Sunday, 31 January 2010

saturday night and sunday morning

breakfast will never be the same again... take a gander at

Last nights dinner was fun and fascinating thanks to the quality
of the guests... thanks to Andrée, Mike and Hilary, Ulla-Bendick
and Aileen and Glen, here seen explaining the big bang theory.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

other things to do on the long winters' nights

Kat took me to a huge brocante in Carcassonne yesterday where
I bought a really bad painting in a good frame. Thought I could
overpaint and set about stripping, unprepared for the fact that
acrylic had been painted over primer which had been drawn on,
on top of oil. Strange. And hard to remove.

So I photographed it here, mid process - nice - and then cut it off
and restretched.
Fear that whatever I do on it will not be as interesting.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

How to pass the long winter nights in Tilling

First choose 12 bookcases. Throw two dice to select one of them.
Use one dice to select a shelf from 1 - 6 (I ignore the bottom
shelf) To choose a book, first throw one dice. That is the number
you will use to multiply the sum of the next three dice; i.e.,
3x(5+4+2)=33. Where there are not enough books on the shelf,
use the first number. Having found the book use the same
method to get the page and again for the line.
Repeat 14 times.

Takes ages so make sure there is enough food and wine in the

Here is a result. I haven't changed the words nor their order but
have broken the lines occasionally in the interests of scansion.

As shall be indicted, shall not be delivered
àguila f eagle (persona perspiaz)
cleverly fitted with wax nose exactly like his own
de conservation et signés par des maitre célèbres.

Coming down from God out of heaven
prepared as a bride before her
caught in an ambiguous and contradictory space
making a wry formal play
"I agree. Its impossible"

The artistic image from the gallery to the street
through interlocking processes of perception
cognition and notation
"There, if one of the humans fail to pass it on -"

Draining the marsh and leaving it dry
with a caked peat-like
locket with a shamrock inside
they were mending.

Tell me also, how can I get home
across the playgrounds of the fish?

I'm charmed by it, especially the last line.
Can't think of a title. Any ideas?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


My efficient brother Harry managed to record Davids interview
with Eno about our Dad, Stafford -hes posted it on the Stafford
Beer facebook page.
I can hear the Old Boy groaning. He thought computers led to
sloppy scholarship and were only useful diagnostically.

Monday, 25 January 2010

nudes and pychedelics

This morning was the first of the Monday nudes, the group
having been forced to abandon the Saturday slot.

It was lovely - as Jim put it, the energy is much better.
Saturdays are family days and busy, rushed, noisy. This morning
was calmness and light, helped by our model, Tillings own
haikuist, Moon Mouse.

I had thought I had a tincy hangover after last nights delicious
dinner at Stephens, until I saw the photos. Clearly something
psychotropic was happening.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

This weeks report

The bench on top of the station this morning had me laughing
so much I forgot to write that which I had meant to write...
who put the bench there and erm, why? How?
(see picture in previous posting)

Anyway. Nice week.

Went to Carcassonne to do the sales and found nothing except
some slap. As Isobell in the Huit a Huit said, unless you are
comme une ficelle there is nothing. She is half my age and half
my body weight so thats reassuring.

The real reason I went to Caca was to look at some art and
there wasn't any. Galleries between hangings.

The reason I wanted to see some art was that I was spending
too much time watching the lambs.
There are a couple of white twins with black feet and
a Pollack face flick - they've been about for a week or so - very
engaging in their sudden springs.
Then two black twins were born and havoc and jealousy and
fear seemed to enter the fold.

What with anthropomorphism running amok and work in a
dip, time out was needed.

Mike and Hilary also came to the rescue with a smashing dinner
which helped to refocus the work - plus a fab soiree at Peter
G's last night with Ian and Kat, watching Eno on Arena.

The work isn't noticeably better but I feel less bad about it now.

bench mark

Friday, 22 January 2010

proper artist

no proper artist is without an archive; the fact that mine has taken
months to make and stock means that I've had no time to paint.

DONT FORGET if you are somewhere where you can get Brit TV,
channel 4 is screening Arena tonight. Subject is B. Eno and he will
be talking about my Dad with David Whittaker. 9.00 English time.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Martin Luther King Day

Celebrated Martin Luther King Day by dining at Kats in
company with Joan.
Smashing evening, thanks girls - Kats cooking is fab, Joans
conversation a hoot.
No photos but Kats palace is superb.

Here is a recommended speech from MLK about Vietnam
easily transferable to todays war

Sunday, 17 January 2010

David gets famous

here is the link to the arena programme that David
Whittaker is doing on Brian Eno (see past entries.)

Anyone with Brit TV download a copy for me?

pommes bleu report

Due to lack of sunshine, the show was canceled.

