Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Jan and I agree on most things. I suppose that's all part of the attraction, living together and harmony process, but we struggle when it comes to shoes. She likes quite a lot of what I suggest but I really struggle with her suggestions. She likes shoes like these, but to wear them successfully you have to have a beard and vote LibDem. Me I like much more macho stuff, more like the ones above. Anyway, we were in a shoe shop in Nimes the other day and for the first time ever she suggested a pair of shoes that I liked. Bingo! I've got them on.

Still, there's one thing that we always agree on and that's where to eat. Aux Plaisirs des Halles is tucked away, in a side street, close to the indoor market. In fine weather you eat outside in a small but attractive courtyard and we have never been disappointed with the lunch menu. Aux Plaisirs des Halles, 4 rue Littre, Nimes, 0466 360102. Recommended.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brain teaser

Kevin poses the question, "is innuendo the Italian for a suppository?"

Call a doctor

There was an interesting item about first aid this morning on television and I said to Jan "what would you do if I stopped breathing?"
Quick as a flash she said, "loosen the grip around your neck!"

Saturday, September 27, 2008


For all you dog lovers, I recommend this touching tribute, written by Bob, in memory of Benson, a dog that I am proud to say I knew.

The quote of the year

Judge to prostitute: "So when did you realise that you were raped?"

Prostitute, wiping away tears: "When the cheque bounced."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No thanks

If this is an advert for sex, drugs and rock and roll, I'll stick to cocoa.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eat your heart out

Out with Bryan today doing boys things and, despite this article about French restaurants, we had lunch again at Brasserie Le Farigoule in Sommieres. This restaurant is trying very hard to improve the quality of the traditional lunchtime menu and I really hope they succeed.

Take for example the lunch that's offered at our local relais. The food is cheap, tasty and enjoyable but the menu hasn't really changed in the six years that we've been here. We would go more often if we didn't have a very good idea of what was likely to be on the menu. That doesn't say we don't go, we might just go more often. Despite the fact that it's much further away I prefer to eat at Le Farigoule.

The above article hints at French arrogance (no surprise there then) with customers being castigated because they decide what they want to eat in defiance of the restauranteur. Amazing!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birthday girl

It's Minnies birthday today. She's three years old.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jumping a red light in Italy

This could only happen in Italy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ready, smile!


Recently returned from the front line, where she was embedded with other intrepid correspondents, Carolina filed the above story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blow your house down

One of the biggest mistakes you can make regarding the weather around here is to ignore the strength of the wind. Last summer we covered the poolside fence with bamboo to dress it up a bit. We don't get that much wind but the bamboo created a sufficient wind barrier that with one strong gust it ripped the steel fence from its moorings and brought the fence down.
Anyway, last Friday, whilst fixing the fence using heavy duty electrical equipment, Abderrahman blew a fuse (or something) in the pool house. Bum, even though we are not likely to use the pool again this summer it still needs to turn over until I cover it for the winter. A few days without disinfecting and the algae will come back and I've got a much bigger job on.

I made a call to electrician A late Friday afternoon and, needless to say, he hadn't called back by Monday afternoon. Another call to electrician B, Pierrot, late Monday, got him here first thing this morning, Tuesday, and he had it fixed within minutes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back to winning ways

After a very long layoff, a Frenchman, a Czech, a German and an Englishman, William, Peter, Milton and I got back to playing some tennis again.

Doubles is hardly strenuous exercise, so that fact that I got a bit of a sweat up is an indications of how unfit I've become (were you ever fit? - Ed).

Still, after an early scare, William and I got back into our winning ways with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Being adoring grandparents

Paula, Ben and the delightful Kate have been here for the last few days.

Yesterday we popped to the market in Sommieres and, despite B&P eating a dozen humongous oysters, enjoyed a great picnic lunch at Elies's bar. I thought that there's supposed to be a shortage of oysters in France. These were the biggest that I've ever seen at the market and still so cheap. Each to his own I say.

After a long lazy lunch today they set off for the trip back to Barcelona. We will miss them all and are already planning to see them again soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I know I'm never going to understand women.

I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root, and still be afraid of spiders.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Carpenter bee

It looks like this. A carpenter bee.

Monsters of the hive

We've got this small blue bush or, to be more precise, a small bush with blue flowers, that has been covered with huge black bees for the last few days. These bees are monsters. They're totally black and about 3 to 4 centimeters long. I suggest you don't mention that you don't like their honey!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Off with his head

So the Poet Laureate thinks writing poetry for the Royal Family is a 'thankless task'. Well, I've written a poem for him.

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Mister Andrew Motion

I've got a new job for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Confused and disappointed

And there I was thinking that the big bang experiment was something completely different.
The Daily Mash has an interesting article that explains it all very clearly.

