Thursday 31 May 2018

Red Algae.

Red Algae can be a menace. On houses it can cover the walls in very little time, and isn't easy to treat. I think it arrived in this region about 30 years ago, and has since become quite a problem.

The Algae is a microalgae (Trentepohlia) which usually starts life as green, then turns red with age. I have seen new houses around here that are covered. The Algae seems to like cement rendering more than actual stone.

Usually it's an unsightly mess, but on my poolside urn I rather like it.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Inclement weather.

You may be shocked to hear that the sun doesn't always shine here in Périgord, and unfortunately we are having several days of rain just when we really needed sunshine.

So, what is a chap to do? 

Well the boys go off on their bikes or play Ping Pong, I retreat to my crossword book, Lady Magnon reads novels, and Kimbo goes off shopping for fine wines, Oysters, and other delights; of course.

We are doing our best to ensure the future of the oystermen of Oléron, the vignerons of Epernay, and the Goose breeders of just about everywhere.

Someone has to do it, and, anyway, what else could we do; our weather has been dreadful.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

La Chasse.....Hunting.

                               Résultat de recherche d'images pour "French hunters"

I'm not here to defend or even attack hunting, just to present you with some figures.

It has now been announced that here in Périgord this winter's hunting season will be between 9 September, and 28 February.

The hunting authorities in our particular area have also given guidance as to the number of animals that can be shot.

Between 12,250 and 18,200 Wild Boar may be shot, and between 16,600 and 18,300 Roe Deer may be shot.

I'd never previously thought about the numbers of wild animals that were shot each year; it seems a lot.

Périgord is just one of about 95 similarly sized départments (counties) in France. I don't imagine that all have the same wildlife problems that we have, but even if half do (and they shoot the same amount) that's an awful lot of Deer and Boar.

                                      'No Pheasant shooting'.

p.s. I no longer hunt, but I would like to make a plea to those who do. Please would you refrain from shooting any Pheasants or Red Deer for at least the next five years. Red Deer are such wonderful animals, and are becoming quite rare. In the UK Pheasants are regular garden birds, and I'd love to see that becoming the case here too. A simple five year amnesty would help them enormously.

Monday 28 May 2018

Unknown neighbours; Lot-et-Garonne

I love these short films.This one may amuse you.

Here are some very typical old folks from 'down the road' (Lot et Garonne, 47). I rather like the old boy; he's thoroughly pissed-off with everything! Beware; early in the video it shows Madame killing a Chicken (1 min 50-ish), you may like to look away.

People such as these are everywhere hereabouts; it's simply how they are. I've spent the last 45 years in their company, and I can assure you they are some of the nicest, most generous, and helpful, people you could ever wish to meet.

Madame's smile says it all. She reminds me of my vigneronne.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Lost and maybe Found.


With two young grandsons and their dad staying with us for a while, Lady Magnon suggested buying a drone for them.

I said they'd probably lose it within the first 10 mins.

"I'd tie a sausage to it", she said.

"Why on earth would you do that?", I asked.

"So that Bok could always find it in the long grass".

She's no fool; Lady M.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Naughty boy!

Regular visitors to this page will remember Bok's friend Marley. He really is a lovely boy, and with some training should have been the perfect pet.

Sadly he's blotted his copybook. He recently chased and killed my neighbour's hens; something of which I would never have thought him capable. It is well known that once a dog kills, you can never really get them to stop. Luckily Bok is very good with Chickens. He has always tried to 'herd' them; it's the Border Collie in him, he would never kill one.

I must say here that Marley's owners also have another dog. It's like a small black Bulldog, with a wrinkled face and an attitude to challenge Trump or Tyson. We call it 'The evil black bastard devil dog'; which is exactly what it is. It growls and snaps at you. It's only visited us on two occasions (accompanied by Marley) and I was obliged to fend it off with a stick. Nasty bloody animal.

So, Marley's future is now in question. The owner of the hens quite rightly informed Marley's owners of the disastrous event, and I imagine he will now be chained up, or just kept inside their garage. His roaming-free days are over, and he has lost friends due to his bad behaviour.

