31 January 2023

Au revoir to January...

...and also to DSL, I hope.

30 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (6)

Still January 2004 here in these photos taken in Saint-Aignan. The waters of the Cher nearly submerged the island in the river, which is a big park. I'm enjoying seeing these Kodak DC 4800 images again.

Today and tomorrow will be big days here at our house. Tomorrow a crew from Orange, the French telephone company that used to be called France Télécom, will get here in the morning to see about installing our fiber optic internet connection. Today, we have to get ready for them by emptying the buffet full of wine and liqueur glasses under which our current internet and phone jack lurks and moving that piece of furniture out of the way. Wish us luck with the glasses, the furniture, and new new internet connection.  À demain.

29 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (5)

These are six pictures of the Cher River at flood stage in the Saint-Aignan area. I took them all with a Kodak DC4800 digital camera that I had bought a couple of years earlier. We were spending our first winter in Saint-Aignan and were impressed to see the sleepy Cher suddenly come to life.

PS: Yesterday I spent several hours working on my old laptop to see if the screen flicker would come back. It didn't, at least not until this morning. I finally had to turn it off in the middle of composing this blog post and start up the new laptop, which I'm glad I bought.

28 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (4)

Flooding. This was the first January we spent in Saint-Aignan. We knew about the possibility of flooding, however. Two years earlier, when we were driving around with a real estate agent looking at houses for sale, with the idea we might be able to buy one, we had been shown two houses that had been flooded a few years earlier. We decided we didn't want to live too close to the river. As it turned out, the house we bought is on land that is nearly two hundred feet above river level.

This is what Saint-Aignan looked like in mid-January 2004.

The next time we saw this much flooding in the Cher river valley was in 2016.

27 January 2023


I'm having trouble with the new laptop this morning. It's strange. Some web sites that I have saved shortcuts for would pop up normally, but many others, including blogger.com as well as my blog and Walt's, wouldn't open up at all. I've never seen tat kind of behavior before. So I just can't post anything else until I figure out what the problem is — Now, 10 minutes later, everything is working properly again. I think I'm losing my mind!

26 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (3)

My new notebook computer is up and running. And the old notebook computer seems to be working very well too — no flickering. Mysterious. Anyway, here are a few more photos that I took in Vendôme, 40 miles north of Saint-Aignan, nearly 20 years ago, using a Kodak digital camera of that era.

L'abbaye de la Trinité is one of the town's major landmarks.

This is the tour Saint-Martin, a Renaissance-era tower that is all that remains of an old church of that name

Houses along one of the many branches of the Loir river that run through Vendôme

And a Citroën 2CV (une deux chevaux) parked in the old town

25 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (2)

As I was sitting at the computer writing this post this morning, I heard one of the Télématin hosts say that today is January 25. The photos you see here are some that I took on January 25, 2004. We had escaped to Vendôme and nearby villages for a day-long excursion after being housebound by harsh weather for two or three weeks.

Vendôme is a big town (pop. 22,500 or so) located in the northern part of the départment we live in, Le Loir-et-Cher. It's on the Loir river, and 40 miles to the south Saint-Aignan is on the Cher river. Vendôme has a TGV station for quick trips to Paris. Saint-Aignan doesn't have a TGV station.

The Michelin Guide describes Vendôme as a petit Venise aux charmes secrets. Grapes are grown and wines are made in the surrounding countryside.The town itself is the site of the ruins of an old château as well as an impressive abbey church. On a nice day, such as the one on which I took these photos, Vendôme is a beautiful spot for a long stroll.


I mentioned my computer. I'm still using the old one. The new one is getting its battery charged at this hour. I hope it will soon replace the old laptop. But — guess what — there is not the slightest sign of screen flicker this morning!

24 January 2023

Janvier 2004 (1)

January 2004 was the middle of our first winter here in Saint-Aignan. It was memorable. First we had snow and icy conditions that we hadn't had to deal with after 15 years of living in the San Francisco area. Then we had a week of constant, high gusty winds causing power outages in middle of the month. Next we had heavy rains and flooding along the Cher River.The old windows on the west side of our house turned out to leak a lot of water.

