Category Archives: Uncategorized

going to hell in a handcart…

I’m not sure what that means but it seems to fit the bill at the moment. Once upon a time I could believe what I saw and heard – now I wouldn’t trust any photograph at all unless I’d taken it, because they can be doctored so easily these days with the miracle that is modern technology.

I certainly wouldn’t trust a word that was published by the press, gutter or otherwise, or on social media …and what’s with this ‘Fake News?’ Lies, Lies and more lies. Who invented that? And what’s more, why?

I don’t want to write any more because I know I shall prattle on about issues that I don’t like but can’t do anything about…

Instead, here is a photo of a Ragondin – probably a french Coypu – we sometimes see them on our evening walk. They are shy and have been seen grazing near the pond.

This one was in the river at St Pouçain on a recent wine buying foray into the Allier.

They are herbivores and I love ’em – they look a bit like an otter don’t you think?


Morning mist on a carp lake down the valley.


At nearly seventy food is one of the minor pleasures in life…OK OK so is waking up every morning and able to make my own decisions…

So for the last, but by no means the least photo, one of last summer’s salads.

For the moment I have decided it had better be photos on my blog and not ramblings.

The world as I say, seems to be going to hell in a handcart, and I don’t know what to do about it.


last friday of 2016…


This was taken earlier in December when we walked in the late afternoon up to the woods – that’s the moon…


Until this cold snap, December had been a pleasant month and we have been able to have a walk every afternoon.

This is a popular ramble for us – barrage de la Tache.

Here on the plateau above our village – maybe 1100 metres or so high, the trees often have peculiar shapes due, perhaps, to wind damage.

And coming home a little later than usual one night in december the skies were worthy of a fiery poem – pity we don’t know a poet, isn’t it?

I doubt it’ll be a walk this afternoon for this granny, since it is rather chilly at -5.5°C.

It is spectacularly pretty though, the white hoar frost like icing on a cake, twinkling in the sunshine.

It seems it should be a day for writing, a cosy loft, too cold to go out…oh if only I had a modicum of talent, inspiration, motivation. Ah well, no one is perfect,so the female Alan Bennett (we can all dream, can’t we?) will be put on the back burner for yet another day.

I wonder who decided that we’d use that phrase ‘on the back burner?’ I mean, was someone standing at the stove boiling potatoes and thought ‘I’ll put these on the back burner while I stir the gravy’ and then suddenly it became an idiom and everyone was using it to mean – well putting things off temporarily, I suppose.

There’s a challenge – how do idioms come about?

More from the ordinary life…

The weekend before Christmas we went to Avignon for two nights

There was no christmas market as we had thought there might be, but there was a procession…

We spent the saturday on the Camargue – beautiful sunshine, blue skies and 20°C.


‘Nowt special’ as we say oop north, but I am so glad to be able to do it, and having someone to do it with is, of course, paramount.

And, for the end of the year, a popular quote from Edith Lovejoy Pierce – poet and pacifist:

‘We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it’s first chapter is New Year’s Day.’ 

I wish you a healthy and contented 2017.


‘don’t let your dreams die, while you are still alive’

…that quote is by some philosopher or other called DJ Kyos. I don’t know who he is and really the quote has nothing to do with the rubbish I am about to write – but I do like it. So here goes, more wafflings from an ordinary life.

What with all the hoohaa about Brexit and no one knowing what’s going on, or what may or may not happen to Britain in the future, and the instability in the £, and whether or not I should become a french citizen, and whether or not it will stop raining before dark so I can take the dog for a walk….then really its only dreams that seem real and so he’s right, they shouldn’t be allowed to die..

And yes it is raining and so look what I achieved this morning…img_0699

A vey neat and tidy drawer.

Oh what a sad person I can hear you all shouting at my tidily placed and colour coded underwear.

My excuse is – apart from the fact that I felt like doing it and it is very therapeutic, well sort of…my excuse is – it was raining – and I haven’t got a single idea in my head for a poem or a story…I am so good at excuses – maybe I could write a book on ‘the excuses I have used for NOT writing.’

What a wonderful holiday we have just had in the UK seeing the family and friends.

Tarn Hows –  where we went to The Drunken Duck pub for lunch with a cousin, and the beach at Bridlington in the late afternoon sun, where we went for a walk with the dog.

We went to the theatre – being an expat, immigrant – call it what you will – has lots to commend it – but oh it is so wonderful to enjoy an evening of live performance. This was an excellent production of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Man who would be King.’It was good to catch up with our friends too – although we could have so easily not got there in time due to us country bumpkins not being used to the big city traffic; something called ‘The Loop,’ the left hand drive car on British roads, and just generally always being in the wrong lane.

Well worth it though, and thanks m’dear, for organising it.

And I went with one daughter to see Louden Wainwright  – so a night of live music too.

What a great time – not to mention lunch with some old work colleagues, being with  the daughters and grandchildren, and some friends I hadn’t seen for years…and oh yes, a little bit of retail therapy…

Back to the calm tranquility of the cottage, speaking french, the odd tractor passing now and then, home made parsnip soup and…


…crocheting leaves.


Because a daughter asked for some. I can crochet granny squares, only granny squares, like my mother before me – I’ve been a knitter all my life – leaves –  this is a whole new ballgame. Always up for a challenge, that’s me…if you believe that…

Its always nice to feel you might be still useful in old age – himself will be wood turning Harry Potter type wands for the very same reason – and yes we do enjoy it.

And now its Autumn


There’s plenty of bracken around here


…and does this mean its going to be a harsh winter?

My quote for this week is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe born in 1749 – another one you all probably know – but yet again, another one I like…

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture,and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.’