Of course, humans also behave badly, and regular readers may remember that some time back we were forced to 'cut' a couple of naughty local miscreants; sadly Dogs are as difficult to re-educate as certain humans.

Poor old Marley; we'll miss him.

Friday 25 May 2018


When I was small we had a lovely fruit-n-veg garden, ruled over by 'Fuller the Gardener'.

He was a wise old fellow, who taught us how to wring the necks of Chickens, sow Radishes, and shoot Rats.

However, the only bit of Fuller wisdom that I remember was about how much of what to grow. He reckoned you should grow 75% for your own consumption, and 25% for the wildlife.

I was reminded of this yesterday morning when I went to pick Strawberries. Loads of them had been half eaten, and I couldn't really understand how or why. I had put down Slug Pellets, the plants themselves are off the ground in old wheelbarrows, and I had been paying them special attention as it's Strawberry season.

When I went down later to pick a few for lunch, I found the culprits; about five Blackbirds were in amongst the plants fattening themselves on my fruit.

The plants are now covered with fine netting.

The wretched scoundrels!

Thursday 24 May 2018

Wednesday 23 May 2018

To the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

                           Résultat de recherche d'images pour "the long man sussex"

If there was anywhere on earth to become the Duke and Duchess of; surely the best must be Sussex.

I cannot claim to be a native of Sussex, as was my father (I was born just over the border in Surrey), but for most of my UK residency I lived in Sussex. It is not known as 'Heaven on Earth' for nothing.

Your Graces; I would like to be amongst the first to officially invite you down to Sexy Sussex. We could put-you-up overnight in Brighton, maybe order ourselves an 'Indian', then I'll take you on a tour the following morning.

Firstly we would head for Chanctonbury Ring, which, as everyone knows, is the very centre of The Garden of Eden; and you will see why it was so perfectly chosen.

After a brisk walk, we'll go for lunch at The Shepherd and Dog in Fulking.

Having partaken of good Sussex Ale and Sausages I'll take you on a short roundabout tour of your new Duchy, to show you some of the delights that you might otherwise miss.

We'll go through Steyning, (which in times past was actually a sea port), then on to Storrington and beautiful West Chiltington (I'll show you the lovely thatched house where I used to live), then north to Horsham (pronounced Hors-am; not Hor-sham) where my father was at school.

From Horsham we'll head South again through stunning countryside back towards Lewes (the county town of E Sussex), then on to Charleston Farmhouse to look at some Bloomsbury painting and decor. Then finally on to Wilmington where we'll admire The Long Man (photo above). Here we'll have a flask of tea (Lapsang), with some of Lady Magnon's Lemon drizzle cake and Cucumber sandwiches; I'll bring a couple of tartan blankets.

May I suggest that you borrow a helicopter for the trip. Being such a beautiful and popular county, our roads tend to be quite congested; this is something you may like to look into at a later date.

Let me know when you're both available, and I'll make the necessary arrangements.


Tuesday 22 May 2018

For Sale.

This old Tobacco Drying Barn is, once again, for sale. It was bought a few years back by a couple of architects, but problems befel them and their project fell-through. It's now back on the market.

It recently suffered quite badly from a violent storm, and a few bits fell off, but it's still just about OK.

I've often thought about buying it and making part of it into a big lofty downstairs studio, with a small apartment above. This would only take about a third of the available space, and would leave plenty of barn/storage/garage space.

The big studio windows would need to face East-ish; a tiny bit annoying if one was working in the early mornings (my studio is the same).

It isn't ideally situated. It's on the corner of two roads, it's quite close to other houses, and it's just 50 metres from the light-coloured semi derelict building on the left (above), which is directly opposite the main entrance to our super new 'HOLIDAY VILLAGE'. As I say; not an ideal location.

It comes with 4,000 square metres of slightly sloping land, and with water and electricity already in situ.

However, there's one very big problem; the asking price is a whopping €52,000. Far far too much. I might go to €3,000, but no higher.

I see it remaining unsold for a very long while; at that price it may even fall down before finding a buyer.

Monday 21 May 2018

Pastor Jesse King.

