Wednesday, 23 January 2019


I'm talking garden gardening here, not vegetable gardening.

Some years back, someone we knew went around trying to convince our friends that we were 'ruining our garden' by building our small 'tower' (above). In fact, of course, it has been totally the opposite, and has been the making of it.

John Brookes, the famous garden designer, correctly claimed that it is 'background' that makes a garden.

As he illustrated, if you plant a rambling rose in the middle of a field, it will look ridiculous. If you plant that same rose around the front door of a small cottage, it will look spectacular. It is the background that gives purpose to the planting, and makes all the difference.

The great houses usually built follies, bridges, and pergolas in their extensive grounds; anything that would contrast with the natural plantings, small cottage gardens can do much the same. The one compliments the other, as do paintings on an empty wall, or books on the shelves of a library.

I am NOT a flower gardener; I know nothing of such things. But I do know about design, and have always believed in John Brookes' wise words. He was right, and our critic so obviously wrong.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Doppelganger No 3,566

Your Romanian Grandma's best sunday frock €11.50.

Yves Saint Laurent frocks €1,499 (each).

Monday, 21 January 2019

Pissed Off.


I'm feeling decidedly pissed off at the moment.

I don't like winter. It's cold, it's damp, and often foggy throughout the day. Even my long daily walks have become tiresome without the company of my faithful old pal, Bok.

The Moles are reeking havoc on Haddock's Paddock (above), Haddock's itself lies uncultivated, and the few winter tasks that still await my attention remain undone. I have little enthusiasm for anything at this time of year.

My hours are spent wandering around with a pair of secateurs in my hand, occasionally painting some bleak landscape, or sawing logs for the woodburner. When outdoors I seem to be permanently in gumboots, scarf, and gloves.

Elsewhere in the big ugly world, politicians are causing my blood pressure to rise in unprecedented leaps. Even being as deep in the countryside as is possible these days, I am still bombarded with news of foul murders, dangerous nonagenarian motorists, and common Z listers' ice-skating abilities (or lack of).

I need talk of sunshine, garden parties, and girls in summer dresses. I want to throw myself into 28C pool water, cook lamb chops on the BBQ, and pick ripe tomatoes from the garden. I'm a July baby, and my blood is tinged with sunshine.

It'll be May before I start my 2019 veg' growing campaign, and June before I start swimming again. In the meantime I eat body-warming soups, scour the meteo pages for suitable washing days, and wander aimlessly deciding which tasks to avoid first.

For me there are only two important parts of the year; summer, and waiting for summer. The latter always seems to drag, whilst the former rushes by.

Sunday, 20 January 2019


My father (left), and his older brother.

My father (left), and his older brother.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Luckily Trump is an Expert.

I feel so reassured after watching this. Now I know that the USA is in safe hands.

Even if you've seen this before, it's worth re-watching just to remind yourself of how great he really is.

Friday, 18 January 2019

I've decided; I'm staying put!

If, after all this Brexit nonsense, they come to send me back to England; I shall refuse to go. I'm not bloody going!

They can snap the cuffs on me, drag me to the airport, tie me to a seat, and have half a dozen Gendarmes accompany me back onto Albion's soil, but I shall kick and shout all the way there.

Then, after some hard-pressed local authority have housed me, fed me, and given me plenty of spending money (as they are bound to do), I shall buy an inflatable boat, and sail heroically back across the Channel. I want to remain living right here!

I've lived for over two thirds of my life in France, and I've been a good citizen. I've committed no crime (I'm not that type), I've never asked for any financial assistance, and all my spending money has been imported. I've saved an ancient house from falling into ruin, and I shall eventually leave behind a pleasant home in which discerning folk will live for many years to come. I also pay all my bills on time. In fact, I'm the perfect étranger.

Somehow I don't imagine they will come for me; I'm too much a part of the scene. I'm quiet, reserved, and I blend in with the landscape.

So, Macron, just forget that I'm here. I won't tell anyone, and I promise to continue to be good.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Harry's Passport.

My youngest son, Wills, had a teddy bear named Harry; they were inseparable (maybe they still are). When he was very small, we travelled between England and France on a regular basis, and of course Harry was always an essential member of the party.

Quite naturally, we all had our own passports, so of course Harry needed one too. We briefly considered applying to The Passport Office, but Wills (being Wills) thought he'd just make one for Harry himself.
It's a full size faithful replica, and would probably fool most passport officers. If I lost MY passport, I would be quite upset; if I ever lost Harry's, I would be devastated!!

You can see by the state of it, that it's been very well used. It's also one of the old type passports... so much classier than the new burgundy jobs.

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