Monday, August 30, 2010

I've got an allergy

I have a problem with people who say that they are allergic to stuff, particularly foodstuffs. How many times have you heard someone tell you that they're allergic, when you suspect that they just don't like it. 

It's hard to argue with someone who says they're allergic but more difficult as an adult to say, 'I don't like it.' Especially when the answer to, 'have you ever tried it?, is usually, 'no.' 

With that in mind I noticed this morning in Sainsbury's a shelf of stuff with nothing in it. 'Gluten, wheat, dairy, fat and sugar free' the poster proclaimed. This stuff, whatever it was, so was so free of ingredients that it had disappeared up its own ass.

Anyway, who says that old people don't have a sense of humour. I was watching the Grand Prix this afternoon with my mother, who doesn't like motor racing, when a car spun out of control and stopped blocking half the track. Realising that it was very dangerous the driver jumped out and ran away. "Has he stopped to go for a pee?" said my aged mother mischievously.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


To my mind, mum's recovery has been amazing. Two weeks after her operation for a new knee she is walking without any aids. I found it difficult to walk home after a vasectomy! 

After talking to friends whose parents had had similar operations I thought that her recovery would be much more problematic and take months not weeks. Don't get me wrong she staggers around a bit and she has her ups and downs but she seems perfectly happy and determined to get on with life. I'm very impressed. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Way over the top

I know it's only a small thing (what exactly are you talking about? - Ed) but has anybody else noticed how hard the tyres are inflated on a hire car? I've hired more than enough cars over the years to have noticed this. To me the handling generally feels slightly 'skittish' and a bit 'unsure' in the wet (go to somewhere dry - Ed).

So, with a bit of time on my hands this week, I decided to investigate. I'm a bit anal (you don't say? - Ed) about tyre pressures and so bought a smart new pressure gauge from Sainsbury's. Don't you just love that store?

Anyway, on checking the tyres they were set at about 39 psi each. In my opinion, that's way too high, so on checking with the handbook I noticed that the tyres had two recommended settings. One setting for 'comfort' which looked about right to me and one for 'low petrol consumption'. Yeah, low petrol consumption and poor handling instant death.

Now I'm no mechanical engineer but in my opinion inflating tyres to such high pressure makes them dangerous. Words will be had with the hire company later. Still, this well known hire company was half the price of the other I tried so I don't suppose you can have everything.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The nurse

There's only so much nursemaiding you can do.

Apart from preparing sumptuous feasts for my mother (say thank you to Sainsbury's - Ed), I keep nipping out to buy little goodies to stop me from getting bored. That, and clearing mum's fridge out. She seems to think that it's a badge of honour to let food go mouldy and then save it for the pan. Me, I chuck it away.

In searching for the ingredients for a salad tonight I binned a carrier bag full of stuff including some mouldy tomatoes that mum said she'd chop up and cook. To me mould means penicillin and I prefer to get mine from the doctor. (By the way, how is your little problem now? - Ed).

Despite looking forward to it, I'd sort of forgotten what cold weather feels like and didn't pack enough warm clothes. At home one layer feels like lead, but here three layers feels a little light and that's in the sunshine. As you suffer the oppressive heat of home it's difficult to imagine how to dress at much lower temperatures. Still I've always said that it's easier to put on another layer when you're cold but there's only so much you can take off.

Harrogate made the giddying heights of 16C today with a cold wind blowing. A true summer's day, but nothing that a bit of chocolate won't sort out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I received a very nice email from ComTech services this morning offering 'hot topless Russian models for marriage.'

Whilst I think that it's very nice of them to write, I reckon that it could be a con. How do they know that they'll be topless when I marry them?

You've gotta have your wits about you nowadays.

There were no pictures supplied, which also made me suspicious and er....  disappointed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unrealistic expectations

I can't say that I'm a big fan of the kind of heat that we have at the moment. Anything less than up to your neck in the pool is uncomfortable.

37C yesterday afternoon was just a tad too hot for me.

