Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sleeping Iguanas

The grandsons were pretending to run a café for us this evening, they kept coming back to us for more orders. They apparently served chocolate wine and sleeping iguanas, which we discovered were pina coladas.

What can I get you sir ?    

and here is your sleeping iguana madam........

Sunday, 27 May 2012


Concentration has been observed in considerable amounts here in Caunes.

                Grandchildren have been listening carefully and enjoying stories,

and learning to play draughts when the weather meant going outside was not really an option…lots of concentration was required here.

Keeping fit…or for some of us, getting fit,  was deemed to be important, and was concentrated on for a couple of days.

Then there was an amazing amount of concentration on the Huddersfield Town play off match, which they won and meant they will play in the Championship league next year. There was concentrated celebration following this result.

                   ....and some serious concentration has been given to sleeping.

Monday, 21 May 2012

In praise of bread

The  4th annual bread festival, avec pyramide de pain geante……….

                    The bakers, with their caps on their hearts, for the group photos

                                                                  Liam looking

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Strangers' portraits

In my preparation for the onslaught of 8 visitors this weekend, one of my tasks this week has been to ensure there are enough toys  for babies and toddlers, and big grown up 4 year olds to play with.

I had a successful trip to a vide grenier this morning, at nearby Rieux Minervois.
I hope the kids will enjoy "Going on a Bear Hunt" in French.

However, despite my bargains, it is the image of these pictures  that will haunt me for some time.

Who were they ? Was there no one in their family that wanted to keep these beautiful photos ? …and where will they end up ? Will someone buy them for the frames and dispose of the gorgeous images ? I nearly bought them myself, but decided starting a project of salvaging other family’s unwanted portraits would not go down well with Mark……..and we might need to buy a house with more walls.

Saturday, 12 May 2012


My daughter is now 21...or she will be on Tuesday. Her main celebration will be with friends in a club /bar /den of iniquity sort of place, in Liverpool. I will be having an airport breakfast with her, prior to my flight back to France.

So....I have a really grown up daughter.....she has always been a brilliant friend as well as a daughter. I remember thinking she would need to be about 16 before she would be a good shopping or watching rubbish on TV companion.....but she surpassed herself and has been my favourite shopping & TV friend since she was about 9 !
Jess, celebrating being 18
Finding myself pregnant ( at 36) all those years ago was a bit of a shock. I have always told Jess, she was definitely not a mistake...but she was an accident....or at least she wasn’t intentional. However, from the second I realised I was pregnant I was ecstatic. Never having considered getting pregnant, I never expected it.... but it was amazing. Luckily, Mark, already a father to 2 brilliant children (then 10 and 11, living half with us and half with their mother and her partner) was equally delighted....and we began considering how things would be different. We had intended to travel, and decided that we would continue with those plans. Jess was born 5 weeks early, but when she was only 9 weeks old, we went to Wisconsin for 3 weeks......she was a very small 9 week old baby, but coped brilliantly with the transatlantic flight.... and she has never looked back.
Jess is an adventurer, with a passion for her family and friends. She loves nothing better than getting different groups of her friends together. Next week, In France, she will be there with a young woman she shares a house with in Liverpool, who she met 2 years ago, a friend from 6th form college, from 5 years ago and a friend she met at her pre school nursery, when she was actually only 5 months old.

Jess celebrating Ireland
Jess and friends ( 2 of them coming to France with her).....just celebrating....

This is typical of her.....and I know we will have a wonderful time. It will be particularly special for her, as her sister, brother in law to be ( wedding in September), one of her nephews and her 10  week old niece will be joining us.....nothing could be better for Jess, than family and friends, together....on an adventure. Actually, the only thing that could be better would be if her boyfriend,her dad, and her brother and sister in law with their 2 boys could be with us at the same time. My husband, Mark will be in England working, while she is with that is going to be strange for me too.

The  pregnancy, 21 years ago, was a difficult one, and I spent the last 11 weeks of it in hospital with pre-eclampsia..... but the birth was normal, and we were ejected from the hospital within 3 days of her birth....both entirely fit and healthy. That was 21 years ago on Tuesday, and I can honestly say that my life since then has been thoroughly enriched, enhanced, perfected, and completed by her existence.

Happy Birthday Jess.
Jess and Freni ( friend since Nursery at 5 months old) celebrating life.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Interim, interval, interlude......

The last few days have been strange. I returned to Yorkshire in order to be here for my daughter Jess's 21st birthday. A flight schedule change means that actually I will only be here for breakfast on her birthday, and will be going back to France later in the morning.

in true Blue Peter I made earlier.....the 21st celebration cake will require candles.

So, our birthday celebration will be a breakfast muffin ( with candle) at Liverpool airport. Mark will then take her out for lunch with the rest of the family, and she will do her own thing with friends that night, in some very loud and busy club in Liverpool. I note, however, that I am required to make a cake for her to take back to Liverpool.

I have felt quite unsettled being “home” this time, knowing how much I want to get on with the garden in France, and prepare for the onslaught of visitors who will start arriving 4 days after I get back. ( This includes newly 21 year old Jess and 3 of her friends, so I'm supposing that will require another cake).

It has however, been wonderful to see the grandchildren, and....
.....we did manage a day on the canal at the weekend. Mark's sister gave him the trip as a 60th birthday present last year. So, despite the unspring like weather , we set off to master the locks on the Rochdale canal. The children loved it, as did most of the adults, most of the time, when we weren't worrying about the possibility of boys overboard.

 So, despite catching up with a few things, and seeing the children, my Yorkshire stay has seemed a bit muddled...... not really long enough to do anything but organise what comes next. That is a way of life I want to avoid. I want us to enjoy now, and not spend time planning future fun.

I look forward to being a little more settled, back in France for the rest of the summer.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Not long now

I could only find one defaced poster in Caunes, but the results from the first round suggest that Sarkozy is not as popular here as Hollande.

Voici le résultat du vote Caunois, comme pour pratiquement dans tout l' hexagone le FN augmente son potentiel, l' abstention est aussi très sensible.
Inscrits : 1165
Abstentions : 184  Votants : 981  Nuls : 21  Exprimés : 960
                                                                                                                                                      Joly : 28
                                                                                                                                                      Le pen : 197
                                                                                                                                                      Sarkozy : 185
                                                                                                                                                      Mélenchon : 125
                                                                                                                                                      Pautou : 12
                                                                                                                                                      Arthaud : 4
                                                                                                                                                      Cheminade : 2
                                                                                                                                                      Bayrou : 60
                                                                                                                                                      Dupont Aignan : 19
                                                                                                                                                      Hollande: 328

So, if the right goes for Sarkozy, and the left for Hollande.....Hollande should win, but I don't suppose its as straightforward as that. Who knows what Le pen's supporters will do.... she was talking about voting "blanc" in a speech the other day, at first I thought she meant "white"....but then realised she meant "blank".

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Apres le deluge

Not many words are required....
and yes, eventually, I will learn how to use accents with this keyboard.

First came this :

Then this:

and then......these:

and then...finally, this....