Sunday, December 19, 2004

A little local history.
I expect that a few of you have heard of Inspector Maigret, the French detective. Georges Simenon, the author, used to live locally. Last year was his centenary year so we heard a lot about him as he had a house in the next village. In town they installed a brass ring outside the café de la Paix, he used to tie his horse up in that very spot. The horse knew the way home. One of my students was bought up locally in the same village so I asked him if he remembered the family. He did, he even slept in Simenon’s son’s cot as a small child. He wouldn’t say that his parents were close friends. Simenon was a difficult person to get on with.

Last summer a story writing competition was held in the village schools. The standards were extremely high. Look out for the authors in twenty to thirty years time.
Christian’s bus
was an hour late. There were gale force winds and rain pouring straight into the bus shelter (the airport at La Rochelle is closed at the moment so passengers are bussed into La Rochelle from another airport). Like most English tourists, he was underdressed. They think it is so warm here. We natives are bundled up in thick coats, scarves and gloves! Anyway, it’s nice to have him back for a few days. I am busy next week. Monday kicks off with a lesson at 8 o’clock (not the same person). So I catch the bus at ten past seven and leave everyone sleeping. The holidays have begun. At least I’ll get a seat on the bus. MIL is coming on Wednesday, we’ll go to collect her from the airport.

Rob’s camera has arrived. Olivier set it up. The boys have been busy making little films with it, Rob is already worrying about the memory. As soon as I get near, I’ll try to take a photo of the tree to post, but don’t keep everything crossed.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

is coming home for Christmas tomorrow! I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

He did it!
Olivier got his yellow shield and a big bag of chewy sweets.

Olivier and his friend think that this card is really funny.... I wonder why? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Plot:: mystery
  2. Farce:: laugh
  3. Unexpected:: surprise!!
  4. Siren:: mermaid
  5. Ben:: big
  6. Freshman:: water (!)
  7. Quicksand:: danger
  8. 24 hours:: a day
  9. Spunky:: lively
  10. Vicious:: nasty

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A lesson well learnt
Handicapped children are encouraged to participate in Olivier’s fencing club. Their opponent sits astride a bench and they can do battle effectively.

Last week some new equipment arrived. A stand for a wheel chair with a second seat opposing for an able-bodied opponent. Olivier was one of the first to try it out. He didn’t look to happy at first, especially when his feet were attached. He was surprised by how much his movement was affected by not being able to move his legs. Once he was used to that he actually enjoyed himself. He also talked to us about how it must feel to be in a wheelchair all of the time. He appears to be learning a lot more than “how to fight with a sword”.

Friday, December 10, 2004

My eight o'clock person
has asked for another group of nine lessons. Fortunately only once a week this time. Don't ask why he takes blocks of nine hours.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

You really must go and take a look at Andre's glorious garden photos
Wish him luck
Tomorrow Olivier will be taking his ‘yellow shield’ in fencing. His first exam. The photographer is coming too. I’m so pleased. He’s so handsome in his tunic. I’ll ask his permission to post the photo.
It’s freezing here, which is quite rare. Yesterday kicked off with a lesson at eight. When I arrived the school was freezing cold. The heating system had failed. Fortunately I only had an hour and then I could go home. Poor Lionel had been cold all weekend. This morning the heating man arrived at the start of my lesson, it was still cold when I left. Tomorrow I have another early start, hopefully, I’ll be a bit warmer.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Well I never
I found this on a new blog I've recently come across, thanks to Blogexplosion

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

I shouldn’t really laugh but….
French police were on a training exercise with tracker dogs. They hid explosives and couldn’t find them again. The explosives are flying around somewhere now. Good job they didn’t hide a detonator.

Rob had a friend who became a policeman, he was a bit like that too
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Delightful:: amazing
  2. Impact:: effect
  3. Consolation:: prize
  4. Donation:: help
  5. Blue moon:: romance
  6. Grinner:: aching face
  7. Smoker:: cough
  8. Muse:: poetry
  9. Tweet:: bird
  10. Guitar:: music

Christmas markets
Last weekend was the village Christmas market, it was held in the gymnasium. There were lots of festive goodies and arts and crafts.

While I was there I met Anne-Lise. Anne-Lise was one of my students a few years ago, she is also a cancer survivor. During the period when she came for lessons, my Dad was dying of cancer. We talked a lot about this, which helped me as I was so far away from my family and she understood how it felt. Her last lesson was due 10 minutes after my Mum had phoned to say that Dad had died that morning. Thank goodness it was her as she knew what to say and wasn’t at all embarrassed like some people might have been.

With a friend, she has recently set up a breast cancer support group. Her friend was with her so I was able to congratulate both of them.

She also told me that there exists a cancer support group for English people living in Charente Maritime. If by chance you read this and would like more details, e-mail me or leave a message in the comments box and I will pass you Anne-Lise’s details.

While we were there, Rob won a picture frame on the tombola!

This weekend was the Christmas market at Luçon. This one is outdoors and always seems to be on the coldest weekend of the year. Again there are some lovely things for sale. We go to see our friend Jan who sells lots of things she has sewn and decorated. Jan and her husband Trevor also supply the ex-pat population with Yorkshire tea, so we got our fix. We only see them once a year and this year was the first time we didn’t have any children with us. It’s strange to do things on our own again.
House rules

If you finish off the toilet roll , please replace it with a new one.

Washing left on the floor will not be picked up and washed, if something needs washing it must be placed in the washing basket (next to the washing machine).

Rooms must be kept tidy.

If you have a snack (day or night) plates, knives etc. should be tidied up and wrappers placed IN the bin.

Help with washing up, drying up, laying the table, etc. would be appreciated.

Please leave the bathroom tidy.

Thank you

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cross-eyed felines.
As I was jumping into the car one freezing cold, dark morning, the theme from Daktari suddenly jumped into my head. Do you remember Clarence the cross-eyed lion? Do you remember the cross-eyed cat in The Fifth Element? I will explain to you ‘why?’

Shortly after making The Fifth Element, Luc Besson did a tour of French lycées, including one of the lycées at La Rochelle. My neighbour and her daughter were cat lovers and artists so were very observant ladies. My neighbour’s daughter was lucky enough to ask Luc Besson a question, so she asked him why he had chosen a cross-eyed cat for his film. He explained that when a cat looks you in the eye it looks at both of your eyes. If it looks a camera in the ‘eye’, it focuses on one ‘eye’, hence the reason for cross-eyes cats. I bet you didn’t know that.

Ahem, on reading about Clarence, I see that he was born cross-eyed. I stand corrected.
You win some, you lose some
Sup de Co offered me 30 hours of exam supervision. When I sent in my hours at the beginning of October I was free most of the time. Now I have to turn down over 20 hours, so they e-mailed me and said that they would cancel them all and contact me for the exams in May.
.Christmas preparations
I wrote out my Christmas cards about two weeks ago. They’re still waiting to be posted. We’ve decorated the living room and Rob has put lights outside. It all looks very festive. We’ve noticed that people seem to buy a new addition to their outside lights every year. In ten years time…..

Sunday, November 21, 2004

For a Sunday afternoon
A little game to keep you all quiet for a few minutes. Here's a crossword and lots of other puzzles too
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Reconnect:: join up
  2. Gearshiift:: change
  3. Mania:: fanatic
  4. Manhattan:: big buildings
  5. First date:: first love 'sigh'
  6. District:: go off the subject
  7. Yearbook:: months
  8. Breakup:: sadness
  9. Episode:: chapter
  10. Costume:: dressing up

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I dreamt
That the earth was flooding and the water was coming towards France. The continent of America had already disappeared. I had a friend with me, I don’t know who she was but she was bossy. As I had a wooden bed we could float on the water. We had to head for Africa where we would be safe.

When we arrived in Africa we had to find Michelle’s house in Cape Town. We found it really easily but she had a house full of family all sat down to eat. As soon as she saw us looking in through the window, she came out to us with open arms and took us into the kitchen for something to eat. Just as she was cutting us slices of delicious looking bread the alarm clock woke me up.

My dream book says;

Floods: a release of positive energy or on the flipside depression.

