Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Golfers who think

Here's one for all you golfing buffs.

Having said that, thinking was never a particularly strong point, was it?

English is bad for your health

Thursday, January 29, 2009

France on strike

So France enters yet another day of strikes today. But it would be wrong to equate this to 'the English disease.' Unlike England in the 70's, there are no clear demands. Protesters are demanding government action to protect jobs and wages. As if. Whilst salaries, certainly around here, are fairly low, jobs are already well protected and social security benefits are very good. It's legally difficult to fire anybody and (I presume subject to rules) if you do get fired, you can expect the state to look after you. It's no wonder that employers are reticent to hire, that short term contracts are not unusual and that once you're fired and assuming you qualify, you're in no hurry to find a job.

This unrest is more about sabre rattling. The unions of which there are relatively few and actually not that powerful, are trying to keep government on its toes and have popular support. The cynic in me would point out that as it's Thursday a lot of people will also take tomorrow off to make for a nice long weekend. When all said and done, we're all miserable in January, there's lots of economic gloom, and there are no public holidays planned until April, and with only four planned for May. Life's tough.

Where I do have sympathy, is that the cost of living and taxes are high in France, without the salaries to match and with a huge swathe of the population employed by the state, it's difficult to see how things can change that much. They've got themselves into a bit of a mess.

With a mandatory 35 hour working week, Sarko is trying to get people to work more. Fat chance. Years of patronising, protectionist, paternalistic government have developed a quasi communist state. The population are naturally bolshy and have demanded and received more and more over the years. Who can blame them if by protesting you get what you want?

Frankly, I have never seen anything positive about a strike. To my mind everyone loses. But then maybe it's me that's wrong (it usually is - Ed). Whilst I sometimes find it frustrating, with shop closing hours and the like, the work, life balance is generally good here. Rest, relaxation and family are important. I suppose the dilema is how to square the circle. I'm not too sure about that one and I don't suppose anybody else is either.

Still, the sun's shining.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We've been with Axa for all our insurance needs since we arrived in France but the recent squeeze on our income has made me start to look around for different quotes. Thank goodness I did. The renewal for one car insurance came in at 720 euros and that's with a restriction of a maximum of 8000 kms a year. Yesterday, I got a quote from Carrefour Insurance in Nimes and they quoted, for comparable insurance, 491 euros with no mileage restriction. Grief.
This morning I got a call from Axa offering to match the price. Makes you kinda cynical doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A taste of St Leonards Road

If there's one thing that we both miss in France it's a good curry. Jan makes curry, from scratch, and it's good, but I particularly miss that authentic curry restaurant taste that is impossible to find where we live. A couple of weeks back I saw reference to curry mixes that you could buy online and we bought a few to try. Blow me but I think that they're really good. So good that if I closed my eyes I could swear that I was eating at the Viceroy on St Leonard's Road in Windsor. This place became our regular Monday night haunt after work in times past. Monday was the only day that I could pick Jan up from work and as we left her office at 18.15 the smell of curry was so enticing that we succumbed and got into the habit of having a curry every Monday evening before going home. We've maintained that habit here, usually eating any leftover weekend meats. We became such regulars that they started sending us bloody Christmas cards. Grief, my mouth is watering as I write.
Anyway, try this site. Lee will look after you and I suggest you get a few different ones in to try. So far we've tried the Goan Fish Curry and the Vegetable Jalfrezi and the next on my list is the Chicken Karahi. The medium hot is just right. They're all made in India so you can't get more authentic than that. Recommended.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Irish O'Bama

Sing along here:

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

You don't believe me, I hear you say
But Barack's as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy's daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew
He's Hawaiian he's Kenyan American too
He’s in the white house, He took his chance
Now let’s see Barack do Riverdance

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

From Kerry and cork to old Donegal
Let’s hear it for Barack from old moneygall
From the lakes if Killarney to old Connemara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From the old blarney stone to the great hill of Tara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

