Thursday 30 June 2022

The 3 month garden.

One of the first things we did on returning to France was to plant-up all the pots and planters. A home isn't the same without flowers.

We usually buy old-faithful Petunias, which will normally continue flowering until the frost gets them; but for some bizarre reason we couldn't find any. Instead I bought these Impatiens (below), which are OK; but not the same. We also have several potted Geraniums that have survived the winter and recently romped; they are now flowering like crazy.

I always go for blood red, with deep green leaves. It's the same with Roses, Geraniums, or Oleanders; I love that contrast. I'm not keen on pink or white; blood red is my baby.

We're only here for three months so no point putting in bedding plants. It's a different type of gardening, and the book is yet to be written. An opportunity for someone 'The 3 Month Garden'.


More nonsense.


I shall not go into details but some time ago a gang of very well organised Asian men were grooming young vulnerable white girls for sex in the Northern town of Rochdale.

These mostly under-age girls were ferried around and used as sex-slaves; having been plied with drink and drugs. This was a seriously nasty gang, and it involved many men.

The so-called ringleader of the gang was 51 year old Abdul Aziz (below) who was sentenced to 9 years in prison back in 2012.

Aziz was stripped of his UK Citizenship in 2018, and was to be deported to his native Pakistan on release from prison, but it has now been revealed that the 'Bleeding hearts, woke, liberal, human rights, legal brigade' have been successful in their campaign to have him remain in the UK.

These are the people who have criminal deportees removed from planes just at the moment of departure, who demonstrate against illegal immigrants being sent to hotels in Rwanda, and no doubt want the rest of the Rochdale Grooming Gang to stay in the UK.  

I cannot understand why this noisy brigade of 'do-gooders' are so vociferous in trying to keep such criminals in the UK. To me, the human rights of the abused children come well before those of Aziz. I wonder if any of the woke-brigade have protested on behalf of the victims?

And why are the Judges in UK courts defending criminals in the name of so-called 'human rights'? Time for change, lets get back to some form of common sense.

Come to the UK if you wish to benefit from all that she has to offer, but don't come if all you wish to do is commit crime; in which case expect to be sent back to whence you came.

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Garden Furniture

I suspect that most of us with gardens will have garden chairs similar to the one in my photos.

They look good at the shop. They look as if they're made from some exotic hardwood. And they are usually affordable.

But in reality they are poor quality and don't last too long. I'm not sure how many I've had collapse beneath me; at least four. After a few years they simply 'break', even when over-wintered indoors; as are ours.

This particular one broke yesterday. The seat's tongue-n-groove joints had rotted, and only through quick action did Cro not end up flat on the floor.

However, they're easily mended, and with a few offcuts, some glue, and half a dozen screws all is well again. Voila!

As Lady Magnon just said "Invisible Mending".

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Ana Kasparian I Don't Care About Your Religion

I'm posting this thanks to Andrew over in his Melbourne 'High Rise' apartment. 

No idea who this woman is, but she certainly knows what's what. I find it extraordinary that in 2022 people who still believe in gods and devils can dictate to others about 'reality'. A 'clown show' indeed; well said Ana!

Monday 27 June 2022

Those Tomatoes.

On the 15th May, about two weeks before leaving for France, I planted four Tumbler Tomato plants in two wall mounted planters. 

The plants have done amazingly well. They are now covered in flowers, and already have a few small Tomatoes forming. You need to look closely at the photo.

These are 'Tumbler' Tomatoes, and as the name suggests they eventually hang down over the sides, and produce plenty of Tomato tresses. 

With them already starting to produce fruit, I'm wondering if there'll be anything left in two months time when we return to the UK.

Some of the leaves are looking a bit yellow, I may have to ask someone to feed them.


Sunday 26 June 2022


Some time ago my sister in NZ sent me details of her DNA analysis, which, logically, I presume would be the exactly same as mine.

How accurate these things are I don't know, but I have no reason to doubt their findings, other than one particular bit which I shall try to ignore.

According to their findings I do seem to be more Welsh than I am English; but this really doesn't surprise me. They estimate that I am 44% Welsh and only 27% English. I'm almost thinking of joining a Welsh Male Voice Choir.

More surprising is the Scandinavian connection. I'm really quite pleased with this as Lady M is half Swedish, and we have other Nordic relations. My youngest son's wife is also Swedish. I was amused to inform her that we both have mutual Scandinavian blood flowing alongside our otherwise exclusively blue tinted stuff. 

So, that's it. When next I'm asked about my 'nationality' I shall reply that I'm Welsh-boyo-English with a smidgen of Viking. Sounds good to me! 

