Saturday, 30 May 2009

News from America

Barbara and Larry keep in touch and send love to all; here
is an edited extract from Barbara's last letter:

It was my morning to work at the Food Bank. With 13%
unemployment in
town we were inundated with clients
needing food. We packed a five day
food package for
33 families.
From ten to one we were all five busy. I register people
at the desk, send the packing crew a note with name and
number of persons to pack for, the other four wheel carts
around our storage shelves . We no longer give a truly
generous food package. Having directed the food bank for
twenty four years I have to be careful about commenting on
present practices. We have been given a wonderful space
in the new United Way building, a former school building,
but we have to pay rent and utilities, which we did not in a
decrepit building the county allowed us to use.

Here is an edited extract from Larry that is cheering:

American grandson, Jackson, adopted by daughter Barbara
and husband Bill, wants his grandparents to listen to him
play in his band. He is 14. Hooray...the coming generation
is going to save us all with music, love and soccer.

Incidentally, the music lovers who followed Marks performance
(see below) may not know that Marks virtuosity has hit the local
press; see

Friday, 29 May 2009

This morning...

This morning I discovered that my masters and friends
drank more water than wine last night, unless I forgot
I'd thrown some empties out.
If not, I'm doing more than my fair share of drinking and
beginning to feel it.

Perhaps it was the bee that savagely attacked my thumb that
is making me feel ropey.
Found that this morning too... click on pic below to big up,
very dead but lovely

Thank you to Annie for pulling out its sting and to Theo for
guessing that bicarbonate of soda would dull the pain.

And to the esotericists for an incredibly good night; highly
memorable, except I can't remember anything.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

an excess of esotericists

Here are three M.A.s in Western Esotericism, a rare sight - especially
when one of them has her elbow soaked in holy water.
Took me ages to dry out.

Then we went to hunt prehistoric rock carvings -
both Vince and Derek found some

After that we lunched at Rennes les Bains, afterwards
hoving up the Visigoth Tower at Fa.

Mercifully Ian joined us for dinner so what would have
been a blanquette-fueled charred mess was salvaged, due
to his strange sobriety.

Esotericism might be more fun than art...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

gormet award

Last nights supper was a poem of balanced nourishment and
delicious eating, consisting of takeaway pizza, a box of
chocolates and strawberries crushed with sugar into
Blanquette to make a drink with the thickness of Guinness
and the colour of ketchup.
Sue and Lou came up with that one (- a name, anyone?)
whilst Andy sorted the pizzas.


Jon is just back from working in England and here for a
couple of weeks. Book him and Sue quickly before one of
them disappears again - (actually thats a note to self,
gerroff, I thought of them first)

Spent the afternoon being cheminic: followed the route to
Brenac and Roquetillade and got side tracked into tiny ancient
churches (notably Sauzils). Saw marvellous things on what
was a beautiful day. Finished at Garths and caught him and
Mark performing on gamelin and saxaphone; its great living

Take a squint at the Chemin site, made by Jim; Its more coherent than I am
and the events and expos continue today.

Friday, 22 May 2009

premier plongeur

News from Montazel - Jo is this years Premier
Plongeur, congratulations!!

Here she is receiving the traditional prize
(the blanquette, not the kiss) - she succeeds
Bilo, still sadly missed.

chemin ahoy

En Chemin, Artistes à Suivre...

and a jolly opening party was held at Luc sur Aude

and here are three beauties on the pull -

One of them, me actually, ended up after a verre
or two of blanquette in the garden of a large dutchman
with a bottle of blanquette which would have been
OK had not the two Johns arrived and more blanquette
been addressed, with Ians help.
And possibly that would have been OK if I hadn't
remembered the rhum trifle left over from Sundays
lunch. Disgusting.

Spent yesterday repenting at the Chateau des Ducs
de Joyeuses where I was signing books of my paintings
for queues of people, the invisible sort.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

fame at last

This weeks Petit Journal shows two teams having fun....
Ian, Roy, Leo and Kat trying to look nonchalant and the Co-Es
not trying to disguise their pleasure at winning the trophy.

Monday, 18 May 2009

we won!

Co-Es, our local rugger team, are now the Languedoc

Yesterday being Sunday I cooked a large British-style lunch
for several friends, so by the evening was too wrecked to
go celebrate Co-Es victory.

News of our other spectacular local event, Mark Lockett
playing Vexations; Annie and Pete kept vigil with him
through the night and were profoundly touched by the
performance and wanted to talk of nothing else at lunch.

Marcus and Corella got back for the finish at 3.00
on Sunday - Mark was tired but happy -

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Cafe de la Gare under new leadership

Yves hosted a party at the Café last night to announce his
takeover - Michel was playing and the whole soirée was
jolly good, possibly because of the Satie (see below) and the
fact that Tilling had been drinking for hours before I
arrived. Soon caught up.
We partied till late -
I hope the rugger team will be alright, today is the big
match, the finals of the Langedoc. If CoEs get though
this, they get a crack at the French cup.

