Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another week already
That one certainly passed quickly. Hope you all had a peaceful Christmas like we did. The weather was freezing and the snow passed over us so we woke up yesterday to cold rain.

Christian phoned on Thursday morning with bad news. He’d been out in his new car on Wednesday evening with friends, left the road and turned the car over several times. Miraculously no one was hurt, he hadn’t been drinking, the road conditions were icy though. We’ve since found out that a tyre blew. Goodness knows what will happen next with the insurance company, he only passed his driving test two weeks before. I too lived out in a village when I first stated work and getting to work and around generally without a car is a real headache for young people.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The turkey
and all the last bits and pieces have now been bought. I doubt very much that I shall have time for the computer between now and Monday so I’ll take this moment to wish you all a very

Happy Christmas!

Hope Santa Claus brings you everything you wished for and more!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The interview
We set off at 7.30 in the morning so it was cold and dark, by the time we arrived at our destination it was cold and foggy. We had an hour, so found a café where we could warm up with a cup of coffee.

The interview went very well and I felt pleased with myself and liked the people who were doing the interview, though I couldn’t understand why they kept asking me about my experience with problem children, when the job would be teaching unemployed adults and motivating them for their (hopefully) future jobs. We didn’t hang around to visit the town as it was too cold. I got a phone call on the way back to let me know I hadn’t got the job, BUT they have a project for the future with younger unemployed people and would like to keep my details for that. I look forward to hearing from them, though I’ve heard the story of future projects before.

I don’t feel as if I wasted my time, after all an interview is always a useful experience.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Replenish:: renew
  2. People:: lots
  3. Trend:: mode
  4. Girlfriends:: laughter
  5. Spirit:: soul
  6. Banshee:: screaming
  7. Oasis:: water
  8. Thrills:: and spills
  9. Fountain:: pen
  10. Boxes:: pressies!
eBay bug bites
Lots of tension in the Knutsen household today. Rob has decided to try selling old postcards on ebay and his auctions end this afternoon. He’s been collecting old postcards of La Rochelle for some time, so when a lot of 200 cards of France came up a couple of weeks ago he decided to buy them and sort them into lots. For me the interesting bit is reading the messages on the back. There was a lovely card which had been sent to someone’s nephew and there was obviously great affection between them. I wonder what happened to them, probably both dead by now.
Another week gone by
Christian phoned on Wednesday afternoon to let me know that he’d passed his driving test. Anyone who has lived in rural England will realize how important that is for a young person. Where I lived we only had three buses a WEEK, it was awful having to ask for lifts all of the time so I understand how pleased he was.

I’ve been supervising exams again. Lots of short exams so they went quite quickly. We now have calculators to issue for exams where simple calculators only are allowed, you wouldn’t believe how complicated issuing a small calculator can be, not to mention getting them back again! Last day tomorrow, then Rob will meet me in town and we’ll see the Christmas lights.

I’ve got an interview on Wednesday, I have to travel to the south of the department, though the lessons will be in La Rochelle. We’ve decided to make a day of it and play the tourist afterwards. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jobs and things
I had my six monthly interview at the job agency on Friday morning. It went really well, except they don’t have any jobs. I was able to produce proof that I’d applied for 21 jobs, out of that I had about three interviews. Something came up while I was there, so I sent off yet another application on Saturday morning.

Beatrice (she made our house sign) let Rob know they are looking for extras for a film being made in January, so I went to theatrical agency on Tuesday and filled in a form there and had my photo taken. Most of the other people were younger than me, so lets hope they need 50 year olds in their crowd scenes. It was advertised online so I printed out the details to put in my ‘jobs applied for’ file.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Very useful information
If you’ve ever wondered about using a mooncup go and read how Doris got on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Boys will be
A week or so ago Olivier asked me to sign him off sport. When I asked him why he said it was because it messes up his hair. He spends ages with the gel and hairdryer in the morning, normally he has the most beautiful tight curls. Now he’s started to shave from time to time, he’s borrowed my moisturizer because his skin has become really dry. Rob has a beard and Christian is in England so he hasn’t really got anyone to ask for advice in the shaving field.

Christian phoned yesterday evening to tell me all about his visit to Egypt. I was expecting to hear all about mummies, Pharaohs and pyramids. No, he didn’t ‘do’ that, he went to Sharm et-Sheikh, quad biking in the desert, hang gliding over the sea, or whatever you call it. When he left home he wasn’t at all sporty, but last week he had the time of his life!
Nearly there
The Outside decorations are up and running now. Rob stays pretty modest (for a change), white lights only. We had a walk around our end of the village last night. Mainly the same people who put lights outside. I think Grandparents are the most enthusiastic. One garden has a huge, lit up, inflatable Santa Claus. I’d seen him lying down during the day and wondered what he was going to become.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Just an example of some of the hundreds of ornaments we've he's collected over the years.
At last! A photo of our tree. Rob managed to refind the reindeer lights, I'll have to try harder to lose them next year.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Amazing:: brilliant!
  2. Delights:: lights
  3. Inspired:: uplifted
  4. Disgusted:: yeuk
  5. You:: me?
  6. Vagina:: women
  7. Palm:: Sunday
  8. Sweetheart:: love
  9. Guilt:: unease
  10. More to come:: again

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Rob has put tinsel on the tree. When I’ve finished writing this I’ll be able to put the last boxes away…somewhere.

This morning we walked round to the post office, having chosen a lull in the storm. All of a sudden the wind picked up and we heard a ‘clatter’ coming closer and closer, it was hail. We were soaked. The wind was blowing so hard we were almost dry again just before we got home, then there was another downpour.

This afternoon I visited every single blog on my blogroll.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Olivier was off school with a sore throat and the start of a cold. Rob continued with the Christmas decorations and I struggled to find places to put everything we aren’t using over the Christmas period.

Still very cold outside (for us)

I put up the Christmas tree (it must be 15 years old now and still looks good) and sorted out the lights. Only one set doesn’t work which is okay by me because I thought they were tacky anyway.

Started putting the baubles on the tree and than we had a debate ‘en famille’ about whether the tree will look overcrowded with tinsel on as well. We shall try putting tinsel around the bottom of the tree only. I still have 4 big boxes to store somewhere.
Stormy weather alert from 6pm thursday till 3pm Friday.

Dominique suffering with a bad cold today, she insisted on going to lycée, but she does finish at 11. This is the first year we haven’t bought a single advent calendar. I am reopening a pretty one that we close up and reopen every year. Today there is a Christmas stocking behind the little door.

What was on your calender?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Advent 1
Hope everyone enjoyed their turkey and pumpkin pie. Now the count down to Christmas takes it’s turn. This afternoon Rob and I started getting out the decorations. We’ll be working on them for several days as he likes to decorate everything. We put away all of his photo albums (getting on for 40 I should think), all of the DVDs and a lot of books to make way for everything. Then comes the tree. This year I should be able to post some pictures.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Water, water
I don’t know if it’s the wine merchants getting their revenge for falling off sales, but we’ve recently been urged to drink tap water (quelle horreur!) here in France. Most people who drink water, drink bottled water. Yesterday on the evening news there was a report about how people had been warned in one region not to use tap water for drinking or cooking. Ha, ha ! Personally, I prefer fizzy water myself, it is recommended to change brands from time to time. Live, as I write, I am going to test a small glass of tap water before your very eyes (as it were)….. It’s nice and cold anyway…. there is definitely a chemical after taste. I don’t think I shall finish the glass.

We have a saying in France: “ If you’re thirsty, drink water”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Winter is definitely here
We've had zero temperatures now for almost a week. Officially we don't get frost until mid- December if we get it at all. Yesterday Rob and I went out for a couple of walks as it was his day off. The sea was blue, the sky was blue and the marshes were blue. It was really beautiful, just to complete the picture a pair of swans flew across. Pity about the cold wind that was blowing

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Like an empty house
I feel as if I’ve been neglecting things of late. I know I’ve published some posts, but I feel as if the polishing hasn’t been done. I mean visiting all of my friends. I must admit my stats have dropped quote a bit recently. Have you noticed how houses ‘look’ empty very quickly when people move out. The garden might be left well groomed but the emptiness shows. Here the houses have shutters, but I can usually spot an empty house even when the shutters are closed. It feels like something is missing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A day late
Yesterday was Dom’s 17th birthday and, neglectful mother that I am, I didn’t post a Happy Birthday Dom. So here it is:

Happy Birthday Dom!!

