Monday, July 31, 2006

A pepperoni elastic loaf and easy on the elastic

Jan with the Lloyds. From left to right, Tom, Jan, Glyn, Gill, Katie and parents Edith and Terry, enjoying an apero before dinner last night.


I have always been amused and dismissive of the French habit of trying to keep their language 'pure', especially from the invasion of English words. They even have an academy that oversees all of this. Language is a living thing, constantly changing and evolving and attempts to keep out foreign words or let new words evolve, is just plain stupid. Anyway, the Iranians are at it as well. This article amused me. The President of Iran, no less, has dictated that from now on pizzas will now be known as elastic loaves. How stupid can you get?


Talking about stupid, tourists are thick on the ground at the moment and this appears to be making the locals drive even more stupidly than normal. Every time I venture onto the roads I see an 'incident'. This usually involves an incredibly moronic overtaking manoeuvre. It's a dangerous combination of heat, impatience and an apparent death wish.


Like me, they were small but perfectly formed (stop it, I nearly choked - Ed.) but I picked 10 of the tastiest white peaches out of our little orchard today. It was hardly a crop, but was grown with love and tender care (that's it, I choked - Ed.) and offered them to my beloved Jan. Talking about fabulous offers, Will mailed from Vancouver Island and invited us to eat here. That's the kind of friend we all need. And there we were wondering what to do next week.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A placket of five splice please

An early trip to the market in Sommieres yesterday morning was followed by a quick trip to Nimes to drop Rob and Lorraine for their flight home, and then on to the Chinese supermarket in Nimes for some essential spices.

We popped into Quissac this morning to buy bread and the Sunday Times. I seem to remember that somebody once said "Man shall not live on bread and the Sunday Times alone," or something like that. Well, I disagree, because it does ok for me. Anyway, I bought the bread and Jan went off to buy the paper. She met Alain the artist (both paint and piss, you can choose) who is going to pop in for a drink next week. (Note to self: get a fresh supply of drink in!) Whatever, Jan is hopping mad at the rudeness of three French men who barged passed her as she was leaving the paper shop. This made me think about what etiquette I adopt when entering or exiting a space. Generally speaking I always let people out of a space, because it makes more room for me inside. The exception to this is when leaving a toilet, because those entering always have a far greater need than those exiting. Sounds fair?


I can't help but feel that we have been burning the candle a bit too fiercely just recently and I'm looking forward to a bit of a break in the next couple of weeks. Having said that the Lloyds came round for dinner tonight and Jan prepared amongst other things her famous barbecued ribs. Hence the visit to the Chinese supermarket yesterday. See how neatly it all fits!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Things that go "click" in the night

Our guests, (Rob "I wax my chest" Warren, and Lorraine) didn't sleep very well last night. A huge thunderstorm raged overhead (having a clear conscience, I slept through it) but what was really spooky was the music. They could hear a song being played over and over and thought that it was coming from somewhere in the village. Oh no! The storm had somehow set our DVD player running and not only had music started (we left a disc in by accident) but the song was playing on a loop. How's that for weird?


Jan found this article which is mildly interesting but what is more interesting are all the comments.


It was amazing to see how fast Rob slid through the water, now that he has waxed his body hair. I let his unkind comments about me escaping from the zoo pass right over me, however Jan then joined in and started to have a go at the hair on my back. (That's about as much information as we need thanks - Ed.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Do as I say, not as I do

If ever proof were needed that France needs to move forward into the 21st century,
this news is evidence. For the first time ever, a black face has presented the news on mainstream French television. How sad that it has taken so long. Whilst Chirac preaches to his citizens to stop racism, the establishment hypocritically carries on in the same old ways. 10% of the population is a black or brown minority but only 11 of the 577 French deputies come from a minority group. This is an interesting article.


