We have two ears and one mouth…

so we should listen more than we say.” ― Zeno of Citium
I don’t know who he was but he is certainly right! How many of you have been in this situation – which one are you?

It was like some sort of talking competition. Three women sitting at a table in a small, out of the way bar, drinking coffee.

The oldest one who sat in the middle, overweight and badly wrinkled from years of smoking maybe, or years of retirement in the spanish sun, was dressed in the wrong colours for her sallow complexion and weight and nearing seventy at a guess. She became red in the face with the effort of exaggerating her stories to make the other two, younger women laugh. And they did laugh a little and so the wilder her hands gesticulated and the more dramatic her facial expressions became.

Two had children, that much was obvious as they prattled on, each anxious to let the other know whose grandchildren were the worst behaved, or the cleverest, whose children had given them the most problems during adolescence, whose marriages were the most messy, whose divorces were the most acrimonious.

Each husband’s faults were described in detail – how similar they were – was this a coincidence – after all they hardly knew each other, and health issues, they soon came into the conversation – one had had her fair share of serious problems but did she have to regale them all with such great detail?
On and on the oldest one prattled, and when she paused for breath – the second of the two took the opportunity to jump in,  and the younger woman with no children became quieter by the minute.

She was perhaps in her late fifties – lithe and well dressed – her make up was subtle and she soon stopped listening over the second coffee and let her eyes glaze over as she looked around the bar. ‘Would they never stop’ she thought – ‘the express train had certainly built up steam that morning…’

OK so maybe I’ve missed the boat for being a writer in this lifetime! Hola! But I’m still out of the coffin!


and now for something completely different…the passion flower has flowered! The winter here was the mildest for years and this is the first time it has flowered after the first and only time it did about 5 years ago. My neighbours haven’t seen anything like it! Its a good talking point – so from my friend’s garden near York to the depths of rural France, how good is that?


and we have had the internal doors stripped! Yes ten years ago we would have done them ourselves – as we did with the stairs – ye gods what a job that was – himself watching Le Tour in Yorkshire still remarks on it occasionally! More than likely they are the original doors – what stories could they tell if they could speak.

And now a poem for the letterbook for my sister:

Why tears?

Today I spent a long

time in the cupboard 

in the loft,

head banging,

head hanging low


of my life.

I read some poems,

yours mostly 

and some of mine

and the tears 

are not yet dry.

Tears not for me,

nor you

but lost

forgotten, vanished time

Tears because my

memories are fading

tears because all my

dreams are done.

variety, a bit of this and that…

We have had some friends staying, some for only a night and some for a week, and it is so pleasurable to have had ‘real’ conversations!

Apart from good English beer and the theatre, a proper conversation – one that includes humour and laughter is the thing I probably miss the most – except of course my daughters and grandchildren, but missing them goes without saying.

I can get by in French – well sort of, and its ok for the moment – but thanks to our friends from Huddersfield we had an excellent week – of talking and laughter – pity about the weather!

But oh dear so much eating and drinking is good for the soul but not the waistline – healthy eating starts tomorrow!



this is what Granny has just finished knitting.

And this is a strange wildflower in the hedgerow

IMG_0065As I said, a bit of this and that – and maybe the will to write more another time!


AIR: Part One


inspirational indeed.

Originally posted on Jess Dewes: Photography & words:

On January 30th, 2014, a woman walked into my photography studio carrying a tote bag full of oxygen tanks and jewelry. She smiled at me from under the hose that disappeared into her nostrils and I fell for her instantly.

On film, first meeting, 1/30/14.

A few months prior to the day Julie VonderHaar came to my studio for a portrait, I was invited to be part of a group photography show at a gallery called SOHA in South St. Louis, MO.  I was informed that the theme of the exhibit was simply AIR. Each photographer (8 total) was to interpret the theme however they liked and create something for the show. As a businessperson, exhibiting in shows like this is rarely lucrative, but the artist in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to stretch a bit beyond my work portfolio of baby portraits, corporate head shots, and wedding documentation.

I knew…

View original 1,388 more words

flowers, friends and family…

Don’t you just love it when people bring you flowers?Well I certainly do.


There they remain, brightening up the living room long after the friends have gone, and reminding us of a pleasant meal, good wine and excellent company.

The chocolates have long since been eaten – and enjoyed… the flowers remain. Thanks.

and as for the family…thanks to the magic of FaceTime, today we could see and chat to our two daughters and three grandchildren. And my sister, in the republic of Ireland hinted on the phone yesterday,  she may get over to see us before too long.

What an excellent start to a wet and miserable saturday – as I say flowers, family and friends – you can’t beat ‘em!

back in wifi land


The internet is back on –  thanks to himself spending a whole day either speaking to orange france or driving into town to get another live box but now everyone is at peace again.

