Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

"Happy new year and lots of little children" I only wish you those if you really want them.  Have a safe and happy new year's eve.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday 22nd December

This morning in town I saw a red admiral butterfly.

I bought the turkey this afternoon.  Why do I always forget how ugly they are?

No Christmas story this year.  It's in my head, I haven't got round to writing it down.  If you would like to read them, past stories are here and here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First lady carpenter

I imagine that this postcard dates before 1910.  The young lady was called Juliette Caron, she was born in 1882 and was the only lady carpenter in France. She was working on the barracks at Montluçon when this picture was taken. The back of the postcard tells us more;

"The lady carpenter works these days at the machine depot.  Dad has seen her.. she works well they say.  She works hard and doesn't mind people watching her"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blast from the past

A very good friend of mine from way (way, way) back is sorting out photographs and she sent me these:
 I was 17 when this was taken

My 18th birthday.  I got drunk on whisky mac.  The next day I had my first hangover.  Oh happy days... I was so thin.

(Thank you Melinda for bringing back some magical memories)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

About Joachim

That's the name of the storm that crossed France at the end of last week.  When I was teaching, I had a pupil called Joachim in one of my classes in the special section.  He was famous for farting, especially during the first class of the day.  Knowing that, I suppose you could say that the name fits.

Two auctions and a lot of washing

Last week landed us with two auctions.  At the beginning of the week we were in Chinon.  The weather was cold but sunny and we even had time to explore the town a little.  This time we stayed in a new hotel/motel which was situated within walking distance of the auction house.  We bought some interesting postcards, some of which will appear on Time and Oft in the near future.  We returned home on Tuesday morning, hoping to visit the 17th century town of Richelieu on the way.  It was raining so hard we just stopped for a cup of coffee.  On arriving home we unloaded, unpacked, re-packed our bags.

Wednesday morning we set off for Limoges.  The weather wasn't so kind and we didn't really have much time to explore - again!  There is an excellent restaurant opposite the hotel where we stayed, so we ate without getting too soaked. Another successful auction for us, though a little chaotic as the experts were holding 6 auctions plus viewings over two days.  The drive home on Friday was difficult because of the bad weather.

When we arrived home there was a message from Olivier saying that he would be home on Saturday.  Since he arrived I've been washing and drying clothes non-stop.  He assures me that he does go to the launderette on the campus - I wonder how often? I hate the smell of his KFC uniform.  Reminds me of when Rob came off his bike and broke his elbow.  He slipped on some grease accidentally left in the road in front of a restaurant, his clothes were ruined and had that same awful smell.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Being creative - sort of

I spent 7 hours last Friday furniture building. The instructions said an hour and a half for two people.  I was on my own.  I've still got blisters on my hand from turning the screwdriver and I had lots of aches and pains on Saturday.  It's satisfying to watch the joints close snugly as you tighten the screws.  I am very proud of the result.

This week I've put up the Christmas decorations - and very nice they look, even though I say it myself.  I had a bit of a panic when I couldnt find the crib, but they were all there waiting for me in a different box to the one I thought they were in.

I haven't even thought about food much.  As we have a couple more auctions coming up, I won't be thinking much about it next week either.  One of the local supermarkets has a drive in now - I might have mentioned it before.  It will be so nice not to have to struggle with an overloaded trolley in an overcrowded shop.  I suppose the drive in will have a queue a mile long.

Friday, December 02, 2011

In case I disappear

I had another final warning from the FBI this morning in my spam.  This time with four exclamation marks...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where did you get that hat?

 I took this photo with my phone before I realised that I wasn't supposed to.

We went to an auction last Friday.  The viewing was very short so we spent the remainder of the morning at the shop museum.  It was very interesting.  The museum was started from a private collection  that became too large. If ever you're in Charente Maritime it is well worth a visit.

We bought a very interesting album at the auction as well as some other cards.  No doubt I'll be putting some of them up on my postcard blog, Time and Oft

Two more auctions to come before the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A touch of the cosmos or the way to a man's heart?

For a while I've wanted a piece of furniture so that I could hang up coats and store gloves, scarves and hats as they seem to pile up over the winter months.  I found exactly what I wanted online.

 Unfortunately it was much too expensive. Then the sales came - still too expensive. I kept coming back to it; wishing.  A few days ago, I was looking wistfully at it yet again and decided to think outside my little box.  Christmas is coming, say I presented the idea to the family accountant, Rob, as a joint Christmas present?  So I went online again and saw that as well as the sale price, there was a reduction of a further 10% plus free postage (even on bulky items) if I used the special offer code!