(for yesterday)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Mighty:: God
  2. Gotta find time to ....:: do everything!
  3. Statistic:: numbers, numbers
  4. Midnight:: magic hour
  5. Thaw:: slush
  6. Hips:: child bearing
  7. Reader:: library
  8. Related:: family
  9. Brilliant:: bright
  10. Posture:: how to sit witha book on your head
Back to see the Swedish chef*
I had my yearly appointment with the ‘wimmins doctor’ on Saturday morning. It was not as stressful as last year as he knew where to look with his microscope and didn’t need to take a biopsy. I’m fine. When the results of the smear get back I’ve got to see my own Doctor and stop taking the hormones as I haven’t had a period for over a year now. I suppose the menopausal fun will begin shortly after that.

* see entry October 9th 2004

Friday, November 11, 2005

Today is a holiday in France, everyone takes the day off to remember the end of the first world war. In the village there is a small procession to the memorial and at eleven o’clock exactly a shot will be fired. The children from the primary school used to be invited to attend. I don’t know if they still go. My three certainly went several times. In France there are six men left alive who fought in the ‘great war’.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Olivier’s next adventure
He came home on Saturday afternoon with a broken brake cable on his BMX, unfortunately it was the only break that worked that broke (if you follow me). He was only going as fast as possible down a one way street the wrong way and shot across the main road and hit a wall (I do wish he’d spare me the details). He was very lucky there was nothing coming in either road. He hurt his wrist, but as he didn’t bother to tell me till the evening I figured the damage wasn’t too serious.

A few years ago one of the village lads was killed on his moped, on a Saturday afternoon. He ignored the stop sign at the crossroads near his home, unfortunately the driver of the car that hit him had stolen the car and was driving way over the limit. I dragged out the story again to emphasize that 14 year olds are not immortal, to much rolling of eyes. It’s hard being a mother.
I’m back!
We now own a super slim monitor by Atlantis Land (never heard of them). Is it super clear because of my new glasses or because it is super clear? We were all a bit lost. I didn’t see Dom all weekend because she was reading in her room, she usually comes out from time to time to chat with friends or do school work. During the holidays she decided to enter two short story competitions, fortunately she’d finished the first before the monitor blew up. She usually writes her ideas up in longhand first, so has got ahead with her notes for the second story. I was just getting the hang of writing AdWords so I was frustrated to be without a computer for so long. Rob and I went to a cyber café on Monday Morning for an hour. So now I know what that’s like. It was interesting to use a different computer for a change. All that rests of the original set up are the speakers.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible
The monitor went sssshhhhhh pop so we're waiting for a new one, hopefully I'll be back around mid-month.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Living in an unparallel dimension
Today I was excited because I picked up my new glasses. I now have to wear glasses for seeing faraway and near to, but not all the time. The specialist told me to wear them all the time at first, so when I got home, I put them on. Rather weird, to say the least. Any parallel lines are not right. When I was preparing lunch the corner of the table to my left looked as if it had been raised by a foot. I expected everything to slide off the table! The computer is squashed up on one side and the keyboard undulates. I tried reading and found it awkward to find the right spot to put the page so I could see it clearly. I’ve also taken a paracetemol. I wish this keyboard would keep still! The girl in the opticians warned me about going down steps. Fortunately, we live in a bungalow. I suppose I shall fall down my first set of stairs in public.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I picked this up while surfing on Blogexplosion

You are Galadriel, Lady of Light. You like nature,
especially trees. You are wise and people come
to you for advice. You are friendly to other
people, even strangers, even though the movie
made you seem like a monotonous dud, as far as
personality goes.

Which Middle-earth maiden are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dear Phyllis,

I'm writing to let you know that your comments have disappeared and I couldn't find your e-mail address. I did enjoy reading the Halloween post, now I have good excuses for not going trick or treating

Lots of love


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Check up
I had my flu vaccination yesterday evening. While I was there I picked up a new prescription for everything else I need. I asked if I could stop the anti cholesterol medicine as I'm checking what I eat so carefully and the doctor said yes. Blood pressure normal (so it should be with the beta blockers!).
A tale from a small village
As you’ve probably gathered if you read regularly, L’Houmeau is a small village. We have two bakers, two hairdressers, a chemist, a lady who does dressmaking, post office newsagents/tobacconist and a small supermarket (four yogurts on the dairy shelf, if you are lucky). Having said that, not everyone knows everyone else.

Olivier and two of his friends were in the newsagents the other day looking at magazines. The owner of the newsagents doesn’t mind them browsing and keeps an eye on them If Olivier sees something he wants he comes home to collect his money (He lost his lost wallet before the summer holidays). A woman stormed into the newsagents and asked the boys if they had any money to pay, they answered no they didn’t have any money, so she ordered them out of the shop. Olivier asked her what the problem was and she told them crossly that they had stolen drinks from the supermarket. So the boys went to the supermarket to see the owner (they do go in there frequently to buy snacks and drinks) with the woman following. The owner of the supermarket turned to the woman and told her that she was accusing the wrong boys. Fortunately she had the grace to apologize.

I was pleased that Olivier had the courage to sort it all out. I told him that when I was 14 we were all expected to be football hooligans. Things don’t change much.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Infiltration:: leak
  2. Nice person:: Me!
  3. Debt:: owe too much
  4. Settle down:: find a girl, if you like you can marry.
  5. Thomas:: The Tank Engine
  6. Unforgivable:: broken promise
  7. Medicine:: science
  8. A year from now:: future
  9. Neighbors:: friends
  10. Dripping:: tap
Magic pencils
Olivier and I went to have our eyes tested yesterday. Olivier’s eyes haven’t changed, he just wears glasses for the TV, computer etc. I now need glasses that see close to and far, although I don’t have to wear them all the time.

While we were at the bus station I saw a woman in a bright purple suit and a crimson red scarf. She reminded me of the crayons we used to get when we were small, they were called magic crayons or pencils, I don’t remember which . The crayons were double ended with a different colour each end, you had to dip them into water and you could ‘paint ‘with them (people in those days used to think children were stupid). Lack of jam jars meant we used to lick ours. My favourite was the crayon with purple and pink. The purple suit and red scarf reminded me of those crayons.

I found this afterwards, is that why they were so tasty?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Project for the weekend
The coca cola recipe, infact there are a few. Let me know how you get on.
As found by Linky and Dinky
Star gazer
On clear nights I can see a very bright star, it’s to the south west and quite low down in the sky (don’t forget I might not be looking from the same position as you). Does anyone know what it is?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

We finally watched the film. It was good, I didn’t even fall asleep, though we watched it in two sessions. However, I was left with some unanswered questions.

1. What background did he come from in order to have been educated in England?

How long was he in prison for?

You know where I’ll be checking out the answers.

1. his Father was a chief minister

2. He was imprisoned many times, but no longer that two years at a time.

( can't help thinking it's a good job he looked like Ben Kingsley)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Some one clicked 60 times on each of my ads in the sidebar yesterday. Whoever you are, please don’t do it again. They turn up as invalid clicks anyway. One click is enough.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Please help
I had my favourite pupil today, she's been absent for three weeks suffering from shingles. She came armed with questions and two of them I'm not qualified to answer as they are about American English.

1. Do you say CV or do you call it something else?
2. Coyote; do you sound the e at the end ( ex: coyotee)?

Thank you
Rainy Saturday
We went into town for breakfast on Saturday (in the rain) and then went to the Lantern tower as Rob had to collect something. Unfortunately there was a staffing problem so Rob had to put his ‘union secretary’ hat on and try to sort it out. Olivier and I looked around some of the exhibits to pass the time. There was an illustrated display about the slave trade which we looked at and discussed. La Rochelle made a lot of money though the slaves. I wish that Olivier was a ‘reader’ because I’m certain that he would enjoy reading ‘Roots’.

We left Rob to it and came home. Rob got home for lunch and them spent the rest of the afternoon and up till three in the morning sorting it out writing reports etc. It was still raining.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

In the French education system dictation has become fashionable again. I remember dreading dictations, but it really is a good way to learn difficult spellings. Some dictations are on the spot, some are prepared and at primary school my children had to learn auto dictations. A piece to be learned by heart and written out from memory, spelling and all.

