Saturday, 30 June 2012

red carpet

Great to be home:) Its cooler, for one thing - and I love to sit in a cafe and see my friends.
The tapis rouge in Rue General Ferrier hasn't been laid for me though; its for Steve and Iain who arrive next week. Its the street where they used to live. How thoughtful of the council!!

That seems to be all that's changed in my weeks' absence, except that there are glow worms in the courtyard.

Friday, 29 June 2012


Back from Seville, via Barcelona -  on trains with all the attendant excitement that is implied. An offer of apero will buy you many amusing tales. There is also a fine photo of the Captain in a jacuzzi which is negotiable.

Seville is brill even in temps of over 40 degrees. One special memory is of our last night, in the gardens of Real Alcazar where Marina Prado sang to the guitar of Juan Carlos de Mulder. Quite astonishing - here is a  link where some of the music can be played.

We came out from the park to the big streets knowing that the Spain/Portugal semi-final had been played (seen the first half, good foot but inconclusive) We had heard a faint cry followed by a greater, which indicated the penalty shoot-out.  The streets were rather calm, there was neither jubilation nor despair... took a while to discover that Spain had won. A great conclusion to a lovely week.

                                                                                                                                                                        Et voila! Captain H and Hugh Hawes, my old college chum and Seville resident, who housed us and took us to wonderful places.
And Velasquez. Spikey but on form.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

happy birthday Debs

Everybodys favorite chanteuse has her birthday today. 
Dropped in for tea on Sunday and had cake. Above are Serge and Edith and a cake of some complexity made by Catherine...have a really great year, Debs, surrounded by your many friends:)

Other news; Tillings mayor, Msr Torrent, is in hospital in a severe state with hitherto undiagnosed diabetes. He's now in safe hands and I'm sure we all wish him well.

And finally: I'm off to Spain in search of art. Tomorrow its Barcelona to rendezvous with the Captain, the day after I hope to be in Seville with him. All by train.
Train strike? What train strike?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Clement and Christelle get spliced...

    Remember Clement and Christelle? They had the Normandy Frites when it was Le Schlimnick, after Msr Joly's tenure.

They decided on a medieval wedding. They live at Campagne-sur-aude (aka Lower Tilling) where the village church is a rather special Templar fort so it was a smart move - but the ceremony still had to happen in the town hall as well and the Mayor did the job with a  happy heart:)

(Hmm Im finding an historical anomaly here captain )

Max and I did a nine hour stretch at this fabulous event and its quite difficult to compress  it into prose; we left at midnight, he jet-lagged, me old, before they'd started the duck course. We walked back to Tilling - nightingales sang as we tottered along the star-lit riverside- marvelling at the french joie de vivre.
 These scenes are because Les Compagnons used a catapult to pelt the women and children with bon-bons and later to hurl the brides bouquet. They asked for marriageable virgins but settled for single women.

Max had quit his habit, nice short brown frock with hood that showed his legs to perfection, for cooler eating. The day was a scorcher. The knights wore quilted padding under their armour stuff and must have been roasted like the suckling piglets we ate. Which reminds me, I sat next to the only french vegetarian Ive ever met! He ate his plate.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

saturday at the pont

 coffee at the Pont this morning - knowing that there is a vide grenier tomorrow and the forecast is good.

Tim is only pulling a face because I said he looked sweet and he STILL looks sweet, I think
Yvonne is basking in the sunshine...
 Many old-timers of Tilling will remember Msr Jolie though you may not know him without his string vest - here he is, waving - and below, Max, who has survived another birthday without looking any older:)

Friday, 15 June 2012

comings and goings

Max arrived yesterday, as did this finger-length caterpillar, which though lovely was not as much fun as Max. We celebrated his birthday today - Max's - with hot chocolate in Limoux. Tomorrow Peter G leaves us for the preferred company of Neleke and tonight we toast him on his way. Ryan and Alicia have made syllabub.

