Tuesday, 28 December 2010

apero on time

Our dear dutch friends were here for christmas, hoping for a
quiet time together.
They leave tomorrow so had to have intrusions tonight... little
apero at chez nous which le Capt et moi enjoyed enormously.

Bon voyage and come back soon!

-Also to Peter G and Nel who left for Amsterdam today, hope
airports are all working and that the journey was a pleasure.
Barbara and Mike also left today, also - curiously - for Amsterdam,
but for them its a jumping off point to somewhere hot where they
are counting bugs in rain forests. Small sympathy to them then.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

boxing day

Captain Harris hosted and cooked our boxing day lunch with skill
and panache
and other ingredients too plentiful to mention

thats crimbo over with then
now exercise and diet to look forward to

Crimbo day

Here is Lily opening her pressies and here is her pressie to the
Captain -

Bob and I had a terrific and classy Christmas lunch with Andy and
Louise, their new son James, Lou's brother Harry and Andy's folks;
thanks to all for a memorable day!

Friday, 24 December 2010

pics of the week

Here is a weird cloud that was over Quillan on Weds. No doubt a
sign of the impending doom that awaits us all if you believe the
newspaper articles and indeed TV slots that deal with
Bugarach and the arrival of the giant green lizard aliens expected
in this area.

And here is Bieke, on the evening before her return to Ghent
for christmas -come back
soon dear one

....... here is Thursdays sunrise over the museum of dinosaurs

Below are Margo and Theophile who couldn't get to London
(on account of the snow there) for their Christmas holiday so
are spending a few days in a friends flat in -where else- Couiza

and this is our Christmas cake, made by Barbara and sent from
the USA. Iced by my elfin touch in huge quantities of sugar and

Its christmas eve and we have a chimney this year so I plan to
hang up a stocking -if I can find one.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tillings 666th post -

Marcus has sent this link, very appropriate for my 666th post

from Tilling.


Here are some edited highlights;

Bugarach,population 189, is a peaceful farming village in the

Aude region, and sits at the foot of the Pic de Bugarach, the

highest mountain in the Corbières wine-growing area.

But in the past few months, the quiet village has been inundated

by groups of esoteric outsiders who believe the peak is an

"alien garage".

According to them, extraterrestrials are quietly waiting in a

massive cavity beneath the rock for the world to end, at which

point they will leave, taking, it is hoped, a lucky few humans

with them.

Most believe Armageddon will take place on December 21,

2012, the end date of the ancient Maya calendar, at which

point they predict human civilisation will come to an end.

Another favourite date mentioned is 12, December, 2012.

They see Bugarach as one of perhaps several "sacred

mountains" sheltered from the cataclysm.

"This is no laughing matter," Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor,

told The Daily Telegraph.

"If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people

we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional

authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if

necessary come December 2012."

Mr Delord said people had been coming to the village for the

past 10 years or so in search of alien life following a post in an

UFO review by a local man, who has since died.

"He claimed he had seen aliens and heard the humming of their

spacecraft under the mountain," he said.

The internet abounds with tales of the late President François

Mitterrand being curiously heliported on to the peak, of

mysterious digs conducted by the Nazis and later Mossad,

the Israeli secret services.

"Many come and pray on the mountainside. I've even seen one

man doing some ritual totally nude up there," said Mr Delord.

Several "Ufologists" have bought up properties in the small

hamlet of Le Linas, in the mountain's shadow for "extortionate"

prices, and locals have complained they are being priced out of

the market. Strange sect-like courses are held for up to €800 a

week. "For this price, you are introduced to a guru, made to go

on a procession, offered a christening and other rubbish, all

payable in cash," said Mr Delord.[ie not taxable.Ed.]

Valerie Austin, a retired Briton from Newcastle who settled in

Bugarach 22 years ago who said the alien watchers were spoiling

the village atmosphere.

"You can't go for a peaceful walk anymore. It's a beautiful area,

but now you find people chanting lying around meditating.

Everybody has the right to their own beliefs, but the place no

longer feels like ours." She said alien watchers planted strange

objects on the mountainside.

