Sunday, December 17, 2006

This one’s for Zoe
Because she likes firemen
Rob and I were out for our evening stroll around the village yesterday when we could see what looked like the road on fire. When we got closer it was obviously a car in flames. There were one or two other people around watching and pretty soon a fire engine arrived. I was a little disappointed that the siren wasn’t sounding, but there wasn’t any other traffic, fortunately. The four firemen soon put it out and I was surprised that, even though the car had been a ball of flames, the inside wasn’t burnt. One of the fireman opened a door and fetched out a coat and mini skateboard and handed them to the people who were the car owners. An electrical fire perhaps.

We don’t usually have such excitement in l’Houmeau on a Saturday night

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Normal service will be resumed....
I'm supervising exams at the moment and Christian and MIL are due in a few days. I'll try to post when I've got a spare minute.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stop press
I’ve just noticed my counter is at 31999 who will be number 32000?
Up to my neck in suds
My new washer/dryer, an Ariston AML 135, arrived yesterday. When I checked the papers I ordered it two months ago. It’s so nice not to have to set the alarm clock to stop the spinning cycle and I can dry clothes without them being soaked in hot water. It's really quiet too. Bliss....
Round and round we go
I didn’t really drive in France until Rob broke his elbow in 1999, then shortly after that I got a job as a language assistant and had to drive to the 5 primary schools I was covering. It was very wet and windy that year. On the first day I couldn’t even see where I was going the weather was so bad, it was my first real driving in nearly 15 years, I was driving on the wrong side of the road and in a strange place. I got through okay but I don’t really enjoy driving.

To get to Olivier’s lycée I have to pass through (or around) a busy network of three roundabouts. I can do roundabouts if it’s quiet and the other drivers know how to do roundabouts too. But the last couple of times when I’ve given Olivier a lift, I’ve been tooted by people in a hurry who think the only way to get anywhere is by dodging into empty lanes and driving at break neck speed. I’m beginning to dread him missing the bus.

Yesterday I was coming home from a lesson when the road was barred because of road works. We were given an alterative route but somehow the arrows seem to disappear. It was dark and raining, the traffic was busy and I didn’t have a clue where to go. I found myself in a ‘difficult’ area so I didn’t feel as if I should risk stopping to look at the street map I always keep in the car. I eventually ended up by the airport. I know my way back home from there, I was half an hour longer than intended, the journey home usually takes 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A real piece of History
I just had to share this with you. A while back I posted an image on my Time and Oft blog about the Hampton ferry; I knew the ferry and used it in the early 70’s. The other day I received a lovely comment from someone who was a ferry boy. I thought you’d like to read the comment from Tony. A real piece of history, he’s new to blogging so if you’d like to give him some encouragement. I think he’ll have an interesting blog when he gets going.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"Nor a lender be"
You wouldn’t believe this but although I worked in a bank when I was younger and was pretty well paid, I never seemed to have any money. I remember that one year I had to buy a new car because my old banger wasn’t road worthy anymore. I only needed to borrow £100, quite a lot in those days, and wasn’t in a position to take out a bank loan and pay their interest rates, this is where my sister stepped in. She was married to a farmer at the time and was pretty well off so she offered to loan me the money. I swore I would pay it back regularly and bought my new car. As it happens, some months I couldn’t afford to pay her and it went on for a lot longer than it should, but I eventually paid her back. She was kind because she never complained or mentioned the word ‘interest’. Sadly she and her husband divorced and financially, things got pretty nasty between them and the loan that my sister made me was brought up. Her husband maintained that she’d charged me interest. I don’t understand why my poor sister was made to explain our little transaction in her divorce proceedings, but I always thought that it was mean after she’d been so generous to me. The money came from her savings anyway. If only we’d had the internet in those days, perhaps I could have looked at a site that offers help in finding the best deals as quickly as possible for a faxless cash advance , without worrying about knock on effects.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Two additions
Two very different additions to my blogroll today, first is the blog of a very special young man called Ben who you can visit at A Work Of Art: Raising Our Exceptional Son. Just wait till you see the paintings!

Second could be a useful blog for those in the U.S.:Ebates Online Shopping Blog, if you know about cash back you'll find this useful.

I'm also putting Keith back onto the blogroll, hopefully he won't change address again!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This weekend
was so sunny we went for a lovely long walk on Sunday afternoon. We forgot to go to the Christmas market in the village, I hope there weren't too many others who did the same. Now you've seen my photo you must go and see what weather Mary Lou and Phyllis had.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I went round to the post office
as usual this morning with a handful of postcards to send off to customers. I always try to be there just before it opens as I hate being stuck behind customers who don’t really know or understand what they want. Unfortunately I was pipped to the post by a really old couple who didn’t look to happy.

Yesterday they had been sold a special armchair that was supposed to cure arthritis. They were very upset because they had been confused by the price in euros ( they were still thinking in francs). The cost of the chair had cleaned out their savings. Fortunately when the smooth talking salesman had left with their cheque they had time to think and made an appointment with their doctor to ask his opinion. The doctor explained to them that the chair was useless and to write a letter to be sent recorded delivery straight away. Our lady at the post office arranged the cancellation of the cheque and sent the recorded delivery off, but thinks that the address is a false one. The post office is busy in the morning so they had lots of help filling in forms and the lady who works at the town hall went back to register a complaint. I felt really sorry for them, they both looked really sick with worry. I don't know if there is a cooling off period in France if you sign a door to door contract.

I’ve been waiting for someone to knock at the door selling chairs all day, I’d love to give them a piece of my mind; I believe in karma so I hope something nasty happens to the salesman, if he doesn’t end up in prison.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I've been paid!
I know I’ve written about this twice before but I’m really pleased to say that I’ve now been paid for the first few articles I wrote for PayPerPost The articles have to be up for a month once they’ve been approved before you get paid and they really do pay on the 30th day! So far I’ve been paid $37.20 and I’ve got another $29 to come. It’s been great to make some money from blogging. I’m really inspired now to continue writing and I think I shall aim to make enough money buy myself a really nice pair of boots for the winter (see post below!). I’m pleased that I came across the site via Creating A Better Life (see blogroll), she really does come up with some great and interesting ideas.
Happy Thanksgiving
to any who pass by that celebrate today.

I was interested to see that I had a visitor via Google who’d Googled a date and I’d appeared because I’d written a post on that day from my handwritten diaries. I had a look to see what else had come up on that day; odds and ends, nothing historical. I suppose there must still be days left in history where nothing much at all happened.

A couple of nights ago I dreamt that Dominique had started to smoke cigars, not discreet slim ones, but fat Cuban types. I couldn’t smell the cigars in my dream which was a pity. Last night I dreamt I could play the mouth organ. I’m sure that Freud would have plenty to say about these ‘oral’ dreams.

Back in the real world, it’s blowing a gale today. I got soaked when I went to collect the post. We still haven’t used the heating yet except for the bathroom very early in the mornings. As I write, we're having sideways rain (as Phyllis would say) and it's very misty, low cloud I think, sea-level cloud? What’s the weather like today where you are?

I was really interested to find an article about voiceovers as a few years ago I was paid to be the voiceover on promotional CDroms for the Xter train here in France and the storage silos at la Pallice. Not very glam I admit, but I got paid well. With the voiceover for the train I was told afterwards that I had carried my work out more professionally that the French actress they used for the French voiceover.

A lot of singers can use their talents successfully in a voiceover They have the benefits of special training in voice control and can really use their speaking voice better than they might think. If they have experience of recording techniques they are at an advantage.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Flower Power
Did you see our flowery Tram? According to the local newspaper news bulletins all over the world included pictures of the tram which will soon be sent for service in Montpellier. Made in La Rochelle (well Aytre really, but it’s too complicated to explain)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Teacher :: school

  2. Fifty :: age

  3. Crossword :: squares

  4. Stuffed :: turkey

  5. Family :: home

  6. Purr :: cats

  7. Toad :: in the hole

  8. Cocktail :: prawns

  9. Insecurity ::fear

  10. Magical :: mist

I feel like I'm getting old
Rob sometimes talks to me about what I’ll be like when I’m eighty. We usually have this conversation as I’m getting out of bed in the morning. I don’t mind getting up early, but it would be nice if everything ran smoothly straight away. The first twitches come from my back, it’s always stiff in the morning and worse if I’m foolish enough to think that I can have a lie in. Thank goodness I enjoy walking, a walk usually sorts things out. I’ve recently had problems with my jaw, arthritis, my doctor informed me. Do I talk or eat too much! The other end of the day can be a problem if I eat the wrong foods too late in the evening. I lie awake with indigestion trying to ‘do something’ with my twitchy legs.

