Sunday, April 29, 2007

Terry Venables

I have a very small family. One aunt, one uncle and two cousins and that's it. My cousin Sandra lives near Manchester and, despite being brought up as virtually brother and sister, we have little contact. I send her birthday cards and she forgets to send me one, or probably can't be bothered. We speak about every other year, so not what you would call living out of each others pockets! Anyway, we needed to speak the other day and, when she had finally wrenched herself away from her horses, we had a nice conversation. What's that got to do with anything you might think? Well, nothing really except that it's nice to be in touch with people that you haven't spoken to for a long time. This brings me neatly to Carolina, a voice from the past, who got in touch as well yesterday and who admits to having nothing better to do than read this rubbish. She, and husband Steve, used to say that I looked like Terry Venables (above). Hmmnnn.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Festival de Cultures Medievales et Occitanes

Despite both of us being quite tired, we popped out for a soiree in the 'temple' last night. Jan said that she would probably fall asleep, so the immediate problem would be to see who could stay awake the longest in order to wake the other one up. Anyway, William had earlier reminded us that there was an evening of baroque music in the village and he could see that we were in desperate need of a little education. 'Ensemble Vocal et Instrumental', 'Amaryllis', entertained about 50 people in this ancient church for about 1.5 hours with a selection of choral singing and music from Schutz, Kuhnau, Lorenzani and Bach. The evening was entitled 'Motets pour le temps de Paques', sacred choral music for Easter time. It wasn't what you would call jolly. There was a 14 member choir and 7 musicians, some of whom played ancient musical instruments. Whilst I don't have a trained ear, I know a bum note when I hear one, so I would have to say that the singers were quite a bit more talented than the band (you are such an uncouth yob - Ed) but having said that, neither of us fell asleep. This may of course have had something (a lot) to do with the hard-on-your-bum ancient wooden pews. Look, I have to be honest, this wasn't exactly up my street but I have to admire the fact that our little village of 300 souls has events of this type and, with a few of my brain cells wired differently, I might have enjoyed it more myself.


Sommieres beckoned this morning. It was the first day of their annual medieval festival which always adds a different and amusing festive air to the market. As you can see from the pictures above we all got into the 'spirit' of things. From top to bottom:
1 Elie, the bar owner, whispering sweet nothings in Tara's ear
2, 3, 4 & 5 The parade
6 Peter on his way to the bar
7 Peter with Jan after we had cleaned him up and he had offered to buy her a drink
8 Yours truly and Jan with Bryan and Gill in the background.

Friday, April 27, 2007

You'll never believe what happened next

We've been waiting for our new electrician for a little over two weeks now. He called at 11.00 yesterday to say that he would be there in 30 minutes. So much for forward planning! He turned up mob handed with two other guys and finished all the jobs by lunchtime today. Good effort.


There were two nuns. One of them was known as Sister Mathematical (SM), and the other one was known as Sister Logical (SL).

It is getting dark and they are still far away from the convent.

SM: Have you noticed that a man has been following us for the past thirty-eight and a half minutes? I wonder what he wants.

SL: It's logical. He wants to rape us.

SM: Oh, no! At this rate he will reach us in 15 minutes at the most! What can we do?

SL: The only logical thing to do of course is to walk faster.

SM: It's not working.

SL: Of course it's not working. The man did the only logical thing. He started to walk faster, too.

SM: So, what shall we do? At this rate he will reach us in one minute.

SL: The only logical thing we can do is split. You go that way and I'll go this way. He cannot follow us both. The man decided to follow Sister Logical. Sister Mathematical arrives at the convent and is worried about what has happened to Sister Logical. A little later Sister Logical arrives.

SM: Sister Logical! Thank God you are here! Tell me what happened!

SL: The only logical thing happened. The man couldn't follow us both, so he followed me.

SM: Yes, yes! But what happened then?

SL: The only logical thing happened. I started to run as fast as I could and he started to run as fast as he could.

SM: And?

SL : The only logical thing happened. He reached me.

SM: Oh, dear! What did you do?

SL: The only logical thing to do. I lifted my dress up.

SM : Oh, Sister! What did the man do?

SL: The only logical thing to do. He pulled down his pants.

SM: Oh, no! What happened then?

SL: Isn't it logical, Sister? A nun with her dress up can run faster than a man with his pants down.

