Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Wedding post

The weather yesterday morning was perfect for a wedding, sunny without a cloud in the sky. By the time our train arrived in Poitiers it was raining. Dom and JM met us at the station and drove us round to their apartment. It was our first visit to out apartment so JM showed us around. I’m pleased to report that their corridor is wide enough to accept bookcases. They’ve got a lovely flat with room for an office.

The wedding meal was before the ceremony and we all went to an organic restaurant. ‘We all’ consisted of families and witnesses. Dom and JM’s friends made an effort to speak English from time to time – though they were all so good I don’t think they needed to struggle. I sat next to JM’s brother who is a younger version of JM and I was pleased to discover that he really is interested in vintage postcards, especially from WWI. The meal was surprisingly filling considering I chose a salad. The cake was delicious, chocolate pear!

 After we finished our meal the happy couple and witnesses went back to change, so we wondered around the Christmas market and shopping center and then to the town hall to wait for a few minutes. There we got to know Nadia – Dom’s colleague and witness – who was in charge of the flowers. She’s researching reading problems and dyslexia.

A civil wedding in France is really short; basically reading the law and declaring the happy couple man and wife. After which we went into a magnificent room at the side for photographs. We walked back to their flat in the rain and had just time for speeches and a glass of champagne before the train home. The youngsters were off out once the oldies were out of the way.

It was lovely to see that they have such good friends. And JM’s family is very fond of Dom we know, as we are fond of him. So now I am Officially a Mother-in-law.
The official bride with her official mother

An embarrassing moment
Dom and JM took us to the station in their Twingo which is a small car. I’ve always had trouble getting out of the back of the car and my foot slipped as I got out of the car so my weight went down onto my left knee. I was stuck half in and half out as I couldn’t push myself up. Dom and JM had to lift me up out of the car. I did feel such a fool; it was painful at the time, but once I was on my feet I was okay. No swelling today fortunately

Stained glass window in the town hall, Poitiers
 *Photos by Rob

The Christmas post

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Rob’s computer died on him, so as we were sharing I didn’t have time to wish everyone a Happy Christmas. I even had a postcard ready to scan to illustrate my post. It will keep now until next year.

We had a lovely Christmas, Olivier, Dom and J-M were here with us and I spoke to Christian on the phone. Dom and J-M left on Boxing Day to finish preparations for their wedding.

As the blogging world works upside down, if you are reading this you’ve already read the wedding post!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Has the World Ended yet?

I thought I might as well climb onto the band wagon.(Google it and see)

I phoned my Mum this morning as it’s her birthday. She’s 77! She was hoping that her hairdresser would arrive in time to have her hair done for the end of the world. She was also saving opening her presents for later – it appears that she must have had the time to do all that she wanted in the end.

When is the next End of the World due?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dream time

Rob’s computer died on him last weekend, so we’ve been sharing – he’s also had a few days holiday, so I haven’t had the time on my computer at all. Our postcard business has to come first. We have managed to have some fun just the same. Christmas shopping, going to see the lights in town one evening, walks between downfalls and generally getting ready for Christmas. The presents are all bought and now need wrapping up.

I thought I’d better post as I had a rather strange dream about blogging last night: I was reading a cookery blog, which came by post in the form of a magazine. The problem was that the pictures were taking a long time to download. When they did they were like videos. The blogger was making whipped egg white with canned peach slices. The slices were very small and fragile and a lovely orange which went well with the egg white.

Funnily enough, I knew exactly why I’d had this dream as soon as I woke up. The Saturday supplement which comes with our newspaper was running a feature on a French blogger who writes a cookery blog and takes lots of photographs of everything she makes. The white whipped egg white came from some eye shadow I received in my latest Glossy Box. It was described as mousse and is white, when applied to the skin it gives a golden sparkle. (Will go very nicely with my little black dress on New Year’s Eve – not).

I wonder what peaches and egg white would be like…

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It’s been an odd week, sometimes cold sometimes mild, lots of rain then sunshine. The east of France is covered in snow. Rob has been on holiday for a few days then he went back to work for one day for stock taking.

