Saturday, 31 January 2009

Stan is but a boy

Here is the birthday boy looking surprisingly,
erm, sweet...

and here he is singing Happy Birthday to my
Fat Arse

(his, not mine. Natch)
Little Louis singing Happy Birthday,
we think in Danish -

Below, Stan with his birthday snowshoes
being an alien

and Debs demonstrating the correct way
to greet an alien.

Voila, Kate dancing with the cake that Mark made.

Stan cutting said cake with a musicians precision...

and a certain amount of patterning going on.

Lovely dinner, grace à Debs - lovely evening, grace à
The others went on to Fa to hear Olivier and band but
my energy gave up and I didn't.

Below is a shot of the mighty Aude being swollen by
the recent rains.

The reason my energy gave up is because I've been
swinging my mattock in the garden. Great day for it but
I'm a wreck. Anyone wanting to save on the gym is
welcome to help me clear a couple of hectares of granite,
bauxite, old roots and whatever else Mont Marot has in
store. Please.

Friday, 30 January 2009

latest gossip

Latest gossip is a bit late because I'm an idle person, but
the very excitingest is from Margo; her son has been born!
He is in Mali, feeding well. She will be going to collect him
sometime soon. Many congratulations to her and best wishes
for the life she will be sharing with him.

Yesterdays strike was fun here but then I barely left the studio.
The sun shone and the population seemed to be happily ambling
about. At least one train went through Tilling - but it looked empty.

I took a photo of the Marianne outside the school with a banner
underneath explaining the strike, but it was overexposed.

Garth has an expo., vernisage 11th Feb. from 9.30am till
10pm at Jardin en Villa, 5 Rue Framboisiers in Carcassonne
(see Unusually for him he is showing
photographs; the show is called
Le Théatre du Corps; Un drame Improvisé
entre l'artiste et le Modéle

Toby is back from Cuba and writes that she will be here
10 - 25 th April and Leo in early May, Dave and Elle 13 - 16 Feb:
Clear diaries and get plotting! She says,
I really look forward to seeing you all again and rumble around in the
house - and close the day with blanquette.
Fortunately i did not take too much weight in Cuba. But well. Loads of
mojito's (dangerous stuff) and cuba libres.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Dali missing

Salvador Dali died twenty years ago this week,
so naturally me, Kat and Pete set off to the Centre
of the World (Perpignan train station) to make a
gesture of respect.
Leaving before dawn, Pete drove us to Quillan
station where we took the 8.00am bus - special
price, one euro. The bus is a substitute train,
since the line through the mountains was bombed
to bits in the last European war. Stonking trip,
through the Gorge de Galamus, rambling hither
and yon, catching the dawn lighting the mountains;
best euro-worth imaginable.
At 9.30 we were gorging, hoho, on pain au chocolate
& coffee and remarking on the Mediterranean flora.

Then off to discover Dali.

Hélas! Rien. Zilch. Nix. Nothing. No sign, no statue;
can this be the right centre of the right world? Laborious
enquiries revealed that there had been a statue on the
roof but it had gone. perhaps to Strasbourg, but who knew.

Here it is, not there. There is a station cafe called
the Restaurant at the Centre of the World and a
pretty poor affair it was.

A nice enough station but lacking in style...

we quested on. Eventually the tourist info booth
confessed that there was a statue on their roof.
Here it is.

Had a great day anyway, sweet local gallery with a
deal of Dufy & some remarkable 15 century religious
stuff. The locals were wonderful and quite made up
for the signing system, which wasn't. Got lost a lot.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

tidy up

Here is a fireman making safe the chimney at Ian's Impasse,
opposite that which was Msr Jolies Pizza place.
It is possible to see the falling chimney thing descending by the
dustbin, dropped by the fireman.
Nice photo Ian!

red alert

Yesterday the Aude department was on red alert.
It was very windy and the electrics went off a lot
but all is well here. The firemen were dismantling
a chimney from the house on the corner opposite
the 8 à 8 this morning - in the Rue Voltaire, just
up from Pete and Clares - but the only real damage
seems to be to our top tech new dinosaur museum,
which has shed a few panels.

Him at the 8 à 8 is happy - all the big supermarkets out of
Tilling had to close yesterday,because of 'security',
so he sold loads what with being open.

The market was slight - the stall holders had been
rung and told not to come in because of the high winds.
Since the day is blue, sunny and calm, most of them came
anyway. Its a beautiful day.

I met Francois coming from the market with a bag of oysters,
en route to taking them up the mountain to eat for lunch -
with, as he said, a little glass of white wine. And a lemon.