I can’t begin to say what a big part of our lives the internet has become! All, or most of our communications with friends and family, all our banking, tax forms, sewing instructions, writing courses, parts for the 1971 MG Midget even what shall we have for tea tonight recipes, books and booking holidays and chunnel crossings to return to the uk… in fact I don’t think there is much of our life that doesn’t come into contact with the good old world wide web.

When we bought the cottage there wasn’t even a mobile phone signal…


Here’s some of our restful scenery when we took the midget for a spin on the quiet country lanes a couple of days ago.





If I could paint it would be these rooftops… but painting? Now that’s definitely something for the next life…

I am having enough trouble learning to use my sewing machine and trying to get to grips with a new laptop – and a mac is certainly different after many years of windows…




Colours, back in France and blessings

Here I am back at the cottage – it has been ages since I wrote anything for my one, or is it maybe three or four, followers to read. I have been too busy reading what everyone else writes! Maybe not totally quite true – but I have been back in the uk having a wonderful time catching up with my daughters and grandchildren. 

I was surprised at how grey I found Yorkshire this time – what a lack of colour there was. We obviously just hit on two weeks of dismal days…I am sure it never seemed so cloudy and overcast before – but needless to say it was lovely  to be back there, to see everyone and for those super shops! France could certainly learn a lot from M and S, Sainsbury and East, from Debenhams and Bobbins in Whitby – the list is endless! But I can do without the queues of traffic to get anywhere!


Here is a lovely hand made lamp we were given and here is the poem it inspired me to write

Emerald Isle

 In the corner of the room

a kindly light

from her handmade lamp

glows green, and verdant pastures

like silky traces of a different life

bathe the air.


gently forming shadows whisper

‘where are you?’

Through the hand thrown glass

there is a tang of pines

along a bleak lake shore

‘Come back’ call dark green

mountains of Connemara.


Lead on gentle light

memories of times long gone

dance in the shadows where

laden donkeys work

a seaweed strewn shore

and dolphins frolic

in the bay.


A warm westerly, heavy with rain

brings a taste of the sea

breathes a stinging spray as

deep green waves murmur

‘come home, come home

and be a child again.’


 And back at the cottage I walked the doglet round the well trod little lanes and was assailed by the brightness and the colours – 






and, almost the best of all, we were back in time to savour the wisteria at the back of the cottage.


Sometimes, you know, you just have to sit back and count your blessings – a cliché, I know, but nonetheless, important.

and another colour poem – it seems colours are playing a large part in my thinking these days…


 Blues are a souvenir of sky,

a memory of summer sun

pleasure of sea,  far off horizons

and her eyes


greens are the touch

of Connemara in the rain,

verdant grass along a shoreline

distant recollection of a lake


grey and white is the silvery

limestone, singing in the wind

of ancient crags

where wild goats run


hues that stir an old heart

with youthful joys.






death of a laptop

There’s something very sad about this old laptop on its death bed. Pretty frustrating really – in fact I have just wasted gallons of ink, 2 pieces of high quality photo paper and have come very close to hurling it down the loft stairs…

But when I think of the hours I have sat with it in front of me; usually on some waste of a time quest, or Facebook – is that not a waste of time too, I ask myself. Sometimes struggling with an online  writing course, sometimes just looking through photos, and then trying to write some more, write something, write anything, beating myself up for having all the time in the world now and not a word written….. then looking up writing competitions that I never seem to enter…and there’s a file on this machine somewhere labelled ‘possibly useful opening sentences’ and at least three unfinished novels, some childrens stories, some poems – wierd and not always wonderful, a journal of sorts – and when I think of all the hours of feeling I was actually doing something, convincing myself I was doing something constructive, then I am sad for it finally giving up the ghost.

You know, most of the time on it, I write long rambling emails to people who haven’t the time to read them, or look up knitting patterns, and of course I read other people’s blogs – how come they are more interesting than mine – aren’t they just ordinary folk too?

Actually I like being ordinary and non adventurous.

At my age being adventurous means walking up a small hill to see the view and having a second glass of wine with my dinner. Anything more smacks of a crisis and that I don’t need at all. When I was young a crisis was something to be got through; to deal with – par for the course sort of thing…they came, were sorted, and went. Now a crisis means fear, trepidation and life never being the same again – and I like things being the same – the same scenery around the cottage, the same lovely views from down the garden, the same walk with the dog in the evening sun. Oh yes give me the same any day, same friends, same loved ones…

I know everything changes – and nothing stays the same –  and all can be so different in the blink of an eye – but for a bit longer I’ll have it just as it is – please.