Thursday, 30 April 2009

A Star is Born

If you watch French TV you will have seen Andrée on the adverts
for the film on Formica shortly to be shown.
As ever ahead of the game I went with her and two of her other
chums to the world premier, in the Espace Cathar in Quillan.
The above I photographed off the screen.

It was brill!! The film maker, aged about 14, did a terrific job
of taking a local industry (now defunct) putting it in a global
context and giving it its much deserved cultural significance.
And made it fun. Andrée was much interviewed and looked all
that she is: intelligent, perceptive and absurdly young.

Cant remember the date or chanel for the TV showing but will
blog as and when.

Happy days

Here is Margo with her beautiful boy Theophilé.
They overnighted and he is vraiment an angel.And here is David, visiting for a few days whilst preparing a
book on my sainted Father. Wonderful to be able to talk about him
to an engrossed audience!

Whilst in Carcassonne to meet David I went to the Maison des
Mémoires who are showing Joan Jordà, whom I had never heard of.
He is fantastic.
The show is free.

Monday, 27 April 2009

tea break in Tilling

Taking my tea break I was lucky enough to catch Tilling at theirs; so the workers gave me jaffa cakes, oooh, and here is Lily thinking about about eating Little Louis (the fourteenth).

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Had a couple of dead cute videos of dancers and dead goat noises
from last nights Bal Folk. Despite my efforts the machine writes
me messages in french about lack of storage and so forth and
won't let me blog them. Its clear that the external drive has to be
a. found and
b. installed.

Why do I loose the will to live when confronted with

A walk in the rain is beginning to look appealing.

Which reminds me, midnight found me prowling these mean
streets; the Café de la Gare was having a very frisky event
(Yves has taken it over now) and the dead goats were still
playing at the Centre Culturel, so Tilling was noisy.
When I got behind the station, just above the party rumpus
and the battering rain could be heard a single solitary

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Carla Balthazar

I've just learnt - and am very sad to pass it on - that
Carla died on Thursday night.

She had brain cancer. She was told that the treatment had an
80 % success rate and was prevailed upon to go for it, though
her initial feeling was to push off to South America and do some
The treatment caused her striking beauty to change; she became
puffy and bald but maintained her tremendous joie de vivre,
always with a wry remark, a jokey reflection on her lot.
She was on the first Chemin des Artists team, worked hard and
creatively for the success of the events, thoughtfully and
diplomatically. And she was rude and irreverent. Plus kind and

She would give me her cocktails at vernisages because she didn't
like alcohol and she knew that I did.

There are many other things I will remember her for.

She is one of those that make death seem impossible; surely we
will meet again, whatever the mechanism.

fair weather friend

News from Kat, clearly having too much fun - if you see this Kat,
please be aware that marmite stocks are low. Cheers!
We have had 2 days of sun but it looks like the rain is back
today, sigh.
Toby leaves today but we have had fun trying to stop her.

Over to Kat:

I am in Cornwall at the moment having a 2 year Sonny saying
to me "Sorry Darling" when he interrupted me and my emails!
I stopped in Rennes on the way to St.Malo just out of curiosity.
Lovely city with amazing timbered buildings. Sunshine and
showers so I managed to get totally soaked. Had a steamy
journey the rest of the way to St. Malo. Good journey on the
ferry but crap food. Went straight to Torquay to stay with
Maggie who I've known since I was 14. It was great and we
just carried on from where we were last. Had a late breakfast
of bacon and sausage sarnies in a beach hut on Babbacombe
beach and got burnt! The weather has been hot and sunny
would you believe. Spent a lot of time wandering about in the
sun. Had a haircut yesterday (cheaper than France). A 12 year
old birthday yesterday and joined the mums and toddlers today.
Who said I didn't know the high life. Got to go had an offer of
sharing a bath with Sonny. I will have to refuse had a shower
this morning.Love to all missing you. Kat

Thursday, 23 April 2009

look what the sun brought out

Heres Billy! Passing through en route to Carcassonne and looking
beau, comme d'hab.; and Leigh and Lorraine and their dangerous
Thank heavens for a rain free day.

fish chair

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Cathys car

Padding past the Musée car park this morning I saw
Garage Malet busily loading a car onto their recovery lorry.
Musing as to how a parked car could need to be towed away -
has the mayor introduced draconian anti-parking measures in
the car park? - I saw Cathy Peche. Alors! It was her car.

She'd lost the key.

Anyone in London on May 2cnd has two possible treats - one,
Andrew Logans Alternative Miss World at the Roundhouse and
two, a seminar at University College on Melancholy and Dreaming
in Renaissance Learning.

