Thursday, December 31, 2009

How uncool

Personally, I'd have kept quiet.

Declining standards

If, like me, you are disgusted at the poor standard of education nowadays then you should read this.

New Year Honours

Whilst lying in bed this morning trying to decide whether 'it' was going to be the last one of 2009, or to wait until tomorrow for the first of 2010 (if you get my drift), the television news went on about The Honours List.

They were discussing the various people who had received an honour. Some woman who had built up a lingerie empire and a few lovey actors were awarded OBEs and CBEs. So Jan asked what I thought about it and I let rip.

I think honours if used properly are a 'good thing'. I would scrap all the different minor honours like MBE and CBE etc. and have just one honour. To become a 'Sir' because you are some poncey lovey actor is a nonsense and debases the whole system. Honours should only be given if you do something over and above what is normal to your daily routine and benefits either the country or your local community. Turning up for work for many years, doing something that you are paid for and obviously enjoy, is not for me a reason to be awarded anything.

Mind you, Sir Alexander Hampshire has a nice ring to it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Now I understand

I've never been that bothered about turkey, especially at Christmas. Even though I like turkey, my consistent line has always been let's have something different, like a stir fry or Peking duck. Given that we only ever have turkey once a year I must admit that even I found my attitude a bit puzzling.

This year we had turkey. Jan, a traditionalist, likes turkey and as she's cooking the bloody thing then turkey it is.
But yesterday it all came together.

Lunch at this time of the year usually consists of a warming soup and a sandwich. So I'm sitting there waiting to stuff my face when all became clear.
Jan had made the most enormous pot of turkey soup.

Now don't get me wrong, I like turkey soup. I like all Jan's soups. But seeing the size of this witches cauldron sent a shiver down my spine. I'm going to be eating the stuff for several weeks. That was it. Having to down litres of turkey soup at this time of the year had obviously buried into my subconscious. I linked a turkey meal with weeks of turkey soup!

Bingo, another problem solved, or not.

Anyway, it cheered me up when I read yesterday that one of my heroes, Van Morrison, had had another child at the age of 64. Well done that Van the Man!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Each time I visit the diabetes consultant, he checks my weight using a no lie 'balance' scale and I keep him sweet by keeping my weight under control.

For a some time now I've questioned the accuracy of the bathroom scales I used to measure my weight. They had a tendency to read exactly the same weight week after week (they were probably at their limit - Ed) so I got an elderly set from Ikea working but they never agreed.

So which set was right? At least the weight on the ones from Ikea varied a bit so I trusted them a bit more.

With that in mind it was off to Nimes to get another set yesterday. How posh is that? A three scale bathroom (more like, how anal is that? - Ed) and bingo, today I got two of them to read the same weight. Sorted.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


As seen in the daily mash.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Oh no, not Christmas again.

This made me laugh. Happy Christmas to you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sofa guy

Says it all really.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At last, a decent ethnic meal

It's very difficult to find decent ethnic food around here. Anything like a curry or Chinese meal is so altered for local French taste that it resembles something that was dished up in England in the 70's.
At long last we've found a place that feels pretty authentic. Well at least authentic to our taste. If you like Japanese food then it's worth visiting Shogun, 38 Bvd Victor Hugo, Nimes, 0466 27 59 88. The lunch menu featured a Bento Box Shogun, which at 17.60 was excellent value. Amongst other things, sushi is included in the box and you also get a choice of either sashimi or tempura. We washed this down with a bottle of La Combe d'Arnon 2008, made by Saunier and Sanchez in 30210 Carriéres. I need a nice white for New Year's Eve so we'll be popping over there soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's all Bing Crosby's fault

There I was listening to the BBC news about problems with the cold and snow in northern France and trains getting stuck in the channel tunnel, when they moved to a similar piece about snow problems in England. That made me think about my mother and how she would slavishly try to get to church this morning despite all the warnings about making unnecessary journeys.
Anyway, the weatherman then mentioned a white Christmas. A white bloody Christmas! England gets six inches of snow and comes to a grinding halt. Who the hell wants a white Christmas? What is this continual fetish about wanting a white Christmas.
It was alright for Bing Crosby sitting in his centrally heated studio warbling on about some mythical, fairy tale snow covered setting. What about the reality. I blame Bing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Pogues again.

After my previous post I happened to read this. Then, back in the Christmas spirit, this.

Christmas greetings

Reading this today reminded me that I need to send you a Christmas greeting. So here it is, my very favourite Christmas song.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Idle hands

I was lost this morning. As part of a planned outage (they're burying the overhead cables in the village) we had no electricity for three hours this morning. I didn't know what to do with myself.

When I get bored I usually read the news on-line or some such but this morning I've even had to write this rubbish by hand. How uncool is that? I don't normally do retro!

It's funny how much you depend on electricity and how much you miss it when it's not there. Whilst my beloved finds lots of things to do (they're funny like that aren't they boys?), she's not very sympathetic when I sit and whinge!

