Thursday, 31 May 2012

saturday warning

All of Jills friends know that she is in 
hospital;currently Carcassonne, awaiting 
test results. 
In the meantime an exhibition of her 
landscapes is opening on Saturday,
apero at 18.00. Its unlikely that 
Jill will be there but lets all turn out 
and wish her and her family well - 
and enjoy her paintings:)
samedi 2 juin 
de 16h00 à 20h00
EXPOSITION de Peinture « Paysages Audois » de Jill COOPER
Apéritif à partir de 18h00
Exposition ouverte tous les mardi et vendredi de 16h30 à 18h00
RENSEIGNEMENTS: 04 68 69 82 94

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

We've gone foreign

 Voila! The mighty station of Tilling now has an Occitan interpretation.
And below are my summer frocks, out of storage and looking rather better on the washing line than they do on me, sigh.
I'm sure there are things of more import happening but I can't remember.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

not for the squeamish

Yesterdays drama ... anyone know what sort of snake Tache is devouring? (Thanks to Ryan for photos)

no dramas today.
The beautiful weather continues; we went to Limoux, me to replace my Carte Senior (lost with bank cards and cheque book some time ago, what a drag -) and for Ryan and Alicia to suss out the mechanics of becoming working Americans in France. Everyone very helpful and rather fun though no-one actually knows anything.
Saw a heron catch a fish in the Aude from the old bridge at Limoux though.
Train was a treat and when we were tired we bumped into Peter G who gave us a lift home.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Louis and Jeanette

Louis and Jeanette once more proved themselves the best cooks in the world - (this is a challenge to Ryan and Alicia)
We started - at lunch, mind you - with strong apero. I had Jeanettes mandarin liqueur. Breakfast, effectively. Very good indeed. Then a Marseilles fish soup, with fish that they'd bought as the boats came in at the port, on top of little toasts spread with garlic mayonnaise and saffron, all scattered with grated cheese. After that was cuttle fish stew, the fish prepared by Louis and cooked by Jeanette and featuring fennel stalks (from Mont Marot) which I didn't know you could use... a rose with the fish courses. Chilled.  Then salad and wild boar pate, made by herself of boar shot by him. Jeanette shot with the hunt when she was young, had her own gun, but after her marriage let Louis do the hunting and contented herself with the prep indoors.The salad was dressed with olive oil, vinegar, heavy on the salt and pepper; that was all. Then cheese, with a Costiers de Nimes, perfect with the roquefort. (By this stage, as you can see from the picture, we were all quite cheerful) The blanquette got opened for the apple and almond tart which was covered in egg and cream baked without sugar.
Then Bob and I went home and passed out for a couple of hours. Caught the last of the light walking above Luc sur Aude, looking at orchids and listening to the birds and marveling at our lives.

sat nite sun morn

 Ate last night at the very remarkable poulet en bicyclette, en route to St Ferriol, reopened for the season; still run by charming and capable folk suffused with visions. Few things can be better than sitting with friends in a forest by a lake watching the sunset and eating and drinking far too much. for contact stuff and directions.

Followed by the local vide grainer:))) Now we are about to lunch with our neighbours, they of the legendary culinary skills. Oh la. Words fail.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

saturdays metaphors

 Saturday morning in Tilling and there is a wedding - which I got embarrassed to photograph, so here's the confetti outside the town hall - and a funeral, with Msr Bigot here waiting for the coffin. Both had an 11.00 o'clock kick-off.
 Here's Msr Francois in his funeral outfit; he was making jokes about it being the funeral of the husband.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

thursday dinner

 Here is Captain Harris wandering about before dinner; followed by the dinner, some of it, made by Alicia and Ryan and totally yummy; and Andree who graced us with her presence.

new camera

 Squandered some time and dosh in Toulouse yesterday on a new camera.... et alors, here is l'homme vrai beavering away, with only Oswald for company...

...seen here, happy to be out in the sunshine after three days of winter, wind and rain. She doesn't like celery or grapes, BTW.

Here's Bieke, bringing flowers, on good form as ever. All is apparently lovely in the garden.
Wonderful having a functioning camera! Nothing, no-one, is safe now

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day out with the artists

 Its Artistes a Suivre time and never, in my long association with it, have I actually done the course. I'm either in it, away, busy or have no transport... today I was here with time and a lift so off we went, achieving visits to nearly all of the 56 artists. Nearly.

