Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Here's the latest 'hot' news from Wimbledon.

Bernard Madoff

In the light of Bernard Madoff getting a 150 year jail term for fraud, I said to John, "a lot of people will be disappointed because they were hoping that he'd get a life sentence."

John replied, "Yeah, it's not right, because with good behaviour he'll get parole in a hundred years."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gimme cold

Most days, the temperature is hitting 34C in the shade and is slowing us down somewhat. Dinner on the terrace until late, is the order of the day, because the evenings are much cooler by comparison. Having said that, last night Jan produced chili prawns as a starter and then penang curry. Grief, aren't we sweating enough?

Friday, June 26, 2009

They've started

Michael Jackson had a heart attack and died when he found out that Boys 2 Men was a band and not a delivery service.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Never trust a blonde

A man boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs and asked a blonde, female crew member to take care of the box for him. She took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator.

He pointedly advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for the crabs staying frozen, mentioned that he was a lawyer, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out.

Needless to say, she was annoyed by his behaviour.

Shortly before landing in New York, she used the intercom to announce to the entire cabin, "Would the lawyer who gave me the crabs in New Orleans please raise your hand?"

Not one hand went up .. So she took them home and ate them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I was a very happy bunny this afternoon (do we want to know this? - Ed) because for lunch Jan made my favourite meal of the moment - panzanella.
Knowing how you hang onto my every word, I spent quite a bit of time looking for a good recipe. Try it. Simple, quick (if you already have some roast peppers), very tasty, authentic, Italian food, to die for. Add a few capers to taste, as well!

Fete de la Musique

A few years back, in 1981 to be precise, the then minister of culture, Jack Lang, decreed that throughout France, on June 21st, its citizens should celebrated with music. In theory this has since spread to other countries, including the UK, but until I got here in France I'd never heard about it.

Anyway, last night was our village music festival. there was quite a lot organised. At 18.00, in the boules area, there was Hip Hop, 18.15 a French songs singalong, at 20.00 opera in the temple and at 21.00 (because you can never have too much of a good thing) it was back outside for another French singalong. This was all free, with all participants offering their time for free, and even a 'mouclade' offered for free.

Having said all that, it was blowing a gale outside so we decided not to go and stayed in to watched two episodes of 'The Wire'. (Bloody peasants! - Ed)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Unexpected guests

Sue and Gil, friends from Windsor, called unexpectedly whilst staying in Servian and came round for dinner last night. Excellent.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strange but true

I always find it strange to see Iranian protesters with posters in English. It's no wonder he's gone cross eyed!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Veterans tennis

As William and I get older, Milton and Peter stay young, and get better, so our tennis has now settled down to a set each. All the games are quite close and so a lot of fun. Today they won the first set 7-5 and we won the second 6-4. It was as hot as hell, every day recently has been over 30C, and I've no idea how we managed to finish the second set. We might have to start playing a bit earlier, but then you'd already realised that.

When searching for an appropriate picture for this post (old men playing tennis) I came across the one above. Much better than some wrinkly old farts, eh?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Red, red wine

One of the enduring activities in our village, and no doubt thousands of others throughout France, is the annual open air get together, under some disguise or other, where the villagers come out and party.

We were eating dinner outside on the kitchen terrace last night and the live entertainment, for the first of such events this year, over at the village hall about half a kilometre away, kicked off. Normally we attend these events but we have my son James staying with us at the moment and, as he doesn't eat meat, decided to give the event a miss. To the French around here, when you mention the word vegetarian, they look at you in disbelief and then say 'but he does eat chicken?'

Anyway, despite the distance, the band were very good. We listened to very good reproductions of classic 60s hits all in perfect English. We could have been at home (you were! - Ed). God knows how loud it must have been at the stage.