Stop press

To prove that she is at the cutting edge of current affairs, Carolina sent me this article. Thanks Caro, great fun.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fiat lux

Talking about cold dark nights, click here if you want to see the light.

Cold nights

Grief, I woke up feeling cold this morning. It's only 8th September, so please don't say that autumn has arrived already. The days are warm and sunny but the evenings are definitely a bit cooler. Having said that, the first instalment of winter wood has arrived and I can't wait to start the fire. Stupid I know but the new insert means that we can have cosy fires, without your eyes streaming and without choking to death, much earlier this year. Bliss!

Tell someone you love them

It's quiet this morning and, other than an article on Murray beating Nadal in the US semis, there's nothing to read. It's so quiet that when I received an email from John Lewis, telling me about their new autumn flower range, I opened it to see what that they had to say.

If you're bored as well and, just in case you're interested, click here.

Linguistic challenge


1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon


1. Specificity
2. Anti-constitutionalistically
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
4. Transubstantiate


1. No thanks, I'm married.
2. Nope, no more booze for me!
3. Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4. A Big Mac? No thanks, I'm not hungry.
5. Good evening, officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight?
6. Oh, I couldn't! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
7. I'm not interested in fighting you.
8. Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance, I have no coordination. I'd hate to look like a fool!
9. I must be going home now, as I have to work in the morning.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Personality traits

If you believe in this research you can learn a bit about yourself.

I must admit to being partial to soul music and blues. This makes me a personality with high self esteem, and that I'm also creative, hardworking, gentle and at ease (you knew that already, didn't you?). Having said that, most of the personality traits were actually very similar.

I wonder how much money they spent on this research?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Credit Agricole

How many times have you been told never to reply to emails purporting to come from your bank, asking for personal information. Well, this morning we each received an email from Credit Agricole Languedoc, asking us to send them proof of our identity (we've only been with them for 6 years) and proof of residence. We were also asked to click on two different links within the email to download stuff.

Needless to say I thought that it was a phishing attack but because it looked so kosher I emailed my contact at the bank. She replied saying that the email was legitimate. What a bunch of idiots. How unprofessional. Is it any wonder that this bank has lost billions recently?

Thursday, September 04, 2008


These television and radio show, questions and answers, come courtesy of Craig. My favourite is the question about Dallas

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester .

Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm.
White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're...?
Contestant: Strong.
White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis.
White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy ?
Contestant: France
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris .

Anne Robinson:- Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what:- Prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

DJ Mark: For Pounds 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM ( Bristol )
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

Presenter: What is the name of the long- running TV comedy show about pensioners: Last Of The .?
Caller: Mohicans.

Phil: What's 11 squared?
Contestant: I don't know.
Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?

Q: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
A: Forrest Gump.

Leslie: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er .
Leslie: He makes bread .
Contestant: Er . ..
Leslie: He makes cakes .
Contestant: Kipling Street ?

Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain .

Question: What is the world's largest continent?
Contestant: The Pacific

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta?

O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... er...
... er... three?

Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna ?
Caller: Japan
Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er .. Mexico ?

Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (after long pause): Fourteen days.

Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland ?
Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland ? Ireland ?
Denham (helpfully): It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?
Contestant: No.

Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er . .. .
Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . .
Contestant: (Silence)
Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . .
Contestant: Walked?

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?
Contestant: Jewish.
Presenter: That's close enough.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

But I've spent the money

I made it. Elie finally gave me the bill for the beer that we had at my son's wedding, one year ago. Do you think that I should make him wait for a year for payment?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


When we were in the UK last week we did a little shopping. Or, more to the point, Jan did a little shopping. I like shopping, but Jan likes shopping more! So much so that we acquired 22 Kilograms of excess baggage for the return trip. Now, I don't know how much you know about Ryanair and their excess baggage charges but if my memory served me right they would charge us £12 per Kilo. A cool £264 for excess baggage and that was going to make all her little bargains a tad more expensive.

What to do? Well, we checked out the nearest Mail Boxes etc., to where we eventually stayed, asked them to pack it all in a box and send it to us in France. They were really helpful and friendly, and promised not to snigger at, or look at any of Jan's underwear. The cost, a slightly more respectable £80 but still a lot of money.

Anyway, the box arrived today and I could hardly lift it. It was like Christmas. Jan rooted around in the box and found my magazine (750 grams), my new mouse mat (100 grams) and the car tidy that my mother bought for me (150 grams). Now I'm no mathematicians but I reckon that my little lot comes to about a kilo, something that I could have squeezed into my carry on and hoped for the best. And the rest?

Monday, September 01, 2008

The bottle of wine

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.

As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride.

With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.

Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

'What in bag?' asked the old woman.

Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, 'It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.'

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said:

'Good trade.'