Saturday 25 June 2022


Comments have no relationship to visits.

As you can see from below, I tend to have anywhere between 800 and 1,000 visits per day, but often very few comments; especially if my subject matter is particularly tedious. I suppose I'm also guilty; I do visit many pages without leaving a comment.

I'm not in the habit of looking at my stats, but I do very occasionally.

I find that most visitors come via Chrome, and they are Windows users.

They mostly live in the UK, US, France, Canada, and Australia. They do also come from other countries, but in much smaller numbers.

I have never blogged in the hope of huge visitor or friend numbers. I do know people who use Facebook almost exclusively for that reason; their number of 'friends' bears no relation to reality. They click to invite friends just to see the numbers rising.

Blogging for me is a combination of discipline and externalising thoughts. I like to get something off my mind each day, and I enjoy the daily ritual.

As I do normally try to reply to every comment, if I was suddenly to have over 100 comments, my days would be filled, and I wouldn't be able to cope; so I am happy as I am.

Friday 24 June 2022

Julien Clerc - Partir (2002)

Julian Clerc was always one of France's better singers, one who I often thought could have made a name for himself outside of 'the hexagon'; but it never happened.

I always liked this particular song about 'getting away from it all'. It has a summery feel about it, and this up-tempo version (without the tedious intro) is probably the best; although I doubt whether many people will enjoy it. Too French.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

How Strikes Work.

Firstly you need to be a Union Baron with a grudge; usually against an opposing political party and its leader, in order to call a destructive strike. Pretending to be looking after the interests of your members has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

In the early 80's a major strike lost its Union about 200,000 members' jobs. They too pretended that their actions were in defence of their members.

Now in the early 20's, the effect will be spread further afield. To bring a nation's travel to a halt affects more than just those who travel by bus train or plane; it affects everyone in peripheral jobs everywhere. 

As they sit atop their high horses in sharp suits, it is very easy for the Union bosses to demand high pay rises for their members, but as everyone knows such an increase in wages causes either unemployment, or a lack of investment in infrastructure or development, or both. Trying to match inflation to wages is always counter-productive.

The man above is Mick Lynch, a self pronounced Marxist. He is the leader of the powerful RTM Union. He claims that his Union's current strike is a 'class struggle'.

The banner they are holding (below) explains a lot. Lynch wishes to cut profits. 

Well, Mr Lynch, has no-one explained to you that 'profit' is what separates success from failure in business? No profit means no business, no employment, and no service! It doesn't take a lot to understand that; even for an old-style Marxist. To say 'cut profits, not jobs and services' makes no sense whatsoever.

Lynch will be happy to cause as much disruption as possible. He will be happy to see scuffles between the Police and his more unruly acolytes. He will also be happy to see considerable unemployment as a result of his actions which he will then blame on government; as did the joker who lost the 200,000 jobs back in the 80's.

Lynch is well named. If he'd tried this caper in his beloved Soviet Union, they'd have had him hanging from the nearest tree in a flash. 

Just be grateful, Mick, that you live in a very liberal, non Marxist-Socialist, country.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Shock! Horror! There's a mustard shortage in France.


Just in case your French is a tad rusty, this sign says that there's a limit of one pot of mustard per household. Rationing!

In fact the whole shelf was empty yesterday morning, so I presume there's been panic buying, and hoarding.

I blame Putin.

Monday 20 June 2022

A few things from the Garden.

I don't think I've ever seen this Lavatera with so many flowers; it's awash.

The Day Lilies are out, but the nice red Oleander is still being hesitant.

This plant came from my late Mother-in-Law. We look after it very carefully.

The Urn by the Pump House. It has aged beautifully.

And finally a view of our best Peach tree. I just hope we'll be here to eat them all. It is covered!

p.s. I hear that my 'Tumbler' Tomatoes back in Blighty are doing well, and are in flower. It looks as if someone will have a crop; maybe us!

Sunday 19 June 2022


What is your ideal home location?

With the current heatwave, I got to thinking (yet again) about the perfect place to live. Here are my simple criteria.

1. A range of temperatures between a minimum of 10 C (Winter), and a maximum of 25 C (Summer).

2. Fertile soil with rainfall at night only.

3. Reasonably priced vernacular housing, with sensible planning regulations, but little bureaucracy.

4. Within easy reach of water; preferably a coral atoll.

5. An attractive and friendly native population.

6. Zero crime rate.

7. Easy access to fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and red wine.

8. No snakes or mosquitos.

9. Reliable internet access.

10. No other UK ex-pats.

Sadly there is no online site where I can process these desires to discover where my Shangri-La can be found. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Saturday 18 June 2022

June is bustin out all over - Carousel 1956

We're already half way through June, so time to listen to a few men in knitted fishing hats, and women in crisp white pinafores, singing their hearts out. Enjoy.