J may be vegetarian but he does like a drink (not so much a chip off the block, more like a drop out of the bucket - Ed) so we decided to open a box of Spanish wine that had been very kindly given to us by friends in Barcelona. I know the friend 'knows his stuff', so was looking forward to finding a little treasure trove. It was. Jan had made spaghetti putanesca so we were looking for a nice red and we found one. Star of the show was a Bodega Los Astrales 2005 from Ribera del Duero. A big, very meaty (sorry James), very well made, red, that was just excellent.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How healthy are you?

I recently picked a new primary care doctor.

After two visits and exhaustive Lab tests, he said I was doing "fairlywell" for my age.

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I"ll live to be 80?"

He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?"

"Oh no," I replied.. "I"m not doing drugs, either."

Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"

I said, "Not much... my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy."

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"

"No, I don"t," I said.

He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"

"No," I said.

He looked at me and said,

"Then why do you even give a shit?"

Thanks to Chris for this.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One for the boys

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New hope

I sometimes wonder why I bother to write all this rubbish (you're not the only one - Ed). And, of late, I've been struggling to write anything at all. Well, an incident today has given me a new impetus.

A few weeks ago I mentioned my new wonder drug Byetta. Today, an American lady in Houston, who is travelling to France with her seriously ill French husband, needed some information about Byetta and hopefully I have been able to assist with some information.

What a small world! Isn't the internet wonderful?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hola from Barcelona

Hola from a sunny Barcelona. We're on doting granparent duty with a visit to see Kate (and, oh yes, her parents Ben and Paula) and, whilst we're at it, savour a bit more of this lovely city.

Talking about savouring, we had a great Thai takeaway last night. I know, I know, what the hell are we doing eating Thai in Spain. Well, let me tell you, we crave good Thai food because it's impossible to find in our neck of the woods, so when Ben said that he knew a great little ma and pa type business nearby, Thai it was. Excellent.

This morning it was off to the zoo but on the way we got a message saying that we were looking at a 40 minute queue just to buy a ticket so we passed on that and decided to meet up with them at Cal Pinxo, down on the seafront, for lunch. Great food and great atmosphere. A very good choice and recommended.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A prayer

Dear God, please send clothes for all those ladies on Daddy's computer. Amen.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Apprentice

English fans of The Apprentice will find this funny. He must have spent hours editing all the programmes.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Vote for your MEP

We can vote in the European election tomorrow and, until today, I hadn't seen any literature. Along with many others I'm sure, I couldn't give a stuff about the European parliament and hadn't given it much thought. I treat it with disdain and all the MEP's who ride its gravy train.

Anyway, in our postbox today there was a piece of literature asking for support. It was on behalf of Europe Ecologie. My initial reaction was to put it in the round filing cabinet under my desk but something grabbed my attention. On the front were two photographs that I recognised. The first, and biggest, was José Bové and the second was Daniel Cohn-Bendit who I know has a home around here because I've seen him in the Saturday morning market in Sommieres.

As followers of French politics will know, JB has served time in prison for, amongst other things, burning down a MacDonalds restaurant northwest of here and for old farts like me you may remember that DC-B almost brought the then French government down by organising student riots in 1968.

So there you have it. If you thought that by voting for the ecologists, you were voting for jolly, airy-fairy, open-toed sandal wearing idealists with a flower in their hair, and a peace on earth attitude, you'd better think again.
Having said that, if you don't vote for them, they might know where you live!

Monday, June 01, 2009


I was near Quissac at 8.00 this morning to sort something out and decided to hang around to see if the pharmacy would open. Why the uncertainty, well, not only is it Monday, when most shops don't open but it's yet another public holiday. I suppose I was grasping at straws. Monday and a public holiday, no chance pal. What to do? Easy, pop down to the square, grab a coffee and buy a newspaper from the shop.
The paper shop was shut - bugger. Ah well, I got the coffee. I was the only one sitting outside, apart from the group of youngish men (everyone is youngish compared to you - Ed) at the cafe opposite who were getting tanked up on pastis in preparation for an outing somewhere. Some things are the same, the world over.