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A week of yawning

For the past week, we've had an important audit, visits, and so on. So I've been getting up an hour early each day so I could go in and do some things beforehand (ensuring everything is stocked up, and so on). So I'd get up at six to be at work to start at eight. It takes time to have three teas and get it into my system. Without tea I'm a zombie.
The good part is that I can come home an hour sooner. In theory to enjoy sitting in the sunshine, but it's generally been a miserable week and I'm only just getting over hayfever.
Bedtime? Well, this time of year that's pretty much "just after the sun sets".

So it's been a tiring week.


Starting the old C1

As I mentioned a month ago, the battery in mom's car has given up the ghost and is only charging to about 8.4V. Which means it isn't possible to start the engine to give it a periodic run.

I saw something in the sales at the local supermarket on Friday and I thought "Oh, yes.".

I got home and parked Caoimhe facing Isabelle (the C1, it was mom who named her). I kept the engine running whilst I unpacked my new purchase and hooked everything up. Colour coded red and black, even a dunce like me can't cock it up.

Jump leads
Jump leads

Only I did. The first attempt showed absolutely no power in the C1. So I checked the connections and the negative terminal on the C1 side wasn't quite in place correctly.
That sorted, I put the key into the C1 and turned it to the RUN position. I checked the battery meter in Caoimhe and it was reading a steady 14.2V (what the alternator outputs).

Back to the C1, here goes. Turn the key to START and...


The engine started flawlessly. It idled a little rough (well, it hasn't run since about February) and settled down to a purr that was barely audible over the noise of the diesel.

I left it whilst I packed up the leads, turned Caoimhe around to park normally, and then put the fridge stuff into the fridge. A few minutes just to keep the engine going.


The interesting thing is that while the battery in my little car is tiny, it actually has a slightly larger capacity (40Ah/340A) than the one in the C1 (35Ah/300A). Maybe it takes more oomph to start a diesel? They're all about insane compression, so that could be it.
Since my tiny little car had a larger capacity battery than the bigger car, I knew it would be okay to use it to jump start.


An enjoyable drive

Since I jump-started the C1 yesterday, I decided today to go out for a little drive in order to get the battery topped up. I figured "about an hour". I didn't want to go anywhere (like shopping) as that would mean stopping and restarting the engine which would probably defeat the purpose.

So I left with no particular direction in mind. My first port of call that I made in about half an hour of winding country roads was Pouancé. Before I was employed, mom and I used to go there once a week for French lessons. Wasn't so useful for mom, she very quickly got conscripted as a volunteer teacher (what's "benevole" in English? I forget). There was another teacher (a Welsh man, if I recall correctly) who was big on verbs. They were great on knowing that a certain conjugation was 'nine' (verbs were numbered because it was less hassle than remembering "plus-que-partfait" or whatever tense it actually was. I spent about half a lesson with him before leaving because it was quite clear that his students could conjugate avoir in tenses the French themselves don't even know...but they were utterly hopeless when it came to actually knowing which number to use in an actual sentence, and they were completely lost when it came to constructing a sentence. They could tell you that if they-exclusive are going somewhere, that elles vont, and the they-inclusive form is nous allons, or iront/irons if it's in the future. Which is more than I can manage - I suck at conjugation, there's a poster on the wall that I'm reading. ☺
However, I can manage to string together a bunch of other words in order to be understood. My main impediment is a horrible pronunciation. In fact, just last week one of the newbies at work was like "whoa, you speak Quebeçoise!". Uh... okay... I just thought I spoke French with a lot of English-like pronunciation. Maybe that's what they do in Canada?
There's an old castle in Pouancé. A proper castle. Only mostly ruins these days. Every so often they do reenactments of various battles. I wonder if a woman runs around with her boobies flapping in the wind? (if you don't get the reference, Google for the 100 franc banknote).

