a hand by undoing about a thousand screws. Spent time on the coast to coast lists and sewnt out a reminder for the menu choices for the Mount at Scarborough.


Tanya and Paul came round and we had a pleasant afternoon with Paul climbing on the garage roof to see if he could cut the tree back. He couldn't but said he'd do it in the autumn when the leaves come off.


I took Lynne to Physio for 1200, got there at 1130. I went back to the office for a meeting with Simon then retuened to collect Lynne at 1300. From there we went to Meadowhall and had lunch at Weatherspoons, after which I had an eye test at Vision Express. They could only provide a slight increase in reading ability for the right eye so I didn't bother buying new glasses.


I dressed for work intending to move all the gardening equipment, BBQ and telescope out of the builders way. However they said it wasn't in their way so I left it where it was. In the late afternoon we, the builders and I movfed the MG out and put the Caterham back in. I had to charge the battery on the MG as it was completely flat. At 1800 I started it and moved it outside, connected the jet wash and washed 3 weeks of building dust off.

The space where the greenhouse was. The garden looks much bigger now.

The inside wall up to roof height.

Gable end, not quite up to the top.

Outside window.

Take your pick.


We were supposed to be out in the MG yoday. The MGOC have organised a visit to the Oil Can Cafe in Holmfirth (Last of the Summer Wine). Problem was Lynne developed a heavy cold and as we're off on holiday at the weekend I thought it best to let her take paracetamol and sleep it off. I went and did some shopping in the MG. After lunch I took the seats out and put the squabs on the correct sides.... Plonker had put them on the wrong sides. There is a straight edge and an angled edge. The straight edge should go against the transmission tunnel but I had the angled edge against it. Only took a few minutes to swap them over. The builders started work on paving the garden. They want to get it done before they put the doors on the extension.

They have used plain flags here as it matches those they put down for the sheds to sit on. They had to put hardcore and sand down then cemented them in. This will be the BBQ area.

Lynne's herb garden. Looks very good and she uses them all the time. The box of screws are what came out the tressel table from the greenhouse which I dismantled.

The area to be flagged, it's much bigger vthan Lynne thought when the greenhose was there.


Did some work on the TC. Refitted the step plate on the passenger side. I peeled the plastic covering off and used Evostick to glue it to the frame. It won't come off again. I then got the sidescreens on and fitted the two "lift-the-dot" studs to the inside of the front doors so the straps that hold the flaps down can be fixed. The postman bought me a tap with two outlets so I spent all of 10 minutes fitting this so I can have both ittigation system meters running off the same tap. I'm not sure the long one is working yet, time will tell. I then spent a couple of hours on the Coast-to-Coast. In the meantime the builders were laying the new flags in the garden.

So, what do you think? It'll be finished by lunchtime tomorrow at this rate.

Close up... nice?


Got to Barnsley hospital at 0727 (that was the time on the parking ticket). I went to the blood test department and was first there, they open at 0800. A few minutes later a porter brings a chap in a wheel chair and then others arrive. By the time the doors are open at 0800 there are over twenty people queing. I'm in and out by 0810 and the queue is know right across the waiting room and down the corridor. A walk around the corner to get to the endio depratment to get a prescription. However, the doors to the cardiology are locked so I have to sit on a chair and wait. When they are open I go through and get to endiocrology. It's open but reception isn't, it opens at nine. When it opens I explain I need a prescription and the girl says she'll get it for me and ring me when it's ready. I leave and drive to Wakefield to get some wallpaper borders to go around the new consumer unit and the new sink in the downstairs toilet, both of which are now showing bare wall. Get back at 1000, check emails and bank and leave for physio. When there I arrange to take the TC to Simons garage for the next few weeks so it's not in the builders way. Get home and have lunch. I then spend half hour fixing the "lift-the-dot" catches on the TC toneau and plan to polish it. By this time I realise that if we don't go to the hospital for the prescription their pharmacy will be closed. So Lynne gets changed and we set off, me in the TC, her in the Mini. We get to the hospital and I go up to endiocrology. The girl asks if they rang me, I say no, but it's not a problem. I get the prescription, go the the pharmacy and get the pills. We then take the car to Simons and come back to the pub for dinner. The TV is on and we end up watching Spain v Portuhal... waht a game, a few more like that and this world cup will be great.