On a lighter note, it's Thursday so it's off to Nimes for the night market. We take Rob and Lorraine (above) and start with a drink at the top of the Carre d'Art. I really love the atmosphere at this market. Lots of people milling about, people eating out on the streets and a very relaxed atmosphere. There are lots of above average stalls selling ceramics, glassware, jewellery, clothes, toiletries and other household paraphernalia. Additionally there is wide variety of music in the streets like jazz, rock and flamenco. The Nimes tourist office has details. Recommended.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A big brave boy

Yesterday Max had his bandage removed so that his wounds could dry out a little quicker. He spent a lot of the day licking his damaged paw but otherwise he is fine. We were both very proud at his stoic behaviour as the nurse removed the dressing and fiddled with his stitches. Despite his scary appearance he is such a gentle dog. Who's a big brave boy?
On a similar theme, Chris sent me this link which we both thought very funny. Dressing up your scary dog to look like a French poodle gave us a good laugh.


I spent a large part of the afternoon sitting around whilst they fixed the car window. What was promised to be a 1 hour job turned into 2.5 hours as they uncovered a further problem. Ah well, at least they cleaned the car so it was nice and shiny as I drove away.


What was meant to be a relatively quiet barbecue turned into dinner for 12, after yours truly invited lots of extra guests in a moment of thoughtlessness (let's be honest, you were pissed - Ed.). Jan, as usual, was the star, producing stuffed peppers to start, and array of scrummy salads to go with my barbecued lamb, as well as chicken kebabs, cheese and poached peaches for pudding. Let's just say we got through a lot of wine.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Happy birthday, Katie

I woke with a bit of a head this morning but nothing too serious. All self inflicted so no sympathy asked for (or given - Ed.). Whilst Rob takes the car to Aigues Mortes, we have a lunch date with Katie (pictured right), whose twelfth birthday it is, and her family.
We start at Le Bar Castelas in nearby Montmirat for their excellent, 4 course, 11 euros lunch followed by several glasses of home made smoothies and marshmallows dipped in chocolate from her new chocolate fountain. Glyn really knows how to make smoothies, he has a natural knack for the fruit combinations. He made three different types, the first involving peaches and apricots, the second oranges and lemons and the third kiwi and melon. You could call him a Smoothie Star. You heard it here first!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Robert out and Robert in

Robert and the children leave today and we're sorry to see them go. They've enjoyed their stay and are sad to leave. However the good news is that I pick up my very good friend Rob from the incoming flight that Robert and the children leave on. I do like it when things work out like this because airport runs, whilst necessary, aren't my favourite activity.


Most of the rest of the day was spent laughing, eating (and drinking until the wee hours). I do enjoy Rob's company. He is a very witty and intelligent man and arguably one of the best tennis coaches around.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Where did the morning go? It seemed like no sooner had we got up when it was time for lunch. Robert, pictured here with Michael and Ella, had very kindly invited us out for lunch. Mas de Roux had space and, as usual, provided a really good lunch.


Tonight we went to see the band Texas in the arene in Nimes. I always get a real buzz sitting in this 2000 years old amphitheatre and watching some event. Whilst the installed seating isn't the prettiest, there are still lots of original stone seats to sit on, which puts a real strain on your bum after a couple of hours. After 4 or 5 hours you're in danger of doing yourself some damage. Next time we must take cushions. Whilst I didn't know a lot about the band and was only aware of a couple of their hits, they put on a very good show and we thoroughly enjoyed them.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

La Journee Estivale

One of the great things about French village life is the regular get togethers throughout the year. Last night, eleven of us (including our neighbours the Lloyds - above but with Katie missing) went out for what we call 'the sausage evening'. They call it La Journee Estivale. The whole village is invited for aperos, a meal and dancing in the cool night air. Previous events involved cooking sausages over an open fire but this time it was more upmarket. For the princely sum of 15 euros, a wide range of 20 different salads were offered, in addition to cheese and coffee. One of our neighbours, Roger, a retired chef prepared it all and jolly good it was too.