I’m off to read a poem – ‘The Water Mill’ by Sarah Doudney – as good a place to start as any.

I have a mind to learn it off by heart so if I ever wasn’t able to see the words I could say it to myself in my dotage.

Onwards, readers of my rubbish – there’s a poem to be read out there.





still happy…

well this old granny is still in the land of living and has survived another surgical intervention!

Out came the old, and judging by the size of the stones, defunct gallbladder!


I am a bit bruised and still a bit sore but thinking back to the other surgeries I’ve had before the invention of keyhole – this is a piece of cake!

Things are not quite so straightforward in french – my second language skills are not nearly as good as I would want them to be, but we managed.

The september weather is truly glorious, a cosy fire at night but warm enough for lunch on the terrace. The prospect of getting fit again to walk the dog down the country lanes, and to enjoy food again and leisurely lunches with friends.

What could be better?

Certainly here is one contented old lady.






My sister – I only have the one – has been to stay for three weeks.

What an excellent time we have had. Me, perhaps because of the company and the speaking English, for my husband a rest from me chunnering on at him all the time, and for her, perhaps the wall to wall sunshine – a change from the west coast of Ireland where she lives.

And for us both, a week of sun and sand and swimming in the sea down in the south of France.

And I am reminded of the quote by Christina Rossetti

‘for there is no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather;

to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray,

to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands’


As many of you know, and are bored by the fact, we had the bathroom refurbished recently.
IMG_0350and the point is?

Hmm… there is now a well lit mirror I can see into…before it was fine for himself but not for five foot two me. IMG_0579

‘It can’t be true,’ was my first thought. The face that stared out at me was all the things I never thought was happening yet!

It was so OLD looking. ‘I am really old,’ I thought, a real honest to goodness  old woman…

I find that thought a little dismal – I should be giving thanks that I managed to get here at all.

The next time I notice someone’s eyes glazing over when I am telling a tale of the ‘olden days’ and I realise I’ve said it all before, I will definitely keep quiet. Or maybe if they are younger than me I’ll bore the pants off them just for fun, and if they are older…well they won’t remember what I’ve said anyway.

Wrinkles – well I’ve always had those but the really deep lines – those little feckers just appeared overnight!

Not having wrinkles – a pome

Not having wrinkles

may enable you to look younger,

but your conversation

will give the game away

and your experiences will tell on you.


Not having wrinkles

will not help when you need

to see a doctor

and find your worst fears

have come true.


Not having wrinkles

may help you get

the younger person’s job

but your feet will ache

trying to keep dancing with the piper.


Not having wrinkles

may help your self esteem and confidence –

But what for?


Not having wrinkles

does not enable you


cheat the grim reaper.


And where did those knobbly feet come from?


At least they still keep me upright.

The thing is: no one expects a 69 year old to want to cycle miles, to walk all day or to tackle Ben Nevis or Striding edge, or to jog, or run upstairs without getting out of breath.

I write that and wonder if it’s true?

No point in giving in to old age – no point in wondering what will happen and when, no good wanting to be younger, healthier,  fitter…no good wanting to have more ahead than lies behind.

Very difficult to rationalise, isn’t it?

Unless you don’t think too much. (and maybe have the odd glass of wine and sit in the sunshine)

The black dog can so easily start growling and yapping menacingly at your heels.  The bottomless pit that is the  Slough of Despond beckons, if you are not careful.

Keep on keeping on – and think on – can you make an older person smile or be glad to be alive today?

I feel that this real world is often uncomfortable for an elderly person and unbelievably hard and possibly horrible for an old one.

My quote for this week – maybe its tongue in cheek and maybe not…

‘I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.’ the late
Herb Caen –  a gossip journalist in San Francisco

IMG_0522And donkeys in the mist on our local dog walk…

IMG_0577…and a stormy sky.


I know what to say…

…next time someone asks me what I do all day. Next time I will not be at a loss for words oh no – I will not mumble something about knitting while quickly thinking how I can change the subject…

I shall say I am working really hard at being retired.

And that is so true. I am proud of it!

After a lifetime of working at a variety of jobs, including physiotherapy, lab technician, cinema usherette, shop worker and teacher, after bringing up children, trying to be a all things to all people…friend, mother, lover, daughter, sister and  and rushing hither and thither – retirement and the art of choosing when to do something, or not, as the case may be, takes practice. As everyone who is working knows – choice doesn’t come into day to day living…

Now with no aged parents left, children grown up and lives of their own, himself and me can enjoy this time in our life – not that all the previous 39 years were anything but lovely… these final years are different and are savoured in a different way.

This week the winter wood was deliveredIMG_0565

It’s about 28°C now and it seems strange to think we will need so much wood…The changing seasons are fantastic here and quite dramatic. Once in the winter, it was down to minus 10 during the day for over a week!

And also this week I made a cake for a french friend who is recovering from having a new knee and isn’t that mobile  yet


Home made apple and quince jam (last year’s) and buttercream went in the middle – so even though it looks a bit burnt on one side, lopsided  and not terribly professional – I think it will taste OK.

And the ordinary life continues with me finding an app to make sketches from my photos and to make them look like watercolours…


and for someone who can’t draw or paint – and believe me there are numerous teachers and night school folk who will confirm that – these apps are indeed a bonus.


And for my children’s story about a teddy


I haven’t quite got the hang of this app yet… and also this teddy is drinking gin and tonic and eating crisps…


Here he is baking a cake – maybe this is slightly more in keeping for a children’s story…

So you see, this is what I can choose to do while I’m practicing retirement – lovely ain’t it?

Ah well ‘On verra’ as the french say.