Sunday, 24 October 2010

Good news from Ellie

...John has been operated on and is in recovery.
No alarm bells are ringing.
Much love to Ellie and all the very very best to John
She writes:
I spoke to John this morning, and then again just
recently. He seems cheery, although tired of course.
He told me the surgeon said we can see him tomorrow
afternoon. John says ICU is great, cuz the TV is free,
unlike in the rest of the hospital where it costs
something like a euro per day. He says Hi to all you
well wishers.

Lost and gone...

Lovely weekend. Allenna came from Canada and Clair, Rick
and Jack came with Bob from London.

We got up to lots of stuff. We went chestnut hunting and
questing at Rennes le Chateau; we had apero with Toby and
Leo, with Peter and Nel and Kat and Ian and Andrée; we had
lots of food.
We did the market. We walked and enjoyed the weather.

I took many photos, some of which looked rather good.

In the process of downloading, I managed to delete them
before they arrived on the computer. All are gone.
The above is a totally baffling picture I found while looking for

Friday, 22 October 2010

hospital news from Ellie

Ellie has written;

some bad news about John. He's in the cardiac hospital in
Bordeaux awaiting triple bypass surgery.
It's all very frightening and stressful.
I've arranged a place to stay here - luckily one with wifi. "

Alarming news but these ops are standard and he will be
up and renewed shortly, for sure.
E-mail Ellie and cheer her if you can -

Thursday, 21 October 2010

bad blogger

Its not that I forget my camera, its that I forget to use it...

so yesterdays drive with Hilary - direction Puivert to near
Mirapoix - goes unrecorded and it was beautiful. You'll just
have to imagine snow capped mountains, rolling forested hills
dappled with sunlight looking like a kids drawing - marvelous.

The evenings extravaganza was at Le Cantou with Adrian and
Maggie and Leo. We started with a Blanquette apero at mine
and moved on to the good local red with our pretty good meal.
Le Cantou is still good value. We each had the 15 euros meal
and all were pleased.
Le chocolate mousse au maison is enough for me but I managed
the onion soup and salmon with red pepper corns as well.
And a certain amount of red wine.

Adrian and Maggie had had nightmare journeys too-and -from
Nice, caught in the strike action.
They'd just got back and were knackered, full of stories of
their voyages.

This morning, remembering that I shouldn't eat cheese at night,
the market beckoned... in an attempt to escape work and my
ringing head and dodgy tummy - oh la, that cheese - I followed
the call.

There Dermot told me that Kate had been Kayaking -???- and
done her back in.
Msr Charlie had the wild boar I'd ordered -dead- and told me
that if my guests couldn't get here because of the strike, to
freeze it.
Pascal told me that if the government didn't alter the pension
reform legislation he would end up on the street. (Hes a stone
cutter, there is no work, he cant get dole, has no pension)

Everybody complained of the cold.

Back home, Peter G came round with the newly arrived
beautiful Nel. Both radiantly well.

Later on, in the sunshine, I met Debs - who had done her knee
in hydrofoiling in the Aude- Edith, whose adorable girl Tita has
announced her pregnancy- Vivienne, who is looking masses
better after her illness- Stan, who doesn't mind being painted
as a nude cellist .
'OMG You've got that French hair disease', he said, which is
an improvement on 'you've dyed your hair red'-

Visited Kate with biscuits understanding that she was
paralyzed but pleased to say she was out, presumably better
- thence to Andy and Lou where all was calm and Lou was
crocheting a baby blanket in lilac. Baby due 9th Dec., gender
as yet unspecified.

Finally had to do some work.

My weekend guests are braving the strike. Dear Allenna has
rung from Lyons - can't get to Toulouse - and heading for
Montpelier, hoping to find somewhere to spend the night,-
should get here tomorrow.

So should Toby, flying back from Amsterdam.

Bob and the London end, Claer, Rick and Jack, should get here
tomorrow afternoon.
Beds are made up, wild boar is simmering in a red wine sauce
Andree's cauliflower and banana soup is ready to slay 'em.

Life is an adventure, eh.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

seasonal snaps

Heres this mornings sunrise over the hub of Tilling and
illuminating Rennes le Chateau...

Later from the hill you can just see snow on the high mountains.

And below you can see new flowerbeds in our garden, thanks
to Jenni with help from Ian. Won't know the place next year.

Monday, 18 October 2010

hairdresser par excellence

here is Virgini, my hairdresser,
who today laboured to make my
red hair less of a hat and more
of an integral part of my head.

Though as she said, shes good
but she doesn't do miracles.

She has one of those chairs that
massage you while you are
being washed.

I feel like a happy jellyfish now
despite the grey cold windy

There are rumours of snow.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Kat in the kitchen

Dear Kats diligent hard work has paid off - for her friends at
least, who benefited from her new kitchen last night. Leo,
Pete and I shared an excellent meal and a deal of good humour.