People turned out from all over and were very serious - no
bursting into song this year.

Here is a nice blue apple couching up to a candle for light.

and then we had lunch. Peter G.,Suzie and Kay, Simon and Judith
and Delphine (briefly) Roy and Jo and Trebours fabbo cooking.

Friday, 15 January 2010

plan ahead

Saturday night, Stan, Debs, Eddie and the team are gigging at
the cafe at Fa - perfect now the weather is clement -

Sunday - ah, Sunday! - is the 17th January. The glorious day
of the Blue Apples...

In case you are a stranger to these parts and our quaint
customs, you should know that on this day the sun reaches a
particular elevation, projecting blue dots from the stained glass
into the church at Rennes les Chateau.

Many strange folk believe this to be meaningful.
They can be seen at the church, having traveled from the four
corners of the globe to witness the occasion. Be there!

Meeting at the Maire

Time for the annual MJC chat with the mayor.

The artists hereabouts will now know that we have been
shifted from our Saturday morning slot to Monday
morning - which disruption is as nothing compared to that of
the other groups.

The mayor, as we know, is anxious to close the MJC. (see
postings passim) It comes out of his budget, there are legal
entailment's and its all about culture, about which he cares not
one jot.

He can't close it while there are numbers of people in the
commune who use it.

But there are things he can do. The first is to compress us.
Accordingly he has closed the Espace Louis Alibert, saying
it was too cold (This was because he had had the heating
switched off) Once that was closed all the activities had to
happen in the Centre Culturel which is why everyone is
double booked.

Everyone wants the space they've always had with the right
equipment, no-one wants change, hes expecting internal
dissent; instead of which the groups are shuffling about trying
to help one another.

So Ha! -to him in round one. But he'll be back.

I was very impressed at his technique last night. Obviously
the question, so why have you shut off the heating at Louis
Alibert was asked; his response was 'I have complete
confidence in J-C O', his adjunct. At this point everyone jumps
up saying of course this is not in question. Then the question

This happened a few times. Brilliant.

He's clearly had training since last years meeting and, of course,
since his team tried to get rid of him.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

lunching ladies

Celebrated the end of winter with a ladies lunch chez moi; Kat
and Yvonne here matching the furniture with Charlotte and
Louise in attendance. Last time it was my turn the food was
hideously, possibly dangerously, undercooked. This time I
steamed a steak pudding for many hours and it was not raw.

Lou has gone off till the end of the month, having holidays.
The rest of us soldier on.

Monday, 11 January 2010

google maps

In an Homeric voyage, the Captain finally escaped me and achieved
merry London. Here are Pete and Andy looking up his house on
Google maps - theres a little bar on the Google page that has the
word Maps and you press that and then an address and they'll
show you a photo and the road and the rest.
They blank out the faces of the people hanging about but in Tillings
region we spotted a couple of friends.

Thanks are due to Vivienne whose persistent telephoning uncovered
the fact that a navette would take the canceled flight to Perpignon;
to Pete, for the two trips to Carcassonne; to Andy and Louise for
being such fun last night when I was about to be miserably lonely.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

news from Manilla and Carcassonne airport

Tilling Market - the hub of the aude - didn't really happen this
morning. But aficionados will be pleased to see that Frenchmen
still wear shorts showing the spirit is not quite dead.

Captain has gone to the airport once this morning, turned
around and come home to Tilling.
Just left for the airport again - now it seems that Ryan Air are
busing folk to Perpignan.
The weather is lovely in Tilling, the music of melting snow in
warm bright sunshine tinkles in the scented air... but
Carcassonne airport is closed, lala.

News from Peter R in Manila containing helpful advice;

"... walking around Marhalika, a notoriously seedy part of
Baguio City, I'd been advised earlier by Mariel not to leave my
Philips media player with the, err, seedy-looking lads in the one
of the ramshackle cell-phone repair booths in the covered
market who said they'd download the firmware I needed to
unscrew the fix I'd got my gadget into by trying to eliminate a
virus (but there was something else going on, I know, in my
subconscious). And the story happened almost exactly as I'd
unknowingly written it.
I got mugged.
It was done in an instant. I felt a strange nudge, a spike of alarm
and dashed my hand to the pouch that held my Sony Ericcson
camera phone fastened to my Girbaud leather belt. Don't have a
wrist-strap hanging free and handy for an opportunist snatch
unless you wanted your phone pick-pouchèd. Which I must have
done 'cos I was robbed - "Hey! What the ...bugger! my phone's
Pregnant silence.
Immediately, everyone around me in the busy street scene knew
what had happened. You could have heard an angel fart.
I might as well have highlighted "camera phone bought four
years ago with considerable sentimental value and lots of data,
such as contacts and saved messages which I wouldn't want lost"
and hit the delete key. Gone!
I could have laughed. But that would have seemed unseemly.
It was more appropriate to make the right sort of regretful noises
to oneself and kick one's bottom for being a silly billy. But I
couldn't manage that. I tried. I tried to imagine (Huh!) how I
would lament, on my deathbed, not having taken better care of
my Sony Ericcson mobile phone what I bought on Jamie's advice
(teenagers know best) in that enormous Dixons-type store near
Carcassonne airport - what's its name?
Anyway, straightway, I took a taxi to the supermall and bought
myself the new 32GB, Apple iPhone. I was gonna have to replace
the media player (as I said) and was dithering over getting the
iPod Touch but (agonising over this and that) it ain't got no still
or video camera and, of course, it's not a phone ...
So, thank you, thief! You made my mind up for me. And I get my
own back on the slings and arrows of living in such an outrageous
place as the Philippines. Revenge is sweet. And so is the
user-interface, the lovely touchy-feely screen and the glossy heft
of this cool gadget.
Buy one for your inner boy and live a little before you die.
I know that at over 49,000 pesos it was not a steal but that, listen,
is the whole point. If you don't get it, don't matter.

We, who have now more money than time (remember when
we planned for the future and scrimped and saved for all the
loved ones who had calls on our small wealth - when we had
more time than money?). Well, now we have more money than
time and no one we need to leave it to - let them make their
own way like we did.
Please, buy something totally extravagant for just you, just for
fun, for once in your life, in Christ's name. Amen. I've now got
my eye on the new 15 inch MacBook, of course, for when I get
my pension at the end of the month. That should see me out."

Saturday, 9 January 2010

In the nick of time

Roy and Jo hosted a dinner of Indian food to a very appreciative
group of Tillingites who were suffering from cabin fever...
a couple walked to the dinner from Rouvenac (said it was a lovely
walk) Limited photos because I was a. ratarsed and b. without my
glasses. Terrific evening - bless you guys!

Boring boring

Dull stuff snow...

Claudio and Sandra,
(def not dull)
seen here after
breakfast, plus Willa
are expecting to get
the TGV to Zurich;
Bob is expecting a plane
to London.

Bets, anyone?

Friday, 8 January 2010

News from elsewhere

Shuff has written;

"Snowing like the clappers here in Amsterdam.

We moved offices just before xmas – missing the artic weather
by hours.
Am now on the 8’th floor in our new ‘designer’ space –
observing complete
white-out outside and wondering if, at l
east, the handlebars of my bicycle
will still be exposed when
I go to pick it up."

Frank writes from his new place in Bexhill:
"We are with about three inches of snow here but our
central heating is working well
Love to all in Esperaza
Frank and Lizxx"

Peter Tyler writes also but in a different vein:

Vera and I have just about realised that we are in Colombia
several hitches on the way; the first being on our arrival
Birmingham airport, the second on reaching our first
hotel and the third on being told that our second hotel
had not been received. Oh such are the joys of
careful planning;
in Colombia it is evidently the norm and they
do say that by
tomorrow today´s problems will be over.
I can´t argue with

Today we relaxed knowing that we are settled for at least four
more nights here in Taganga, a glorious little sandy fishing
nestling in a cove of the Caribbean backed by the jungled
at the end of the Andes massive range."

Doesn't mention the snow there, odd.

The fact I'm doing my post and cutting and pasting other people
letters shows that I'm housebound and at something of a loose
end. Studio is whited out with snow on the skylights.
Bob is threatening to walk to Toulouse and stay in an hotel
until the airport reopens.

Jims top tip for tomorrow

If its safe to travel tomorrow this looks a bit good -
sent by Jim who is in Blighty and sad to miss it. He

Jordi Savall and his ensemble are performing at
Carcasonne on Sat 9th at 8:30pm Théâtre Jean-Alary.
Web site is
and more details

even Réne Zosso is coming from Geneva.

Barbaras birthday letter

Lovely letter from young Barbara, whom I pleased to announce will be
returning to Tilling with Larry in May; she includes the recipe for the cake
some of us shared over christmas.

"Odd things are happening at the North Pole! Here we have all been
worrying about the polar ice cap and suddenly this massive cold air
comes swooping down on all of us- even to South Carolina and, alas,
Florida, where both citrus and strawberry crops are threatened.
We have reports of snow coming and this state has gone into terror,
many schools delaying opening until late in the morning. But we are
told the air is too dry for real snow. A misty rain had begun and could
make icy roads as the temperature drops. It is supposed to be well
below freezing by morning.