Bed: can represent a form of spiritual sanctuary

Bread: connects us with our need for basic emotional and biological satisfaction. The food of the soul.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

This is a photo of a key that Olivier made at school (the photo, not the key). I just liked the swirly background. Pupils are now obliged to do something outside ordinary school work. This term Olivier has chosen photography. This is the kind of photography involving red light and darkrooms etc. It sounds fascinating, can Mums come too? Posted by Hello
I hate not being able to keep up with my blogging. This is what I’ve been doing instead.

Over the weekend I started to prepare some test sheets; Karin asked me to make tests for ages 12 to 17. It will save me testing them during my first lesson.

I’ve had a new student to prepare work for.

On Monday Dominique was 16. Yes sweet sixteen at last. After work I shopped for her birthday meal and them had to prepare it. I finally got my birthday present from her. A diddle pencil tin. Just right for one or two pens to go in to my briefcase.

Yesterday I managed to get online for 15 minutes. Most of the comments seemed to be down (except mine)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I never expected this result!


Bald Eagle's Wisdom Includes:





Keen sight

Illumination of Spirit



Knowledge of magick

Ability to see hidden spiritual truths

Rising above the material to see the spiritual

Ability to see the overall pattern

Connection to spirit guides and teachers

Great power and balance

Dignity with grace

If you enjoy this quiz please rate, and I may do
some more!

Animal Spirit Guides ~ Which One Calls To You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found chez Michelle

Chapter: In which Olivier disappears
Yesterday afternoon Olivier went off to visit a friend on his BMX bike, not easy to travel any distance but his other bike needs the gears fixing. Before he left I warned him to watch the time as it ‘s almost dark by 6 o’clock and he has no lights. Around four, Olivier and his friend turned up to play with the Xbox. I was pleased because I knew that Olivier was home. Just after five Olivier told me that he was accompanying his friend home, so I again warned him to watch the time as (altogether now) it’s almost dark by six o’clock.

I went to pick up Rob for six o’clock, so when we got home it was dark, but no Olivier. I expected him to turn up any minute, full of apologies. By quarter to seven we started to get a bit worried. I only knew the friends first name and the village where he lives, which is pretty large. So I phoned a Mother of one of his other friends who could give me the surname and no other details. No telephone registered in our region under that name. A lot of families don’t have a fixed phones as they’ve all got mobiles and a lot of children live with step-fathers who don’t have the same name. She gave me the names of some other friends, one didn’t know where the other boy lived and the rest, no phone numbers. Rob went off to look for Olivier in the car. Near to us is a cycle lane which used to be a road, cars aren’t supposed to use it, so the ones that do are usually the kind who drive badly. Rob drove through there; no sign of Olivier, so he came home.

Rob had arranged to go out, so he was getting cross about that and we were both anxious. Next step was to go to the gendarmerie to report him missing. We decided to go over the cycle lane again, on the way to the gendarmerie, calling as we went and using a torch to look into the ditches. I didn’t realize there were so many deep ditches along that road. It was horrible, we’d just rejoined the main road when Dom phoned to tell us that Olivier had arrived home. His Friend’s mother came on to the phone to explain that she let the boys play a little longer (nearly two hours) as she said she’d drive Olivier home. I was so pleased that he was safe. When we got home we explained that if it ever happened again he must phone to let us know his plans.

Rob went out in time and Olivier spent the rest of the evening in his room. He was very quiet. I think he realized how upsetting it all was.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Small Talk:: chatter
  2. Evidence:: DNA
  3. Drifting:: clouds
  4. Hostage:: prisoner
  5. Beauty:: pleasure
  6. Automatic:: tic
  7. Asking for it:: getting it
  8. Visene:: not in my dictionary
  9. No strings attached:: free
  10. Frizz:: fuzz

You can't judge a book etc..........
When I was at school I was fairly good at English with the exception of one year. That year we had a teacher who had definite ideas about who could appreciate literature and who could not. This he based on social background. As I was a farmer’s daughter, there was no way I could fall into the ‘appreciate’ category. My marks suffered a lot. One day he asked us to write a poem for homework, any poem we liked. I wrote a poem without any problems and my friend Jane came to me and asked me to write hers.

We all handed in our poems and waited for the day of judgment. Our teacher wasn’t too happy , there were only two people in the class who really understood how to write poetry, Jane and I. Of course there was no question of my poem being read out to the class, so he read out ‘Jane’s’ and the class helped to criticize (positively) the poem.

I wonder if he noticed when the class laughed because he announced there were only two of us who’d written poems that were any good?
Where does the time go?
The last few days have flown by, again. AOL has been behaving itself badly which doesn’t help matters.

I’ve just been working, ironing, preparing lessons and gardening. I went to bed at 8 o’clock on Monday as I felt migrainey all day. I slept so well and felt so much better for it.

As I’m still technically unemployed I had to go to the job center for them to see what I’ve been up to, the first appointment was cancelled because I was working (creates a good impression). The man who interviewed me put me into a C.V. workshop for an afternoon. I’ve had to cancel because I’m working, I’ve got another new student. He suggested that I write to the university and the tourist office, which I will do as soon as I learn how to do a C.V. à la française. The idea is to earn enough so that I’m not paid unemployment benefit at all.

I had my hair cut this morning. Olivier thinks it’s too short. I think I look a bit younger, it had grown quite long again. The salon was decorated with black and white photos with a sixties feel, I did enjoy looking at the pictures, I can’t remember the photographer’s name.. The background music was Jacques Brel. My nostalgic mood soon disappeared as I had to go to the supermarket and there is a holiday tomorrow. Why do people stock up for a holiday as if there was going to be a horrible disaster?

Friday, November 05, 2004

An elderly man is at long last standing trial for the murder and rape of several girls in the seventies. Why such a long delay? The girls were mentally handicapped so the French police didn’t bother too much about it.
R.I.P. Cannelle
A hunter shot a bear in France, he was out looking for boar. The problem was it was the only female and she had a 10 month old cub. There are around five other bears in the wild in France.
The children went back to school and I’ve got a new contract, a businessman every morning at eight. I don’t mind starting work early, but it’s difficult to be organized for everyone else, it’s DIFFICULT TO GET OUT OF BED.

The weather here has been really un-Novemberish, lovely and sunny, although cold in the mornings. I spent a couple of hours in the garden on Wednesday, it was lovely and the part of the garden I was working on looked better for it. We also went for a few walks, so did a lot of other people!

We went out and bought a folding bed for when MIL comes. Goodness knows where I’ll store it after Christmas. Dom’s away for a few days so at the moment it’s cluttering up her room

Did any one see a strange star this morning? Usually in the mornings there is a bright star over to the East. This morning it appeared to have a baby trailing behind. It wasn’t a plane because I observed for a least half an hour, off and on, and it was still there.

The French news went gaga yesterday with news of Yasser Arafat’s death and rebirth. Rob received at least four contradicting messages on his mobile news service. This morning’s paper had him alive again, poor man.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Which Key on the keyboard are you?
I was bloghopping when I found this one.
The backspace key! You are happy in life and you
will be happy enough to help anyone at all and
the backspace key helps a lot of people by
correcting thier mistakes.
Thank's for taking my quiz!

Which key on the keyboard are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

A postcard
Arrived yesterday morning from my aunty on the Isle of Wight. It was a picture of her son, my cousin, Paul taken on the downs at the back of her house. The photograph has appeared in a glossy music magazine, well he does have his double bass with him. I thought about scanning it for you, but it’s in an exhibition in London at the moment, it’s also online. Go to Marius W Hansen look in tearsheets, it’s photo #6. The other photos are worth a look too, of course!
(Unfortunately you can’t see much of the downs)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I'm clearing out my 'Misc' bookmarks.
Would you like to know when you're going to die? I've got a little while left.
Or you could create your own hero
A little advice on what you should do if the internet goes down . You could of course act out the opening scenes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail .
From Mary Lou, the quiz Queen

You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe

But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated
You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys
Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.
And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.

What Kind Of Coffee Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

Find the Love of Your Life (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Lost in cyberspace
As I was surfing on Blogexplosion I started to follow a few links and came upon a little film. It was supposed to be an advertisement for a European car that had never been used for the reasons we would see when we watched the film. Olivier and I watched really carefully and screamed with fright. We must have screamed so loudly we frightened the computer and it crashed. I lost my history of visited sights, as usual. Does anyone know where this film might be?
I shouldn’t really be telling you this……
We went over to see Rob’s colleagues on Sunday afternoon at another monument on the coast. There were only two of them working. The guide had arrived for work as usual, in the morning, but the cashier didn’t show up. As he didn’t have her phone number he phoned the administrator to ask for instructions. The administrator told him to adjust his watch by an hour. He, he

Monday, November 01, 2004

1st November
Today has been a holiday here. Traditionally everyone visits graves and put Chrysanthemums on them. Never offer a French person chrysanthemums!

