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The BIG vide grenier in Coësmes

I was up at half four (no idea why, just woke up). Some idle TVTropes and a tea and I was ready for half six. The vide grenier actually starts at eight (which is late), so...

More tea and TVTropes and I was ready by quarter past eight, to arrive there around quarter to nine. The world had already turned up.

"Coësmes", by the way, is pronounced "kwem". Don't ask me why.

My "budget" was €100 and I was hoping to see the school science teacher (who sells things like oscilloscopes, signal generators, etc).

Some cash from Pig
Some cash from Pig.

The car park, if it can be called that, was a field. Driving over corn stalks. I knew I'd be okay with the ridges because there's actually more clearance under my car than I expected. I know this because I was behind a teenage girl in a slightly later model Aixam GTO on the way home from work on Thursday, and I remarked to myself that I thought the car was lower than that.

The car dump
The car dump.

I did a brisk three kilometres in an hour and twenty five minutes (average moving speed of 2.9kph). The place was filled. A mean, oh my god. I really wish I could have put my headphones on as... let's just say I did not enjoy the proximity of so many people. I was less freaked out in the middle of Rennes railway station. This... was really unpleasant.

It's so... peopley.
It's so... peopley.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of... let's just say I bet they would understand me if I said "buna ziua". One woman was wearing a large dress (that looked like she'd neither taken it off nor bathed all summer), and it was a dress with many pockets. And those pockets were slowly filling, if you catch my drift. I also noticed that a chunky skinhead was following her around about two stalls behind. I'm pretty sure he was the protector, ready to step in if anybody hassled the tealeaf.

So, no headphones, no camera, and needing to be very aware of everybody around. I will probably drag the reclining chair outside after this, and go lie down for a while. I'm still... a bit edgy. And it's hours later.


I didn't find the science teacher, sadly. Maybe he's not doing the vide grenier any more? (it wasn't held the past two years for obvious reasons)

I was done for about half ten. The road back into town was closed, and the road we were dumped out on was a shocking mass of potholes. As there were no oncoming cars and it was way too narrow for overtaking, I was swerving around trying to avoid the holes. I could see in my rear view mirror that a bloke in a large white van was raising his arms as if to say "what the hell is this nutter doing?".
He found out extremely quickly when he hit a massive pothole that must have been five or six inches deep. His van dipped and bounced and he slammed on the brakes. Last I saw, he put the hazards on and was opening the door.
Well... what did he think I was doing? Playing Tetris with my car?

I eventually ended up in a place called Thourie, otherwise known as that town with the bloody great transmitter. The only photo of it on Google Maps is one I uploaded about four years ago. ☺

Since I was over there, and there being completely the opposite direction to where I wanted to be, I took myself home by a different route so I could stop at one of the little local (and accordingly overpriced) superettes to pick up a sandwich for lunch. Poulet roti, of course.

And home for half eleven. The time which, last Sunday, I'd barely gotten started.

If I had gone with mom, I'd have been there, easily, another two hours. Mom liked to look at absolutely everything.
I tend to discount entire stalls: "dumb trinkets", "he thinks he's a collector" (means inflated prices), "that stuff is just too pricey", and so on. I also walk right by stalls run by children. That usually means the parents have gone off someplace and left them in charge and there's about a 95% chance that the child will have no idea. And if it's a little girl, she's liable to express her feelings with tears. I mean, how hard is it to put prices on stuff if you think you're going to dump your bored tweeny in charge while you bugger off?


Here's what I got.

All the goodies
All the goodies.


16A plug and socket - €1 + €1

He wasn't sure, since they were plugged into each other, if it should count as one lot (at a euro) or two. I handed over two euros and left because... some really shifty looking people were approaching.


Portable CD player/radio - €3

The granny wanted five euros. A bloke carrying a bag of random junk said it was too expensive, so she said four. He said it was still too expensive. So she said, okay, three. He was about to complain that the price was still ridiculous when I stepped in and said "I'll take it for three", and had the money all ready. We both ignored his lame attempt at a death glare.