And for those of you who thought this would be a dirty story,

Say two Hail Marys!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Airport security

Fed up with the over stringent, shambolic and inconsistent security arrangements at the airports in England I have drafted a letter to the powers that be. By way of proof of what I am talking about, the picture above shows 'security' checking out the caliper of a wheeel chair bound elderly gentleman. A terrorist if ever I saw one!
Here's my first draft:

Dear Doctor Reid, or Home Secretary (whichever is the higher) - At this point I expect the letter to be binned but at least it makes me feel better.

A recent report on BBC Breakfast News the other day covered the expected security shambles that will be inevitable at airports run by the British Airports Authority and this reminded me that I had to write to you. I refer specifically to the admission on the programme by the Managing Director of BAA that there will be delays, passing through security, during the upcoming holidays at his airports.
I travel fairly frequently through Luton Airport between France and England and this is the reason for writing.

I fully understand and commiserate with all the work that you have to do in sorting out the Home Office but may I take a few seconds of your time to ask you to look again at the security procedures that are inflicted on the British travelling public.

I fully understand that you must put the safety of the public at the forefront of your considerations. I fully understand that at moments of crisis, security has to be tight. I also fully understand that you have to cover your arse but please, please give us all a break. Please set up a system of security checks that requires the use of a bit more common sense.

1 My little, grey haired, frail old mum does not look like a terrorist. She is not a terrorist and never will she be one. Why subject her to the same security checks?

2 I and many of my travelling companions do not look like terrorists. We are quite obviously white, overfed, middle-aged sun seekers. Why are we all subjected to the same security checks? The young male with an England football shirt, sombrero, jeans and white trainers is not a terrorist either. He is from Essex! Take a good look at the pictures of all known terrorists. Study it carefully because there are a few clues there. Do we look like anyone of them? The day that terrorists start to recruit disaffected, middle-aged folk like me (and that might be sooner than you think!) then by all means checks us all out, but in the meantime can a little more common sense be exercised?

3 One time I have to take off my shoes and another time not. One time I have to take off my belt and another time not. I have to stand there holding my trousers up with one hand and collecting my belongings with the other. Try it some time. You will find it quite humiliating.

4 I follow the guidelines regarding small quantities of liquids and toiletries in carry on bags. One time I am told to declare the bag before passing through security and the next time to leave it in the bag. I left it in the bag only to be stopped, have the bag searched, and have the 100 ml shaving foam tin examined closely to check that it only contained 100 ml. It was quite obvious from the size that it did.

5 Could you please ensure that the person checking the x-ray screen is actually looking at the screen and not chatting to his/her mates! I have noted this on more than one occasion.

6 If you want security procedures to be taken seriously then they must be applied consistently throughout Europe and other countries. An elderly lady at the last Luton security check was standing next to me. She had travelled from the US and was travelling onwards from England. Why are you allowed to board a plane in the US with a bottle of water and not the UK? Her half consumed bottle of water was confiscated at Luton! How stupid is that?

Look I know that you’ve got a lot on your plate but please can you get someone with a bit of common sense to look at this and make a few changes.

A disaffected member of the innocent and inconvenienced travelling public

Yours in anticipation

Kind regards
Alex Hampshire

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Now you see it, now you don't

This news item brought tears to my eyes. I hope he washed his hands afterwards!


Alain (pictured at work above), our village artist, came round last night looking for help. He wanted to put together some publicity material and he asked me to take digital photos of some of his paintings and studio. I hadn't realised how tricky it was going to be especially with regards getting the paintings exactly square on. Any deviation gave the painting another perspective, anyway, we managed it to his satisfaction, if not mine. After another hour of fiddling with Paint Shop Pro and adjusting for colour, he went away a happy bunny.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Less than superhuman

Max is exactly 3 years and 3 months old today so it was off to the vet for his annual vaccination (to answer the obvious question -all his initial vaccinations were concluded three months after he was born). Also, Minnie the minx is on a course of anti-chaleur injections and, because we will be away when the next one is due, we took her along as well. Both dogs behaved impeccably and made us feel just like proud parents.


Bugger! Just as I feel like I'm taking on superhuman powers they go and discover Kryptonite. Life's not fair!