So I prepared my case and my personal accountant agreed.  I was very careful to point out that the reduction totalled to more than 100€. It solved the Christmas shopping problem too - the way to a man's heart!

Now I just have to assemble it ...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another weeks floats its way across the skies of life

Dom and JM came to stay for a few days last weekend as it was a holiday on the Friday too.  It was good to spend time with them and catch up with their news.  We even managed a walk in the sunshine and J-M mended a heater for us and cut most of the hedge.  Dom made her famous carrot cake.  J-M had never tasted it before, I don't understand how they managed that. While they were here, Dom received an email about a scientific paper she has submitted for publication.  It hasn't been accepted yet, but needs polishing up.  Can you imagine how pleased she was?  Can you imagine how proud I am?   Next stop Christmas!

It's still pretty mild here, we don't really need the heating on yet - despite J-M's repairs.  We've had sunshine almost all week.

This week I sent out a newsletter to ExposeYourBlog! members -  my first! I hope that if you're a member and you're reading this that you did read it.  Don has handled the newsletters up to now.  I didn't realise how difficult it is to find things to say....

Learnt a bit about how to be happy too.  Not a bad week all in all.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Truman Capote revisited

The quote today on my Google was from Truman Capote, it made me laugh out loud.  I'm sorry, but a slightly off sense of humour runs in my family:

"Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it"

Here are my other strange posts about him

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And another busy week is finished

Monday was my visit to the Swedish Chef. Everything is fine in that department. Just a blood test for vitamin D (do I look pale) and a scan of my ovaries to do next.

On Tuesday Olivier phoned to say that he’d be arriving home for a few days in the evening. He came loaded with a huge basket of washing. He works at KFC for a few hours every week and I had the honour of washing his uniforms. The smell took me back 10 years…( Rob slipped outside some restaurants on his bike and broke his elbow. His coat came home in a bin bag soaked in cooking fat.) The only positive part was that the trousers dried really quickly with hardly a crease. The rest of the week I was frantically washing and drying despite the rain fog and drizzle which decided to accompany me.

In the mean time, Wednesday I had my last gel injection into my left knee. It did hurt this time, the Doctor said I have small knees and I suppose he touched the bone. It didn’t hurt afterwards so it was no big deal. Now I have to wait 6 weeks to see if the gel has worked, then I contact him about the right knee.

Olivier left yesterday morning, everything washed and a couple of things he’ll have to finish drying himself. The house seems so quiet and empty when he’s gone.

This morning Rob was working. We still managed to appreciate the extra hour in bed, the clocks have gone back an hour. Winter is coming

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pins and needles

On Monday I went to have the second injection of gel into my left knee. As I said before it wasn’t painful, just uncomfortable. He injected the gel into the same place on the outside of my knee.. I was so relieved as I know from my other injections (for the thread veins in my legs) that the inside of the knee is very sensitive. He told me that’s why they choose the same place, it’s also easier for them that way too. I think that my left knee is easier to move around and behaves better on the stairs too. I’ve just finished my first month of glucosamine. I’m having less pain in my shoulder, though it does depend how long I’m on the computer. As I had a few days break last week it could be because of that.

Tuesday was the vein doctor. Both treatments are perfectly safe with each other. I checked that with both doctors.

Next week The Swedish Chef! (see October 9th 2004)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Last week saw Rob and I headed for Limoges for an auction. I had never visited Limoges before so I was looking forward to visiting the city. Unfortunately, we needed to spend our time viewing postcards before the auction as there were so many to see. Limoges seems to be spread out so we saw some beautiful buildings on the way to the Auction house, even if we didn’t know what they were. We were in a hotel close to the station which is magnificently lit up at night. There was an excellent restaurant opposite the hotel where we ate in the evenings. Not bad for a business trip.

Friday, October 07, 2011

All about knees

I’ve just started reading ‘ A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernest Hemmingway. I ‘m really enjoying the book, just as I enjoyed 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. The problem was the description of the knee injury, especially as I had my first injection of gel this morning (I also thought of you Don).

It went better than I thought it would. Firstly I didn’t have the three quarters of an hour wait that I had with the first appointment (though I wouldn’t have minded because I had the above mentioned book with me). The Doctor was very reassuring and said that it wouldn’t hurt much. He was right, it was more uncomfortable than anything and he was quite quick. I didn’t look at what he was doing, I just concentrated on my breathing. Those breathing exercises come in useful for all sorts of things! He just told me not to go on a long walk, or dancing today. Stairs were okay as long as I didn’t go up and down too often.