I’ve just been plodding on by in neutral mode. I finished watching The Pillars of the Earth and really enjoyed it. J-M bought me a book of short stories he found somewhere, so I started to read that. Has anyone ever managed to get their head around ‘Ping’ by Samuel Beckett? He wrote it in French first and I must admit that version makes a little more sense. I read that the point was to illustrate that language only makes sense in a cultural context. Discuss….

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The decorations are up!

I managed to find something to wear for the wedding last Friday. I was so glad to get it done. I was surprised at how much it was starting to worry me.

This morning I put the finishing touches to the Christmas decorations. My poor crib seems to have lost all of the moss from its roof. Well, it is over 25 years old now No pics I’m afraid, as my computer doesn’t want to recognize my phone at the moment. I know what we’ll be eating on Christmas day, of course, but what about the other days, especially Christmas Eve, any suggestions?

This afternoon we had a hail storm, it lasted quite a while. When I went outside later there was quite a snow - I mean hail drift.

These are pictures from last Christmas :

Yes, we have a fire place but it is not in use. We don't have room for a big tree anymore and this one fits snugly.

God Jul is a "Norwegian" teddy. he comes out at Christmas, but sulks (even though he's been given some chocolates) because he's put away for the rest of the year. 

Stockings at the ready...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Early to rise

The alarm went off at four this morning. Rob had to go into work early to let the camera crew into the Chain tower as today was the la Rochelle Marathon. By eight this morning I’d already cleaned the oven door (no easy task), made the Christmas card list and cleaned the step in the shower. Since then I’ve been working and surfing. I’ve managed to prepare more postcards for online than I usually do. Perhaps I should set the alarm for 4 every morning. Perhaps not.

On Friday I had a chest x-ray. My lungs are fine but they did notice my spine is slightly arthritic (regular readers will know all about that problem) which I’ve already sorted.

After that I spent a few hours looking for something to wear for the wedding. Most shops are more interested in evening wear for Christmas and New Year at the moment, so it’s not easy. This is not going to be a formal wedding and I am not wearing a hat. I’ve managed to find one shop with clothes that I like and will go back again next Friday and try some things on.

I’ve also got to find out where to buy confetti from.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do you have to die because you are different?

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance These are the faces of women and men who tried to live their lives as they knew they should.

 The memorial page

Monday, November 19, 2012

Time to buy a dress

Dom and J-M came to visit this weekend. Saturday morning we had the agreeable job of shopping for clothes for Dom and J-M’s wedding at the end of December! We went into a lot of shops, some of which were very different to others. Dom found several dresses that she liked in Burton of all places (considering the chic French shops we have here in La Rochelle). As they are having a civil marriage, she decided on a very simple purple dress, with geometric black lines, very 60s. Me? Absolutely nothing. I tried on three dresses, none of which flattered my lumpy figure.

We were exhausted after a morning’s shop and the weather was dull and damp so we just popped out for a drink late afternoon. We celebrated her birthday which was on the 15th and talked and talked.

Next time they will be here it will be Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now I know why

Recently I haven’t felt like doing much. I haven’t felt much like blogging or visiting blogs. I’ve been falling asleep in front of the TV most evenings too. My blood test results came back and my thyroid has gone way out again. The Doctor has changed the dose of thyroxcine so hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back up to full power.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Down, back and up

This has been a really interesting weekend for me. Yesterday lunchtime, on TV,  there was a documentary about the men who spend their tours of duty manning a nuclear submarine. The film crew spent a week with them. It was interesting to learn how everything fit together within the submarine. Equipment is designed so that it can be moved through small spaces. They even recycle in the galley. You should have seen what they get to eat! (Well, this was a French submarine).

The crew was very interesting and friendly with a proud sense of duty. Of course, there was a lot that they couldn’t tell us and the microphones were switched off during a visit to the engine room as the sound of the engine is part of a submarine’s identity and must be kept secret. Needless to say, the film crew was glad to leave after a week in such a confined space!
 I’ve written about submarines in the past: here and here

 Yesterday evening there was a telefilm about Georges Clemenceau (the Tiger) who was the French leader during the First World War.

