Thursday, May 31, 2007

French doctors

It was overcast and threatened rain this morning, so not much fun for our visitors A, T and their two children. Undeterred by minor inconveniences like driving rain they headed off to Nimes for a look round the arene.
Nimes is where we also headed to see a couple of doctors. Consultants in France seem to behave differently to those in the UK. For instance they will hand write, or type their own prescriptions and they dress very casually. The cardio, who was running over an hour late, was wearing a black shirt, black jeans and what looked like black boxer's boots. We also had to pay him cash, he didn't take cards, and he whipped the cash off his receptionist's counter and stuffed it in his pocket as he walked past. The rheumatologist, who was older and a bit more patrician like, was also dressed casually but a little more conventionally and took his fee himself right there in the consulting room after handwriting a couple of scripts. As usual, the overall medical attention was good, with both doctors being careful and thorough and left you feeling well cared for.


Whilst reading about a German woman driving down the stairs into an underground station, because she mistook the entrance for an underground car park, I came across this, which really made me laugh. Maybe the French aren't such bad drivers after all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thank you, now how much do I owe you?

So there I was basking in the afterglow of my new found stardom when Jacqui posted a really nice comment on yesterday's post. Being unable to email her directly I have to say 'thank you' here.


Chris and Delphine popped round on their way to Sauve, to say hello, accompanied by a very homesick Ella. The poor child was enduring her first solo trip away from home and kept bursting into tears. I suspect it was more about having to spend a week with Chris that was really upsetting her but then I was too polite to suggest that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life in the 'Doc

I've just won an award. Not your run of the mill, "I want to thank the Director, his mother, my mother, my father, whoever he might be," type Oscar, but a real, from the heart, well observed and researched award. Whilst I fully appreciate that this is a huge piss take, 'Sandy' has voted me the best blogger, out of three, in Languedoc. But then, I suppose you knew that anyway!

At least I beat that awful woman in third place. Have a look at her blog and if it doesn't want to make you throw up, then nothing will. So, never one to be churlish about these things, "Thank you. This is a very emotional moment for me. I'm sorry but I haven't written a speech because I didn't expect to win, being in competition with so much great talent, but before I go I'd like to thank................................."

Baptism French style

On 3rd May, when we were back in England, we spent some time establishing details of my father's past life which I wrote about here. Having then discovered that I had a step-mother and that she was still alive, I wrote to her, and introduced myself. It was quite a difficult letter to write because I wasn't aware of how much of my father's history she knew and I didn't want to cause her any distress. Well, it must have been a good letter because, bless her, she rang today. She said that she was aware of my existence and that she had even seen a letter that I wrote to my father (even aged 5 I could read and write, and they say that the education system is getting better) and that she would dig it out for me. I'm not too sure why, but afterwards I found it all quite emotional. My long search was coming to an end.
Alison mentioned over dinner the other night that, of late, my ramblings have become a bit bitter and twisted. Look, sweetie, I can't help what I see, and, more to the point, how else am I going to change the world? So there you go, a bit of sentimental old rubbish above to keep you happy.


William mentioned an interesting thing the other day. Did you know that you can have a secular, 'state baptism' here in France? It's not a baptism in the pouring water on the child's head and absolving it from original sin sense, but an affirmation by the parents that the child will basically uphold the laws of the state and be a good citizen. That's all well and good, but how do they know that?
A quick search found this interesting piece.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Joe Cocker

A couple of years ago we went to see Joe Cocker in concert, in the arene (above), in Nimes. What a good crack. He was excellent and if he'd have been playing the following night we'd have gone to see him again. Anyway, by chance I saw that he is playing in Carcassonne on Monday 30th July and, despite the 2+ hour drive, we're going to see him again. Highly recommended.