Tomorrow I can do what I like. As I write, my knee does feel a little strange and it feels ‘ loose’ as I walk. In ten days I’ll have the second injection.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Unconscious Mutterings: week 453

  1. Quivering :: afraid
  2. Eclectic :: all I can think of is chocolate eclairs whenever I see this word
  3. Superimpose :: layers
  4. The best :: of
  5. Aches :: grace
  6. Vinyl :: black plastic
  7. Hot and cold :: water
  8. Girls :: boys
  9. Wall :: barrier
  10. Baby :: chubby legs 
If you'd like to join in every week go here

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Call it a bit of a dog's dinner...

Yesterday Rob and I went out for lunch to celebrate my birthday which was earlier in the week.  I was going to take pictures of what I had to eat.  I forgot until after I'd eaten and took photos of the empty plates instead. For some reason I can’t get the pictures onto the computer this time. You’ll have to make do with a picture of a breakfast I had a week or so back after going to the lab for blood tests.

(I couldn't even get that one right first time)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to school - time for excuses

I think that this list was sent to me by a friend who teaches in the US. I've been hanging onto it for a moment and decided to share it after rereading it today. It brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ashamed to be British

Can you imagine the thoughts of people abroad when they see scenes on TV of children in the UK as young as 8 years old fighting in a cage? One of the fathers defended himself by saying the practice is not illegal. This makes it okay, does it?

The fights take place in a social club where alcohol is served to adults.
These boys aren’t boxing and they aren’t using martial arts which involve discipline and training.

What kind of parent allows a child to do this? We’re supposed to protect our children and help them to grow up into responsible adults. Everyone knows what happens when children of that age are recruited into armies. They become ruthless killers because they are too young to have learnt the difference between good and bad.

I’m putting a poll up in the side bar for a week. I hope you’ll give me some feedback on this in the comments too- or am I just a soppy mother hen?

Friday, September 23, 2011


I just don’t know what to say about this milk bottle label. I grew up on a farm and I like cows, but sexy?

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to earn money the hard way

This weekend Dom and J-M came to stay. As always it was lovely to see them and they cooked me a birthday meal in advance. Salmon and spinach lasagna as Dom isn’t eating meat.
On Sunday we got up really early, braved the weather and held a stand at the local ‘Loft Empty’; a kind of boot/garage sale. I took along one or two odd postcards to sell (I haven’t got a licence to sell just those on a stand) and some old plates, DVDs and perfume. Dom and J-M sold some chairs; their new flat is a little small for all of the chairs that they’ve acquired. Well, it poured with rain, became hot and sunny, the wind picked up and then it rained again and so on, all through the day. The sun burnt my nose and Dom was surprised to find that she’d been burnt too when they arrived home. I covered the cost of the stand. I don’t think I’d like to spend too many days trying to earn a little money that way.
The house is always so empty when they go home


Friday was the day of my first visit to the rheumatologist about my knees. I had to wait rather a long time but he was very nice once I got to see him. He told me that my knees were in the early stages of arthritis. It was best to avoid anti inflammatory drugs if possible and that I should benefit from having gel injected into my knees. The gel is also what they use to fill out face wrinkles. He doesn’t off that service; he said. He also prescribed a form of glucosamine for me to take. If the gel works I shouldn’t have any more problems. Although he recommended that I didn’t take up mountain climbing. I will have three sessions of gel during the month of October.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another page is turned

Olivier came home this weekend to collect his papers to use while he’s waiting for his driving licence and everything he needs for another year of study. He’s packed up the Renault 5 with all of his gear and headed for Poitiers. As I write this I’m waiting for a message to confirm that he’s arrived in one piece. I bet he unloads the car first.

Next week he’s starting a part time job in KFC’s. You know, I’ve never tasted Kentucky Fried Chicken before. We’ll be popping up to see Dom and J-M’s new appartment in a couple of weeks hopefully. Perhaps I’ll get to try some then.

He  just phoned to say that he arrived safely.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Gentle Otter

This week Keith at A Taste Of Garlic wrote about a non French blog for a change. Now I’m directing you to a post on that blog about something happening today – not in the middle ages. If you have a minute please send a few words of support. Don’t forget to have a look at the rest of the blog while you are there.

