Friday, August 31, 2007

Something for the weekend, sir?

There are two things I dislike.

1 Wearing a shirt and tie and

2 Shaving

Today was a shirt and tie and a shave day. The things you do for your kids. OK, I accept there are some things you have to do and that this was one of those times. So out it comes, the shirt that will just fit round my less than sylph like neck. A very nice shirt actually but, hang on, this thing has cuffs. Jaaaaaaaaannnnnn, were are my cufflinks? She found one, hooray, but the second was nowhere to be found. So a safety pin it was. Do you know that no one mentioned it.

Wedding No 1

Yesterday was all about getting things ready, and today we had the first wedding. If you were paying attention earlier you will know what I'm talking about. I won't bore you about yesterday other than to say, amongst other jobs, that I turned up on time to get the sound system. The prat that I was hiring it from didn't show (welcome to the South of France). Oh, sorry he said, hang on there, and an hour later he turned up and we then wandered off on our less than merry way. Job done.

I was up at 07.00 this morning to give the pool a final clean, but, more importantly to check if the beer cooler was working properly. It was.


At 11.00 we all trooped down to the Mairie for the first 'official wedding. The following pictures tell the story.
No 1 ex-wife and No 1 daughter arrive at the Mairie.
Pauline and her 'best woman' Catherine arrive at the Mairie.
An unusual photo of my children together.The Happy Couple. They'll learn! No 1 Daughter, pissed as usual!My lovely mum, who, at 83 years old, made it out on her own!No 1 daughter.The very lovely and still No1, Jan.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A problem on the line

The other day we lost our phone and Internet connection. Not a massive problem in the scheme of things but, with the wedding coming up, it could have been a tad inconvenient. So I rang FT on 1013 (deestress), geddit. Realising that I wasn't French, (clever or what) the lovely lady decided to help me by speaking in English. I hung on for a while and she eventually came back and gave me the startling news, "You av a problem on ze line." The old, impatient, aggressive me would normally have said, "Thanks, but I told you that 10 minutes ago!" Anyway, I've mellowed a lot since then, and she promised a technician would sort it out, without visiting the house, the next day, and he did. Thanks FT.


It was off to Nîmes at lunchtime to pick up the 'happy' couple, and, they seemed genuinely happy. Last time I got married (OK, the only time I got married), I seem to remember that I wondered whether I was doing the right thing - before the wedding, and, for the next 26 years - (just kidding). Then I met Jan, so far so good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The ultimate mystery

We were without phones and Internet yesterday, and most of today, so I offer you a little gift.

A man on his Harley was riding along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.

The biker pulled over and said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want."

The Lord said, "Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required reaching the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind."

The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, "Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing's wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy."

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We got beer

Oooh errr! Summer is back with a vengeance. At 10.30 this morning it was 30 C on the east facing terrace and by lunchtime it hit an energy sapping 35 C on the shaded south facing terrace. My fears of cold evening weather for the wedding have now diminished because the forecast looks better.


It was as a poor start to my resolve to be more active today, because Jan forced me to have a lie-in. Bum. Having said that I made an early start at getting the beer cooler working (how important is that? - Ed). As instructed, it had been sitting undisturbed for a couple of days and the refrigeration unit had been filled with water and the beer tubes had been rinsed out. I was so excited. Look girls, I know its a boy thing, but to have your own chilled beer, on tap, as it were, was very exciting, so please indulge me (just like Jan indulges you all the time? - Ed). Anyway, by mid afternoon the water was very cold so I connected the gas and beer. I was quivering with excitement (you are so sad! - Ed). That tap hissed and fizzed, then it happened, I had beer. Beautiful cold beer. It tasted so good, and even Jan indulged in a demi-pêche.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A quiet day

Kevin and family left this morning for their drive back to blighty. Because they went back with more people (don't ask) and more wine (you don't need to ask) than they came with, it made packing the car quite tricky. Anyway, after packing a ton of luggage around Debbie in the boot, they set off. We were sad to see them go.

That's it, apart from a little shopping and a promise to myself to be more active tomorrow, we did very little else. (You have omitted to mention all the work that Jan did, you lazy sod - Ed). Excellent.
Jacqui, you will be pleased to note that I have now shaved my beard off and lost a bit of weight!