I love gadgets and I came across a neat one the other day that I have finally managed to get my hands on. The Butter Wizard keeps a block of butter at exactly the right temperature for ease of spreading no matter how hot or cold the ambient temperature. They're not available everywhere and eventually we got ours in Carrefour in Latte near Montpelier. They are also available online here. It really does work. (Sandy will have a field day with this one - Ed)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Feria de Nimes

Yesterday was the start of the Feria de Nimes. The whole of the centre of town is taken over for partying. It's a good crack, if you like that sort of thing. Like last year, when we saw the Gypsy Kings, they have built a huge stage on one side of the Maison Carré. I wandered over to ask a roady the name of the band. He ran off a few names and expected me to be impressed. I stared at him blankly but out of politeness registered an acknowledgement. Such is growing old.


I noticed this morning that 'The Sun' and 'The Daily Mirror' websites are blocked from viewing in Sudan. So their government isn't all that bad then.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Customer service, French style

It's still only May and the temperature hit 33C this afternoon. The hottest day of the year so far. I poured with sweat just thinking about work! (So nothing new there then! - Ed)


OK, my favourite topic, customer service. I arrived at the dentist five minutes before my appointment. She (the dentist) is chatting away to someone in the surgery, almost certainly a sales rep. I know this because I'm sitting on the other side of the door and neither of them stop talking. She is definitely not climbing in and out of his mouth. Twenty five minutes later the next patient comes in and she is now running late for this person as well. Look, I don't mind running late if an emergency has to be squeezed in but I take big objection, having made an appointment, to having to wait 25 minutes because of some inconsiderate chin wag. It was similar in Nimes this morning. We are sitting in the doctors waiting room and two women start to chat right in the doorway. People come and go and they have to excuse themselves each time in order to get passed. One woman is the more dominant and eventually her friend, who looks to have a little bit more savvy, suggests that they sit down out of the way. This behaviour is something that I see a lot. Take supermarkets for example. I can't tell you how many times I have had to move a shopping trolley because some inconsiderate soul has gone off down the aisles and left their trolley blocking a passage. Instead of getting out more, maybe I need to stay in more?

Monday, May 21, 2007

How not to run a business

I've just remembered! Eleven days ago, when I had problems connecting to the Internet, a chap from a computer store in Quissac (who also happens to live in our village) called round, at my request, to help. He promised to return the NEXT DAY with a different router, to eliminate my router as the problem. That was eleven days ago. You know what, my expectations of dealing with French artisans is now so poor, that I don't believe a word of what they say and expect nothing from them. Sarkozy is so right when he says that he needs to get the French back to work. Start work more like!
Anyway, because I got fed up waiting I went out and bought a new router and the web connection has been pretty good ever since. Frankly I'm still not convinced that it wasn't FT messing about with the exchange but I can at least try both routers now to check if the old one is at fault. But, to get back to my rant. This chap had the opportunity of selling me a new router, charging me for his time and he could do all this on his way from work, or at some other spare moment. For all he knows I'm still having problems but because I am not continually on his back, he ignores me and I'm someone he doesn't have to deal with. What a way to run a business, what a tosser.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Olive oil

I've often wondered about the process of making olive oil, so today was the day for finding out. Laren, one of the proprietors of Moulin a Huile de la Voie Domitienne on the outskirts of Beaucaire, speaks reasonable English and explained to about 40 of us what was involved. In principal it's a process not unlike wine making. I won't bore you with the details because you can read about that here, however one or two interesting facts came out.

1 Watch the sell by date. It should never be more than 2 years old.

2 The oil is at its best within 1 year of pressing, but will keep up to 2 years.

3 It does not improve with age. After 2 years it will start to deteriorate through oxidation.

4 Buy the taste that you like and do not be influenced by price.

5 If you are lucky to live near an oil mill (in France), the oil is extracted and bottled between November and January, so buy it in February.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bring on the clowns

For my money, Sarkozy has made a very impressive start with his ministerial appointments. At long last there is a minister of North African origin and other senior appointments come from a wide political base. This is one clever man and he has hit the ground running. At long last France has a dynamic and forward thinking leader.


Not too far from the political theme, it's our fourth annual Festival du Clown this weekend. Clown events are programmed to take place all over the village. It should be fun, especially for the kids.

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's made by who?

