Tuesday, 29 April 2008

a bit of cake

With apologies to the patissier for the photo - it was getting late. There was a fabulous and enormous cake for Bilo's birthday. The bold Macdonald rustled up a chocolate praline gateau of such proportions that it was shared far and wide around the canton over the weekend. It was much admired on the night and brought much chocolatey pleasure from here to Quillan.

L'anniversaire de Bilo

And so it was that a party was called for and there is always a reason. Bilo was considerate enough to have his birthday just as we needed to celebrate something, so a happy Tilling throng ventured abroad to Montazels and gathered chez Jeremy to mark the occasion. The 'shady estate agent who lives on ze hill' proved - com d'hab - to be a superbly well-provisioned host, as generous with his bonhomie as with his booze (as you know the photographer likes a tipple....) and his larder. I think Bilo -whose aged cannot be revealed in this column for fear of making our reader feel like Methusala's mother!-had a jolly old time, as can be seen.

Monday, 21 April 2008

a bit of jam

Another old face made a welcome reappearance this week. Pete is here with a couple of mates to do some work on their house. Sadly, Clare couldn't join them. Hopefully she will be here soon. Pete spotted other Pete's guitar on the wall and did a great set. He's a terrific singer too. It's always fabulous to see someone get their hands on an instrument and wring out a good un....

Aww, bless

Katrina amused the assembled company with her new party piece....

Norse birthday

continuing our intenational theme, last night was Aileens birthday party! La Belle Norvegienne was hosted by the adorable Irelandais in the charming home of the delightful Gallois. Comme d'hab, we had a fab night - fab food, fab booze and most importantly, fab company. But it did feel a bit odd without Vanilla!

one swallow does not a summer make, but Leo's arrival does!

Yes it's true. Summer is here and we know that 'cause our favourite Dutchman rolled into town last night. Sensing a party he put the foot down and got here in time for Aileen's birthday. As you can see, he was a bit faint after his long drive from Dutchland (sack the photographer!). Wonderful to see you back Leo!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

party, party

When I was a lad, we went to a party with as much booze as we could persuade the old git with a cardigan and a never-ending cigarette to sell us. Usually itwas cider and Lutomer Laski-Riesling...
You can still buy it and it is still crap. Far better to invest in a 5litre cubi of excellent chardonnay from Domaine De Buscail. Find them opposite the funeral parlour 'sur la place' on a Sunday
Anyway, I am still lacking in photos. Much as I would like to claim that I am defending youff, the sad fact is that not much was happening at tonight's Hot Ticket. Annie and I went to check on the teens but were surprised to be able enjoy a cup of tea in the party house and it wasn't even 2 o'clock. We were uninterupted! Lightweight children. Haven't they learned to drink and stay up all night?

keeping my end up!

She hasn't even gone yet and I haven't managed a single post in the 3 days since she handed over the reins! Oh, the responsibility weighs heavy. And it will be several weeks 'til you will once more be amused by Mlle Beer's always gripping contribution. Perhaps I can persuade her to send me exciting news of her expoits in Englandshire....

Meanwhile, further crimes have been committed against the good people of Tilling and its environs. Bad enough that La Maison de la Rivière suffered the theft of a unique and priceless (!....) piece of sculpture (flowerpot). Readers will be horrified to hear that in nearby Chemin de Rosbif, exclusive suburb of Montazels, a serial killer ran amok at the weekend. Witnesses to the aftermath are still too shocked by the scene to properly describe it and decency prevents the publishing of photos. Gallus domesticus is now extinct in those parts.
We can all sleep easy, however. A letter arrived with Monday's post - help is on the way in the shape of the famous detective Hercule 'Roy' Poirot. In order to promote calm in the community I publish it here.

Mon ami - While Tilling sleeps at the week-end, and debauches with goats and other sheeps, a murder most foul is committed in the very heart of our community. An couple of the highest reputation, on the very edge of our beloved Tilling are most horribly robbed of their livelihood, by the actions of a murderer dressed as ze Fox. I urge you immediatement, to dispatch ze photographer Beer to the scene of the murder, before the blundering Inspector Japp arrives. I Hercule Poirot, with my good friend Captain Hastings will be with you toute suite, before this dastardly criminal can strike again. Already the little grey cells tell Poirot, that all is not the way it appears in Tilling. Who stands to gain by controlling the egg market in Tilling?? Who is the mysterious owner of the victims? The shadowy estate agent living on the hill. What is really known about this man and his strange comings and goings in the night? What master of disguise leaves the footprints of the fox near to his victims? All these things, I, Hercule Poirot will discovera bientot HP

