Wednesday, 26 November 2008


I've been in Toulouse watching the guillemots
diving... and fixing to rent out the room there.
Anyone want a room in Toulouse??

Back here in Tilling, stuff has been going on.
Friday (28th Nov) Lou is doing her legendary
exposé, see
Apero - and get that crimbo shopping
sorted - 6.30.

And on the 9th December Philippe Ribo has his
vernisage at Carmens, Arts et Cadres, Campagnes
sur Aude, 6.00pm. Reminder nearer the time.

Friday, 21 November 2008

friday lunch

Lunch at Marys - Stilton and broccoli soup and
Bakewell tart, what could be better? - up on the
roof of the world, with Maggie and Pat.
Wonderful company.
Much struck by a sense of well-being, taken to a
massively high level.

Pat drove me home via her gaff in
Sougraigne which has spectacular views and
also a flotation tank, le cocon de flottaison - if (like me)
you've always wanted to try one, contact her at

Odd thought, to go to a beautiful valley high in the
mountains with wonderful views and close yourself
off into a tank. But it is a sure bet that after an hour
in warm water at zero gravity, the view will never
be the same again...

This evening I remembered the camera but totally
forgot to use it. Pity. Claudine took me and Kat and
Pete to the Casino for a seafood buffet which
featured, among many other delights, smoked salmon
in baies rose with cream whipped with lime. And the
rest ; I'm afraid I'm sounding unbritishly obsessive
about food and I don't have a foody vocabulary.
Bleedin great though. With a good Chardonnay. Feel
VERY spoilt.

Then we decided to gamble.

Claudine won thirty something euros and stopped.
Pete won and lost and won and lost and came out
with thirteen-odd on top.
Kat and I lost five euros each.
Ah! The rollercoaster of life!

I came as a lumberjack -

The Other Ian delighted the crowds
at last nights vernisage with his
impersonation of a lumberjack ...

....whilst the artists, some of them anyway -
those that could be rounded up - settled
down to what they do best.

(photo courtesy the Other Ian)

Afterwards the troops decamped to
to the Café de la Gare in Quillan, where
Marie Claude did us proud and a fine
evening has had by all. She has such a
good voice!

This is Ashleigh, here visiting Joan -
both about to go to Vienna -

and Steve, visiting Pete and Annie,
and about to leave for somewhere else,
much warmer. (Photo courtesy Gus.)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Du Rififi

The big news here is the rift between the new mayor
and his team.

Thérèse rang from Paris, where they talk of little else.
As Thérèse gloomily remarked, the problem is finding
someone of sufficient intellect in Esperaza --

The local press have been having a field day with the
argument, which is simple; the mayor won't do team
and the team don't like it. Bernard Laurens is leading
the opposition - he who most of us know as Genéves
husband at the insurance agency at the side of the Maire.
Seems capable enough. And the fact that the mayor is
known by all and sundry as Le Vrai Petit C** is indicative
of his popularity.

The local papers have also noted the La Présence de 2
représentantes de la population anglaise d'Esperaza -
to wit, me and Kate - who strutted our stuff at our first
meeting of the MJC. It was impossible to understand
anything. They SHOUT at the same time. If I ever find
out what was happening, I'II report back.

Also in the papers - Mike, laying a wreath at the war
memorial for the English dead in France on Armistice day.
Un Anglais dépose une gerbe pour la premiére fois.
Mike had a merry time with the afforementioned Mayor
getting permission to participate. He could write a book
about it -

Right, thats enough proper news.
Now to the social diary...
TONIGHT is the vernisage of a bunch of artists
at Ediths. Be there. It will be fun. Free booze.

Christmas shopping, yes, it aint far off - Bill
is running a minibus to Andorra from Esperaza
on the 18th December if you want cheap booze and
tax free stuff, and from Quillan on the 16th.
Price 30 euros return. You'd still save a packet if you
have drinkers in for Christmas.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

visual verbals

Forgot the camera -duh- so will have to describe
1. Annie, our token teetotaler, carrying some dozen
empty bottles to a safe place in order to make room
for more -
2. Joans adorable little dog lying on the floor with Oscar,
both being absurdly cute -
3. Ullabendix entrance. Actually I won't describe that.
But it was notable. And incorporated shoes for our hostess,
who was barefoot. Except for the stockings with the hole
in the toe, but that hardly counts.
4. Aileen looking lovely-
5.The other Ian, who has grown a beard and was wearing
a hat. I thought he looked like Bluto but Ian, (not the other one)
assures me that he most resembles Paco, the drummer from
the Inner Terrestrials -
6. Jos beautiful jacket - and I can't remember what Roy was
wearing but we had a great talk about what marks we wanted
to leave on our ancient houses for future generations -
7. Mike and Simone, back here for another few months before
having to go back to architectural work in Germany - in the
meantime sorting Ferren, who was in a fetching tartan lumberjack
shirt -
8. And Liz and Frank, Tony and Jill, Kat, Pete, Jim, and many
other local notables. And our gracious hostess, all in black. Having
told me to wear red, white and blue in honour of the recent
democrat win in America.