Mad dogs and Englishmen

We were due to pick up Max today from the kennels but an early morning phone call had us shooting over to St Mamert. Olivier sounded a bit worried. Max, in trying to escape over the fence from his dog pound, had hurt his paw and might need a vet. When we got him home, apart from losing a little blood, his paw seemed fine. But later in the afternoon he started to limp and lose more blood. To the vets it was and they checked him over. They had to knock him out to deal with the 2 wounds and, several stitches later, we got him back home to rest. We're glad we went because both wounds were quite deep and without intervention would have taken quite some time to heal. Bless.


It's the Journee Estivale today in the village, with a grande buffet d'ete and dancing. More about that later.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Good to have you back, even if you are late.

I don't often go overboard in my praise for sportsmen but I make an exception for Lance Armstrong. After everything that he has been through, to win 7 Tours de France in successive years, makes him one of the very best athletes that the world has ever seen. I'm missing him in this year's Tour de France.
However, the French are not!


Jan arrived back this afternoon on one of BA's late arriving planes. Both BA and this route (Gatwick /Montpellier) are jinxed and I would never use them/it out of choice. It eventually landed 38 minute late. Better than the 12 hours delay last time I went to Montpellier. Anyway it was good to see her and life can get back to normal.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A table for how many!

For the second day running I have smoked salmon sandwiches and fruit for lunch. This is real comfort food for me. I'm in heaven. It will all change when Jan gets back so I make the most of it.
The Lloyds invited me to the night market in Nimes tonight and very good it was too. The only problem was where to park. Every bit of above ground space was taken and all the central car parks were full. This was quite unusual. The answer became clear as we drove around the arene where we realised that Depeche Mode were playing. At this time of the year
Nimes holds it's festival of music and in fact we are going to the arene on Saturday. In the past we have seen Elton John and Joe Cocker (who was fabulous) and this Saturday's treat will be Texas. Anyway, we eventually parked at the railway station which is only a short walk out of town.
The night market had brought thousands of people into the streets and the place was really humming. A table for 10 was starting to look a bit dodgy but your hero came up with the goods and we actually all sat down in the street at my favourite pizza place. An excellent evening.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You want a what!!

You'd think that being footloose and fancy free, your body would take advantage of the space and time and let you lie in a bit. Not mine. When Jan's around I can sleep forever, however when I'm on my own I wake and get up early and do lots of little jobs around the house. Which is a bit of a bummer.


The driver's door window on the Golf has not worked for a while so I popped into Nimes this morning to get it fixed. With a lot of sucking of air through their teeth they pronounce that the motor was spent and needed replacing. Great!
Whilst I have got the 'right hand drive' car in town I decided to go and get a Telepeage badge because they cost so little but are very useful when having to retrieve a ticket or pay at a motorway toll booth. My first mistake is to tell a somewhat hyper Madame that I already have a badge with Sanef (in the north of France) but that I want to take one out with her company Liberte. Well, she started to bollock me, saying 'that a customer could not have 2 badges from different companies' and 'that if I tried I would be found out and caught'. Unusually for me, I remained cool and slowly explained what I was trying to achieve and that I was not part of a criminal gang. Instead of calming her she got even more agitated and said that 'she was leaving this place forever, never to return, on Thursday', and proceeded to tell me how to beat the system, presumably so that she could earn some commission. By the time I left the office I was exhausted (it doesn't take much to tire you out - Ed.) and so when I got home I called my existing supplier and asked for another badge. (Why didn't you just do that in the first place? - Ed.)


Being a kind neighbour, I took an English translation of how to maintain their pool round to the Lloyds and was promptly rewarded with an invite to dinner. Grilled trout and grilled vegetables on the bbq. Very, very nice. It actually turned into a 'boys night in' because all the women left, before dinner, for the hospital to get a stitch in Katie's knee. But that's another story!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Home alone

When I first saw this answer to an exam question, I burst out laughing. Maybe I should have cried?