I remember spelling tests, we were given ten words on Monday to be learnt by Friday. We even had a special thin exercise/copy book to write spellings into. When I went to secretarial college we had 10 short forms to learn every day (remember shorthand?). If a word was wrong it was added to the next days list, this made the wrong doer unpopular with the rest of the class. As I was hopeless, my classmates soon hit on the plan that I was to lie about all the words I had got wrong. Fortunately I only stuck there for one term. I’ve also used this system for teaching the dreaded irregular verbs.
Just what season is it?
In La Rochelle the workmen have already started to put up the Christmas lights, a real sign of winter. A local journalist has noted that they were all working in T-shirts!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two very different books
I read ‘Plain Truth’ by Jodi Picoult and then followed it with ‘The Pianoplayers’ (no, not Piano Players) by Anthony Burgess (Can't find a link with a pic). I enjoyed them both, but I was suffering from culture shock afterwards. ‘Plain truth’ is about the Amish community and what happens when a dead baby is found, there is also a love story to keep the romantics amongst us happy. A beautiful book which I learnt from. ‘The Pianoplayers’ was a very English book. Do people use the word bawdy these days? About the early life of a prostitute with her pianoplaying father. You can learn how to play the piano with this book too.

I might be a bit quiet for a while as I’ve just started ‘The Complete Sherlock Holmes’, all 1122 pages of it in very small print, as it happens I’ve got an appointment for an eye examination at the end of the month, I think I might need it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Don't go away!
The Unconcious Mutterings you can see under this post aren't the same ones, there are some new posts underneath.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Quirk:: tick
  2. Crystal:: ball
  3. Pet Peeve:: dried up cereal bowls!
  4. Cuban:: heel
  5. Breasts:: woman
  6. Whispers:: whiskers
  7. Complicated:: life!
  8. Promise me:: I never make promises because I think they should never be broken
  9. Murder:: news
  10. Filament:: shooting star
All our yesterdays
I just went and looked in the archives for two years ago. We got broadband in October 2003 and then had to upgrade the computer which caused the most terrible problems. Olivier had to have two milk teeth out that were stuck (I don’t remember that at all!). I seemed to have a lot more to say then, perhaps I’ve got blogger’s block.
The inauguration if the walk we went on last weekend took place on Saturday. There were lots of speeches from all involved; district, department, village and mayor. Fortunately the sun was shining and it was quite hot; After, we all went for a ‘vin d’ honneur’ and to look at old photographs of the village. On a large table the drinks were set out in the shape of the map of the walk, those on the coastal side containing a blue cocktail. It was a pity to spoil all the hard work. About 150 people tuned up, mainly the older people of the village. Perhaps it’s because younger people don’t consider walking as useful exercise.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Quaint:: old
  2. Rind:: bacon
  3. Disease:: illness
  4. Queer:: strange
  5. Pork:: pig
  6. Soaked:: wet through
  7. Skeleton:: bones
  8. Mold:: musty smell
  9. Finished::over
  10. Buffalo:: girls
All organized for nothing
I got all of my papers, questions and identity together, so that I could find out about funding for the studies for the exam I’d like to do. I took two buses across town to the unemployment center where I thought my file was held. The center has closed down. So I take the same bus (by coincidence) all the way back to the beginning of the route to the center which is open. It is closed on Thursday mornings. The only good part is, that it was only 15 minutes away, on foot, from where I left the car.

I set off again this morning all hopeful. They haven’t been funding studies since 2001 when the payment system changed. The lady was really nice, especially as my information book was printed in 2005! I managed to find out how much all this is going to cost. Rob and I will have to talk about it tonight.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

After a rest and a cup of tea
We went off to the bigoudène, which is our favourite crêperie. My birthday meal at last! I wish I could find a picture of what we ate. I thought about taking a photo but it was very quickly too late….. Rob booked a table outside, which started off okay but became a little chilly towards the end of the evening.

During the war the Germans built many blockhouses along the west coast of France, this one has now been turned into an observation point.

The old mill, the oldest remaining building at the port.

Two thousand years ago the Romans constructed an aqueduct here. You can’t see much of it today. It’s been covered up to be looked at in the future. Most of it has possibly been destroyed the weight of agricultural machinery.

Pilgrims used to stop here. This has the traditional head gear worn by women in L’Houmeau up to the beginning of the 20th century

The same view of the church today

The great uncle of Antoine de Saint Exupery , author of “The Little prince”, was mayor of L’Houmeau for a while.

Around the village
It’s become the fashion around here for the villages to set up discovery walks. Our village has just put in place the information for a 9 kilometer historical tour.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Thank you
Thanks to blog explosion, I won 75 credits this morning. All I did was surf quietly minding my own business and I won fifty. A couple of blogs later I won 25 more. Just in time to have a couple more chances on this month's blog lottery.
Doing my duty
Yesterday evening was a parents meeting. The first meeting of the year runs like this. We sit in a conference room and are told all about the college and how well the pupils did in last years exams (better than national and local averages), how small the classes are (between 24 and 28), etc., etc. Then we are sent off to the classroom allocated to our child’s class. The teachers come round in turn to tell us about what they will be doing in class and how they feel about discipline and odds and ends. Nine families out of twenty four were represented

First came the biology teacher who is also responsible for the class this year. I used to work with her and she is very enthusiastic about her subject. In fact they will be studying ‘man’ this year, we got a taste too, she concluded by telling us that even rats have a place in the order of things. I understand that, but I think some of the parents think she’s got a screw loose. Bless her.

Olivier’s French teacher reminded me of my last English teacher. ‘The worst class I have ever taught’, ‘They can’t spell’, ‘They can’t construct a sentence’, some of them ‘Can’t read out loud’. He thought that on the whole the class was willing to learn (fortunately). As he was leaving he reassured us that all 14 year olds throughout France were just as bad. Olivier quite likes him. He’s very strict and the classes are ‘calm’, they get on with their work without problems. He gave Olivier a ‘mission’ the other day and handed him a paper to deliver, telling him to hurry up or the paper would self destruct within 45 seconds. I wonder what his favourite series was?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A good read!
Yesterday I finished ‘The Sins of the Mothers’ by Frank Delaney. It’s a good thick book, 509 pages, and every page worth it’s weight. The book is set in Ireland in the mid 1920s. I shall read it again.

Because I’m English I didn’t really learn anything about Ireland until I came to France. I suppose these things were censored, though we were always told when the IRA bombed somewhere! I remember when we had the chance to conduct assembly ourselves on Wednesday’s, one of the boys chose the Irish struggles as his theme. I was shocked to learn that the ‘troubles’ had been going on for several hundred years. In England most of the people I knew were Church of England, but they didn’t practice. The church seemed to be a place where weddings, christenings and funerals took place. Under those conditions it was hard to understand why people would feel strongly about their faith.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A little bit of history
After breakfast on the port we decided to go for a walk along the front at Châtelaillon Plage, a seaside town not far from la Rochelle. In the distant past there was a town there until the 12th century, when it was destroyed. Châtellaillon ‘Plage’ (beach) was constructed in the middle of the 19th century when the railway company decided it would make a good stop between La Rochelle and Saintes. The houses are mainly from this period and when we arrived 20 years ago the town was in quite a dilapidated state, many houses in need of repair. When the tide was in, the beach was limited to a small corner and in winter the town was deserted.

About five years or so ago developers constructed new luxury flats on the front, they had to reconstruct the casino as building activities unsettled the foundations. The beach was ‘resanded’ and the old rocks taken away. Old houses were bought up and restored as the town became fashionable once again and the local council improved roads and planted trees and plants in abundance .

It’s only recently that we discovered that Châtelaillon Plage was a purpose built town. Unfortunately, knowing this has ruined our enjoyment. Everything is squeaky clean and just so now, even the beach doesn’t look real. At least the sun was shining and there was a pleasant breeze.

Monday, September 26, 2005

26th September 1955
I googled the date and discovered:
  • The first episode of ‘The adventures of Robin Hood’ with Richard Greene was screened in the US
  • Eddie Fisher married Debbie Reynolds
  • NY Stock Exchange worst price decline since 1929.

Our local paper gives the deaths of Degas, Bartok and Tino Rossi all happening on Sept 26th and George gershwin was born in 1898.

Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Wet and quiet
Not a lot going on here this weekend. It’s raining, which is newsworthy after a summer of drought. Yesterday we were coming back from the post office when we saw a bunch of people hanging about on the corner outside our house. They were the people who are interested in buying the house next door and estate agent (sounds like they want to buy the esate agent too, doesn't it?). They were very apologetic as they’d been into our garden to check a wall which screens the terrace. The wall is leaning out a bit and could fall into our garden. We had a nice chat and I was pleased to see they take it as their responsibility. It also means that they can see there is a problem from their side. The house is being let at the moment and I suppose the tenants didn’t worry about such things so much. If those people do buy the house at least we know we’ll have decent neighbours.