Monday, 11 June 2012

le foot

Here is Alecia with the first of the beetroot - we're about to eat it - and here are Pete (with little flag), Ryan, Ian, Bob and Lily watching Le Foot. No-one won but it was a good match.

the mill at Couiza

 Absolutely no trouble up t'mill last night - glorious fun with Annie and Pete and behold! Theo and Sylvia were there plus Ryan and Alicia - Captain H is in evidence too though he leaves today for rain-sodden Blighty.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Liane Lang

Everyone remember Liane? Of course you do!! She continues to go from strength to strength... she has sent details of her latest events, voila -

On Friday 15th June her work will feature on the BBC Culture Show presented by Alastair Sooke. 
The program starts at 18.00 (earlier than usual due to the football).         


Saturday, 9 June 2012

guess whos back in town...

Yeay, Annie and Pete! Back for three months...; expect many dull postings listing meals and soirees of sobriety and sense, not.

  This morning began at 10.00 am  with the GRANDE FOIRE D'ESPERAZA where the local artists were expected to perform: alors, me, Kat and Stephan did just that and by 6.00pm  tonight had to turn away the queue, too knackered to do anymore portraits. It went very well though so I guess we'll do it again. But next time we work shifts. 
artist at work

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Kelly Kathy and Kenny

 Heres our Kelly, about to go walkabout to foreign parts - concluding in Cambodia in five weeks. Will miss her; expect postcards and updates regularly:)
Here are Kathy (John and Margarets' daughter) and her fiance Kenny - with Alecia and Ryan we had a lovely summer dinner in the garden. Fortunately Ryan kept an eye on my cooking so it wasn't totally overdone.

Thoroughly enjoyed everyone's company... thanks to all x

Monday, 4 June 2012

dining on the clouds

Could be that I've drunk too much today but eating with Pam and Janie was very like sitting on a cloud up in the mountains - the view from their house is amazing, Tilling directly underneath, then swathes of mountains and a whole bunch of sky.
Wonderful meal and quality conversation too, can't believe my good fortune:)

lunch with the queen

 Lunch at Chateau Rushton, St Julia le Bec;
done with all the Rushton style and panache. Don't think anyone was really waving the flag - the principle was anything for a party - but a great excuse to see Max (left) who has just finished his degree show. Plus his mates and family, friends and neighbours. Cheers John:)

goat night

 Evenings with Aileen and Olle Bendick are always memorable... here is himself, godlike in the last of the sun, dispensing blanquette. Below are the two donkeys who had calmed down after Leroy (dog) tried to play with them.

This is the remarkable spit designed by Mike that cooked our sacrificed goat.
The weather hung on till dark so we enjoyed it in the garden. After dark we tipped indoors for coffee.
Here is Ferren, on fine form  -
Not on such good form is Cedric (dog) the one who was hit by a car recently-twice, actually -
he may just be badly bruised but he cant walk and is in pain so we are are crossing our fingers for him.

Many thanks to all for the evening - what delights, including something hitherto unknown with a Norwegian drink of some force - and to Sabrina and Gunner who took many of us home, late - we were  uneasy about crossing the main road with our dogs.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

triumphal arch

 Here's the glorious arch emerging from the side of the bathroom in the little house - which will open onto the gym. Honest. Stop sniggering.

And here is dear Sian taking photies at her Mums expo last night. Jill is in Carcassonne hospital and Tony is in Quillan hospital - not fair - but the show must go on and go on it did, to great acclaim. Despite the sudden turn in the weather there was a very decent turn-out.

 Regulars will recognise the garden of the Artoteque in Rennes-les-bains where many an interesting conversation has taken place. It is rumoured to be the very spot where the Abbe Boudet wrote Le Vrai Langue Celtique. 

