Thursday, 22 August 2019

Fruit season 2019.


One minute you're worrying about if there'll be any fruit; the next you're overwhelmed.


We have a very good crop of Peaches,


an even better crop of Jonagold Apples,


plenty of Reinette Apples,


a reasonable crop of Plums,


and lots of Grapes.

We also have a healthy amount of Pears, Figs, Quinces, Bramleys, and Nectarines; as well as just one inedible Pomegranate.



Wednesday, 21 August 2019

So, boys, what did you do on your holidays?



It was the last night for the Aussie contingent. They were off to Barcelona in the morning.

We'd thrown a few snags on the barbie, retreated to Dangerous Fun and lit the Fire Pit, and scared the pants off the natives with a few fireworks; then the bloody rain started, it poured, and the Marshmallows remained un-toasted.

We all ran back to the house, ate some early Birthday Cake, then all four of the older boys took refuge in the sitting room and exercised their thumbs. The two smaller cousins (out of sight) watched cartoons on TV, whilst Billy ignored everyone. A great evening was had by all.

The London contingent head for the airport later today. Wills, Boo Boo, and the cherub have decided to stay.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The (Peyrot) Ashes 2019.


                        

It was a beautiful afternoon on 'The Rectangle', as the crowd gathered to witness yet another mammoth battle between England and Australia, in their continuing struggle for The Peyrot Ashes.

England opened the batting, and made a magnificent score of 70 runs for 1 wicket. Australia replied with a slightly disappointing 3 runs; all out. England won the match handsomely.


When The (Peyrot) Ashes will again be up for grabs, we are not sure, but the trophy will be kept here until another fixture can be arranged. 

In the meantime, well played both teams; if only England's adult team could summon the same spirit.


Monday, 19 August 2019

England For Sale.



So, Turkey's Military Pension Fund has bought British Steel; what a wonderful bloody state of affairs!

What's next I wonder? Will Knightsbridge be sold to the Chinese, Buckingham Palace to the Russians, and GCHQ to N Korea?

Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me to see that The City was sold to Matron Markle, Scotland was sold to Trump, Wales sold to Tom Jones, and Essex sold to a consortium of David Beckham, Katie Price, and Ed Sheeran. I am personally thinking of making an offer for Surrey and Sussex (as a job lot).

When the rest of England comes up for sale, please be sure to let me know; I might still have a couple of quid left.


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Mrs Pins.



Mrs Pins is my daughter Tenpin's bear. She has two baby bears (one bottom left), and as tradition insists; just one eye. She was a present from my mother. 

Of my three children's own personal bears (Bryn, Harry, and Mrs Pins) she has to be my favourite. I've not painted either Bryn or Harry, but Harry does have his own passport (below)


I like bears. They are usually a child's first real possession, and as such are treasured.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Danger looming.



Someone once said 'it's not the name of your political party that counts, but what is right for your country'; and I couldn't agree more.

With most UK political parties in turmoil, our allegiances need to be towards policy rather than the colour of rosette we used to (or still do) wear.

I have always been a 'middle-of-the-road' Conservative voter; neither blindly agreeing with every Tory policy, nor rejecting sensible ideas from the otherwise crazy left. Of course I've always actually voted Conservative, but that was more from fear of the loony alternatives; I'm no luddite; we've all seen what damage they can do.

So, with UK politics (or more the political system) in such a mess, it's difficult to know what one would do in the face of a sudden General Election. Luckily (?) I no longer qualify for a postal vote, but I think I would have abstained anyway.

Dear Caroline (greenie) Lucas has suggested that the country be run by an all female cabinet made up of inter-party MP's; but she was always crazy. One of the more radical of Corbyn's Marxist comrades has suggested going to see The Queen and demanding that The Socialists take over; start building those barricades lads. The schoolgirl leader of the Lib-Dims wants another referendum. And Boris has promised to lock-up more criminals, and ban the use of drugs in prison. Yup; everything is reasonably normal for 'The Silly Season'.

Personally I'd like to sack the whole bloody lot of them, and start again from scratch.

Meanwhile Brexit still looms.


Friday, 16 August 2019

The Holiday Business.

                                                   

From what I've seen, most people in the UK who move from town to country, are looking for a property with 'letting potential'. They not only want a home, but an easy stay-at-home income as well.

Many years ago I was at a party when a total stranger asked me 'when do your lets begin?'. When I realised what he meant, I explained to him that I wasn't in the house-letting business. He seemed amazed that any Brit' living in France didn't augment their income by letting holiday accommodation. He obviously needed the money.