We watched a couple more episodes of Columbo. Janet Liegh was in the first, she was really lovely. The second episode starred the manager of the hotel in Pretty Woman, Hector Elizondo, in Arab robes, tres sexy!

Tomorrow is the big five-oh for me. Rob’s got a day off so we might go off somewhere and have lunch out. Hope it stops raining.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Two Interviews
The first was on Friday at an estate agents. I think the interview went well enough, but the job was not for me; firstly you are paid to work 35 hours on minimum wage, but in fact you are expected to work up to thirty more hours a week. You also need to be ‘pushy’ and able to sort out disputes between clients . I don’t really fit that profile.

Job number two was at the airport. Helping English tourists with queries and questions about where to go, how to do this, that, buy a house etc. I really would have loved to have worked there. Unfortunately, the young lady who has set up the agency has only been there a month, business just starting to really pick up in the last week, so it is too early for her to take on anyone at the moment. We had a very pleasant chat anyway and she asked if I would be available to work the odd hour or so if she needed help, I told her yes as I’m free at the moment. So perhaps there is something there in the future.

I also have a project in hand. To take an examination as an assistant librarian for the state. In France if you have had three children, age and qualifications can be overlooked (my qualifications are from the English system). I have to go to the unemployment agency to see if I can get my studies paid for and what they think of my project. With that examination I would be able to work in school and university libraries, if there aren’t anymore government cuts, that is…
Gone With the Wind
I’ve just finished reading a biography of Vivien Leigh by Anne Edwards and yes, I cried at the end. The thing that touched me the most was the battle with her physical and mental health. She sounds as if she was a lovely person when she was well. She certainly had some very devoted friends to look after her when she was ill. Such a sad story.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Less filling:: flat
  2. Glue::UHU
  3. Surprise me:: hiccups
  4. Model:: make
  5. Fee:: price
  6. Microphone:: noise
  7. Choices:: pick and choose
  8. To the bone:: tired
  9. Run!:: help!
  10. Appeal:: request

Thursday, September 15, 2005

This morning
was the appointment for the scan on my thyroid. I’ve seen the doctor that carried out the scan before, he’s youngish and has a good sense of humor, though it’s the first time he’s seen my thyroid. He started off by announcing to me that my thyroid was as good as dead, has been for ten years. No one has put it quite like that before, in fact my dose of hormones is the dose they give to people who have had their thyroids removed. ‘Anyway’, he said cheerfully, ‘it’s a bit like giving insulin to diabetics.’ He is diabetic so we had a good chat about that, the worse thing for him is that he is a rugby fan and it’s hard to do that without beer.

The good news is, no growths, no cancer.

As I was going back out to the waiting room he started chatting to a very elegant lady who I would have thought was between 60 and 70, he whispered on the way out that she is in her eighties. How come some people inherit all the youth genes?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Have you seen a Leprechaun?
Olivier came home at lunch time as it is a half day today. He’s been studying Ireland in English. They have the address of a website in their books where you can access a webcam which has been placed inside a 600year old oak tree, just to watch out for Leprechauns. I’ve had a look, but I didn’t see one. If you’re interested in folklore go and have a look at the site, it’s fascinating!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ten to go!
As I write I see I only have ten more visitors to go before I hit 20,000. I wonder who it will be?
Talking of sixteen
I’ll get out a diary from my youth, I haven’t done that for a while:

12th September 1986
I was pregnant with Christian so I couldn’t donate blood, but I went along with Rob anyway. The girls at the center were all really friendly so it was as much of a social occasion as anything. After blood doning you can have juice, a sandwich (baguette) and a tea or coffee. No doubt I was fed too! We aren’t allowed to give blood anymore as we go to England most years and there is a risk of transmitting BSE (mad cow disease).
During the afternoon I sorted out the baby things, aaaaaah!

1986 was a diary with papers in it. The invitation to the wedding of my friend in California, First communion cards from two girls I used to teach, Paris metro tickets, a love letter from Rob written on our brand new Apple computer(which we later sold because of static electricity) and three little hearts which must have been slipped in by one of the children years later with the message ‘I love you’. I’m glad I looked in that diary today.

12th September 1990
I was pregnant with Olivier by then. Wednesday was no school and apparently Christian was being a naughty boy. I haven’t put anymore details. There is a summary page at the end of the month. I wrote that Christian was driving me mad with knobs and dials on household equipment, he was probably touching everything he shouldn’t. I’ve just noticed that on the 30th September I wrote at the bottom of the page that I definitely felt baby moving! Oh, happy days…..
I’ve got all the time in the world and nothing to write about.
Dom got her military service letter on Saturday, she should be going in January. They’d addressed it to Monsieur, she’s let them know the mistake, she doesn’t want to have a medical examination with a bunch of boys. Fortunately, it’s for just one day and is supposed to be really boring as it’s pitched at the lowest level. I told her to find out if the army would pay for her studies if she joined up. I’m sure the army uses psychologists. I was surprised that she wasn’t put out by that idea. When I was sixteen we were all very anti-military.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Related:: family
  2. Soothing:: calm
  3. Flashback:: lights
  4. Turmoil:: confusion
  5. Immense::big, very big
  6. Guitar:: romantic music
  7. Nonsense::rubbish
  8. Blame:: scape goat
  9. Childlike:: innocent
  10. Duff:: plum
Mrs. Doubtfire
As we found the DVD at a special price, we couldn’t resist. We always enjoy the bonus section. The best bit for me was Robin Williams’ hairy arms. Have you noticed them?
Just to let you know…
Four years on, we haven’t forgotten.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Julie Covington
was the thin English actress whose name I couldn't remember.
Good girl
I don’t wish to be a bore, but you’ll have to excuse me until the novelty wears off. My glucose reading was normal for two days running. It was up a bit this morning, Olivier and I agreed it was not a good idea to have pizza and quiche on the same day. I had leftover quiche for lunch, well it was homemade spinach, with lots of salad and two slices of pineapple afterwards. My average for seven days is just a whisker over normal.
Music to iron to
Cat Stevens helped me with the ironing this afternoon. He’s still in the kitchen singing to himself at the moment, he’s just got to Peace Train. What’s your favourite ironing music?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Julie:: The thin English actress whose name I can't remember
  2. Emotional::moody
  3. Head of household:: Dad
  4. Diva:: Goddess
  5. Devastation:: storms
  6. Business or pleasure:: pleasure
  7. Crown:: queen
  8. Eastern:: western
  9. Buzzed:: phone
  10. Officer:: gentleman
Back to school
Has gone okay. I woke up on the morning thinking it would be nice if Olivier could have Madame X as his year teacher and he did! She’s really nice though a bit dotty sometimes. I don’t think the class was too impressed when she told them she identified with the pine tree outside the classroom; She’s a biology teacher by the way. At least Olivier didn’t get the bad sports teacher, I was so relieved for him, not that he’s bad at sport.

Dom tells me she has the worst English and German teachers in all the lycée, Everyone else is ‘tolerable’ as far as she’s concerned (Oh to be an intellectual).
Presumed Innocent
By Scott Turow. I am enjoying the book very much. I realized about the thirteenth glass before Rusty did. I bet when they find it they don’t match anyway. I think his wife did it. I’m sure my detective skills have been enhanced because I’ve seen about 30 episodes of Columbo in the last three months.

Talking of Columbo I saw a young couple in an old Peugeot like his, only it wasn’t a convertible. The body work was in excellent condition, but the engine sounded a bit noisy.
For your information
The cashier/check out girl at the supermarket highly recommends Sunsilk for blondes. It makes her hair feel lovely and soft. I told her I didn’t know as Dom keeps running off with it.

There was another piece of useful information I was going to tell you but I’ve forgotten it. As we live in France a lot of products have instructions in several languages, which makes for interesting reading when they get it wrong. I bought a new table cloth this morning and had to laugh when I read: “Iron softly on the backside to avoid folds." Do you think it might work for cellulite?