After enjoying that event me, Ryan and Alicia, Ian, Kat and Pete were invited to dine at Leos. I have some lovely photos of him and he wont let me post them so here is a lovely photo of Pete about to burst into song, or something. Leo did his classic meal in the garden and was as ever the perfect host though his taste in music continues to , erm, lack something. 

Saturday, 2 June 2012

goods cooks good company

Olle-Bendick has style!! Love this picture of him looking mythic. We had a dinner superbe* thanks to Ryan and Alicia, thoroughly enjoyed the evening, went for a walk with Aileens five dogs plus my Lily and R and A's adorable Leroy, settled down to chat some more... and everyone went to leave in the early hours, about 1.30. Which is when some fast car stormed through Tilling and hit Cedric, one of Aileens beasts.
She spent a horrid night at their house on the floor with him and got him to the vets first thing. He's OK (thats the short version)
Can we get the mayor to install sleeping policemen? Or pedestrianise the town?

* watermelon, mint and prawn soup; pork in ginger and blanquette butter; cous cous and salad; tarts of pureed avocado and honey with roasted nuts. We drank Blanquette, Chardonay and Rose (gris) only.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Scotland the brave; Iain reports in

Delighted to have heard from Iain and fairly astonished that he has written nothing libelous and I can copy in full, here below. Further Scottish news is that Steve may be coming to stay... watch this space:)

Well that was all very nice. Edinburgh suddenly turned into a southern European capital. Relentless sunshine and reasonably high temperatures for a week. Sadly seems to be over now but it is good to see Edinburgh people find that they have a neck rather than a head pushed in to their shoulders. Of course it could be that that was summer and we have to wait till next year for it to return but no matter it was fun. That is the pessimist in me but to be honest I’m not feeling particularly pessimistic even though the news is filled with the start of the pro independence referendum campaign.
I have this deeply depressing fear that the SNP and Salmond in particular are going to run the best campaign by far. His appearances have appeared measured and he looks as though he is in control. The pro unionists have been caught on the back foot again. The problem is they are a coalition who don’t really like each other. The labour party should be taking the lead but they have a new leader who is virtually unknown and she is unlikely to raise her profile any time soon. The worst thing that could happen is for Westminster politicians to look as though they are leading the campaign. There is talk that Alaister Darling could lead them and that would probably be the best outcome but I suspect he would need to move out of the Westminster Parliament to do it. I’ve been looking to see what I can join but not found anything yet so I am as bad as the rest of the noes.
Our choral concert was a triumph and was sold out. I found the whole thing quite uplifting, whatever that means. Never joined anything before so it was a first for me. We have another concert late in the summer during the festival so I expect there’s a lot of new songs to learn. I’ve even started singing in the shower. Perhaps I’m going through some sort of change.
Life here is much as ever which to be fair is good. Went to see Danza Contemporanea de Cuba last week which was brilliant and rather exciting and not only because the men were blessed with thighs that could choke a bear. Going to Tosca on Saturday with Steve, Rudigore next week and Porgy and Bess by the Capetown Opera the following week. All great fun and all the better because I’ve never seen Porgy and Bess.
Great exhibitions this summer, Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe, Picasso and Modern British Art and the Edvard Munch, Gundersen Collection. The city seems as busy as ever so hard to see many signs of tight budgets. The pound rising might make it a bit more expensive but they still seem to be coming. Steve runs one of the city’s top restaurants and he seems busier than ever.
The bloody trams are still not here yet. To be honest I’m not bothered about the trams I just want the work to be finished. It is a nightmare to get around the city by car.  I only use the car to collect the dogs but they keep on digging somewhere new and redirecting us.  Sadly it has all turned into a great farce, particularly as it is now only go from the Airport (nearly) to the east end of Princes Street.  They spent two years digging up Leith for bugger all.
I hope you are all well and basking in glorious sunshine.

Thanks Iain, its clear that you still miss us, hurumph.
Don't forget Tillings cultural event tomorrow, everyone - Jills expo in Rennes-les-Bains -