Friday, August 24, 2007

With a little help from your friends

The tennis was good this morning. William and I got ahead by three games in the first set, then the 'young uns' came at us like a steam train. They played really well and took the set 7-5. We tried really hard but couldn't stop them. Anyway, we took the second set 6-3 and regained a little pride. Great fun.


As soon as we'd finished Jan and I had to pop over to Bryan and Gill's to work on a detailed plan for the wedding breakfast on the Saturday. With 15 tables of 8 people to serve and only 5 helpers, it needs to be well organised otherwise it could turn into a shambles. B&G who have lots of experience of this kind of thing, with vastly bigger numbers, had very kindly offered to host a planning meeting. It was just as well that we did because several important items that had not been properly considered came to light. Thanks B&G.


Having to ensure a group of people get fed next Thursday, we popped into the relais to see if they would open for a party of 11. I asked Olivier two questions, the first was, would you open next week, he said no, and the second, could we eat now and he said no. It was worth a try, but it makes you think.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wadda you want on you pizza?

After getting my prescription renewed in Quissac , Kevin and I went to Sommieres to pick up the beer cooler (I told you that you'd get fed up reading about the wedding!). What a mess it was in. After its last use, the pipes had not been cleaned out and in fact were still full of beer, nor had the refrigeration unit been emptied properly. Thanks to Kevin, we managed to manhandle it into the car together with a gas cylinder and three kegs of beer. During the journey, very old beer worked itself behind the tarpaulin that we used to cover the boot, soaked into the carpet and now the car smells of rancid beer. Not nice, in fact bloody awful!


Tonight, as a sort of farewell meal, we all decamped to Nîmes and ate at our favourite pizzeria. Pizzerai Cerutti, 25, rue de l'horloge, is always busy and always fun. No matter how busy they are, they will always add tables and chairs until there is no more pavement left to occupy. Get there before 20.00 because they fill up very quickly.
Photo source:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Watch my lips

I was at the hairdresser yesterday and it slowly dawned on me that I've developed a knack of chatting to him without understanding a word of what he's saying. I achieve this by listening to the tone of what is said and nodding knowledgeably and grunting or snorting in the right place and at the right time. It's kinda spooky because, for all I know, he's asked me to marry him. I've written about these rules of engagement before and this is what I can remember:

Rule 1. When you talk about spending money, adopt a negative, lost soul, I'm a poor foreigner and I don't understand anything stance, even if you fully understand everything. Pay nothing.

Rule 2. In conversation with a male of the opposite sexual persuasion, adopt a negative, and very butch stance. Make sure that you fully understand everything he's saying. Do nothing.

Rule 3. If stopped by the police, adopt a negative, lost soul, I'm a foreigner and don't understand anything stance, but then pay the fine quickly because you could end up in jail having to adopt Rule 2.

Rule 4. In conversation with a beautiful woman, say yes and agree to everything and then worry about the consequences later. (I'm with you on that one buddy! - Ed)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not like this, like that

We'd been finding it very difficult to find large square (or round) tableclothes for the forthcoming wedding lunch (Friday 31st - you'll be sick of reading about this wedding by the time I've finished) but Jan eventually found exactly what we wanted at Casa in Nîmes. So far so good. When we got back last night, number one son and heir, pronounced that they didn't want round tables for this particular meal, but one long rectangular table. I was not a happy bunny.


Aren't women wonderful? With the wedding looming, new dresses arrive at the house by the hour and Jan has been spending an inordinate amout of time topping up her tan. I presume it has nothing to do with my 'first ex-wife' being at the wedding, or anything like that. I was chatting about this type of obsession with William the other day and it transpired that the French equivalent for a male 'six pack' is 'tablets of chocolate.' He understood when I told him that my chocolate had melted and sunk to my belt!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paella 2