One of the monuments associated with The Towers in La Rochelle is the little house that Clemenceau stayed in for holidays by the sea in Vendée. One Christmas Rob was guardian for a couple of days and nights there and we’ve visited several times. ( A short story that I wrote about that Christmas) Clemenceau was also a close friend of Claude Monet and persuaded him to have operations on his cataracts.

 This lunch time I’ve been listening to The Museum of Curiosity. Buzz Aldrin was one of the guests contributing to the Museum this week. He’s really interesting with a good sense of humour Unfortunately, there is only one day left to listen if you want to know the first words he said to his wife when he landed back on earth

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's a gas...

Today is a holiday here in France.  Traditionally everyone visits the graves of their loved ones with chrysanthemums.  As Rob has a job  in the tourist industry he’s at work today which means I am too.  Anyway I’ve finished for today.

Yesterday was quite active.  We had the yearly check up of the gas heater.  All is fine;  a little part needs replacing but nothing dangerous or vital for the moment.  During the afternoon, there was no gas at all.  Problems with the heating are not what anyone needs with the cold weather approaching. It turned out to be builders working on some new houses to be accidently broke a gas main.  It was fixed within a couple of hours.  The best bit was that the gas men came round checking that everyone was back in action and they even offered to turn my heater on again.  Thank goodness they did, it took a while to ignite.  If I’d have done it I’d have panicked. 

 I only knew electricity growing up so I don’t trust gas (though it makes great scrambled eggs!).  When I was in my early teens I remember the police arriving outside our classroom to fetch one of the girls, her mum had been injured when a heater exploded.  I seem to remember it was gas.
Today has been wet and mild – don’t really need the heating much yet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Teeth and bones etc.

My shoulder still hurts and is very slowly getting better.

About 10 days ago I started to get toothache, really bad toothache, despite the pain killers I was taking for my shoulder. Of course these things always happen when you have to wait over the weekend. In desperation I used some mouthwash which had been prescribed for Rob when he was having dental problems. I thought that my head was going to explode! Fortunately, it calmed down after about 10 minutes and my tooth started to feel a little better. I now have a new dentist and he seems awfully young. He x-rayed my tooth and there was no problem with the tooth. After looking round the rest of my teeth he announced that I have several gum abscesses – I had no idea! For the time being I have mouthwash to use 3 times a day and when I clean my teeth in the evening I use bicarbonate of soda and peroxide which I make into a paste, it has a horrible salty taste. I have a tiny brush for between my teeth. At the end of the week the dentist will x-ray the other side of my mouth and give my teeth a good clean. It’s nearly two years since I last visited a dentist. I won’t leave it so long next time.

 I had my bone density scan last week. All done within half an hour. Apparently my bones are better than most people’s my age. It was nice to see the smiles on the faces of the doctors when they saw the results. I went to have my eyes tested too. My vision is a little better! New glasses should arrive this week.

Rob and I went to an auction last week on the train. The journey there was very agreeable but the train was very crowded in the evening. We spent the day in the only place in France where it wasn’t raining! We got some lovely postcards, a present for J-M’s birthday which was in July and a custom made wooden box for transporting postcards. One of the boxes of cards was from the USA, some are very interesting so I will be posting the best on Time and Oft as I scan them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“When did you have your last mammogram?”

That’s the question posed during every commercial break on the 2nd TV channel here at the moment. It’s asked by various presenters.  We’re asked again if we remember after about a minutes silence. I know that mine was the beginning of September. As I’m over 50 I get an invitation through the post every two years to set up a free appointment at the breast center.

Now you’ve read this far. Do you remember the date of your last mammogram?