With that in mind, a short trip to Harrogate to play nursemaid to my mum for a couple of weeks has a certain amount of appeal. The forecast temperature for Harrogate is about half of that at home and, despite the rain, I'm actually looking forward to it.

After a recent phone call mum seemed to get the ridiculous notion that I was actually going to cook. If you call getting fish and chips from The Wetherby Whaler cooking then she won't be disappointed. And, more to the point, neither will I.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

That's quick

It looks like mum is being discharged today. A week after being given a new knee. That feels kinda spooky to me. How can you give an 86 years old lady a new knee then send her home so quickly?

In France she would be sent to another hospital for at least a couple of weeks of R&R and physiotherapy.

Me, I remember having a vasectomy a few years back and wanting to stay in bed for ever. My balls were black and the size of grapefruits (whoa big boy, that's just a bit too much information - Ed). Nobody told me about that bit.

Still, the wife was happy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You look tired m'lud

Shouldn't the headline have read 'Elderly man needs afternoon nap?'

How much are they paying the journalist to write this stuff? To my mind not enough!

Anyway, who cares? Get a grip!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Moving on

It looks like we have sold our house. What a long drawn out process it has been, not made any easier by fairly useless estate agents, some very silly viewers (I want to be near the shops! - so why are you looking in a small country village?) and a stagnant (at our house price bracket) market.

We had two offers on the house and both parties approached us directly, thereby avoiding the large (30,000 euros) estate agent fees. We had no offers at all through any of the estate agents. Amazing.

Having said that, the day after we signed the compromis de vente an agent brought us a couple who wanted to make an offer. Sods law at its best.

I suppose the main problem here is that the housing market just isn't as big or as vibrant as we are used to.

Anyway, assuming that the sale goes through and at the moment that looks solid, it appears that we will be moving in October. We now have some serious thinking to do but in the meantime we have found a lovely house to rent in nearby Aigremont.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ello, ello, ello

This will cheer you up.

At long last a return to traditional policing methods.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Just under a month ago mum's operation, to give her a knew knee, was cancelled but yesterday she had it done. So the NHS has, so far, come up trumps.

What I find amazing is that when I called this afternoon she was out of bed sitting in a chair. How do they do that? Somehow it doesn't seem natural but at least she will be able to look after me when I visit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Divine intervention

The preacher had just finished his sermon when he said to the congregation, "Anyone with a special need that would like to be prayed over? If there is, make a line here at the front of the church."

Leroy thought about it and took his place in the line.

When it came to his turn the preacher said to Leroy, "And what do you want me to pray for Leroy?"

Leroy said, "Preacher, I want you to pray for help with my hearing."

The preacher put one finger in Leroy's ear, a hand on the top of his head and he then prayed and prayed and prayed. The whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes the preacher stood back and said to Leroy, "Tell me son, how is your hearing now?"

Leroy looked a little shocked and said, "Why I don't know preacher sir, my hearing ain't til next week."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


We popped into Montpellier this morning to get a couple of things and couldn't resist lunch at Entrecôte. The best steak and chips joint in the world, 'cos we've got simple tastes. By the way, I found the recipe for the sauce. It's the one with anchovies in it.

Anyway, as I'm sitting there on the tram on the way there it dawned on me that lots and lots of people were carrying phones or maybe music players in their hands. I only really noticed this because I hate carrying anything. If it doesn't go in my pocket, or Jan's bag, then it doesn't travel. But not only were they carrying these things but they were cradling them lovingly. Looking at them every two minutes. Waiting impatiently for someone to call them on their bright new shiny toy. Are these the new dummies for the masses? Their doudous.

How did these people cope before their shiny toys were invented? Maybe they were all in lunatic asylums? Looking at their hands and rocking rhythmically in the corner.

When I worked for a living (you never worked for a living - Ed) I used to carry a bloody great briefcase with everything in it. I could manage a nuclear winter with the contents of this thing. One day my boss's boss walked in with his hands in his pocket and when he needed to write something he took an old envelope out of his inside pocket.

It was my eureka moment, from that moment on I never carried my briefcase again.

I got rid of my doudou and have been doudouless ever since!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scenes you seldom see

This made me giggle. Read right to the end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A good find

This isn't going to be of interest to anyone other than someone from around here but I've found a really good tea/coffee/goodies shop in Sommieres.

Situated next to the Cave Cooperative is The MF Café, Route de Saussine, which is open from 08.00 to 18.00 every day except Sunday. Inside it's all swish modern (far too posh for the likes of us) but if you have aspirations above your station and a modicum of good taste, then this is the place for you.

When I need my afternoon sugar fix we wander down for a bit lot of what I fancy.

Tea, all 67 varieties, coffee, chocolate, ice cream and lots of little cakey things and smart little gifts. The gifts are so nice that I had to buy myself something. That's how nice they are!

They've spent a lot of money and good taste on this place so I don't expect it to last long. Get there soon, it's way too good for around here.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Be aware

Clubbers in Yorkshire have taken to injecting ecstasy directly into the mouth by syringe.

This very dangerous practice is know as 'e by gum' and should be reported immediately.

Holly Harper again

This had a ring of truth about it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hmmm, I'm not so sure

I saw this described as 'the ultimate summer hangover cure.'

Not sure if I agree with that.

Did you spot the deliberate mistake?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Not many people know that

Whilst the heat during daylight hours has been as unrelenting as ever, it has been a tad windier during the day, taking the edge off, and the temperatures at night are at worst cool. But at least I get a good nights sleep (above). That for me is pretty near perfect.

The downside is that the pool has been cooler than normal. Normally at this time of the year the pool (without any aides) would be at 27C but it's running at around 24C, cold enough for Jan to come rushing back yesterday afternoon complaining that it was too cold. See, women can be babies as well!

Me, on the other hand, I know where I stand with a pool. Anything less than 28C then I don't even want to look at it! I can't believe I'm thinking of turning the pool heating on in the middle of August.

Anyway, I'm talking to a lawyer the other day and he asked whether I had domage ouvrage insurance. 'Never heard of it,' I said. It turns out that when you have building works completed the law requires you to take out said insurance, but the trouble with this law is that there's no penalty if you don't take it out, so no one does. Incidentally, the insurance premium is about six percent of the cost of the works. I bet not many (English) people know that.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Party time

It's August, so it's party time.

We've now been out for either lunch or dinner or a party every day this month.

In the scheme of things that isn't very much but I'm already knackered and needed a good siesta this afternoon. I can't keep up!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Oh, I see what you mean

So, when I said to Jan, 'I've got a present for you in my underpants,' I wondered why she got upset.

This goes to show that you shouldn't jump to conclusions.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A new find

Friday was fun. In the morning I had a test d'effort in Nimes and, despite Dr F pointing out that I ran out of steam earlier than when I weighed a lot more, I passed with flying colours (for an old git - Ed). I seem to remember that Jim Fox said pretty much the same thing just before he went out for his last jog.

In the afternoon it was off for wine tasting with Glyn and Gill. First off we hit Domaine de l'Hortus. As we entered the cave, in the distance we could see two women talking animatedly near the tasting table. They were very friendly and agreed to a tasting. You could tell that something was wrong when we were offered the top end white before the second. Bells started to ring when at one point one of the women suggested that we add cassis to a nine euros bottle of white to make it more palatable and more alcoholic. Whilst this was going on another, younger woman entered and took over the tasting. What really made us fall about laughing was that the two original women then picked up their buckets and mops and went off to finish their cleaning duties. Excellent.

We then moved on to a new find. G&G had recently drunk a really nice white from Chateau La Clotte-Fontane which they were told was near Salinelle. We searched and searched and couldn't find the place but eventually we found a chap in Lecque who gave us proper directions. What a find. We have lived here for eight years and had no knowledge of this place. Alaine the winemaker showed us around and we tasted some excellent whites and reds all very reasonably priced. Recommended.