We went off to carrefour and looked round. I’d like a new fridge freezer. Rob looked at them and was really fussy about the colours of the accessories. As Olivier pointed out, he hardly ever goes into the fridge anyway. Got one or two groceries and Dom bought a nice thick book and Olivier Max Payne II. He didn’t show me the over 18 label until we got back to the car. My present was a new carrier bag at 11 cents approx!!

There was a weepy episode of The Pretender on this evening. I used to like that series before the family bit got too complicated. I’m still waiting for Jarod to turn up here.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Right now:: this moment
  2. Halloween:: goulies ghosties and long legged beasties
  3. Provider:: bread winner
  4. Rescue me:: HELP!
  5. Confidence:: well being
  6. Fungus:: toadstools
  7. Candy corn:: don't know this
  8. Reunion:: arranged meeting
  9. Winner:: lottery
  10. Tradition:: roots

Rob(son)’s choice
Rob has narrowed his choice of camera down to Olympus C 460 or Sony DSC-P93. With the Olympus we can view the pics with the TV. We can’t rely on the computer because it crashes too often.
I’ve actually remembered, for the first year ever, to bring out our pumpkin candle holder Whooooooo!
Another beautiful day
It’s beautifully sunny with clear skies here and not too cold. Yesterday afternoon I went out into the garden and did some cutting back and clearing out etc. The ‘compost heap’ is now as big as it was before the bonfire the other day.

I came across Olivier’s radishes which I’d completely forgotten about. We’re going to taste them today, but I expect them to be all woody and old.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I’d like to point out the blogexplosion button in the side bar. A very interesting way to find new blogs.
This morning we went to the supermarket in the next village for one or two odds and ands. The cashiers had all dressed up for Halloween; It was very strange, there seemed to be a of 5 foot men around. Have the seven dwarfs escaped?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Night flight
We had a little visitor last night. A female blackbird somehow got into the living room. We think she must have perched in the space between the window and the shutter. Rob closed the shutter but left the window open and when he left the room she flew in; Rob doesn’t like birds too close (I think he was too young when he saw ‘The Birds’ for the first time) I’m not too keen either. Fortunately brave Bonnie was staying and she eventually managed to get the bird in the general direction of the now wide open windows to freedom.

I checked round for little bird poos, nothing.
Happy birthday
To Bill Gates who is just over a month younger than me. I haven’t got round to my first million yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Is there anyone out there?
I don't seem to be able to contact any blogspot sites including my own. Is anyone else having the same problem? Though if you are you'll never read this, will you?
John Peel
It was very sad to hear of the death of John Peel. I used to listen to him while I did my homework. We always knew that the music he chose to play would be different and special
Stop press update
I had a lovely e-mail from my cousin Paul. His appearance (!) on the radio show had been confirmed and cancelled. He should get a slot at a later date. He and his band have recently toured a bit in Europe. This is what he wrote about it;

“We're not very rock'n'roll I'm afraid, no tales of debauchery, we even took our own tea set, tea pot and cosy to boot. Spent all our time on the phone to our spouses, had lots of early nights and only missed breakfast once....At one particularly renegade venue in Switzerland I think the band were the only people not partaking. What groupies there were had to make do with a peck on the cheek.”

It made me think about t my younger days. How did I roll home at five thirty in the morning and get up for work two hours later? The thought of it now makes me feel exhausted.
I went into work during the afternoon for a lesson at three o’clock. This is the person who usually telephones to cancel just as I’m on the bus. She arrived five minutes early to tell me she didn’t have time for her lesson and cancelled Thursdays lesson too. She’s not paying for lessons, her employer is. Lionel was sweeping the floors and stairs, so at least I’d been entertained for a while.
Was a very good day for getting things done. The car went for it’s service and two year test and came home safe and sound. It wasn’t too expensive either. In the morning I had my bonfire at long last. The garden looks tidier with the ‘compost’ heap gone. The weather conditions were just right for a good burn. I always surround my self with buckets of water and a hose, just incase and choose a day when I’m not alone in the house.

Rob and I went for our flu vaccinations in the evening. My shoulder still aches a bit, but no other problems. As I work by the hour it’s best not to be ill for long periods during the winter.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pretty Woman revisited
Karin was telling me that for her 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago she decided to spend some money on clothes. In La Rochelle we have some real swanky shops. She went off with her friend wearing jeans, easy to get in and out of when trying things on. There is a really beautiful shop by the town hall. Karin went in and started looking when the assistant came up to her and told her that customers asked for help and just didn’t take clothes off the rails to look at. Karin found a lovely outfit, the assistant asked her if she could afford it!!! Karin said no she couldn’t and left the shop. She went into another shop and spent a lot more money there.

There are some very chic ladies in La Rochelle, but not that many.
See through cubes in patchwork?
Sorry, I don't know how to make them and I don't have any here.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

with your mouse.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Blackout:: dark
  2. Platinum:: rings
  3. Leather and lace:: angel and devil
  4. Court:: short
  5. Mind your own business:: nosey parker
  6. Gambling:: losing
  7. Lily:: smelly flower
  8. Evasive:: elusive
  9. Turn-on:: drop out
  10. Suspect:: not innocent

Wow, I'm on time this week!!
HELP (two questions)

1. What is a sophomore

2. Rob would like to buy a digital camera. How many pixels should he aim for?
I don’t believe this
I found this over on Kieth’s site:
Property developers are planning to build on the playground which was created in memory of the over one hundred children killed in the Aberfan disaster in the late sixties. Here is the petition. Please spread the word.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I wasn’t going to post this….. but
Zoe found this. I rather liked the names:

Your Boobies' Names Are: Silk and Satin

What are yours called?
Hands up please
If you are on blogger and can't see a post until one or two days later
Stop Press
Mum wrote to me this week and told me that cousin Paul will be performing live on Loose Ends on radio 4. Tonight at seven fifteen (French time). I cant find mention of him in the article about the program, I presume he’s backing someone else. Go here to listen

He wasn't on, I've written to ask him the real date. My Mum is famous for getting things wrong.
All’s well
I went for my mammogram yesterday, they phoned and asked me to go an hour early so I was pleased. I’m sure a man must have invented that machine. A man who doesn’t like women.

Result; I am in perfect health on top. Still waiting for my other results. Since I changed the hormones I’m taking (pre-menopause), I’ve lost about 2 kilos without even trying!!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Oh, the joys of nature
As the weather was so good yesterday afternoon I decided to cut back the ivy which grows on and around the porch. I’ve left it for two years as the shade is lovely in the summer. No one told me that stink bugs like to live in there. I didn’t manage to crush one but a load landed on me when I pulled on a strand of ivy. I pulled out all the stems from inside the porch, they came away quite easily but I got something in my eye. It didn’t hurt at the time but today I’m crying out of my left eye and the side next to my nose is very sore. Fortunately I’ve got some good ointment and I’ve taken a paracetemol for the pain.

I’ve had around 7 Praying Manti/Mantises (nice pictures) on the kitchen window sill these past couple of days. We hardly see them during the rest of the year. When I opened the shutter one morning, I crushed one to death, though Olivier swears it was still moving 12 hours later when I closed the shutter. (It was the wind blowing it’s legs around) yeuk!
Unconscious Mutterings
(Late again)

  1. Dimension:: 5th
  2. Roger:: Rabbit
  3. CSI:: don't know
  4. Passenger:: jouney
  5. Thankful:: greatful
  6. Has-been:: past it
  7. Bambino:: baby
  8. Wrinkles:: that's me!
  9. Cable TV:: wires
  10. Voicemail:: speaks

I listened to a very interesting program about Theremin, If you don’t know what and who Theremin was go here and listen.
The post I posted yesterday didn't post
You can probably see it twice now!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What I’ve been doing
I haven’t been around the past few days because I had some extra hours. A client was preparing for a very important interview. She is apply for a job as coordinator for a scheme involving urban transport and the environment. Her C.V. was absolutely fascinating and her English was excellent. I really enjoyed myself, pity her interview is this morning. She’s promised to phone City Center and let us know how it went.