Friday, September 02, 2005

G/l, mmol/l, mg/dl and all that
The glucose meter arrived from England on Monday. Firstly, I read the instructions from beginning to end. I managed to program the time and date but couldn’t get the coding chip in, so I went online and looked for help there. As the meter was from England I couldn’t use the freephone number. On Mondays our Chemist (pharmacy) doesn’t open till the afternoon, I waited and picked up the prescription for more strips and tried the new coding chip. No luck. It just so happened that I noticed a little yellow card in the box of strips and on it was the FRENCH freephone number. I called the number and explained my problem, the lady on the phone asked me to count the little bars inside where you put the chip; there were 5 instead if 6. That’s why it wouldn’t work. I gave her my name and address and she told me she would put a new meter in the post.

The new meter arrived Thursday morning and the coding chip went in no problem. Now I could take some blood, I couldn’t get a reading because I couldn’t get enough blood from my finger. After a few goes I adjusted the softclix (I love that name, anything to make you think it won’t hurt), to my thickness of skin (actually, it doesn’t hurt).

This morning I only needed two goes to get a reading: 117mg/dl. (or 6.5mmol/l or 1.17g/l)

The meter that came from England measured in mmol/l, the meter from France, mg/dl and the lab gives results in g/l and mmol/l; To convert mmol/l of glucose to mg/dl multiply by 18. To convert mg/dl of glucose to mmol/l divide by 18 or multiply by 0.055. Simple?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I was really shocked to hear Olivier listening to Dame Shirley Bassey singing “Diamonds are Forever”. He wasn’t really, it was a background to a rap. His shock came when I told him Shirley Bassey was old enough to be his Grandmother.
A big thank you
Thanks to all of you who helped me with the stats problem, and thanks also to those who contacted me to say they couldn’t help. I only have the best people on my blogroll! Monique and Dominique at the campsite will be making some changes to their site in the autumn based on information from their stats. They also learnt that most of their visitors leave from the last page. Now that is very good news!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We went to visit our friends Monique and Dominique at their campsite in l’Houmeau yesterday evening. They had time to have a chat as the season is more or less over. Now they are looking forward to next year and how they can best advertise for business. As English speakers this is where we come in. Dominique went to fetch us the stats for their site, which are in English. I helped him the best I could, but as I only have a modest site, I don’t use stats like he does. There are quite a few bits I don’t understand. Can anyone explain these to me?

1. I understand hits but what are files and why are visits different to hits?
2. What is a Kbyte and why would you need it in your stats?
3. What are user agents?
4. There is a section ‘total URLSs but it only seems to give part of an address after the /, why?
Entry pages seem to be the same.
5. Why do you need to know exit pages? (I think I understand what they are)
6. What is a search string?

If anyone could help with just even a part of that I’d be really grateful. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sad news
Rob and I were out for a walk when a car stopped and out stepped my friend Jacqueline who sometimes works with me at Sup de Co supervising exams. I hadn’t seen her since May. We were both pleased to see each other but unfortunately she had to tell me that she has cancer. She’s having treatment every two weeks and looks very well indeed to me. She’s a very determined woman (some people say bossy), so I hope that she will push her way through this.
Back to the future
Olivier and I had a very interesting conversation about the future. One of his friend’s mother is clairvoyant and has a good reputation. He and his friends have only just found this out so he told me that another friend asked if he was going to die. Olivier told him that anyone could tell him that, dumbo. I asked Olivier if he’d like to know his future, he told me no, because if she told him that he wouldn’t get on the course to be an airline pilot he’s probably mess around in school for the coming year; We agreed that if someone can predict the future they can only predict as things stand now. All sorts of events could change your course. In other words you are free to shape you own life.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Girlfriends:: schooldays
  2. Here to stay:: home
  3. Call me::pnone
  4. Frustrated::bored
  5. Public school:: ties
  6. Glitch:: problem
  7. Cheese:: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
  8. Director:: boss
  9. Pivotal:: see-saw
  10. Exclusive:: unique

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Happy Birthday!
It's Michelle's birthday today, hope you have a lovely day Michelle!
All alone….
We went off to La-Tranch-sur-Mer yesterday afternoon. The first time we’ve been on our own without children for almost 20 years. It was nice, we looked around the shops and took a long walk along the beach then finished off with a meal before coming home. We went where we wanted to, didn’t have to look for things WE didn’t want to buy, ate when we wanted too and came home when we were ready. What luxury, we plan to do something similar again soon..

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What do you think of this?
Rob and I were invited to tea at a friends house last weekend. I don’t know how we got onto the subject, but she was talking about aggressive behavior resulting from playing violent games on Xbox etc. I think I wrote that, in June, Olivier sold his Xbox. I didn’t want him too because I was afraid he’d be bored during the holidays. Well he hasn’t been bored at all, he sleeps till midday and spends the afternoons and evenings with his friends, On quieter days he watches episodes of ‘Friends’ which he adores.. He’s also a much more communicative person.

Another good change which has come out of the holidays is that Olivier would like to be an airline pilot. He’s looked up schools in France and the UK. He knows he needs an excellent school record with really good marks as there are so few places. Hopefully his attitude towards school will be a little better this year. We shall find out in September…
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Fan:: cool
  2. Scum:: dirty water
  3. Lily:: Monet
  4. Humid:: damp
  5. Ghetto:: isolation
  6. Remember me?:: perfume
  7. Polished:: shiny
  8. Compose:: music
  9. Squish:: wet feet
  10. Future:: ahead
Stormy weather
It’s very windy and raining hard. A welcome change, even the weeds had stopped growing. I walked to the post office in that very fine rain that makes you really wet. As soon as I got home it poured. Think I might watch a film this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A little excitement
Today I had an interview at the school of engineering. It’s not far from where I supervise exams, so I went onto the cliff walk first to take some really deep breaths. The lady who interviewed me wanted to know what I knew about the TOEIC exam. I’ve actually worked more with the TOEFL, but I think I managed to answer all the questions with intelligence and enthusiasm. It’s not a full time job just a block of teaching hours and perhaps some exam supervision. I should hear at the end of this week or next week but she told me that she has a lot of CVs to look into
! You are most like An Emerald !
Caring, giving, - and very emotional. You're the
people turn to with a problem. You worry about
and genuinely want to help - a little too much
As an emerald, you tend to take a more backseat to
the other
gems, but your inner beauty soon captivates those
who take
the time to get to know you.
Congratulations ... You're the selfless gem
everybody needs as a friend.

?? Which Precious Gem Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Mary Lou always has the best quizzes first!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Piano Man
Do you know this man? They still haven't found out who he is.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Rob had a union meeting here yesterday with two of his colleagues. I spent nearly all afternoon reading (yippee). They even provided the BBQ for lunch so I only had the washing up to do!
I spent
the whole of yesterday morning trying to find a glucose meter online. I get the impression that in France I’m not allowed to ‘buy’ one. I’ve got the prescription for the strips and the lancets. They are cheap in the US but postage is very expensive. This morning I had the idea of Googling the product code. I found one in the UK with a free Softclix. Much, much faster!
How sweet
I can hear that baby Antoine who lives next door is ready for his feed. He's only three months old. I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with it

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A day out
After Rob had been to the dentist and had a tooth pulled out, we set off in a southerly direction to a little village called Port Des Barques. Just opposite to Madame island. When the tide is low you can drive across to the island.

We went to spend the day with one of Rob’s colleagues and his family who are camping there for a few weeks. They are very French so lunch took four hours. It was very windy and hot so I’ve come back with a burnt arm and nose!

Dominique (Mrs. Colleague) happened to mention that she is diabetic. She takes medicine rather than insulin but has to test herself at least every morning. She kindly offered to show me how her tester worked so I tested myself too. The pin prick made me jump but I would very soon get used to it. I was amazed at how neat and simple it all was. Our readings were pretty high as we’d had a long lunch. She hasn’t really changed her diet which I think is a pity because she is younger than me. I feel that I’m lucky to have been spotted before the dangerous symptoms arrive. My dad was on the way to losing his toes when he was diagnosed.
A cruel twist
The twist at the end of ‘My Sister’s Keeper' is just too cruel. I read the last few pages through tears. Like Kimberley said it is too gut wrenching!