One day, I'll find lots of things to do, but easy does it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grandma Moses

Funny how these things work out.

All of a sudden I'm a pimp. Or, to be more precise, the agent for an artist.
For several years now Jan has dabbled in art. She religiously attends an art class each Monday and, without doubt, she has improved. She still needs to remember that a face has only two eyes, but that never caused Picasso any problems did it?

Anyway, we're at the BritNimes Christmas lunch today and, along with others, she agreed to bring some paintings to exhibit.

Well, blow me down, but an orthopaedic surgeon from Nimes offered to buy one of her paintings. He liked it so much he wanted it for his consulting rooms. If he'd worked at a lunatic asylum then I'd have understood, but no, this was an intelligent bone doctor.

From now on all communication with Jan has to be through me, I handle all her PR and I'm even thinking of offering my services to Tiger Woods. But then, what does he know about painting?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Now there's a thought

This news item caught my eye. Basically the government will give you money if you trade in your old boiler.

Now all I have to do is persuade Jan!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I see that Tiger Woods' wife has been installed as the favourite to top the USPGA money list next year.

France Telecom - Orange

From time to time I rant on about about poor service and French bureaucracy, well let me tell you about my latest personal experience. This one concerns France Telecom or their subsidiary Orange to be more precise.

Earlier this year I had offered to help a friend install broadband at his house. On 23rd September he received a letter confirming his request together with the contracts which were duly signed and returned. Shortly after this he received his Livebox (modem router) with detailed instructions regarding installation. However I couldn't install it because I needed the installation user-name and password. Remember that this was at the end of September.

I then allowed a few weeks for their technicians to do their bits at the local exchange and then rang them up to find out what had happened to the final bits of information, allowing me to connect the Livebox to the Internet.

Despite their earlier written assurances that all this would be completed within four weeks I started a regular phone schedule to chase them up. Each time the person I spoke to was helpful and even slowed down so that I could comprehend the technical jargon a bit more easily.

Whilst Jan would probably disagree, I have a pretty long fuse. When dealing with large incompetent organisations my tactic has always been to be pleasant but persistent, record all conversations and generally give them the rope to hang themselves. Remember, they are toiling under the strain of a 35 hour work week!

The information that I needed was supposed to be contained in the written confirmation that the contract had been accepted and what I needed to do to get on-line. Presumably just standard procedure. Bear in mind that we are now into December, after several weeks promising that they would send me this information by post and that it couldn't come any other way. It was yesterday, two and a half months after the contract had been returned, that I finally managed to get hold of someone who gave me the information over the phone.

What a shambles. What gross incompetence. What a way to run a business.

Ah well, at least it's sunny outside!

Having said that, what happens when the sun stops shining?

Monday, December 07, 2009

A sad travel tale

A cruise in the South Pacific goes all wrong, the ship sinks and there are only three survivors; Jim, Tom and Susie.

They managed to swim to a small island and lived there for a few years doing what’s natural for men and women to do.

After several years of casual sex, Susie started to feel terrible about what she was doing. She felt that having sex with both Jim and Tom was immoral and she felt so bad that she killed herself.

Jim and Tom were distraught but, very slowly, came to terms with her death.

After a while resistance to nature’s urges waned and the inevitable happened.

After a couple of years Jim and Tom also started to feel bad about what they were doing, so you know what they did?

They buried Susie!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Think twice about living in France

The most negative aspect of living in France, for me, is the sheer ignorance, bloody mindedness and stupidity of its drivers. When we first arrived, it was vaguely amusing. Ah, the French, we used to say. Aren't they silly?

Well now that general amusement has worn just a tad thin. Take today. Today was bad, very bad.

We were on our way to an appointment in Nimes when we found a lorry completely blocking a very narrow road. At the most convenience to themselves, they were using the lorry to dig a hole at the side of the road. Bugger the rest of you we don't use shovels any more (how else could they get their job done in a 35 hour work week?) It was too narrow to turn around so it meant a significant journey in reverse to find an alternative route. No sorry or apologies from the workmen, just the usual shrug of the shoulders. Bastards.

Incident number two occurred outside the main entrance to the hospital in Nimes. This is a drop only zone. The driver of a car (ambulance taxi) left the vehicle and went into the hospital. Ten minutes later he was nowhere to be seen completely blocking the road and with no chance of getting past him. In the end several of us had to reverse a considerable distance down a narrow one way drive to retrace our steps and leave the way we had come in. The inconsiderate bastard.

The third and most dangerous incident was as we turned left onto a major road only to be nearly wiped out by some idiot overtaking on a blind bend. The stupid bastard.

On the drive back home I was in the mood to kill the next stupid, inconsiderate French bastard that I came across. Fucking ignorant pigs.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Time on your hands?

If you fancy a bit of fun try this. Post your name in the box and see what anagram comes up. My mother's is - sharp mad whine!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The latest blockbuster film

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hydrant.

Thanks to Kevin for this.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Can't find your book?

Thanks to Robin for this.