I also supervised some exams at Sup de Co. It’s getting stricter there. Most of the students are happy to do as they are told, but you always get at least one who moans. Non compliance with our requests can result in exclusion from the exam.

Rob is now (reluctantly) back at work. Seems like he had a good day yesterday.
We haven’t heard anything from Christian. Perhaps things aren’t going as he would like as regards Manchester. MIL has been ill since she got home from Sweden, though the weather was very good over there. We haven’t really had her opinion on the matter yet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I forgot to mention this
Christian telephoned a couple of evenings ago, full of enthusiasm. He’s decided he’d like to move to Manchester. Manchester??? He thinks he stands a better chance of getting a full job with the travel agents if he moves north. He’s even got somewhere to live lined up. He thought I didn’t sound too pleased. It wasn’t that. I need at least 48 hours to get used to a new idea. After all he’s still my baby really.

He was amazed that I knew that there is an excellent Chinese supermarket there. (I’m still full of surprises)

He hasn’t started driving lessons yet. He didn’t know that in England you need a provisional license to learn to drive.
Isn’t it strange?
While I was blog walking just now I came upon people who were having problems thinking of something to write and titles for their posts. This morning I’ve got time to write about nothing really to say. Rob still isn’t feeling well. He’s got an appointment with our dentist today as he thinks the abscess is coming back on his gums, I thought it was to do with his wisdom teeth but it isn’t. He’s still recovering from the antibiotics he was given in June.

Yesterday two of my lessons cancelled, illness and an important meeting. I was disappointed. On Thursday and Friday I’ve got half days at Sup de Co, supervising exams again. The big session will be just before the Christmas holidays. Three weeks including Saturdays. I’m pretty free around then, but I don’t want to be working there non stop. That is the only time I’ve had migraines in my life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Something I wrote yesterday…..
Wet and windy today. Dom said as she went out of the house “everything except cold”.

Rob woke up with aching gums, so he took a pain killer, the first since he was in hospital. Today he is using his time off to sort out all the papers that need filing away. He hasn’t found any interesting treasure, yet. I went out to the supermarket, the roads were horrible, wet and slippery, which didn’t slow down certain drivers at all.

At the moment in France there are a lot of stories about electronics in cars taking over. People stuck at 200kph and no breaks!! I haven’t seen one yet.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Spacious:: roomy
  2. Crash:: cars
  3. Autobiography:: life
  4. Sparkly:: glitter
  5. Wild Thing:: Troggs
  6. Haagen-Das:: ice-cream
  7. Sci-fi:: Asimov
  8. Voice:: words
  9. Boy Scouts:: camping
  10. Grief:: pain

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Friday morning I got soaked on my slightly longer walk to work, we had thunder and lightening too. Karin greeted me with some good news. Mr. F is enjoying his lessons with me so much that now one of his colleagues wants to come too!!

Walked back to collect Rob from the clinic where he’s had his 4 wisdom teeth out. The Doctor hadn’t done his rounds so I left without him and arranged for a friend to pick him up later.

My appointment with the ‘wimmins’ doctor went as well as can be expected. He is quite old and as far as I can tell has a Swiss accent, he reminded me of the Swedish chef from the Muppets I had a very thorough examination too, microscope and all. Samples are being sent to Bordeaux as La Rochelle doesn’t specialize in what he needs. He assured me there is no sign of cancer. I just have to wait now.

Finally got round to making the appointment for a mammogram, four months on. Its in two weeks time.

Rob is fine today and I feel really tired. He’s signed off work until next Friday.

I had a little packet from Michelle in the post, souvenirs of her trip to London and Norway. Thank you Michelle, hope you got my e-mail okay.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Busy bee
This morning I have a lesson. After my lesson I’ll pick Rob up, which means parking the wrong side of town and walking in. Quicker than driving but time consuming. After a very quick lunch back into town for my appointment with the ‘wimmin’s’ doctor. Olivier wants to be picked up at three twenty, I’ve explained I don’t know how long I’ll be, but if I’m in the car park etc………TGIF

Thursday, October 07, 2004

This is the appointment card. What time do you think they'll try to fob us off with next time? Posted by Hello
The Orthodontist part III
We arrived at ten to five in plenty of time for our appointment at five o’clock. “The appointment is at five twenty five”, the receptionist said. Olivier was really, really cross with his stupid mother again. He'd just bought "Need for Speed Underground" and wanted to go home to play it. We went for a walk in the park while I explained that I’ve been making appointments in this country for nearly twenty years and it’s odd that I get it wrong in the same place twice.

Meanwhile back at the orthodontist’s…. we answered questions which were fed into a computer and given a blue card with Olivier’s details in lots of pretty colours. Then into the waiting room. “Hey Olivier, weren’t you the one who answered the question about your date of birth. Why have they put September?” I victoriously went back to the receptionist who just crossed out the month and wrote in February!!. Now I have proof they are not very good at figures and things. Olivier and I decided that I would ask for the next appointment to be written onto a card by them. After about half an hour of Olivier swearing under his breath in French and out loud in English we were ushered into a small office and asked to wait.

More swearing and playing with light switch. After a ‘few’ minutes a very charming young lady came in and started to fill out the hundreds of forms required by the French administration. She then disappeared in order to find the camera to take pictures of Olivier and his teeth. Ten minutes later, she reappeared with camera and device to hold Olivier’s lips out of the way, which amused him (thank goodness).

More waiting and them the orthodontist came in. A most charming and apologetic young man who explained the problems of the surgery and why there was so much waiting. I bet he wins all the Mums over. He had a look at Olivier’s brace and explained what he planned to do and filled in the rest of the pretty blue form. The charming young lady came back and showed us the figures (ouch) and gave us a contract and made us an appointment and apologized again. She wrote the appointment on a card without me asking. Total time 2 hours!!!!

Next appointment 1st December at five fifteen.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Interesting point
Honestly, in France it’s considered strange if you don’t display your name on your house or letter box. Door bells are usually placed on the outside of the garden, it’s not considered polite to walk up to the door uninvited. We don’t have a doorbell and you’d be amazed how many people will knock and walk back down the path and wait at the gate.
Another thing I find bizarre is the custom of unreadable signatures. One day I signed for a parcel and the young man told me he needed my ‘signature’. I explained that was my signature and if I wrote my name any other way it would not be. He didn’t like it because he could read my name. I’ve thought about this. Way back in the dark ages people used to keep their names secret because the possessor of a name held magic powers over the person. Perhaps it was the same with the written name?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Dark Dark Day
After the lovely warm sunshine yesterday the sky is iron grey today. It's a lot colder, very depressing. I think I might look out some jumpers/pullovers/sweaters this afternoon.

Hollyhocks in the spring Posted by Hello

This is the name plate that Beatrice made for us. The flowers were inspired by drawings from "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Posted by Hello
I remember Twizzle, but I’ve never come across anyone else who does. I’m sure I had a colouring book. There was also Torchy the battery boy. Both were created by Gerry Anderson!
Thunderbirds are go
We bought two Thunderbirds DVDs at the weekend, that means 8 episodes. Great! I was reading Jeff Tracy’s biography. In 2065 Jeff is 56. He was one of the first men to walk on the moon…….. I always felt sorry for the one stuck in Thunderbird five (the space station), all he does is look out of the window. Airport security is almost non-existent in the future. A man can drive around the airport with a car full of disguises and a nuclear bomb. Two ambulances are sent out to deal with the 600 passengers in a plane that is due to crash land/ explode because of nuclear bomb.
In episode two the US army is trying out a new machine that can rip it’s way through the jungle. That is until it falls down a hole into an old army dump (in the middle of the jungle!) and catches fire. I think modern kids would find this a little confusing, we didn’t have ecology back in 1965.
Despite all this I really enjoyed string spotting and am really looking forward to the next 6 episodes.Coming next: Space 1999.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Courage::strength
  2. Stamina:: energy
  3. Leader:: boss
  4. Idea:: thought
  5. Rockstar:: famous
  6. Dew:: morning
  7. Guards:: soldiers
  8. Lenny:: Henry
  9. Alliance:: bonding
  10. Cigarettes:: smell

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Wilfred Owen
My pupil bought an English magazine with an article about Wilfred Owen and other world war I poets. There was a lovely photo of him, which I’ve seen many times before. He really was a handsome young man. He was only 25 when he was killed just one week before armistice.
I found out that he had lived in Bordeaux before the war. He gave English lessons!! When we visited friends in Bordeaux I asked to be taken to the address. It is a huge bookstore now, pity I couldn’t find any sign of a plaque
He wrote about broken bodies and madness and the horror of war, also his observation of the men from poorer backgrounds, he would never have had close contact with them in times of peace.
At the moment I can’t find the poems I wanted to quote from.