Sorry about the enormous spelling mistake in the title - now corrected

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It never rains, but it pours

When Olivier left for Bordeaux, he knew that he would have to find a part time job in order to make ends meet. Like thousands of other students, he knew it wouldn’t be easy. He went after a Saturday job in a photocopy shop with the idea of doing English lessons here and there to earn more. The photocopy job didn’t come to anything. He went for an interview at a sushi shop over the weekend. He would be delivering sushis. He got the job and started work yesterday at 5 o’clock. The photocopy shop contacted him – could he come after all? He was also contacted by KFC near to here. They kept his CV from when he applied for a summer job, was he free to work?

 He sent Rob a text yesterday evening after he finished work (he never contacts me for anything interesting – but then I don’t do Arsenal speak):  He has decided to stick with the sushis. His boss is ex KFC too, seems like they bonded over that. I think that he made the right choice – more of a chance of tips delivering sushis.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Just time travelling around

Today, I’ve tip-toed through the reading room of a library in Frankfurt, admired an electoral candidate from 1911 and seen a stage coach arrive on a mountain path. Next I will be taking a tour around the steel works and factories where the first locomotive was made in France.

What have you been doing?

Friday, October 05, 2012

...and Shoulders...

So I went for my x-ray and even before I’d had time to open my book in the waiting room my name was called. I was even allowed to keep on my thin T shirt, though I had to take off my bra. The girl that operated the x-ray machine was pleasant and helpful. I talked to a doctor about what they had found then I had to wait while he wrote up the results. The whole lot took 20 minutes!

This afternoon I went with the results to my doctor. He has prescribed a bone density scan, as it looks as if my bones are losing calcium. I might have to start HRT, which I was hoping to avoid. My shoulder feels a little better; I only needed 500mg of paracetamol this morning, but I think I’ll need some this evening. The area which lost all sense of feeling seems to be diminishing too. He told me not to start any arm exercises just yet in case I pinch the nerve again.

If I do need hormone treatment I suppose I should consider myself fortunate not to have broken a bone in order to discover that there is a problem.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

What a lot has happened since I last wrote. When Olivier packed up his things I asked him to take his bag of weights downstairs. He left the bag on the landing. I decided to move it so that Rob wouldn’t forget to take it down. I was being so careful about my knees it never occurred to me that I would finish with a trapped nerve which has left me with stabbing pains in my left shoulder blade and loss of feeling in my left armpit ( and you don’t realize how important that could be until you haven’t got it).

Dom and J-M came and we had a good weekend. Dom cooked me a birthday meal and made carrot cake which we all enjoyed very much. Rob was working on Sunday so she could make us a curry for lunch (Rob has threatened me with divorce if I ever try to feed him curry). It was sad when they left, as I had to take Olivier to his friend’s house to leave for Bordeaux. I came back to a really empty house

We drove to Bordeaux on the Tuesday morning with the remainder of Olivier’s things. It took two hours to get to Bordeaux and the same to travel the 10 or so kilometers off the ring-road and to Olivier’s apartment. We also had to check the place with the agency, drop of his things and then Olivier and Rob went to collect the rest of his furniture from his friend. Going home took just as long for as well as the evening rush hour traffic, the weather was bad and there was patchy fog. We were exhausted.

Wednesday was my birthday, but I didn’t feel too birthdayish because I was worn out and my shoulder was painful. We went out for a cup of coffee to celebrate and I mustered the energy to make scrambled eggs on toast for my birthday meal.

 Thursday I had lessons.

 We left the house on Friday at 5 am. to catch the train to Bordeaux for an auction. I slept almost all the way, it’s unusual for me to be able to sleep outside my bed. We did have a good day, the weather was good and we found a nice restaurant for lunch and ate in the sunshine. The auction is hard work. There is an hour and a half to view 400 lots and then the concentration during the auction itself. We did come away with some good postcards and kept to our budget. By this time I was dosing myself with paracetamol pretty regularly.

 I went to see the Doctor on Monday and actually thought that it was feeling a little better. The Doctor’s examination put paid to that. I was in agony last night despite pain killers. Tomorrow I’m going for an X-ray.