This is the work done today.

The garden flags are done up to where they will build the steps from the extension. Once the steps are in, after the floor goes down, they will finish the flagging.

I have wound everyone up by saying, when they ask me if I like it, that it's nothing to do with me, it's Lynne's idea. I do like it, what do you think?

Gable end ready for the roof trusses and steel girder. The roof is started on Monday. NO more pictures as we'll be away to 2nd July.

They took part of my roof off!

Three builders were standing on this for most of yesterday.

This is the BBQ area.


Spent most of the day working on getting last payments for coast to coast emails out and packing.


Packed and didn't appear to do much else but as I'm typing this up on 7th July who can remember!


We left at about 0830 and stopped at Wooley Edge for breakfast... it was awful. Then pressed on to Stranraer in Scotland. We stopped at Annan on the A75 for lunch. Couldn't find a pub other than a large hotel in the centre of the town. It was a bit run down and the fish and chips was just about above awful. We arrived at our B&B at Cairnryan, about 3 miles from Stranraer, checked in and went into town to a pub to settle down and watch England denied 4 clear penalties and Tunisia awarded a very doubtful penalty. Nevertheless, Harry Kane came to the rescue and we won 2-1. Went to bed early for us in a huge 4 poster bed. Nice room overlooking Loch Ryan.


Got to the ferry, which was 3 minutes from the B&B, at 0630 and found I'd booked club class. I was trying to fix the hood cable and tried tying the stud which had come out of the bracket with a a cable tie. I needed scissors to cut the cable tie and Lynne produces a pair from her handbag. I wanted to know if she had a kitchen sink in there but alas she didn't. It didn't work so I went to find a mechanic who might have some locking wire which I thought would hold it. The driver of the trailer moving vehicle got involved and we held up the queue whilst he tried to find some. He couldn't and the cars got on the ferry a few minutes late. So we got priority boarding and use of the club lounge... only I didn't realise that and we had breakfast in the restaraunt before a young lad found us and escorted us to the lounge. We were the only ones in there. Now, what I didn't understand was that you can see the Northern Ireland coast from Stranraer (and Scotland from Larne) so why does it take the ferry 2 hours for what I would have though could be a 30 minute crossing. The answer is easy, the boat goes along at little more than walking pace. I guess they run the service like that as it saves fuel and they wouldn't have enough passengers if they crossed in 30 minutes each way instead of the five and a half hours return time. We followed the sat nav through Belfast to the Lotus dealer to see if they had a new front hood tensioning cable which had broken (again). They didn't but the foreman used two cable ties to refit the cable and it worked. We then went  out the other side of Belfast to cross NI to Sligo in Eire and then south to Galway and then to Doolin on the Clare coast.

One of my heroes is Alan Brooke who was CIGS, the head of the British Army, during the second world war and it's due to his far seeing strategic views that we won the war. I've read his diaries and an early biography and am now reading a new biography. As we drove across NI we went throgh Colebrooke, Brookes family home. If we had had time I may have visited the manor house his family live in. We pressed on and got to Sligo about 1300 and turned south to Galway. There were no pubs on the main dual carriagway so we turned off and found a nice hotel/golf club for lunch. When we left I changed the sat nav to Doolin instead of Galway, which I had it set to. In stead of taking us back to the dual carriageway, 3 miles away, the bloody thing took us down miles of country road and we emerged onto the Dual Carriagway near Galway. Later, when it did the same thing returning from the Shannon, I realised it was set to shortest distance instead of quickest. However you can imaging my temper as we wound our way through miles and miles of lanes instead of down a wide dual carriagway.

We arrived at Doolin at 1800 and went into the pub. I was informed they had cancelled our booking as we were suppose to have arrived the day before. Old men make mistakes... No, I'm a plonker and told them we'd be there on the Monday instead of the Tuesday. No problem, they had a room so all was well. We took our stuff to the room, had something to eat and settled down to an evening of great music.

I'm putting all the relevant pictures about Doolin here although, of course, they were taken over several days.

McGanns pub in Roadford, Doolin.