Look, I'm not making any comparisons here; honestly.... but haven't I seen this guy somewhere else recently?

Sunday 20 May 2018

How to make Bouillabaisse.

                              Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Bouillabaisse"

There is more rubbish spoken about the recipe for Bouillabaisse, than there is even for Cassoulet.

To add to all this rubbish here is the 100% authentic version; complete with the accent required to make it. I don't seem able to post the video itself, but just click on the link.... you won't be sorry!

You can't argue with this bloke....Enjoy.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Went the day well?

Well, what did you think of it?

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Harry wedding"

I had intended to watch for about 10 minutes but was glued to the screen until the end. What a great bit of theatre.

Some of the frocks were nightmares, some of the hats even worse, but the whole occasion was wonderful.

We shared the event with our friend MM (a well known Aussie writer and broadcaster), and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We drank far too much Champagne, ate a very pleasant salad, and generally approved of everything (other than the length of the sermon).

What could have turned into a farce, became an almost perfect Royal occasion.

When the chips's are down, the Brits probably do the very best shows on earth.  Well done to all involved.

Let the fun commence!

Well, maybe not quite yet. With the water at a bone-chilling 17 C, I think it'll be a while before we take a dip. 

Opening-up the pool is always fraught with danger. Will the pump work? Will all the pipes be stuffed with Toads? Will the water itself be luminous green?

Luckily all was OK. There were about four dead Toads on the bottom, but that was quickly dealt with. The water was very clear, and with a good dose of 'flocculant' all will be sparkling again in a day or so.

It's so nice to see moving water again. Yesterday evening we even returned to drinking our 'aperos' by the pool. Bok dangled his front left paw in the water, and somehow everything returned to NORMAL.

And just in time for the wedding too.

p.s. Prince Charles's offer to accompany Ms Sparkle up the aisle has changed everything. From having become a farce, it has returned to (what one hopes) will be a sophisticated ceremony...... Voila!

Friday 18 May 2018

Boo Boo's great adventure.

At this very moment, Boo Boo is up on Hamilton Island on The Great Barrier Reef.

He's been swimming, sailing, and snorkeling amongst the exotic reef fish. When he's had enough, there's always time for just plain snoozing. A right little beach bum.

Lucky boy.

Hi Boo Boo; I'm jealous! Love from Grumpy xx

Thursday 17 May 2018

Best Tomato?

If there's one Tomato that you should be growing at home this year, it's this; The Portuguese! 

The story goes that a certain Mr Dan McMurray was eating a sandwich in Portugal, and decided that the slices of Tomato it contained were the best he'd ever tasted.

He took out some of the seeds, dried them, and the results are now available worldwide.

I've grown them in the past, and they were excellent. It should be noted that as they are not an F1 Hybrid, one can save the seeds for the following year... and so on (even from a sandwich).

They have a solid consistency, very good flavour, and they produce large crops. What more could one ask from a Tomato; and, of course, you never need to buy any more seeds!

I've planted just two, along with a good selection of other varieties. My fingers are crossed for a good crop this year; last year's was dismal.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Wives, their names, and tradition.

It seems to be popular, these days, for new wives to continue to use their maiden names; I have even heard of husbands who adopt their wife's name.

But there is, of course, official procedure and etiquette to follow in such matters. It should be noted here that in France a woman's name officially stays as she was 'registered' or 'baptised'; calling herself Madame X is just a pleasantry.

Traditionally in England the wife of Mr John Smith is Mrs John Smith. If Mrs John Smith (née Miss June Brown) later divorces her husband, she becomes Mrs June Smith. This is how we know the difference between a married woman and a divorced woman. Nuance, m'dear.

In an upcoming wedding, where a divorcee is marrying a bachelor, the officiating priest should ask "Do you Harry Windsor take Mrs Rachel Endelson as your lawful wedded wife?" The response then might be "Er; I think you've got the wrong church Matey, I'm supposed to be marrying someone called Meg".

These days certain traditions are conveniently forgotten, even in the most elevated of circles. Next they'll be telling me that a 'mother of the bride' will lead her daughter down the aisle.