Last night was 'Paella 2', the sequel. This one was hosted by the Societe de Chasse, and they were offering aperos from 18.00. "No way," said Jan, who remembered that I was flying by 20.30 when we arrived at the last one. "Let's get there for 8, because there will be no food until 9 at the earliest. It's way too much drinking time." Sensible lady, our Jan. Anyway, we got there at 8 and everyone was still at the bar. It was a different group to last time. This time it was a 'hunters' group, with many of the faces that I recognised coming from the 'huntin, shootin and fishin' fraternity. It made me wonder whether the village was splitting into 2 camps. The slightly more artistic group, who organised the last event, and this group. I'm not sure what this says about us other than we like a good time and like to support everyone.
I'm not a huge paella fan but I have to say that this one was much better than the last and I enjoyed it more, mainly because it was a much warmer evening (and I didn't end up doing the washing up!). Typically for this group, food was delivered to the table on paper plates and perversely I enjoyed this more. I'd hate it if these events stopped because for me they are an excellent way of socializing and having fun. Unfortunately the fun was directed at the English group last night because France beat England in a friendly in Marseilles and so we had to put up with a lot of banter. Excellent.


I suspect you think that I am a foul mouthed, uneducated, boorish yob from Yorkshire (yes! - Ed.), not so mes braves, I'm proud to say that I have some very bright old school friends (what's that got to do with you being a yob? - Ed). One of them, TH, who was in my class at primary school, my class at a Jesuit college in Leeds, and who is professor of microbiology at at big university teaching hospital in the UK, popped over with his wife and mother for a barbecue today. Because of his credentials, and conscious of a desire not to be sued, I cooked all the meat to perfection and they managed it back to their hotel with n'er a hint of food poisoning. It was such good fun! We chatted for hours about things surgical and microbiological, that is, until he ran out of things to say and I bored him senseless with all my medical knowledge. Sensing his discomfort, I changed the subject to football, when he appeared to relax.
As the day wore on, so did the wine. By 17.00 there were about 14 people sitting round the table (neighbours kept popping in) and my puny attempt at bringing one bottle of wine to the table at a time was proving useless. One bottle only went halfway round and I became very 'tired and confused' at this dilemma.
Lunch finished at about 18.30.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Easy to swallow

I change the desktop on my PC to reflect the seasons, or my mood. This is a very nice one, and you can get it here. In case you don't speak Spanish, right click the picture and left click 'Set as Background'.


So there we were, Bob, Chris, Kevin and I all chewing the fat at Elie's bar in Sommieres, listening to Chris' adventures as a private chef to wealthy French and English families on the CdA. Kevin happens to mention that his PR company had pitched to the Mars consumer drinks division. Normally they only deal with business PR, so this was a little unusual. Someone said, let me understand, this is a Mars drink? It tastes like a Mars bar? Bob quick as a flash came up with the perfect tag line. 'Mars, the drink. If you're just too lazy to chew'. I'm still giggling.

It's humour like this that you can't buy. It comes from a bunch of guys sitting around shooting the breeze. Excellent.


It was late afternon and time to cool down in the pool. Unless the pool temperature is about 30 C, I sqeal like a schoolgirl as I get in. Kevin, who was already in, looks at me in disgust and spits, "If you lived in Reading, you'd find this tropical. In fact there are parts of Reading that don't have tap water as hot as this!" I got the impression that he wasn't too sympathetic.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My obituary

This made me laugh.
Obituary euphemisms:

"Free spirit" - unemployable

"Vivacious" - drunk (female)

"A character" - drunk (male)

"Fun loving" - drank more than worked

"Down to earth" - born working class

"Utterly carefree" - senile

So my obituary would read:
A free spirit. A down to earth, utterly carefree, fun loving character.


A couple of days ago a small round hole appeared on the terrace and when I looked down I could see plastic drainage pipes. Oh, it's just a bit of subsidence, I thought and filled the hole with stones. Yesterday, I noticed Max sniffing at something in the same postion and blow me if it wasn't a small rabbit looking out of the hole. At first sight it appeared dead but on closer inspection you could see its nose twitching. The poor thing was stuck and it took two of us 20 minutes or so to dig it out. It had obviously made the hole the other day and was using the underground pipe as a run. Filling the hole with stones had caused it to get jammed as it came out of the hole. Bless.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A big brave girl

The vet in Quissac did a good job with Minnie's recent op and through our judicious use of t-shirts, Min (front above) has left the wound alone and it has healed nicely. This morning we popped her to the vet to have the stitches removed. She was a star, lying there quietly as the stitches were pulled. We were very proud parents!