The phone call told us that the motor of our 4 years old Whirlpool washing machine had given up the ghost. To replace it would cost about 300 euros and we would have to wait three weeks for the part. Great. Given that we also had problems with our Whirlpool fridge, which was three years old at the time, to put it mildly, my faith in this brand has started to wane. Anyway, we popped out to buy a new one and we bought one called a Laden. I was quite amused when I received the news that Laden are made by Whirlpool. I told the salesman that I knew his brother Bin, but he didn't see the joke.


I had to laugh this morning. The mother of a British journalist (above) who has been held captive in Gaza for several weeks now, broadcast a birthday message for him, hoping that he might get to see it. He is probably held in solitary confinement, with a hood over his head and shackled to a wall. But anyway, she was filmed standing in an idyllic setting near a lake in Scotland and wished him happy birthday. She told him not to worry (couldn't quite figure that one out) and that they would be thinking of him as they ate lunch with friends at a local restaurant. I presumed that she would think of him again after the pudding because she wouldn't want to spoil her lunch! If she was my mother I'd divorce her. Insensitive or what?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Under the skin

Jan's dermatologist is about to put her on a very powerful drug to help her psoriasis. This drug is an auto immune suppressant, so in order to ensure that there are no conditions that haven't surfaced yet, she is undergoing a series of tests. This means that we have to make regular trips in and out of Nimes, and yesterday was one such day. Unfortunately some trips only last a few minutes, so we console ourselves with shopping and lunch. Past-Port, 6 place de la Revolution, Nimes, 0466 676468 looked promising from the outside and offered one or two mouth watering specials. (What a convoluted way of starting a restaurant review - Ed) The young owner is half Italian and half French and this was reflected in the menu. You just cannot beat simple, well cooked, Italian food and the starter measured up, but the meal was let down by a very average main course. Maybe we didn't choose well, so another trip will decide it, but if you are nearby, try it and see what you think.


We got invited to the launch of a bed the other day. A strange invitation you may well say, but before you start to imagine some huge bed sliding down a slipway into a river, having been christened with a bottle of shampoo then look here. Me old mate Mark Humphrey, a highly respected London based designer, has just designed a new bed. Can't say I like much myself. For instance, where are the reading lights, apart from the fact that I haven't got several thou' to spend on a bed, never mind the odd shaped sheets needed to cover it? But hey, what do I know? Mark, by the way, who split from Nick Haslam some years ago, is pleased to announce that he is the only heterosexual male designer in London. I'll take his word for it.

Bluetooth technology

Is this what they mean by a hands free car kit?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A political bunny

Not knowing his political leanings, this morning I asked Alain, the hairdresser, what he thought of Sarkozy's victory. Well, you should have heard the torrent. He's a definite Sarkozy fan and every time I said something positive about Sarko, it just encouraged him to say more. I've never seen him so animated.
At this early stage, I have to say that he's one smart kooky that Sarkozy. He is has halved the number of ministers, he's aiming for female parity in the cabinet and is appointing socialists to big hitting posts. The next five years will be interesting, if not the next few months.

I'm not too sure why I have taken such an interest in French politics, It's probably something to do with having too much time on my hands, anyway, for what it's worth, here's what I
wrote on the France24 news site this afternoon.

"Chirac's lethargic, pompous and patronising leadership is at the core of many of France's ailments. At first glance Sarkozy appears to understand the problems, and solutions, and he says a lot of the right things. However, given that there wasn't a huge difference in votes separating the candidates, many voters appeared to want more of the same, as offered by Royal. Sarkozy will need to be very dynamic and resolute because it won't be an easy ride."

Monday, May 14, 2007

When 'libre' doesn't mean 'free'

I happened to mention last week that we'd probably seen the last of the rain for the year. Wrong, it poured with rain this morning. Not just your pathetic drizzle but the mother and father of all storms. The dogs, who are not normally too bothered about thunder, jumped out of their skins (along with me and Jan) at a thunder clap that literally shook the house. Powerful stuff. By mid afternoon the sun was out and things got back to normal-ish.
Our visitors, Mary and Bob, friends of Jan's from way back, headed out for a little sightseeing. Rather them than me!