Last nights great excitement, witnessed by me, Frank and
Liz in the Café de la Gare over dinner, was the Perpignan
match against an Italian team which I can't spell.
Lukes daughter Sophie is going out with Jerome who played
number 15 and was terrifically good.
They slaughtered the Italians and wearing Occitan flags a
little band of our tribe matched around the ground banging a
large drum - the Italians affected not to notice.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

joyeux 17

The 17th Jan is Blue Apple day at Bonkers Central, sorry,
Rennes le Chateau.
(Google Pomme Bleu - its too complex for me.)

So Trebour took me and Claer and we met Kat and Pete
and Frank and Liz and they came back for lunch then Marcus
arrived and Shuff turned up, plus Phillipe and Thierry and
then Phillipe (the other Phillipe.)
Thanks to Trebours skills and the Captains cunning shopping,
we ate well and then drank a bit.

The remarkable video below not only shows the blue apple
manifest but also that the church was crowded - from all over
the world they came - and a bunch of folk started to sing to
the blue spots. Weird, vraiment, spooky. So put the volume on.

Trebour can be heard saying that Mary Magdeline
freaks are called 'Magheads' here.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Kate and Dermot in communicado

Kate and Dermot have no live box, no access to the internet
and no landline. Do not forget them; ring them on the portable.
I'm sure there's a long story attached.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Action packed

-and there was me thinking nothing was going on
hereabouts. I'm sure PeterG won't mind me writing
about his experience yesterday evening.

He was cooking dinner with his shutters open
onto the street when he noticed that the new
neighbours opposite him had their shutters open too;
and that an 18 year old girl was taking her clothes off.

Having stripped, she stood on the table. He didn't
want to pay too much attention because he was
busy preparing a meal, but there were two other
women present and they enacted something he
didn't understand. Clearly they had no objection to
being observed or they'd have closed the shutters
or at least switched off the light. Anyway, ask Peter
for further details.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, we (Claudine, PeterG
et moi) went to eat at the Alet-les-Bains Casino tonight.
(Stephen has the rhume and couldn't come)I had my first
glass of wine for a week - delicious- and won loadsadosh.
I put most of it back but still came out with 30 euros more
than I went in with - had to drink a beer to calm down.

Claudine, however, won 300 euros. Well done that girl!
I'm watching her from now on.

Last night, walking under the very gravid moon, PeterB
and Annie and I saw a spectacular shooting star. The zingy
lines steaming behind it had little stars of their own, coming
off them; it disappeared over Mont Marot. Like a very classy

So I'm waiting to hear of the death of Kings, whilst having an
early night to get over the beer and the wine. Not used to this.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

no avalanches in Tilling

No avalanches but a bit of a heavy frost

and its been jolly cold;

last night felt warm
though that could have been my head
cold being weird.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Ians hogmany

Everyone in Tilling is sniffing with a head
cold and dieting, so not much is going on.
Also on a penitental wagon, in my case anyway.

So, good to have a letter from Iain which the laws
of libel have caused me to edit;

Dear All

New Years Eve or more correctly Hogmany was
very unscottish this year except perhaps for S.McG.
but more of that later. There were six and two halfs
of us or perhaps five and three halfs if we seriously
consider S.McG. which we will, but later.

The six adults were sitting down to a sedate dinner
at 9.30, which in itself is unscottish for hogmany.
We had Arbroath Smokie chowder which is fairly
scottish and breast of goose which is not. As I have
said we were not many but five bottles of champagne
later we felt as though we were, particularly S.McG.

He of course saw at least two of each of us which must
have made the table seem very crowded indeed.
Half way through the proceedings S.McG.discovered
that he was not working the following evening which
meant he felt free to up the level of celebration.
He had clearly not realised that he had already done
this about an hour earlier. The result was that he did
not see 2009 until 11.00am (12 hours after he went to
bed) the following morning and even then only through
a dense fog.

For the rest of us the night ended at about 1.00pm
which is totally unscottish but we all had a fine time.
Incidentally the other two halfs were children who
managed to be neither seen nor heard for most of the
evening. I only hope that our conversation was entirely
unheard by them as much of it was entirely
inappropriate for the ears of 10 and 11 year olds.
They were there only because one of our guests
could not come without her son and we invited my
great nephew to keep him company. My great nephew
was his usual sweet natured discreet self whilst the
other was a sullen pale faced loon with a humour
by-pass who will hopefully never be inflicted on us
ever again.