Very few would turn down a little extra income, but when you move to the countryside for peace and quiet, only to import tourists, it rather defeats the purpose. When you find that your surrounding neighbours are doing the same, it becomes worrying.

The S W of France has been popular with British holidaymakers for the past 40 years or so, but this year with Brexit looming I've noticed a distinct lack of GB registered cars on the roads. I fear that many of the Brit' owned cash-cow Gites will soon remain empty; unless they specifically aim for the Dutch market, and are prepared to fork-out for 'expensive management services'.

When we moved to our tiny hamlet, we had just two very quiet neighbours. They were 'cultured' people who loved the peace, quiet, and cleanliness of their surroundings as much as we did, and we got on extremely well. These days things are very different and next summer, if the shipping container 'holiday village' is up and running, there could be about 35 holidaymakers, and roughly the same amount of residents all crammed into our tiny settlement. For someone who really treasured his solitude, it could prove to be a bit over-populated. I'm already encountering strangers in unusual places.

I know it's an old chestnut, but 'the good old days' definitely were 'good old days'. What was once a lovely quiet spot has now become rather over-crowded, and not knowing anything about who all these temporary summer visitors might be, I fear we may all have to start locking things away!


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Billy again.



This is how Billy arrived in mid-January, a tiny mess of black and white fur in a straw-lined box. As you might imagine, I was rather taken aback. I hadn't anticipated having another dog after the death of Bok.


This is Billy today, nearing his final size; he's not a big dog, not all Border Collies are. He has a beautiful soft coat, endless energy, and a great sense of fun. I recently went out mushrooming whilst he was absent up at the barn, but 30 minutes later he managed to find me in the thick of the woods. My first dog 'Hamlet' used to do the same; 'find daddy' became his favourite game.

He still has a few 'faults'. He jumps up on us and play bites, he barks at strangers (but I don't mind this), and he has selective hearing when being called.

When we had our beautiful Labrador, Monty, it seemed as if every advertisement for dog food, sofas, or house insurance, featured a Monty doppelganger; now it seems as if Border Collies have replaced Labs, and suddenly they are everywhere.

We have six boys, from two to thirteen, in the house for a while; I'm hoping he rounds them up, and keeps them under control.


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Bastards!



I'd thought that the buzzing was coming from Bees on a flowering shrub just outside the Pump House door, but I was mistaken; they were inside.

Having 'hoovered' the bottom of the pool, I was just flushing away all the dirt from the filter (backwashing), when I saw a largish swarm of Wasps above the door. They were looking at me with menace in their eyes.

Two of them stung me. One just above my left knee, and the second much higher up on my right leg (ahem). I was of course wearing shorts.

So I taught the little blighters a lesson, and sprayed the nest with Wasp-U-Hate. It seems to have done the job.

As I say almost every other day; "If it ain't one thing it's another!"

And, yes, the stings bloody hurt.


Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Visitors.



Yesterday I met my 6th grandson for the very first time. Some time back I'd described him as a 'tousle-haired cherub'; and that's exactly what he is.

He instantly made friends with Billy, and the two now seem inseparable.

Two more grandsons will arrive today, and another two tomorrow. With my three children, and six grandsons around; life is bound to be fun.


Whilst en route from Oz to France, my daughter Tenpin took this beautiful photo. Brighton really is a fabulous city.



Monday, 12 August 2019

RIP Izzy.


                             

When you live in the countryside, certain animals become as important to you as their human minders; dear Izzy (right above) was one such.

She was a really gentle soul, and Bok (left above) soon noted her charms. They became very good friends, and would spend long relaxed times together.

Not so long ago, Izzy went missing; but almost miraculously after a week away, she was found still within the village bounds. Due to her epilepsy, she had simply forgotten where she lived.

We'll really miss dear Izzy. I've said before on this page that there are some dogs that I far preferred to certain humans. She never behaved badly, was always friendly, and certainly never threatened harm to anyone. Not something I can say about some humans I know.

Izzy died in her sleep two days ago. So, farewell dear girl, I hope that in dog-world there is some place where you all meet up again. I know that both Monty and Bok would love to see you. What larks you'll have.

Our sincere condolences to her family. Adieu.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

La Reine Claude (Greengage).



The Greengage is rather an old fashioned fruit; I can't imagine that many would add them to a modern orchard these days.