Now read what Bill has to say about the young men dying in conflict today. Blogger doesn't 'do' trackback so you'll have to scroll down to "This boy is dead Sir".
Busy weekend
Beatrice, who made us our name plate, and her husband Mark are coming over this morning to help us put a new step by the front door. At the moment it is quite a deep step (if deep is the word we use for steps), it doesn’t really pose a problem unless my back is hurting.

This afternoon Rob is taking Dom into town to get a new phone and Olivier to choose a new BMX bike. The money will come out of their Christmas and birthday funds. Still, it will be an expensive afternoon.I’m going to try to get out into the garden. There’s a lot of tidying up to be done. Hopefully I’ll have a bonfire on Monday morning.

Have a good weekend

Friday, October 01, 2004

What not to do at the school gates when everyone is leaving:
Stall the car. We were taking one of Olivier’s friends home too.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Silly Cats
Its a bit stop and start. From Linky and Dinky
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Diminishing:: getting smaller
  2. Fed up:: what children say
  3. 3:00 AM:: no sleep
  4. Interfere:: busy body
  5. Often:: frequency
  6. Hay:: ride
  7. Prediction:: future
  8. Homophobia:: hate
  9. Booty call:: socks!
  10. Enunciate:: words

Death of a watch
Part I
As I said to Zoe, my watch died on Tuesday morning. I noticed at about ten to nine when we’d been queuing in traffic just before arriving at the bus station. Before going to work I had to go to the office shop to make around thirty photocopies. The photocopier said it was about nine fifteen. City Center is across the road from there, so when I got in I wanted to confirm the time with Lionel, he said nine twenty-six. (nine minutes to cross the road?). My lesson was late and I have a suspicion she left early too as I told her I didn’t know the time she took out her phone and put it next to her bag so I couldn’t see it. When good old Mr. F arrived he took off his watch and placed it next to me so I could see the time.

I was so lost, years ago when the children were small I didn’t own a watch and it didn’t bother me at all

Part II
In the evening Rob and I went round to the newsagents to get a new battery fitted. Mrs. newsagent took the back off the watch and put a new battery in but couldn’t close it again. ‘That’s okay” said Rob. “I can do that at home”. When we got home he took out the pliers. He didn’t get the back on, the little snap we heard was glass breaking. This morning Mr. Newsagent took back the battery and refunded me, which I thought was nice of him. I get to buy a new watch.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I didn’t get the chance to sit in front of the computer yesterday so I had a lovely surprise when I checked the counter this morning 10,012.
My ten thousandth visitor was….. Mr. Weird!!! Go and have a look there’s a recipe for “Coriander-Mint chicken curry, a-la-ansh” I’ve heard that this man knows what he’s talking about when it comes to curries.

Thank you to you all for popping by and helping me reach the big 10,000. I’ve had some interesting ‘googles’ recently too:

Ireland seed companies

German Leather knickers

Indian brandy (Sept 16th 2003), is still very popular, in fact someone wrote to me a while back and said that he would keep me informed if he found out more about the horrible stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2004

When Our English friends came over this summer, B was using a very nice handbag which was much admired. The bag is a copy of a very expensive make. In France these kind of things can be confiscated on the spot and the owner fined quite heavily. In fact even as high up as La Rochelle customs officers stop cars to search for copied goods bought from Spain. I thought you might find this information useful when you come over to France with your false Rolex watch, etc.
Couvre Feu
Curfew? Last night we watched this film. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Firstly, Bruce Willis was a baddie and everyone knows he’s a good guy really. I was shocked to see that this film was made in 1998, before 9/11. It made me feel really uncomfortable, the shape of things to come perhaps?
Denzel Washington was great, as usual.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Bigoudène
Last night, to celebrate my birthday we went to the Bigoudène. One of out favourite restaurants where they serve Brittany style gallettes. Gallettes are a little bit like pizzas were to a working Italian and Cornish pasties were to a Cornishman. The meal is served on top of them. I chose ‘Arthur’ which had egg, onions, bacon, salad, cream cheese with herbs, ham and fried potatoes. You know you’ve eaten!

A bigoudèn is the traditional lace headdress worn by Brittany ladies. Even today there are ladies who would not leave the house without their headdress.

In La Rochelle, close to the Chain tower there used to be a street known as the Greek quarter. The Brittany sailors who settled and bought their families with them populated the street. They spoke Breton and wore their traditional clothes so they were thought of as foreigners, hence ‘Greek’.
Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to meeeeee (and Jackson too)
Happy birthday to me

Friday, September 24, 2004

There was a man in the garden
We get up very early in our house as Dom leaves at ten past seven and Olivier twenty past. This morning was business as usual and just after quarter past six I realized there was no bread for Rob’s sandwiches. I popped out to the garage where the freezer lives and just as I was unlocking the garage door, a man walked around the side of the house. For a couple of seconds I was dumb struck, then I started screaming. This shocked him as much as I’d been shocked I think. He then had the nerve to say to me ‘don’t be frightened’, climbed over the gate and trotted down the road.

He was in his fifties, wearing jeans, a dark top and a dark woolhat. He looked like he had very grey hair.

Rob opened the shutters at that point, he thought it was kids mucking around, it was very difficult to explain to him as I was shaking and crying by then. When I got inside Bonnie, Dom’s friend, said that she had gone onto the porch at the back of the house for a smoke (Our house is no smoking) and surprised a man stood by Olivier’s shutters. We live in a bungalow so it is rather worrying especially with two 16 year old girls in residence half of the time. (Bonnie and Dom take it in turns to stay in each other’s homes now, I’ve even been given a timetable).

I don’t think he’ll be back in a hurry, do you?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lyrics time
For some time I've been fascinated by this song. I think the angry young man type voice must appeal to me. Olivier has it on one of his Xbox games

Deny lyrics
Today I woke up and you were gone
The whole day wondering what I did wrong
It's like I'm falling from a mountaintop
My heart keeps pounding and it won't stop

Can you see this hell I'm living
I'm not giving up

Will you crawl to me
Will you fall with me
I'll never crawl to you
I've done it all for you

Well don't deny
The hand that feeds you needs you
Oh god I'd die to try to
Finally please you

There goes a piece of me
Will I cease to be
I've never lied to you
Fought bled and died for you

Well don't deny
The hand that takes you breaks you
Oh god I'd die to try to
Finally please you

There she goes and I'm on the ground, I'm on the ground,
I'm on the

Well don't deny
The hand that feeds you needs you
Oh god I'd die to try to
Finally please you

Will you crawl to me
Will you fall with me
I've never crawled to you
I've done it all for you

[Thanks to for these lyrics]
Found on

Coming next: The Calling
Quiz time
Mary lou always finds the best quizes first!

© What's your Inner Goddess Color?? © Jen

Distant Early Morning
Is a very beautifully made blog which I have come across on my travels. I tried putting it onto the blogroll but it is not possible. So here is the link.
I can do it by myself
(as Barney says)
Back to normal again. I'd decided to move all of the buttons and blogroll etc which were sticking out at the bottom. The first ones out of place were the guest map buttons. It solved my problem in one go. I also feel lucky that Blogspot seems to be publishing almost instantaneously today so you can see the fruits of my hard work straight away.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Pointless:: waste of time
  2. Sadistic:: cruel
  3. Bunny:: rabbit
  4. Betrayal:: let down
  5. Oliver:: Olivier
  6. Star Wars:: May the force be with you.
  7. Let it ride:: go
  8. Ray of light:: sunbeam
  9. Tight:: clothes!
  10. Gadget:: Inspector

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Does anyone know where Matron has gone?
September 22nd
The first day of autumn according to my calender and is it equinox today, or not? In La Rochelle Sept 22nd had also been the day without cars for several years. We may have been the first town in the world to do this. People come into town by bus or bring out their bikes, their horses, their rollers etc. and it is choas. There will be even more chaos this year. The bus drivers have threatened to go on strike!
Where has it all gone?
I've been trying to add the editing thingy to my template. Now I've lost my blogroll and God knows what else. The archives writing has changed too. Oh why don't I just leave things alone?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

History lesson
As Sunday was 'La Journée du Patrimione', Rob and I visited the Porte Royale in La Rochelle. One of the old gates into the town, it is usually closed to the public. Some of the rooms within the gate were used as a prison and, as the prisoners had nothing to do, they carved on the walls, messages, drawings, their names and dates. We were concerned on this visit with Irish sailors who had been captured and imprisoned. These sailors were later taken into the French army, recaptured by the English and executed. The dates weren’t quite accurate because the Brits were still using the old calender at that time and were 11 days behind France.
Anji the plumber
Yesterday we mended a tap that had been leaking water for the past 18 years. Problem was, it started to leak underneath too, so we thought we’d better do something about it. When we built our home the constructors gave us a free book on how to look after your house. I looked in the book and found out that we would probably need to change a washer. Rob turned off the water and handled the monkey wrench. There was no washer.