I’ve started 'Mommie Dearest’ by Christina Crawford. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I am. I remember the publicity about the book when it was first published. Has anyone seen the film?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Idiot:: stupid
  2. Rocket:: science
  3. Liability:: see #1
  4. Harmless:: safe
  5. Stringy:: beans
  6. Theater:: lights
  7. Gwyneth::
  8. Use it or lose it:: clutter
  9. Sonic:: power
  10. Pucker:: lips
The Norwegian connection
I think this is really strange. Norway has a population of 4,593,041 people. So goodness knows how small the population was when they were immigrating to the states. Recently we’ve had a conversation in the comments boxes about Norwegian ancestors. This was started by Risa who must be Rob’s cousin because thy both have an Uncle Odd. Risa lives in Oslo. Then Karen said that she was part Norwegian, then Mary Lou, which means Phyllis too. Are there anymore? Rob’s family come from an island in the North, and I can never remember the name of it Andoy Versteralen.

Rob’s father left Norway during the war to join the British forces, he was in the air force, Rob’s mother worked in the admiralty in London and they met and got married. Rob’s mother told me that her mother-in-law was quite an interesting person. She had immigrated to the US with her sisters and they ran a restaurant in New York (Not all the facts are 100%, but you get the idea). She was sent back to Norway to die because she had TB. She didn’t die, she married and went on to have 7 children, including premature twins in the winter of 1917, one of whom was Rob’s father. She died before Rob was born, but did manage to visit her son in England all on her own armed with a piece of paper with ‘Worcester’ on it (she couldn’t pronounce Worcester). When she visited Windsor castle she fainted and was taken into a room and given tea to revive her. No one believed her when she told them she had tea at the Queen’s castle. I think I would have liked too have met her, she sounds a very courageous woman.

My Grandfather was born in the states. His parents came back to England when my great grandfather lost most of his fingers in the saw mill where he was working. I met him once, I was terrified of him.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My Sister’s Keeper
By Jodi Picoult. I’m finding it very difficult to put this book down. Imagine; a couple have a child who is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, they conceive another baby in vitro that has all the genetic requirements to provide stem cells to help her sister. Thirteen years later after several donations, the ‘baby’ decides that she doesn’t want to give up a kidney to help her dying sister and employs a lawyer………
It also provides an insight on how siblings feel when they live around a sick child. I remember how left out Dom and Olivier were when Christian was ill. I really recommend this book.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nature day
Summer is really past it’s best. I know because this morning I vacuumed up the first of the big black spiders. She was on the bathroom ceiling while I was having my shower.

Before I popped out to collect the post this morning I went round closing the windows as usual and a young lizard was sat in the groove of the window frame. He was too terrified to move when he saw me and I didn’t want to panic him into jumping into the house. I closed the window gently and left him to find his way out when I opened the window later on. Good job he was small enough to fit into the groove.

As I was waiting for AOL to decide to load I heard what sounded to me like a bird in distress in the garden, I’d seen a black cat earlier so I went out in my role as rescuer. There were three Hoopoes in the garden, I suppose the noise was coming from the youngster as they usually call ‘Hoop, hoop’. Here is a film of one feeding on the ground. We see them on their own from time to time, three together is really special!

I wonder what I shall see next? An elephant would be nice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"Sniff sniff"
I've just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I did cry. It's not so much who gets killed as who killed them.
But try not to laugh
This really is true, and you can check it out for yourselves. (98% of the time) People always choose dogs which look like them.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Complexion:: skin
  2. Teach::learn
  3. Back to school:: September
  4. Months:: time
  5. Nominate:: propose
  6. Favorite curse word:: f*ck
  7. Concerned:: caring
  8. Better::well
  9. Escalate:: fast
  10. Unveil:: reveal
Latest results.
Early yesterday morning I went into town before breakfast to have my blood tested. I hadn’t got a sample of pee with me because when I checked at the chemists they said I didn’t need a little pot. I had to go in a plastic cup and as I’d been before I left home and hadn’t eaten or had a drink for thirteen hours I gave a pretty mean sample. The results came this morning, which is good because I was certain they were going to invite me back again to provide a larger sample.

There is a very, very slight improvement all round, I am now below 6 for the HbAlc test, it made me laugh our loud when I was walking home from the post office, my reading is 5.9 (in April it was 6.2).
Before I went on holiday I was doing well and eating very carefully, I’d lost 2 kilos (about 5lbs). When you go back to see relatives and friends only once a year, they do tend to kill the fatted calf and feed you with things you shouldn’t eat. When we got back home it was difficult to kick start as I wasn’t working. I don’t snack between meals but I think about food more and make bad choices. Olivier and Dom are on holiday so my really good lunch gets sacrificed sometimes. I refuse to start cooking separate meals for every one, though if they have chips (fries) I will just have salad etc.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Prisoner
Rob and I watched a few episodes of The Prisoner over the weekend. It’s come out in DVD and there are some interesting extras included. There is a beautiful piece of guitar music sometimes used at the end of the day. I remember it well, I think it might have been used with the test card too (remember the test card?)
Does anyone know the music I’m talking about?
Kite Surfing
It’s been very windy here recently when the tides in. Kite Surfers have started to use our beach which is all very well, but they are coming very close, and sometimes into, the area for swimming. Rob and I are waiting for a nasty accident to happen.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Experimental Post
I deleted all of my photos that I'd put on with the Blogger thingy. I can now look at my site without it freezing up. Next part of the experiment is to post a small sized picture to see what happens:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This ‘n that
We decided to head for our favourite seaside town yesterday after lunch. The morning had been hot and sunny and Rob had a day off. As we set off, we noticed that the blue sky was overhead and the horizon all round was circled by grey cloud. As we got further north it got greyer and greyer. We had quite a pleasant afternoon despite the lack of sun and cold wind. Rob and Dom actually swam for two minutes. We drove home in glorious sunshine!

Three weeks ago Dom had her ears pierced, so yesterday was the first time she could take out her earrings and put new ones in. It didn’t go too badly with a bit of help from me, I’m pleased they’ve healed okay. One of our jobs yesterday afternoon was earring hunting, I didn’t find any I liked either.

This morning I was surprised by a knock on the door at 8.30. Olivier’s best friend’s Dad wanted to know if he was at our house (they take it in turns to sleep over). I went and checked, but I was sure he wasn’t here when I went to bed. Apparently they are going away for a few days to visit relatives and Olivier’s friend doesn’t want to go, so he ran away early this morning. I went by their house at nine and it was all shut up, so I presume they found him and persuaded him to go. He’s got into the habit of not going home sometimes if there’s something he doesn’t want to do, or if he’s in trouble. I hope Olivier doesn’t take up the habit.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Where have you gone?
Has anyone else had problems?
  • Book time
    I’ve finished the Green mile. A really lovely story about good and evil. Now I’m three-quarters of the way through ‘The Little White Horse’. This was a story I read when I was young. I couldn’t remember the story but I remember being very moved by it. Elizabeth Goudge has written many books for adults and children, she wrote mainly in the forties and fifties so I was very surprised to find this book on the shelves at the moment, the story was recently televised by the BBC. I wonder if I would have enjoyed their adaptation of it? What do you think about your favourite books being televised or turned into films?

    I think it’s interesting to go back and re-read books as you get older.

    While I was in England this year I continued reading a biography of Jackie Kennedy Onasis; ‘Jackie O’ and a novel by Howard Spring, though I’ve forgotten the title! MIL will keep the books for me till next time I visit. She was throwing out books so I rescued some of them.:

  • Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford
  • Vivien Leigh, A Biography by Anne Edwards
  • The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
  • The Loser by Peter Ustinov
  • The Tight White collar by Grace Metalious (Peyton place)

One of Rob’s colleagues, who reads English, passed me two novels by Jodi Picoult , which look to be gripping reading; I shall be well occupied for a while.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Risks:: life
  2. Abdominal:: tummy
  3. Radiant:: wheel
  4. The usual:: normal
  5. Mix and match:: chocolates!
  6. Wireless:: 'Robert's' radio
  7. Remedial:: therepy
  8. Mile:: green
  9. Long lost:: friend
  10. Only one:: unique

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Toad in the hole hall
When I got up this morning I was greeted by a toad coming up the corridor. He must have wondered in yesterday evening through the back doors. I put him gently outside with the help of the dustpan and brush.
I’m so glad he didn’t get as far as Dom’s room. We’ve already had a family of voles move in to there and she gets a bit ‘panicky’ to say the least.
Another week
Has just flown by. It’s been too hot to do anything here, I’ve spent most of the time reading and trying not to doze off: ‘ The Green Mile’ in French and we’ve had a few noisy thunderstorms since I started reading. How’s that for organizing special effects?