Our tree, as usual, has been covered in fruit. Most have bugs inside, but the good ones are easily identifiable. At the moment they are dropping by the barrow-load, and have become so sweet that they are inedible.

I previously picked just a couple of Kilos (above); some we ate simply stewed with Lemon juice and a dash of Sugar, the rest were packed into bags and frozen.

The main problem with Greengages (if indeed it is a problem) is raking-up all that fallen fruit. They are easily squashed, and the task is particularly messy. Our tree is badly situated on the lawn; right in front of our sitting room. Yuk.



Saturday, 10 August 2019

Veteran banned from putting American flag on mailbox


I'd thought that it was only in England where patriotism had been banned, so I was very surprised to see that it happens elsewhere too; especially in the USA.



Lady Magnon spent a few years at school in Washington DC, and along with all other children (even though she was English/Swedish) had to pledge allegiance to the American flag every morning.

I presume this no longer happens either!


Friday, 9 August 2019

Planning for Winter.



With the way things were going at Haddock's, I feared that we'd have no Winter Greens at the end of this year, and into 2020.

I'm now pleased to see that my Cavolo Nero, Curly Kale, and Swiss Chard plants are all suddenly beginning to grow; there's another row of Chard sown by the string-line. We had some reasonable rain recently, and it seems to have done the trick. 

I'd originally sown a row of Perpetual Spinach where the string-line is, and it hadn't germinated, so I re-sowed with Swiss Chard. Now both crops are starting to grow. I should have waited an extra few days.

It's been so dry and hot that nothing was moving. Some plants died and had to be replaced.  There are about 24 plants in all (not counting the Chard/Spinach) which should be enough. Now I simply need to cross my fingers, and hope that nothing more goes wrong. We have two other rows of Chard/Spinach elsewhere, which we are already eating.

The bad photo makes it all look a terrible mess; it's not perfect, but it's neater than it looks, and it recently rained again.


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Vines and Vineyards.


                             

Nearly 47 years ago, when we first came to live here, there were vineyards everywhere. Most small farms grew enough grapes to make about 2000 litres of wine per annum; exclusively for their own consumption. We saw new vineyards planted, and ancient ones pulled-out. Vines were as essential to a farm as Cows, Pigs, Chickens, or Ducks.

Then all changed about 30 years ago. Almost as one, all our local farmers stopped their wine-production, grubbed-up their vines, and an important part of local culture/gastronomy instantly disappeared.

In the small painting above, our cottage can just be seen towards the top on the left. We looked out onto a distant vineyard, where every year we'd help with the harvest. Now, of course, all has gone.

I always have a glass or two of red wine with my supper, as do most households, so I really don't understand why they stopped producing their own. Having said that, there are no Cows, Pigs, Chickens, or Ducks on the farms either. No-one produces milk, and the only crops you'll see are Maize, Sunflowers, and Chestnuts. Much land is now left unproductive.

No doubt the EU is to blame for the change. It may look OK in some big Brussels accountancy book, but it's played havoc with rural society.

p.s. I shall be making wine myself this year; more anon.


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

A favourite picture.



Above is a photo of Ottoline Morrell with Augustus John, in Aix-en-Provence.

Aix just happens to be my favourite town in the whole of France. A stunningly beautiful place that, unfortunately on my last visit, had succumbed to the aerosols of tagging graffiti-sprayers.

On her 'blue plaque' in Gower Street, Lady Ottoline is described as 'Literary Hostess and Patron of the Arts'; a description that belies her influence.

John probably needs no introduction, he was simply one of the best painters of his age.

I would liked to have emerged from behind that door, to discover them there. I would have introduced myself, taken a 'selfie', and continued on my way. Oh, how I would have treasured that photo.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

RIP Spud-U-(no longer)-Like.


                                 Résultat de recherche d'images pour "spud u like"

Anyone who knows me would know that I would never have entered a Spud-U-Like restaurant, but this does not stop me from regretting its sad demise.

However, that name makes me despair; and as for those green plastic 'things'......

The gastronomic delight illustrated is (I think) a baked Potato filled with Coleslaw, and cost £3.99. The one in the background appears to be a simple unsullied empty baked Potato, and probably cost much the same.

The small chain of 37 'restaurants' began in Scotland (home of the deep-fried Mars bar) in 1974, and put the humble baked Potato on the gastronomic map. Most popular (I believe) was the baked bean filled spud; a steal at £3.84. I must admit to having eaten these myself at home, but my homemade version cost about 20p.

So, that's it. Goodbye Spud-U-Like. You served the nation well, but tastes have moved on!