The next place I passed was Juigné-des-Moutiers, after 45 minutes and some steep hills, and some lovely forest.
After a mite more than fifty minutes, I made it to the junction at La Chappelle-Glain. I was pretty much halfway to Ancenis by this point. But it was six o'clock now, so I decided not to carry on. Instead I turned right, towards Châteaubriant, and on the Voie de la Liberté.

Just a few minutes later, just after an hour of driving, I made it to Saint-Julien-de-Vouvants which has a rather imposing church (approach from the south on StreetView, you'll see what I mean).

Through there and out the other side, I noticed a tiny little track leading towards a wind turbine, so I took a short detour.

The turbine is an Enercon E82/2300 which means a rotor diameter of 82 metres and an output of 2,300kW at 690V. The hub and rotor weigh 55 tonnes. The rotational speed ranges from 6 revolutions per minute (minimum) to 18 revolutions per minute (maximum), which corresponds to wind speeds of 2m/s to 25m/s, with an expected nominal wind speed of 14m/s (below that, the generator outputs a lot less power). Changing the angle of the blades and the direction the blades are facing can be used to regulate their speed.
I'm not sure of the height of this turbine. The E82 E2 model has hub heights from 78 to 138 metres, and the E82 E4 model has heights from 59 to 84 metres. If the blades are 82 metres, that means it's 41 metres from the centre to the tip of a blade. This looks like (from the video), about the position of the first or second ring down, and that's not even halfway. So I'm going to guess that the hub height here is around a hundred metres.

Back on the liberty road, to La Touche (d'Erbray) which was a sort of hamlet on the road. An hour and a quarter now, so I turned north towards Soudan which I got to after about an hour twenty five.

Once in Soudan, it was basically the journey back from Châteaubriant. Up through Villepot and a forest and a bunch of twisty passageways roads back home.
I did note that crossing back into Brittany was accompanied with the stereotypical degradation in the weather. A nice sunny drive? Yeah, mostly. But in the land of dragons and stuff...

Welcome to Brittany - get your brolly ready
Welcome to Brittany - get your brolly ready!

Finally back home, after about 75km and about two hours (with a ten minute detour).


Mom and I used to go out a lot, all the time. I was forever putting petrol into the C1. Just a few years ago, we went to Josselin, just, you know, for the hell of it.

Mom loved to drive. It's the main reason I never learned or got my own car. I think it would have upset her a lot to not do these things together. So in the time we've been here, we've been as far west as Questembert, as far east as Tours, as far north as Granville (or Caen-Ouistreham for the ferry), and as far south as Bressuire...and we went to Clisson a lot!

Mom just loved to drive. Even in England, she'd be like "let's go around the garden centres" or "let's go to Portsmouth", or once "why don't we get up early and go to The Big Sheep". I should point out that The Big Sheep is near Bideford and we lived near Guildford... only about 300km which is 185 miles in British measurements.
So, yeah, mom liked driving.

Me? This is the very first time I've gone anywhere for the hell of it. Not for shopping or work or some specific purpose. It's also the longest/furthest I've ever driven. It was...okay. I'm guessing there's probably less traffic around at 6pm on a Saturday, which was a help.

Not what I had in mind at half two when I was out strimming weeds and getting rained on, but sometimes the best plans are the ones that aren't made but just 'become'.



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John, 10th July 2021, 23:15
"benevole" is indeed "volunteer"!
David Pilling, 11th July 2021, 13:58
" A was forever putting petrol" - puzzled me for a long time, "qui est A?". Prob. "I".  
Pronunciation did for my French. I was on Nuffield French from age 6 and carried on till I was 18. I really tried, unlike some subjects which I gave up on. I have a CSE grade 2, which is one of those certificates that indicate a lack of competence. If I had to put it down to one thing, not being taught English properly first. All well and good being taught verbs, but not if you didn't grok the idea in English first. 
Seems etre is quite a big verb, avoir the runner up, but after that they p├ęter out.
Rick, 11th July 2021, 17:57
Thanks, corrected. It was late, getting dark, and I was too lazy to get up and move the two steps it would have taken to make it to the lightswitch. :-/

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