The CD player part sort of maybe doesn't work. I say it like that because it recognises CDs and loads the TOC with the correct number of tracks, but it doesn't seem to make any sound when playing. The radio is MW and FM and everything you'd expect a crappy little portable radio to be.
Actually, I was interested in the figure-8 power cable. They're like nine euros on Amazon, and even the weird "it'll be here in a month from China and have an American plug attached" cost four or five. So I saw it as €3 for a cable with a CD/radio thrown in.
But, honestly, most of all? I got it to piss that idiot off. I think he was maybe trying to knock her down to a single solitary euro. Idiot.


Medicine cabinet - €5

I saw this, and have wanted one, but for a bit of moulded plastic they're pretty expensive. I don't need a lock, it's only for here. Nor does it need to be metal or fire resistant or anything like that. It's just a place to organise first aid stuff.
She wanted €10, but that was more than I was willing to pay, so I said thank you and left.
She came running after me, and for a woman younger than me with a perky body, she was surprisingly out of breath. She said I could have it for a fiver.
That, I was willing to agree to.

There's a barcode on it, so I know it's a plastic medicine cabinet by a Spanish company called Ta-Tay. The list price on Amazon for one without the nice shiny door knobs is €30.

Hanging it in the kitchen was fun. The wall between the kitchen and the back kitchen is supposed to be thin red brick with plaster over top. I couldn't screw into the plaster, it crumbled. So I tried a drill bit and, I dunno what the brick was actually made of, but the drill bit started smoking! I had made enough of a hole that I could poke a rawlplug in about 2cm. So I used metal clippers to trim off the extremities of the rawlplugs, clipped the mounting screws accordingly, and then fixed the cabinet in place. I would have preferred a deeper mounting, but whatever that material was, my drill wasn't having any of it.

I have mounted it upside down (it's ambisense) so the red cross is on the lower left instead of the upper right, and the left door has the magnetic clasp and it closed over the right door. As a left handed person, doing it this way makes sense to me.

Medical cabinet
Medical cabinet.
Now I have a place for my sphygmomanometer (blood pressure monitor), digital non-contact (ear) thermometer, pulse oximeter, first aid kit, and bandages.
Somewhere I have a digital contact (under tongue) thermometer, I'll need to remember where I put it.


Slide projector - €20

I saw a slide projector on a stand. I was interested as I have those slides from the holiday in Israel in... when was it, the sixties? I could feed them into the scanner one by one and fiddle endlessly to get a decent looking result. But for my own use it would be so much simpler to just load 'em up in a projector and aim it at the kitchen door (I have a screen, used to use it with ciné, but it's a pain to get all set up).

Forty, he wanted. I thanked him and walked on.

"Monsieur!", I heard (it's said like "miss-yer"). I turned and looked and saw that somebody from the opposite side of the row of stalls was waving to me and holding a set of keys.
As it was a seller, and his wife was giggling, I approached.
"This was just to bring you over", he said, pocketing the keys, "How much is he asking for the projector now?"
"You can have mine for thirty".
"That's ten less than he was asking."
The man laughed and commented that maybe if he keeps dropping the price it might get sold by the end of the day, but there's not a lot of call for this sort of tech these days.
He asked me if there was a specific reason why I wanted it. I guess I didn't look like the sort of person interested in diapositives.
I explained that I had a big set of slides that I got from a vide grenier in Soulvache a few years ago that were of a person's holiday in Israel back in either the fifties or the sixties, and looking at them with the aid of a camera and a computer was a bit of a pain. I had some on my phone, so I showed him a few.
You... just bought these?
Are you... Jewish?
No, but I am interested in how things used to be, because I bet none of that looks like that now.
His wife put her arms around her husband and said I could have it for twenty.

It was just the projector we had been talking about. I was about to ask how much he wanted for one of the caddies that sit on top (he had four) when his wife picked them up and dropped them into the bag, and threw in a big power brick that she thought was a part of it (it wasn't, it's a 20V 2A AT&T lump). She also threw in a little box that said Kodak on it.
She said her husband is a civil servant and she's a history teacher, and knowing that there's somebody who is interested in how much things have changed in the last century makes her happy. I'm guessing young people are either "Climate Emergency - we're all going to die" or "Meh, whatevs".

Came home, plugged it in, the lamp worked which was a great start. But - problem. Chk-thunk-swish-click; chk-thunk-swish-click, chk-thunk-swish-click...
It was continually cycling through it's load/unload motions. My initial thought was that maybe there's some sort of switch in there that tells the thing when a slide is in place, so it's just cycling until it gets to a slide.
I popped a slide into the caddy and loaded it up and... Chk-thunk-swish-click, chk-thunk-swish-click.
Nope. Not that.