Last Friday evening we went over to Beatrice (the lady who made the sign for our house) and Mark’s for a meal. We had kebabs made from duck and ate in their lovely garden . Beatrice decided last year that they would rent out their house to English holidaymakers. The agency she’s using told her she wouldn’t get many bookings the first year, so to put the house up for the whole summer. Would you believe, they can’t go home for over a month and have had to search desperately for places to stay? We’ve been asked to do pool maintenance twice during August. Mark knows that Rob and I are about as practical as a chocolate fireguard so he must think we’re up to it. It looks pretty complicated to me, but he is leaving printed instructions. I’m sure I’ll fall in.

Mark and I had a very interesting conversation about Islam. He’s in the army and one of his colleagues is a member of the French national front. The nf have issued booklets explaining the Koran to it’s members, a la nf, of course. Well this person was really getting on Mark’s nerves going on about how evil it all was, so he went out and bought a copy of the Koran to read for himself. I shall be interested to see how he gets on, I have a copy myself but got about as far reading it as I did with the Bible.

Auntie M is packing up and leaving Paris with her family. They are returning to the U.S. I shall miss her guided tours. I hope she continues to write.

We had a drowning at L’Houmeau this week. A 62 year old man from the village. He was taken ill while swimming. It’s lovely to swim in this heat, but people must remember to get used to the water slowly.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Andre's films
Andre has a lot of talent. Recently he's made some beautiful short films. I only got round to to watching them all today. He's used his talent to try to explain how he feels about life. Over the past year or so, though his blog, he's helped me to understand what depression really means from the inside.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Olivier & I
Just installed a new HP PSC 2350 series all in one printer. It went really well, with no problems. Olivier was disgusted because I insisted in reading the instructions. I even suggested that the missing USB cable was in the package that arrived yesterday with the ink cartridges. I was right, of course.

I bet he’s looking forward to going back to school
Tuesday Wednesday already.
We haven’t been out much, it’s too hot. I finished reading ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I couldn’t put it down towards the end, I think I fell a little in love with Robert Jordan. Which character from a book have you fallen in love with?
I’m waiting for Dom to bring Harry Potter home so that I can start on it.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Tolerate:: endure
  2. Release:: let out
  3. My soul:: pale blue
  4. Sax;:: Chat saxo
  5. HP:: sauce
  6. Worth:: how much
  7. Rockstar:: boots
  8. Terrify:: frighten
  9. Knock me off my feet:: whoosh
  10. Taunt:: tease

Four good things
When I got home I discovered four good pieces of news amongst my blogging friends;

I'm sure that there are more, but my site won't load properly so I can't get to my blogroll. Have I posted too many pics?

Just when we thought we were going home…
We managed to get packed and cleared out before the 10 o’clock deadline. Our cases were stuffed full of goodies to take home! After having lunch with a friend, she led us to Birmingham airport and stayed with us for a coffee. Then we went into the terminal to wait …. and wait.

At first the plane was delayed. Eventually we were called and got onto the plane; After a few minutes the pilot announced that the air was not circulating around the plane correctly and so he couldn’t fly us to La Rochelle; We all trooped off and back into the terminal where we waited long enough to get vouchers for food.

It was getting pretty late by now and as a resident of one of the villages around La Rochelle airport, I know that there is no flying permitted after around 10pm. Our flight was cancelled! All was not lost, we were sent to a hotel at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre; the Crowne Plaza and told that we would be collected at 7am for the next flight to La Rochelle.

We were rather pleased with the hotel. Internet in every room, king-size beds and very comfortable. Olivier had his own room. I was really worried about him being on his own, but he loved it. Across the hall from us was the ‘Marc Bolan room’, I presume he had stayed there sometime during his career.

The shower was great. Any one who has sampled English plumbing will know what I mean. We set off on the bus for the airport at 7.30, a little change of plan, but at least everyone was ready. On checking in, our cases were way too heavy (7 kilos), but as we hadn’t been charged the day before we were let off . When we arrived at the terminal out flight was delayed!! (The hotel where the crew was staying was evacuated during the night because of a bomb scare so they were allowed extra rest) The plane arrived an hour late in La Rochelle, some of us 17 hours late.

Home at last…..not quite. We have a special taxi card which works 24/24 except when they don’t answer the phone, which happened to us! Fortunately one of Rob’s colleagues was in and came to take us home in her small car, it was a tight fit and the car was making a strange noise, but we made it!
The Guildhall, Worcester
We went back to Worcester for a final shop and visited the Guildhall. There were lots of portraits of past Mayors. I was also interested to see that Worcester had been twinned with Worcester USA in recent years, complete with letter of congratulations from him at the White House. On the top floor a huge room had been turned into a restaurant where we had coffee. On entering the room, a huge portrait of a young Queen Victoria is the first thing you see. There were also portraits of Queen Anne, George III and, surprisingly, Queen Mary 1st, amongst even more Mayors.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Week one
Was spend looking up local places like Worcester, Ledbury and Malvern as well as visiting Family and friends. When we shop in Worcester we always have lunch inside the Cathedral, Although a limited menu the food is excellent and cheap.We did plan to have a picnic in the grounds of Eastnor castle but the weather was too bad. When it brightened up in the afternoon we went along to Eastnor anyway only to find it was closed on weekdays up to the end of June.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I'm off
Well more or less. This afternoon and tomorrow I'll be washing, drying, ironing and packing. I've got to go shopping as Dom and Bonnie will be playing house while we're gone and we have to go into town for Rob's insurance on his new phone.

I'll be back mid-July

Sunday, June 19, 2005

This is a very hot weekend indeed
35°C yesterday afternoon, even the breeze was hot. This is why my garden dries up. No splashing in the pools because they can't be topped up. In the village it is the annual Brocante (car boot sale but more sophisticated) it's held in the park, I feel really sorry for the people in the middle of the park with stands, no trees for shade. We stayed in all afternoon and watched a Columbo episode and fell asleep. Even the evening walk was not as refreshing as it should have been.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Domesticated:: not me
  2. Cask:: wine
  3. Wayne:: John
  4. Insidious:: watchful
  5. Cool!:: ice
  6. Dishwasher:: I want one
  7. Little house:: no room
  8. Stepford:: ?
  9. Hung:: game
  10. Falling:: dreams

As Paris is candidate for the Olympics in 2012, La Rochelle would also involved in the sailing events. What do you think? Should monuments like the St. Nicholas tower be dressed up with neon? Posted by Hello

This was my dessert. Nougat ice cream with summer fruits. You wouldn't believe how nutty the nougat was! Posted by Hello

Rob's dessert Posted by Hello

I don't know why I am to one side. Rob didn't want to include someone at another table perhaps? Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Twenty years already?
Yesterday was our twentieth wedding anniversary. Rob had a day off so we spent the morning in town, he needed to change his phone and then we went for coffee. In the evening we went to out favourite restaurant, The Four Sergents, for a meal. It was lovely, Olivier came with us. Needless to say, the men folk talked phones quite a lot. I chose Mussels in lime sauce and then I had fish with corgettes, it was perfect. When I get the pictures I’ll post them so you can see my dessert. After eating we went for a walk on the port, it was so warm a lot of other people had the same idea.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Shouting very loudly "DAISY!"
All I get is a black screen when I visit your site so I can't put a comment and I can't find your e-mail address.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

If you write a new post, you have to remember not to leave it on word or it will not get published.
This morning was my last lesson chez Lionel. I’ve been made redundant for the second time in two years. If you are a regular reader you might remember reading that a classroom I used was turned into a bed sit for the homeless, that was the beginning of the end. My last lesson was a bit strange as I had to phone my student and remind her to come, she also thought we had another lesson next week. She has got another lesson, but not with me.

I was sitting here feeling a bit down and the computer kept crashing every time I tried to get onto my desk, when Jean-Christophe phoned. Jean-Christophe was the maths teacher and he’s starting up an association and would like to put me down on his advertisment as his English teacher. Karin had talked vaguely of his plans a couple of weeks ago and I’d forgotten all about it. So something nice has come out of today after all.

This afternoon is the dentist for Olivier and he wants to sell his X-box, in the rain.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mea Culpa
It has been pointed out to me by Rob that I haven't given him credit for taking the photos - sorry! The camera is still too new a toy for me to start dropping on the floor.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm so glad I could post the photos of the garden at long last. I had a lovely e-mail from 'Hello'. It was simple and I followed the instructions and it worked!!