Surely not. Shock horror. STOP THE PRESS!

What larks.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Doppelganger No 3,217

Mr Pastry; Well-loved 1950's TV comedian.

John Bolton; US National Security Advisor.

Monday 14 May 2018

So Much Things to Say.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

If you happen to be in any of the locations for this show (above); I can recommend it. My good friend John Masouri (below) will be offering his considerable knowledge about Marley and Co, and anyone even slightly interested in Reggae would be crazy to miss it.

John will be in conversation with Roger Steffens, another world authority on Reggae music, divulging their intimate tales of frontrunners 'Bob Marley and The Wailers'; accompanied by rare footage of the band.

Vous speekings French?

                                 Résultat de recherche d'images pour "french textbook"

Once you get over the fact that 'My Uncles pen is NOT on my Aunt's desk' (and is never likely to be) the task of learning 'useful' Non-O-Level-School-French can begin.

Personally I arrived in France with reasonably good vocabulary, but without the ability to string much of it together into coherent sentences. Occasions to explain that 'My pen knife was in my brother's pocket' were few and far between, and I soon found that I had much more need to say 'My septic tank stinks', or 'I have leaking roof', or 'My beans are covered in aphids'.

French anomalies are everywhere, laid like traps for the unwary foreigner; here are a couple of amusing favourites.

Nouns in French are either boys or girls; yes, they have a sex. A window (La fenetre) is female, and a carpet (Le tapis) is male. But just to confuse the unwary foreigner, a man's beard is female (La barbe), and a lady's handbag (Le sac a main) is of course male. Well it would be, wouldn't it.

And whilst I'm on the subject, I was reminded recently of an ancient popular French 'bonbon' known as Sucre brulé, which was translated by some English linguistic clever-clogs as 'Sugar Barley' (or Barley Sugar). Visiting Frenchmen to England then re-discovered this British delicacy, and it was re-exported back to France as Sucre d'orge. 

This simple sweet contains not the tiniest trace of Barley, but is now named on both sides of La Manche as if its Barley content was unquestionable!

We foreigners hardly stand a chance.

p.s. I've had 45 years in which to get to grips with Français, and (I'm pleased to say) my usage is now 'acceptable'.

Sunday 13 May 2018

The condemned man.

Being measured for the noose. He's taking it very bravely.

At every wedding I've ever attended, one is asked "Bride or Groom?", then shown to the appropriate side of the aisle. If this is the case with 'Arry and Megs, there won't be many sitting on the Bride's side; four or five maybe?

As Megs is a divorcee, traditionally she will NOT be wearing white meringue. With only a week to go, newspaper fashion editors can't wait to see how her 'frock' will be.

Things to look out for at Saturday's ceremony: Facial expressions from Beatrice and Eugenie. Lip-reading Phil the Greek. Megs forgetting 'Arry's name. Yawns. Boredom. Children being sick.

They tell me that there will be street parties, with bunting, and jellies; well I hope it doesn't rain for them. It's bad enough having to drink Orange squash, or Robinson's barley water, whilst pretending to be enjoying yourself; let alone being excited for some couple you've never met.

Hey Ho. It'll be the wedding of the week.

I've decided NOT to go.

Saturday 12 May 2018

How things change.


Haddock's in 2011.

Haddock's in 2018 (yesterday).

Possibly the most important change has been the erecting of the Wooly Mammoth-proof fencing, although it was surprising how little they actually ate. The fencing has also given me somewhere to drape a few over-productive vines.

The layout and size of the plot have both changed considerably since 2011, but the amount of veg' I produce has stayed much the same; more economic use of space. 

I have also added a Plum tree, a Fig, an Apricot, a Peach, and a Cherry; as well as quite a lot of soft fruit bushes.

On the right hand side (out of sight) is a stone wall running the length of the plot. In an ideal world I would have preferred a stone wall instead of the Wooly Mammoth-proof wire, but that'll have to wait until I win the Lottery! 

Haddock's is an important part of my little world; life wouldn't be the same without it. I'm thinking of building a small 'pergola' there, where I can sit, and dream, and watch the world go by (not that much does).