Bet you all feel better now, eh! I promise to keep you up to date with the progress of the investigation - Whatever!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

rowenas studio

We took our own Lady Jane (Franglais rhyming slang - Lady Jane Grey= Handicapée; m. Zane) to Rowena's for the alchemical experience of pots being burnt in sawdust and dropped in cold water. Really! And it works, things appear from the flames and the steam glinting with metallic sheens - great kit too, Rowena has upped the ante in fetish wear though I suppose we should properly call it protective clothing. Congratulations to her - and a deal of jealousy - at a beautiful studio in a magical setting with great friends. What more can life offer?

Saturday, 12 April 2008

tilling debauch

All right-thinking Tilling residents will be appalled at these images from last nights debauch. MEN PLAYED WITH DEAD GOATS and made an eerie bleating sound which drove the congregation to a frenzy. They leaped and twirled and whirled each other around - ALL STAMPED WITH THE MARK of the Bal Folk. They caroused long into the night, laughing with demonic glee.
Where will it end?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

domestic incident


The marvelously daft castle at Carcassonne was the view from todays lunch table... Andrée took me and Edmond to a class lunch which cheered me greatly after a dull week. Tried to book a room in the hotel for 14 July celebrations - perfect for watching the fireworks - but they're all booked out by September the year before.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Le Weekend

Rowenas' studio opening... not to be missed! Anyone wanting a lift or offering one, please get in touch.

Monday, 7 April 2008

good news

Hurrah! Text from Pete to say that Katrinas leg operation a success and she'll be up and about tomorrow. This Tibetan miniature - bought by Allenna in a flea market in China - to celebrate. (Tenuous link here between legs and running to Olympics and China's human rights record.)

Sunday, 6 April 2008

bridesmaid hiring

It is another of Tillings customs to hire out bridesmaids.
This quaint tradition is lost in the mists of time but probably not unconnected with the large number of hat factories in the town wishing
to maximize their sales opportunities.
There is a lengthy ritual associated with the hire - do not approach one
in ignorance of it!
Here is a photo of one of the first of the season, standing hopefully
ready with his posy.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

bienvenue Padge

Find myself curiously lost for words this morning - used 'em all up last night, I'II be bound.
But welcome to Padge (spelt phonetically, with apologies) from County Wexford, who is building a house next to Saverias. I thought he held up well, eh, team? And many thanks to Jo and Roy; unforgettable meal, hysterical conversations - some of which I can nearly recall.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Castelreng lunch

Had lunch with Mat Hilton at his new gaf yesterday, in the hills above Limoux; beautiful. I mean, even for these parts, quite beautiful. New home and studio so comfortable and welcoming that Mat had trouble getting rid of me.
The very good news is that he is opening the studio every Friday from now on, so you can see it too and give me a lift while you are about it.
Mats site is http://www.apwb.org/expo.html and the details are there.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

here come de judge

yesterday culturally challenging as I was called to judge an art competition.

The occasion was the Concours Jeunes and the brief was Appropriez-vous et réinterpretez une oeuvre de votre musée. Its a Languedoc-Roussillon event for all the museums and Tillings own Hat Museum was entering.

So, there are eight people, some of whom may be judges, looking at the work of nine children. There was Edith from the Atelier, Annie-the-potter(not a judge), Maitre Itier (or the other one, this was the blonde no-makeup one, I get their names mixed up), Msr. Reynaud (from the museum and not a judge), an intern from Toulouse, a bloke I didn't know and the young man who'd organised it all.

We selected a clay hat with a lizard on it. Then we selected two coloured-in drawings of hats.

Lastly we chose a short story which was quite gripping and involved satanism in the museum, an Occitan sorcerer, police surveillance, misuse of hat making equipment and a deal besides.

Now the pride of Tilling Youth get sent to Montpellier for the finals. Good luck to them - everyone else got a cassquette, which anywhere else is a baseball cap.

The above image is a locker spotted at Les Abbatoirs in Toulouse.

Annies birthday

Annie was seventeen for the third time yesterday and accordingly had three birthday cakes -
one from Joan, one from Aileen and one from the bakers (illustrated)
With that many wishes, world peace is just around the corner...


Lily ("the fish") is three today....