Monday, 5 August 2019

Happy Birthday.



Today is my father's birthday. Unfortunately he's not here to celebrate it (he would have been 114). 

Happy Birthday Papa.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Of interest to pool owners only!



I know I've mentioned this before, but here is some visual proof of both my problem, and my solution.

I don't know if this has any relation to the age of our pool, and its pale blue liner, but this discolouration has only happened in the past three years. The pool was installed in 2005; making the liner 14 years old (but still in very good condition).

The picture, above, shows how, occasionally, the liner becomes discoloured beneath the water line; it becomes a dirty dull beige colour, and looks quite unpleasant. It reminds me of the ceilings in old Pubs that had become stained by tobacco smoke; not unpleasant in its own way, but not a good look for a pool.


The solution is very simple. I top up the water to above the stained level, then empty a whole Kilo of powdered Vitamin C into the path of the three water jets, and wait for about 30 mins; then, hey presto, the liner returns to its sparkling original colour. It really is magical.


The powder isn't cheap; around €20 per kilo through Amazon. But what a difference it makes to a stained liner. It's now sparkling again.

I like to keep a couple of Kilos in stock; just in case. 


Friday, 2 August 2019

The voyage.



Our first memory of the trip would probably be Father at the wheel, and Mother handing out sandwiches as we 'went for a drive'. We played games to battle against boredom; distances seemed endless, and we probably would have preferred to remain at home.

As we grew we learned how the car worked, and eventually took the wheel ourselves. In time the original driver left us, along with the sandwich maker. Now we drove alone, the car suddenly became a very lonely place.

In time friends joined us, some would be with us for the duration; others would fall by the wayside. Some would abuse our friendship, and would be ejected; others would treat the car as if it was their own, leaving their unwanted detritus strewn around, and damaging the contents. They would show no remorse and would also be asked to leave.

Over the years the car would be changed many times; rather like the travellers. Only a few would remain constant company. We never know at what stage the car will break down or run out of fuel, so we are kind to our fellow passengers; never knowing when we will need their assistance instead of them needing ours.

In time, others will come to take the wheel, and we will wave them goodbye and wish them well. It was good having those few fellow travellers who remained constant friends, and on whom one could depend; they made our lives richer.

As we ourselves depart, we can but hope that the new drivers will also find a few long term travelling partners. Life without them can be tough.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Some Success, at last.




My Toms, in pots, up at the barn are now ripening, and are looking good. These are the famous 'Portuguese' variety; a non-F1 breed whose seeds can be kept from year to year.


They are a solid, non watery, variety; perfect for slicing into those classic big platefuls of lunchtime salads. Below is what became of one.


With just a few eggs and some Harissa flavoured tinned Sardines to accompany. Lunch for two; 2/6d.


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Summer.



It's 7.30 am, and I'm just back from my early walk with Billy. I cannot imagine a more perfect morning; the sky was clear, the sun was just up over the horizon, and it was about 18 C. No cars, no people, no noise; perfect!

As a Summer baby, this is without question my favourite season of the year.

With our grass no longer growing, and it slowly turning beige, I have, at last, more time on my hands; time to remember that we are actually supposed to be 'retired'.

With crazy temperatures seemingly throughout Europe, we found ourselves doing much less than usual at home. However, we eat out more, we attend more 'parties', and we generally grasp everything that Summer has to offer. We recently even enjoyed one of our hamlet's lovely evening 'street parties'; although some over-indulged! 

We've already had Summer guests, and are about to have a wonderful invasion of grandsons. Finding things for them all to do will be fun, but I expect their parents will already have most of that sorted in advance. 


So, during the lul, we sit by the pool trying to avoid the hoi polloi, we sip the occasional Pastis, and eat simple dishes that come direct from Haddock's (alas, not the eggs), whilst enjoying this glorious Summer. 

Life is good; our only concern now is Bloody-Brexit (I apologise for even mentioning it). Only 3 months now for our wonderful politicians (who will soon be on holiday for 2 months) to decide the future of England, and her ex-pats. 

Frankly I no longer care what they'll come-up with; our tiny hamlet (holiday conurbation) has been fucked-up anyway, and is no longer the peaceful little gem of previous times. These days I think we would be just as happy to become seasonal visitors, as to remain here full-time. There are still plenty of more peaceful locations out there for us to visit; we shall spend our money elsewhere.  (We, of course, voted to 'remain', but who gives a fuck about us!)

p.s. Actually, at the moment I wouldn't even mind if uber-Marxist, and friend of terrorism, Jeremy Corbyn became PM. It would be fun to see somewhere else as fucked-up as here. I can't wait to see all his supporters saying "it wasn't me; I didn't vote for him"; just as they did with Blair!

