Sunday, 18 March 2018

Some pleasant Sunday music.

Nice version of this old classic, with just a hint of Chet Atkins.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Taj Brighton.

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Most British towns have a store similar to the one above. With so many diverse nationalities all over the UK, Asian/Middle Eastern foods are now sold everywhere.

Taj in Brighton is a real favourite of mine; it is also perfectly positioned opposite Waitrose, so, when there, I do all my shopping in one spot.


This shop is a dream. It's big, and they sell everything you could possibly imagine, from the rarest spices, to unheard-of fruits and veg'. Just walking around the shop is like being on holiday.

The smell is wonderful, and continuous Arabic music completes the exotic picture.

Here in France we have three main groups of immigrants, those from North Africa, The Caribbean, and Vietnam. Most supermarkets cater for much of their basic needs, and street markets sell the rest. There are very few comprehensive stores that sell 'exotic foods'; at least, I only know of one, and that is miles away.

If I was granted one wish, it would be to import Brighton's Taj, and re-plant it near to my usual Leclerc supermarket.

Honestly; I promise I would never moan again!

Friday, 16 March 2018

I blame his parents!


My people had a friend who was at our Consulate in Dieppe (N France), and he knew of a family in the town who were looking for an 'exchange student' for their son Didier. He thought we might be interested.

The family in question were described as genteel and pleasant. The father was an architect, and they lived in one of his own designed houses overlooking the town and sea. They also claimed to have some 'gallows' in the garden; which later turned-out to be swings. They sounded quite suitable.

So, aged about 10, off I went to stay with Didier's family. I think I was to stay for two weeks; in which time I was no doubt expected to learn to speak perfect French.

After the first week we set off on a trip. We headed West along the Normandy coast, then South to the Loire valley, then East towards Paris, then back again North to Dieppe. It was a trip that lasted about four days, and was a wonderful experience.

At one stage we visited a restaurant where nets-full of wriggling tiny silver fish were pulled out of a small stream (which ran through the middle of the outdoor sitting area). These were floured, then instantly deep fried. Big platefuls of these tiny fried fish regularly arrived at each table with wedges of Lemon. I'd never seen anything like it before, and found the whole experience fascinating (and delicious).

Didier's family were totally charming, and after my two week stay, he came to stay with us in Surrey.

Above is Didier, me, and our cat Tiddles (all our black cats were called Blackie, and all the tabbies were called Tiddles), at our Surrey home. I've always wondered what happened to Didier. I've looked for him on the net, in the phone book, etc, but no sign of him anywhere. I would liked to have thanked him for the important part his parents played in forming my love of France.

p.s. Those jeans I'm wearing were the best ever. They were very faded, very baggy, and very comfortable. I loved them. They don't make them like that any more!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Bee's Knees.

After my Tuesday's posting, I'm pleased to announce that Lady Magnon is now on Opium.

Her doc' seemed to think that everything was 'roughly' OK, and has prescribed painkillers.

When I can get her down from the ceiling, I shall also try to make her rest-up for a few days.

Yup, it's the 'Ides of March', and I'm expecting Mr de Quincey to arrive at any moment.  

Opium indeed!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Good Conversation.

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The last time I smoked dope in any meaningful quantity was in Tangiers (Morocco).

We had bought what looked like a big 'chocolate bar' of Hashish, complete with its Government Stamp, and soon set-to with a few joints on the shady flat-topped rooftop of our 'hotel'.

Unfortunately hashish has an instantly soporific effect on me, and I fell into a long and deep sleep, whilst Lady Magnon and our American friends all floated away down to the casbah and dined on delicious Couscous. When I awoke I was not happy; I'd missed a wonderful evening. It was at that very moment that I decided that Hashish was NOT for me.

When I'm in good company I want good conversation, not the incoherent ramblings of spaced-out dope-heads to a background of Hendrix. And I certainly don't want Morpheus nipping at my ankles.

One of the real advantages of wine-drinking over most other 'stimulants' is that it encourages lively conversation. I don't think Bacchus coined the maxim in vino veritas; but he should have!

Dionysus may have championed 'ambrosia' (probably Amanita Muscaria), but as a conversationalist he would never have matched Bacchus.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Lady M's knees.

The poor old dear has been hobbling around recently. Her knees have been giving her jip. Yesterday morning I took her to be radiated, and above are the results.

So, what's she been up to? Too much praying? Too many can-can high kicks? Too much mountain climbing?

We're not sure. The photos look pretty normal to me (an amateur). 

She's off to see her quack again tomorrow morning to analyse the snaps, and I'm just hoping that her return to sprightliness doesn't involve the knife, just chemicals. 

Our fingers are crossed.

Monday, 12 March 2018


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Dodd has died.

I grew-up with a wonderful set of British comedians; Tommy Cooper, Kenneth Williams, Ted Ray, Norman Wisdom, Stanley Unwin, Charlie Drake, and of course Doddy to name just a few.

Their careers began before television made them into household names, and they mostly honed their skills either with ENSA or in music hall.

Back in the early 80's a friend of mine went to a Ken Dodd show at some big Country Club near Liverpool. He had been invited by a business client, and hadn't been particularly looking forward to it. When I spoke to him about it the following evening, he couldn't praise Dodd enough!

I think the show was supposed to have started at 10 pm, and should have lasted for two hours. My friend eventually left the Club at about 3.30 am, having had one of the best nights of his life.

Dodd was well known for over-running his shows, he never wanted them to end; he simply enjoyed himself too much. He always left his audiences desperate for more.

I never saw Dodd live myself; frankly he wasn't really my style. But there is no denying that he was a superb entertainer. Most current comedians will name comics such as he as the greatest influence on their careers.

Here's one of his gags "The man who invented 'cats eyes' did so after having caught a cat in his headlights one night. Had the cat been walking in the other direction he would have invented the pencil sharpener".

Goodnight Doddy; sleep well.

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