Our guests left this morning and so now the house is empty. Now there's just Minnie and me (that's a good name for a song - Ed.). I will probably enjoy this for a day or two but then it will wear off. Minnie isn't the greatest conversationalist. There are upsides, like I can choose my comfort foods and also when to eat them. For lunch I made myself a tomato and basil sandwich, well 2 actually - bread and butter, sliced tomato lots of salt and lots of basil leaves. Heaven.
For dinner I made a salad, barbecued 2 lamb steaks and finished some apricot crumble that was taking up too much room in the fridge. It has been there so long I can't even remember when it was first made. It tasted ok to me (but then most stuff does - Ed.).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Scotland's shame

Jan left for the UK today to help Rebecca with her new baby and leaving me to look after our visitors. Seems like a fair swop? I freely admit that I'm not a 'baby person'. When children can walk and talk then I'm in my element, but I'm not too good when all they do is eat, shit and stare at you. To cheer me up the Lloyds arrived late last night so that when our visitors leave tomorrow I'll have some company. If, on the other hand, any kind reader fancies a few days in the sun and, most importantly, likes to cook, I can offer a bed and as much wine as you can drink. Can't say fairer than that!


Ten days ago (Scotland nul points: 7th July) I wrote about Scottish bigotry. It appears that this blog reaches even the upper echelons of the Scottish parliament. Take a look here and you can see that there is a movement to try and eradicate "Scotland's shame." As usual, you read it here first!


To save the embarrassment of me having to prepare a meal, our visitors very kindly took me out for dinner. Monday nights are difficult around here but as usual Mas de Roux (above) was open so off we went to enjoy their huge starters, veggie everything for the guests and a huge duck breast, cooked on the open fire, for me. You can only have so much vegetarian food before the urge to chew on a big chunk of meat takes over. Yum.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Health food stores

Last night, half of us ate meat and half vegetarian. The trouble that Jan goes to to satisfy vegetarian tastes! I wonder if they would reciprocate? (Don't spend too much time thinking about that one - Ed.) And another thought, why do all the people I see in health food stores look so ill. I feel so out of place not having a pale skin, not being skinny and not wearing hippy clothes. Take a look next time you go in one.


I've been inundated with mail concerning my kidney stone - NOT! You're a hard bunch. If you were ill, I'd worry about you (especially if they owed you money - Ed.). Anyway it's sorted, I managed to dissolve it and I'm feeling much better.


I've often wondered what dogs think about us. Take a look here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Spam glorious spam

I've always thought that spammers are a pretty dumb bunch, and now it looks like they have just got dumber. Recently I have started to receive tons of Japanese spam, written in Japanese script (if that's the correct word), filling my spam folder with stuff that I can't read. How smart is that? Thankfully, I now use Gmail for my primary email and their filters catch it all. However, there is one small pleasure that I miss by not getting 'English' spam and that's the unusual 'from names' that they invent. Names like Viona Aho, Amira Mills, Gap Infertile, Treasure Forgotten, but now I get chiharu, rie, jamesho and ayumi. I can't wait for the Chinese to start spamming!


The Lloyds arrive tomorrow and their pool is now crystal clear. It has to be seen to be believed. If it wasn't so full of chemicals, you could drink it!


I nip to Nîmes to pick up Robert and his children and when I got back I shipped Max out to kennels for a week. He has become a real handful over the last few days, trying to get at Minnie. All the men I mention this to seem to understand fully but the women frown! Ignoring the damage that he was causing, I felt that it was fairer for him to have a little holiday. A sort of doggy cold shower.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This suppository is way too big to swallow

It's Bastille Day today, so Happy Bastilles to all you lucky people who have the day off. This picture, from today's celebrations in Paris, reminds me that our next door neighbour (who also happens to be English) served for 15 years in the Foreign Legion. A nice man but you wouldn't spill his beer!