2008 the white house is green, their cheering in Mayo and in Skibereen.
The Irish in Kenya, and in Yokahama,
Are cheering for President Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

The Hockey Moms gone, and so is McCain
They are cheering in Texas and in Borrisokane,

In Moneygall town, the greatest of drama, for our Famous president Barack o Bama

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

The great Stephen Neill, a great man of God,
He proved that Barack was from the Auld Sod
They came by bus and they came by car, to celebrate Barack in Ollie Hayes’s Bar

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama


Hardy Drew

Ji Chou

Thanks to Craig here's something funny to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It reminds me of the time that a friend of mine wrote to Richard Branson complaining about something that happened on a Virgin flight from JFK to Heathrow. Within a week Branson phoned him personally and to quote my friend, "I was so surprised that he had phoned me that he had me eating out of his hand."

PS If you ever feel that I'm lazy, or short changing you by showing pretty Chinese pictures or saying something fatuous like Happy Chinese New Year, please let me know. I'll put your complaint in my oval, white, water filled complaints folder and reply as quickly as I can. I promise to reply personally in nothing less than twelve months or so.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Move over Burns

Robbie bloody Burns, the writer of the biggest load of rubbish ever, tries to muscle in on my birthday every year. And what's all this rubbish about Burn's Night? All the false bonhomie by English (and deep fried Mars bar munching Scottish) people over a so called poet that they have never studied or have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.

Here's part of a poem written in 1789

Expect na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth'rin Dedication,
To roose you up, an' ca' you guid,
An' sprung o' great an' noble bluid,
Because ye're surnam'd like His Grace-
Perhaps related to the race:
Then, when I'm tir'd-and sae are ye,
Wi' mony a fulsome, sinfu' lie,
Set up a face how I stop short,
For fear your modesty be hurt.

This may do-maun do, sir, wi' them wha
Maun please the great folk for a wamefou;
For me! sae laigh I need na bow,
For, Lord be thankit, I can plough;
And when I downa yoke a naig,
Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg;
Sae I shall say-an' that's nae flatt'rin-
It's just sic Poet an' sic Patron.

Inspiring isn't it? I prefer reading spam. At least you can understand most of it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


You read it here second. I nicked this from Peter over on The Languedoc Page. If you want to read the small print, click on the picture to make it bigger.

Your mate's very tall

I was just reading the BBC News site and read an article about the electricity problems in south west France. At the end of the article it asked for people who have lost their electricity to let them know by posting a comment. Doh. So I posted a sarcastic comment which hasn't appeared yet. I wonder if it will?


It's now 16.31 and the deliveryman from Boulanger, who phoned at 14.00 and said that he'd be here at 15.00, still hasn't arrived. I'm busting for a fight!
He arrived at 16.37 and fitted the machine with his mate who was a big bruiser, so I chickened out.

Time to reconsider

Never mind all that idyllic rubbish posted by over at Chez Loulou about life in the south of France. The reality is somewhat different. We were expecting delivery of a new dishwasher today and the sales lady in Boulanger promised that the deliveryman would call during the morning to confirm the time of his arrival this afternoon. He didn't call, so we were then stuck at home and unable to spend our usual Saturday morning at Elie's bar, trying to drink the place dry, with our chums.

Still, without resorting to taking photographs of the front door, or any of the vegetables in the house (OK, that's enough sniping - Ed) I cheered myself up by watching the tennis from Australia. Despite him being a miserable git and dissing all us good solid English folk, Andy Murray does play a mean game of tennis. He destroyed the world number 31 Jurgen Meltzer, in three sets, the second set to love, and gave himself an easy passage to the last sixteen. Even though he is a racist bigot and doesn't like me (not many people do - Ed), I will still follow his progress, cheer him on and support him.

Can I point out to all my golf loving friends (yes that's you Bob, Kevin, Mark and Will) that there is more wrestling, darts and ocean going sailing than golf to watch at the moment and that maybe you should reconsider your sport. (Who rattled your cage this morning? - Ed)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Love thy neighbour

Two Arabs boarded a flight out of London.