The river running behind the pub which bends round and goes unedr the road next to the pub.

The other side of the river

The garden of the house next to the bridge. This belongs to the earlier owner of the pub who now leases it to Dermotts partner.

another one of the garden.

Between the pub and the bridge is a new bistro (who ever heard of a Bistro in Ireland!). This is outside on the opposite side of the road, nothing like direct advertising, is there.

Lynne on the small harbour at Ballyvaughn.

Boats at the harbour at Ballyvaughn



Dermot, the landlord told me there was now a credit card machine in O'conners bar in the village (McGanns, the pub we stay in is about a mile out of Doolin itself in a hamlet called Roadford). We went and had to park quite a way from the centre it was so busy. I go into O'conners and find this machine. I put my card in and enter the pin. It says it's wrong to try again. I do and it says it's still wrong and is blocking my card. We have to use a UK card to get 100€ out at £1.02 to the Euro (instead of £1.11) plus a fee of 2.95€. I'm fuming and we have to go back to McGanns to use my phone as the sun is so bright I can't see the screen. I ring We Swap, my Euro card and they inform me it will released after midnight. The next time we want cash we go to the nearest town with a bank and get our Euros with no charges and no conversion (remember the card is a Euro card).

I think this sign is really good.

Two young ladies we met. The one on the right is "The Wild one from Michigan" and on the left is a young lady from Dublin on a weekend of fun.


We've been visiting the west coast of Ireland for twenty eight years and it's normally raining, overcast and cool. So we never take "summer" clothes. We alway return home rusty from the rain. This year the weather is sweltering and over 30c on a few days. We will go home with a suntan, not tust! Being an insomniac I'm awake at 0500 every morning so go down and sit at the front of the pub getting a suntan and watching the world awake. Breakfast is at 1000. Lynne is down for ten and we go inside where she says something to a lady and they start a Karma session in the middle of the pub. It's Alicia and we end up having breakfast together where we hear her life story. She's Canadian and a really nice person. We're, well Lynne, is keeping in touch via facebook. We then go to Limerick. Park in the city centre car park and set off to find a camera shop to see if I can get a lens hood for the Nikon P900. I also want a car accessory shop for a cigar lighter extension because the 4 way USB plug I have keeps falling out the socket. I put it down to the weight of the plug with four cables in it, two USB-C for phones and two micro usb for the cameras. We can't find either and end up having an Indian in a restaraunt. When we leave Lynne asks the waitress if she knows where there's a camera shop and car place. She smiles and points out the window to a huge camera shop opposite but she can't help with the car shop. We go in the camera shop and he informs me we will not get a lens hood for the P900 which will not produce vignetting (the shadow of the hood around the outside of the picture at widest angle). By this time I'm tiring so we go back to the car and back to the pub. Another great night of music.


I'm catching up as fast as I can but have over 250 photgraphs to edit and the building work isn't finished so we're trying to get all the kitchen stuff put away. I'm hoping they'll be finished by the end of next week and we can get back to normal. Sorry for the delay but we have leaves on the line symdrome.

After our abortive attempt to find a cigar lighter extension in Limerick i searched google and found there is a Halfords in Galway and in Limerick. We went to Galway, found Halfords and bought a single socket cigar lighter extension. Not only did it also fall out but it stopped working a week later! On the way back we stop at  Ballyvaughn. The pub there is now a restaurant so we had a seafood lunch. I noticed they had a live lobster tank, wasn't difficult, they were putting lobsters in it! We left there and made our way back along the coast road but stopped at Fanore for an ice cream. It was huge with a flake, a real Mr Whippy. The postmaster/shopkeeper did a deal, we swap cars, I get his Citroen van and he gets the Elise. We had 10 minutes of banter over this. He even said he'd wash the van but although I was tempted I decline his fine offer.


I needed cash so we go back to O'Conners cash machine. This time it says I have insufficient funds. I give up. We get the boat to Aran and have a pleasant day on the Island. The pub has half a lobster on the menu so how could I resist. Another huge whippy ice cream and we take a slow walk back to the boat. In the pub at night there are a group of Germans who are watching the Germany-Sweden game and go absoloutley wild when Germany equalise in the 96th minute. I'm quitely sobbing in the corner.

