Sunday, 27 September 2020

Bake Off 2020.

The only cake I've ever baked was an Olive and Bacon Cake, and it was delicious.

Baking as a gastro-occupation has never appealed to me, but watching others compete with their baking talents has a strange appeal.

Bake Off 2020 has just begun, and luckily the programme is being repeated on Saturday afternoons (E4 1.00 pm). Perfect viewing for damp or cold afternoons.

The first episode has just taken place, and it was filled with drama. There were accidents, collapses, and a few dreadful attempts at portraiture.

Without question the most interesting challenge was the 'portrait cake'. Each contestant was asked to choose a favourite personality to depict in cake. We saw Bob Marley, Freddy Mercury, David Attenborough, Bill Bryson, and even (predictably) Marie Antoinette. All were pretty disastrous, but the programme's presenters did manage to say a few nice things about their edibility.

It's a fun TV Programme, with a weekly elimination. The culinary tasks become more exacting as the weeks pass, the contestants reduce in numbers, and the programme eventually builds to a tense finale to find the winner. 

Who would have thought that a cake baking programme would have been so popular!


Saturday, 26 September 2020

Young Boy Salutes Troops

I'm not sure quite what's going on here, but it has 'feel-good' factor.

Back to the old Routine!

Since Monday 16th March, here in France we've had our freedom severely limited; much like most of the rest of the world. 

In all those months I've hardly been more than about 20 Kms from home, and even then only once a week; or even every two weeks. I should add that we live way out in the country, and those 20 Kms are the distance to our nearest decent shops.

With a second wave of Covid now knocking at our doors, I'm getting pretty pissed off. We are all now confronted with new restrictions, to which we will naturally adhere. The weather has turned foul too, making matters seem worse.

I won't be stocking-up with bog paper, or baked beans, or pasta. Luckily we have most of what we need, and we also have plenty of dry wood in stock. We'll simply have to hunker down and hope that my local Leclerc supermarket will have a decent supply of quality Turkeys, Sprouts, and Potatoes around Dec 23nd. Christmas Day is on a Friday this year, so no weekend panic buying. I can see no further than that. 

Also, bloody Brexit has raised its nasty head again, and the uncertainly surrounding 2021 is ever present. In fact I shall do nothing, and simply hope that they don't notice that I'm still here.

So, I'm in a sort of limbo. Stuck at home, and possibly about to be booted out of France and have my simple eremitic life-style taken from me. It's crazy; I voted to 'remain', and in many ways I'm the ideal foreign resident. I import all my funds, I've never been a drain on the French social services, and I'm a law abiding citizen; which is not something one can say about all ex-pats.

I'm not happy; in fact I'm becoming bloody annoyed (internally).

Friday, 25 September 2020


It's late September, and we are only just picking our own Tomatoes.

After a disappointing start to the growing year, we are now harvesting some very large and tasty fruits from the two grafted, and very expensive, plants that Lady M purchased to replace all our diseased one's.

We have had about three Tomatoes so far, and all have been over 500 gms. They are of the 'Marmande' type; solid, with no wet mess of pips in the middle. Perfect for slicing; about half of one of these makes a good salad for two. The bushes are loaded.

I'm now wondering if I'm going to have a sudden glut. If I do, I'll do more bottling; we can never have too many jars of Ratatouille.


Thursday, 24 September 2020

"After you've gone "

I'm not normally big on Jazz; it's not something I would regularly listen to during my daily evening music hour, but I make an exception for the exceptional Joan Chamorro band.

Here we have Eva Fernandez singing, with an amazing Sax solo from genius Luigi Grasso. Rita Payés is on bone, and Joan Chamorro is joined by Andrea Motis on back-up Saxes. 

I love the way the three girls applaud Grasso's solo; they obviously have huge admiration for him. Superb.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Scrumping Pears.

My neighbour's huge Pear tree is just about 25 metres from my front door. It invariably drops hundreds of Pears each year; most of which are inedible.

Being such a tall tree, the Pears fall from a great height, leaving them either squashed or seriously bruised. The lower branches have been cut off. Finding good Pears is rare.

However, this year we seem to have been luckier. I go most mornings to see what has fallen over night, and usually manage to find several that have survived the drop. As long as they are eaten that very lunchtime, we find them OK.

I happen to like Pears very much, but hardly ever buy them. The owner of the tree never comes to collect any, so we're not depriving anyone. They're not the greatest Pears, but they come from just a few metres away; and they're FREE. The tree from which they fall is that huge one on the extreme right; just beyond the pool. A scrumper's dream. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020


All three of my children took time off to travel the world between School and University; taking anything from one to nearly three years.

None of them needed to write home for money, each working their own ways around as they went.

Of course it wasn't all work. Youngest son (sporting his beloved dreads, above) probably experienced more that the other two, but that was because he was prepared to do things on the cheap, in discomfort, and with a bunch of like-minded friends. The two older children were more discerning. 

Above shows him in Oz about to wrangle with a Crock'. It's a good thing there was a fence between them.

With the world's current problems, our children will probably be staying home for their gap years; and, sadly, they will be lesser people for it. Another unmentioned aspect of the pandemic.

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