We put in a washer. Twenty-four hours later, no leaks,no drips.

Monday, September 20, 2004

There would have been an interesting post here
Thank you AOL

Saturday, September 18, 2004

We still haven’t been to the Dentist’s
On Thursday evening, I was due to take Olivier to the new orthodontist as in my post of September 8th. Afterwards I was going to go off to a new conversation lesson with a couple of 13 year olds. During the afternoon, Rob and I went for a walk in the sun. When we got back there was a message on the fixed phone and a message on my mobile. Both had been cancelled. Next episode of the dentist saga October 6th.
It hasn’t reached our department yet but it’s pretty close. Would you believe in the last week we’ve seen dogs out alone in the neighborhood? Very rare here and as dogs in the departments concerned are under threat of death if they are caught roaming and they are not vaccinated…..

Don’t talk to any strange doggies Liz!
Number One Son
Of course, all three are number one! Christian phoned Rob on Thursday with the news that he had been named the best ‘something’ at work. It had been published somewhere as people had been phoning their congratulations. I don’t have anymore details as Rob is not very good at transmitting information. Typical. Anyway, well done Christian, perhaps you could e-mail ME.
Fencing update
Olivier has now been to two lessons. He looks so handsome in his tunic. I've been staying to watch so I know how the training goes, they've got a good teacher. Of course when you've got twenty kids with swords in their hands, you have to know how to keep control....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Good enough to mention twice
I was just looking in my archives for September last year when I came across this that Dom had sent me. I thought it was worth a mention for my newer readers.
Next Blog
I hope that you’ve noticed the ‘Next blog’ button up on the right hand side. I’ve been treated to accounts of how life was in Malaysia around the time of the second world war and “What does an academician do ?”. An interesting way to broaden horizens I think. I wonder what my new visitors think when they arrive chez moi? Hello, I hope that you’ve enjoyed your visit.

I’d like to put a link in the sidebar so that people can e-mail me if they feel they want to. I tried putting a few words into the template and putting my address so that it wouldn’t be displayed. What I really need to know is how to turn it into a link. How do you do that?
I’ve just looked in my little book I think I’ve found it. A and /A?
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Self-esteem:: confidence
  2. Migraine:: pain
  3. Phoebe:: Charmed
  4. Nervous:: edgy
  5. Punctual:: on time
  6. Liver damage:: yellow
  7. Legal disclaimer:: small print
  8. Reverend:: vicar
  9. Supple:: dancer
  10. Binder:: file

On Sunday, for a change!
Get well soon
Liz has just had an operation, sounds like everything has gone okay. If you've got a couple of minutes please pop and wish her well. If the comments are working, that is.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11th
We haven't forgotten.
Comment on comments
I know eveyone is having the same problem at the moment. Why is it, when the comments aren't working, I can think of something to say?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

This year Olivier has decided to go fencing. We got the idea from flipping through the yellow pages. The club seems to be a very friendly place, as it happens Rob knows the vice president, so we felt really at ease. During the year they have an evening where they let the parents loose with the swords, just so the kids can have a good laugh. I’m not sure that I’m looking forward to that, although I would like to have a go. On the evening news there was a feature on how popular fencing is this year because of the Olympic games
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Reporter:: jounalist
  2. Mythology:: Greek
  3. Wimbledon:: The Wombles
  4. Civilization:: history
  5. Punctuation:: which dot goes where
  6. Party Games:: postman's knock
  7. Flawless:: perfect
  8. Unprecedented:: the very first
  9. Curry:: yum, yum
  10. Tropical:: juice

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Yes or no?
I took Olivier to the orthodontist yesterday evening. I thought it odd that the appointment was at a quarter to eight in the evening. We were two hours late. So we fixed another appointment. Olivier said he finished school early on Thursdays, when we got home we discovered he doesn’t. I phoned first thing this morning to change the time. I was so pleased it wasn’t the same receptionist.
Forgot to take my new medicine for lowering triglycerides with my evening meal. As I have to take them with food, I quickly ate……… a chocolate chip cookie.
Check up
I went to the Doctor’s for my three monthly check up on Monday. I’m now taking tablets to lower my triglyceride levels. The Doctor had my smear results. I’ve got to see a gynecologist as there are some abnormalities, nothing urgent the Doctor told me. I have an appointment for the beginning of October. My bad cholesterol is low but my good cholesterol is low too. I think it’s not too much of a problem as we’d recently been to England and we always get fed the wrong things
Randy the Dolphin
For the last few days, holiday makers in La Rochelle have been entertained by Randy. Randy is a young dolphin who likes to play with people. Rob saw him yesterday when he chose to perform in the port, drawing large crowds of admirers (the dolphin that is, not Rob). Unfortunately, life guards have been to instructed to put up the red flag when Randy is spotted, he’s very playful and could injure children. People forget that he is a wild animal.

Randy does travel round quite a bit and a few people have written about him in French, but it’s difficult to find photos. Thanks to the good old BBC, I’ve found photos and a report in English!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Yesterday was okay. We now know timetables and who’s got what and with who. Olivier will have my ex-colleague who comes from Virginia for English. Dominique has someone with an English sounding name. The best news is that on Monday mornings Dom starts at half past nine and Olivier at ten! I bet I end up going to Sup de Co first thing on Monday mornings so I’m deprived of a lie-in.
This weekend; book covering. I hate it.
The bag lady
For about six or seven years our local supermarket has had a bags for life system.

We are situated near the sea and off our coast are turtles and dolphins and other lovely vunerable creatures. The little plastic bags provided by supermarkets were finding their way our to sea and killing lots of turtles and dolphins. What happens is that they swallow them and they are full of air and the dolphins or whatever think they have a full stomach and starve to death. The bags also take a long time to disintegrate.

With bags for life you buy a sturdier bag made from recycled plastic. When the bag is no longer usable it is replaced for free. I’ve got a bag that’s 6 years old and I’m still using it. I have about 15 bags and take around 7 with me when I go shopping. Last week the cashier grabbed my bags and said that she would change them all for me. I told her that they were fine and weren’t ripped or anything and the idea was to use them as long as possible. “But they will be recycled!” She told me. I managed to get them all back. Someone needs to explain to the poor girl the economics of recycling.

When I got home I checked that my dear 1998 bag was safe. There is a small tear in it….

Friday, September 03, 2004

AOL cut us off yesterday. "I" had sent out thousands of e-mails. They stopped them, I wonder what they said? My code word was made up from an intimate family joke, how could anyone have got hold of that?