I received a nice email from Jamie S from the excellent site French Entree today. If you want to know more about Aude or Pyrenees Orientales then this is the site for you. PO is the base for Francois Bayrou the centrist (sort of a Lib Dem) candidate in Sunday's presidential elections. Because he came third, both the remaining candidates are now scrabbling for his voters. Given that anyone who voted for the middle way can't have a very strong opinion then I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to make up their minds.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Don't argue with an irritated Mayor

OK, so I guess you know the election results. However, when we played tennis this morning William, pictured above in a pensive mood, was argumentative and obviously not a happy bunny. He has definite left wing leanings and isn't too happy about Sarko getting ahead. You should have heard him arguing about the score in one game. I had to remind him that we were 4-1 up and even if we gave them the game we'd still kick their asses. It also didn't help, when we were having a coffee after the game, that Peter mentioned that there were far too many fonctionaires in France. William went on the defensive, as you would expect the local chief fonctionaire to behave, so I didn't think it prudent to weigh in with my thought that there are about 30,00 too many mayors in France. Best let him get over his grumps.


Whilst Jan cleaned and reorganised the garage today, I spent most of the day with both our own and next door's pool, uncovering and cleaning. Ah well, at least the tan was getting topped up!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Vote for me

Today France voted for its president. France gives its president real power, unlike many other states, where the prime minister is the key figure. Far from being a figurehead, the French leader chooses the prime minister, can dissolve parliament and can pardon convicted criminals. The president is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, including a formidable nuclear arsenal. The sort of kick ass job that I would really like. Anyway, I popped down to the foyer to see how the system works. Every person, eligible to vote, has a personal voting card issued by the state, which they keep, and which they must show to the voting officials, in our case the village council members. This card is reconciled with an official state list and which entitles each voter to a small blue envelope. You vote by selecting a slip from one of the twelve piles of presidential hopefuls, put this name in the envelope and place your envelope in a perspex box. Your voting card is stamped, and you keep it as your personal voting record and then you sign the 'official list.' That's it. At 18.00 the slips were counted and the results were collected regionally and nationally. Because there are over 36,000 mayors in France (the counting process being broken into manageable pieces) the final result was known after 20.00. It appears to be a very efficient system. Because no candidate achieved 50% of the vote, the leading two have a 'vote off' in early May. What was particularly interesting was that 85% of voters turned out to vote.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pea soup

Whilst chatting over a few beers at the market in Sommieres this morning, I mentioned that I really needed to remove the pool cover soon. The temperature hits 20+ every day now and I dreaded finding a green sludge when the cover came off. Like most things, once you have done it once then it's pretty straight forward. Having been involved in covering the pool last November I realised that it would need at least two strong hands because if the cover drops into the water, of which there is a high chance, and fills with water, then it is a hell of a job to get it out. Advice flew thick and fast and I realised that I had planned to take it off in the wrong way. Help was at hand because Bob W very kindly offered to help and thank goodness he did. It all went smoothly until the last bit but we did manage to haul it out of the water. Surprisingly the pool water was fairly clear but was about to turn into a thick green soup. Thankfully the cover came off just in time.
Then started the long process of cleaning the cover, cleaning the pool and generally moving it away from something that will dissolve your flesh to something palatable to swim in.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Stick to a plan

Only Milton showed up this morning so we played a couple of sets of singles. It was very hard work for me because he is quite agile (yes, agile isn't a word I'd use for you - Ed). He also has a powerful and difficult backhand, so my simple strategy was to keep the ball on his forehand to see what happened. It worked, but only just. I switched tactics at the start of the second set to see what difference it would make but it wasn't as effective, so I switched back and took the second set as well. I hope that he doesn't get to read this!


It looks like the French vote is too close to call and will go right to the wire. With a third of the voters still having to make up their minds it could go any way.
Look at this comment that I read on a site recently:

"I will vote for Bove. Only he will protect French farmers from US imperialism. It is only right that only France has agriculture in the EU - look at our cheese! I hope more UK farmers will now stop working and rely on French imports! If you want to be part of the US, then join! And only Bove will throw out all non-French companies from France."

What's scary, is this guy gets to vote at all. I suspect that a lot of people think in a similar way.


For some time now we have noticed the odd dead ant on our bed and recently realised that they might be coming from the ceiling. A closer inspection identified a few micrscopic holes in the ceiling plaster so we set about attacking them this afternoon. Goodness knows how they got there and what they live on (what exactly do ants eat?) and, more to the point, what the hell they are doing digging holes in the ceiling? It's a very tiny black ant, no more than about 2 mm long, and appears harmless enough. (That's what they said about Hitler - Ed.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Planning ahead

Clearing the 'Old Man's Beard' and overhanging branches from the next door garden yesterday was much harder than we thought but thankfully Jan is a good hard worker (and can be hired by the hour) and we had it finished by lunch time. The afternoon saw us mending the pipework, that is supposed to be buried in the ground, which drip feeds water to the fruit trees. I'll let you figure out which members of our household are naughty enough to dig up pipework and chew it until it is full of holes.


