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

Saturday, June 19, 2004

At the risk of sounding like Mr Teacher, we haven't got a photocopier at work at the moment, as I'm teaching individuals, it doesn't matter too much. Would you believe I've got one pupil who asks for photocopies of everything. A couple of weeks ago I gave her some pages of vocabulary she'd asked for. The other day she asked me if I'd done those photocopies yet. As I suspected she'd put them in her folder and never looked at them again.
Special Days
As I've been so busy this week, I've missed sharing two special days with you.
June 15th; third anniversary of my Dad's death.
June 17th; 19th wedding anniversary.
Rob and I are now on our 20th year together, it's gone so quickly!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

All systems functioning
I’ve just been for my three monthly check up at the Doctor’s. My blood pressure is DOWN! Though not enough to stop the beta blockers just yet The doctor didn’t realize that I was over 45. I can have a mammogram every two years now. So I have to get that done soon. On my shopping list are various blood tests and a smear, seems like I get one of those once a year, on an empty stomach for my blood tests too. Don’t you envy me?
In the waiting room I was talking to a lady who lives in a house at the back of ours. She gave me a bit of history of the village and we had quit a chat, she’s watched our children grow up and sees us out walking a lot. Well, we do walk a lot, it’s amazing how many people feel that they know us even though we’ve never spoken to them.
Happy hour
The first thing that caught my eye when I popped over to see what Michelle was up to:
Well, I can't publish it because there is a problem with the code and I don't understand enough to sort it out. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Yesterday evening we ate quite early as Dom was going out. With our meal we shared a bottle of wine. Rob and I decided to go out for a walk around 8 o'clock and walked through a street on our usual route to the see. The people in that street were holding a street party and so we were invited to have an aperitif with them. We finished by having three large glasses of Dubonnet (I didn't know it still existed!) We managed to finish our walk without falling over. I haven't drunk that much for at least 20 years. I slept really well except that I woke up around four o'clock with cramp in BOTH legs. Following everyone's advice from last summer (bless you all), I managed to avoid excruciating pain. I suppose I must have been dehydrated. I was fine this morning when I woke up. No hangover!
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Colorblind:: Red and green, purple and blue
  2. Shallow:: Water
  3. Erotica:: Porn
  4. Figment:: Bit
  5. Eviction:: OUT
  6. Composed:: Created
  7. Chill:: Cold
  8. Girl:: Boy
  9. California:: Sun
  10. Bond:: Link
Are you all listening very carefully?
While I was waiting for my student to finish a question sheet yesterday morning I noticed our facts and figures poster had “How to convert centigrade to Fahrenheit” and vice versa. I seem to remember several times coming across people who couldn’t remember what to do, so here goes:

Temperature in centigrade X 9 divided by 5 + 32
(Our stupid computer doesn’t have a division sign!)
To go the other way:
Temperature in Fahrenheit – 32 X 5 divided by 9

This means the temperature I gave the other day of 42.5°C is 108.5 °F. Please note that our thermometer is against a white wall and therefore gets pretty hot when the sun reaches it. Locally, the temperature has been up to 30°C (86°F).

Friday, June 11, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Charity:: Begins at home
  2. Scale:: Graphs
  3. Jennifer Lopez:: From the block?
  4. Coercion:: Planets
  5. Meter:: Rule
  6. Pressure:: Pest
  7. June:: July
  8. Infestation:: Lice
  9. Serial killer:: Jack the Ripper
  10. Anguish:: Angst
I came in pretty late for lunch today and I was starving. Dom and Bonnie had made a beautiful pizza. It was so nice not to have to do anything. Thanks girls!!
Good News
I worked late on Tuesday evening, so I got a message saying that someone had phoned and would phone back later. It was Christian, bursting with the news that he had got onto an apprenticeship course with a travel agency. He did really well in the entrance exam and coupled with his natural charm he won the job. When I caught up with him for a chat online he was choosing his uniform. We're so pleased for him. Unfortunately he starts work on the same day that we arrive in England!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Little update
still,hot, hot, hot. Two of the boys I coach at home have had better marks for the end of the year, so I'm rather pleased with them and myself. Olivier isn't too happy about going to school as Dom has already finished. Her friend Bonnie is staying at the moment. She bought her ashtray with her as our house is no smoking. she pops out into the garden. I think that last time she stayed they climbed out through the bedroom window in the middle of the night. The joys of youth!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Blogroll update.
I'm going to put a new site onto my blogroll. It's written by someone who is dying of cancer. Suprisingly enough this is not a depressing read. It's very special and I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Not a lot to say
I'm just trying to keep cool this afternoon. The thermometer says 42.5°C outside. I worked all morning. Two new students and they were great. One of them is studying business English so I learnt all about flow charts today!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Another one, of the front of the house this time. This was taken last spring, the irises were even better this year Posted by Hello