Not people, socialists

I haven't got anything agaists Socialists.  I made an error in my post about Greenpeace.  The banner read "85% of Socialists"

We saw a report on the news about a giant turbine being taken out to sea and sunk.  It will produce electricity and will change the direction of its movement as the tide comes and go.  If it is successful there will be more.  Unlike wind turbines you can't see them at all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It wasn't what I thought

Last November I wrote about being stung by a European hornet. In fact it was an Asian Giant Hornet. (Picture is not for the squemish) These hornets didn’t exist in France until around 2004 when they accidentally arrived in a shipment from China. They are a steadily spreading throughout France. One of the main problems is that they kill bees in large numbers, have a nasty sting and it is very difficult to dispose of their nests. No one knows how to get rid of them, the powers that be are hoping that climatic conditions or disease will kill them off

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Greenpeace protest

Yesterday morning there were some special visitors who came to visit the Saint Nicolas tower– but not for the view.

This week has been the annual Summer University for the socialist parties in France. They always come to La Rochelle. The election for a new President will be next year and the socialists have to decide who amongst them will be the candidate for the parties on the left. There is much debate about this. Not much is said about what they will be doing about unemployment, crime, finance, education, health and… nuclear power stations.

These members of Greenpeace decided to ask the socialists “85% of French Socialists say no to Nuclear Power, what about you?” They are very careful about safety as you can see in the first picture. Unfortunately the wind picked up as they took their banner down.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

31°c = 87°f

That’s what the thermometer says. Fortunately I can close the shutters to keep out the sun and open all of the windows so the house stays reasonably cool. It’s still very hot though. Surprisingly enough, I’ve been seeing and hearing flocks of birds gathering. It can’t be migration time already, can it?

I’m off to look up cold accompaniments for cold chicken. We should have rain and thunder after midnight - Whew!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time traveller II

This postcard was sent in 1915. German Officers, now prisoners of war, are being escorted separately from their men. I did some research and discovered that sunglasses weren’t worn in the 20th century until 1929. Though forms of ‘sunglasses’ have been worn for many centuries. Can you see the man wearing them? As far as I can see the card has not been tampered with.

Is he another Time Traveller?

Monday, August 15, 2011

All aboard the Transbordeur

Last Friday Rob and I went for a day out and spent some of the time visiting the transbordeur de Martrou (Transporter Bridge) near Rochefort sur Mer. The bridge was built in 1900 by Ferdinand Arnodin, who built several in his time. The bridge at Rochefort is the only one left working in France, The rest were destroyed in WW2. Passengers and vehicles were pulled across on a platform, driven by steam. I was amazed at how quiet and smooth the trip was, although no longer powered in the same way.

Since I’ve been selling vintage postcards I’ve learnt to appreciate bridges. Look at the beautiful patterns of the girders. Mr Arnodin, who didn’t learn to read and write until he was nine because he used to play truant, loved solving problems.

The bridge was in use until 1967 and also appeared in the film 'The young Girls of Rochefort' (new link) released the same year (If you watch till the end you'll see how the bridge works). Now after being restored and made safe since the 1990s, tourists can cross back and forth, visit a very interesting exhibition about the bridge and explore the surrounding countryside.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We didn't see them go by!

Around Christmas 2009, Rob and I were having a cup of coffee...

...when Google Earth passed by

Friday, August 05, 2011

Impromptu music

Dom and J-M came to stay last weekend. We had good weather – yes, there was about one weekend’s worth. On Saturday evening we sat outside and had a barbeque. A little while before we were to start a neighbour knocked on the door and informed me that they were having some friends from Quebec. He explained that it might be a little noisy later on. I thanked him and told him that we could tolerate a little noise as he had been so polite.

We were just having a little drink while the barbeque was warming up, when I heard someone paying a banjo. A bass guitar joined in next, followed by an acoustic guitar and later some drums. While we were eating we were treated to a jam session and some blues! It was brilliant. They can make noise like that as often as they like. Once the music had stopped there was very little noise. We heard cars leaving a little after midnight. What nice neighbours we have!

I phoned Dom earlier, she was just finishing the writing of her first paper. By now she’s on holiday for two weeks. They are moving. They’ve found a new flat/apartment at the top of the road where Olivier has just moved out of. It sounds really lovely, they‘ll have an extra room that will act as an office. I hope that we’ll be able to visit them soon.

Am I the only one that thinks that time seems to have speeded up recently?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Phnd md qtuhgick!

