Monday, 31 October 2011

autumn tristesse

This mornings mist on the river (featuring large heron), after the Captain left; then Margaret and John went though not before sharing a little blanquette -
===hope all is well for them until we meet again (December)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Allotment Dinner

Tonight was our first dinner to celebrate the allotment collaboration. Here are Jenny, part of the initial panning; Bieke, worker and creative enthusiast; Chris, Pete and Nels co-worker; Judith and Delphine, about to join us with Simon (gigging elsewhere); me, pot washer and kitchen grump; Ian, provider of provender in chief. Jim took the pic and the Captain missed his slot by having already gone to bed.
Everything we ate we produced from the land. The menu was Onion tart, eggs by Midnight, Tache and Bella, onions by Ian, with creamed parsnips from Jim; Salad from Ian with walnuts picked by Bieke and the dressing according to Claude Monet (Hon member); coq au vin, RIP, ratatouille by us all, potatoes by Bieke; cheese a gift from Jenny but not grown by us; Rennes Claude crumble, picked by Bob.
Pretty damn good!
We will meet again next year... as Bob said, we did good to get through the year amicably but then we rarely actually meet:) So rendezvous to swop notes and do forward planning next October.

Friday, 28 October 2011

last night of the season

Marcus and Corella closed their gallery for the season tonight and despite the rain the turnout was large and the ambiance as amusing as ever. The event was an expo of the photos of Jean-Louis Socquet-Jugland and the book launch of his photos, text by Jean-Pierre Monteils - its lovely, we bagged a copy.

****Weird though. The great-grandson of one of the greatest of this epoch was there and as word spread we all got daft (me especially) with much fervid whispering about what we should do - this could not go unmarked, none of us wanted to leave without some token interaction. A photo? Well yes, and I have one - surreptitiously taken - and I ain't putting it up here. Talk of offering to have his babies (not me), of posing in a shared photo, of just asking whats it like then... courage fails in the shadow of greatness. Or at any rate, the shadow of the DNA of greatness.

Harsh to point /blame/credit someone because they have a grandfather who is immortal.
Nonetheless, when Marcus introduced me and HE SHOOK MY HAND my knees crumpled and my head swam. I asked Bob (here for the weekend) if he was affected by the presence and he said yea, as soon as he saw the likeness. So; it aint Freud; it aint Marx; its of that calibre and my lips are sealed.

campagne-sur-aude cave painting

A new cave painting has been discovered at Ferrens gaff in Campagne. It is very authentic, painted out of natural and local materials using traditional techniques; but since the wall it is on was built last year it aint fooling anyone :)
Good fun to paint though. Seems to be sinking into the plaster so will have to be reworked over the next few thousand years... Ferren is claiming that his wall is classier than Bill Gates as B.G. only has a dinosaur on his.
quite right too.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

so farewell then, Mr and Mrs Scottish Dave....

Scottish Dave and Mrs S Dave were invited to their farewell dinner tonight, with Margaret and John and Mike and Hilary. Unfortunately my sense of timing let me down and we had the party without them; they have already left. Good menu though the whiting were horribly overcooked. Cheers to Msr Charlie for the sausages, and to the man at the 8 a 8 for recommending the raspberry tart. John, aka 'twinkletoes', has had a dubious op on his feet - gives a new meaning to accrocher ( this is a laborious pun on the french for hanging by hooks which is what artists do at vernisage days, varnishing days as was, which implies, possibly erroneously, that Johns foot is a work of art. But let it pass) Interesting though...

Sunday, 23 October 2011

through the wardrobe

Sunday is market day and always of interest- the rugger and the fair at Chalabre meant todays was on the intimate side rather than the usual scrum. Here is Ruth, a very old chum from London, staying with Adrian and Maggie- where we had a very good evening last night at their place in Roumanichoux. No idea how thats spelt. My spell check corrects to 'humanistic' which is sensitive of it:)
Ruth it was who remarked, on seeing the young faun, that she felt she'd gone through the wardrobe.Also spotted; John and Margaret back for a fortnight, Ians sisters here for the weekend, and many friends in the cafes, enjoying the sun and each other.

Apero with Ians family afterwards. Lovely to meet them again and to clock the nephews, lovely young men.

Friday, 21 October 2011


Left the Amsterdam conference claiming that I was looking forward to returning to my hermitage; life has been hectic ever since. Mussels* with Mike and Hilary on Thurs.,yum, last night much malarky at the Scottish Daves.
Thanks to Leo for the photos - these are the very edited versions. Forced to reflect that life is such fun here:) In cities, they say, it is possible to be very lonely. I remember Scottish D coming up with a good theory of it all but I cant remember what it was. Good though.

*Hilary buys mussels from St Michel from the fish van in the Thursday market. They are perfection.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tilling at windmills

Been quiet as I was in Amsterdam, being earnest...
stayed with Nel, seen here talking to Pete.