If you can, just imagine Ms Abbott as Home Secretary; she'd be even funnier than Tommy Cooper. With that in mind, I actually hope they will be elected. It would be hilarious. What larks!



Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Peaches.



Peaches are much like Tomatoes; their true flavour is only revealed when they are home grown, outdoors, in sunshine.

Like all impatient gourmets, we bought a few 'supermarket' Peaches and Nectarines this year, simply because they looked so inviting, but they were either far too hard, or totally lacking in flavour. Somehow we knew they would be, but we bought them anyway.

Boo Boo's very own Peach tree started the year covered in flowers, then looked promising with masses of tiny fruit. What happened after that I'm not sure. The baby Peaches fell off one by one, and we have ended-up with no more than a dozen edible fruits.

Even so, they are delicious. Smaller this year than usual (no doubt due to drought and heat), but with a magnificent flavour.

Elsewhere our Greengages are just beginning to ripen, and all other Plums will soon follow on. All is OK in the orchard, but my Jonagold apple has lost a big branch; too much weight!.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Buy six, get one free!



We are all familiar with the Supermarket 'BOGOF' deals, usually on cornflakes or sugary children's drinks. But to find that my local (very good) bakery has started a similar scheme, rather surprised me.

Regardless of a free 7th baguette, I would still buy my weekly supply of three baguettes and two 'boules'. I really cannot see what they stand to gain by handing out freebies. Stamping the small card, with different symbols for each baguette bought, is time consuming, and is of no advantage to the baker.

I shall not refuse my free 7th baguette, but I do find the whole exercise a bit puzzling. Perhaps the 'tempting offer' is just for one week only.

I should add that these 'Baguettes Tradition' are totally delicious, and now that our usual baker has recently been sold, we have changed allegiance to the, much nearer, maker of the above.

Next Saturday, I shall return home with FOUR baguettes. Yippee!



Sunday, 28 July 2019

Plantar Fasciitis.



For the past few weeks I've been hobbling about. I knew what the problem was; I'd had it before. It's basically a painful heel.

Plantar Fasciitis is a debilitating condition. It makes life uncomfortable, and takes all pleasure out of simply walking.

Sadly I can't remember the solution from when I last suffered; maybe it cured itself. This time, however, it didn't seem to be going away, so whilst at the pharmacie recently, I asked if they had any shoe inserts. The above is what they suggested.

They are simple leather inserts with a few bumps and pressure points, and the effect was INSTANTANEOUS. I'm still not without some slight discomfort, but the difference is amazing.

I shall probably go back and buy a few more pairs; just to have some in reserve.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Be like Popeye.



I always grow my crops for their taste, not for their beneficial qualities, although when a particular vegetable combines both flavour and health benefits in one; I couldn't be happier.

One such case is Swiss Chard and/or Perpetual Spinach. I grow both. Both are delicious, and both are so good for you that they really should be prescribed 'free' by the NHS. You can almost feel them doing good.

Green leafy vegetables are nature's medicine cupboard. They make the body strong and resistant, and cleanse all those interior bits and pieces that need cleansing. They are a panacea for all ailments. They are the backbone of good health.

I really cannot remember if I've always enjoyed eating 'greens', probably not; but thank goodness my taste buds have accepted them since I was certainly very young. It genuinely worries me when children refuse to eat anything green; they are depriving themselves of so much goodness and energy.

My own grandchildren all seem to enjoy eating salads, leafy greens, and even sprouts; and they are all big strong fit boys. If only all children were thus!



Friday, 26 July 2019

Dirty Money?



Lady M: I'm washing your best shorts and stripey T shirt.

Cro: Oh, thank you darling; did you empty the pockets?

Lady M: Of course.

Cro: Did you find my bank notes?

Lady M: What bank notes?

Cro: The ones in my pocket.

Lady M: Which pocket?

Cro: They were in that side pocket on the right.

Lady M: OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


Let no-one say that Cro goes around, handing out dirty bank notes; mine are the cleanest in Christendom.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

The Garden of Eden.


                                           Image associée

As all Sussex folk know, the very center of the Garden of Eden was positioned at Chanctonbury Ring in Sussex; a high point so perfectly situated atop the South Downs that it looks out over the sea to the South, and towards Kent and Surrey to the North.