I think this interminable rain is getting to me. Time to hunt the sun
in London? Pete's back from Amsterdam and says it was sunny
there for the last fortnight.
And today, Larry and Barbara leave.

Fabulous dinner at Tobys last night to see them on their way, thanks
to that girl, and to welcome Peter G back.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Claudios Mum

This is Trudy, Claudio's Mum; she came to lunch with Claudio and
Steve just now.
The fact that she speaks only Swiss German was no bar to
communication - she was terrific fun and seemed to enjoy herself.
Claudio's Swiss chocolate mousse was also unforgettable.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

goldman sachs

Reading the Daily Telegraph at breakfast - don't ask - I find that
Goldman Sachs has hired a law firm to close down a blog.

Marveling, I went to the site - - where
quite shocking info sits, like the numbers of American politicos
hired or trained by Goldman Sachs and how much money the
system has received in donations (mostly to democrats, alas)

Usefully, there is a link to the Goldman Sachs site which has
fascinatingly meaningless bollox, like this; "our goal is to help
clients realise their objectives": "our goal is to leverage the
collective expertise of Goldman Sachs and point the way
forward":"we take seriously our responsibility to the
communities in which we work and live": etc etc.

You wouldn't get an arts council grant with this pap.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

all too brief a stay

The Jacksons are leaving us on Weds.
Too sad to talk about it.
Here are some photos of the farewell
dinner at Annies.

Friday, 17 April 2009

updates and plans

Anyone away who is wondering whether I've remembered to
water their garden may relax. God has done it, copiously.
Just when I was hoping to give Shuff, Ian and Toby lunch in
the courtyard, la la.

Anyone going to the party tomorrow who doesn't want to drive
get in touch - there are three teetotalers going with spaces.

(Remember they olden days, when not to be drinking meant
you were on penicillin for what we used to call 'a dose'? It was
dead giveaway - never go out with anyone who wasn't drinking.
O tempora, o mores.)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

When Kats away...

Kats gone to Blighty for a month, no stamina that girl.
Toby hosted the farewell dinner last night and the photos
have come out funny

A very fine evening was had with Scottish D and El.
Then Annie, PeterB, Mick, Jenni and Tec hoved up

Here is El with Jenni

and here are Mick and Peter B, I think.

Miraculously my sinusitis disappeared and with it
most of the aches and pains of the end of a cold.

Tobys marvellous cooking, perhaps, or the sacred

Bruno was here

Tilling ancients will remember Le Caderonne with affection -
Bruno who instigated and ran it and survived, dropped in today
and was in very fine form.

Monday, 13 April 2009


Shuff rescued me from the dreaded accounts,
gave me and Ian and Lily lunch in his bijoux res.

Mille mercis...

Sunday, 12 April 2009

do look, unicorns

easter excitement

Rain did not prevent the Easter procession, where
large white shirts and black bowlers are worn. One eye
is blacked.
I don't know why.
Everything is baffling today.

I'm in shock, too. Allenna was to take the bus from
Esperaza to Carcassonne, thence to Toulouse to catch the train to Zurich where she takes a plane to Toronto.
Fairly straightforward despite beginning on Easter Sunday with Easter Monday transport tacked on... all booked on line, all boding well, until just before the bus was due.

That was when we discovered that if we had printed the train tickets, some household demon had eaten them.

So Allenna ran for the bus - and thank heavens that Barbara turned up just then to help and calm us -while I tried to print off the ticket.

And that was when the machine did one of those tricks that
can only be resolved by switching off the machine and
restarting it, a lengthy process for this old thing.
AND for the machine.

The upshot was that the bus was on time, the ticket still
fresh from the printer was accepted, we have yet to find
out what else was forgotten but at least the first hurdle
has been cleared.

Wheres the gin?

Friday, 10 April 2009

Mikes show

Last nights vernissage (rough English translation =private view)
was a great evening, Mike sold a couple of nice pieces and we all
met new friends and joined up with old ones.
John and Clare from St Julia le Bec are back here for Easter so
Allenna, Kat and I tried to eat at Marie-Claudes with them.
We were turned away, she was so full. Ended up in somewhere
else and enjoyed a cheerful pizza.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Lunch and tea

Louise made a superb lunch...
and we ate it, big time.

From there to UllaB's birthday

both feasts have resulted in

strange wierdness

As a holder of a Masters in Western Esotericism from
Exeter University, with Merit, I am not unused to the
strange and the weird.
But two VERY odd things have happened; the first
concerns Mike Hincs vernisage at Quillan on Friday.

As we know, this event occurs tomorrow.