One took a window seat, and the other sat next to him in the middle seat.

Just before takeoff, an American sat down in the aisle seat.

After takeoff, the American kicked his shoes off, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, "I need to get up and get a coke."

"Don't get up," said the American, "I'm in the aisle seat, I'll get it for you."

As soon as he left, one of the Arabs picked up the American's shoe and spat in it.

When he returned with the coke, the other Arab said, "That looks good, I'd really like one, too."

Again, the American obligingly went to fetch it.

While he was gone the other Arab picked up his other shoe and spat in it.

When the American returned, they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.

As the plane was landing, the American slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.

"Why does it have to be this way?" he asked.

"How long must this go on? This fighting between our nations?

This hatred?.... This animosity?.... This spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Keep death on the roads

I love driving in Italy. I live and drive in an area of France, where the driving is quite fast but can be downright dangerous. I drive in England where it’s quick, aggressive but quite safe, in Spain where it’s very fast and safe, but you never come across anything like they drive in Italy. They’re crazy. In the space of a quick trip to the supermarket this morning we were nearly hit from the side by a crazy woman jumping the lights and whilst we waited at the lights for a left turn, against a red light, some bozo overtook us on the wrong side of the road and ignoring everything else turned left whilst cars skidded around him. You drive with your heart in your mouth but as long as you are very, very aware you can arrive safely. It takes time and effort, and if you ignore all your instincts, and watch what they do, you can have a lot of fun.

I love Italian television. It’s so bad, it’s good. Over lunch on Tuesday the TV is blazing away in the background and there’s a cooking programme on. I think they were cooking a cheese and turnip recipe (you’re a mean sod – Ed) and at a certain point the tall, willowy, beautiful hostess (with her ample breasts hanging out), the short fat cook, and some other guy all start dancing to music. At which point all the bloody audience jump up and start dancing as well. The gorgeous hostess, who has obviously never cooked a thing in her life starts to cut an onion. It was so, so funny. Excellent.

Whilst I find Italy a wonderful place, it has scenery to die for, the food is wonderful and the people are open and friendly, in many ways it can also be frustrating and incomprehensible. I wonder if it would drive me mad if I lived there? In some ways it’s a little like France. Rules appear to have evolved in a way to combat thieves or those trying to buck the system. For example we popped out to buy something at a large shop. We paid for the goods, took the receipt and then were directed to a security guard near the exit who checked the goods, tallied the goods with the receipt and then gave us a bag to put the goods in. They don’t even trust their cashiers!

Or the little old lady, way over the speed limit, hunched over the wheel of her car, sitting on my tail and flashing me as I was obviously pulling over to let her past.

Or I get to Pescara Airport, which proudly announces that it has wi-fi so that I can happily while away a couple of hours, but the shop that sells the cards that help you connect is shut and there is no way that you can buy time on line. What a stupid system and very frustrating.

However, it's still a bloody nice country.

Obama day

Apologies, we left the hotel Monday morning and I’ve been without internet since we arrived back here early Wednesday morning.

Holly and AJ have been really great company, and love this area as much as we do. It was sad to part company. After dropping them off at Bari airport, we headed up the coast to Foggia.

Foggia is my Italian home town or, to be more precise, my mother’s home town. Pia and Dino, my only aunt and uncle, were as usual so welcoming.

Needless to say, Pia had cooked up a feast. It was a feast of all our favourite dishes. For me, it was parmigiana, a lasagne of aubergine, mozzarella and a rich tomato sauce. It would almost be a vegetarian dish if the tomato sauce hadn’t been enriched by several cuts of different meats to enhance the flavour. The sauce alone takes a couple of hours to cook.

Jan on the other hand likes pizza patate, which is best described as a bake of mashed potato with mozzarella, mortadella, eggs and parmesan. That makes it sound so simple but it’s absolutely delicious.