The ‘good’ start to last week continued: On Tuesday, the Renault 5 needed to go to the garage for a service. I don’t know the way there so Rob said ‘Follow me’. It worked really well until I had to wait for 10 cars to go by before changing roads. We hadn’t discussed where I should head for if he went too far ahead. No signposts to the part of town where the garage is. I pulled in it call Rob, but it didn’t help me much as I didn’t know where I was. He advised me to head into town and go to the garage from there (I know that route).

So I was in the middle of town in heavy traffic slowing down and the car stalled. I kept calm, turned everything off, put on the hazard lights and checked that the car was out of gear ready to start up again. The car refused to start. With a lot of impatient drivers whizzing round I started to panic. A nice young man offered to push me onto the kerb, which just happened to be an empty parking space. I was so grateful. He then ran off to help a young woman who had fallen over (‘Tomorrow’s News’ or a Guardian Angel ?). With shaking hands I sent Rob a text message, the title of this post is what I wrote. He realized something was wrong and phoned me back straight away from the garage. The garage manager has been looking after us for 25 years now, so he listened over the phone while I tried to start the car again.

They both came to rescue me and our garage man replaced the spark plugs and took the car off to service. When we collected it the following day he presented us with the bill – no charge for coming out to fetch the car.

It does pay to build a good relationship with your local garage, even if you don’t know where it is. Unfortunately he’ll be retiring at the end of the year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aïe !

…Is what French people exclaim when they hurt themselves. It’s pronounced ‘eye!’. Yesterday when I was cleaning the shower, I splashed my eye with cleaning product. Fortunately I was in the right place to be able to wash it out quickly. It didn’t hurt for long but it was really red. During the evening it started to hurt a little as I was watching TV and not moving my eyes around much.

Before I went to bed I had to open a new bottle of the eye drops which I use every day because of allergies. Being the good person that I am I decided to reread the leaflet that comes with them in case there was mention of not using the drops if you got something in your eye like cleaning products. Hydrochloric acid is noted as one of the ingredients!

This morning my eye is fine thanks – just a touch of conjunctivitis in the other eye…

Did you know that if you take medicines for long periods you should check the leaflet enclosed from time to time as they are updated every now and then?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Out of Africa and Out of Africa revisited

I was watching a news report on TV about the droughts in some parts of Africa this year. An elderly lady was being interviewed and she was saying that she had never seen such bad conditions all her life. They asked her how old she was. She was the same age as ME! It’s easy for us to appear youthful physically; we have such easy lives…

Out Of Africa was on TV last night. When it first came out I dragged Rob to the cinema to see it. He fell asleep and my French wasn’t good enough to understand the subtleties of the plot. Although, I did enjoy the shots of the magnificent scenery. At last I understand why she wanted the land. I don’t think we see enough of Meryl Streep these days

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow your star

Years ago Rob gave English lessons to a young man. I don’t remember his name. The young man was passionate about pyrotechnics. Rob remembers the young man's grandmother telling him to take his studies more seriously and forget about fireworks, get a real job and so on…

To celebrate July 14th in France, he provided the main firework display for Paris, by the Eiffel Tower and two weeks ago, the fireworks to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert of Monaco to Princess Charlene.

You don’t always have to listen to your grandmother

Monday, July 04, 2011

In which I sit and talk

I finally got round to making a video of myself. I’m sorry about the quality of the image and the sound. Any tips on how to improve it will be gratefully accepted.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Perhaps you could help too?

Today I’m writing about two very important blogs created by a blogging friend, Dirty Butter. We met up because of the chat box on ExposeYourBlog!. We discovered that we have a lot in common, though we live across the world from each other. We sell old stuff online (DB antiques and collectables – me vintage postcards) and we both used to teach.

Can you help? Every parent knows the agony of their child losing his/her favourite soft toy. Here is an amazing blog to put searchers and toys together. Anyone can help, anywhere in the world… spread a little happiness!

A second idea from DB: As everyone knows in April and May this year a lot of people in parts of the U.S. lost everything because of the tornados. In April and May a lot of young couples are busy preparing for their weddings. Imagine losing the wedding dress you’d dreamt of and saved up for. A special site created to help would be brides have their wedding after all. There have been many generous donations of dresses. Now the problem is to find the brides to fit them. If you know anyone who lost their dress or needs help with preparations because of the tornados, please tell them about this site.