We watch England destroy Panama 6-1. At long last England have a manager who has inspired the players, picked a young side instead of playing our best players... from 5 years ago and has got the press onside. I just have a feeling that these guys are really up for it and will not go down easily.

The Isle of Aran from the boat.

The famous wreck on the Island.

Lynne wanted another huge ice cream. This is what I bought her. (not really, she's scoffed the lot)


We didn't do much today, went for a drive and sat around the pub. it was too hot.


Last night  Kevin Griffiths, the banjo player, sang a song about Franklin the sailor who perished with all his crew trying to find the North West passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He was surprised I knew the song which I'd heard many times in the backroom at Fagans in Sheffield. He reminded me of a song which I could only remember the words of a few lines. At lunchtime we went back to the restaurant in Ballyvaughn and I had six oysters and a lobster, Lovely! They had a folk band on so I asked one of the chaps what this line of a song was from. He immediatley tells me it's "Song for Ireland" made famouse by Mary Black. At night we have a keyboard player and his wife singing.... without me asking her first song is "Song for Ireland". We are sitting with a group of Australians. I ask the keyboard player/singer to sing "Willy McBride (The Green Field of France)". He does and all four Australians had tears rolling down there cheeks. It's a great song and portrays war for what it is - futile. If you haven't heard it look it up on YouTube.


We decide to go to Tralee crossing the Shannon by ferry. We get to Ballybunion and stop for lunch. It's so hot we decide to return. The satnav takes us all round the back lanes. Later I look at the settings on the satnav and change "shortest" to "quickest". That should help.

Coming back across the Shannon.



Funny story, well I think so. You need to imagine this is in broad west coast Irish.

Tonight there is a session with Blackie O’Connell plus Kevin on banjo and Michelle on flute. Blackie is probably the worlds best Irish Bagpipe player and Kevin must be in the top 10 banjo players. At the end of a set Blackie leans forward to a couple sitting at a table in front of him and asks “Where are you from?”, Australia is the response, “Yes, I know that but where?”, “Perth”. “Oh, I was there 2 years ago”. The look on their faces was classic, shock at how this hick Irishman gets to Perth Australia so they ask why was he there. He tells them he was at the folk music festival. He continues “Do you have kangaroos in Perth” the response is “of course”. “Well”, says Blackie, “I was there for a week, did 3 45 minute sets and never saw one fucking kangaroo” I’m sitting next to him and I’m nearly wetting myself with laughter. He continues “I asked the taxi driver who took me back to the airport if he could run one over so I could get a really good look”. By this time the whole pub is in uproar with laughter.

Overnight I downloaded a picture of a Kangaroo (with Joey in the pouch) and put it on Word with the caption “Blackie, this is what they fucking look like”, I had it printed on A3 at the printers in the local town and it was on the table 2 days later when he returned. He and Kevin laughed their heads off. But the best is yet to come, I’ve bought a cuddly toy Kangaroo and posted it to him with a note “Blackie, Here’s one you can take to bed and cuddle”

Left to right, Michelle, Conner, Blackie

The A3 poster presented to Blackie.

The chap nearest is Kevin on the banjo, I'm not sure of the guitarist's name.

Geraldine MacGowan. Look her up on YouTube and play "Someone I used to Know". I think you'll be impressed.

Lynne, sat under the cover outside


It was so hot we just sat around the pub all day in the shade.


We left at 0600 and drove to Galway, then the motorway to Dublin and onto the motorway to Belfast. We get to the road with the B&B in it but can't find it. Give up and drive the three miles back into Larne looking for a pub for lunch. We give up and call into a petrol station and ask where the nearest pub is. She hums and hars a bit and decides to send us back to where we had come from and eat at the hotel. The Hotel is on the corner of the road with the B&B. I then remember I had had a text from about directions to the B&B. Turns out the satnav hadn't taken us far enough along the road. After lunch we find the B&B. Drive in and there's three houses. I stop at first which has a dog tied to a car outside but no one in. A car comes out the second house so I ask where's the B&B. He point me to the third house. We drive in to the front of this massive house and a chap comes out with a big smile and a cheery hello. I apologise for being an hour early, he dismisses my apology with a "no problem" he takes all our bags and we follow him to our room. The house is specatcular, Huge oak staircace and reclaimed parque flooring. The room is very large and has fantastic views down to the sea. The chap, Johnny, cannot do enough.He brings us bottles of water, and spends an hour telling us about the place. He also informs us that the hill behind is where "Game of Thrones" was filmed. The hotel we have just had lunch in has the iron door and the toilet door from the series. I have no idea what he's talking about as I've never watched it. In the evening we go back to the hotel for supper and end up having an early night by going to bed at 2200.