Dom teases me about my friend Al. Al is the one who makes me forget things as soon as I’ve been told them. I use the alarm clock a lot to remind me to do things. That’s if I remember to set the alarm, if I can find the alarm clock and then when it rings, remember why I set it to ring in the first place. Life is much less complicated when you’re twenty.

There is a product to help people like me, it’s called Proleva, (click here to see what it’s all about) , and it’s made from natural ingredients. It contains fruit and berry extracts, as well as green tea, which provide the equivalent of the antioxidants found in one and a half pounds of fresh fruit. Important in combating ageing. It helps to improve memory and brain function, increase energy and help the immune system. I can’t help thinking it would be great to be able to watch a film on TV in the evening without falling asleep and not feel exhausted just thinking about all the jobs I’ve got to do. With improved memory I’d be able to remember all the things I need to do as well!
Talk of the devil
In French we say ‘Talk of the wolf and you’ll see it’s tail”, which is the same thing. This week on the French news there was the report of the death of a fashion model from anorexia.

Just before she left home last weekend Dom was telling me about the Pro anorexia blogs that existed. I haven’t seen one myself and I hope I don’t. I wrote about it here, and had reply in my comments from someone called Kristin, which I thought was very interesting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I rather fancy some Ugg boots for the winter, they certainly look cosy. They’re made in Australia from Australian sheepskin. It’s funny how many good things seem to be coming out of Australia in recent times. Not only do they make footwear, they do a lot of work for charity. Every year they ask a selection of high profile actors, musicians and celebrities to hand design a pair of boots which are then made up and auctioned on eBay to raise money for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It’s not only money that is raised, but awareness of the work of the hospital.

One of the best places to acquire a pair of Uggs online is at This winter they are highly recommending Uggs.
Highly recommended
You must go and visit A work Of Art: Raising Our Exceptional Son. Not only for the art work.

Last Weekend

As last weekend was a holiday Rob worked , but not in his usual role. He was following the guided tours and translating into English, if required. His colleague, Rodolph, dressed up for the occasion. I thought you’d like to see some of the photos Rob took and Rodolph said it was okay for me to put the photos on here. By the way, he isn’t wearing a wig, those are his own curls, his mother must be so proud…

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Close shave
Like a lot of people at the moment I went to the doctor’s with my flu vaccine this week. I also had my usual check up. I’ve put on 2 kilos in four months which is not good. I don’t think I’m eating more than ever, but I spend more time working on the computer, so don’t get as much exercise. I came away with a ton of tests to have done, as usual.

The doctor and I were talking about the children, He’s very good at digging the needle in mid-conversation. I was so busy talking that I didn’t notice him put Betadine onto the cotton wool to clean my skin. I only noticed when he took the cotton wool to throw away. I’m allergic to Betadine and it is most unpleasant. He cleaned it off quickly with ether which seems to have worked, as I haven’t had a reaction.

When I got home I checked in my diary for 1988, because it was at the birth (or a few hours after) of Dominique I discovered the allergy. I wanted to see how quickly I’d reacted and spent an agreeable moment reading about the first month and a half of Dominique’s life. If you’re reading this Dom, you will be pleased to know that you were a model baby and only cried when you were hungry! I suddenly realised it was strange not to be reading about Olivier too, but we had a couple more years to go before he arrived on the scene.
What to cook tonight?

I quite like cooking, but often find that I’m in the ‘It must be Friday it’s spaghetti’ cycle. My bookmarks are full of recipes that I’ve saved for a rainy day but never bothered to look at again. I’ve just come across a recipe software; BigOven Recipe Software - 160,000 Recipes which could change all this. There are recipes on the site and a ‘Leftover Wizard’ which looks as if it is going to be right up my street. You choose up to three ingredients and let the program find you recipe suggestions. The recipes you like can be dragged and dropped into the organiser. You can post new recipes to share too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy birthday Dom!!

18 today. Hope you have a lovely time. {{{{hugs}}}}

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today is a holiday in France. At 11 o’clock a little procession will go to the war memorial and the mayor will read out the names of the soldiers from our village who died in the First, Second and Algerian wars. There are more images at Time And Oft.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Littlist Hobo
I don’t know why the theme tune of The Littlest Hobo (sorry there is a pop up) came into my head at breakfast time this morning, but it did. Fortunately I had a pen and paper handy and wrote it down to look up later. I was amazed to see that the original series dates back to 1963 – 1965 . This is the series I watched and I’d remembered the song correctly too. It was made in Canada which reminded me of The Forest Rangers. They can be another post. I love the internet!

Talking of dogs (and cats) have you seen these, dedicated to keeping your screen clean?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I admit
that I was close to tears when I took Dom back to the station on Sunday afternoon. When we found her carriage we bumped into a family I hadn’t seen in years. Christian used to be best friends with their son. They were putting their daughter into the train too, as the seats were numbered I don’t know if they got together during the journey back to Poitiers. Dom will be back next weekend to celebrate her birthday with her friends.

I don’t know what to make of Olivier, for the past three nights he’s been asleep by 9.30. His appetite has diminished a little too. He didn’t want to go to school this morning, even though he’s only got 1 hour of physics and 2 hours of sport (Wednesday is half day in French schools), apparently they are playing basketball at the moment and he hates it, pity they can’t put ice hockey on to the timetable!

I had a phone call yesterday from one of the many companies that I sent my CV to. They might need me to teach 34 hours at the ‘Hotel Lycée’ (A school where they train chefs, waiters, catering and hotel management). It will be 2 hours early on Wednesday mornings. They are phoning me back: I wonder…….

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Theft :: steal

  2. Storage :: boxes

  3. Pick :: chew

  4. Los Angeles :: Golden Gate Bridge

  5. The one :: him

  6. Accent :: French

  7. Rivalry :: sisters

  8. Process :: method

  9. Streets :: street lights

  10. Museum :: old

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Do you remember?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how you can make money with Pay Per Post. Well I’m writing about them again because I’ve discovered that if anyone signs up and enters my email address (anjiknut(at)aol(dot)com) as referrer I can earn $5. There’s a huge choice of all sorts of articles to choose from and you can be paid from couple of dollars upwards, when your post is accepted. You’re allowed to write up to three posts a day as long as there are unpaid posts in between. One of the advantages I’ve found with this is that it’s given me some fresh ideas for blog posts as much as anything else. There is an option where you can denote your fee to charity , if you’d rather do that.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

‘If there’s ice in November that will bear a duck,
There’ll be nothing after, but sludge and muck’

Hope everyone remembered to put their clocks back an hour. It’s strange to have the evenings so dark so early. This week the schools are on holiday so they won’t really feel the full benefit of that extra hour in bed. they’ll be used to it by the time they go back to school next week. The weather here is still very mild, much too mild for the end of October, the news reports are full of people on the beach, some are even braving the sea!

Dom is home for her ‘pause pedagogique’ (not holiday); She’s got loads of work to do so I haven’t seen too much of her. She looks well so she isn’t starving to death or something dreadful in Poitiers. She’s dropping psychology next term and just doing philosophy. I don’t know what to make of that decision. As the new washer/dryer has been delayed a week I’m struggling to do her washing and get it dry.

Today is a holiday. The idea is that you visit the graves of your loved ones. Rob is working as quite a few people will be out visiting monuments instead.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Coming up next
Apparently this is the present that everyone will want this Christmas. He laughs when you tickle him so he’s good laughter therapy for all ages. "TMX Elmo" and "Elmo TMX:" has been around for 10 years now in different colours and clothes. He comes in an attractive box which is designed so that you can’t see him except by peeking though a preview flap, when you do this he says “Ah, ah, ah, ah! No peeking!” and starts to giggle. The latest Elmo goes through three tickle cycles with very realistic movements as you can see when you look at the video on the site.