You always wondered what my kids looked like, didn't you? Posted by Hello

These are two of the towers that Rob works in. The nearest is the chain tower and used to hold the chain that controlled the entrance to the port. The other tower is St. Nicolas. They were both built around the 14th centuary. Posted by Hello

Dom tried to install the web cam but was told it would destabilize XP. Good excuse to buy a new one! So I'm treating you to a couple of picture postcards of La Rochelle Posted by Hello
My D-Day contribution
  • My Mother-in-Law worked in the Admiralty in London so she knew all the plans.
  • The film “The longest Day” was partly filmed across on Re island because the light is so good here. They had to build pretend Normandy huts to make it more realistic. There is even a footpath named after the Director.
  • Olivier’s friend Fabian’s Grandma told them that she used to knit socks for soldiers and put her name and address inside. She got plenty of letters!
  • My Mum loved air raids because her neighbour used to have a tin of toffees. If they went down into the shelter she was allowed a toffee. (sugar was rationed, very few sweets, chocolate or even jam). She was four when the war started.

Now they know who we are
Rob’s ex college Beatrice came round with her husband yesterday. She’s into ceramics and has made us a plaque for our house with our number and name on it . In France we still display our names on our letter boxes (see ‘A Tale of Two Cities’).
She’ s also painted a sprig of poppies and other wild flowers on it based on an illustration from ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’. They even attached it to the wall for us. Last week I found the missing cable to the web cam, so when Dom wakes up I’ll ask her to show me how to do a photo and put it into the computer, then I can post it (all by myself) for you to see!
Thunderbirds are go
Or hell has no fury like a blackbird scorned
Yesterday evening I went out to see why the blackbirds were making such a fuss. There was a young bird trapped in a corner. The cat had gone when I arrived, but of course he was afraid of me too. Olivier came to see the bird and then we withdrew to a discrete distance while an adult flew down and encouraged him to fly off. It’s nice to be of service.
Fete des Meres
Today is Mother’s day in France. Happy Mother’s day everyone!! Rob is working so didn’t have time to give me a pressie this morning, I know he’s got me something. Olivier is saving up for something I want so I must wait another week; Dom is going in with Olivier. I shall cut myself some peonies from the garden and go out and sniff the Seringa (Sorry it’s in French but it was the nicest picture I could find), I’ve got the double and the branches are bowed down with the weight of the flowers this year.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Brian Bennett
I’ve just been reading about a remarkable man, Brian Bennett,(You have to sign in to read the whole article)who seems to invented some ‘invisible gloves’. I was particularly interested in this as Rob’s step-father spent a lot of time in hospital during his last yearand picked up an infection. My mother-in-law had to burn all of any clothes that might have come into contact with the bug. That’s how bad it is. It sounds as if what he has invented will make life more bearable for a lot of people.

I was amazed to find just how many famous people there are with the name Brian Bennett.
What I've been up to.
I have been busy, busy again and it’s going to get busier. I’ve now got a contract to give lessons to a lady who’s goal is to teach commerce in English. I was quite worried about it at first, she’s very smart, linen suit etc., but very nice and has small children so I don’t risk doing extra long lessons into the small hours. I shall be learning a lot here too. My weekend reading is; The Civilisation of modern Britain plus any recent Newsweeks I can lay my hands on!! As I was leaving yesterday, Lionel called me over, there is a student who wants 14 hours of lessons within a week. I can just about fit it in with a couple of 8 o’clock starts and a Saturday morning thrown in. I’m glad I love my job, though I’m starting to feel exhausted just thinking about it all!