As if there wasn't enough to do already, DB also has a couple of other blogs, Yesterday’s Memories and Day to Day with a Movement Disorder in which she talks about coping with Essential Myoclonus and some of the medication she has to take

Friday, June 17, 2011

My A-Z

Picked up at One Step Up (and Two Steps Back)

A. Age - 55
B. Bed size - double
C. Chore that you hate the most – drying the dishes
D. Dogs – None, I used to have a Border Collie called Elkie
E. Essential start to your day – an orange
F. Favourite colour - purple
G. Gold or silver - gold
H. Height - 5'6"
I. Instruments you play – I played the ‘cello for four years at school and I used to have a guitar
J. Job title – self employed deltiologist (postcards)
K. Kids - 3
L. Live – Charente Maritime, France
M. Mother's name - Margaret
N. Nicknames – Anji, gorgeous mummykins
O. Overnight hospital stays – For each baby, 5 days and nights in hospital and one night when Olivier had concussion
P. Pet peeve – can’t think of one for the moment
Q. Quote from a movie - "Don’t cry” Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail
R. Right or left handed - right
S. Siblings – two younger sisters and a little brother
T. Time you wake up – the alarm goes off at 6am
U. Underwear – clean and paid for
V. Vegetable you hate – cabbage
W. What makes you run late – Having to look for someone else’s lost property
X. X-rays you've had – back and lots of my teeth
Y. Yummy food that you make - Quiche
Z. Zoo animal – elephant, but not in the zoo

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It’s Red Bull time again

For the third year in a row, the Red Bull cliff diving event will be held on Saturday in La Rochelle. The divers will dive from the top of the St Nicolas Tower. Both Rob and Olivier have extra hours, being around while everything is set up in the evening after the tourists have left. Rob got home at 2 the other morning. We’re still tired! No exclusive pics I’m afraid, everything is strictly controlled and copywrite.

Dom and J-M came for the weekend. Dom has had her hair cut to celebrate the end of her master’s years. She looks like Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve got mail’, especially when she runs around the house in her jim-jams. In September she starts her Doctorate, she’s managed to sort out her funding without too much trouble (but a lot of stress). We had a great time. We went to a brocante (boot sale/ garage sale) and found some interesting bargains.

Yes, I now have my very own laptop and it has a web cam (don’t they all?) so I might do a vlog one of these fine days. Just have to wait until there is no one at home…

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Normal Service...

... will be resumed s son as possible. There is even talk of a new laptop for moi!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Everso Slightly Drunk - Sobriety in Moderation!

I recommend you read his posts about his slightly strange family based somewhere in Canada. Not only that, he writes well.

I’m only doing this for the ExposeYourBlog! credits…

Friday, April 22, 2011

More notes to add to yesterday’s post.

I forgot to mention that when we walk around the village after dark, we hear at least 3 nightingales singing. They really do sing beautifully. Only the lonely male sings at night.

Do you remember these? They were nightingales and unfortunately they never came back again. Being so close to the house was obviously too stressful for them

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nature notes and stuff

Summer seems to have arrived within a week of winter. I’m sure that we’re going to pay for it. Strange things have happened in the garden, I had tulips and daffodils where I didn’t plant any. I think the birds must have uprooted and dropped bulbs at some point. There were lots of violets on the lawn too. One morning a couple of weeks ago, I opened the shutters just as it was getting light and I saw an owl on his way home. Rob and I stood in the park one afternoon when the leaves weren’t quite out and watched a squirrel make its way along the tops of 5trees before losing track of it. I’ve had my phone ready every time I walk through the park hoping to get a picture of the jays. no sign of them this year, nor across the road.

Dom came for the weekend. We went window shopping together and I showed her my short cut to change buses which takes me past a row of birch trees. She explained to me that they were the only trees that would grow in region of Russia where she stayed a few years ago. She and J-M will be back in a couple of weeks. I know they are making a special effort as they both have a lot of studying and preparation to do. Dom is preparing what is called her ‘mémoire‘ in French. I don’t know what the word is in English, I know it’s not a theses. I just discovered the difference: At her level of studies Dom hasn’t created a concept or new theory yet. This only exists in France it seems. J-M has finished his written exams and is preparing for his oral exams. They have a good system. They leave home every day and work in the library, very businesslike.

Olivier is home for two weeks before his exams. Not much sign of him revising… When he arrived home he’d got a copy of the Financial Times in his hand, so I suppose that counts

Next week I’ve got exam supervision, that seems to have come round again very quickly

Sunday, April 03, 2011

How things break and that link

Aha! I’m putting the link at the bottom so that you’ll read my post first…

This morning I broke my beloved Pyrex ® bowl. it’s the largest of a set of three and was so useful for salads, mixing things and making porridge in the microwave. This morning I made porridge in the microwave and the bowl slipped out of my hands as I was washing it. It shattered, which was quite a shock; Fortunately I had my glasses on, as it was a bit of an explosion.