Anyway, this morning we were watching television over breakfast and needless to say the subject of Obama came up. It’s interesting that the Italian people, like a lot of the rest of the world, have such hope and expectation of this man. I find it kind of scary. It’s great to have hope and expectation but in my view people are likely to be ultimately disappointed. He’s a man. One man. A very eloquent and intelligent man but I am personally cautious about what he can realistically achieve. Good luck to him.

For me disappointment is the difference between expectation and reality. If expectation is set too high and he can’t achieve too much then people are likely to be disappointed. We shall see.

At breakfast on Tuesday morning (keep up, I'm trying to cram several days in here) we were talking about assassination (as you do) when Pia started to rant about Berlusconi. I pointed out that he had been democratically elected twice so he must appeal to a lot of people. Pia dismissed my observation with a flick of her hand and said, “lots of politician seem to get assassinated, why not Berlusconi?”

It’s the Italian way!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


It's two in the morning and we've just got home. I've had no internet for a couple of days but I'll catch up tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trulli, deeply madly

OK, back to the travels. It was AJ's birthday Saturday and we took a trip out to Alberobello. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to a unique collection of Trulli. I can't say that they do a lot for me, because once you've seen one Trullo you've seen them all. Jan was not impressed when I said that I expected a munchkin to hang out of a window.
Anyway, it was back to Ostuni in the afternoon to add a few more kilos at Osteria Piazzetta Cattedrale. Roberto and Marilea run a lovely restaurant and the more you get to know them the more you want to be there. We also had the best wine of the trip so far, a Primitivo di Manduria 2004. A huge beast of a wine. Excellent.
Apart from the wonderful food and excellent company this resto has the only perfectly square toilet bowl that I have ever seen. All I need now is a square bum.

Bring it on

I thought that I might get a backlash from my recent cheese post but then I thought that the people who read all my rubbish are hardly likely to be the same intellectual standing of the people who read Chez Loulou.
Anyway, in order to no doubt garner a bit of sympathy about my mean posting, Lou goes and posts the whole thing on her blog. We didn't worry about copyright then did we Lou? Needless to say some of her no doubt ardent supporters decided to retaliate.
'Dear' wrote to me but decides to be anonymous, which is something I hate, not having the courage to identify him or herself, so the comment has, in my eyes, no value whatsoever.
'MitchieMole' made a few legitimate points but then adds another comment accusing me of being the 'cheese police.' Mitchie, take a look at Lou's Jan 18th post about chickens. Who's policing what here?
'Lesley' attacks my rubbish, fair enough, but then when you look at her blog she spends a lot of time attacking the writing of others. A tad two faced if you ask me Lesley.
I haven't missed the irony of people complaining about what I'd written about Chez Loulou whilst at the same time proceeding to attack the rubbish that I write. That's kinda spooky mes braves. If I wasn't starting to enjoy this so much I'd let it drop but as if to prove my original point about Lou's blog, and in the process making her supporters look a tad foolish, take a look at her piece on Jan 18th.
Post a photograph of chickens on a supermarket shelf and then proceed to insult the hundreds of thousands of people who buy it. The inference being that they are too stupid to know what they are doing and that they should be wealthy enough to buy better quality. A dumb post and food snobbery of the highest order. QED. I'm ready to debate!

Friday, January 16, 2009

La Sommita, Ostuni

We were up at the crack of dawn for a quick breakfast and for the three hour drive down to Bari. Why Bari? Holly had seen this article in the Sunday Times and had liked the sound of Puglia and had very kindly invited us along. They had taken an early Ryanair flight from Stansted and we had agreed to meet them. As we walked into the arrivals hall at Aeroporto de Bari, they walked out of customs. What a bit of good planning (and a lot of luck - Ed). All that remained was the forty minute drive down the coast to the hotel in Ostuni.
La Sommita is a fabulous hotel perched high on the top of the hill of Ostuni. This part of town is zoned for pedestrians and inhabitants only and is barred from general entry by bollards. Bollards that can be operated by certain people but not all.
AJ and I walked up the steep cobbled streets to find the hotel, realising that there was no way that we could carry the cases up the hill. No problem said the staff, get in the buggy outside, we'll take you down the hill and lead you to the carpark and then bring you and your luggage back. Excellent and a lot of fun. Before we even got to see the rooms, and deciding that we were a bit peckish, we wandered a bit further up the hill to Osteria Piazzetta Cattedrale for a quick bite and a couple of bottles of wine. Even though it was after 14.00 we were served a sumptuous feast of antipasti and starters. Roberto and his wife, who cooks, were kindness itself. This is the life.