We were stopped about three years ago too. Dom sent a mail to all her Harry Potter site fans. Not bad for a 12 year old?
Back to school
Dom and Olivier are nearly at the end of their first day. Guess who was the most nervous this morning?
Close call
Christian phoned yesterday to let me know he was okay. I didn't know that the day before he'd been taken to hospital with a severe migraine, sore throat and stiff neck. It was so bad he put his jacket over his head to try to block out the light. They did tests for melingitus but fortunately it was tonsillitis. Whew. He has penicillin to take. He's the only one who isn't allergic to it!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I took Olivier and Dom to get their hair cut today. Dom had hair below her waist that hasn’t been trimmed for a year. Her friend Bonnie suggested layering it while keeping it longish. It looks fantastic. Dom has hair like mine. The summer sun gives us natural highlights and it really shines. I could see that the hairdresser was really enjoying handling it. By the way the hairdresser is becoming pretty huge, she’s expecting twins. It’s going really well for her, where does she get her energy?
Burn, damn you!
Dom taught me how to burn a CD today, the first one got stuck and didn’t work. The second burnt (ed) okay, but the sound was terrible, a bit like waves. Any ideas. I’ll just have to do my ironing next to the computer if I want to hear my favourite music.
Everything was alright in the end.
My new student is very nice and told Karin that I was perfect. I think we’ll get along well. As for fitting 70 hours into a month, he knows we can’t do it as he works between here and Tahiti and won’t always be free. I’m relieved about that. Before a new lesson I always sleep badly and it always goes okay. I’m pretty pleased with the work I’ve go planned too, even though I say it myself.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

This is how the story begins…..*
I went into town an hour early yesterday because I had to renew my bus ticket and sell NHL 2k3 for Olivier. As the school year is starting I had to queue (wait in line) for the bus ticket. I waited half an hour without moving an inch, so I left without renewing my ticket. There was a mass of people at Mega Games. I presume they were all selling their old games before going back to school. I didn’t bother to go in. I arrived at City Center hot and flustered. I don’t like first lessons anyway.

I settled down to read while I waited for my new pupil. After twenty minutes I asked Lionel if he had the phone number. Lionel phoned for me. The time had been changed without either of us knowing. My lesson has now been moved to Wednesday. We have to get through 70 hours of lessons before October 8th. He should have started at the beginning of August. Fat chance.

Sold Olivier’s game for more than he was expecting and only had to wait 15 minutes to sort out my ticket in the end.

*Do you remember Funnybones?
Spider in the works?
I wrote about a spider in Dom's room on 29th August. It is now half past five on the 31st and I still can't see it. Can you see it? Can you see this?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Winter is a coming in
Dom called me in to remove the first giant spider of the season this morning. If there are a lot, we are told, there will be a hard winter. I'm not super brave, I suck them up with the Hoover.

Our friends have returned to England, still feeling ill. Fortunately the flight is just an hour. I bet they’ll be glad to get home. Even though they were staying at the campsite, the house feels empty now that they’ve gone.

This is the lovely postcard I received fron Michelle in Norway. Rob loves it. I think it reminds him of when he used to go fishing with his Norwegian Grandpa. Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Peyton Place
Yes it was that book. Would you believe I couldn't put it down. Perhaps I'm becoming middle aged. Dom treated me to a copy of a couple of short stories by Isaac Asimov the other day. We'd just gone into town to get her Russian Dictionary for next year. I see she sometimes reads it before she goes to sleep.
A couple of weeks back the Pope visited Lourdes. The poor Pope and the French population were treated to a long speech from the President (This could only happen in a republic). I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if he got better……

As I’m in a theological mood, I listened to a very interesting program on BBC radio 4 about Black theology. I would have learned more, unfortunately, the radio kept blacking out. The program started off by talking about the colour of God. Interesting question, Olivier says blue. What colour is God for you?
Back again
I’m sorry I haven’t been here sooner. Life has been quite eventful. Our English visitors have had the holiday from hell. As well as being a sad time for them, the weather has been dreadful. They went out to eat in La Rochelle on Wednesday and have come down with food poisoning. The 14 year old is very ill and Rob just phoned to tell me they are waiting for a second visit from the Doctor. I hate to say it, but I have heard talk that some of the more touristy eating places do have a bad reputation. As locals we have our repertoire of more select places and try to guide our friends there.

Lots of work too. Two very enjoyable weeks of intensive refresher courses. I hope my students have enjoyed themselves as much as I did!

September starts with a 70 hour contract. I think this must be the first September I won’t be worrying about whether I will work or not.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Where is he?
Has anyone seen or heard from Spyke? Has he moved to Germany? Has any one been to Denmark and come across a multilingual taxi driver? Where is he?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Just my luck
When Lionel's photocopier died he took out an account with the office supplies shop. They have a really fast, state of the art model. I made a special trip into town today, in the heat, just to get my photocopies ready for next week. The photocopier has broken down.
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Sting::The Police
  2. BMW:: car
  3. Jeremy:: Irons
  4. Audacious:: daring
  5. Drag Queen:: Danny Larue
  6. Title:: For Whom the Bell Tolls
  7. Stamp:: letter
  8. Bad:: good
  9. Snow White:: 7 dwarfs
  10. Delegate:: pass on

Which novel starts with the opening line;
‘Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay.’?Who wrote it?
I am here…. Somewhere
I‘ve been rather busy. I cleaned and painted the kitchen. When Rob gets round to taking a photo I’ll let you see it. It’s yellow and so much brighter than it was before. I’ve added some new posters and am very pleased with the result. I did it all by myself! I also spring cleaned the toilet and put up new posters etc. It really is a different room now.

Last Friday Olivier had a minor operation at a clinic in La Rochelle. He had to stay in over night and has been ‘uncomfortable’ since he came home. You can imagine I’ve been pretty taken up by trying to keep him entertained. Normally he’s so active and never stops moving around, he even leaps about when he’s playing with his Xbox. Now you know why I wasn’t around.
Next week will be a bit the same as I have lessons every morning and friends are coming over from England for two weeks. They stay on the campsite as we haven’t got the room, but we’ll be out on trips etc. It’s not going to be easy as our friend’s ex-husband dropped down dead about three weeks ago, he was only 47. They had been separated for almost two years and were due to start divorce proceedings this month. She was hoping they could get back together again. Problem is, they had a couple of really nice holidays here with us and it will bring back a lot of memories.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Testicles:: men
  2. Ribald:: crude
  3. Auction:: e-bay
  4. Inch:: mile
  5. Tony:: Blair (!)
  6. Phony:: false
  7. Stool:: bench
  8. Coyote:: animal
  9. Cinderella:: slippers
  10. Battery:: power

Memory book.
I’ve been getting fed up with comments about my forgetting to do things. I’ve started a memory book and I’m going to write everything down in it. If I remember and if I can find a pen.
Progress report
The hall and corridor and finished now. It looks lighter and more spacious(I chose white). Next is the kitchen, so I’ll be furniture humping today so that I can get at the walls, we’ll just have to live in a reduced kitchen for a few days. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A bit sad...
As anyone who reads this regularly knows, I enjoy playing with my blogshares.  Recently all of the hot tops have been, well, hot.  I have a personel rule that I check out the blogs before I buy the shares.  I don't bother anymore.  I hope they'll have some good wholesome writing again before long.
I know it's late
AOL9  often goes off.  It's very good and restarting itself and then saying Success.  Perhaps if someone could tell them it would be even more Successful if they just stayed connected.

Carina Martin
I don’t know who this lady is, but for several years now we’ve been receiving National Statistics magazine in her name at our address.  It’s a great magazine for snippets for lessons and just an interesting read.
 This month there was a letter about the very first bug in a computer, you can see it here.  The letter was written because of a fascinating article about Admiral Hopper.  One of the first geeks perhaps?  In the nicest possible way.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Olivier helped with the painting.
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Sleep:: yes please
  2. Stats:: numbers
  3. Portfolio:: papers
  4. Lipton:: yellow
  5. Telly:: selly
  6. Immigrate:: move
  7. Viable:: worth it
  8. Serene:: calm
  9. Mountain:: snow
  10. Natalie:: colleague 

The return of the Xbox
While we were in England, Olivier bought four new Xbox games.  They are cheaper in the UK  Unfortunately we were away for two weeks, two weeks is a long time to wait when you’re 13.  When we arrived home the first thing Olivier did was get out the new games and turn on the beloved box.  The drawer jammed.  He was very good about it.  He got straight on to Microsoft and thanks to the guarantee, organized collection and repairs.  Rob and I were so relieved, we didn’t need to do a thing!

The Xbox came home today, two weeks later.
He ain’t here
Mike and Hélène will be marrying in New York next week.  All the papers have come through on time.

Olivier spends a lot of time hanging round (you can’t really say playing when you’re talking about 13 and 14 year olds) with Hélène’s brother, Fabien.  Last week Mike’s mother phoned and Fabien answered.  As he didn’t understand a word she said he passed her to Olivier.  Olivier’s knowledge of American English comes from '50 cents' and Ice hockey games.  “He ain’t here” he told her.  My son is so charming.
I forgot to report on Christian’s well being.  He loves his new job and is loved by the ladies he works with and the customers.  It was so good to come home having seen him so well and happy again.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Wet Paint
I'm decorating at the moment.  Hope to be back soon.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The most useful site I've seen for  long time
As I'm in my late forties now I do worry a bit about my health especially as my Dad was diabetic and he died of cancer.  This site is so useful for calculating the chances of having a range of problems.  AND you get sensible advice, just watch those averages go down when you click on the box!