My Italian auntie told me a long time ago that the weather in Italy deteriorates after 15th August, and I believe that there is a similar belief in France. Well, as soon as the 15th had finished, after midnight last night, it rained, and it hasn't rained for ages. Kinda spooky, n'est ce pas?


Bryan and Gill came round this afternoon to help fix wiring across the terrace so that we can string up some lighting for the wedding and discuss general wedding details. With the longest length at 11 metres, we needed to consider a little sagging (we're not talking about you are we? - Ed.) so we used fence tensioners to get it nice and tight. Bryan then fixed a tap which had been leaking since Spring. Thanks Bryan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My own Pool Maiden

I'm having a problems with the electrolysis system in the pool at the moment and it was in need of a good clean. That was today's big job. At one point Jan offered to get into the pool to scrub the sides whilst I scrubbed the deeper sections with a long brush. Kevin, who was observing this activity with a beer in his hand, from the safety of the terrace, happened to mention that he wished he had a 'pool maiden'. So Jan is now re-christened. With the exception of maiden, the name fits her perfectly.


When searching for images of pool maidens I came across the picture below. So what's the collective name for a group of pool maidens? Jan's suggestion was 'scrubbers' which may well be accurate but a little unkind.

Jacqui will be pleased that I haven't mentioned either children or animals (or food - Ed.) today.


We all need to know what Gigi got up to this week. Come on girl, spill the beans.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Found it! The best restaurant in Nîmes (besides Alexandre). 'Darling', 40 rue de la Madeleine, Nimes 0466 67 04 99, in the old part of town, is run by chef Vincent Croizard and jolly talented he is too.
The menu, either 39 or 43 euros depending on whether you have a cheese course and pudding or only one of them. The choice is from 4 starters, 6 main dishes, 3 cheese dishes (more of that later) and 4 puddings.
Bob and Lynne, who had also noticed and wanted to try the resto, and us pretty much chose the same starter. Three of us chose the Foie Gras mi-cuit au tandoori, pickels (their spelling not mine), croquant de filo, banyuls, huile d'olive. What we got was a small piece of foie gras, wrapped in a delicate thin layer of filo, with a sweet banyuls sauce and olive oil dressing. Excellent. Lynne chose sardines fraiches, tomates, gaufrette au ras el hanout (I'm surprised that Jan didn't because she like sardines) and pronounced it excellent as well.
(OK, so we realise that you've got a copy of the menu so please spare us all the details - Ed.) I'll spare you all the details (thank you - Ed.) but the following courses carried on in the same vein. The cheese course was not cheese in the regular sense but a selection of dishes made with cheese. Jan's choice was particularly interesting, Brousse de brebis en creme brulee, tym et romarin, miel de kumbawa et citron. Brebis flavoured with the above but with a crackling honey glaze. Unusual and very tasty.
A lot of the wines were local and not massively overpriced. It was Monday night and they were turning away people at the door. I have always said, 'make your offering good, open on Monday when most restaurants are shut and you can't fail'. We'll be back, highly recommended.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Have you done my plums?

At 23.00 last night, just before we were going to bed, Jan said, "Have you done my plums?" Despite being tired and emotional after an impromptu evening at the Lloyds, I tried to elicit what nuggets of wisdom my beloved was talking about. After a few minutes of highly intellectual conversation, I eventually understood that my beloved wanted to know if I'd posted her picture of the plums that we picked the other day. Well, my beloved obergrupenfuhrer, here is the picture. And damn fine plums they look too.


Kevin made up the four this morning, because Peter is still 'doing his stuff' in the Ardeche. After he had settled in, the second set went to a tiebreak. A good close set. And great fun.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So now I should have acted quicker

Since I whinged about the weather the other day, it is now warming up nicely again. In fact it has warmed up sufficiently to eat outside, so last night we cooked Cuban style lamb on the barbecue. The meal was to celebrate the arrival of our good friends the Taylors. Kevin came laden with goodies and, as he said, "Whilst it's a little unusual to bring wine to France, let's polish off this Montepulchiano D'Abruzzo with the lamb." So we did. We slept well.


Bloody hell it's hot! It's 31C in the shade and way to hot to do anything in the garden, so we didn't. Don't you just yearn for those cool, sunny days and evenings? (Is this your feeble attempt at a little irony? - Ed.)