If you think that you've got problems

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I love Italy

Wow, that was a bit of a journey. A three hour drive down to Girona, a two hour lunch at Can Xiguet Restaurant about ten minutes from the airport (we couldn't find our restaurant of choice, La Roca Petita, so stopped looking and chose this place by chance). We seem to have a knack at choosing good restos and found one that we'll definitely go back to. Over the meal we came to a montentous decision. We agreed that we prefer eating in Spanish restaurants and prefer Spanish food to French food. A bit of a problem when you live in France, not Spain. There's a simplicity to the Spanish food we've tried, which is similar to Italian, good ingredients cooked simply, with lots of taste and with no messing about.
A two hour wait at the airport then a 1.5 hour flight to the south of Italy. A ten minutes drive to our hotel Villa Immaculata, a plate of pasta and a bottle of wine and here we are at 22.50, twelve hours later. We are both so pleased to be here. The hotel was one of the few that was open in Pescara at this time of the year, so there wasn't a lot of choice, and we were the last to eat. Not that there had been many before us. The young jaunty waiter said no problem and didn't give us a menu but told us what was available. A choice from three starters and three mains. We chose carefully and with anticipation. He came back three minutes later to tell us that he was sorry but everything was off. We could have tagliatelle with either a tomato or pesto sauce. We guessed that the chef was already packing up and told the waiter to tell us to bugger off. When you're happy you see the funny side of things like this.

La Bella Italia

Last November the partner of a very good friend called to enquire if we would like to spend a couple of days with them in the south of Italy. In Ostuni to be precise. Life was good in November and we still enjoyed a decent exchange rate, so it only took a second to think about it and say yes.
That's where we're going today. We're driving down to Girona to take a late afternoon Ryanair flight to Pescara, on Italy's Adriatic coast, before travelling down to Bari for a rendezvous the next day. The chance to blog might be limited, what with all the travelling, but I'll try my best.
I'll also try my best to get my weight up even further and really piss the good doctor off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My summer hols

I went into Nimes today to meet Denis, and pay him for the wine that he let us have cheap at Christmas, and to get beaten up by my diabetes consultant because my sugar (and weight) were up and then over to Boulanger to buy a new dishwasher.
Dr J even suggested that I go to a clinic for three weeks where they would get my weight down by a few kilos. Bloody hell, I aint that fat! Anyway, I'll try my damnest first and then consider the other. I asked him if it was free, he said yes, and if Jan could go with me for free as well, and if I understood him correctly, he said yes to that as well. Think about it, a three week break all expenses paid at a health clinic. No wonder this is the best health service in the world. I'll wait until the weather gets warmer before I think about it. I wonder if they've got wi-fi? I couldn't live without my 'puter. (You're not taking this seriously - Ed)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The maze

This simplistic flow chart has been designed to help the woman on the right respond to the question 'would you like to go for a beer?'
The more complicated chart, not shown here, includes items like jewelry, hairdo and lippy.

Thanks to Ric for passing this on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I've seen the cheese

It's not easy writing a blog unless of course you are totally barmy (and there are plenty of those around) and I have always tried hard not to take the piss out of other blogs. But.
I don't really have 'the muse' at the moment and I'm finding writing anything interesting difficult (but then you always have! - Ed). Looking around for inspiration I came across this site. It's a blog from a woman that is obsessed with cheese. Yes, bloody cheese. She takes a picture of some bloody cheese or turnips and somehow thinks that it makes an interesting post. Get a load of the second one down. It's fog for christsake. And, just in case you are tempted to copy any of it she has a bloody copyright notice on the site. As if, lady!! As if!
If you stop laughing for a second and refocus you'll see that she has applied for French citizenship. If the police find her blog they'll take one look at it and fire her arse out of the country. There are already enough nutters in France without adding anymore.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And then the fight started

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed. I turned to her and said,
"Do you want to have sex?"
"No," she answered.
I then said, "Is that your final answer?"
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying "Yes."
So I said, "Can I phone a friend?"
And then the fight started....