TMX means Tickle Me Extreme
Your homework for this weekend is to study this. Then spend the rest of your life trying to live up to it – not! I told Rob about it, he said “that couldn’t have been much of a life” but I think he would secretly like to be waited on hand and foot. I also sent Dom a copy to study, she hasn’t replied yet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An old saying
“In October dung your field
And your land it’s wealth shall yield”

I’ve been out in the garden recently for the first time in ages, there is still a lot to do to make it tidy. After the hot summer then the rain, everything has stared to grow with a vengeance. I was amazed to come across a ladybird calmly walking up and down a stalk when I was sorting out the irises. I shouldn’t think she found much to eat, except for mosquitoes, of which we have a lot. There was a flower on the pink honeysuckle! Just one. On Monday night we had gale force winds all night. I know, they kept me awake. I was disturbed by branches scraping the roof. I was sure all the tiles would be gone the next day, fortunately the roof was fine. The roses seem to have hung onto their petals too. This afternoon I cut back the offending branches, there was just one I couldn’t reach, Rob will have to do that one.

Twice recently walking through he park in the village I’ve seen a squirrel, it’s the first I’ve seen in a few years.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A trivial post
Halloween is coming up really quickly. Today I came upon this trivia site which gives lots and lots of snippets of information on Halloween subjects such as Jack O’Lantern, cats and monsters. Did you know that the ancient Greeks associated monsters with women? For example gorgons, the harpies and Medusa! There are lots of other monster ‘facts’ from all over the world. Could prompt some original costume ideas.

When you were at school did you learn about the history of macaroni cheese? Now’s your chance. Do you know who Madame Popover was and what she did? There is everything you need to know about cough cures. You can hunt out trivia to impress your friends and amuse yourself by category. I can see my self spending a lot of time reading through this site.
All about life
O came face to face with mortality this week. A friend of a friend of his was killed in a motorbike accident, he was only 16. The first friend had lent the motorbike. At that age adults are interfering when they talk about speed alcohol and drugs, until something like this happens. I must admit that the boys parents were in my mind for most of Thursday, they knew he was dying it was just a question of how long would it take.

On a more cheerful note, O had been watching friends (for the nth time) and he wanted to know why they said “I take the Rachel” during the wedding vows. So I explained to him about the use of ‘thee’ as the wedding ceremony is in old English. As a result of the conversation I got out my book of Common Prayer and we looked at the words like betwixt, thee, thy, troth etc. then he glanced at the spine of the book and said ‘They really wanted you to pray in those days, didn’t they?’ So I asked him why, he thought it said 'Come on prayer' instead of Common Prayer.

He also noticed that the women’s vows include obey. I told him that it’s been along time that women have had the choice to leave that one out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So now we know...
Watch this film on how looks can deceive.

If you live in the US you might be interested in a photography competition.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Little David
I don’t know why I suddenly thought of David the other day. He was one of my pupils around four years ago. He’d just come to ‘the big’ school, he’d already been in specialised schooling and was in one of our smaller classes. He was quite small for his age and rather cute. He used to carry an extra bag around with him because sometimes he needed to change his clothes. The first time he asked if he could go to the toilet during class I said no. No one was allowed to leave the class and anyway the toilets were locked until break. This gave rise to a wave of protest from his class mates who knew that he needed to go quickly to avoid an accident. Fortunately our classroom was across the corridor from the department’s secretary, so I was able to send someone out to check. She came back pretty fast and said it was okay for him to go accompanied by the class representative and gave them the key. After that he went out without too much fuss when he needed to with the representative who was getting pretty fed up by the end of the year.

One afternoon I went in to see the secretary about something and she was there with the lady in charge of the cleaners, they’d called him in to give him a watch, it was only a freebie watch but he didn’t have one like he didn’t have a lot of things including his own home. He was thrilled with it and as he went out they told him not to let anyone take it off him. I never saw him with it again.

The following year I was pleased that I would see him at the second college I was sent to. It was in a zone classed as ‘problem’, some of the teachers were quite a lot harder than I was used to. He wasn’t there. When they saw that a 13 year old needed to come to school with a change of clothes they decided to send him to a special residential school on the Island.

He’s a year older than Olivier and now that Olivier is turning into a handsome tall young man with a great future ahead of him, I wonder what has become of David. I’m sure he wouldn’t have continued his education, he couldn’t read or write very well at all. His cuteness would have no place in the difficult world in which he would be forced to enter.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Health help
I’m going to write about health issues again, well I am getting old, so I think about my health more than I did 15 years ago. One problem that has concerned me lately is the menopause from the point of view of someone who already has a thyroid problem. The menopause can trigger thyroid problems too. Soy or Soya is not good thing if you are taking medicine for your thyroid. Soya is recommended as a good thing for the menopause. As it happens I managed to come across something in the chemists in town which contains sage and flax with no Soya. I’ve still got another four weeks before I can tell you whether it helps with hot flashes, there is definitely a reduction and I am sleeping a little better though I still have difficult nights from time to time.

The point of all this is that I’ve had to go to an awful lot of trouble to sort this one out. It would be nice to have somewhere like people like me could go to find things out and listen to others with the same problem. I think I might just have found a solution; Organised Wisdom is a website where professional and ‘user generated’information meets together for the benefit of everyone who wants to find out. So we can all Help others by sharing 1 piece of health wisdom at I like the use of the word ‘wisdom’, it’s good to know that others share the same worries and problems.
Going, going... not
Beatrice, our friend who likes auctions, phoned on Saturday morning. She’d seen a fridge-freezer which was going up for auction in the afternoon. It was in good condition (nearly new) and at a low starting price. I’ve been to the auction rooms to look around but I’d never been to an auction before so Rob and I set off straight after lunch.

I was amazed at how many people were waiting for the place to open when we arrived and at two o’clock we all poured in. The fridge freezer was nearly new and very clean so Rob bid, unfortunately we didn’t get it. As it happens it was a cheap supermarket brand that hasn’t got a very good reputation. We couldn’t bid too high because I’m waiting for my new washing/dryer machine to be delivered any day now.

Sunday was my day to defrost the fridge, it would have been nice not to have needed to….

Friday, October 13, 2006

We’re all here because we enjoy blogging and the interaction with other bloggers. I’ve certainly made some great friends though it. I love the daily ritual of visiting my blog in the morning to see if I’ve received comments overnight and check to see who’s updated on my blogroll. I was excited recently to find that I could do all this and get paid. PayPerPost is a great site to use and it helps people and companies to advertise on blogs. There is a wide variety of posts to choose from. The minimum number of words required is clearly marked and there are plenty of posts where you don’t have to write that much. An indicator tells you what kind of post to write, for example, positive, neutral or negative.

When you’ve posted you can easily check back later to see if the post has been excepted and when you will be paid. Check them out and see what you think!
Job hunting continues
I think that I might have mentioned that I’ve been sent of for a closer scrutiny of my job hunting. More regular meetings and one day courses run by a private company. Yesterday we acted out interviews. There were nine of us and we all got along really well. They come from all walks of life too. B, who I met a couple of weeks ago there, used to work for American Airlines and had lived in the States for a couple of years. The day got off to a good start when some amongst us received job offers with their signing in papers. We had a great time working out what to say and not to say. Taking it in turns to be the interviewer and interviewee really helped and I always come home with more ideas for my search .

This morning I plucked up the courage to telephone a company I’d sent my CV to about 6 weeks ago. The person in charge of languages told me she was behind with her work (does that mean she’s short staffed?), would I please email everything to them. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

As I was talking about mammograms in the last post, now is a good time to talk about breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. I’ve just been reading the blog of a young woman called Sylvie ( She started her blog when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just before she was due to get married back in August. Just over a month later she was preparing herself for a mastectomy, unfortunately the results of that weren’t good.

Her blog is beautifully written and explains the physical details of breast cancer treatment, as well as the emotional roller coaster of having the rug pulled from under your feet. We moan about mammograms being uncomfortable, but they are small discomfort compared to what may happen if we don’t survey our bodies.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Swedish Chef revisited
Last week was my annual pilgrimage to the Swedish Chef (see here and here). As with all my check ups recently everything was fine. I just have to go back in a year. The only bit that annoys me is that he has a tendency to give out instructions as he’s seeing me to the door. I know I won’t remember things if I don’t write them down; I did remember this time, he said I must have another mammogram in two years time. I don’t have to remember that because I’ve been informed that I shall be receiving an invitation; Lucky me!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The games people play

When I was a child I really used to love those cardboard dolls and paper clothes sets with tabs that you could hook on (the little tabs always managed to tear off). The first of the dress up games that I remember was a Mary Poppins set, complete with Jane and Michael and clothes for each adventure. Needless to say my favourite outfits were the ones for the day that they went inside Bert’s pavement drawing and to the races. My next favourite was a Petticoat Junction set. Even though I’d never seen the television series, I loved the full skirts and the chic dresses the characters wore. My final set, before I grew too old to play fashion games, was a Twiggy wardrobe which had lovely trouser suits and mini skirts , hats, bags, scarves and boots. Real up to date fashion, at the time! I hung onto that set for a long time before giving it away.