Yet the Petit Journal (published on Monday) has a
photo of the party- yet to happen - featuring Adrian
and Maggie - who are in England - and an example of
Mikes work which will not be in the show on account
of it is in my living room.
The Captain bought it for me for our anniversary
last June.

Have Adrian and Maggie accomplished temporal
I think we should be told.
click on cutting to read...

The other weirdness is also vraiment weird.
When the Captain and I married, legally, various mates
played at our wedding and much fun was had by all.
One of the friends who played bought his ukulele band and
they performed at the Tramshed in Woolwich in the evening.

And now I find that they are performing at this years

Whatever next???

They can be found at

See you all at Mikes in Quillan, I hope -

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

hole does not stop play

The much longed for hole which will give
access to the courtyard has begun in the
impasse - the noise and dust are describable,
but why dwell on it.

What IS remarkable is that the builders came
two days early.

So my dinner for Larry and Barbara and Annie
and Peter B to meet Allenna happened in the
new house, under less that ideal conditions.

Thanks to Allennna's resourcefulness and excellent cooking
it went off brilliantly - thanks all! We'll have a vast party when
the job is finished.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Techno party

At the airport yesterday met Pat waiting for
her sister - here she is with Paul - they are
cracking on with their place, the latest being
laying a drive to the house with the flotation
tank. Keep meaning to go and relax...

Peter G and I were at the airport to meet Allenna
who arrived safely - we did a spot of sightseeing
and stopped in Limoux for some chocolate, which
is notable there. Not only for its deliciousness but
also for its calories.

In the evening Annie picked us up - xxx - and
took us to Stan and Debs techno party.

Allenna re-connected with Ferren and met the
Ulla bendix, Chuck and Dana (above) established
contact of a sort.
Many of our friends danced to really awfully nice
music under bright swaying lights, while the very
young hit Eds to try and chain the shopping
trolleys into a circle. Me and my ilk sat under the
trees and ate a convivial dinner and did our best to
reduce the blanquette lake.
Great evening!

Found this escaped Poisson d'avril in the street,
very sweet -

where do they go after they have been discovered?
Is there a ritual?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Behold! The conquering hero comes...

Hurrah the Scottish Dave
clan are back and not
printing the photo of El
with her tongue out
deserves me a drink...
if you see what I mean.
This one of Stuart
Douglas is the respectable

So they flew in this
morning and trouped
off to the Toques et Cloches,
which by all accounts
was a great success.

Also in town are our Danes,
Gert and Elizabet.
Great that the season is cranking up.
Think I shall stop work and abandon myself to pleasure.

****See y'all in the market!

Friday, 3 April 2009


Back from the remise des prix des Rencontres Artistiques 2009
where I DID NOT WIN A SINGLE PRIZE presumably because
there's been a mistake of some sort.
And another thing; I did not know a single winner. See? Something
odd is going on.

Malras is lovely though - first time I've been there - should you be
planning to go there for the Toques et Cloches, just don't go to the
Foyer where the prize exhibits are. You have been warned.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

prizes for guessing...

Arranged to meet Kat for coffee. Café in the square closed
(?why) but found her in the Café du Pont with Stephen who
has a broken rib.

Todays prize - hitherto undisclosed - is for guessing how he
did it.

In the meantime, the press for the G20 summit meeting in
London is worrying. The right to peaceable demonstration
seems to be another liberty lost to the hapless Brits; the police
would certainly cancel the Toques et Clochers this weekend.

Which marvellous event is clearly explained in last years posting -
15th March - which saves me going through it all again though
I am certainly intending to attend it all again. This year is the 20th
anniversary of its history and it is at Malras, the first
beneficiary when the bell tower of the church was fixed up.

Indian gift

Claer has sent this beautiful fetish from India, via the Captain -
Anyone know anything about parrot-headed gods? A quick Google
reveals one called Sukabimham about which I can find out nothing;
though it could be eagle-headed in which case this is Garuda, steed
of Vishnu and easier to pronounce.

Though I have laboured in a parrot quarantine warehouse in my time
and this says parrot to me -

Whatever; its a classically beautiful piece of folk art that sits happily
in the hand and Claer, you are an angel to pick me a present that is
so perfect for me - if I had found such a fascinating god on my
travels I wouldn't have parted with it. Bisouxxxxxxxxxx!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Poisson d'Avril

April 1st here is called Poisson d'Avril; the trick is to get a fish
tied or stuck onto someones back. Not sure if this means the
French are terribly terribly sophisticated, or not.

Gave Andy and Louise fish pie as a gesture and enjoyed eating it
with them. The banana custard which followed was a surrealist joke
though possibly lost in translation.

Andy's rash was very disappointing.