OK, so you want a faster International response, I understand, but exactly who left your child on her own? I'm starting to feel less sympathetic. Let's get this right, you made a mistake, for which I really sympathise. I've been there and done it myself, but please don't try and shift the burden of responsibility elsewhere. A 'faster International response' would not have been necessary if you had not taken the chance in the first place!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gypsy Jazz

It's not yet the middle of August and it can be quite cold at night. For the first time this summer, I slept under a cover last night. The weather is very strange. This time last year we had the portable air con unit blasting away noisily in the bedroom. We've hardly used it this year. I suppose there's still time but something inside says not. Whilst not a problem in the scale of things the evening entertainment for the wedding, where everything has been geared to heat, it's more likely to be igloo than boogaloo.


On a similar theme, my usual habit of scrubbing the pool algae from inside the pool has been put on hold. This morning the temperature was only 23C which, by my standards, is little short of brass monkeys. Whilst it kills my back, I scrubbed from pool-side.


We've got figs and plums. I had the first two figs this morning and then Jan and I picked a whole bunch of 'wild' plums. There are just too many fruit trees in the garden (that I haven't planted)to suggest that they are all wild. There are two different figs (black and green), plums, almonds and what looks like a huge pear tree. At some stage these must have been cultivated but it feels good to consider them as 'wild.'


We have two bands playing at the wedding and today I met with Claudio della Corte who leads a Stephane Grappelli type gypsy jazz band, to show him what was entailed with his session. Rather unusually the band will play in the temple before and after the wedding ceremony and then later during cocktails at the house. They're a good band that Jan first found playing at the market in Sommieres. They comprise two guitars, double bass and violin. Click on his name to listen to a few pieces. Excellent.

The second group that will be playing, later in the evening, are Lastimelie. Listen to them here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting there

It has taken 5 years but we have just put the final bits in place to finish the garden. When we bought the house in 2002, it was practically finished, we only needed to add a kitchen terrace, but the house sat, isolated, in a field. Starting at the back and working around the house, we have got it as we wanted it, but because it usually meant big trucks passing through the garden, the front of the house has been the last to be finished.

Jean-Francis, village friend with JCB, called round this afternoon with piles of rocks that he had excavated from all around the area. He pointed lovingly at different rocks and he knew where each one had come from. He then placed them so gently, with his huge machine, around our new flower beds. This man is little short of a genius. He chose which rock to put where, put the prettiest face outwards and placed them perfectly in position. All this using the bucket on his monster machine and whilst sitting high up in his cab. It was amazing. A lovely job, thanks JF.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Soirée Festive

Late yesterday afternoon we popped to Chateau Puech Haut to buy some wine for my son's wedding on 31st August. There will in fact be two weddings. The first, the official wedding, will take place in the Mairie (left above) late on the Friday morning and this wine is for the lunch that follows. Because the Mairie only holds about 30 people, we will then have a second wedding, on 1st September, with a much bigger group of guests. This will take place in the temple (right above) next door. It's a neat solution to the problem of the small room in the Mairie and was suggested by William. He can perform the second ceremony because J&P will already be married. I hope you're paying attention.


We usually have two village gatherings in August and last night was the first. Une Soiree Festive sous les Tonnelles started at 19.30 with Les Toqués a funny act, that we unfortunately failed to see, because we popped into the Lloyds for pre-drink drinks.
The format was a little different to previous years, in that this time we were provided with plates and knives and forks, which was just as well because we had forgotten to bring ours. The paella was professionally made from a van, and the wine was not sold at cave prices. Personally, I didn't enjoy the food (but you ate it all, you pig - Ed.) and charging nearly twice as much for the wine as you can buy it direct, seemed a bit cheeky. It was also very cold, but when I went inside to warm up, I got involved in washing up. My rose coloured glasses were working well that night because, seeing a few plates in the sink, Mr Macho here charged in but hadn't counted on having to wash 130 plates, 130 cutlery sets, 130 glasses and then a whole bunch of other plates and jugs. An hour later, when my beloved and all our friends had long gone home, I staggered back, not a particularly happy bunny, but knowing that I'd get my reward at some other time and some other place.