Yesterday we received two large albums of postcards through the post. They were sent by an auction house a long way away and were well packed inside a box, each one in a large, extra strong, bubble pack bag. Wrapped one inside the other, the bags were perfect for containing the pieces broken bowl. Strange how things tie up.

* The link, it came from a Linky and Dinky newsletter. Hope that your name is on the right list!

(* For once this was something I could see better on AOL)

Friday, April 01, 2011

April 1st

Twenty five years ago today, we moved into this house.

Four years ago I officially started up my own business.

This morning I discovered that my name is the second sexually active female name in the US - How’s that for a claim to fame? Though I think I’m getting a little old now….

ExposeYourBlog! is 10 months old today and still growing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring has sprung

This photo was taken just over a week ago; the blossom has fallen now . For a few days I had a layer of pink petals in the bottom of the bath every evening. Now the tree is covered in leaves.

I took this all by myself with my phone. When I get the hang of putting what I take onto the computer, you’ll get to see more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Queen saw me in my knickers!

I recently left a comment on a post by Connie. It was about school uniforms. Just before I started secondary school at the age of twelve my mum received a list of what I’d need and what I should wear for school. Right down to underwear! I really don’t know how my poor mum afforded all of these new clothes for me – which she had to repeat for my two sisters and brother in later years.

She had to buy the uniform from specially named shops and they were very expensive, but hard wearing. She bought me a ‘lovely’ skirt which was much too long – she said I’d grow into it – I never did grow that tall. Miniskirts were in and we all used to roll up our skirts and hold down the lumpy waistband with a tightly done up belt (non uniform, but well hidden).

In the summer months we were expected to wear straw boaters. They made excellent Frisbees. Can you imagine the glee on the very last day of school as these horrible clothes were consigned to the bin? I clearly remember cutting my school tie up.

For sport in our first year we wore a pair of navy blue knickers (over the regulation navy blue knickers we were already wearing) and a white t shirt. I can assure you that it was very cold in the snow and ice the wrong end of a hockey pitch.

One day the Queen was visiting somewhere locally and we were told that she would pass by the school at a certain time and we would all be out on the pavement to wave to her. This coincided with sport for my class and being the youngest (and shortest)we would be standing at the front. So that is how the Queen saw me in my knickers.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A little update

The 22nd February was Olivier’s 20th birthday; he wasn’t going to come home despite it being the holidays and then I got a message to say that he would be home. I saw him long enough to wish him a Happy birthday and then he was out with friends. He did manage to eat one meal with us during the 5 days he was at home.

The blossom is starting to open this week. Unfortunately it has gone very cold again, hopefully not cold enough for a frost.

We used up our 3Gs in just over half of a month. The idea is that we now have a slower internet connection until the 12th when our 3Gs will be renewed. We haven’t noticed a slowing down – not that any slower than slowest could be possible. Our phone line has been now been cut off. I phoned the answer service without thinking. It’s very strange to be told that your phone number does not exist anymore.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Our AOL box died on us in the early hours of last Friday morning. It was so frustrating, so many things to do with no internet. I worked offline as much as I could, but I do a lot of research too, so I was pulling my hair out by the end of the day.

Dom and J-M arrived that eveing and he was on his phone straight away trying to sort it out. Would you believe his call was answered immediately. It seems the box was at fault. On Saturday, Rob went out and bought us a 3G key (I’m not sure what you call it in English). This gets the internet out of fresh air as far as I’m concerned. The only problem at the moment is that the key is only on one computer at a time. It is also very slow. Rob is going to buy a box so that 5 computers can benefit from the key at the same time.

I wouldn’t have thought it but I was suffering from severe internet withdrawal symptoms most of last Friday and Saturday.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Bring on the sunshine

I met my friend Robert this morning and we stopped for a brief chat in the park. We were both wishing for some sunshine. He asked me if I could find some on the internet; I didn’t find any, but I found out how to make a sunshine:
☼ ☼ ☼

The sun didn't shine today, but I did try.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saint Angela de Merici (1474 – 1540)

Today is my ‘fête’! Celebrated in France, fêtes are a nice way of celebrating our names . Today we remember Saint Angela de Merici who founded the order of Ursulines. The order was founded primarily for the education of girls and care of the sick and needy. January 27th is the anniversary of her death . She is patron Saint of sickness, handicapped people and the loss of parents.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Recently I’ve noticed the starlings on the move in the mornings. I was opening the shutters one morning and thought that the wind had picked up. The trees weren’t moving so I looked up to see thousands (?)of birds flying over. The next time they were flying pretty low between the houses. The weather was milder so I wonder if they were flying low enough to spot insects. There were certainly a few feeding off the lawn later in the day.