One good thing; I started my winter session of injections for the veins in my legs this afternoon. The pain killers helped there too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September winds on

Olivier still hasn’t moved into his apartment. He has an appointment with the agency on Tuesday next week. We took some furniture to one of his friends whose mother is hiring a van to take it all down to Bordeaux. Olivier left on Monday and started the term on Tuesday, for the time being he’s staying with friends. He’s coming home for the weekend and then we’re going on Tuesday to take the rest of his things. I never thought that it could be so complicated.

Dom and J-M are coming for the weekend tomorrow evening. It’s my birthday soon and Dom will be making me a cake! I'm looking forward to hearing their teaching adventures.

Not much to report otherwise. Seem to spend a lot of time working – evenings too. I do have some breaks. Downton Abbey is on Sunday evening and the Tudors is on Thursdays. Catherine Howard is about to start losing her head – so to speak. For once there are two programs I don’t want to miss. I’m still amazed that I can have so many channels at my disposal and most of the time nothing to watch on TV. I remember the good old days of just BBC and ITV in the UK. Some evenings we had difficulty choosing which program we wanted to watch the most!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stress, stress

Who’d be a parent?

You’d think with the youngest at 21 years old, all of my troubles would be over. Olivier went to Bordeaux last week hoping to find an apartment to rent with a friend. Problem was half the youth of France had the same idea. He went off for the day and came back at the end of the week. As they wanted to be presentable they had to go out and buy clean clothes. The university tried to help. You’ve heard of speed dating? In Bordeaux they have Apartment dating under the hot sun, everyone and his dog turned up for that too.

After a little recuperation over the weekend they set off again on Monday. Then they decided to go it alone. They both found somewhere this afternoon. Tomorrow it’s job dating….

The stress isn’t over yet. Since the beginning of the year, young men have been disappearing in Bordeaux. All of the bodies have been found in the River Garonne….

Monday found Dom and J-M both in front of their classes for the first time. All went well for them.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Oh no, not another Glossy Box post!

When I lived in England I used to be a member of the Universal Beauty club. Every couple of months I would receive a box of beauty goodies in the post. It cost £5 at the time. When I left the country nearly 28 years ago, I had to cancel my membership as they didn’t ship abroad. I was really pleased to see a news report about these beauty boxes at the beginning of the summer and decided to sign up for Glossy Box.

I’ve seen blog posts and videos on YouTube about the boxes, but all by younger girls. I thought I do a report for the oldies. They ask you to complete a profile, so remembering that I’m between 50 and 60 years old, blonde with blue-grey eyes, combination skin and describe myself as smart casual, this is what I got this month:

Heel repair cream: Useful after wearing sandals all summer. I’m very fussy about my footwear so my feet are in pretty good condition anyway . This has a minty smell!

Eye pencil.: Just as my purple eyeliner died, I received this. It’s golden brown so I’ll have to experiment with different eye shadows to see if I will use it much it or not. I like the texture.

Body cream: I love this, just like a tube of paint! It is a light cream and spreads on easily. It smells nice and fresh, a bit like baby products.

Silk infusion: for hair and skin: you don’t need to rinse it off. Is it like a conditioner? I might pass this one to Dom.

The booby prize as far as I’m concerned: I have to swallow enough pills for medical reasons so I wouldn’t risk these which are to help your skin and preserve your tan. I don’t sunbathe so I don’t have to worry about preserving my tan anyway. Probably end up in the bin at the chemists (to be disposed of correctly).

The fist box I had last month had perfume in it.  I would have liked some this time too – perhaps next month.  The box costs 10€ plus 3€ postage.  I think that it is worth it as I will use everything.  The boxes are very well made too and pretty.  I’m keeping them for gift wrapping and to keep treasures in.

Monday, September 03, 2012

What a good weekend

Dom and J-M came back from Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately I couldn’t go with Rob to collect them from the airport as a couple of Dom’s colleagues needed a lift to the station. Dom’s presentations went very well . J-M went along to support her. It’s so nice when they visit, there is always plenty to talk about. They found time to explore Edinburgh. Taste the food (especially fish and chips) and soak up some of the rain. They bought back short bread with (Belgian) chocolate chips – needless to say that has all disappeared.