Recently she found a black virgin statuette cemented to the rock


Although she described the alien claims as "total rubbish", she

said there was nevertheless something special about the place.

"It has a magnetic force in the scientific sense of the word.

There is a special feeling here, but if I really believed the world

were about to end, I'd have a whale of a time over the next two

years rather than look for salvation," she said.

This is not quite accurate as several of the alien watchers

hereabouts think the aliens may be landing on the mountain -

their ship left Betelgeuse some time ago - and they take the

form of giant green lizards. Locally such believers are called

the green lizard folk, among other things.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Captain back at the helm

Bob has made it here! Much derring-do from Greenwich to
Gatwick and many anxious moments and delays but his
rescheduled plane did take off and land in Toulouse, from
whence it was plain sailing in the sunshine; train to
Carcassonne and navette to the airport where the van was
Hes been travelling since 2.00 am and is therefore asleep
as I write.

All the best of luck to our friends who are trying to get anywhere.


Old chum John Marshall and I have a particularly dynamic
friendship based on coming from opposite extremes of the political
We have especially debated long and hard over my site
John thinks Hitler didn't summon the VW into being to ensure
that blood should continue to be spilled to his dark gods.
(Hes wrong, of course.)

So I was surprised and totally delighted at the present he gave me
when we met for dinner last night. Hes been to Burgos in Spain
where the cathedral is distinguished by being the burial place of
El Cid. In the shop he found this little flocked VW .
So charming, tincy, cute - photographed here on my dressing table
mirror - and then, miraculously!! It opens to reveal a tiny crib.

This is prove positive that the church acknowledges my thesis
and is attempting to neutralise the forces of evil.
Thats a little shooting star in the roof of the car, its hard to see in
this snap but its there alright.
Big big thanks to John. I will display the crib with the Volksstuhl.

aliens in market

Sunday, 19 December 2010

weather report

Its still embarrassingly lovely here though very very cold.

Last nights concert in Quillan at the Espace Cathare was
gorgeous - the chambre orchestra of Toulouse, galloping
through Italian baroque music. They all stood to play, except
the cellists and it was enlightening to see the way they used
their bodies to force the music through.

Between each concerto the double bass player talked about
the development of the instruments and the events that
shaped the music. Being french, he couldn't talk without using
his hands and as he was supporting his huge instrument
throughout it turned into something of a dance -

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Small consolation

Whilst Bob and our London friends are housebound in a blizzard,
here is tonights Tilling sunset, boding well for tomorrows market.

And here is a snap of the 14.14 heading for Carcassonne...
If the snow can snow in London tonight and then stop, all may be
for the Captains Monday flight.

In the meantime I'm off to Quillan for a concert at the Espace Cathar
quietly mourning for the death of Don Van Vliet, one of the great
painters of our times. Not a bad musician neither. He was
in kindergarden with Frank Zappa. Its a pleasant to think of
their harpist manoeuvrings tonight.

Friday, 17 December 2010

No captain Bob

Captains flight delayed until Monday. He was due
Heres some puppies.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Freedom in the snow

Snow this morning - very cold - but all better now. Heres the view
from the studio. Can't see Rennes le Chateau at all.

Went for an evening stroll to celebrate the bizarre Brits freeing
Julian Assange from prison. They locked him in solitary
confinement in Wandsworth for 8 nights, let him out on bail of a
quarter of a million quid in cash - because he (allegedly) didn't wear
a condom whilst having sex in Sweden.

The only reason I can think of for such abuse of personal freedom
is that the poor chap is Aids/HIV pos. and poses a health risk.
Do hope not.

The fact that he is the front man for a large team that run a legal
web site devoted to making secrets not secret wasn't mentioned in
the charge.

Monday, 13 December 2010

lunch by the river

Isn't this astonishing?
Ian happened across this young buzzard eating lunch by the
Aude. It wouldn't leave its prey so Ian was allowed to get out
the camera and snap it. Thanks for sharing it, Ian - just amazing

Tilling Theology

The Church of St Michel in Tilling is notable for many strange
things. It is old and old churches acquire the patina of local
heresies and quirks...
this sign says that it is forbidden to burn candles on the body of
Christ and it seems to be signed by the bishop; who else?