After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security.
The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.
The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' And she processed my Social Security application. When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office.
She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten Disability, too'
And then the fight started.....


Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, grabbed the dog, and slipped quietly into the garage.
I hooked up the boat up to the truck, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, 'The weather out there is terrible.' My loving wife of 10 years replied, 'Can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?' And that's how the fight started ...


I rear-ended a car this morning. So, there we were alongside the road and slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just get soooo stressed and little things just seem funny? Yeah, well I couldn't believe it.... He was a DWARF!!! He stormed over to my car, looked up at me, and shouted, 'I AM NOT HAPPY! !!' So, I looked down at him and said, 'Well, which one are you then?'
And then the fight started.....


A woman is standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.' The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's darn near perfect.'
And then the fight started..........

Thanks to Chris for these.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Pasta al Vongole

I love pasta al vongole. And, after several months of pleading, Jan finally cooked it for me again tonight. In the past she has used palourdes but they're a bit too big and this time she used coques, which are actually cockles but close enough to clams to make no difference. Excellent. If you need a recipe look here but ignore the bit about making your own pasta, that's rubbish. Buy a good quality dry Italian pasta.
I have fond memories of Italian food. I ate a lot of it when I was young. It's my comfort food. When I'm ill and cooking for myself, or more to the point, when Jan's not well and I have to bloody well cook for myself, then I resort to something simple like pasta or rice with butter and cheese. If you live in the Arctic and don't have butter then use garlic, olive oil and a few chili flakes. Simple, tasty and filling. Bloody excellent.
Anyway, we're sitting chatting about the food when the conversation got round to zabaglione. We chatted about our early lives and in particular how, after the war, our mothers used to build us up with the odd egg or two. At one point Jan looked me up and down and in a sarcastic tone said, "your mother obviously did a good job of feeding you up!" See what I've got to put up with!

Funny Brookes cartoon from The Times

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How cruel can you be?

So we're in the car driving to the hairdresser when, out of the blue, Jan blurts out that she has investigated taking me for a trip round the Ferrari factory for my birthday. Within a nano second I'd figured that this was going to be a nice trip, by car to Italy and that we'd have to stop off somewhere else, like Bologna, a city I'd like to visit again. I nearly burst into tears at such a lovely thought.
However, no sooner had my hopes been built up when she said, but given the state of our money at the moment, (lack of and exchange rates) we can't afford it.
Bloody hell, within the space of a few seconds I'd had something really nice given and immediately taken away. Why would she do that? I was devastated.
Before I could raise a protest she said, "We could always do a trip around the Haribo museum."
This is one cruel, cruel woman, but I have to say that I thought that it was very funny. I wonder what she'll get me?


Hot off the press: Ryanair are going to start charging for emotional baggage.

Monday, January 05, 2009

In with the new

I've had it with Palm! Historically, I have never tried to remember anything. Why clog up your brain with useless bits of information? I'm a list man, I like lists, so for years I have run my life from a combination of a Palm PDA and, more recently, the Palm Desktop where I recorded everything. If I was ever asked a question about availability then I would have to look at the computer first. The Palm Desktop was the first thing that I turned to every morning. It told me what to do and what to think. It reminded me to start breathing every morning, it was my life blood. I relied on it totally. But therein lay the problem, because from time to time I opened the bloody programme and there was nothing there. Zilch, nada, niente. My life had disappeared. I didn't know what to do or what to think.
OK, whilst it wasn't a major problem because I'd got into the habit of backing up at critical times, after I'd imported the backup copy, the bloody original data reappeared. Then I had two of everything to do. Bugger.
Being an anal kind of person (also known as an asshole - Ed), this offended my precise, ordered life, so I would spend hours deleting the extraneous information.
Well not any more, that's it, we're divorced. I've switched to Google Calender. She's much younger, just as good looking, works away from home, but she's there when I need her and does exactly what I tell her to do. (That's enough - Ed) We've had one good month together, with lots of free time to tell her everything she needs to know and she's now my lifelong companion. At least until something younger and better looking comes along!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Confusing times