Friday 11 May 2018

All in a day's work.

No pool worth its salt would be complete without a couple of swaying Palm Trees under which to lounge. We have two around ours, one tall one shorter, and although I love to see them, at this time of year they are a right pain in the rectum.

Those flowers, if left, produce thousands of seeds which later drop all over the bloody place; especially into the pool itself. They have to be removed.

So, like a Monkey, up the ladder I go, with secateurs in hand, getting scratched all over by the nasty spikes on the leaf stems. It's a charming job. 

Anyway, job now done, not too much blood, and hopefully no seeds in the pool for 2018.

Thursday 10 May 2018


The weather, as usual in Spring, has been erratic; one minute almost 30 C, the next it's back to gloves and scarf.

When the 'Meteo' warns us of violent storms, it is invariably hot; and when temperatures are predicted to exceed 25 C, there is heavy rain. Spring is like that here!

However, this see-saw climate seems to suit most of what we grow. At Haddock's the vegetables are romping, and in the garden our flowers are probably better than ever. Most of the fruit trees look OK (except our main Apple tree), and everything promises a reasonable crop.

The grass is growing furiously, and the Wisteria already needs to be pruned. It's difficult keeping-up.

That's it. As you were!

Wednesday 9 May 2018

3 Tie knots, and what they tell you about the wearer!

Above is the standard 'gentleman's' knot; simple, nothing fancy, learnt at Nanny's knee. This would be spotted at Boodle's, the Member's stand at Lords, and at Smith's Lawn. 

This knot is more triangular, and is called the 'Windsor' knot. Favoured by young men who consider themselves stylish and cool; it will be seen on junior bank clerks, aspiring estate agents, and others of that ilk (often worn with 'swept away' collars).

And thirdly, this rather unpleasant FAT knot fashioned at the very end of the tie (often much lower than above) is exclusively used by 14 year old rebellious schoolboys, or (if the tie is white) by Bridegrooms at their charming Chavdom weddings.

There are, of course, other knots, but it's worth knowing what secrets these three particularly common ones are telling you about their wearer.

Happy knot-spotting.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Cranes heading south

I missed the returning Cranes this year; maybe they passed overhead at night.

There is something very moving about the annual departure of the Cranes, and their return in Spring. We always wave at them, and in this clip you can even hear Lady Magnon wishing them farewell.

I filmed this a few years ago (and have just rediscovered it). The huge V formation, and the beautiful sound they make, is stunning.

You may have to enlarge.

Monday 7 May 2018

Boot Sale Haul.

Yesterday saw the first of the BIG local boot sales, in the small nearby village of Cuzorn; the home of my tile maker.

I bought four old soup bowls, with four matching dinner plates, ten small teaspoons, six desert spoons, and a small glass that would hold about half a sip of Eau de Vie.

The plates/bowls were made in Rouen, by someone with illegible writing. It could be NBL, or JVBL, or even ABL. I can't find anything about them.

The little glass is of the type that one reserves for Uncle Dyspepsia, when he comes for his tipple on Boxing day. It looks as if you have filled it to the brim, but in fact it's mostly glass. 50 centimes. I seem to remember that Mr Stephenson once called them 'Toastmaster glasses'.

We will certainly use the plates and soup bowls; not quite so sure about the spoons as (by the colour) they seem to have a high lead content. I'll clean them, and see.

A good wash, and the plates were already in use by lunchtime!

Sunday 6 May 2018


Dear Rachel; I know this will make you feel better. Even Miss Wylie's gardening tip of  'Treading on the grass' when it's too long, is worth the watch. xx

Wonky Veg'.

Do Wonky Vegetables taste differently to non-Wonky Vegetables?

The obvious answer is no, but I'm sure you could find some 'purists' who would say yes.

My nearby Asparagus-growing neighbour, Madame D, mostly sells perfect bundles of thick white Asparagus, but yesterday she also had a box-full of green allsorts. Seeing as these were considerably cheaper than had they been perfect, I bought 500gms, which we ate for yesterday's lunch.