Dom came back with a copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife and told me that I could read it first as long as I don’t talk to her about it until after she has read it too. So far it looks as if it is going to be a good read…

This term they are both teaching: Dom will be teaching statistics to 1st year psychology students and J-M is teaching economics to students at an agricultural lycée.

Olivier is going to Bordeaux tomorrow to see about an apartment; I hope he likes it. They are very hard to find in Bordeaux at this time of the year. He starts term in about 2 weeks.

This is where Dom presented her work.  The picture comes from Wikipedia (where else?)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Somewhere in my youth, or childhood...

…I must have done something good.

Yesterday I was grocery shopping when a woman came up to be and asked me if I had a coupon and I said no; cross with myself that I’d missed one. She gave me hers saying that she wouldn’t be spending enough to get the money back. So I got 10€ ($12.58 - £7.94) off my bill at the end!  I'm sure she will never read this but, thank you again anyway.

I also picked up a BBQ tray at half price as it was close to the sell by date. When I got home I broke it up and put it into the freezer, it will make 3 meals for Rob and I.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Buzzing off

The wasps were dealt with a week ago. I did feel sorry for the poor young man having to put on protective clothing in all of the heat, but I was pleased to be rid of the them.

 Dom and J-M are now in Edinburgh. They stayed overnight here and we took them to the airport. Dom’s first presentation is tomorrow, around lunch time, so fingers crossed. They are using some of the time outside the conference to explore the city. I hope that they take a few photos.

 I took off the word verification because someone had been having problems deciphering the words. Within minutes I started to get spam comments again. Do these people spend all of their time hanging around blogs testing to see if they can get a comment through?. Word verification has been re-enabled.

If you have difficulty with the verification, you can find a link so that you can email me on all of my Blogspot blogs in the side menu.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Yesterday I discovered what I thought was a beehive on the stonework of the garage which is not attached to the house (fortunately). After lots of looking up on the internet and in my nature book I decided that they are vulgar wasps(Vespula Vulgaris). This doesn’t mean that they swear (as J-M told Dom when we were on the phone earlier – doesn’t he fit into our family humor well?), it means that they are common. They are small and cute, but not to be underestimated.

 Normally they will die when autumn comes and the young queens will fly off to found more hives in little nooks and crannies next year. Tomorrow I’ll have to phone someone to come and destroy them, for the sake of the neighbourhood.

Not very clear, taken with my phone

Friday, August 17, 2012

We're having a heat wave

As I write the temperature outside is 35°C/ 95°F and the breeze is hot. It could be like this for the next 5 days. I feel sorry for anyone who is camping in a tent in this heat.

The house is reasonably cool. With careful use of the shutters as the sun moves around we can keep out the sunlight.

I hope it’s not too hot where you are. Whether or not it is, here’s something to cool you down. I couldn’t find the Carmen Miranda version so Miss Piggy is kindly stepping in.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My son the postman and other stories

Olivier is now a postman. He’s replacing a real postman for 3 weeks. Guess who has to get him to the sorting office for 6.40 in the morning? I think that by the last day he should be pretty fast at sorting the letters for his round into order and finding his way around the streets. Would you believe that people come up to him in the street and expect him to know who they are and where they live? His round finishes in a street along the beach which he considers as his reward for the day.
In September he will be continuing his studies in Bordeaux.  He will also be sharing an apartment with a couple of his friends - if all goes to plan.

Today is a holiday in France to celebrate The Assumption. It marks the beginning of the end of the holiday season here. The weather joined in this morning too; wind and rain to drive the holiday makers away…

 I’ve been busy looking into the names of some cats who were fortunate enough to have their own visiting cards.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Dom and J-M have rented a house in Brittany for a fortnight. They very kindly invited us to stay with them in Dinard for a few days. So we joined tham on Wednesday for a couple of days.

The house was really lovely and they were the first ever holidaymakers to use it. It was so nice to sit in the garden in the sunshine and be served delicious meals. As well as eat, we played tourists too and went for some lovely walks. The sea was so blue and it wasn’t raining (rare in Brittany). We also explored other towns nearby.

The town hall at Saint Lunaire 

It was hot! 

Thank you for inviting us Dom and J-M!

Sunflower progress

I planted two varieties of sunflowers. When they’ve dried out I’ll probably hang them from a tree so that the birds can get at them without being interrupted by the local cats

Taller than the front door! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A better Friday

This is what greeted me when I opened the shutters last Friday morning: 

 Later we went for lunch at our favourite restaurant

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cram Chaban!

I’ve always been fascinated by the name on a sign post we’ve passed over the years when we were travelling North. Cram Chaban sounds like a magic word. Yesterday we set off to visit the village.

In fact Cram Chaban consists of the community, Cram and another part of the village which is either called Chaban or Cram Chaban? It’s tucked away in the middle of nowhere and is quite a pretty village.

As there was nowhere to have lunch there, we travelled to the next village to find somewhere to eat and happened on Basil Fawlty. When we asked if we could eat outside he said “We don’t usually serve meals out side. Do you really want to eat outside? Well I suppose if you must eat out side I’ll serve you a meal outside…” and so on. There was no menu, just the menu du jour which was simple and quite good. He told Rob off for being on his phone at the table (timetable problems – I was secretly pleased though). We were handed a selection of cheese on a plate, each piece wrapped up, but it was all the same goat’s cheese. If he hadn’t reminded us of Basil Fawlty we wouldn’t have stayed – it was quite amusing.

We then enjoyed a good walk around the beautiful, old village and went into the tourist office where there was an exhibition of work by Michel Moro, who combines paint and mosaics. The website does not do justice to the colours. His workshop is open to the public and is in CRAM! I think that we will be returning soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It’s called Friday 13th

The end of last week was a particularly bad one here. The Maritime Museum caught fire in town. The museum is/was in a ship which had just been renovated at an enormous cost ready for the season; an electrical fault.

 The weather on Friday itself was very wet, windy and cold. The music festival that the town was holding over five nights was delayed for that evening, and then cancelled. Olivier had a job for the five days and nights of the festival on a food stand. This involved us collecting him from town around four o’clock every morning. Fortunately Rob was on holiday for four of the days, but we still found it very tiring. We did have an early night on the evening that was cancelled – if you call 2 am early.

This year I have been growing some sunflowers and they were doing very well, especially the one that was taller than me. The wind blew it over. I put the top in water but after a couple of days it was obvious that it was dying.

Here is one in the fields

Monday, July 02, 2012

Nearly a month has gone by…

I’m sorry that there hasn’t been an update for so long. Rob went back to work this morning – 5 weeks after his accident. Our 27th wedding anniversary passed without divorce proceedings due to my driving. It’s not that I drive badly I just don’t drive like him and get nervous when I’m constantly ‘given advice’.

I met up with another blogger for the first time ever in my blogging career. Caroline and her partner were passing through La Rochelle on their way home by car. They usually wave as they fly over, so it was nice to see each other for real. We sat on the port and drank coffee and chatted. I wish I could have stayed longer. Here’s the proof:

 (Weather was a bit windy)

 Dom and J-M came for the weekend as it was Rob’s birthday on Saturday. Dom made one of her wonderful cakes; Chocolate on Chocolate (can’t get more wonderful than that). It’s always good to see them and we all spent Sunday morning browsing around local Brocantes/boot sales/garage sales. I found a lovely leather wallet and the partner to a candle holder we found last year under similar circumstances. Dom’s paper has now been accepted completely for publication. She’s just submitted her second and I think, has started on a third.

That about wraps up the update.

