Thursday, 30 June 2011

They come, they go...

Here are Jon and Angela - alas, left after too short a stay. Come back soon.
Heres Barbara with the enchanting James Rafferty, her new grandson.

And finally, my beautiful chicken which has started to crow and therefore must leave us for a
better place....

People have asked how it went with the tax persons and the answer is, magic. Andrée is probably a magician. And I will have to pay less next year.
Captain arrives tonight, Britsh strike permitting:)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

short version

Busy having fun... friends Angela and Jon are here and finally its stopped baking and temperatures are down with a gentle drizzle of rain, allelujia.

Steve B has reappeared, unable to get into his home after it was secured after the burglary... I guess he succeeded finally or perhaps he slept in his car.

Bieke is back, Scottish Dave and El are back, Andys Mum and Dad are here. Soon there will be no-one to write the blog for as they all come back to Tilling.

Annie and Pete, however, leave today. *sniff*. They may not be back for some time what with having proper jobs.

I keep forgetting the camera so here is a picture (taken from my dinning table) of next door.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Poetry fans

Any poetry fans stuck in Blighty might like to go to this launch which looks like a winner - our Pam from the Butte St Helene is one of the editors so it goes without saying that it will be good.

BOOK LAUNCH AND READING of King James Version:Old Text, New Poetry

(For directions see

Poets are classy; some will be reading from the book. Names to conjure with -

Fleur Adcock, Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, Roger Caldwell, David Charleston, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Keith Currie, Ian Duhig, Antony Dunn, Mike Harwood, Tobias Hill, Angela Livingstone, Hilary Llewellyn-Williams, Katrina Naomi, Mario Petrucci, Clare Pollard, Katrina Porteous, Anne Ryland, Penelope Shuttle, Pauline Stainer, Philip Terry, Robert Vas Dias, Christine Webb, James Knox Whittet , edited by Joan Norlev Taylor, Adrian May and Pam Job

published by Wivenbooks, 2011 ~ ISBN 978-0-9557313-8-9 ~ £7.99 (special price available at the launch)

For orders contact: Wivenbooks, Bookseller & Publisher, 23 High Street, Wivenhoe, CO7 9BE. Tel. 01206 824050; email:

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Lees annual party

Lee was in fine form for his birthday yesterday and the tribe celebrated mightily, the more so as he has achieved pensionable age and should be thinking about his art collection.

Here is Lorraine with their godchildren, who payed a surprise visit with their folks. Lovely to meet them and to see old friends again... heres to you, Lee!

(By the bye, the diary of a frogdog in the list of links by the side there is written by Django the family beast and will probably be worth a look, once they have tidied up a bit)

Steve B. arrives today, I hear: The Scottish Daves tomorrow. What a pity they missed it. Perhaps Lees can be persuaded to do a re-run?

Friday, 24 June 2011

coming to a place near you...

.... a blast from the past.. I am very much looking forward to a jaunt to Esperaza. I have secumbed to an invite from the ever-lovely Vanilla to return to the place of old friends, much happiness, jolliness, silliness and frivolity (and drunkeness, usually me!) Get the Blanquette on ice, see you soon. But who is this mysterious visitor? Haha. Like you don't all know already.xx

tax departments

If you live in France and are bored, can I suggest a sortie to a tax department? What fun we had. The morning was in Couiza, with a calm and thoughtful (disdainful?)pen-pusher being attacked by Andree; 'mais c'est pas possible' was a constant refrain. The afternoon we had three pen-pushers in Limoux, one woman who made no attempt to understand the issues -alas, who does? - a man who looked like a very beautiful english actor whose name escapes me, who rather took the wind out of my sails (though not Andrees) and another who hit the computer and the phone and came up with a strategy, involving another day out - Couiza and Limoux again only on Tuesday. With enough paperwork to fell a forest.
He it was that came up with the ingenious line; 'there are three people in this marriage; you, him and you-and-him.' It seems that taxes can move around these three characters with impunity. And you wont know which of the three is being hit. Or who remains to be hit.
*******If you are considering marriage, just say no.