All set for winter; here is the wood pile, beautifully constructed
by dear Kat with her sculptural abilities.

Below is another sculpture. I saw the two little furry sculptors
making it - they tunneled through the heel of the baguette and
crafted the little hole.

Evidence of an aesthetic in the mouse community.

The jury is out on the aesthetic in
our community since the mayor has caused the bottle-green
barriers outside the school to be painted poofy Provencal

Apropos, it is the time for us citizens to pay our Taxes.
Here in the Languedoc-Roussillan our taxes have increased
90.59%,* which is to say nearly 100% or as we call it, twice as
much as last year.

For this, I expect the railings to be covered in gold leaf.

Best wishes to Kate and Mark and Ezra who have been
burglarized- see Kate Hardys Hot Site in the links on this page.
And heed the warning re: shutters.

* My source is the excellent French Week newspaper

rainy sunday #2

Rain didn't stop play at the market but the vide grenier was a wash-out....

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

greetings from Larry

Larry writes;

Tell all the righteous in the local English language community
that I send my love..... On second thoughts, tell the unrighteous
too.....they are always more interesting.

apres le deluge

In the event, the danger didn't materialise -we were on Orange Alert for two days, lifted this morning,
and though it rained and the river looked pretty mean, no harm has been done.

Here is the mighty Aude this afternoon, back on course; photies from up and down river on the footbridge.

Off to return the art downstairs now. Météo is good for tomorrow, great for Thursday.

And the general strike is allegedly over tomorrow, for the week anyway.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

rainy sunday

market day...

Margo, Didier, Ann and Monique came with little Theo
to lunch - and brought the food hurrah

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Gypsum mines

Quite by accident the Captain and I stumbled on the gypsum mine at Rouvenac. We'd been heading for the old mill and found some dear heart had made a sign to the place where they excavated the gypsum to grind in said mill, from whence it was exported to Tilling by dray to plaster our walls.

Last night Barry or possibly Frank, our mighty police force, drove round the town with a loudhailer warning of the coming rain.
It is indeed pouring down so no market today.
The gutters are doing well, its steady and lightish and much needed - though the méteo says it will rain furiously till Tuesday.

Very glad that this is now and not yesterday for yesterday was the closing party at l'Espace d'Art. Wonderfully crowded and jolly soirée.

Big thanks to Marcus and Corella for a whole summer of fun.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

its a quiet life

Should you be in Tilling and see me in the street, please don't
greet me with the exclamation, you've dyed your hair red -
I know.

Anyone know whats happened to the street sign for the Rue
Dr Clot? Its not there anymore, neither is the post it was
attached to. Has Dr Clot been discredited and the maire decided
to disappear him?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

todays painting

Off towards Rennes le Chateau -
didnt help the painting any but a lovely walk

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Forest walking

The weather is too beautiful for me to be locked in the studio so
the last two mornings I have headed for the hills and attempted to
improve my watercolour skills.

This morning I went to our communal Forest, notable for its lack
of trees -
still an amazing place to be. Cicadas, butterflies, mantises both
emerald and gold, views as far as the edge of the world (no trees
in the way).
Yesterday went to la Poux and drew the great clouds massing
over La Serpent.Which was why I didn't see the grey blanket
cloud sneak up until it hailed ice bits at me -not for long, but
enough to put me off. Didn't help my watercolours any, sadly

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sat night advance notice

Marcus and Corella are holding their end-of-season
celebratory apero at the Espace d'Art in Rennes les
Bains on Oct 9th.
Last chance to see Rupert Soskins amazing photos.

-And they ask that any artists who have not collected
their work over the summer should collect on that night

See y'all there!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Leos guests gone

Forgot to take photos last night. I gave dinner to Leo and his
guests and Peter G and I enjoyed it greatly. Leos lot left this
morning but I have high hopes of their return -
here are some fairly random shots of this mornings market

This last snap is of breakfast. It is known as a religieuse
(though heaven knows how it is spelt -) and I found it
spiritually uplifting, honest.

It was a perfect market day - not too hot, not too many
tourists, all the people I wanted to meet happily standing
about or drinking coffee.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Kates Half Century

Kate is a chicken still, as the photos show.

Actually the photos don't show much as the camera doesn't
have a flash -forgotten that doesn't work.

Stan, Mark, Debs and Eddie played
the blues with Kate.

Ezra, Kate and Marks son and heir, managed to damage his knee
quite radically and Mark whisked him off to hospital. Hope that
was dealt with well - I'd gone home before they returned.

Simon seamlessly and very ably took Marks place at the

I took pix of all our friends and the only one that isn't a black
patch or a blurred shape is this of Garth.

Great evening, lovely music of course but also great nosh and
such very divine conviviality...heres to your next 50, Kate