Our local paper is the Midi Libre. Anyway, Mary brought one back with her tonight. She had picked it up in Intermarché, er literally, because she she had seen them in a pile near a counter and noticed the word Libre. She thought that it was a 'free' paper. We expect the police to descend anytime!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Domaine du Grand Chemin

We must have a reputation as a couple of old soaks (er....yup - Ed) because we were invited to lunch, along with 50,000 other people, at Domaine du Grand Chemin today. Admittedly, their bag-in-box gris and Viognier are just excellent, and suitable for any occasion, and they have nursed us through many a withdrawal sympton.


OK, so you think that you are the honest and faithful type. Take this test. For what it's worth I scored 8.


This just shows you how bored I was today. Go to Google Maps.

1 Click on Get Directions at the top of the page.
2 Enter New York as your starting point.
3 Enter London as your ending point.
4 Click on Get Directions to the right.
5 Scroll down the directions and in particular look at number 24.

Now that's bored!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Domaine Costeplane

With visitors coming tomorow, today was all about completeing those shitty little jobs that you have been putting off for ever. Jobs like taking all our empty wine bottles for recycling, cutting the weed in the orchard to make it look like a carefully planted and nourished lawn and taking a bunch of, mostly plastic, crud out of the garage, to the dechetterie. Such joy.


Getting a bit low on local wine, I popped across the village to see Vincent at Costeplane. For the last three years his rosé has been our rosé of choice. I know that the Vermentino is good this year and he cracked open a bottle of his 2005 oaked Chardonnay for me to try. It was just excellent. His wines just get better and better each year. Not forgetting Jan, he gave me the remains of the Chardonnay for her to taste and a bottle of Plan de Savalous which he thinks is about ready to drink. He's so kind, and aren't we lucky?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stars in your eyes

Well, that made my morning. Through a series of coincidences, I started corresponding with one of my tv heroes. In order to save any embarrassment (like mine) I won't reveal names but suffice to say that this guy used to write, and star, in a funny television programme that Jan and I have always found hilarious. Writing this makes me sound like a star-struck teenager, but hey, star-struck maybe, teenager not. Anyway, we've been invited over for a drink. Suck on that!


The bloody washing machine was carted off this morning because it has suddenly stopped working and our super fast blacksmith delivered and installed a new gate. A day for handing out lots of moolah. Bum.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Outcast, a man for all seasons

'Twas a funny old day. Some rambling idiot, who mostly posts when he is pissed, has been getting up my nose recently. (More fool you - Ed) He has already been banned from other expat sites for abusive postings and he carries on in the same way here. He seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder and even takes pride in calling himself 'L'Outcast.' Reacting is of course stupid because that's exactly what he wants. He wants to get into a fight with you. He's the internet equivalent of the drunk in the pub. Look at him funny or spill his beer and he's after you. He doesn't post that often but when he does he usually lets rip and upsets some of the more genteel members of the website. (We're not including you in genteel are we? - Ed) At times I have found some of his ramblings funny, but they are all very difficult to read. He barely puts together legible sentences because I suspect that he's usually drunk when he posts. A recurring theme of his posts is the fact that he has lived in France for a long time and he sees all recent arrivals as unwelcome interlopers. Strange man.


After a morning in the garden we popped to Sommieres for lunch with a bunch of people from BritsNimes. Les Delices du Liban, our usual Saturday morning watering hole, was the scene of our Lebanese lunch. Elie pulled all the stops out and I was stuffed by the end of the starters. Not much happened for the rest of the afternoon!


To add to this mornings irritation our internet connection is still playing up. I'm convinced that there's a problem with the local exchange but no one agrees with me, yet.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

To cheer me up

I've had problems connecting to the internet for the past two days so too much time has been spent trying to sort it out. Bryan sent me this to cheer us all up.


A normal 30-something, having split from his latest girlfriend, decided to take a holiday. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life; that is, until the ship sank. He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.

After about four months, he is lying on the beach when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore. In disbelief, he asks, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

She replies, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

"Amazing," he said. "You were really lucky to have a rowing boat wash up with you."