Now I am old, I still like to play around a bit so I was pleased to discover Dress Up Games and Dollmakers where you can make your own personalised avatar. There are allsorts of categories to choose from, like fairies, Goths, babies, seasonal dolls, celebrities and even guys! Then there are all the accessories, clothes, hairs, wings etc. with this doll maker to complete your very own unique avatar. I think I might happily lose a few hours on this site.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Queen of Indian Brandy Brandee
Three years ago I wrote about Indian Brandy. It’s been one of the most frequent Google searches here since. In June some one called Rose emailed me to say that she had discovered that it could be spelt Indian Brandee which certainly seemed to fit what I remembered of it. I’m writing this post because there has been a recent surge of Indian brandy visitors. I hope they are satisfied with the information they find.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More work?
I’ve just discovered a very useful site for people involved in languages like me, it’s called Language 123. It’s a special site for translators and people looking for "Translation Services" or "Translation Jobs" in different languages. Freelance translators can post their CVs and samples of their work. Projects can be left on the site and translators can compete for the job insuring the best results. The site is attractive and easy to navigate so that you can quickly find what you are looking for. What’s more, being on the web it’s worldwide which what translating is all about. Hopefully I’ll find some extra work with this site’s help.
I'm still alive, honest!
When I've got a moment I shall have time to explain what I've been doing this past week. I've been referred to an agency which concentrates on getting poeple back to work. I've had an interview with them to establish a project and today I was on a course. I'm learning how to recreate my CV, letters and allsorts as well as finding lots of new places to apply for a job. There are also advantages to being over 50, at long last!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Perfect Hostess
I’ve been reading ‘The Perfect Hostess’ by Rose Henniker Heaton, written in 1931. It’s very tongue in cheek and so funny. She says things like “It isn’t the menu that matters it’s the men you sit with” There are lots of little poems and it seems you just couldn’t have enough matches in those days. There are menu suggestions for visits from wealthy relatives, American visitors (it’s important to Be British), breakfast in bed for the bright young person and so on.
Here we are again
Another week has just flown by, I always seem to be saying that. I’ve just switched over to Blogger BETA which is nice as now I don’t have to wait hours when I publish something. I don’t know how but some sites seem to be bigger. (Nothing to do with Blogger) I’m quite happy with that as I’m getting old, I’ll have to see what the rest of the family think, although there are only really Rob and I on this computer. Poor Olivier, his new/old screen won’t let him see Flight Simulator properly. I’ve found a couple of sites to help him and Dom has sent her suggestions too. I hope that you all appreciate that future pilots start practising so young. Oh, and he looked up the Ré Island airport (our airport) on the game simulator and it is there and it does look like that. When he sorts out the problems with the screen he’s going to fly over the village and see if he can see our house!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The weekend went all too quickly
We picked Dom up at the station on Friday evening. The traffic was chaotic, all those students coming back for the weekend from Poitiers plus the 22nd was our day without cars (we started it in la Rochelle 10 or 11 years ago), so there was a lot of aggression from drivers who’d been deprived all day. I was expecting her to look really worn out. She looked full of beans, though she was starving, so my lasagne was appreciated. Her lecturers are all very nice, she told us, except for one who is boring. One of the days she has 15 minutes to get from one place to another and it takes half an hour, but other than that the timetable is cool. It sounds like she’s living on compote/apple sauce, real fruit is too expensive she tells me. I sent her back with a few supplies but as she doesn’t have a fridge it’s a bit difficult. She’d brought a book to read on the train but hadn’t looked at it as she discovered she was sitting next to someone on the same course, they met up for the ride home. I was sad when we got back from the station on Sunday evening, though it’s good to know that she couldn’t wait to go back.

I bought a long extension lead yesterday with 4 sockets and cut out if it overheats so that Olivier could set up the old computer in his room. Our electricity is different in the bedrooms so we only have two pin sockets. Someone had lend him an old monitor which seems huge! First go he had a blue screen but the second time it ran beautifully. Like me he had a lot of files so we shall be seeing what we can do about my stuff tonight. Once he’s dis-installed all the old stuff (there were two scanners and two printers on there), he’s going to have a lot of space for music and games. Hope he doesn’t forget his homework.

Next job is to get a key for wifi, I forgot to mention Dom installed the new AOL box for us before she left, bless her. I came up with a solution as he didn’t have any speakers, he’d made some at school last year, they didn’t fit, but some others he’d bought for some reason did. He wouldn’t have tried such a ‘stupid idea’ without my suggesting it. I’m a clever mum.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Is it the first day of Autumn?
Just recently I’ve been waking up in the night to see a blanket coming from above me to cover me over. As soon as I realise it’s dark and I wouldn’t be able to see it anyway, it disappears. Olivier told me that he came to see if I was okay the other night because I screamed (Rob was computing in the living room and didn’t hear). When he told me I did remember screaming and I remember the blanket had pretty patterns on it. Weird.

I went to the doctors on Monday because when I was eating my lunch my jaw hurt and the left side of my face swelled right up. I looked awful. Nothing too serious, just a blocked salivary gland. I’m on anti inflammatory drugs because there is a little rheumatism and sweet looking little tablets to make more saliva. Does rheumatism in the jaw mean I talk too much ?

We are collecting Dom from the station this evening. I’m making lasagne to celebrate. In her emails she says she’s having a great time, we’re really looking forward to hearing all about life as a student. I mustn’t ask too many questions, I mustn’t ask too many questions, I musn’t…..
Women out of work
Yesterday I attended a reunion for out of work women. The idea is that we will attend a five week course which includes three weeks of work experience. Work experience is easy to get apparently because companies are keen to have an extra worker for free for a while. I handed in the questionnaire that I had been given to fill in. My French spelling is hopeless so I don’t know what they will make of it. If I can’t teach I could do something in computers I think (ha ha). I didn’t sleep very well last night thinking about how useless I am, I know I’m not but that’s how I feel at 2.30 am when I can’t sleep. On 5th October I have to go for a day and they will teach me how to write my CV, AGAIN and see what they can do with me. Christian and MIL are coming for Christmas and it looks as if I might be on my course then – great (not). I’m not very positive today, am I?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I’m up to 30,000 visitors. I didn’t notice till I saw that I’d gone over by five, so I checked my stats and my visitor was Cassie-B. Thank you Cas and thanks to everyone who’s popped by over the last 3 years and 4 months.

To celebrate, this is what I looked like in January 2004. Does anyone remember that horrible mouse thing? It didn’t last long. I’d just started to fiddle around with the background colours, hence the strange appearance. If you want to look at yours got to the Wayback Machine.
In which everything starts going wrong
At the end of last week the electricity went off; the iron blew up. The washing/drying machine gets stuck on spin so I have to set the alarm to remind me to move it on. It doesn’t dry any more just makes everything hot and very wet. Sometimes it misses the final spin. Guess what is on my shopping list for next month?

I’d been struggling to unblock the bath as it was running out very slowly. I splashed out and bought a plunger (better than nasty chemicals and much cheaper). I cleared the blockage in about ten seconds. It was great. I’m actually looking forward to the next blocked drain!
She's gone
We took Dom off to Poitiers on Friday. She’ll be living on the forth floor, no elevator/lift. I knew that her room would be small but there were plenty of shelves and cupboards and a big desk, there is also a wash basin. It looked pretty dark and grim as the woodwork is dark and it was a dull rainy day, but when she sent a photo via Olivier’s phone once she’d made up her bed and arranged her books (most important part), it looked quite cosy. We didn’t stay for long as it was made clear to us that she had so much to do! We took her for brunch at McDonalds before we left. There were no eggs for the egg and bacon muffins!!!
Once she settled in I received yet another shopping list of things-to-get-when-she-comes-home-next-weekend. She sent me her timetable this morning, but from what she said, all that free time , and there is a lot of free time, will be spent working anyway.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rob was having a good laugh yesterday. Out local paper had printed an article about the tourist attraction where he works (just right for the end of the season-not). His boss is quoted as saying; “At the end of the visit the public should want to leave”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I try to keep my selling to a minimum on this site. But I really couldn’t resist telling you about these free gift cards. If you live in the US and are over 18 you might find these useful. They can be used online too.

and for the Ebayers there is a $250 Ebay gift card!