I pulled the thing open. A solid metal body in two halves. It was then that I realised that this thing was way too simple to support such things as noticing whether or not a slide was present.

Inside the projector
Inside the projector.

The motor that drives the fan (that thing that looks like a cross between a hamster wheel and a grater) also drives the loading mechanism. The loading mechanism is engaged by the solenoid (bright yellow, bottom right) pulling to engage the loading cog with the rotating cog from the motor. When the slide has been loaded, this nudges a little switch (purple/red wires to the right of the cogs). This triggers the solenoid to push to release the mechanism and pause at that point.
The problem was, the solenoid shuddered a little, but that's all it did. The cogs remained together, and so the mechanism kept on cycling.

I popped a flat-head screwdriver into the mix and activated the solenoid sharply about a dozen times.

Now it worked. ☺

T'has probably been a decade or two sitting in a loft. Not surprised it needed a little bit of persuasion.

Something that I did notice was the little motor on the lens (upper left, look for the green capacitor). There's nothing on the body of the device, so I'm guessing there is some sort of plug-in attachment that can... zoom? focus? I'll need to take it apart again sometime to trace where the wires go.

There was a little twelve pin 'key' stuck to the side of the machine. Without this, the lamp doesn't light up.
Inside is...

Projector lamp activation
Projector lamp activation.
What is this, 1980s style DRM?

That little box that said Kodak? Turns out it was a timer for the projector. Shove it into a different port (this one looking like the tape interface of an 80s home micro) and it'll automatically trigger the slide changer from 4 to 40 seconds (a knob marked 1-4 sets the timeout, though to be honest it might have been better to mark seconds instead of just numbers).
Remembering the age of this equipment, I said to myself, I did, I said "I bet there's an NE555 in there".
Screwdriver, flick-pop...

Projector timer
Projector timer.
That made my day!

A quick test with three slides carefully fed in by hand (I left the caddie outside) aiming the projector at the kitchen door showed it to be... doing exactly what I wanted. The colours were a bit washed out, but that's to be expected with a combination of ancient slides and shining light through them. Oh, and pointing it at a painted door instead of a proper screen. But it was able to get nicely focused and everything looked sharp, so... I'll look forward to looking at the slides.

The projector is a Kodak Carrousel S-AV 2000. It uses a 24V 250W halogen bulb. €11,99 on Amazon. The caddies are €24 each (used, good condition), and I have four.
I have a length of cable, but no remote control unit. It shouldn't be hard to knock up something with a little box and some buttons. I have found the schematic to the S-AV 2010 (slightly more advanced) and it describes the control port as follows:

  1. Reverse (pulse to +ve)
  2. Forward (pulse to +ve)
  3. +ve (about 20V DC rectified but unsmoothed)
  4. One side of the focus motor
  5. Other side of the focus motor
  6. 0v
At the very least, bridge pins 2 and 3 to advance the caddy; or pins 1 and 3 to reverse it.


Multicooker - €20

I saw this on the way in, and again on the way out. I don't really need another multicooker, but I was intrigued that this one had a "pasta" setting.
My nice Philips multicooker can do pasta, but it does so on the Soup setting, and it usually takes twice as long as cooking it on a hob.

As it was the final stand before leaving, and the bowl looked to be in good shape, I said to myself, twenty and I'll get it.
She asked twenty. I didn't bother to haggle, she'd not have accepted ten and fifteen was a pain in the arse (ones, twos... by this point I just wanted to get the hell out, many many more people had been piling in).

Evolu Cook
Evolu Cook.

It looked like she had cooked one thing in it, and it had boiled over all over the place. So a bit of tidying up was required. That's when I discovered that, bizarrely, the rubber seal at the top was fixed to the lid and couldn't be removed. Since it looked to have rather a lot of (cat?) hair stuck to it, I whipped out the screwdrivers and took the entire lid off to clean it with soapy water.

This multicooker does two things well. I really like the great big glass lid. It is good to see stuff cooking. And, if you notice, the bowl has handles. Given that this is pretty much a Chinese knock-off of a Moulinex, it's a bit embarrassing that they have the handles and the proper brands... don't.