This evening we went for a walk in the pouring rain and an owl swooped silently by.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The post about the new Doctor

Friday; I needed to renew my prescriptions so I went to see the new Doctor in the morning. The morning was different for a start, the old Doctor had his surgery in the evenings. I took my blood test results for the last year,test results from the Swedish Chef, the scan of my thyroid from two years ago, my prescriptions and notes about anything else I could think of.

Our Doctor (I still think or him as ours) was a smart man who liked interesting shoes and different shirts. The new Doctor was very casual indeed. I know I shouldn’t say it - rough and ready – sorry. I started to explain to her about being pre-diabetic. There are two schools of thought on diabetes; she’s in the one that says you are either diabetic or not. I’m not. I can have a test every six months. I can have a test for cholesterol once a year. Fortunately I’ve learnt how to eat to keep the numbers down over the past few years. She also tut-tutted because I’d had the urine tests where you collect urine for 24 hours – I don’t need them as I’m not diabetic. As if it was all my fault. At least I got my thyroid tablets.

We can change our Doctor here very easily, I’ll see how it goes

Friday, January 21, 2011

Extra terrestrial

More exams this week. I think we’ve finished for the season. On Monday morning the bus I was on stopped by the station and an extra terrestrial got on. he put a smile on my face for the rest of the morning. There was an awful lot of giggling in the back of the bus later too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The lost man and me

I was preparing lunch around midday and looked out of the kitchen window onto the street. There was an elderly man looking very confused and lost so opened the kitchen window to ask him if I could help. He had a lot of difficulty speaking and could only answer ‘yes’. I popped outside to talk to him properly and asked him where he had come from and his name. He couldn’t remember and could only say ‘yes’. I tried to think of questions that might help him to remember, but he couldn’t. Locking up the house we set off down the road and round the corner. I rang the doorbell at a house where someone was home and the person there didn’t recognize him. She phoned the retirement home the other end of the village, but everyone was present for lunch. We set off in the other direction to see a neighbour who is on the local council and is married to a villager born and bred.

My neighbour didn’t know him either, so we all set off trying to jog his memory walking though the local streets while my neighbor telephoned the gendarmes who said that they were on their way. The post office closes at one In the village so I spoke to the post office lady who was just arriving home for lunch. She didn’t know him either. She fetched a chair and a drink of water for the old man who seemed grateful. The gendarmes seemed to take ages to arrive, their base is only 10 minutes away. We left him in their care.

My neighbour’s wife has just phoned. The gendarmes eventually took the old man to the emergency department at the hospital where he was known. The line was bad so I’m not sure whether he’s been reunited with his family or taken back to the home that he ‘escaped’ from. At least he’s safe and sound now.

Olivier was very worried, he’s home for the weekend and heard me lock the front door. He went into the kitchen to find a half prepared meal...

Sunday, January 09, 2011


WD40 has been around since 1953 It got its name from the inverter Norm Larsen’s attempts to make water-displacing spray. The product we use was his 40th attempt to get it right!

I used it to spray on the damp car engine the other day and we use it to lubricate stuck screws, I have used it for stain removal (though rather smelly) and to clean the fiddly bits around taps. Here are 2000 other ideas you might be interested in.

How about this one? "Removes a Boa Constrictor stuck in engine compartment of cars"

The spray can is the same in France, except for the language. You can spot WD40 anywhere.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Empty house

Things seem to be returning to normal at last. Dom went back to Poitiers just before the New Year and Olivier went back this morning, we took him to the station just before 7. He was supposed to go back yesterday, but discovered his exam was this afternoon; Unfortunately Rob had trouble starting the car this morning after the cold, humidity was very high as the temperature went up. He started it in the end. We sprayed WD40 around. Neither of us could remember where to put it.

I’ve had a slightly upset stomach for a couple of days, this morning was Olivier’s turn. He didn’t take his exam, he was too ill. He went to see a doctor this afternoon and phoned to let me know that he would live. He hasn’t got any food in. Fortunately Dom lives close. Last I heard she was taking him something round to eat. She’s into making soup at the moment so he’ll be okay.

Now I have all of the washing to do and what seems like a very empty house.