"Oh, this thing?" explains the woman. "I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches, I wove the bottom from palm branches and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But, where did you get the tools?"

"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

The guy is stunned.

"Let's row over to my place," she says.

After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck.

As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?"

"No! No thank you," he blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice."

"It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor in the bathroom cabinet."

No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow-ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.

"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?"

When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.

"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for many months. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?" She stares into his eyes. He can't believe what he's hearing.

"You mean...", and he swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes.........

"Don't tell me you've got Sky Sports?!"

Monday, May 07, 2007

One true and one not

This is true. I overheard this whilst standing in the queue at the Ryanair boarding gate at Luton Airport this morning.

"I don't know why Ryanair bother to sell Priority Boarding Passes. All it does is make money for the airline."


This is not true but a good story nonetheless. Thanks to Bryan for this one.

Nelson Mandela is sitting at home watching TV and drinking a beer when he hears a knock at the door. When he opens it, he is confronted by a little Chinese man, clutching a clip board and yelling,

"You Sign! You sign!"

Behind him is an enormous truck full of car exhausts. Nelson is standing there in complete amazement, when the Chinese man starts to yell louder,

"You Sign! You sign!"

Nelson says to him, "Look, you've obviously got the wrong man", and shuts the door.

The next day he hears a knock at the door again. When he opens it, the little Chinese man is back with a huge truck of brake pads. He thrusts his clipboard under Nelson's nose, yelling,

"You sign! You sign!"

Nelson is getting a bit hacked off by now, so he pushes the little Chinese man back, and says:

"Look, go away! You've got the wrong man. I don't want them!" Then he slams the door.

The following day, Nelson is sitting in his big whicker chair, resting, and late in the afternoon, he hears a knock on the door. On opening the door, there is the same little Chinese man thrusting a clipboard under his nose, shouting,

"You sign! You sign!"

Behind him are two very large trucks full of car parts. This time Nelson loses his temper completely, he picks up the little Man by his shirt front and yells at him:

"Look, I don't want these! Do you understand? You must have the wrong name! Who do you want to give these to?"

The little Chinese man looks very puzzled, consults his clipboard, and says:

(Wait for it)

"You not Nissan Main Deala?"

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A day at the park

It felt really good to get the full copy of The Sunday Times today. Whilst we get an annotated copy, printed in Marseille, in France, it still feels good to get a full copy with all the 'shiny' bits. (You saddo - Ed.)
It was off to Painshill Park in Surrey this afternoon to see Maisie (above), her siter and minders. Maisie is our first grandchild and, despite seeing her only a few times a year, she is now very relaxed with us and is great company. This afternoon, whilst I pretended to be frightened of dragons, she 'looked after me' and kept me safe and told me not to worry. Bless. We were very sad to leave and I came home determined to book a flight to see them all again soon. The perfect end to our short stay in England.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pass the Bomb

Last night, after I invited my old friend Rob, and Cara invited her friend Jaz an impromptu party started. Jan cooked asparagus, and a Thai green curry, and amongst other things we played Pass the Bomb. Feeling a little jaded, today was very subdued.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure

We'd been shopping for what seemed like several hours, my back was hurting and I needed a rest. So there I was sitting in the ladies shoe department in Marks and Spencer. The elderly lady on the next stool was sitting, staring and fiddling with a couple of pairs of shoes. She sat, she stared and she fiddled and this went on for 10 minutes or more. Jan had disappered into the bowels of the shop and this woman, and her obvious indecision, was driving me mad. I tried to read a newspaper but she kept distracting me. There was only one thing for it.

Me: Excuse me, but would you like an unbiased view?

She: Oh, yes please. Thank you very much, young man.

That just shows you how old she was.

Me: What do you want the shoes for?

She: I have to go to a wedding.

Me: Well, I think the pair that you are holding are just that little bit smarter. I particularly like the detail around the instep.

She: Yes, you're right, but this other pair are so comfortable.

Me: I understand your problem. Why don't you buy them both?

She: Ooooh, do you think so?