I got the T Shirt.

Is Mark a God?

Here is Mark Lockett beginning his Vexations performance
which will finish at around 4.00 today. I am still rather high
on it. Given that one phrase is being repeated 840 times, you
wouldn't think that there was much to get excited about - but
it (or Mark, who knows) has a quality that is never repetitious
and just invites your head to move to another space. Im trying
avoid art speak here - of course when you run into something
really good, there are no words.

It seems that this has only been performed once and then by
12 pianists working in shifts. Cheers, Mark! You are a treat.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Kats back!

Kats back, hurrah, and
this isn't her -its the
new Msr Jolie. We ate
there last night with Leo,
also back, before going
to the Café de la Gare
believing that it was
Yves celebratory first

Turns out thats tonight -
tapas and wine and
Michel raspin da blues.
Should be fun - be there!

If you find yourself in Caunes-Minervois, do go to the Abbeye
and check out the work of Maria Walther. Shes a dutch artist
who has lived here for 20 years and though I haven't seen the
show yet I'm reliably informed that its excellent.
Anyone give me a lift?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

143: Satie, I love you

Mark Lockett will be performing Vexations
at La Coopérative, Centre d'Art et de Literature
at 11170 Montolieu for 18 hours on Saturday
16th and 16 hours on the 17th.

The Cooperative site,

Interprétation de « Vexations » - une pièce de piano composée
en 1893.En tête de la partition, Satie écrit « Pour se jouer 840
fois de suite ce motif, il sera bon de se préparer au préalable, et
dans le plus grand silence, par des immobilités sérieuses.
»Durée : entre 18 et 24 heures

This is to celebrate Saties 143 birthday and promises
to be extraordinary -

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

big blackbird

When the blackbird babies hatched I rejoiced - not least because
tiptoeing around the brooding hen was tiresome - and I marveled
at the size of the firstborn. Sadness soon over took our little family;
some chicks disappeared, but the big first born remained and me
and her parents were thrilled as she got bigger and bigger.

A little louche, perhaps; and not very black.
And she has spots.

Erm, does anyone know what a cuckoo looks like?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Scottish newsletter

Now Mr Hall has left -*sigh*- it is a consolation to have heard
from Iain. It seems rain is unknown in Scotland. I am getting
ready to run away and join him.Here is his virtually unedited

Just had a lovely birthday lunch at Fishers, a seafood restaurant
in Edinburgh. Good company and delicious food. Not quite the
picnic of last year nor indeed as warm but the sun shone and the
Sancerre was perfectly chilled.
I hear that it is hot, hot, hot in sunny Esperaza but I have to say
that over all the weather here has been surprisingly good; lots of
sunshine, very little rain and reasonably warm. I'm rather
enjoying life at the moment. I'm very busy doing much of what I
was doing originally in Esperaza. It's hard work but strangely
satisfying. The new house is coming along rather well now. It
will not be completely finished when we move in on the week
before 5th June but most of the house will be ready. All the
bathrooms should be ready in two weeks; we have a wonderful
plumber and as long as the electrician does not let us down we
should be fine.
I am going to take a gardening course at Edinburgh Botanical
Gardens and I think that starts in September. We have a
lovely old Victorian kitchen garden that has been ignored for
decades and I would like to bring it back to it's former self.

The little time I have left at the moment is spent walking on
the beach and on the hills with the dogs. By the time that is
done in the evening I'm ready for bed.
After three glasses of wine that is where I'm heading now.
Have fun
bisous Iain Mac

death and destruction

Not been blogging much because I'm busy moving house
and I'm miserable.

My neighbour Pierre Mestrot was killed on his bike by an
overtaking car - driver also killed - and this coming on the heels
Carla's death has cast a gloom over this corner of Tilling.

Pierre left the army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to care
for his wife, who has had a stroke. She says being married to
an army man you are ready to accept sudden death.

He was in his early 60's and in good health, despite the bomb
he took in the Lebanon which had him hospitalised and at
deaths door for a month.

He was such a nice bloke!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Our revels now are ended...

A busy week - Saint David, here working in my study and
photographing stuff pertaining to my Father, about whom
he is preparing a tome -

and Claer, having a short break from Sunny London
(it did rain a deal here this week though now the temps
are high enough to singe my thighs)

Here too are the Captain with Alison, also visiting though just for lunch - and her new husband,
Richard Wagner.

Everyone had pushed off by Tuesday so the locals got together
to greet Steve - my one-time co-blogger Mr Hall - who is back
to say goodbye.
Huge tristesse tempered by huge amounts of wine.