Actually in the absence of photos I can describe Joans orange cake
- dunno if this a function of the Democrats but it is delicious and
if it aint too difficult I want the recipe.
Also Annies salmon quiche.
And Pete and Annie and I talked long into the night about Philip
the invented ghost and other psychic matters while we drank tea.
Missed Leo - I kept thinking he was there (related to Philip,
Oh and Pete told me the quite shocking and quite true tale
of the rowing kyacking lot being on the river this weekend
with a bunch of kids - so, in case that isn't clear, that's
children under guidance in small pointy boats with paddles -
when the chase appeared on the river bank.

They had spotted a wild boar the other side of the river and
shot at it; bullets whizzing across the boats stuffed with
children. Despite protests from the river-bound, the hunt

Grace à dieu, no one was hurt. Probably not even the boar.
Legislation pertaining to the hunt does need to be clarified.
Or, better still, the hunt should be breathalized at intervals
during their days. If its not OK to drink and drive heavy
machinery, then surely it ain't OK to have gun full of killing
potential in the hands of persons who have had a skinful?
Not that they were necessarily drunk, but they all drink
and they start early. I've run across them before dawn
and if they were sober then standards of behaviour are
Perhaps I'm missing something.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Tilling possie

With Bill at the helm of a minibus, the glitterati of Tilling
swung off to the mountains for a tryst with Rowena
under the full moon -

Unforgettable evening, both for the party and for
the fun of the trip - thanks, to all concerned.

Now off for Leos farewell pizza. Can you believe this guy,
hes off to Amsterdam, Edinburgh, somewhere and Cuba.
Won't be Tillingward again till May. Is he mad??

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


oooh; I'm now vice -president of the MJC.
Lets hope this is as much fun as it sounds...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Saturdays lunch

Saturday the Captain and I spent at Lastours
with Helen and Tony - after a huge lunch Helen and I
tekked off across some disturbingly high mountains
to the ancient chateau, through the autumnal woods -
terrific -past the bronze age burial sites -
amazing to think how long these places have been inhabited
by cultured and thoughtful people, at least if their burials are
anything to go by.

The powers-that-be have responded to the special attractions
of the region, which includes mines and natural caverns,
by trying to plant a huge rubbish dump there. Cute, eh?
And there are very viable alternatives, like the incinerator
in Toulouse that is already being used.

It is not the role of a blog to talk of corruption in the
complex world of waste disposal. Or of withdrawn grants,
secret meetings whose minutes remain on the hard drive
after deletion, vested interests and financial incentives.

This cavern is under one of the chateau. Long may it remain.

gadding about

On Friday went to Collioure with Kat and Pete -
for which relaxing day, many thanks - I'd never been
there before and was much taken with it though the many
artists' ateliers left a deal to be desired.

Compensated for by having chocolate in the cafe
frequented by Picasso, the walls covered with
interesting paintings. Took loads of photies but will spare you...
the above photo is of the old boy and the cafe owner, including
line drawing and signature. A very sacred relic?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Its raining.

As Obhama cranks up security and hopes not to be the most-quickly assassinated president,
the following seems mysteriously pertinent...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

margo's visit

Beautiful Margo came to dinner (Café de la Gare,
where Yves tried to win her heart) then we went
to Jims to sober up. Lovely to have her here after
a long break. Lately she has been in Bristol and Bath,
doing the tourist thing; new Ryan Air flight from
her local airport is to blame.
Shes gone to visit friends in Couza and Limoux and
as luck would have it so is Ségolène Royal, who is rousing
the Socialists for reasons of her own.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

day of the dead

The rain has washed away the Sunday market, alas,
and no doubt interfered with the trips to the graveyard;
its too wet to go and see.
Circumspectly, I went yesterday.
Took the back route to Couiza and ambled past the little
graveyard there to the shrine above the river, where the
Salz joins the Aude.
Classic Goddess spot - and there she was, a pre-immaculate
conception mother in earth brown, holding the world-king;
on either side of the shrine, flanking it, was a pomegranate
tree and an olive tree.
No idea what this represents.

Jolly nice walk though.

Hey, anyone going to the airport on Wednesday?
Theo is coming in and needs a lift, I think from the
Dublin plane. Get in touch...