Here is the church at Serres which features the work of Pedro and the Spider Oil Company. Below is the most original use of a font we were to see on our travels - would have taken more pix but camera in very unhappy mood. see

Et voila! Thierry Beer at the church at Peyrolles. Thierry and I are not  related. He's from Belgium, ,
for a start... he had some nice ideas about our shared surname, either related to bears or wild boars, both as I'm sure you know sacred animals. A pleasure to finally meet him.
Angelo Bote made this lovely installation under the old bridge at Serres, out of copper sulphate-treated vines dotted with poppy petals. Pity the photo is rubbish, it worked so well snaking towards a russet river - see for more ephemeral work.

There were loads more that were excellent. One thing I hadn't realised  was the variety of venues - lots of churches, ancient and interesting and usually locked, strange factories and garages (Guy Sahuc at the printers in Arques for instance) Suzie Chaney in the bizarre and beautiful hotel, Les Cazalys, in Quillan- and many others spring to mind.
Nor had I understood what a resource the artists themselves are, standing about and happy to talk about their work.

To check out what can be seen from the comfort of your home, see and remember next year to do the traveling and visit the sites. Worth the effort.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

after the hail

Blossom everywhere this morning - beautiful and scented like Harrods perfumerie

Tonight Margo and Theo came to dinner - cooked by Ryan and Alicia, sundry veggie curries and a banana and chocolate pudding that has stupefied me.

Just as well. Le foot was pretty turgid, I thought, until the shoot out. Captain H can sleep again. As a lifelong Chelsea supporter he seemed to attach a lot of importance to the match :)

Its raining. Lily wont come for a walk. Lets hope the market tomorrow isn't washed out -

Friday, 18 May 2012

yesterdays redstarts

 Photographed these Redstarts yesterday when there was still a sun in the sky; today, Tillings residents were woken by a hail storm with lumps of ice between a chick pea and an olive in size (Ians description)
That woke most of us up just after dawn - by the time I had walked the dog round the block they were still on the ground, refusing to melt in a very ominous manner.
 And now there is just a grey drizzle, rather lovely but a bit cold.

Oswald the tortoise is wet and refusing to gambol about the yard as she usually does at this time.

All very worrying.

On the plus side, managed to re-store the paintings in Rue des Jardins so that Ryan and Alicia can move in there tomorrow. Feel very capable:)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Artistes a Suivre tonight

 Many congratulations to all in the Artistes a Suivre - great organisation,  booze, food, art, good company...and top marks for lovely weather.

Here is a random selection of snaps.

 Spot the stars:) Andree, Jaqui and Edmunde are indefatigable - and Victorias energy is as ever superb

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

the high life

Here are Ryan, Kat, Pete and Alicia at the newly re-opened Kebab shop opposite the Tabac. Its very acceptable; for 5 euros you can get a salad-and-kebab stuffed galette and chips. As was our tradition with the last owners, we took it to Petes to eat with some wine and it was a jolly nice evening. So sorry that Captain H had to go back to London where it seems its raining and cold...
Went to a yoga class in the morning with Irene at the MJC. She tolerated my physical difficulties with aplomb - I can't do anything, basically- and since there were three other English speakers in the group she conducted it bilingually. Most impressive.
Don't forget tonight, if you have an invitation or the confidence to blag it - l'inauguration de la manifestation Artistes a Suivre at Carmens, 6.30

Monday, 14 May 2012

I'm not lazy but...

.... there is too much going on and its domestic, not of interest to a wider audience.  And when something interesting happens there is no camera to hand; like last night, the blue sky and the sunset conspired to make a lilac twilight, quite extraordinary. Never seen a lilac sky before.

This posting is to remind all local art lovers of the Artistes a Suivre which runs from the 17 - 20th May - theres publicity everywhere thanks to the good offices of the organisers. See also the site, designed by our own dear Jim. (If my link doesn't get you there just Google it -)

For those happy few with invitations, the inauguration is tomorrow. I will remember the camera and present a full report provided there aren't too many speeches.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Those things I have omitted...

Forgot to photograph last night; another fine dinner cooked by Alicia and Ryan (prawn cocktail, boeuf en croute, trifle -) designed to give our french neighbours Jeanette and Louis some good English cooking. The roast beef - obligatory - was done as Boeuf Wellington but just in time Bob warned me of the cultural implications (though I believe the French think they won Waterloo) and we changed the name. Kat, Leo, Jim (Tobys son) there and helped balance wines with the meal to great effect.  Slept well.
Which is why I forgot to photograph the market, the vide greniers, the lunch at the creperie - all pretty excellent if a bit cold . Weather suddenly dropped from 30's to something needing a jumper.
Vide greniers at Couisa and Alet-les-Bains; Ryan has bought an electric organ of great style and I got a photographic negative printed on glass of Jean Jacques Rousseau's tomb.