Next day was brunch at mid day followed by a bracing

walk in the countryside around Balmule and a walk
along the beach at Aberdour. The loon smiled for the
first time at the sight of black pudding and sausages
but was back to his normal state of pale sullenness
when he realised he had to walk and no one was going
to carry the little .... Enough of this vitriol, it is the
season of good cheer and kindness even to sullen
self absorbed eleven year old loons with no sense
of adventure nor humour. Aren't children wonderfull?

S.McG. managed both brunch and the bracing walks

which is a testament to his strength of will, his good
nature and of course his embarassment and dangerous
quantities of paracetemol.

I met Steve at a party on the 3rd January to say bye

bye to the daughter of two of our closest friends.
She is off to teach english to children in Tanzania
which seems a very worthy thing to do if ever so
slightly patronising given that she has only just left
school with a moderate understanding of the english
language and none of the grammar. She is however
a lovely girl with a big heart and I wish her well which
sounds just as patronising on my part.

Steve was talking about coming out to Esperaza

towards the end of January but perhaps he will
think about the end of February instead.
I will certainly think about it.

Catherine has been in touch and is a bit upset

that I have left without returning her books but
I will try and figure out what to do. Most of them
are in the house so I will perhaps get Katrina to pick
them up and drop them at yours where she could
pick them up. Unfortunately I came away with the
Becherel grammar but perhaps I could buy one on
Amazon and have it sent.

Nothing else of any note has happened so I will say

ta ta.



Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Christmas with Iain in Scotland

Iain has sent his report from the frozen wastes:

...Catering for a dozen people is not that big a deal but when
you are cooking food that bores you to death it can become
I love children. A bold and entirely innocent statement but
excited children indulging in their third orgy of present
opening is both scary and slightly nauseating.
They get so much STUFF! They hardly know and certainly
don't remember from whom they received anything. They
will therefore be unable to write the thankyou letters their
parents will not insist they send and I have turned into my
grandmother within a paragraph. I'll just dab my forehead
with lavender water and calm down.
It was actually ok. Not a funfest but ok.
They were invited for 1.30 and arrived at 2.45 fashionably
late or something else. Lunch was traditional and served
like a military operation, served hot, efficiently and all over
by 4.15. A very efficient campaign I thought.
WE retired to the lounge and they played with something
called Wii to their immense enjoyment and to the exclusion
of everyone else. What ever happened to charades and
other inclusive parlour games; gone the same way as the
parlour I suppose. That was my grandmother making
herself heard again. In any case they were not enthralled
for long and departed by 6.15 when Francis and I eventually
settled down to a bottle of wine or two or as it happens three.
Ill for two days afterwards of course and now only have to
look forward to the New Year celebrations which happily
will be in the company of self indulgent adults rather than
indulged and self indulgent children. It looks like being
quite a lot of fun and I will send you details of the wild
goings on in the new year. Weather here has been absolutely
wonderful and sunny without a hint of snow...

Monday, 5 January 2009

remember rachel?

Rachel has sent best wishes for the new year to all who knew her...

waving goodbye to the Captain

The Captain has left for Blighty, hélas, so now is my chance
to blow his trumpet. As it were.
If you click on the above it should get big enough to read.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

woah, cute!!!!

Leigh and Lorraine are safely back in the fold
with Django - and they have set up a blog for him.

New Years Sea

New Years Day; a tradition with me and the Captain
to go to the coast with Stephen and Claudio and their
three dogs (Felix, Tasha and Paris) plus our beautiful
Lily. This year Helen was with us. The restaurant we
went to last year was full and we found a jolly French
snack bar where we dined ridiculously well and a tad
too plentifully.

Helen left for London the next day -)*sniff*(- and we had
lunch without her at Montazels. Stephens excellent cooking
is yet another reason why what started off as my middle-
aged spread has turned into obesity.

On Saturday, yesterday, we had a quiet evening with Annie
and Pete and Gus... well, quietish. Ate and drank too much.
Today Tony and Helen came for the market and lunch.
(Not that Helen, Helen from Greenwich and Lastours rather
than the Helen who has just gone back to London, pay attention
at the back there )

I am dieting this week, honest.

Here is a tree rolling about in the surf.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Years Eve Report

New Years Party at the family Scottish Dave

An excellent Soiree, small but perfectly formed.
Here are Helen and Kelly chatting,
plus Clare who is holidaying with Sue and John
in Fa.

By midnight, it had all got a bit blurred.

There are other photos and people who were there
might like to start thinking about what it is worth
to them for me not to publish.

My abiding memory is of Scottish Daves voice saying
eh, Lily! Get offa ma baddjer!

A perfect start to the year. Im sorry about the underlining
but I cant find out how to stop it.

Kisses, Bonne Année, Bon Santé a tous xxxxxxxx