The first bout of cholic pain hit at 02.30 this morning and then hit again, with a vengeance, at 06.15. Amongst other medicines, the doctor had given me some strong painkillers in the form of suppositories. (Oh purleese - Ed.) The question here is which is worse? The excruciating pain from your groin and kidney, or the sight of Jan walking towards you with a rubber gloved hand and an evil smile on her face. Trust me, it's a close run thing.


To add further misery, Max really is becoming a nuisance. God knows how he did it but he had clambered the back wall of the kennel still attached to a chain creating much destruction and mess along the way. I know that it's a long time ago but the urge to get your leg over was never as bad as this! (You've got a poor memory! - Ed.)


There was quite a bit on English breakfast news yesterday about neighbourliness. Issues like knowing your neighbours, talking to them and how the English had lost the ability to be friendly and polite to one another. This reminded me of the time that Jan and I were walking into the village and I nearly jumped out of my skin as I heard a little voice say "Bonjour Madame et Monsieur." I had so ignored this little girl that I didn't even register that she was there. This delightful young child had put us both to shame by acknowledging our presence and greeting us so politely. That incident acted as a wakeup call and somewhat changed my life. I now say hello to everybody young or old, even though I do get a few strange looks.


Desmond, Jean and Michael, Jan's cousins arrived today for a few days, and one of the first things they did was to jump into the pool. Minutes later we had a huge cloud burst. For dinner Jan cooked figs with a blue cheese and honey dressing and vegetable couscous. We're dealing with a vegetarian family here.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One horny dog

I woke with a start at midnight last night as I remembered that I had left the pool filling next door. Suitably clad in sandals and shorts (it's still bloody warm) I went next door to sort things out. Wouldn't you like a neighbour like me? (Yeah, one who allows the neighbour's pool to overflow - Ed.) Anyway, I went round first thing this morning to see if the flocculant had worked and wow, I can now see the bottom of the pool. It still needs more work but the end is now in sight. Thanks Pierre, how could I not share your confidence?


Talking about pools, they really are a great place to cool off. Ours cools to 27 C overnight and is back to a lovely 29 C by the afternoon. This is the sort of temperature that I like. No squealing as you get in and lower than body temperature so that it cools you nicely.
The weather forecast last night put our area on a level 3 alert (out of 4), and it hit 37 C again this lunch time. Evidently we're having la canicule - a heat wave or scorcher.


We needed to pop out this afternoon, so we left Max in the study with the shutters down but the doors open. It was hot and hopefully some air might blow through. Minnie was contained securely elsewhere. You can imagine our surprise when we returned home to find Max outside in the garden. He had forced his way out of the study by smashing through a big metal shutter. Thanks Max, another bill to pay, you horny sod! Our concern then was, had he got at Minnie? I rather unhelpfully suggested that if he had, we would have found him lying on his back smoking a cigarette. Jan was not amused.


Another, slightly more serious issue had been looming during the day, which we decided needed urgent attention. I have had renal cholic twice before and I had started to show a specific symptom. (Please, no details - Ed.) A trip to see Madame Doctor, produced a raft of anti-spasmodics and painkillers. When she asked what I had been given in the past, amongst other drugs I mentioned morphine injections. She brightened up and said "Oh, would you like one?" I declined because it wasn't necessary then, but she gave me some morphine tablets instead. You certainly get your money's worth when you visit a French doctor.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Human contraceptives

We now have a routine with Max and Min that seems to work. The major part is thinking ahead, keeping both dogs on a lead when they meet and ensuring that one of them is locked safely in the chenil whilst the other is on the loose. I suppose that you could call us human contraceptives, a bit like wearing two condoms. Next week, when Jan is away, I'm already psyching myself up for a workable, single condom, routine. This week however is the critical week (isn't every week critical for a male? - Ed.) and extra vigilance is called for. It has also occurred to us that if Max can get out of the kennel, when needs must, then he should also be able to get in if Minnie is inside. I'm not sure that he has quite figured that one out yet. Bless! For the first time ever, Minnie did not devour her food the moment she saw it, so I guess that she is not feeling too well or maybe she's a little love sick. I know how she feels; in fact I know how they both feel! (You'd better stop moaning, or all favours will get withdrawn - Ed.)