On the plus side, I bought La Depeche. It was unusually full of news; on this day in 1901 Picasso had his first exhibition: anyone born under the sign of cancer will have cramps: the mairee have permission to start work repairing the Butte de st Helene (see pic). Oh and questions have been asked about the view from La Cantou now the new cafe de la Gare is built in front of their windows.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Kitchen sink

Here is Annies kitchen sink, famous (and much admired) here for being held up by memory...
the rest of the mill progresses apace and what with a tap that has water in it, sometimes hot, bourgeois life-style approaches for the tribe.
So thats where I was on Weds. Tuesday I'm fairly sure was here with John M, Heather and Kat; last night, Oh, lets not get bogged down in detail.

In Rue St-Saens the house is filled with dust due to the smashing-off of cement to reveal old rock underneath in sitting room, a process which has delayed the domestic tasks yet further.
In the meantime I have had techie support to repair non functioning computers (big big star to Teleconnect, cant recommend them highly enough) Still battling Orange who are still taking money from the bank to pay for a contract that they admit was closed two years ago. This morning off to the Tresor Public to find out why they want sudden and inexplicably large sums of money from me.
Life in the South of France, eh.

Monday, 20 June 2011

the new poetry

My brother Mark Beer has claimed that economics are the new poetry - see entry for the Greek edition, and whilst I enjoy the analogy the difference lies in effect. Did poetry ever bring a nation and its culture to its knees?

Here, however, is another kind of metalanguage; Rennes les Chateau,Link known here as bonkers central, has been described most elegantly as a game... see

Sunday, 19 June 2011

news from Greece

My friend Sasha has written from Greece -she asks for her letter to be spread and having read the attached blog one can see why....

"I am sure that you will have heard some versions of current events in Greece on your local news.

I would like to ask you to take just a few moments to look at the article linked to here:

I spend most of the year in Athens. I have participated in the protests that have only recently begun to be covered by the world media. This is an entirely accurate summary of the situation. Although the first few lines of the article may seem melodramatic, it contains valuable and accurate information, and the tone sums up the feeling on the streets of Athens right now.

Please have a look, and pass it on to anyone who you believe might be interested, if for no other reason than to raise awareness of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy that Greece, and a number of other countries are facing, and to help to dispel media misinformation."

Weekend of birthdays

Clare, Eddie and Debs had BIG birthdays this weekend and had friends staying. By luck, Bob, Clair and her daughter Annwen were here too. What with the regulars, we had a very jolly weekend indeed.... plus fireworks over Tilling and a band who were terrific called (I think) 63 performing for the fete. On Sunday there was a videgrenier.
Think Ive peaked. What could be better? Oh yes,of course - tonight - dinner at Leos...

Here Annie takes Bob and Annwen and Clair under the mill to explain why it is still standing.
Here is a fairly usual shot of the VG - below is my booty, a collection of key rings of Russian cosmonauts.

Clare and Eddie look soppy after their party last night - great photos of that and les malfonciers but I cant download them, dunnarsk, I dunno - and here is Debs cake from today's lunch.
All the best for the next decade to the birthday girls and boys and how lovely to see Chris and Lurka, Mark, Vic and all the Stan and Debs team; to meet Eddies Uncle Martin and friend Ian; to hook up again with all our friends. It still causes me joy and surprise and delight that so many creative and original dear ones have settled here.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

what happened next....

Annie and Pete knocked on the door-

aint nobody here but us chickens

The large crop of weeds that has become something
of a specialty with my farming methods has turned out to be meaningful; chickens love weeds.
What pretty chickens... there are five in the yard but one may yet turn out to be unsuitable for laying eggs. They are hot and spend their days by their water trough - temps are in the 30°s and glorious, though the man at the huit à huit says rain tomorrow and at the weekend and hes normally right.

I'm playing at holidays and floating about waiting to see what happens next.

Last night in party mode at T-Rex (=Margaret, her extended and fab family, Mike and Hilary) a football came sailing over the wall and landed on the table nearest the station. Bosh! Mercifully there was only water on the table and the people there only got wet, but the Irish with us got all nostalgic and another table got alarmist about terrorism.

The place was crowded and they ran out of flour but MH trotted over the road to his home and got some. This morning the proprietor happened to be at the point propre at the same time as me - only he had a lot more bottles than I did - and was complaining about how tired he was. He kept us all late because he'd run out of stocks. Sympathy??