Friday, June 08, 2012


I haven’t had any time this week to myself. I have an invalid at home, until the beginning of July . Rob’s arm has a tiny fracture so he doesn’t need a cast. After being strapped up for ten days he needs to get it moving again. Almost every day I have to drive him to see the physiotherapist. He’s driving me nuts – he’s not a good passenger at all. The good part about the physiotherapy sessions is that I get to read for at least 45 minutes while waiting for him. Unfortunately due to a spell of hot weather Rob has also developed a heat rash to make things even more uncomfortable. We’re sleeping better than we thought that we would, but not as well as we usually do.

 Olivier is now home for the summer. He had to come home on the train and then drove us to Poitiers to pick up his things and then he drove us home. He’s a good driver. There was no way I was going to drive them on the motorway myself!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

About that canned meat


Not long ago I had to enable comment moderation because of that kind of comments. It didn’t really have any effect so I switched the word verification on. Something I didn’t want to do as I struggle to read what letters I’m supposed to put in myself.  I realized that I’d missed a blog when I had about 50 sapm comments on one post in a row (I presume it was to make up for the comments it couldn’t leave on the other blogs). Next thing that happened was the unwanted comments came back, because somehow the verification turned off!

For the last couple of days I’ve only had real comments, which has been a pleasure. Unfortunately I don’t get as many comments as I used to. I know I haven’t had much to say recently, but I imagine some readers just can’t stomach jumping through the hoop just to say a few words.


An email gets trashed if it addresses me as Dear one or Dear friend. I don’t read Russian and I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m not afraid of the FBI and I certainly don’t open documents. I don’t gamble, take drugs or want to enlarge something I haven’t got – so there!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Was it the 13th yesterday?

Yesterday started well enough. A normal day just like any other - until Rob phoned me mid-morning to say that he’d fallen off his bike and that he was coming home at lunch time. 12 years ago he did the same and broke his elbow which meant 3 months off work.

As Rob was cycling to work a motorist stopped suddenly to avoid a pedestrian and Rob swerved to avoid hitting the car. Unfortunately his heavy rucksack kept going and pulled him over, so that he lost his balance.

I could see which arm he had damaged when I went to pick him up from the bus stop. He hadn’t been to the emergency department at the hospital as he didn’t think it was serious enough. He went to the Doctor later who told him to go to hospital straight away.

It didn’t appear to be too busy in the emergency department as we were checked in and ushered to a waiting room. There were only two people in front of us… The waiting room filled up quite quickly and it was three hours later that we finally got to see a doctor. Rob was examined and X-rayed and it seems that nothing is broken, but as there was so much swelling a fracture could be hidden. He has to go back in 10 days. His arm is now strapped up and he has pretty strong painkillers to take.

We arrived home just after midnight.

He’s well enough to criticize my driving.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mystery plant

What is this plant called? Do you know of it?

I thought I’d lost it when it shriveled up and died last year. It’s come back and flowering later this year due to the colder weather.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Important advice for women

The other day I was googling “what to serve with pizza” when I came upon a quote from Miss Piggy about using chop sticks. It set me searching and I came upon a brilliant site. All any woman needs to know in order to be belle, chic and je ne sais pas quoi*.

There are her beauty recipes, beauty tips, etiquette, cooking advice, finding eligible men and of course pearls of wisdom. Believe me, you will thank me for showing you the true secrets of femininity.

When you have finished reading it will be time for a teensy workout:

She even got to dance with Rudolph Nureyev.

*Je ne sais pas quoi = I don’t know what, Miss piggy wouldn’t understand because she only speaks two words in French, one of which is “Moi”.

Friday, May 11, 2012

History makes me laugh

I think this is worthy of 1066 and All That.   

I had a postcard of The King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, on a train and wanted to find out how old he would have been at the time (14 or 15).  Looking him up on Wikipedia I was scrolling down and noticed a list of ‘Enfants naturels’, in English ’Illigitimate issue'.  One of which was born after his relationship with the English Nanny sent over from England by none other than his mother-in-law, Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria. (The English Wikipedia page doesn't tell you all of that!)

Note to mother- in- laws everywhere – careful how you help your married daughters.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Happy Blog anniversary to me!

My very, very  first post on this blog was on the 8th May 2003. 
How the world has changed in the last 9 years…