We have more visitors this weekend, so this morning was spent on general maintenance. It isn't easy however as it hit 38 C (100 F) in the shade this lunch time. Simple actions like sitting and thinking make you sweat (and you more than others - Ed.). The best place to be is inside, in a room that is completely sealed against the outside elements. When I used to visit my aunt in Italy, when I was young, I could never understand why the house was so dark and gloomy. Now I understand! Of course the other place to be is in the car with the air con on and so it was we went to Nîmes to buy some bits and pieces. As we are leaving the Ville Activ Jan spots her favourite sweet snack, churros. A deep fried pastry mix, covered in sugar. Not unlike an elongated doughnut. And we worry about our weight! (I was wondering when the penny would drop - Ed.)


Back this afternoon for yet another go at the Lloyds pool. I have foolishly promised a crystal clear pool by Sunday, when they arrive, but I'm beginning to panic. 'Pierre the poolman' is confident that it will clear but I'm having my doubts. I have to say that the colour has now changed from an olive brown to a pale green milk so that's an improvement. The only person that I know who used to bathe in milk was Cleopatra and look what happened to her! Mind you, she didn't know 'Pierre the poolman'.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A new coat of arms

If you regularly read these ramblings then may I suggest that you have far too much time on your hands. However, I do appreciate you spending your free time with me. Ann, who obviously has a great deal of spare time, sent me this.Use your mouse to move Zidane and left click for a head butt. Relive the tension of the World Cup final right here on your desktop. Thank you, Ann.


This is terrible news. On the basis that if you ask any man if he gets enough sex, then the answer is likely to be "No". The ability to produce sperm artificially is the start of the long road to doing away with men altogether. This is something that Jan mentions frequently! Brothers, we have to nip this in the bud, as it were. Pass this on to every French male that you know. A few ports blockaded, motorways closed and general rioting will get Chirac to call an immediate halt. If only William had got elected. I could have sorted it out with one quick phone call!


When I thought that William might get elected, I put some thought into my forthcoming coat of arms. Comte Alex d'Hampshire has a nice ring, don't you think? Anyway, I include the Hampshire County Council coat of arms above as a taster. I didn't get round to doing the lions rampant and all that stuff (more like a wine bottle with corkscrew rampant - Ed.) but I did decide on the bit of Latin at the bottom. It will read: Semper ubi sub ubi ubique. For you poor people wot never did Latin at school, you will find the translation here.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Well, that was an interesting evening. Italy won the World Cup on penalties, France's Zidane got himself sent off after a moment of sheer madness and William failed in his quest for political greatness. Bum, there goes my Legion d'Honeur. However, what was very flattering was that William and his partner Christine (despite the names both are French) came round to drown their sorrows, get some peace and quiet, and watch the match. Jan, the angel that she is, knocked up an impromptu meal and we ate til late in the cool night air.


The sun re-emerged this morning to continue cooking everything in sight. There is a however quite a strong wind which is thankfully keeping the temperature down a bit. Phew!


For some time now I have had difficulty getting the Skype software to work on my PC. It used to work, but after a reformat of my C drive it has steadfastly refused. So I was pleased to hear at the weekend that a service called Jajah was just as cheap and appeared to work well. I have signed up and, so far, it does what it says on the tin. You can make either free or very cheap phone calls all over the world.


Minnie is now in to her second week of chaleur and this week is the critical week in terms of getting pregnant. Thank goodness we built the chenile. At least we have somewhere cool and safe to keep them when we need to keep them apart. Poor old Max and Min, they are so used to playing together and they must now be confused as to our recent behaviour. Ah well, only another 2 weeks to go.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Vote for William Seguin

Arrrgh, what happened? I can't see, it's a very cloudy day. The temperature has dropped to 29C and it's positively freezing. Is this the end? Will I see a new dawn? Is this the start of the ice age? For these and a thousand other questions - use Google. (I'm lost for words - Ed.)