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Saturday in Paradise

...was dozy this morning having thought I could sit up all night drawing and still rise with the lark.
Rescued from my bewildered and foggy state by Pam and Janie who gave me lunch half way up the mountain in their brill garden. Nourished and restored and delighted with their company, I tottered home and erm, fell asleep.

Woke up in time for dinner at the Créperie with Jill and Tony, Sian and Margaret. Sadly, forgot to photograph them. A real pity as all are on very good form - and look it.

Tonights theme began at Pam and Janies table with the subject of limericks. We all know some. Pam is a poet and finds them offensive, believing the form essentially masculine. Written by blokes for blokes at the cost of female dignity, often. I offered the challenge of writing one to the women of the dinner table and we speedily discovered that the rythm of the form leant itself to its usual characteristics, so Pam may be right. Jury still out and considering other poetic forms for bias. Talk of a Tilling Women's Limerick competition came to nothing as we couldn't establish an acronym.

Lovely day!! Thanks all, dear hearts.

politics, art and closures

Last night at the annex of La Maison de la Poésie at Montolieu, Christian Hadengue showed his delicate works on paper and Valérie Schlée read her poems... and Phillippe Coquelet announced that his work promoting art and running the largest and most interesting arts space in the region, will now end.

Here is Christian watching Valérie reading a text thanking Phillippe and condemning the attitude of the politicians of the region who have done nothing - at all - to help Phillippe in his work.

Anywhere else there would be fighting to get this visionary but in Montolieu complete indifference is driving him away. Madness, economically and socially and the rest. Loose the art-voice of a community and the community is unreflective and moribund.

On a cheerier note, here is Tilling at twilight from the night before.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

T Rex violation

Nipped down to the station to look up the train times to get to Limoux on Friday for Christians expo, see below, and met with Msr T Rex. He has installed security cameras on account of the number of times he has been broken into in the last month.Devotees will know that the windows are of clear fabric built into canvas blinds that can be rolled back as the weather dictates and he has been replacing them with glass sliding doors. The bit at the back, by the tourist map, has been the point of entry. He is very sanguine - I'd be spitting.
Here are John and Clare, after a very good T Rex soiree... they are here till Sunday. Back again in July.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

unmissable; can someone give me a lift

sudden fame

After my appearance in La Depeche I seem to have become famous.... El spotted these signs in Paris and Berlin. Bizarre. Buy a painting while you can still afford it!

Not much going on here. Its raining but pleasant.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Sunday night after the show

Sunday night and the four days of the Artistesà Suivre are over... here is Leo with Kat and Ian off, quietly celebrating with a magnifico dinner tonight in Leos garden. Thanxxxxxxxxx

and here is a tiny humming bird moth thingie, (orange blur at the top of the photo) transcending all this morning.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Friday, 3 June 2011

Artistes a Suivre at Couiza

This exhibiting lark is knackering.... nonetheless, please visit my show at the Mairee at Couiza. Open 11 - 8 tomorrow, 11 - 6.00 Sunday. All info at

Garth Bowen visited today; he has given himself this year off from the Artistes a Suivre. He really took the proverbial by enacting the *frequently asked questions*. Its sweet of people to ask but one does start lying to vary the response, sorry, er, one starts having to reinterpret the work.

Great to see friends old and new. Great to see people who have visited my shows for years, bought and encouraged, not minded that I have changed my style. Great to enter the sense of local pride that the AaS engenders. Great to feel part of something bigger than ones own orbit.

No fun watching the heavens open, even if the earth is desperate for rain. (It means I have to put the lights on and that changes the colours for the worse - and the visitors come in dripping and cold, alas.)

Last night saw the expo that Marcus is hosting at Rennes-les-Bains, Thomas Hallbert's lino cuts. Excellent. T0morrow at 9.30, if the energy holds, it'll be a concert at Les Prés en Bulles in Quillan for les tres brill Les Malfonctionnaires ... a demain!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tilling in touch with the world -

Tillings tentacles stretch hither and yon - here is Captain Harris with Danny Boyle, Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics