Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soap nuts - part II

I’ve now done three washes with the soap nuts. The first two were at 30°c and the last was towels and tea towels which I wash at 60°c. I’m not sure that the nuts were up to a hotter wash on their third go. The strangest part is the lack of smell. I suppose that I associate the smell of scented chemical products with clean.

As I type this, I think I’ll probably save 2 or 3 euros (3euro = $3.65 = £2.42)a month on cost, but much more on the cost to the environment. The nuts came in a ziplock bag printed with the details. The bottom of the bag is badly printed, so for the moment I’ll be using an ordinary product for whites as I add a whitener. I don’t normally use a softener except for woollens, I can’t say that the washing feels softer after using the nut and I haven’ ironed anything washed with the nuts yet. I’ve yet to try a couple of drops of scented oil with the wash. As I have two men to wash for I’ll have to choose my perfume carefully.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Just before we were married 25 years ago we were given three bottles of champagne. The bottles were already 10 years old. We drank two on our wedding day and decided to keep the 3rd for this year. I opened it last week. First of all the cork fell apart, then when I poured it, out came a very dark looking liquid, not at all bubbly – I didn’t taste it as I thought it smelt like paint stripper. We weren’t too disappointed as we half expected it to go wrong.

On Friday night Olivier worked late as there was a function at one of the towers; They asked for an extension until two in the morning and rewarded Olivier and his colleague with – a bottle of champagne. Olivier was horrified when the other person poured Olivier’s share into an empty plastic coke bottle and gave it to him (do you think that this person could have been French?). He doesn’t like champagne so he brought it home and put it into the fridge. When I first saw it, it reminded me of a pee sample. Rob and I drank it yesterday eveing and it was very good – despite the coke bottle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I came across some soapnuts the other day at the supermarket. Apparently you put 3 or four into a little bag and place it in the washing machine. When the nuts are warm they release the ‘soap’ that cleans and the final rinse is cold which releases softener properties of the nuts. The nuts can be used two or three times depending on the temperature of the wash and then they can go into the compost How convenient of nature to arrange things naturally for us.

They don’t smell, it says on the packet, so you can put some natural oils into the wash if you want to. I think that they might work out cheaper than the product I’m using at the moment. Has anyone used them?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Today Rob and I celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary ; On Monday 17th June 1985 we were married in the Town Hall in La Rochelle. Afterwards we had a drink with Rob’s mother and step father. We went to buy a cake and as we both love it, chose custard tart ‘flan’. Today we were planning to have lunch outside at the Avocet in the village, as it's raining and a bit cold we're going to wait until the weather gets better. I always thought that silver weddings happened to old people.

Inside court yard of the Town Hall. To get married we went through the door at the end.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

April 1931 - June 2001

It’s nine years ago to day since my dad died. We didn’t always see eye to eye and I moved away and didn’t see him that often, but I miss him just the same. One of the things that I can’t get used to is finding something I know that he’d be interested in. He’d had loved my postcards. Thanks to the internet I’ve grown very fond of a lot of Gordon Lightfoot songs in recent years. I know that my dad would have liked this song. The story of the navvies that built the railway across Canada. He was never afraid of hard work well done and I’m sure that if he’d have lived then he’d have been ‘Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey’ with the best of them. My paternal grandfather was born in the US, but his parents had to return to England when he lost his fingers in a saw mill accident. So it would have been in his blood.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy, ©1967 by Gordon Lightfoot

There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginnings and the history has no bounds
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked the forests tall
Built the mines, mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy was turnin' to the spring
The railroad men grew restless for to hear the hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
And many a fortune lost and won and many a debt to pay

For they looked in the future and what did they see
They saw an iron road running from the sea to the sea
Bringing the goods to a young growing land
All up from the seaports and into their hands

Look away said they across this mighty land
From the eastern shore to the western strand

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We're gonna lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declining
The stars they come stealing at the close of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark ocean in a place far away

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey
Bending our backs til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Laying down track and building the bridges
Bending our old backs til the railroad is done

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St. Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swinging our hammers and drawing our pay
Layin' 'em in and tying them down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the living, a toast to the dead

Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up her soil
With our teardrops and our toil

For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men too silent to be real

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quiz time

Not long after I started blogging I set up a quiz about the people on my blogroll. That was back in 2004. I wonder how many of these you might be able to answer this time:

1. There are four guitarists, can you name them?
2. Her name happens to sound like the past tense of what she does well
3. Someone who has been blogging since 1996
4. Two sisters
5. Who’s family has been likened to a mixture of The Osbournes and Absolutely Fabulous.
6. Who is the youngest blogger on my blogroll (Though she hasn’t blogged for a while)?
7. I see pictures at an exhibition…
8. Give her a cake
9. He travels the world as his name suggests
10. Someone who is getting more football than she bargained for.

One question is exactly the same as last time, which one is it?


In front of the post office is a handicapped parking space with plenty of room to get in and out of a car if you have difficulties. Rob and I sometimes sit drinking our coffee and watch people drive into the space, often they pull out again when they realise. Some of them that stay look very fit and sheepish. This morning there were two gendarmes in motorbikes (gasp), I think that they were doing some training as they were going quite slowly. A people carrier drove into the space carrying two well to do middle aged people. The gendarmes stopped and asked if they had a disabled sticker. They said they were parking there because there weren’t any other places. The main car park is about 10 meters away from where they were. They had to move – poor things.

We’ve got the brocante (think boot sale without cars) in the park this weekend. If you’re thinking of coming there will be less parking space than ever. Four houses are being built on the field that was used by the stand holders and the one way street now has a foot path along with a wooden fence to protect walkers from the traffic and parked cars. To add to the chaos as from tomorrow (Tuesday 15th) all junctions will be priority to the right (more gendarmes on motorbikes!!!).

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I decided to look up Vinegar in my ABC of Natural Beauty by Dian Dincin Buchman. I used organic cider vinegar on my hair, she says that apple-cider vinegar is the best vinegar for skin and hair care in her opinion. It is also a reliable cure for dandruff. Vinegar is good for skin care and blackhead control. You can pour vinegar into the bath and soak in it (only a cup to the bath – you don’t want to smell like a fish and chip shop) to restore energy.

It can be used as a ‘douche’, but not every day. I think I’d talk to the Swedish Chef before trying that one out.

I had an interesting comment from Dreamer13:
“I use Apple Cidar Vinegar on my hair all the time! :) I do 50/50 mix with water and use it in place of conditioner. Works great! :)”

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Silicone and me

A few months ago I had some real problems with my hair. It suddenly became like candyfloss. I was heartbroken, it had never been so bad before. Dom had had some problems too and her hairdresser had said something about silicone; Silicone is what makes your hair glossy and straight by sealing the outer layers. It works very well for a little while, but it seals the moisture out. Then your hair begins to look awful. I decided to do some research, especially as my hairdresser told me to throw out anything containing silicone. Non of the products I had in the cupboard said that they had ‘silicone’ in. Silicone gets called all sorts of names and some types are a lot worse than others. I cleared out quite a few products. How to remove the remaining silicone in my hair was the next problem. Some are water soluble, some can removed with a gentle shampoo and some needs sulphates to remove them. This is what I found. Follow the link entitled ‘ clarify your hair’.

This afternoon I rinsed my hair with vinegar to clarify my hair. Rob came home early and we went off for a walk before I had chance to dry my hair as I would have liked to. I was expecting it to go all fuzzy and it didn’t. It’s not as nice as it used to be (before silicone), but I’d recommend the vinegar – I’m not sure about the smell, though it’s not as strong as I thought it would be.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Auction time

We went off to an auction on Friday. I do enjoy auction days, we treat it as a special day out as it takes all day with the viewing in the morning.

This one wasn’t far away so we took the 20 minute ride on the little train which goes along the coast. There is still a lot of damage lying around from Xanthia, a lot of mobile homes and holiday cabins were damaged or destroyed along that part.

The weather was beautiful, so after the viewing we didn’t mind walking around the town and sat outside for lunch. We didn’t get everything we wanted but were well pleased with what we did get. I would have liked the postcards of the early soviet cosmonauts but they were just too expensive. We did buy some costume postcards, mostly eastern Europe and for the first time autographs. Now comes the difficult part; selling them.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It’s all happening on the wall

I was startled to see a bird fight on the wall across the road the other morning. A pair of European Greenfinches appeared from nowhere and disrupted the Sparrow population’s morning feed. One of the intruders was chased off at high speed with a piece of bread in his beak. The bird left behind had managed to get its beak entangled in some fur left over from the night before when our neighbour groomed his dog. He was hopping around with a beard. Then it occurred to me that perhaps he was trying to disassociate himself from his partner’s bad behaviour.

A little later, when it was pouring with rain, I noticed two doves on the wall getting pretty romantic. I could tell by the way they were caressing each other’s necks what was going to happen next. Poor things, they reminded me of a pair of desperate teenagers with nowhere to go. “pretend we just got caught in the rain”*.

*The Faces -You’re so Rude