The view from our room's window.

The view from the B&B to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland

Johnny and Dee's garden.

The following are all of the grounds of the B&B


This is the hill that "Game of Thrones" was filmed


This is Georgie. Dee doesn't like George because he kills birds. The other cat doesn't.When Dee let them out in the morning they both came and climbed all over me as I was sat in the garden.


I'm up early, as usual, so go and sit in the garden. At 0700 Dee, Johnnies wife opens the back door to let one of the cats out. She see's me and comes over and introduces herself. She wants to make me tea but I decline, I'll wait for Lynne and we'll have breakfast before driving up the North Coast Road to Giants Causeway. Great breakfast and more wonderful friendliness and hospitality.

We drive off to the Giants Causeway only stopping at a village post office to get some cash. We get to the Devils Causeway and park in the National Trust run hotel next to the visitor centre. We go in for lunch. The waitress asks what we want to drink and Lynne wants a bitter lemon with lots of ice. I ask for a glass of Rose. A waiter returns with a large glass of pink stuff, the order taker thought I wanted the wine in the bitter lemon. He brings me another glass of wine.

We walk to the visitor centre and join the queue to pay for entry. The chap says it £11.50 each so £23 but we can join the NT and entry will be free. I've been meaning to join the NT for years but never got round to it. We are now paid up members of the National Trust and will be visiting NT properties in Derbyshire and Yorkshire in the MG in the future. We look around the gift shop and decide what we'll buy Simon, Tanya and Malakia. Take the bus down to the causeway. Lynne decides she'll walk out and I find a seat. I'm taking pictures of her as she walks across the hexaganol shaped stone pillers. She then stops and I see her talking to a chap coming the other way. She then falls. I get up ready to run (me run, theres a laugh) but someone else comes to her aid and after a minute or so she carries on walking. When she gets back she explains that she asked the chap to move on to the stone to his right so she could pass and he could then step back and carry on. He wouldn't move just stood there. Lynne decided to move left to let him pass but the stones were sloping and she fell. He just walked off, without a thought. He was German. Now, I have good reason not to like the Germans but I really find them rude and arrogant. Every morning at McGanns I was sitting outside from 0600. At about 0700 people started walking past. Everyone returned my cheery "Good Morning", the Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealenders and English as well as the Irish. The tractor driver would wave. But the Germans would just ignore me and walk on past.

We get back in time to watch England play Belgium and lose 1-0. I think Southgate was happy about that result as he didn't bring any strikers on after we went 1-0 behind. The winner will play Brazil next, runner up gets Sweden. Best to be runner up, which we now are.

On the North Coast Road between Larne and Giants Causeway.

Across the bay. All this coast road pictures were taken by Lynne whilst we drove. There are about 150!

We stopped for coffe and this is the little harbour.

A better view.

Part of the Antrim Glens,

Somewhere on the road,


Decide to go south to the Ards penisular to Portaferry and cross the lake by ferry and return along the other side. We get there, park by the ferry and have lunch. It's so hot Lynne wants to go back rather than cross the lake. We do, get the car washed on the way and get back for about 1700. I can't find my phone. Dee rings the pub we had lunch at but they say no one has handed it in. Dee's daughter, Amy, suggests we ring it. It's under the passenger seat. Lynne had dropped it when I asked her to put it in her bag. We then go to the local pub, which is two minutes up the road. Good meal and great local compamy. It's out last night so we go back for an early night. Except we spend 2 hours taking to Dee and watching the football.

Driving through Belfast to Portaferry we saw the two huge cranes in the Harland & Wolfe shipyard, They built the Titanic anongst many other big ships.



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