Whilst Jan went to a sewing class today (yes, you read it here first) Bryan and I worked on the logistics of keeping a few hundred bottles of wine cool for the forthcoming wedding. OK, I know that it's 4 months away but you've got to think about these things. I wasn't a cub scout for nothing don't you know. Anyway, having worked out how many containers and how much ice we would need we got a lucky break. I learnt that our village 'fete' committee have a refrigerated trailer, which they use for keeping wine cool, at village events, and I can have free use of it. There is an issue about the necessary voltage supply but, assuming that I can sort that out, then I can use it. Great!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I think I've been there

Flynn staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Paddy. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Mary.

He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.

Managing not to yell, Flynn sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding.

He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood.

He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.

In the morning, Flynn woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Mary staring at him from across the room.

She said, "You were drunk again last night weren't you?"

Flynn said, "What gave you that idea ?"

"Well," Mary said, "it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but's all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Retail therapy

Having worked hard in the heat this morning we decided to get out and experience a little retail therapy this afternoon. It took Jan exactly 7.5 seconds after entering the front door at Ikea before she had bought something. It's a fascinating phenomena. Mr Ikea gets you into the buying feeling as soon as you enter his premises. We went looking for a couple of items and filled two trolleys. How clever is that? (Or, how stupid are you? - Ed.)

Sleep disorders

It was a glorious sunny day and Jan went out for lunch. Yes, I know that it was Sunday, but some kind, but lonely, friend considers it acceptable to break up families on a Sunday. Whilst Jan had a freshly made sumptuous lunch, I treated myself to some warmed up lasagna left over from the other day. Sob. (Well get off your backside and cook something yourself - Ed.)


Following my post here on Saturday, I came across this article about France. It makes interesting reading for those interested in things French.


It was not a good idea to watch a programme about sleep disorders just before I went to sleep last night. I was cursing the television at 04.30 this morning and, after I eventually got off to sleep again, I didn't wake until 09.15. I don't feel good about waking so late because the old puritan in me says that it's a waste of daylight hours.
Having said that, Jan and I started to tackle the encroaching hedge and weeds by the tennis court this morning, so that meant I didn't have to wear sack cloth and ashes for the rest of the day. Phew!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Who will win?

Despite the weather, we headed off to Sommieres this morning. Thankfully, the atmosphere was so much more relaxed than last week. Being able to shoot the breeze, sitting outside in a convivial atmosphere, with a few mates, is a distinct pleasure. It's not something that I did in the UK.


Having lived here for nearly five years and having too much spare time on my hands, I've started to form some opinions about what's wrong with France. What's wrong in a political sense. Thanks to poor management from Jacques Chirac, the country is weak economically, has high unemployment and a lot of social unrest. In my opinion, the country is in need of change, strong leadership and a change of attitude.
When you look at the front runners and you listen to what they say, and you put the needs of the French people first, then the best of the bunch looks like Sarkozy. This thought will probably upset a lot of people because of his right wing leanings but a clear alternative isn't obvious to me. His major rival, Royal, has lost an excellent opportunity to win the election. All I seem to hear her say is France needs more of the same. 'The same' that has put France in the mess that it's now in? More nanny state intervention, and even higher taxes. That's just plain stupid. I know a chap who was paid 80% of his previous salary when he was made redundant. I couldn't understand why he didn't have a job until one day he said "why do I seriously want to look for work, when I have 2 years at this income?" Amongst other things, Royal wants to up the benefit to 90%. That's stupid, the country can't afford it, and there is no incentive to get back to work.
Bayrou's platform seems to be one of coalition, bringing together left and right but he also promotes increased state help for farmers. Farmers who are being paid to grow what nobody wants. The EU pays 40% of its budget for farm relief to 5% of the EU population. What kind of sense is that? The only thing that all the candidates seem to agree on is to scrap the mandatory 35 hour working week. This article is interesting.
The country goes to the polls on 22nd April and I for one will find the outcome fascinating.