Here is a gloomy heron. It was cold there but even so my friends contrived to give me a wonderful and unforgettable time - thanks to all and hope to see you in Esperaza anon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

news update

Roger has gone on to Amsterdam where I join him tomorrow for a conference - all will be quiet here for a week, alas. The weather is so beautiful and life such a delight that I'm seriously wondering how to perfect bilocation.
Captain arrives as I go; we miss each other. Bad planning all round.

News from Toby, at last:) She writes
'I am fine in bloody hot, messy and dusty India. Have been here for 3 weeks now and started working in my preschool. To morrow start another project; will talk about it in the blog that Dave set up for me (
My MacBook is not working very well here; all windows around here. I hope to sort that out soon, so I can put up pictures of all the festivals and ceremonies I was invited for. Lots of parties here, but without blanquette.
I am staying in with a super pleasant lake in front of the house; 100 m walk. Will talk to you later when Mac is working again; maybe Mac is sad because Steve Jobs died. Who knows.'

Margaret and John return on the 21st for a measly 10 days, but better than nothing - and if memory serves Max is returning to the fold as well, as well as Bieke.

Any artists living hereabouts who want to share the costs of a model? A group meet every Monday 10-12 at the centre culturel and welcome newcomers. No tuition, bring your own kit. That is, drawing equipment...
Last Monday I was asking the model to pose with a broom as I'm working on a painting that needs that sort of information - she persisted in being baffled. Dawned on me, finally, that a broom is balai and I was asking her to sweep with a baleine - a whale. How we laughed.

The photo is of the moon this morning just before dawn. Photos don't do it justice.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

day at the sea

Lay on the beach for most of the day; then ate Rogers farewell dinner at Le Canal in Quillan. And had a last drink at l'Originyl. (Roger goes tomorrow) Suitably triste.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Lucky Leo

Leo cooked for us last night, Kat,Pete, Roger and me; warm evening, good food and great company. I'm nostalgic for it already. Last few days have been cold, though all is now well there is a sense of autumn lurking.
Off to the coast today...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

fleur d'espine the church at Rennes les Bains last night where Fleur d'Espine were trilling the works of four English composers, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Herbert Howells and B. Britten. They are an amateur group of 24 voices directed by Olivier Boulicot. It was tremendous, a delicious evening, ambiance welcoming and comfortable. Angus was there, Marcus too - and here is Roger in the study drinking with Kat afterwards.
(Check Kats facebook page for photos of the new gallery)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Galerie K

Not sure how this has happened, but Karim announced that we should all be in a gallery and lo! -we open tomorrow, Kat, me, Karim, Stephan and Phillipe.

Oh and Kookie. See you tomorrow; Open from 10.30am, apparently. Right by the Maire, Rue Victor Hugo. Can't miss it.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Simons site

Simon from Fa has put up a new site... those who saw him at the Cafe du Pont the other night will be very pleased!!

future info
















DU 11H À 18H

Information : 04 68 69 94 12

Sunday, 2 October 2011

News from Peter R., Frank and Liz and petite moi

From Baguio in the Philippines, Peter R reports in;

'Well, hello! It's been rather wet and windy here. And, it's going to go on being so, starting once again this morning. We are braced, as the saying is, for more power outages and loss of internet connectivity. I used to think of the routine if random blackouts as power outrages but, given the state of infrastructure here, it's amazing we have as much electrical power as we do, and running water, and public transport (or, rather taxis and jeepnies) and all that you take for granted in Surbiton and the much missed towns of Quillan, Esperaza, Ginoles and Limoux, to mention only those nearest to my late house and home and heart. If a wind is strong enough to tilt and take down a coconut tree, it's gonna blow down power lines. You have to have been walking under overhead power cables when they short out to appreciate the show of sparks, the deafening, dangerous fireworks this produces just a few feet from your head.'

A little too much excitement, I fear, though Peter seems happy enough.

Frank and Liz also write;

'I do look at the Tilling site from time to time and we still have many fond memories though some are slightly clouded by consumption of Blanquette!
We are off to Spain in a couple of weeks time so will not be visiting Esperaza this year. Hope to be there sometime next year all being well.
Please pass on our best wishes to those who might remember us and take care of yourselves.'

The only other news from here is that the market was drenched in sunshine and still full of strangers; Adrian and Maggie are back, hurrah; and Bob, Anne and Dan have just left for the airport. Bah.

Victorias birthday

Shes weathering well, ain't she... :)

Below, irresistibly, are Stan, Anne and Dan

and heres our Kelly, plus Victoria opening that jeroboam of Blanquette she won at the Tocques et Clochers

It was a seventies dress code and us oldies reflected that most of the babes weren't born and hadn't a clue what was worn. Mind you, we are too old to remember.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

High spots

et voila! Captain H has a rest at Bugarach - or is he awaiting sacrifice?? We went to the vide grenier there, a charming pleasure involving lunch and chattering with friends -

Stopped at Annie and Petes on the way to inspect the works. Many changes, the vision is becoming clear and their enterprise and energy, as ever, shine.

off to Victoria's 40th now, no doubt more later if I don't forget the camera