Friday 17 June 2022

I turn my back.....


Four strange things happened yesterday.

Firstly after I'd been shopping, I returned to find half of my lovely Parasol Pine tree on the ground. It has totally ruined its shape.

Secondly I bought a nice bottle of Armagnac as a 'thank you' gift for my friend Claude, then when taking it from its bag in his kitchen, I found it to be empty with the cork missing. What had happened to it I have no idea, but I do know that the car smells like a distillery. I have now replaced it. You can imagine how embarrassed I was!

That fallen branch now looks like this...

Thirdly, the wretched Cat that had found its way into the barn was finally ejected. We cleaned-up the mess and prayed to the God of Mischievous Moggies that it now stays away. It was lucky not to have starved to death.

And lastly I was given the name of a nearby mechanic who mends garden machinery; Rory needs a couple of new blades, and I can't unscrew the nuts. I phoned him, he asked for some details of the machine in question, and he'll come next week. A miracle. Getting anyone to do basic work in this unemployment hot-spot is like pulling Hen's teeth.

Thursday 16 June 2022

Early mornings


There are two very good reasons to go mushrooming as early in the morning as possible. Firstly there's the likelihood that no-one has already visited my 'patch' before me, and secondly it becomes far too hot later.

Yesterday morning I left the house at about 6.30 am (5.30 am UK time). It was already nearly 20 C and very humid.

I got what I'd wanted, and Lady M photographed my return (below).

These are Girolles, a very fragrant and delicious, pale orange/yellow mushroom. Normally I would make a lunchtime omelette, but I think I'll fry these tonight, incorporate some cream and white wine, and serve them tossed into spaghetti. It makes a lovely dish that is usually only ever eaten by those who gather their own mushrooms.

And here's the proof; a really delicious dish of spaghetti with Girolles. Lady M declared it to be 'very good'; as did I. 

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Spot the difference

As we are not here permanently, I am having to cut back any invasive greenery that might otherwise climb under, or dislodge, roof tiles whilst we are away.

This evergreen plant by the 'Pump House' was sadly getting a tad out of hand, so I decided to act.

I removed the top half completely, trimmed what remained, and re-discovered an outdoor lamp that I'd totally forgotten about. It was hanging by 1½ bare wires so it had to be thoroughly checked, cleaned inside, new holes drilled into the wall, then re-attached. Amazingly it still works!

I don't know if it looks any better or worse than before, but my mind will be at rest knowing that the roof tiles will be OK.

This particular roof was my very first attempt at roofing. I did everything from the block-work upwards, I think it still looks pretty good.

And here's the lamp, wires replaced, screwed back onto the wall, and working! I remained un-electrocuted; Hooray.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Phew, it's a stinker!

From what I read, we're about to have a heatwave. This week temperatures are set to nudge 40 C. Far too hot. Yesterday afternoon was already too hot to work outside. I do love Summer, but this is too much.

So, we'll be eating simple salads for both lunch and supper, drinking chilled wine, and spending most of the day in the pool. We'll be keeping well away from direct sunshine. Hats will be worn.

As Noel Coward advises 'The sun is far too sultry, one must avoid its ultry-violet rays'


Monday 13 June 2022

La Bicyclette (Adrien Moignard & Antoine Boyer)

Those who can remember Yves Montand's original 1968 version of this song, will, I'm sure, enjoy this.

I have such admiration for those who play the guitar so beautifully. Moignard and Boyer do a wonderful job on their acoustic guitars. What more could one ask of them?


I'm not sure if you can see from my photo, but this antique wooden carved candlestick had originally been painted in a strange dun coloured, greyish-brown colour, that has now mostly disappeared.

When I was at college most of our painting from life, or still-life, was done either standing at an easel, or sitting on what I think were called 'Donkeys'.

'Donkeys' were a type of long stool or bench that you straddled, and propped your pad or canvas at the far end.

Traditionally at the end of the day, you scraped your palette clean, and deposited the multi-coloured scrapings underneath the far end of the Donkey. After a build-up of paint, it could be scraped off and used as background colour, to take away any vestige of white on your canvas.

The colour when mixed homogenously was amusingly known as 'Bench-end'. 

I was handling the candle stick recently, and came to the conclusion that its original colour was indeed 'Bench-end'. Whether or not this came from an end of day build-up of unwanted colours is not known.