Adam and Eve Sussex (their correct family names are unknown, but are thought to have been Starkadder and Fuller respectively) chose their home wisely. Not only was there a good Apple orchard, but the serpents thereabouts were of the friendly variety.

However, eventually their landlord (a Mr Good) wished to evict them, and made-up a silly story about them being members of some nudist club, and he wanted nothing more to do with them.

But he was not all bad. Mr Good took pity on them, and before closing Eden's gate, he loaded onto their Ford Transit van the minimum with which they could survive, before they could find themselves another suitable home.

He gave them a tool box, a cock and six hens, paint brushes and a tube of sepia, six pencils from 2B to 4H, tobacco in a tin, a Latin primer, a selection of verse and prose by good Sussex writers, a small printing press, the basic elements of jurisprudence, a compact medicine chest, a collection of seeds, two pigs, a No 9 Opinel knife (I added the knife), and a large ball of twine.

I know all this to be true because Mr Hilaire Belloc told me so. The rest is history.


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

My Tom Crop.


For the third consecutive year, my Tomato plants at Haddock's have been badly affected by disease, so, in mid-May, as soon as I'd noticed the yellowing and curling of leaves, I planted a few in pots up at the barn.

                                

I planted just two 'Portuguese' and one 'Cherry', just to see how they would perform.


Well, I'm pleased to see that they're doing well. We've been eating the Cherry Tomatoes for quite some while, and the Portuguese are swelling beautifully.


As for 2020, I shall plant all my 'maincrop' Tomatoes in pots up at the barn, and grow just a few 'Roma' and 'Cherry Toms' down at Haddock's where they seem not to be affected.

There's a solution to every problem.


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Lucky Boy.



I'm very pleased to say that not only did Lady Magnon remember my recent birthday, but she also managed to find the present that she'd so carefully hidden away.

The present, which I'd bought for myself several months ago (and she'd bought back from me), came wrapped in old Christmas paper, and is a rather dapper Mushrooming Knife made by Leopard.

It's a very practical piece of kit. Its brass inlay on the handle is extremely beautiful, and it's a very pleasant object to hold in one's hand. Thank you m'dear!

I expect it'll be quite a while yet, but I can hardly wait for our Cepe season to start.



Monday, 22 July 2019

Doppelganger No 17.


                                                  
Two Brighton workmen dancing.



Cro and Lady Magnon dancing.



Sunday, 21 July 2019

Latest toys.



These wonderful toys were given to me by my son, Kimbo, for my upcoming birthday. They might look like church candles, but they're not!

They are bluetooth mobile (and waterproof) speakers, called 'Ultimate Ears', for poolside music listening. What a great idea.

You can hang them in the trees, hide them in flower pots, or use them as earrings. We could probably even strap them to Billy like paniers, for a more random mobile experience. The sound quality is very good, and even if they were to fall in the pool, they still work.

Thank you darling; a great prezzie. 



Saturday, 20 July 2019

La caravane publicitaire du Tour de France cycliste 2019


If you are a fan of cycle racing, but have not had the pleasure of seeing The Tour de France live, then this will give you some idea of the whole pre-race atmosphere.

The publicity caravan precedes the race itself, and is probably the reason why most people stand by the roadside. The caravan takes about half an hour to go past, the bikes just a few seconds. The caravan also hands out free gifts as it passes, mostly key rings, free samples, and cheap publicity hats. If you wish to see the race itself, you are better off staying home and watching on TV, but if you want all the fun of the fair, then you'll get that by being there in person.

As my local supermarket (Leclerc) is a major sponsor of The Tour, they have been handing out prizes to shoppers. So far I have won a question/answer thing about The Tour in the form of a fan (rubbish), and just yesterday I won an insulated bag for ice creams etc (useful). How exciting is that!




Friday, 19 July 2019

The 'Garden' garden.



The Oleanders are now in full bloom, and should continue for quite some while.


All the pot plants are doing what we asked of them; reasonably so.


Grapes are swelling everywhere (except on my Black Hamburg). I shall attempt to make wine this year, using the traditional 'peasant' method. I'll let you know; the last time I tried, it tasted of petrol.


I love Pears. This one is a Doyenne du Comice; one of the world's very best. We'll have a small crop.


We have several different Hibiscus plants. They are just starting to flower and will continue to do so for at least two months. My kinda plant; they simply get on with it!

It's just so bloody hot, and so bloody dry. Not really conducive to gardening.

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