By the end of the month, we were suffering from cabin fever. To shake it off, for fun we drove up to the villages of Lavardin and Trôo and the big town of Vendôme, on the banks of the Loir River (not the Loire, but the smaller Loir). If the weather had still been bad, we wouldn't have gone up there, an hour or more north of Saint-Aignan. I took this photo, among others. Stay tuned...

Back to the present: There are two major events that are probably going to affect my blogging pattern this week and next. For example, today I'm getting a new laptop computer (if Amazon doesn't let me down). It's a model I don't know much about. It's going to take me a week or so to get it set up and functional. The one I've been using for the past dozen years has developed an annoying screen flicker. I've tried downloading a new video driver, but it hasn't made any difference. From what I've read, you can't easily replace the video adapter in a laptop. Anyway, it might be a hardware issue, and the machine is old enough that I'm ready to move on.

A week from today, we are scheduled to have a fiber optic connection installed in our house, replacing the ADSL connection we've had since October 2003. We are not sure how it will be installed and configured, but we know what we want. Some negotiating will be required. We're just hoping the new technology will be a lot faster than what we have now. I remember hearing people talk about fiber optics when I worked on the editorial staff of a computer magazine in SF back in the late 1980s and predicting that we would all have lightning-fast fiber optic connections for internet in just a few years. "Just a few years" has turned into just a few decades.

23 January 2023

Janvier 2006 (5)

Today I'm wrapping up my series of posts about January 2006.

Above left is the hamlet a quarter of a mile north of ours. It's called La Grand-Maison and is made up of about a dozen houses. Above right is the house next-door to ours. The woman who owns it lives and works in Nevers. She plans to move here as soon as she can find employment nearby.

January sunsets in Saint-Aignan can be really spectacular

January sunrises can be spectacular too

22 January 2023

Janvier 2006 (4)

Before the snow came in late January 2006, we had had plenty of sunny winter days.

A hamlet just a mile or two southwest of the Château de Saint-Aignan

How the roof of the barn where our neighbors keep goats looked in 2006

An old farm eight or ten miles south of Saint-Aignan, in southeast Touraine

21 January 2023

Janvier 2006 (3)

Arriving in the hamlet from the vineyard                                The pond outside our back gate

Our house is the last one on the right where the paved road ends

Three hamlet houses where the paved road ends                                           Our back yard in the snow

20 January 2023

Janvier 2006 (2)

Here are photos of three of the houses in our hamlet just outside Saint-Aignan. I took them in late January 2006, when we had three or four inches of snow on the ground. Two of these houses were sold fairly recently, so we have new neighbors. One of the houses is for sale now.

The house on the left above was until a few weeks ago an AirBnB rental that could sleep, I believe, 10 people. Now it's for sale. The big house on the right was sold less than two years ago. The people who bought it have done a lot of work inside and out (new windows and shutters all around, and major landscaping work) to make it more comfortable and attractive.

Just above are two photos of another house in the hamlet. It was sold to a young couple nearly four years ago. They have a two-year-old baby now, and they keep goats in the barn and in their yard. The barn roof was repaired years ago. These neighbors invited us over for dinner last weekend, and we had a good time. They're French (from Lyon) and spent a year driving around Australia in a camper van a few years before they moved here. We spoke French with them, but they also speak passable English. I told them that when we invite them over we'll have to speak English together.

19 January 2023

Janvier 2006 (1)

Going back through some photos from January 2006, I found some more pictures of the Château de l'Estang near the village of Orbigny. The wide-angle photo in the middle of the set is a composite image made up using two separate images. A couple of Americans from California own a house just a mile to two from this château.



18 January 2023

Janvier 2008 (5)

     January sunrise                                          January sunset

     Foggy January day                                          Gray but clear January day

     Pink January sky                                          Pale January sky