We were driving to Carrefour yesterday morning and, out of the blue, Jan mentioned that she liked the toilet paper that we are using at the moment. Trying not to drive into the ditch in surprise and being a bit of a toilet paper aficionado myself I agreed and said no more.
Well, what else is there to say?
So there I was wandering around the aisles looking for some goodies when Jan walks up, plonks a big package in the trolley, and informs me that we are going to try Carrefour's own brand of toilet roll. To put it mildly, I was a bit surprised, but I said nothing whilst trying to avoid destroying a huge display of kitchen rolls.
Later in the afternoon, over a cup of tea, I tried to strike up a conversation with my beloved about her volte face, after pledging her allegiance to our favourite brand of bog roll. She seemed to take it as a personal affront that I should question her buying motives. She still doesn't see me as just an inquisitive chap trying to fathom the female brain. (That's your first mistake - Ed)
Anyway, she eventually satisfied my curiosity but not without leaving me with the feeling that this was a 'discussion' that she'll bring up in twenty years time during an argument.
The moral of the story is, my brave male friends, that if your beloved tells you that she loves you as you pass the baked beans, she could easily change her mind by the time she passes the frozen peas. But then you knew that didn't you? You have been warned.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mamma Mia! the movie

The DVD of the film Mamma Mia is the biggest selling video ever in the UK and, getting swept up in all the hype, Jan got it as one of her Christmas presents.
Well, we watched it yesterday and your trusty film reviewer here was not impressed. I thought that it was pretty poor, mainly because they chose a bunch of stars, presumably to increase its trans Atlantic appeal, who can't sing and can't dance. Maybe when they were younger they could sing and dance, but now they are all too old and fat to dance appealingly (something you would understand - Ed) and fairly dire singers. Watching Meryl Streep writhing about on a roof top was not nice.
The plot was woven around the songs, which was pretty clever, and needless to say the songs are good, assuming that you like Abba. But there were one or two irritating facets about the film which irritated throughout.
First was the poor singing performance of the big name stars and second was the frantic pace of the action. Generally, the action mimicked an exaggerated live performance, something you would expect at the theatre, but that was so unnecessary in a film.
Jan, who admits to liking 'chick flicks' and who has a much higher pain threshold than me, was also disappointed. Which says a lot really.
And finally, exactly who was her father? That's something you will only understand by watching it.
If you have to see it, borrow it, don't buy it. Or, if you want to buy one cheap?

Friday, January 02, 2009

A nuclear accident?

I suppose like most villages around here, we have just received our "Bulletin Municipal D'Informations Locale," which is called L'Echo de Cantarel. Very nice it is too. It's a four page local news sheet packed with details affecting villagers, inviting us all to free drinks and cake (Gallettes des Roi) on 11th January, and other bits of useful information. Information about who is responsible for handing out flu vaccines in case of an epidemic (I guess you then get someone to inject you) and who is responsible for handing out iodine pills (comprimés d'iode) in the case of a nuclear accident. Now call me a dumb ass (you're a dumb ass - Ed) but what's this about nuclear accidents, what exactly do they know that we don't know? Will the pills stop me growing another head, or ass like Miss Chernobyl above? We need to be told!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

That's another year gone and no knighthood. What's a man got to do to get recognised around here? (Get out of bed for a start - Ed) I'm beginning to lose patience with this process!

At the very least, I hope that you have a Happy New Year.