The photo above is of the chimney opposite Place Verdun. It must surely fall down soon. Here it is unnaturally lightened to show structural cracks.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

le grand oeuf

 This is my 1,000th posting. To celebrate, Tache laid this giant egg before moving to her hen palace.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Artists a suivre and a hen house

 Bumped into Victoria (above, looking sensational) as she was off to be interviewed on Radio Ballade -talking about the Artists a Suivre which happens next weekend. More on this anon, for sure. For the uninitiated, the A a S is a weekend of arts events and exhibitions, concerts and picnics - cultural highlight of the year, probably.

Below is Alicia standing next to the new hen house she built with Ryan. My girls Midnight, Bella, Blanche- neige and Tache  are moving there tonight. I expect them to blossom even more there; the yard here is really too small for them and Oswald.

Is there nothing Ryan and Alicia can't do???

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

breakfast today

Heres Mike arriving for breakfast - we drank our coffees and ate our fattening things at L'Orgin'el, after last nights abundant dinner cooked by Ryan and Alicia (=orange and olive salad, coq au vin, chou fleur au gratin, delicious potato something, pear custard and caramel tart) Many friends at breakfast, (5 coffees, 3 grand cremes, 2 petite creme) to say goodbye to John who goes to Belfast but will be back. Other departures in pipeline which will also be speedily over. Its so HOT today!! Light is amazing. Back to studio.
****Oh nearly forgot - Django has written - Sunday is Couiza's vide grenier. Unmissable ****

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fa vide grenier

My first of the season (I missed Coustassa-) and very good indeed. A handful of iffy books including three on insect recognition, some dodgy DVD's, a pretty dustpan and brush and a duck butter dish; normal sort of trawl. All our world was there and having fun. Next is at Couiza but I dunno when, will post when I find out.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Socialist Republic of Tilling

The sun shines on the righteous... here Hilary and Nick shelter whilst waiting for the bus to continue their journey to Nimes, not far but a day-long trip on public transport. Bon voyage to them and a return visit soon, I hope -
Loads of  excitement last night. We were having an apero in Lukes when he interrupted the hubub to announce the results in Tilling. Clear win for the Socialists. We thought, ha! That won't happen all over France; BUT IT DID!!
Much amazement and cries of joy - a socialist leader in Europe!
Though there were those in the cafe and later in T Rex who thought that with the multinationals, the banks and Monsanto in control, it wouldn't make a lot of difference. Time, as they say, will tell.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

who's in town...

 John and Margaret have been in Tilling for a week but we rarely have a chance to connect - here they are at breakfast yesterday, with another John in the background, one who  left town years ago but obviously cant resist its lure...
and below, Lo! Max is here for the weekend and corrupted us all massively last night. Ryan and Alicia did mushroom lasagne for the veggies and duck for the rest of us, followed by banana and nutella tart. I did boule de jour for the starter. We have virtually emptied the booze cupboard so at least we can't do this again for a while.

Friday, 4 May 2012


 Weather dull so we did Carcassonne - very pleasant too - the disney-type stuff may be inauthentic but it is amusing and the current expo of photies of alabaster tombs is magnificent (see below)
Hilary and Nick and I escaped the showers, came back on the late train in time to hit T Rex before the hail storm - sometimes life is deceptively simple, isnt it -

the view from Dr Clot

Rue Dr Clot is perfect for late night moonlit dogwalking; Ryan and Alicia and Leroy, Hilary, Nick, me and Lily were up there last night after the crepes. Here is a shaky view of Tilling under Saturn.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Hilary and Nick

Here are Hilary and Nick at breakfast this morning, curiously sleepy after last nights fabulous dinner created by Ryan and Alicia. Hilary and I were at school together though of course she is rather older than me. Lovely day pottering about the town - tonight the Creperie.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Mayday in the Aude means workers day which means that no-one does anything but give each other lily-of-the-valley. Mine were a gift from the neighbours -
Bob, not one to shirk, has gone back to Blighty though to date has only got as far as Toulouse airport where his plane has been delayed.
Ian and Ryan and Alicia are labouring in the hot sunshine. I'm feeling guilty.