But... and this may turn out to be a very important but... there is no upper sensor. You see, my multicookers may boil a bit, and with starchy rice or pasta (like that weird American stuff in the Mississippi Belle packs) they may even dribble down the back a little. But they won't boil over and cause a calamity because there's the upper sensor that will detect this and throttle back the heat. Without the second sensor, you're relying upon the sensor in the base doing all the work. And how is that supposed to tell if something is boiling over?

I plugged it in outside and... nothing.

As it turns out, the LEDs are rather dim. It's better in the kitchen with artificial light.
I put some water into the bowl, added a touch of salt, and set the pasta cycle. It would heat the water and then commence to count down eight minutes.

Well, one out of two isn't bad, I guess. The water heater to a rolling boil. And there it stayed. If I understand the handbook correctly, it considers the trigger temperature to be 116°C.
How's salty water supposed to hit 116°C?

If I remember the next time I'm in the supermarket, I'll pick up some crappy own-brand pasta to throw in exactly as indicated (1 litre of water and 100g of pasta and a spoonful of salt) to see if this makes any difference. I doubt it, but... should at least try.

The multicooker, by the way, is some Chinese import that was flogged on teleshopping (I think TF1 does that in the morning?) for about €69-99 depending on promotions.
You can get a basic one from Amazon for sixty, and the ones like I have (12 in 1 style) are around eighty to a hundred. Tefal has a nice looking 25-in-1 with pressure cooking (I think?) for ninety. So a hundred for this off-brand thing really not a competetive price.
Sadly, they don't really make these devices any more, it's all Cookeo these days. Which is a shame, because I really like my little Philips. It makes pasta, it heats canned stuff, it's a frying pan, it's... going to get pressed into use making stews when the weather turns cold. (especially since y'all are horrified that I <gasp>peel</gasp> my potatoes...but that's where all the toxins are!)


At the supermarket, I had to pay cash because there was a limit of €10 for card purchases (hmmm, I bought a pack of 7-Up using my card and the person there that day didn't say anything). So keeping the random change in my bag, I come home with €40 and I owe Pig a nice round €60.


The white elephant? Probably the multicooker. But, oh well, if it doesn't work and doesn't detect temperatures like it orda, I can always pull it to bits. I'm reluctant to want to do a deep dive on one of mine 'cos, you know, they work and I use them. But one that doesn't? That's fair game, that is. ☺


Well, that is the big end-of-year vide grenier. And the fun is, while there is an inordinate amount of crap on offer (people seem to love trying to sell tarnished brass trinkets), you never know what's going to turn up or what will be an "aha!" moment. I hadn't set out to get any of this stuff. I was actually hoping for a spare set of 'scope probes and maybe a big multimeter (the school ones are nice, chunky and solid and easy to use).
This is the meter I bought from the guy about five or six years ago. While I have various meters, this is my daily driver as it's simple and gets the job done. No fuss, no crap, no transistor tester, no autoranging, just a straightforward set of options for current (200µA-20A), voltage (200mV-1000VDC/750VAC), and resistance (200 ohm to 20 Mohm, with continuity beeper option). It's the basics and it's reliable.

My trusty multimeter
My trusty multimeter.

Anyway, this was the big ending one that I was looking forward to. There will be others, like Saulnières next week (they estimate 400, if so it'll be even bigger), but I doubt I'm going to go to any more unless something takes my fancy. But given that I barely went out during my summer holiday, I'd say "most likely not". I count this as the grand hurrah of the vide grenier season. I spent fifty euros on... random stuff... so I'm happy. I have a few new toys to play with. ☺


Writing this has taken a lot longer than I expected. It's half seven now Quarter past eight after readthrough, clarifications, and corrections! The sun has gone, it's overcast, so I think I might feed kitty a little early, and then go sit on my bed with something that passes for gloopy Angel Delight that is supposed to be cake flavour!

Cake gloop
Cake gloop.
I've calmed down a little from the maddening crowd. So, this cake gloop and a bit of Sara Taylor in my headphones and... that sounds like a plan.

By the way (as if this hasn't already taken five six! hours), if you're wondering about the weird logo on the upper left of the pack, it's a musketeer. The supermarket is Intermarché and they used to have the slogan "The musketeers of distribution".
<shrug> Don't ask me. All I know about musketeers came from Dogtanian!



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