Not in a million years did I ever think that I'd get into French politics, and I haven't really, but William is a very nice man, had a Scottish grandmother and one day might be President of France. He could be very useful then! If you blow up his poster you should see that he is not affiliated to any political party but that he is supported by the Groupe socialiste and the Groupe communiste. Yikes, we have a pinko in our midst!


Our neighbour's, the Lloyds, pool is still a nice olive green. I have been trying to get it clean for their arrival next weekend and nothing much seems to change. I've already put 10 kg of chlor choc into it and it just seems to eat it up. The only things that seem to be enjoying themselves at the moment are the water insects that have taken up residence. I need some troops to help me. Is there a French equivalent of the National Guard?


I know it will irritate Ginny if I mention sport again, so here goes. I worked my cojones off this morning because the men's final from Wimbledon and the World Cup final are to be shown on television today. I won't shift far from the box after 15.00. Federer v Nadal should be interesting and France v Italy this evening provide a mouth watering day of sport. Forza Italia.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Few words suffice for he who understands

Jan, hiding in a field of sunflowers just outside the village. Can you spot her?


It continues to be oppressively hot. Today was the 18th consecutive day with a temperature at 32C or over. Having nipped into the supermarket in Sommieres for a few things, we couldn't be bothered to visit the market square, even though I knew that it was Peter's turn to buy the drinks!


I fancied a curry yesterday but Jan didn't, so being a caring, thoughtful man, I acquiesced to my beloved's wishes and we ate in. Today was different, I used my manly charms (you don't even know what that means! - Ed.) and we went out to eat. We ate at Le Palais des Roses in Lunel. This is as close to English curry that we have found but I suggest that you be advised by the owner. When I ordered Chicken Chilli he told me not to have that but to have Chicken Karahi with more chilli. It was good. The food element of the meal came to 40 euros but bottled beer (he only sells one, from India) is expensive at 5 euros a bottle. We enjoyed it.


Someone quoted some Latin at me today, which I liked, so I thought that I could take this blog at bit up market by adding a bit of Latin myself. Today's thought for the day: Inventas vitam iuvat excoluisse per artes.

This one I really like: In dentibus anticis frustrum magnum spiniciae habes.

(Isso fede - Ed.)

For translations see here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Scotland, nul points

Scotland is the only country in the world in which I have been racially abused. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the Scots supporting any of the teams that England play, but never supporting England. I find this quite offensive. I wouldn't dream of not supporting Scotland (if they could ever produce a team that was good enough) to play in the World Cup. This article (follow the link to the Scottish car experiment), and there are many more, tends to confirm my dislike of this unpleasant Scottish attitude. I dislike bigotry however it is manifested and bigotry from one of the countries that makes up the UK is even harder to take. Shame on Scottish bigots.


On a more uplifting note, this article, if true, suggests that Sophia Loren will pose for the next Pirelli calendar. Now I'm not at all prudish and I'm very happy to look at naked ladies but please, do we need to be looking at 71 year old women with their kit off? Anyway, I think I'll take a peek, just to confirm my distaste!


Chris and H, and Neil and Lawrence left today. They are all such nice people and we are sorry to see them go.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Allez les Bleus