Today, I had yet another inspiring trip to Marseille to return Luke and Lydia and then didn't do much for the rest of the day. That's more like it!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

El Guapo

I read several blogs every day and my favourite, El Guapo in DC, has just announced that he is to write no more. For me he's a legend. A very funny man, commenting on his latino life with a very keen latino eye. So many blogs are difficult to read and too way out for my taste but his was written clearly and with much affection. I will miss him. Mucho Amor EG.


Jan had another night off last night because Luke (Jan's youngest) and Lydia prepared a panang duck curry. It was excellent. There's too much good food around here!


I'm not too sure what to make about this. If I start wearing eyeliner and make-up Jan might have something to say. (Look dummy, she obviously likes fat, hairy, uncouth men, and she's got exactly what she wanted! - Ed.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Orange men from the south of France

Tim, Sue and the children left today, so we popped into Nîmes last night for a farewell dinner. The restaurant we chose was just next to the arène and inside were 20,000 people shouting, screaming and watching Jeux sans Frontiere between Nîmes and Marseille. The noise was deafening but entertaining as each team scored points over the other. It was also being shown on television in the bar so the children, who had never seen the original shows, could follow events. Yet another of the many delightful surprises that living here brings and an interesting end to the childrens holiday.
Photos: (top) - a competitor leaving the stage door and (below) getting out of his costume. Horses being exercised outside the arene (bottom).

Virtual Barber Shop (Audio...use headphones)

This is very interesting. Make sure you have your earphones correctly set to left and right and close your eyes. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Party time

Leaving the family hordes at home, Jan and I went to Gill and Bryan's for a birthday party last night. With the exception of one notable individual, whose name I even have difficulty typing, it was full of our favourite people. A really nice evening with good food. Thanks guys.


Tim cooked lunch on the barbecue today (well, to be fair Jan cooked everything but the meat and, to be even fairer, I de-boned one of the legs, and carved the meat) consisting of two de-boned legs of lamb, marinated in garlic, orange zest, cayenne pepper, oregano, orange marmalade and coca cola. Strange but true. I can't help but mention the endive with a rocquefort sauce, small roast jacket potatoes and mushrooms. A banana fudge pudding brought up the rear. A hearty winter meal in the middle of summer. Just excellent. All washed down with Vermentino from the village and a gris from Domaine de Grand Chemin.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Course Camarguaise

For the second trip of the day to Sommieres, several of us visited the arene in the late afternoon. I don't feel comfortable supporting the Spanish culture of bull fighting. But I have been to a corrida and it's difficult to defend it. At the end of the day it is the ritualised torture and death of the animal. The odds are stacked against the bull. The bull has no chance and will die.

Course camarguaise, on the other hand, is much more evenly balanced and the bull walks away, proud, unharmed but very out of breath. The choice between 'out of breath' and 'death' is much simpler. Jan, who has a sensitive nature, (except when she is pissed off with me) had initial reservations, but went with us and admitted afterwards that it was exciting and that she enjoyed it.

This article describes a course and pretty much reflects what we saw.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Please give generously, this is an International Appeal

A major flood hit Rotherham, England on Thursday evening.

News of the disaster was swiftly carried abroad by the town's 35,000 racing pigeons, as victims were seen wandering around aimlessly muttering "fookinhell" and "chuffinnorah".

The flood decimated the town, causing at least £30 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from the Great Yorkshire Show and the Dearne Valley Mining Museum were damaged beyond repair.

Three areas of historical ferret racing were disturbed, and many locals were woken well before their Giro arrived. Radio station RotherFM reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered, still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Rotherham. One resident, 15 year old mother of 3, Tracy Sharon Braithwaite said: "It was such a shock, my little Nora-Madonna came running into my bedroom crying. The twins, Trueman-Boycott and Bronte-Parkinson slept through it all. I was still shaking when I was watching Super League rugby the next morning".

Locals were determined not to be bowed, as looting, muggings and car crime carried on as normal. So far, whilst the British Red Cross has managed to ship 4000 crates of Yorkshire tea bags and several tonnes of Barnsley seam coal to the area to relieve the suffering of stricken locals, rescue workers searching through the rubble have found large quantities of personal belongings including, Rotherham United Programmes, jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos, and bone china from Pound-stretcher. Can You Help? Please respond generously to our appeal for food and clothing for the victims of this disaster.