I'm not too proud to eat a rag-bag selection of wonky spears, in fact I almost get greater pleasure in knowing that they were a bargain.

Bon appétit.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Another letter to Harry.

Dear Harry.

I have just seen this letter from Meghan's half brother. Thomas Markle jnr, obviously knows his sister far better than most, but I don't think most of us would describe your fiancé as 'a jaded, shallow, and conceited woman'.

She has a pleasant smile, and that is quite important; but, is it really enough on which to base a marriage?

Small time actresses are notably self-centred, and you will have to restrain her from becoming the classic 'Pushy Princess'. The Queen Mother warned your mother about this, and as we all know (to her disadvantage) she ignored the advice.

Do try to stop Meghan from appearing in magazines, grabbing the limelight, or becoming a patron of spurious charities; these things turn susceptible heads, and can only hasten ill feeling from 'her adoring public' (if she has one). 

If the press ever start describing her as 'The most beautiful woman in the world' (as they so often did with your late mother), then you really will have cause for concern. I don't wish to comment on the 'attractiveness' of either your mother or Ms Markle, but I'm sure you understand how well-intentioned exaggeration can easily have adverse effects.

Many thanks for the invite; don't get too pissed on your Stag Night. I'll be in touch!


Friday 4 May 2018

What a Mug!

Does this mug offend you? 

Other than the obvious fact that some silly girl has taken her clothes off for money; it doesn't offend me in the slightest.

Yet two volunteer RNLI Whitby Lifeboat Men have been sacked for using them (they were given as 'amusing' Secret Santa presents), and 4 (maybe even more) of their colleagues have also now resigned in protest.

It seems that their frightfully PC female boss was frightfully upset at seeing the frightfully erotic pictures on the mugs, and, having revived herself with smelling salts, sacked the evil bastards for their unacceptably sexist attitudes.

I'm sick to death with all this bloody nonsense. In my book it's the female boss who should have been sacked; not these guys who've served for 15 years as lifeboat men, risking their lives to save others!

Given them a medal; not THE BLOODY SACK.

Thursday 3 May 2018

Be oh so careful what you wish for!

Amber Rudd (Mrs A A Gill) has been hounded out of office over her department's illegal-immigrant policy, and the UK now has a new Home Secretary in the form of Sajid Javid. Sajid is already receiving racist jibes from the Socialists; they've been referring to him as a 'coconut' or 'Uncle Tom'. They really are charming.

There is no question that Ms Rudd was an efficient and hardworking minister. Unfortunately she made a few silly mistakes over her department's policy. I really don't think she should have resigned over it; but who could blame her. When Socialist (or Russian) knives are out.....

It should not be forgotten, however, that Corbyn's alternative to a Conservative Home Secretary is the charming Ms Abbott, who, as usual, doesn't seem to have an effing clue about anything. Here she is describing the alternative Socialist illegal-immigrant policy.

What a frightening prospect; this is no longer a joke. Heaven bloody help us!

Wednesday 2 May 2018

It's finally arrived.

For a while I was beginning to wonder if they'd lost my address; silly me!

So, here it is, our invitation to dress up in our finery, bring out the family jewels, and rub shoulders with some 'Spice Girls', one or two Markles from America, and a few Crowned Heads of Europe.

I see that the bash is set for Saturday 19th May, which, of course, is 'Market Day' here. So, as I may need to buy eggs and wine, it looks as if the dates will clash.

Eeenie, meenie, miney, moe.....

Tuesday 1 May 2018


I never learnt to ride a motorbike (I couldn't get the hang of changing gear), but if I had, I would ride something like this mean looking bogger above.

My bike would have to have a polished aluminium tank, no fairing, a simple (yet comfortable) seat, and all the mechanical gubbins easily accessible. It would probably be no heftier than 500cc. I would also remove the headlight, speedo, and front mudguard. Stripped to basics.

Mostly, of course, it would have to have 'Norton' written on the tank. This particular model is a 1974 Commando; and would do me fine! 

Yes, I can see myself going shopping on this baby; it's either that or an old shaggy-footed heavy horse, with saddle bags.

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