Last night was excellent. I had decided to watch the match between France and (those cheating bastards who knocked England out) Portugal, in the company of a lot of French people. I had two reasons, first to offer my support and become a Frenchman for one night, and two, to enjoy the game in a great atmosphere. It worked. We, Neil, Lawrence, Chris and H, and Jan and I, wandered over to Vic le Fesque, our neighbouring village, to see what they had set up. At first sight it was very disappointing. A white tablecloth had been strung up on the side of the village hall and some enterprising soul had set up a satellite dish and had connected it up to a projector. At 9 o'clock it is still very light so it was difficult to see anything at all. But another enterprising soul had set up a bar so we all settled to sipping our cartagene and to see what transpired. When all said and done we could always nip back home at half time.
It was an exciting match and as the sun went down it became easier to see what was going on, and then France scored. France 1 and those cheating bastards Portugal 0. I was very happy, not to mention a hundred or so Frenchmen. At half time the woman who had lent her table cloth obviously wanted it back (dinner was ready) so they projected onto the village hall wall. All the better to see those cheating Portuguese bastards get stuffed (this is hardly politically correct, are you really so annoyed at those cheating bastards? - Ed.)
The final whistle blew and spectators started blowing horns, waving huge flags and letting off firecrackers that burnt a hole in of our ladies' trousers. She was not amused. France had done it and now meets Italy in the final. I'm sorry to say that I will then switch allegiance and support Italy. Football supporters can be so fickle!


Neil and Lawrence went off to visit Avignon and the Pont du Gard today so Jan and I chilled. I just love chillin!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

France v Portugal

France play Portugal (who knocked England out) tonight. I'll be supporting France! Anyway, I had to nip to the supermarket for Jan and found the place festooned with red, white and blue flags and balloons. Another nice touch was that all the shop employees were wearing face paint showing the French colours. The girls above were at the bread counter and kindly posed for a photo.


On the same theme I had heard that our neighboring village, Vic le Fesque, is showing the match on a big screen in the village square. A few of us are going.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A story of two chastity belts

On a recent trip back to the UK (see 9th March 2006) we bought Minnie a chastity belt and it seems to work well. We're paranoid about Min not getting pregnant right now and it seemed like a good idea at the time and, more to the point, she doesn't object. On a separate issue, Jan has told me that she has lost the key to her chastity belt and that she is sure that she will find it any year now. I have to admit that I'm a bit suspicious (you're so thick - Ed.).


Neil and Lawrence returned from Barcelona this afternoon, all shopped out. After dinner we settled down to watch Germany and Italy play in the first semi-final of the World Cup. In the last minutes of extra time Italy scored two outstanding goals. Whilst my head said that Germany would win, my heart was with Italy and eventually the boys came good. Forza Azzuri.
Above, a picture of two happy German fans that caught my eye!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Summer fruits

This article made me laugh. Ok, ok, I know that I shouldn't laugh, but I found it funny. Anyway, I know that I'm not paranoid, but I do wish that people would stop having a go at me!
It reminds me of an old work colleague who was so suspicious of everything around him and who was always looking for the angle. I asked him if he could tell me the time. He looked at me and said, "Why do you want to know?"
Into Nimes with Chris and H for a quick look round and to eat a little of my favourite ice cream, Summer Fruits by Haagen-Dazs. See how easy I am to please?
Talking of summer fruits, I picked my massive (one large bowl) crop of apricots today. They're not too big, not too juicy but they're grown with tender loving care.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Making the Olympic squad!

This morning, Neil and Lawrence took off for a couple of days to explore Barcelona. We still get a buzz seeing Barcelona mentioned on road signs around here and it's great to feel that we are only 4 hours away.


However, as Neil and Lawrence leave, Chris and H arrive. They are old friends of Jan's and it is good to see them. Jan and Chris(tine) get their heads down and it's difficult to prise them apart. These two could talk for England!


Minnie is now en chaleur and we are going to have to keep her and Max apart for a few weeks. The vet's advice is that she should not have puppies straight away and be allowed time to grow and develop more. Max might have something to say about that! That's my boy!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shock horror - England knocked out of World Cup

So England put up another poor display and are knocked out of the World Cup. No surprise there then. What was surprising was that France beat Brazil. With the exception of accurately predicting that England would get knocked out at this stage, I have to say that the final looks wide open. The first semi-final is Germany v Italy, and that could go either way, and the following day it's Portugal v France, where France are likely to win. (For goodness sake give it a rest. No more football! - Ed.)


I barbecued tonight. It was a muted dinner.