Me: Well you'd then have a smart pair and a comfortable pair.

She: Mnnnn, what a good idea. I'll do it. Thank you very much.

She tried both pairs on again, packed all her belongings, piled up all the other shoes that she had been trying on and left them on the floor and set off for the cash desk. Yet another satisfied customer. I got back to reading the paper and awaited my beloved's return. I'll invoice M&S for my services when I get home.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hello, I think you knew my father rather well

First stop Weston Super Mare. I knew that that was where I could get a copy of my dad's death certificate. The journey took longer than we thought so we didn't get there until 11.45. We were lucky because the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages didn't shut for lunch until 12.30, so we were able to order a copy. The downside was it wouldn't be ready until 15.00. Bum, I hoped that we could merely look at the entry and get the information that we wanted. No such luck. It had to be hand written and they would do us a favour by finishing it by the promised time. That didn't leave us a lot of time if we had a lot of research to do.
Anyway, at 15.00 we got the first bit of unexpected news. Whilst his death was registered up the road in Cleveden, as that was the place of death, he died in a nursing home some way from his actual address. His regular address was actually in Bristol and if we wanted to check the electoral register, to see who was still living there, we would have to go to Bristol a good 45 minutes away. Whilst I was establishing the details of where to go and who to see in Bristol, Jan tried that well known private eye trick of looking in the phone directory. Bingo, his wife was still listed with the same address as given on the death certificate. That was a significant piece of good luck.
Our behaviour from that point on had not been planned because we had anticipated a lot more trouble in identifying any next of kin. Now everything was falling into place. The next question was how to proceed. I was fascinated to know where he lived so we decided to drive back via the address in Bristol. Not an easy drive but doable nonetheless. When we eventually found the house, the temptation to go and knock on the door and say hello was very strong but we had to think of the occupant and how she might feel. Given that she was very likely to be elderly, may not know of my father's past life and may not know about me, we decided on a plan of action. On returning to France, I would write a gentle letter introducing myself and requesting a meeting next time I was in England.
I'm one step closer to knowing a lot more about my father and whether I have any half brothers or sisters. It's all quite spooky.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A trip into the unknown

This morning we left for the UK. As we drove towards the airport, I had this strange sense of foreboding. Let me explain. The main purpose of this trip is to see my daughter Cara, but we are also going to do a little research into my natural father's background. You may remember that last year I established that he had died, never having known him since I was 4 years old when my parents split up, and I know little else. What I do know is that he died in or near Weston, near Bristol, which was where I was born. A trip down to Weston will hopefully help fill in some of the gaps.


With the exception of a hard landing at Luton the trip was uneventful. Cara was pleased to see us and show us her new house. Whilst she initially intended to BBQ, because of a chill wind this idea got blown out of the water, so she treated us to dinner out instead. I have to say that it feels very strange when your kids start buying you food and drink, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tell me again - you hoovered the court

Whilst April was a great month weather wise (the temperature in the second half averaged 24.8c), today, the first of May, was cloudy with some rain. The perfect weather to complete a job that I have been putting off for ages. I swept, and then vacuumed, a large section of tennis court. You see the bits from the neighbouring pine trees get stuck into the porous surface and are a devil to get out. Sweeping just doesn't shift them so it was out with the wet and dry for a good old suck. It worked, but god knows what the neighbours thought. I must have looked a real idiot. (No comment - Ed)
In between showers it was time to pack. Or, more to the point, Jan piled some clothes on the bed and asked me what I wanted. We're off to see my daughter Cara tomorrow. She has just bought a new house and rather foolishly invited us to stay. I'm sure she didn't expect us to say yes, but there you go, we accepted.
We went out to dinner tonight to Jill and Harry. They haven't been in France for a while, what with getting things ready for their daughter's wedding in June, but it was nice to see them and, more importantly, to get a good meal. Jill's a very good cook and always pushes the boat out. We started with asparagus and a foaming hollandaise sauce, then a perfectly cooked Dorade and meats from the BBQ and a choice of raspberries or lemon pudding to finish. I had both. Just excellent.