It refers to the statue of the entombment that as all right
thinking conspiracists know, is proof that Jesus is buried here.
There are several books on the subject.

This statue of St Theresa, the Little Flower of Jesus, appears
to illustrate a novel departure from the orthodox canon .

Friday, 10 December 2010

Airport run -

Anyone going to the airport at Carcassonne on 15th December?

Bieke is coming in then - and going on the 23rd.

All offers of lifts rewarded by the pleasure of her multi-lingual
multi-cultural many dimentional company!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

It aint Paris...

While the rest of France has a rotten time, our weather
persists in its clemency. Here is last nights sunset.

Some fields on the top of Mont Marot East, where the freshly
planted earth has many wild-boar footprints -
and below, the lights in the square.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

cult film comes to town -

On Friday at 6.30 at the Centre Culturel you can see the long
awaited La Cornemuse de la Montagne Noir...
entry free! Unmissable!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Te Deum

The Charpentier Te Deum was fab and the church was packed -
though, lets face it, the acoustics are dreadful and the orchestra
had an average age of 15 leading to far too much glissando for my
taste -notwithstanding, the 2 sopranos were as angels among us
as was the alto soprano(the unsung hero, as Roy remarked -)

The trumpeter was impeccable and defeated the acoustics easily.

I would very happily sit through it again, and again - what joy to
have such wonders in our little town.

Last night

The last night with John and Margaret for a while -
out to local eatery with Mike and Hilary, Kat and Marc.

Here is my new jumper flanked by John and Hilary. Larry and
Barbara sent it from America and it brought back happy
memories of the last time we all met up at Le Cantou.

Was given lots of instructions about not getting paint on
beautiful jumper.

Margaret and Kat seen here plotting -

And afterwards we did the digestif thang at my house

- and so farewell to Margret and John till next time and lets hope
the journey to Ireland was trouble free. 'bye bye...


Dimanche 05 décembre 2010
Dans l'église d'Espéraza à 17h

Concert du TE DEUM de Marc Antoine Charpentier par la chorale
populaire de Limoux, La chorale Chants Mêlés de Carcassonne,
L'orchestre à cordes et les solistes du Conservatoire de Carcassonne.

Entrée libre

Saturday, 4 December 2010

james rafferty

Here is a photie from Andy of his first born -
James Rafferty looks to me like hes chuckling in his sleep.
Plotting havoc.

Friday, 3 December 2010

date to remember

02 12 2010 - looks like an important number AND IT IS!!

Thats when Louise had her baby boy, last night - James Rafferty,
4 kilos (ouch). Maman and bebé doing fine.

Many happy felicitations to her and Andy...

weather report

yesterday all was well. Bit chilly but good sun. Heres where
Jaqui is staying in Rue des Jardins, where she cooked a very
delicious and alarmingly substantial lunch (jambon cru in little
pasta parcels with Jerusalem artichokes and tarte tartin to


.... here is Lily being thoughtful. It aint dandruff.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Boulangerie Crimbo

Most taken with this christmas image from the bakers on the high
street - RC Coes is of course our champion cup winner rugger team.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The end is nigh

Headline on this mornings l'Independant;

Bugarach attend la 'fin du monde'

Charming article about the mayors worries about

the influx of the deeply weird on his mountain.

Us informed residents have long expected the arrival of giant

green lizards there, either from inside the mountain where they

are hatching or from their space ships.

The mayor has noticed that there is funny stuff going on and that

the houses in his little commune are being let out to strangers,

french and foreign.

Will there be enough water for this crowd, he sensibly asks.

Dunno if lizards need water.

And on this day in 1953 Francis Picabia, French artist

died aged 74.

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (Gertrude Stein;Michael Joseph 1954);

Eggs Picabia

The only painter who ever gave me a recipe was Francis

Picabia and though it is only a dish of eggs it merits the

name of its creator.