I’ve been soooo good
over the last 24 hours.  I’ve cleaned out the washing machine room.  This mainly involved moving bags of teddies into the garage.  This morning I made two trips to the tip (not with teddies I hasten to add) with school books and papers dating back from 1993.  Three children produce a lot of paper.  I’m sure I could find more to go but I have a husband who insists on keeping every last item.  You know the idea; “That broken plate might just come in useful one day.”
 Please don’t suggest using broken china to add drainage to plant pots, I all ready know that one.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

 Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Nostalgia::  old times 
  2. Irreplaceable::  precious 
  3. Odd::  bizaare
  4. James Spader::  who? 
  5. Flamboyant::  eccentric
  6. Intense::  heavy 
  7. Simple::  plain 
  8. Septic::  doubtful 
  9. Ton::  weight 
  10. Turkey::  Christmas 

If you love books you must visit Hay-On-Wye.  There are lots of curious second-hand bookshops.  We started off with the ‘Honesty’ bookshop;  The books are on large metal bookshelves in the castle grounds, open to the elements, you just browse and make your choice.  There must be thousands of books to choose from.  Some of them have been damaged by the rain.  Rob found me a 1942 edition of  ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier.  When you’ve finished you put your money in a box; one price for hardbacks, another for paperbacks.
Rob and the boys had to Drag Dom and me from the ‘Largest second-hand bookshop in the world’.  We went down into the basement and got stuck into the languages section.  Dom found a Chinese/Russian dictionary.  I found a Russian phrase book which was so well done Dom could actually understand what I was trying to say!  There were books on teaching English as a foreign language.  Some of them very old.  I’m pleased to see I already have an important ‘ingredient’, enthusiasm.
 Dom and I were sad to leave Hay-On-Wye, but the boys wanted some ‘real’ shops.
We can do new things now
Like experiment with Font and colour.  Why haven't they got Comic?  It's my favourite

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Crippling:: crutches
  2. Tough:: meat
  3. Slinky:: lycra
  4. Slogan:: ad
  5. Stuffed:: chicken
  6. Instructions:: help
  7. Expletive:: deletive
  8. Cartoon:: toons
  9. Toddler:: baby
  10. Insinuation:: sly
Girl talk
Went to have my "well woman" tests today. Don't go for a smear the day before your period is due. The thingy starts it off and them they can't do it and then you have to go back next week. I bet you'll all tell me you already knew that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

If the ring comes off a ring-pull can how do you open the can, safely?
Quiz time

Earth girl
You are a true nature girl!

Which Ultimate Beautiful Woman are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I found this on Mary Lou's site
Wine Whine
Buzz and the Empress went to a really great sounding wine tasting. I recently heard that the most popular wines in Britain are not French. In France we can only buy French wine. I've probably said this before but I keep hearing about the New World wines and I loved Californian wine when I lived in England back in the early 80's. Grrr!

Track back still doesn't work
I quite enjoyed flying.
Although it was only for an hour at a time. My ears popped a lot despite the strawberry creams I sucked. On the way over, my left ear became very painful and was still popping for nearly a week. My left ear is popping now, hope it doesn't go on for a week this time.
Darwin’s daughter
When we visit Malvern priory I like to look at the old grave stones. A lot of them are unreadable now, being a couple of hundred years old. I was very surprised to see an elderly lady tending one of the graves. She came up to me and asked if I was interested in History. She told me about the grave she had been looking after; It was the Grave of Anne Darwin, who was brought to Malvern by her father, Charles Darwin, when she was ten years old to take the cure. She had T.B., unfortunately she died and was buried at the Priory. The lady told me that although she’d lived there for over 50 years she didn’t know about this until recent years. She lives in a flat which contains the room where Anne died.

Looking again at the grave stones I could see that a lot of people were from other parts of England, a lot of them were women and girls.

The cure consisted of drinking lots of water and walking the hills. I think you’ll agree that a lot of people would benefit from that today.
Back again !
We arrived home on Monday just 11 hours after leaving Malvern, it used to take 2 days.
The weather was dreadful, although we didn’t have too much rain, it was cold and one night there was a storm. We got to see all of the family and visited lots of places. We shopped in Gloucester and Cheltenham, lots of agreeable changes in those two towns. We visited Gloucester cathedral to see the cloisters where the corridor scenes from the Harry Potter films were recorded.
My mother in law made it to the top of the Malvern hills. She’s 81 and was surprised at her own fitness. There used to be a tea room up there but it burnt down and the law prevents a new one from being built.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Holiday time
This afternoon we’re off to the land of fish and chips, cream teas, cheese and onion crisps/potato chips and warm beer. I shall be flying for the fist time. I’ve decided not to worry about that until I’ve tried it out for myself. This year I’ll be able to post some pics when I get back. Have a good holiday to anyone else who’s away around now. See you mid-July.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The time Bandits
When I used to stay the weekend with friends over twenty years ago they always hired The Time Bandits. Today I was talking about English humour with Jean-Christophe (maths and physics)and he has actually seen this film. Does anyone else remember it?
Review with pictures here.
For want of something better to do
I took a look at what was going on a year ago.....
I was packing for our holidays, something I should be doing now. Dom had just installed AOL8 and now we've got 9. Wow!

A couple of things I must tell you, good news, we don't seem to get much of that these days. Hélène and Mike will be getting married in the summer. Hélène has just got some papers to sort out in order to emigrate to the States.

My hairdresser is expecting twins at Christmas.
Paul Armfield and the Four Good Reasons
At the glastonbury festival today (my cousin)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy
I bet Daisy has got this up before me. Good news! The BBC are going to continue the audio version of the book. All of the old actors who are still alive will take part. There will even be the voice of Douglas Adams himself. Recording of auditions where DA read a part will be used. Sadly the book, Peter Jones, is no longer with us.

I can’t wait. I'll just have to make do with trying to get out of the bedroom

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Abundance:: plenty
  2. Casino:: games
  3. Shell:: sea side
  4. Overpriced:: expensive
  5. Cancellation:: stopped
  6. Eternal:: ring
  7. Lyrics:: songs
  8. Faith:: belief
  9. Because:: so
  10. Wimp:: runt

What were the towers for?
Someone asked the other day. The towers were to guard the port. La Rochelle has been part of England and part of France in the past. The Huguenots who left for Canada and then ended up in Louisiana came from la Rochelle. There was also a terrible siege when a lot of Rochelais died.

I found my 'film script' so I have more information today:
No one knows the exact dates that the towers were built or should we say completed. The St. Nicolas tower around 1374, the Chain tower around 1382 and the Lantern tower around 1445. The Lantern tower was built over an old tower which dated back to the 12th centaury. The public can't visit the very old part, probably too dangerous.

The public have been able to visit the St. Nicolas and Lantern towers since the 60's, before that date, they were in a pretty bad state. Children played in them. Rob still meets elderly people who talk about how they used to play there, what a playground! The Chain tower has been opened up in the last few years as a floor was missing up until recently, there had been an explosion in there. There was a bar open to the public on the terrace, but that has been closed.

In the past there had been a model of the town of La Rochelle to visit in the Chain tower. When the Ministry of culture took over it was decided that, historically, the model was not at all accurate, so it was taken out. People still come looking for it and are most disappointed to hear that it has been dismantled.

Historians enjoy visiting the towers, so do people who climb up the stairs just for the view! Posted by Hello

The Lantern tower. (or Four Sergeants tower)
This tower served as a light house. It was also a prison, lots of English sailors spent time there. Carved into the floor on one of the levels is a chess board (one way to pass the time). There is also plenty of graffiti. One is a carving of a sailing ship, it's very beautiful and gives a lot of information to historians. It was also known as the Priest's tower, during times of religious conflict, priests were thrown off. I think a few unfortunate sailors met their fate that way too. The romantic title is the Four Sergeants tower. They were rebels who were executed. No one is sure whether there were four and they might even have been taken to Paris to be executed!
 Posted by Hello