Needless to say, the garden is already drying out and most of the flowers you can see have gone. Still got lots of roses and the hollyhocks are opening. This weekend Beatrice, who made our name plate, put our number on the garden wall with her name and phone number on as an advertisment (tastefully done of course). This morning I had a long chat with a couple who were admiring her handy work, hope they phone her up.
Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Wally:: twit
  2. Phantom:: ghost
  3. Slippery:: slimy
  4. Fungus:: toadstool
  5. Slot:: hole
  6. Type:: slkhfukhgifh
  7. Discharge:: get rid of
  8. "We need to talk”:: Oh no!
  9. On the spot:: oops
  10. Liquid::water

We live on the corner of the street Posted by Hello

The first peony. They've all gone now. Posted by Hello

A rose Posted by Hello

Love-in-a-mist. Posted by Hello

In the background is a Bohemian Olive tree. You cant eat the olives! Posted by Hello

At last! I can post the pictures of the garden. This was taken on May 24th. Deutzia and Rose Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Well Sunday is certainly living up to it's name today, it's hot too with a light breeze. This morning we went to visit the stand of a couple of friends who were selling at 'car boot sale' type thingy. We went to where they were supposed to be, in a park with lots of nice trees. There was no one there, they should have been there yesterday! Instead they'd put up a stand at a similar event the other side of town so we went to have a look. Not as picturesque, but a few stands. A lot of people are selling off their old vinyl records and there were plenty of baby clothes, but no real treasure.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Later the same day
Dom phoned at about quarter to eleven to stay that she had finished and that it had gone well. It took ages to get there, every light was red and as parking spaces were in short supply, people were blocking the road trying to get in and out of tiny spaces. The questions were on poetry so Dom was fine and is confident that she has done well. Results in July sometime.
Exam time
As I’m writing this Dom is sitting her French Baccalaureate. We took her at seven this morning and sat in the car until she saw someone she recognized. They are sent out too different lycées depending on their choice of main subject, so she wouldn’t know many of the candidates. Needless to say we were more nervous than her. She loves to write, when she’s not reading she’s writing and vice versa. All she has to do for four hours is write. I just hope she gets a good choice of subjects to write about.

She’ll send a message when she needs picking up. The test for me is to find my way round a part of town I don’t know at all. I seem to remember Rob telling me to keep turning right, I hope it works.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Widgely decided he was my cat when he was pretty young. He used to move sideways, widgle, hence his name. He was black with a fine necklace of white hairs on his chest , very distinguished. In the summer I used to prop myself against the lilac trees with cushions and write poetry, Widgely would come and purr and walk all over me. He wanted a poem too, I did write one. I wonder where it got too?

He was very supportive each time my heart got broken (which was pretty regular at that time). He would make a big fuss of me and pat away my tears with his paws. When I used to go away for weekends with friends he would come to sabotage my packing. He would walk all over everything, sometimes with muddy paws and purr and generally get in the way.

When I finally left home at 26 he stayed with my parents, we lived on a farm and I was moving into town, it was for the best.

A few weeks after I moved, Mum was making the beds one morning, when she happened to look out of the window onto the road. She saw Widgely asleep on the road and called to him to move in case a car came. He didn’t respond. She went out and picked him up and put him in a bag in the shed so Dad could bury him when he got home. She put him in a paper bag, just incase…..

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Has this ever happened to you?
Yesterday I surfed Blogexplosion and Blogcowd. The same blog came out first on both.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Saturday 6th June 1981
A very quiet day indeed, a very quiet week end. It was so cold I needed to wear my duffle coat!

Thursday 6th June 1974
A busy working day, I don’t think I’d cope with ‘banking as it was then’ now. Looks as if I was just discovering the joys of Barclaycard spending. The joys of Barclaycard paying back came later. I bought a long blue skirt, I wonder what happened to that?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings
  1. Exhibit:: proof
  2. Evolution:: change
  3. Loser:: sad
  4. Hypnotic:: snake
  5. Unlikely:: no chance!
  6. Interrupt:: butt in
  7. Ambivalent:: noisy
  8. Rise and fall:: Rome
  9. Indian:: feathers
  10. Prophecy:: prediction
being in a situation where one of your parents is taken seriously ill in a strange country. A week or so back Christian had a client in that situation. He helped her to book a flight and tried to anticipate any problems she might have. Yesterday she returned to thank Christian and gave him a bottle of wine. Everything had gone smoothly and her parent was home safe and well.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Thursday already!
It always seems to be Thursday again, not that I’ve got anything against Thursdays. Somehow this week seems to have been a busy one, though I can’t really say what I’ve been up to; nothing special.

I’ve been trying to write out a really interesting ‘lettre de motivaion’ to go with my CV. I’m pretty satisfied with the result AND I managed to copy it out by hand without having to start again. In France these letters must be hand written. Rob used to give lessons to a woman whose role was to analyze the hand writing of job applicants.

Yesterday Dom came home with the date of her French oral exam. She has to go to another lycée and be there for 7.40 in the morning. The first bus goes in that direction at eight.. We shall be in England by then. I was really worried for her but she’s decided to cycle over there, it takes half an hour. She’s already done a test run, she will have two bikes at her disposal on the day. She probably won’t be called for examination till11.40!

I seem to spend a lot of time ironing at the moment. We have more summer clothes than winter clothes, so there is not so much space in the wardrobes, therefore everything gets crushed. Olivier, bless him, wears uncrushable t-shirts which dry in 10 minutes. Why do I always go for linen?

Not long till we go on holiday. I haven’t really started on my ‘lists’ yet. I must sort out the suitcases and air them and think about what to leave Dom and Bonnie in the way of food, they will be playing ‘house’ while we’re away.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Crowd:: busy
  2. Hamburger:: Fries
  3. Choker:: necklace
  4. Lights:: colours
  5. Tinsel:: Christmas
  6. Testament:: bible
  7. Best part of the day:: early morning
  8. Election:: OH NO!
  9. Clarinet:: summer
  10. Cake or death:: cake!
Mother’s day
Was very quiet, had some pressies from Rob, Dom wasn’t there so she sent me a message and Olivier apologized several times for not having got me a present.
Can we please think about something else.After the lovely hot week, the weekend was cooler and wet. Yesterday we voted in the referendum. I was so fed up with hearing about it, even when I put on the good old BBC they’d planted a journalist in front of a polling station. People were going for coffee, buying baguettes and jogging, but no one was voting at that time. Can we hear about something else now. Please!
I’ve been trying to post some pictures of the garden. Hello says “The UI failed to initialize. If there are no other running copies you should reinstall”. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled and I just keep getting the same message. Has anyone else had this problem?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I did have something to say
I think I’m going crazy here. Yesterday evening I remember hearing on the news that today is lost children day. Do you think I can find any information about it? We saw some home video of a ten year old playing in the surf, he disappeared shortly after he was filmed, fourteen years ago!

I thought that US visitors would like to know that when we see episodes of American series, and there are a lot, if they deal with lost children we see the lists and photos at the end. It might be a comfort to someone that their lost child’s picture is being broadcast in Europe too.

Another lost child is the man of around 40 years of age who is now free after wrongly being sent to prison when he was 15 (yes fifteen) for abusing a smaller child. He ‘confessed’ to the crime after interrogation by the police. He did not have legal aid, parents or social workers present. The police declared that the statement they produced in evidence was in his own words, which it obviously wasn’t. When asked if he was angry he said of course he was, but while he was in prison he realized that anger made life worse. I wish I’d written down his name and again, I can’t find anything about him. Whoever you are, I hope you live the rest of your life to the full!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Transatlantic tunnel
Olivier called me over to the computer yesterday evening to show me a site he'd found on a tunnel under the Atlantic. Their site was in French but when I Googled later I found lots and lots of information. Meeting up with each other might not be such a wild dream after all!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tips from rapists
I found this on Narcisstic MissyOng's blog while surfing at Blogexplosion. You never know when it might come in useful.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Four more episodes arrived this week. PLUS the pilot which was made in 1968 with Gene Barry (swoon)

Friday, May 20, 2005

You can tell when Amandine gets on the bus by the stream of swear words she leaves in her wake. She’s only 15. She came to my after school classes during six years and was always a live wire. When she was about eleven she walloped one of the boys straight across the face. She hit him so hard he had to leave the room so that no one would see him crying. Then I made a really big mistake. I attempted to explain to Amandine that grown ups never hit each other and that she shouldn’t hit people either. “Of course they hit each other, my mum and step father hit each other, he once stuck a knife into her thigh”.

Not surprising she swears like a trouper, is it?