Friday, April 13, 2007

One track mind

Jan invited Gill, Terry and Katie for dinner last night. Getting a bit fed up with 'dinner party food', we all tucked into a meat lasagna with sticky toffee pudding for afters. With the benefit of hindsight, or more to the point, not much foresight, it was a bit of a stodgy pudding after so many carbs. Anyway, I stuffed my face and had indigestion all night.


Today was the second consecutive day of rain and, as I always optimistically say when it rains, "at least it's good for the garden." So, what do you do when it's too wet to be outside? Easy, you go shopping! Jan had set in her mind to visit Truffaut early this morning after Gill had told her of some 'attractive metal lamps' that could be pushed into the ground, at 3.95 each. After I had mentioned several times that we had no need to visit Truffaut, you guessed it, by mid afternoon we found ourselves 200 euros lighter and with a bunch of stuff that we didn't 'need.' OK, so Jan is thinking about the wedding later this year but, more to the point, when she gets it into her mind to do something, then it happens. And, to answer your question, we bought 10 of said lamps.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting to know your computer

Mr Computer Repair Man returned Jan's machine last night. He had partitioned the hard drive, reinstalled Windows, and it appeared to be working properly again. What then followed was the 'fun' part. I started downloading updates, including SP2, which took several hours. Such fun, especially knowing that there will be lots more to do the next day. Having said that the Liverpool Champions League match was tedious so it helped fill the time until something interesting happened. Nothing interesting happened, so Jan got a lot of updates!


My mood nosedived this morning because I thought that her machine had broken down again, but, with a little fiddling, I realised that the router just needed re-booting and so 'we' were off and running again.


It's amazing what knowing your mayor can achieve for you. I know William quite well now and I like him a great deal. He has a very English sense of humour and we laugh a lot together. Anyway, I called him to ask if he knew an electrician (the last one hasn't returned a year after doing some work and I owe him money, so I wasn't going to rock the boat, as it were). He said yes, no problem, he would call one he knew and get him to call me. Within 30 minutes he (the new electrician) had called and by 15.30 he had visited the house and agreed to the work. Amazing. The next feat will be that he turns up and does the work, but I'll have to wait a little while for that one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Time to say goodbye

Milton declared himself fit for tennis yesterday morning and, with Peter being unable to make it, Ben made up the fourth. I hope you're paying attention! Anyway, as our guests were going to leave for Spain after lunch we invited William and Christine to eat with us. I just love these unplanned events. We finished off tons of food left over from Sunday, which saves me the hassle of having to eat leftovers for the next three weeks, and had a good laugh. Eating outside on a sunny day, in good company, what could be better?


It's a sign of the times or, more to the point, our age, because we didn't intend to do much today. I played tennis with Katie in the morning, gave a tennis lesson to a couple of friends late afternoon and finished the day with a sore back and aching like mad. And there I was thinking that I'd take it easy. What did finish off the day really well was to see the English teams kicking ass in the Champions League. I went to bed sore, but happy.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter in France, Spanish style

We had asked B&P to bring up some calcots (a Catalan speciality) for Easter Sunday lunch. They're a type of onion and resemble a leek, and are cooked by burning them over an open fire and then dipping the resultant, cleaned up mess, in Romesco sauce before lowering them down your throat. Absolutely delicious. Ben and I built a barbecue/firepit (pictured above) from scratch, out of a washing up bottle and the inner tubes from 12 toilet rolls. The Lloyds, who were in town, came round for lunch, so at least Jan and I didn't have to sit opposite each other trying to make polite conversation (you never make polite conversation - Ed).
The pictures from top to bottom: one of Jan's Easter decorations, Ben at our new fire stove, calcots before cooking, Paula, Jan and Ave, Paula showing us how to eat the calcots and Glyn showing us how to pose for a picture.
Just in case we hadn't actually had enough, the Lloyds invited us round this evening for aperos. I drank coke!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Oysters in Sommieres

Ben, Paula and Ave (Paula's mum) arrived from Barcelona yesterday afternoon. They will spend the Easter weekend with us which will please Jan, because her eldest son and his extended family always bring fun to the house, and she won't be stuck with just me (yup - Ed.). Having said that, my head usually hurts after an evening listening to French. You can imagine what it's like listening to Spanish, which I barely understand, and loud Spanish to boot. B&P became Minnie's new best friends for the evening which can be more of a curse than a pleasure, especially as she tried, and succeeded, to sit across their laps at the table. At 37 kilos she is hardly a lap dog but we forgive her because she is still a puppy.