We made a dash to Columbia today to visit my brother and Larry's
niece, then hurried home, after an Asian lunch, in case the snow came
early. It didn't. We warmed up yesterday's hearty vegetable soup for supper.
Not a glamorous way to begin the seventy eighth year.

But just as we sat down to supper the doorbell rang.

Postman handed me a package. Turned out to be an elegant camera.
So Rhett and Larry had consulted with our big time photographer friend and
selected a camera for me, for my birthday!

Very beautiful and, on the surface, very complex. Rhett says he can teach
me to use it in forty five minutes. How I am to schedule 45 minutes with the
senior faculty person cum father of two I do not know.
I have already signed up for two art classes for this month and next.
Add a camera class?

Granddaughter Emma called from New York. She was out
shopping, after work, for a warm coat. Going to settle for a
down coat, inelegant as they are, because NYC is so cold right
now. Sometimes high style is not important! Her apt. house
furnace went out last week. They were several days without
heat before it could be replaced. And daughter Libby is now
without heat on the ground floor of her house, that furnace
having given up. Lucky girl has a separate heating system for
the second floor so she can retreat to warmth. As you might
know, her husband is off sailing in the Caribbean. She is arranging
for the new furnace. Daughter Barb's house can only be reached
by 4 wheel drive vehicles. The drive up the mountainside is so icy.

So, all told, it was a good birthday day.

Will be worse after tonight's snow makes ice. She found the UPS
had simply dropped her birthday package (yesterday) in the snow
beside the bridge over their creek. Didn't even try to get up the
hillside. Young Jackson spotted it and rescued it.

Her real present was the pastel of the Esperaza bridge which I
could not wait to give to her. Gave that to her back in

But the point of this email was to send the recipe for the cake.
Nova Scotia Black Fruitcake
1pound of chopped candied fruit
1/2 pound candied cherries, book says cut in halves
1 pound raisins
1/2 cup rum. cognac or sherry (I usually use sherry)
1/2 pound nuts, coarsely chopped
2cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
(I add ginger as well)
1//2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon milk
1teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
5 eggs
1. Mix the fruits, add sherry, let stand overnight
2. Preheat oven to slow (275 F). Grease 2 9x5x3 loaf pans, line with waxed
paper and grease paper
3. Combine fruits, nuts and one half cu flour
4. Mix the milk with almond extract. mix flour and spices and salt.
5. Cream butter until smooth, adding sugars gradually. Add eggs, mix well,
then add milk.
Stir in flour, mix well.
6. Pour this batter over the fruits and nuts, ix well. Fill the pans, press batter
down firmly.
7. Bake loaves about three hours. Let stand 30 minutes, then turn out on
rack to cool.
8. Wrap well after sprinkling with more sherry.
You may frost if you wish, after cakes dry (book says for a month!).
Usually an almond flavor frosting.
I double this recipe and bake at least four at a time.
We can buy the candied fruit all cut up. I suspect you would have to
cut it up yourself."

Thursday, 7 January 2010


At last - a virgin in a snowstorm, in a snowstorm -

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Captains flight cancelled!! Hes on his way back to Tilling hurrah

Ferren at Home

Tillings genius Ferren
MacIntyre was at home
yesterday when the
Captain and I
dropped in to see
his palace.

He has an engaging
map of California's
earthquakes; he used
to watch tremors
undulating across the
dessert like giant
submerged snakes.

Funny what people
miss about their
homelands. I miss
the darts team in
Woolwich, also a mighty and natural force.

Ferren is keeping warm by sharing his eco house with a 12 Watt

Its still rather warm here with brilliant sunshine, though
the Captain is currently waiting at Carcassonne airport to
fly to Stanstead. Planes are not flying; something up with
the weather in Blighty, apparently.

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Years Resolution

I have resolved to carry on having a wonderful time. I know, but
someone has to do it.

Here are Helen and Tony, friends from Greenwich who live part
time the other side of Carcassonne: they came for Sat night and
we had a riotous evening. Sunday was market followed by a very
fine lunch at T Rex.

Below is the jolly crowd that ate here last night; Stephen and
Claudio, Willow and Sandra, Robin and Jennifer, Anna, Kat plus
me and the C'ptn.

Friday, 1 January 2010

blue moon

Forgot to mention that last night was a blue moon - the second
full moon of the month and the thirteenth of the year - auspicious
On New Years day it has been our habit to trot off with the dogs
to the med for a grand lunch with Steve and Claudio ... here is
the Captain on the windswept beach at Narbonne today, plus
Steve and Claudio and Kat and a nice shell.
Willow and Sandra were there too - oddly, no photos - and we
ate at the most brill fish restaurant, comme d'hab.; all now
happily exhausted