moths and a pet calf…


This is the Jersey Tiger moth. Isn’t he or she beautiful? The sexes look the same. It was on the Buddleia and its the only time I’ve seen one. It is a moth, but a daytime feeder.

I am amazed that my phone can take such good photos!

Unfortunately the photo of our local farmer feeding his pet calf has disappeared – something to do with me trying to remove the number plate of his van, perhaps?

And now I can’t think of any thing else to write – it’s the home for the bemused and bewildered for me at this rate.




More from the birthday year..

…and what a year it’s turning out to be. When I was approaching seventy I thought I’d fall into the Slough of Despond too easily. There’s getting old and then being old…not quite the same.

I mean, I’ve been getting old for ages now, but actually being old – that puts a whole different slant on things and seemed to me to be a little daunting.

So instead of becoming depressed I decided I’d be thankful to have  got this far by having a whole year of celebrations.

In a previous rambling I mentioned some good times in the UK in Spring – and then surprise! surprise! wasn’t I just whisked off to Venice!

I haven’t been there since the mid sixties – wow, the buildings may not have changed but the amount of tourists must have doubled ten fold.

Couldn’t afford to do this in 1965!

A real touristy ride in a gondola – Yippee!

Won’t be doing that again in this lifetime, but its one for the album – so when, more than likely I’m in the home for the bemused and bewildered someone can sit with me and say ‘oh look this is when you were in Venice!’


We sat and people watched and oh yes, did some eating and drinking, especially those red drinks called Spritz…and took the water bus and had a lovely time.

of beating panics and anxiety…

or one woman’s account of recognising what a panic attack is…

Recently I cycled 9 km in the lashing rain out on my own, on my electric bike. Now that, for a lot of you good folk out there, is nothing to write home about – or even write on a blog…but for me it is truly wonderful. ‘Out’ and ‘on my own’ – simple words indeed.

If I had broken my leg and it was mended then that would be great too, but this was an invisible break and boy was I broken.

There will be some of you  who don’t leave the house unless they are with someone, some people don’t leave the house at all. There are some who only go to the supermarket when there will not be much of a queue, and there will be some whose toxic and catastrophic thoughts take over their lives.

And it is for those people that this is written.

This is written for you, to give you hope, to say that panic attacks, and anxiety feelings can be beaten and you can conquer that overwhelming fear…but you have to recognise what they are. And don’t ask me fear of what? Sometimes it is fear of something dreadful going to happen and sometimes it’s fear of the fear itself…

It took me ten years to conquer mine.

Why? Why didn’t I go to the GP and explain, get help or take pills?

All I can say is that when you think you are surely going mad and have strange symptoms like something in your body vibrating , like eyes not seeming to be focussing correctly, like feeling you are going to collapse any minute, that something awful is going to happen but you have no idea what – you don’t tell a soul – you daren’t – you don’t want to be told you are a mad woman. I was under the impression that panic attacks gave you sweaty palms and palpitations and I never had those symptoms so I thought I was just going mad…

Help is out there. Go and explain how you feel. Don’t bottle it up like I did.

You can be in control of your thoughts. Once I knew what the enemy was it became more easy to start winning the battle.

Believe me, panic attacks don’t want to be helped – the adrenaline fuelled mess that your brain turns into likes being that way – more adrenaline is produced and more fear generated…

For any one who is suffering now – think on – it will pass – you will get back to the person you were and life will be good again. But you can’t do it on your own, and panic attacks, trouble with your ‘nerves,’ anxiety feelings – call them what you will, are nothing to be ashamed of at all and you are not going mad.

It makes me feel good to know I have eventually beaten the feelings that caused me to give up my job, and that  spoilt so many days, weekends and holidays over the past decade.

Those of you going through the battle now – don’t do it on your own, get help, time is precious.

Good luck.



back to the buzzards…

…and walking the dog on the well worn paths and empty lanes, being serenaded by crickets and enjoying the peace and tranquility of rural France.

And back from what? I hear you ask? Did you ask?

Obviously not the people who were with me – they shared it all…but for the occasional reader who might be interested…

Back from the best 70th birthday celebrations anyone could wish for. IMG_1137

Such a splendiferous cake!

It wasn’t all eating and drinking and partying and playing with grandchildren – seeing friends from far and wide and having quality time with my daughters and a full body and head massage and staying in a suite of rooms with an outdoor heated swimming pool and a hot tub – oh no that’s not the half of it…

In the olden days when we lived in Yorkshire we often visited Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve  – and we went back there on this holiday. We stood on the cliff top while the gannets plucked at the grass for their nests, nests that are precariously balanced on the cliff edge.

With the pungent odour of guano and the cries of hundreds of seabirds rising and falling on the wind it was just like being a part of their world. The gannets were at head height – what a spectacle!

As birthdays go – it couldn’t be bettered.

I am one really lucky lady – lucky to have reached seventy and lucky to have been able to celebrate this milestone  with people I care about.

It is, after all, only a number…



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.


of spanish snow…

…and spanish rain and spanish floods. Oh yes, a holiday to remember. A rented car that sat unused on the campsite for five days while under the groundsheet a lake formed.

The view down to the coast changed dramatically after a night of snow.

The words ‘stir crazy’ came to mind because after only one day of snow came 5 days of solid rain. The campsite normally so tidy, became very muddy, the toilet block always so clean and carefully looked after, became flooded and small rivers appeared everywhere where the rushing water washed away the gravel.

And then came the sun, so, not as warm as other years, but still a change of scenery and meeting up with friends is always a good time.


On the walk up to Fleix – these flowers appear like giant triffids…


Benidorm in the winter sunshine – OK so maybe I wouldn’t want to stay there – but for a day out it is such a great place – and for people watching and having a beer or a glass of wine in the sunshine  – I just love it!


Sometime later when Spring is just around the corner I might be inspired to write something interesting…but for the moment its just holiday snaps…


Thanks to whichever God or Fate  put me on this earth, and gave me this good life…  if sometimes I seem a bit ungrateful and moan now and then, I don’t mean it – I just need a little prod now and then to remember to love it enough.


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.