Monday, September 11, 2006

We haven't forgotten
I think we’ll always remember what we were doing on that day when the news came through. For us it was early afternoon, I was tidying up in the kitchen. Rob was online when the headlines came up on AOL and he called to me to switch on the TV. “There’s something happening in America” he said…

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Even more books
Jody put the idea into my head. Now you can see my favourite reads in one go. Isn’t it a pity I can’t do Amazon .com? I’ve put a link into the sidebar too, so that you can go and look any time you like.

Choo Choo!
We decided to go off for the afternoon to La Tranche Sur Mer. When the children were small it was our favourite place for a day at the ‘seaside’. Perhaps it was because the tide was out and because it was the end of the season, it’s just not the same any more. To cheer ourselves up we decided to take a trip on the train.

It’s amazing what you can learn on a little train ride. La Tranche doesn’t really go back much before the early fifties when the old wooden lighthouse, which was blown up in the war, was rebuilt. The soil is very sandy but despite that there are lots of allotments where vegetables are grown. You should have seen the beautiful pumpkins! Most of the houses are second homes and as the train driver didn’t point out any famous names we presume there isn’t anyone of note there. He seemed to toot and wave at everyone and most people waved back. He stopped and pointed out a restaurant where the best seafood is served all the year round and everyone dashed out to greet him (I wonder how much he was paid for that?). We were also taken through some forest which we didn’t know was there.

If we’d have been with Dom or Olivier they would never had let us go on the train, so perhaps it wasn’t so bad they don’t come with us anymore. After that we went and had steak and set off for our traditional walk on the jetty. It was closed off completely. It’s made of wood and I suppose is not safe anymore. I think the next time we go it will be with grandchildren, we’ll certainly take them on the train

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How did she do it?
The ventilator on Dom’s laptop died so that it doesn’t work anymore. She’d done quite a bit of writing – new book – and now it’s lost. The main idea was in long hand but she had developed the plot. She’d almost persuaded herself to buy a new one so it didn’t take much for her to run out and buy one. Now Rob wants one too!

This weekend she’s off to Paris for the weekend with friends ( how come my children cultivate friends with swimming pools AND a pied à terre in Paris?). Laptop has to go too as no student is complete without his/her laptop. So, of course, I’m fussing about the train and the metro, I’m sure she will have everything stolen or get attacked or something. I went to Paris for the weekend when I was young and my mum didn’t fuss at all( hence the title of this post) and I was going to a foreign country!

She’ll also go to Disney Land while she’s there. I regret not having the means to take them there when they were small. Perhaps we’ll take the grandchildren when we have some.
All good things come at once.
On Tuesday we took Dom to Poitiers to enrol and so I missed Zoe on the BBC! Fortunately I can listen to her here (Scroll down to the 5th september 'My boyfriend is a twat'). She’s talking about blogging.

We allowed four hours and got there in three. The first part of the journey was in the dark, so wasn’t very interesting, at least there wasn’t much traffic. We arrived at around 8 o’clock, despite getting a little lost on the way. The campus looked lovely and peaceful at that hour in the morning; there are lots of trees and grassy areas. Dom had all of her papers ready so we didn’t need to stay long. Everyone we met was very friendly and enthusiastic We walked along and looked at the building where her room will be. It doesn’t look too bad. Buses stop to go into town every ten minutes. She has to go back for the day on the 13th to get her timetable and go on a guided tour, meet people etc.

Olivier seems to be reasonably happy about his lycée. Unfortunately, Tuesday was his first full day and he had to get himself up and out of the house as we weren’t there. He was really tired when he arrived home on Tuesday evening. It’s very hot here at the moment and a 12 hour day was, shall we say, difficult. There are no girls in his class!

I spent yesterday writing out letters so I could send three CVs out this morning. At three this morning a bottle of fizzy rosé exploded, clearing up glass and wine is not my idea of fun at that hour. It’s the second bottle of the same wine to explode in a week, I wonder what they are putting into it?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Time and Oft
I thought that you might like to visit my nearly new blog. I started up this blog so that I could share some of the vintage postcards that interest me and write a little about them. Now I don't feel so sad when Rob puts them up for sale.

Friday, September 01, 2006

This 'n that
Dom has finally got her laptop. She came home with it on Wednesday afternoon. She still needs this one to go on line for the time being. We’re waiting for the wifi bits and pieces to arrive. She spends quite a lot of her computer time writing, so I have longer to write, visit and tweak. Did I mention that she’s finished her first book? It just needs printing out and sending to the publishers. I haven’t been allowed to read it yet. On Tuesday we’re taking her to Poitiers to enrol. The appointment is before 9 o’clock, I think and it will be at least three hours drive.

Olivier starts lycée on Monday afternoon. I hope he gets up okay on his own on Tuesday. He said he’ll be okay, like he was when he was on toilet duty in June. There won’t be a financial motivation this time though, we shall see.

This new keyboard is driving us ga-ga. The shift key has to be pressed hard to work. I have to keep going back and correcting capitals and full stops. Dom installed real Word for us, thank goodness. You don’t miss the spell checker until you haven’t got it.
September 1st already!!!
September was called ‘gerst-monath’, Barley month by the Anglo-Saxons; I found this motto, which suits me down to the ground, considering the sunny weather we are having today:

“Fair on September first, fair for the month.”

The light here seems to change in September, not so harsh as the rest of the summer.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You wouldn't believe
how glad I am to be writing this; our computer was getting slower and slower, the naughty ladies kept coming back and when we clicked on a site on AOL it went off. As we tried to sort it out there were fewer and fewer things fonctioning on the computer. Everything was closing down so we decided to buy a new one. That's the good news. The bad news is that I couldn't save any of my documents. All of my archives, music, photos have gone (or at least they are still on the other one). Things could be worse, I thought that my bookmarks on AOL had been lost, they popped back this afternoon. I spent the whole morning seeking out my sites and trying to find passwords. Anyway, life is a bit faster and we have a media thing too so Olivier can watch Reutiers news. We haven't got Word anymore but something a bit basic, the spell checker only checks French which means I have to read everything back carefully; Rob also decided to get a higher speed and Wifi and unlimited telephone which, after the initial payment, isn't any more expensive that the AOL we have at the moment. We'll have to wait three weeks for that.

Our next door neighbour has Wifi as Dom discovered when she was installing everything and it kept popping up. I had to return a watering can that blown off the wall in the wind so I asked him about it and he said that's normal and if we had any problems to ask him as his job is computers. If we'd have known that that a couple of days ago........

I did a short translation this morning for one of our marine biologists that Rob keeps in touch with. I really enjoyed it. I miss my scientists.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Do you remember the trip Rob and I made to Saintes in April when it was really cold? I wrote about it on the 6th. At the time I couldn’t find any photos online that I thought did the town justice. However, our local paper recently ran an article about a young man from the US who is lucky enough to spend his summers in Saintes. For a school project he created a website about the town. As with local papers there was a mistake in the site’s address but I managed to track him down (I do have 30 episodes of Columbo under my belt) and he sent me the address so here it is.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Cruel :: evil

  2. Jive :: dance

  3. Weak :: frail

  4. Understand :: empathy

  5. Bum :: tramp

  6. Stairs :: up

  7. Tone :: sound

  8. Quickly :: run

  9. Moment :: now

  10. Beating :: drum

Friday, August 18, 2006

Touch Wood
I haven't seen a naughty lady with no clothes on today - yet. Dom twiddled around and things appear to have settled down. My site loads properly if I use internet explorer and one or two sites seem to have re-appeard. I haven't checked Haloscan yet. I've got to check my blogroll as a few were missing there too, I have their email addresses so hopefully I can keep in touch that way.

I think I can say that yesterday Dom earnt her teapot.

We've been having rain. Lots of floods throughout France. Rob was busy at work too (for a change).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I’ve really done it this time.
I’m in a real mess now. Still trying to get access to some sites. Yesterday I tried lowering the cookie barrier for a minute or two. I still couldn’t see the missing sites. In the meantime pop ups of naughty ladies got in and keep coming back. When I go onto my site they take over some of the banners, I do hope that you can’t see them. They keep popping up and annoying everyone. I’ve got rid of icons but that doesn’t seem to work. I think that Rob has installed the Google toolbar thing to protect us, but they really are determined that we see them in their state of undress! I don’t know what to do next. I don’t want to make matters worse because we are wasting a lot of time over this.
On a more cheerful note
Dom and I went shopping yesterday to get odds and ends for her room in Poitiers. First of all we called into her banks (yes, she already has accounts in two banks!), then we had coffee while we waited for the bus to the shopping center. It was nice because we’ve never been out for coffee on our own before. We went to a bankruptcy stock shop and bought tea towels, a can opener, coat hangers etc. We spent more than we thought we would but got one or two things which weren’t on the list; like a lovely one cup teapot with a heart pattern. Really sweet but I bet she’ll never use it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Kim :: Kit

  2. Designate :: leadership course

  3. Liner :: QE2

  4. Weed :: thistle

  5. Infusion :: tea

  6. Nutritious :: banana

  7. Favorites :: TV

  8. Transform :: change

  9. 42 :: the answer to the question

  10. Sunday afternoon :: walk

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A blast from the past
I haven’t opened my diaries for a while…

Wednesday August 13th 1980
I went to the doctors, I don’t know why. I had a lesson on my brother’s bike, I presume it was his motorbike. I don’t remember ever riding a motorbike on my own, but I must have AND lived to tell the tale. I only weighed 9 stones in those days ‘sigh’.

Thursday 13th August 1981
I was reading Roots. I loved that book, I’d love to read it again. I used to take my mum to do her weekly shop (Thursday was late light opening) and we always popped into the pub on the way home. I wouldn’t dream of driving a car after a drink nowadays. I packed my bag as I was off to my friend Sarah’s for the weekend. I seem to remember sitting by the pool all day and getting very sun burnt, those were the days.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Something is going wrong here. I can’t get to some sites that I need to carry on working. I can’t see haloscan comments and I can’t get onto their site. My site won’t finish loading so I can’t get to my blogroll. Does anyone have any ideas? I think something, somewhere has got turned off (or on), but what? Please e-mail me(Just under my photo), like I said I can’t see any comments!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Technicolour dreamtime
I really had a lovely dream last night. There were lots of parrots flying around. They were blue or green or blue and green. They were blue to begin with and when they reached maturity they tuned green. The blue and green ones were in the process of changing. Only problem was they were really budgies.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wouldn’t you know it
Someone writes a great post about something I feel interested in and I have something to say and the comments are broken. I can’t find an email address either. If you know how to fix comments, please go and see Purple Elephant.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I’ve been troubled
Something has been on my mind for a little while now. I’ve got lots of memories of when I was a child, my childhood seems to have lasted a long time. My own three children seem to have grown up so quickly. I really do wonder if they’ve had the time to build up as many memories as I did?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Interesting bits
(for me anyway) I've added 'Is It Raining?... I Hadn't Noticed' to my blogroll. It makes me laugh, I suppose you could call them cartoons. I get the feeling he's learning all about babies at the moment.

I always got the impression, looking at the map, that Australia is so far away from everywhere else (I never did well in geography). So I was only too pleased to send a postcard to this lady in Australia.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Noisy Neighbours
I don’t think that I’ve mentioned our new neighbours before. That’s how quiet they are. Until Saturday night. When I went to bed I could hear music, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I got up later and there was still music, very loud with lots of shouting and chanting. When Olivier came in he told us that it was coming from next door. It was still loud and clear when I fell asleep at two. Unfortunately, the children’s bedrooms are on that side of the house and they had to keep their windows closed to shut out the noise a bit. Like Dom and I said, it wouldn’t have been too bad if they had better taste in music.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Get out those pens!
Have you heard of They run poetry competions, for example, $100 everyday. There are also bigger contests where you could win $1,000 or even $10,000. You can enter as many times as you like! There is also their banner at the bottom of this page.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another week rolls on…
We are melting here. Unfortunately, reports of deaths because of the heat are starting. Yesterday evening Rob and I went for a swim, it was heaven. The water was comfortably warm yet still cool enough to be refreshing. Though the temperature is down a couple of degrees today we’ve still got more heat to come.

I took my results to show to the doctor. My kidneys are okay. I’ve been drinking a lot of water so the results are ‘diluted’! He says that my thyroid is okay as it’s only just over and is really pleased with my blood sugar. So I don’t need to take any medication . I’m going back for a check up in FOUR months instead of three. Aren’t I a clever girl?

Rob sent me an email saying that I should remind you all that tomorrow is world jump day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This week
It is still very very hot.

Lots of paper work to be filled in by Dom at the moment. Mainly to do with us guaranteeing the payment of her rent next year. She calculated how much money she’d need to get by, we did the same and she checked on a help site online and we all came up with roughly the same figure. Good job she gets a ‘grant’ to help and we’ll pay the rest.

I went for blood tests last Friday and lugged in 24 hours of pee for the rest of the tests. Good news is cholesterol and blood sugar. Bad news; creatinine (kidneys?) isn’t as it should be, I’m hoping it’s because of the very hot weather we’ve been having. Triglycerides are up as usual and my thyroid is making itself heard for the first time in a couple of years. I’ve read that menopause causes thyroid changes too. I feel fine in myself. A little tired sometimes and there are occasional days when I’m really ratty. I shall see the doctor next week.

My MIL had tests for her thyroid in England and has to wait several weeks for the results. I went in at 8.30 on Friday morning and was opening the envelope 25 hours later. Our labs are private here, what a difference!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another nice postcard story
Rob put this postcard of around 1926 up for sale on eBay and received a question from someone who wanted his email address. The person had taken an up to date photo of the same view and we were pleased to see that nothing has really changed. The church has been restored and the trees have grown. I think that the vintage postcard community is a really friendly one.
All’s quiet on the Western Front
We called to see our friend who has recently changed restaurants. The new one is on the front in a smaller town. It’s very modern and seats around 300. Her old place was in an old building and seated 60. After a hot June the real season has started with storms and rain. People stay in to watch the world cup so it’s really quiet at the moment. Rob has almost nothing to do at the moment at work. Hopefully it will pick up. If not the news in September will be all about what a bad season everyone has had.
Movin’ on
Dom got her results at the beginning of the week. Excellent results, of course, history was a surprise; full marks! She didn’t do as well in philosophy as she thought, but the marking is very strict. Olivier’s results came out yesterday but the site was overloaded so he didn’t get to see them. He was marked over the year too so he knows he didn’t have to get too high a mark to pass.

We’ve entered a new phase in our family life. Boys calling to take Dom out in their cars. I really like the two boys so I’m not worried about her going off with them at all. I just feel really old now.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What a week
The spell checker has stopped working, sorry about any stupid mistakes.
Olivier has finished his exams and that is the end of our 8 years history with the college. Rob and I went to enroll him at his Lycée on Thursday. It was a bit all over the place, going to different rooms for different parts of the enrollment. We were sent the wrong way once and queued for a while in the wrong place, only to be sent off elsewhere in order to come back later, if you see what I mean. At least we are familiar with thecorridorss! Dom has got a room in a hall of residence. It's not in the building she wanted and she will have to use communal showers and toilets, but she has somewhere to go in September.

It's been very very hot again. I suffered quite a bit at the beginning of the week as I'd eaten all the wrong things for a couple of days. It really does make a difference now. I've been having quite a few hot flashes/flushes, mixed with the high temperatures, not much fun. My foot hurts at the base of my little toe. The skin isn't broken or anything but I'm going to mention it to the doctor next time I go. Having said that my blood sugar readings have been pretty good. I received a new notebook from Roche and it's been updated and revised. Olivier had been worrying about what to do if I had 'a funny turn'. The notebook explains, so he's happy. (nice to think he's worried about me dropping down dead).

Rob and I played super heros again when we came across a fire near to the beach. We alerted the mayor who had it put out. Had it spread to the field of now ripe wheat, it would have reached the first row of houses. The mayor said that they found an abandoned lighter nearby, was it arson? A few years ago the village was surrounded by fields on fire when a young man was starting fires all over for 'amusement'.
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. That :: this

  2. Fishbowl :: round and round

  3. Church :: flowers

  4. All about :: everything

  5. Fist :: fight

  6. Tagline :: hook

  7. Agree :: get along well

  8. Leak :: boat

  9. Jessica :: Blog

  10. Superman :: flight

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Get free Chili Peppers tickets!

If you live in the US you can get free tickets by filling in a brief survey. Yes, free tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers. This won’t be up for long so don’t hesitate.

(Déjà vu? You might have seen this post elsewhere. I’m putting it up on all of my sites. I wish I could go too)

Monday, June 26, 2006


These are the coffee cups Rob gave me for our wedding annversary. Haven't they got dinky handles?

On Golden Pond
I always wanted to see this film, but never got round to it. When MIL came she bought some free CDs from 'The Mail on Sunday' magazine and 'On Golden Pond' was amongst them. I sat and watched it on Saturday afternoon, well worth the 25 years wait. I love Katharine Hepburn, had she been British, I'm sure the queen would have made her a Dame.

Looking him up, I discovered that it was Doug McKeon's 40th birthday the other day. Doesn't time fly!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Umbrella Shop

Dom informs me that as it is called 'Fabrique', by law it means they must make them there. They had some lovely umbellas in the window.


Some more pics

I really enjoy checking out the stats for this blog, not just for the numbers so much, but for why people visit. This morning I see that my blog was translated into Chinese! Someone else came looking for 'naked woman in a superwoman outfit'. Not very logical and I wonder how I managed to come 9th out of 18600?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Spare a thought for the toilet cleaner
This weekend is our village Brocante/bootsale/garagesale. When I was a member of the school association I used to help out with the food over the weekend. This year Olivier and his friend have taken on the job of maintaining the toilets. Monsieur Pi Pi, as we say in French. I do hope that the good visitors to our village appreciate how fussy my son is. They have to keep the two toilets and wash basin clean and in exchange they charge a 20centimes entrance fee, which they can keep. I met Olivier on his way out early this morning, I was surprised that he was in such a good mood. He was very proud of the fact that they had been complimented on the cleanliness of the toilets. However, there had been one or two who refused to pay the entrance fee as it is a public toilet. They collected around 500 x 20centimes, can you imagine the state of the toilets if they hadn’t been maintained? It will be busier today, I hope it isn’t too hot for them.

We went and looked around for three hours yesterday morning. Rob found some great postcards and I bought 5 novels by Virginia Woolf for €5 (£3 or $6.25 approx). It was hot. Rob overheard someone urging her friend to go to the toilets as they are so clean!

Friday, June 16, 2006

She's still alive
Dom didn’t fall into a ditch or get abducted by aliens. Her exams that day went really well. She told me that, had she been late, she would have been disqualified and have to wait another year to retake her exams. Today is her last day; 4 hours of biology this morning (pray for genetics) and two hours of German this afternoon. She showed me the English paper, a very interesting text about a Jamaican teacher trying to get work in England The opening sentences were in bad English as the poor woman was confused and nervous, I bet that put a few people into a tizzy.
This evening Dom and friends are going out to celebrate freedom.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Something more cheerful
Christian phoned yesterday evening. He and MIL are coming to stay in September! They will be leaving on my birthday. It will make my birthday more special having them here for part of the day at least.

Nice to know that MIL is keen to come back so soon.
Most of you are still asleep
Dom started her exams this week. These are the big ones which will decide her future as regards university. Monday morning was philosophy. She went off on her bike, we wanted to take her in the car, but she insisted so that she could come straight home when she’d finished. She wrote seven pages on learning from life’s experiences and seemed pretty satisfied. Tuesday was a rest/revision day.

This morning she left the house at seven for a whole day of exams. At 7.25 she dashed back into the house, she’d forgotten her phone. She’d only got a quarter of an hour to get back there in time for the 20 minutes entry time before the exam. I have felt awful all morning: Firstly I imagined her unconscious in a ditch along the cycle path (I’ve already been through that one with Olivier). Then I imagined hysterical tears over the phone because they wouldn’t let her into the exam. I’ve also been dreading a phone call from the lycée wanting to know why she hasn’t turned up. Rob cycles along most of her route when he goes to work. He hasn’t phoned to announce finding her body, yet. The police haven’t knocked on the door to break the bad news. In theory, everything should be alright. In 35 minutes I can phone her to make sure she’s okay. Who’d be a mother on a day like this?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From ants to famous in my own breakfast time
(via a duck)
On Saturday evening we ate lemon meringue pie. I must have spilt some while I was serving it because I noticed some on the floor on Sunday morning. When I got down on my hands and knees to clean it up I could see that it was swarming with miniature red ants. We don’t get many red ants around here, only black ones. In fact when I told a local that where I grew up we only ever had red ants, they were amazed.

In the summer my sisters and I liked to sunbathe in the garden whenever we got the chance. This involved observance of the lawn for ant hills as we used to lie on an old blanket. Most of the time we managed to burn, er, tan without being stung. Later there was another menace. We had a pet duck called Jemima, who was very friendly and attracted by the slices of cucumber I used to put over my eyes to protect them from the sun. She would also go everywhere in a straight line and if you happened to be lying in her path, tough. Poor Jemima came to a sad end not long after she took to going for walks along the road. She couldn’t walk through a lorry.

When I left home, in the early 80’s, I used to listen to the breakfast show on BBC radio 1. Mike Read was the DJ at the time. He was great fun and even broadcast one of his shows from my old school in Pershore. If he read out a letter the writer was awarded with a ‘Tea Hee’ mug. I think a book had been written or something about real men eating quiche and there was quite a debate about what made a ‘real’ man. Somehow the idea of hugging a duck came up so I sent off my photo to Mike to see if he thought I was a real man. I liked quiche and I’d recently been plastering and decorating, I has hugging a duck (Jemima) in the photo. I was amazed when he read out the whole of my letter over the air and thrilled when he nicely said that he didn’t think I was anything like a real man!

I’ve still got my ‘Tea Hee’ mug. It’s in the bathroom and we use it to keep toothbrushes and toothpaste tidy. When the children were small and I used to be awake really early I listened to Mike again. He was on The World Service giving away replacement singles to people who had interesting stories on how they had lost their favourite singles. I nearly wrote to him again, I lost my beloved copy of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks…..

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mystery solved
Do you remember, I wrote about Indian Brandy on 16th September 2003? (You don’t?). Over the last few years I’ve had lots of visitors looking for it. The other day I received an e-mail;

“HI.I was googling for indian brandy and got the same results as you .Then remembering my british childhood I recalled it was brandEE not BrandY.checked it out and sure enough --the old stomach remedy as remembered.”

Looking at the ingredients I would say that this could be the stuff. Thanks Rose!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

(1201st post)
For our second rail trip for €1, Rob and I decided to visit Poitiers. We know that it is a very interesting town historically, but it will also be Dom’s home for a few years from September onwards. We had to leave home early to get the cheap train and arrived in Poitiers just after nine o’clock. La Rochelle is more or less a flat town, so the steep climb up ‘a few’ stairs when we left the railway station to join the main town was a bit of a shock! It was worth it though. Lots of old streets and interesting buildings and not too many tourists. When we crossed the town and reached the river, Rob insisted we climb the 300 steps (so Dom says and I believe her) up to a statue of Mary which over looks the town. When he’s sorted out the photos I’ll publish a pic of my struggle to the top. The view was well worth the effort. If you remember, our trip to Saints at the beginning of April was spoilt by the cold. Yesterday was boiling hot. We did have a lovely day though. I was hoping to put in some links with pictures but you’ll have to do with this for now.

We arrived home at about 8 in the evening. Olivier had washed up at lunch time and tidied the bathroom, bless him. He even had his school report to show us, which was much better that he deserves. Yes, he is after something, one of these.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'd like to welcome (you can too if you like) Neutron News to my blogroll. This is his personal blog but he also has an English as a Foreign Language teaching blog. I suddenly thought earlier, what if he happens to be one of Mr Teacher's colleagues from hell?

I've also corrected the link to Lyman's blog, I put in a link to a single post. I'm sorry about that, I feel as if it's as rude as calling someone by the wrong name. There is a real feel good post on May 31st 'Moving'. Well, I thought it was special anyway.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The last meal
As our favourite restaurant was changing hands we went for a final meal. This is what we ate. The Brittany ‘gallete’ is a little like a pizza or a Cornish pasty; it was an easy way for workers in the past to transport their food. Did you know that Cornish pasties originally had meat one end and fruit the other? A whole meal wrapped in pastry!

We took MIL to the leaving party. Lots of interesting nibbles and sangria to wash them down. The new owners assure us they won’t be making any changes to the menu. Hopefully we’ll be visiting the old owners in their new bar soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Flops down in a chair and sighs
MIL will be arriving tomorrow, she’s going to stay for a week. I’m exhausted. I’ve been cleaning, my least favourite job. The house does look better for it though. I’m hoping that the weather will be good so that we can eat outside everyday. Rob’s postcards have taken over a lot of the living room, including the table, so now we eat in the kitchen all the time. I have the impression I’m going to be in the kitchen a lot over the next week.

Next Wednesday evening we’re off to a party! The Bigodène, one of our favourite restaurants, is changing hands and we’ve been invited to the farewell evening. Rob often sends tourists there if they ask him for a good place to eat. Fortunately, the new owners aren’t planning to change anything for the time being and they seem very nice. MIL will be able to come along too.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back on the buses
There is a choice of three buses that I can take in the morning to get to work. One of them is the university bus, I’ve taken this one 4 times so far. Every morning It’s loaded up with classes of school children on their way to learn about marine biology. They are 5 to 6 year olds which means that this year they have learnt to read. I’ve really enjoyed listening in to their conversation and the spelling out of words that goes on; everyone knows exactly which stop we are coming to as place names are called out as they show up on the electronic notice board. I’ve enjoyed listening to the personalities too. There always seems to be a bossy one. Making sure his friends take it in turn to speak, remain sat down etc. Then there is the one who has so much to tell everyone that he can’t quite get in out in the right order, the cynic corrects him and makes him feel small.

An interesting one was the boy who pointed out his mother’s car to everyone (what a coincidence!). Unfortunately his act wore a bit thin when we reached the Maritime Museum and he told us that The Calypso was his grandfather’s boat. Everyone here knows that it belonged to Jacques Cousteau. The Cousteau family don’t live locally as there is always plenty about it in the local press if they visit La Rochelle in order to see how The Calypso is disintegrating. I have to get off the bus before the children do. I would love to see how the personalities organize themselves for that.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dental delights
Why have my children got such good teeth? Olivier and Dom had check ups yesterday, all perfect. In June we start crowning Dom’s front tooth that was damaged in a school accident when she was small. Olivier still has a little way to go yet with his braces. He’s still got elastics and did I tell you that he’s had another brace put in the inside of his teeth? I suppose when that’s all over we’ll have to start on his wisdom teeth. Rob and I have loads of fillings and really crooked teeth. I hope our kids appreciate the care and attention we’ve given their mouths.
This week
(I'm really embarrassed that I left my birthday post up at the top so long)

I've been doing a lot of supervising this week so I've been away from the computer and neglected the housework, clothes have been ironed as they are needed. MIL is arriving on Thursday for a week so I have some preparation for that. I'm tired!

The car was removed from the marsh a week after it had arrived. Nothing in the local paper about it, so we presume no-one was injured.

We had some really hot days, but now it's much cooler, very wet and windy. I was sulking because I haven't had a single rose in flower yet and everyone else has. This morning a lot of plants and flowers have been damaged by the harsh weather so perhaps my roses knew something the others didn't.

Rob has sold two of his book stock on eBay. Only 148 to go...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blog Birthday
Happy Blog birthday to me. Three years of Anji Patchwork!

Thank you to all my visitors new and old, every little bit of encouragement helps.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Exam time - again.
This week marked the start of another three weeks of exams at the school of commerce where I supervise. We got off to a great start, we were five in a room with 100 students. Saida found someone with math’s formulae written in tiny writing on the back of her metal ruler. It was before the exam started so we let her sit the exam, minus ruler and made our report. Towards the end of the exam a student fainted, fortunately, there were two male supervisors as he was really big and needed lugging to where he could be lain on the floor in the recovery position. An ambulance was called, but I don’t think they took him to hospital. He hadn’t eaten breakfast, silly boy. The room was quite stuffy despite the air-conditioning, I opened the windows as I was starting a migraine. I had a headache all day but it didn’t get nasty.

Olivier was also facing his mock exams, I think he knows now that talking about revising is not the same as getting down to some work. Hopefully he will remember when the real exams take place at the end of June.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Now he’s selling books
On Saturday Rob went to the auction house with his ex-colleague, Beatrice ( who made our house sign). Between them they came away with about 300 books, which they’ve shared out. The idea is to sell them on eBay. Dom and I would like to read most of them, but we are only allowed to take one at a time. So now I’m reading ‘East Of Eden’ by John Steinbeck in French. I’ve had to clear some of our books away in order to store the ‘stock’. They were also eyeing up MY books!

800 postcards arrived this morning. Fortunately, you can get those into a shoe box. If I have to move out in order to make room for something else, has anyone got floor space for me?
A real fright, update
The car is still in the water. It looks as if someone has tried to move it, now it could turn over. I just hope children don’t try to climb onto it and make it overbalance. The marsh is a protected zone and I don’t think all the nasty chemicals seeping out of the engine will do the area any good.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A real fright
When we came home from our evening walk yesterday, I spotted the roof of a car in the brook/creek that runs along the side of the marsh. I tell you my legs turned to jelly at the sight. Rob and I went immediately to see if anyone was inside. Fortunately the car was empty as far as we could see. The registration was from the other side of France so that’s someone’s holiday ruined, I bet. Rob phoned the emergency services when we got home and they said they’d send someone to check. He e-mailed the mayor too who wrote back to say someone had reported it during the afternoon. It’s 25 years since I did a first aid course, I wonder if I’d have remained calm enough to be of help if there had been someone who needed help?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Latest addition
I’d like to point out The 400 Pound Mile, a new addition to my blogroll. An inspiring, well written blog, by a young man who is struggling to lose weight.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Where have all the sparrows gone?
A couple of weeks ago they were talking on the news about the decline in the sparrow population here in France. There are a lot fewer than there used to be. A lot of people use insecticides and products which are not good news at all for anything which might happen to live in the garden. I’ve never used any products except a small amount of washing-up liquid on the roses to get rid of the greenfly and aphids. I thought that there were fewer sparrows because a pair of magpies had moved into the garden. When I put out anything for the birds the magpies take over. They are like a pair of gangsters.

Where you are, are the sparrows doing okay?

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Who's traveled far and cries for rest?
"Not I," said the Oak Tree,"
I won't share my branches withno sparrow's nest,
And my blanket of leaves won't warmher cold breast".

Who will love a little Sparrow
And who will speak a kindly word?
"Not I," said the Swan,
"The entire idea is utterly absurd,
I'd be laughed at and scorned if theother Swans heard."

Who will take pity in his heart,
And who will feed a starving sparrow?
"Not I," said the Golden Wheat
,"I would if I could but I cannot I know,
I need all my grain to prosper and grow."

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Will no one write her eulogy?
"I will," said the Earth,
"For all I've created returns unto me,
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be."

Simon and Garfunkels lyrics are from this site.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May motto
I've always wanted to share something out of "The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady" for the beginning of the month. This month I've finally remembered.

"Be it weal or be it woe, beans blow before May doth go"

I don't know what it means either.
May Day has come and gone already.
(and I forgot to wash my face in the dew at dawn, again!)
Last week I went for my quarterly check up. Everything is going fine at the moment, There are a whole load of tests to do in July and he’s noted in my book something about seeing a Diabetic Doctor. I told him about some aches and pains I’ve been having in my joints and he said, that’s April for you.

I spent some of this weekend painting the smallest room in the house. The toilet is such an awkward place to paint. I’ve got backache today and it’s now May. The house smells of paint so the windows are all open, fortunately it’s a beautiful day.

Dom and Olivier went back to school this morning, they were both in a reasonable mood as they left the house. In a month the exams will be starting for Dom. She’s been revising for some time so she’s not in a panic. Olivier has mock exams next week, he’s been talking about revising for some time. It is not the same thing at all.