Our visitors love oysters, (yuk - I stopped eating snot when I was two), so it was off to Sommieres this morning to sample such delights, and to meet up with friends. Whilst we were shopping for squid ink, for the arroz negro tonight, we bumped into an old friend (pictured above in an old police photo) who had heard that they were offereing free wine at the cave in Sommieres. Trust him to be there. He claimed that he had popped down for his breakfast so that sounded about right. Anyway, when we got to the market it was absolutely heaving. Seats were at an absolute premium but some nice tourists (you know that they are tourists because the men wear shorts and the women summery dresses, whilst the locals are still in winter overcoats) offered us their seats as they were about to leave. Wasn't that nice? I might start to feel better about tourists after all?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Chinese fable

A Chinese man gets married. His wife is a virgin. Truth be told, he is not all that experienced either. On their wedding night, she cowers naked under the sheets as her husband undresses. He climbs in next to her and tries to be reassuring.
"My darring" he says,"I know dis yo firss time and you berry frighten. I pomise you, I give you anyting you want, I do anyting - juss anyting you want. Whatchou want?"
He tries to sound experienced, which he hopes will calm her and impress her. A thoughtful silence follows and he waits patiently (and eagerly) for her request. She eventually replies shyly and unsure,
"I want try somesing - I hear about... Numbah 69". More thoughtful silence, but this time from him.
Eventually, in a puzzled tone he says..."WHAT, you want... beef wiff broccori?!"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I can see clearly now

Jan has a much better sense of cost and disposability than I do. Under normal circumstances I would buy a pair of relatively expensive spectacles and then keep them until they, or I, wore out. We both wear contact lenses, but sometimes use glasses, and with her last lens delivery Jan received some advertising material suggesting that she order her specs by post. Being the inquisitive type she had a look. I, on the other hand, would normally poo poo such an idea. Anyway, she got my prescription and ordered me some glasses that she liked. The pair that she chose cost £12, lenses included. I have to say that they were very good, a bit like the pink plastic national health ones you used to get as a child (just kidding), especially when you consider that the last pair I bought in Nimes cost about £250. Two pairs of glasses (a pair for each of us) including £7.95 delivery came to £31.95. Just excellent! Can anyone beat that? Take a look here and get ordering. Peter H recently ordered some specs from Hong Kong. I'm not sure what they cost, but what I do know is that when they got here they had jet lag.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A sick machine

Jan's computer has been playing up for several weeks and, despite my best endeavours, I haven't been able to fix it. It's a strange problem inasmuch as she can access some web pages and not others and she can receive emails but not send. I've tried all the obvious things but finally asked this nice man who has just opened in Quissac, to investigate. He spent an hour trying various things (a lot of which I had tried, which made me feel better) but couldn't sort it out. He took the box away, presumably to hit it with a hammer, and said he'd report back. We'll see.


It's my son James' birthday today. Happy birthday son!

Monday, April 02, 2007

They made me giggle

Click on the ad above if you can't read it. It should make it bigger.
A married man went into the confessional and said to his priest, "I almost had an affair with another woman."

The priest said, "What do you mean, almost?"

The man said, "Well, we got undressed and rubbed together, but then I stopped."
The priest said, "Rubbing together is the same as putting it in. You're not to see that woman again. For your penance, say five Hail Mary's and put €50 in the poor box."

The man left the confessional, said his prayers, and then walked over to the poor box. He paused for a moment and then started to leave.

The priest, who was watching, quickly ran over to him saying, "I saw that. You didn't put any money in the poor box!"

The man replied "Yeah, but I rubbed the €50 on the box, and according to you, that's the same as putting it in!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A new toy

Jan's smart. She is always thinking of ways to amuse me or, more importantly, to keep me out of her hair. I think it comes from travelling on a plane with me. I like to chat, Jan on the other hand likes to do anything but, and especially not chat to me (I wonder why - Ed), so she has just bought me an iPod shuffle. According to her way of thinking it will amuse me for hours whilst she gets on with the important things in life like crosswords or sudoku puzzles. Anyway, I've had this little toy for a while and because the weather was miserable today I spent a large part of the afternoon ripping tracks (oh, you're such a modern man! - Ed). As I write, I'm up to 6.5 hours of listening, not much in the scheme of things but it should keep me out of mischief for a while.