Break 8 eggs into a bowl and mix them well with a fork,

add salt but no pepper. Pour them into a saucepan, no,

not a frying pan. Put the saucepan over a very, very low

flame, keep turning them with a fork while very slowly

adding in very small quantities ½ lb. butter – not a speck

less, rather more if you can bring yourself to it. It should

take ½ hour to prepare this dish. The eggs of course are

not scrambled but with the butter, no substitute admitted,

produce a suave consistency that perhaps only gourmets

will appreciate.

[many thanks to Robert for this info -]and apologies for strange layout, all out of control for unknown reasons

Sunday, 28 November 2010

sunday lunch

John and Margaret took pity on me, wandering forlornly about
missing Bob; they invited me, Mike, Hilary and their mate Ian
to lunch. They hadn't planned on it, hadn't spent days cooking
and it was magnificent. Much laughter lifted the rafters!

art and nourishment

Weather is bright and clear

and very cold. Above are ice in a bucket and a sky space,
snapped in the garden.

Last night at the Artothequè was great fun -
a select group of artists and well-wishers and some excellent
red wine.
The English artists remembered the stuff that used to be served
in London galleries - eugh!!!

Here is Phillipe, newly retired from working
at the local casino where he used to exhibit
us artists. Nevermind the art - the food and
drink at the private views were amazing!

Bit worrying, when artists evaluate expos on
the strength of the refreshments.

I enjoyed the refreshments so much last night
that poor Bob had to cook dinner while I collapsed in an armchair
giggling. Then he found that his flight had been switched to the
early one so it was up and off at dawn and no market for him.
He'll be here for two weeks over crimbo though.

Friday, 26 November 2010


Nel and Pete made lunch for
me, Joel and Monique -
here is the tarte au pommes
hollandais and it was as delicious
as it looks -then the Captain
arrived and took me to T-Rex for

My cup runneth over...

Art in Warsaw Castle


You may remember Trade Mark who shared his
honeymoon with Chrissie here a while back-
They are artists in residence in Warsaw
Castle at the moment -this you tube video is
about it.

You have to copy and paste because
I am incompetent.

Having seen that you might like to check
our Stan, doing Hendrix on his cello -

Thursday, 25 November 2010

saturday nights date -

Le samedi 27 novembre:

Soirée porte ouverte à l'artothèque de Rennes les Bains,
rue de l'église, avec un apéritif à 18h.

C'est la fin de la saison, alors venez nombreux!

DONT FORGET!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

weather report

Ian sent this picture from his place
looking over to Mont Marot - says it all -

Delighted to announce that Margaret and John are in town for two weeks. Together with Mike and Hilary T- Rex exercised its magnetic pull on us all last night.

Perhaps its something they put in the water?

Mixed news

Theres good news and bad and sometimes bad news can look
pretty good really.
Like, Kat and I were taking our morning coffee in the square
when one of the habituées limped in having taken a tumble.

His jeans were ripped down the legs, his head and ear were
bleeding and he was clearly shocked. The fall happened in his
home. So he put on his coat and went to the café, certain that
Alain would sort him out.
Alain called the pompiers and they arrived with all their life
saving kit, tidied him up and trotted him off to the ambulance.

See what I mean? Yes, bad that he fell but how lovely to have
help on hand.

On a similar theme, I hear that OlleB was stopped for speeding
and asked for his driving license. He had none and said so; it
had gone up in the fire with all his papers. When he told the police
that it was burnt, they said Oh are you the chap with the fire?
You can go; you have had enough misery.

Further: he and Aileen have found a strimmer for Jenny, missing
some bits on account of the fire but its a start for her - so, anyone
got a chain saw?

The terrifically bad news with precious little redeeming features
is that Annie and Peter have returned to Scotland, unlikely to be
back here until March.

I'm not dwelling on that.

Dates; Saturday night at Art-o-teque, Rennes-les-Bains, close
of season party, 6.00, be there. Head for the church, take the
steps down the side towards the library, follow the signs.

And here is a vernissage on Dec 3rd (click on pic to make bigger)
Worth going to; Victoria and mates always put on a good show.