Clothing is needed most of all, especially:
· Flat or cloth caps
· Ex NCB Donkey Jackets
· Aprons (female)
· White sports socks
· Clogs, Rockfort boots or any other product sold in Primark

Culturally sensitive food parcels are harder to put together, but your efforts will make a difference.
Microwave meals, any type of pies, tinned baked beans, dripping and cans of John Smiths or Tetley Bitter is ideal. Please do not give anything that requires peeling.

· 22p buys a biro for filling in compensation claims
· £2 buys chips, crisps and a blue fizzy drink for a family of 9
· £5 will pay for a packet of Woodbines and a lighter to calm a child's nerves

Urgently required: Tinned whippet food. Bones for Jack Russells

Please do not send tents for shelter. The sight of such posh housing will cause residents to believe they have been forcibly relocated to Sheffield.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Home sweet home

We slept late this morning. And, as I slowly entered the real world I could the hear the patter of tiny raindrops. Not exactly the best welcome for our latest visitors but, as they have just arrived from England, it probably made them feel at home.


Juedis de Nîmes is a bit of a habit for us. Throughout July and August, every Thursday night, the old part of town is given over to craft stalls and lots of live music. It's pretty samey each time but the town is buzzing and it's great to eat outside at our favourite pizza restaurant and watch the world go by. So we did.
Tim, and Sue below. Doesn't Tim look like he has something on his mind.

Jan with the delightful Jessica. There were lots more photos but I guess you get the gist.

Love hearts

Where are the 'windscreen boys' when you need them? They can usually be found mob handed working the cars at the traffic lights on the N106, at the first roundabout at the bottom of the hill, as you bypass Nîmes. This is the route that I took to Marseille yesterday. Anyway, my windshield (consideration here for our lovely American readers) was fly spattered so instead of getting into a fight and telling them to go away, today I was going to make my peace with them and get the glass cleaned. Where were they? Where's that love heart when you need it? Where are the pretty girls?

Note: the guy with the hose in the picture above should consider getting some Viagra


The 'drop off car' park just outside the MP2 airport terminal at Marseille has two areas. The first is depose minute, which to a French person means 'no camping allowed' and the other area, for really quick drop offs, is beautifully named 'Kiss and Fly'. Isn't that nice?
You can tell it's the silly season for news because of articles like this. One of my favourite reasons given for having sex was, "to change the topic of conversation." What the hell were they talking about?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Always carry Kapo in your holster

Where do wasps fit in the food chain? Does anybody like them? Well, we've got plenty here, nesting under roof tiles and in all kinds of nooks and crannies. We were fixing some bamboo screening around the pool the other day and I inadvertently disturbed a nest. Poor old Jan got stung in the process, so this morning I was out for revenge. I've tried hand grenades, mortars, and low grade nuclear weapons but Kapo wasp and hornet spray is my weapon of choice. (It's a pity it doesn't work on humans - Ed.) This stuff will knock out a wasp nest (and low flying aircraft) at 6 metres. No kidding. I've tried them all and this is the best. You can't buy it everywhere, as the blank look on the assistants faces in Leroy's and Weldoms had already proved. They sell it in drogueries and you have to find the one nearest you by checking the Kapo website. We have a particularly good droguerie in Quissac which always sells those special little awkward items that you can't find anywhere else. Recommended.


Joy, oh joy. More family arrived this afternoon, so guess who got the airport run AGAIN? Luke (Jan's youngest) and his partner Lydia arrived with EasyJet from Gatwick. It's a particularly long and boring run, to Marseilles, but hey, I'll get my reward in heaven. Having said that, I'd rather have it here, and now, thank you very much!

Safe at last

We (or rather I) spent half our time last night trying to stop Max mounting Minnie. I told him several times, "Max, my son, I understand how you might be feeling, but trying to get your leg over when Min has just been re-plumbed and re-wired, is not on! Now cool it!" He didn't seem to listen or understand.


I found this article really funny. As a meat eating man, does this mean that I am finally safe from pale skinned, greasy haired, hairy armpitted, moustached, female gypsy look-a-likes. I suppose a blow job would be totally out of the question? (You should apologise - Ed.)