Sunday 12 June 2022

Paula Rego.

Paula Rego was of Portuguese origin, but chose to live and work in London. She was without doubt amongst my favourite late 20th C painters.

She died this last week at the age of 87.

Her work is often described as 'unsettling'. Her use of rather bizarre looking dolls, rather than humans, goes through much of her work. In the studio shot above one can see many of them arranged for painting, and in the works below they all appear again. 

She was a good draughtsman, and her style of painting was strong and fluid; almost masculine in many respects . She preferred an expressionist approach rather than anything too realist. It is her subject matter and composition that stands her apart. She was an excellent colourist.

So, farewell Paula. We never met, but I'm sure I would have liked you. You leave the world a far better place thanks to your consistent hard work. Not many of us can claim that.

Saturday 11 June 2022


Like most Englishmen, I do enjoy a few rashers of good bacon for my breakfast. It constitutes a major part of what has become known as a 'Full English'.

Here in France bacon comes in many guises; my favourite being this one below.

It can come 'vacuumed' into packs of four thick slices. It can also come in the form of packaged thin slices of 'ham', but given the name 'bacon'. And it can come as a lump of smoked belly pork (poitrine fumée) which is how I tend to buy it; in slices. However it comes, I always try to buy it 'smoked'. Look at that lovely smoky colour.

Bacon is child's play to make. I have made it myself many times (see below), and it involves just a lump of thin-end belly pork, salt pepper and sugar; I have never smoked it myself. It is ready to eat, or leave to dry, after just four days. There is no need for any chemicals, or injections of water; just basic ingredients and a short amount of time.

Like good sausages, bacon should be simple, not produce 'goo' when fried, and it should taste like an old fashioned country kitchen.

Incidentally; my home-made bacon above is just as good eaten raw (like Parma Ham) as it is fried for breakfast.

p.s. If you are interested, my detailed recipe for bacon can be found by typing 'home cured bacon' in the white search strip, top left.

Friday 10 June 2022

Bugg*r; I've bin nabbed!

It's a horrible feeling. You're driving along, trying not to get lost, and desperate to reach home as quickly as possible; then some anonymous machine says "say cheese", and a bloody speed camera flashes at you. "Oh sh*t"; you say, and start wondering how much those few extra illegal Kph's will cost you.

I'm not a speed merchant. I'm never in a hurry, so a speeding ticket is a rarity. In fact they say I was doing 81 in a 70 Kph area. OK, maybe I was. Guilty m'lud.

So, my little peccadillo will cost me €45 if I pay within 15 days, or €68 if I leave it for more than 15 days. If I don't pay before 45 days it will cost me €180. I shall go to see the lovely Sylvie, who runs the nearby tobacconist (where such fines are paid), and I'll pay it at once. 

Damn, bugg*r, blast, f*ck, sh*t, bugg*r, bugg*r, bugg*r... Right, I feel better now; I needed to get that off my chest!

And here's my receipt (below). The lovely Sylvie took my money, and made me say 10 Hail Marys. It's a strange way to pay fines, but it's always been thus; you pay at the tobacconist.

Thursday 9 June 2022

The Next Tory Leader?

I have been notoriously wrong with my predictions concerning Conservative Leaders, so I shall try once again. 

Rees-Mogg maybe, or Dishy-Rishi, or even Gove? There are plenty of exceptional political minds to choose from.

Some might remember that I championed Rory Stewart as a future PM; and look what happened to him. By the way, what DID happen to him? Whatever is was, it was such a waste!

One has to presume that Boris will relinquish his position at some stage or other, and those of us who are interested in such things are once again making predictions.

Amongst my favourites for the position is Penny Mordaunt. A female political Pitbull who doesn't suffer fools gladly. She is bright, has a good head of hair, and can savage the most tenuous of opponents. She also has a fine turn of cynicism, which is surprisingly refreshing.

All that remains is to see if she wants the job. Here she is (below) in full flow making the Labour Deputy Leader look like a hypocritical dimwit. Do watch it to the end; she's an impressive lass.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Poem for a Hermit

All I desire is a comfortable chair

an ancient home

a warm hearth

a wireless 

and a black and white dog.

I have no need for a mobile phone

a wide screen TV

an X Box

a super-fast computer

a car that can go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds

a virtual reality headset

or an E-Car or Scooter.

But, hang on

I hear my phone 'ping'

I have messages on WhatsApp

my laptop is calling me

my answerphone is flashing

the scammers are pestering

everyone wants a bit of me

I can no longer resist

I've lost control.

© Cro Magnon 2022

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Prince Regent.

Now that the jubilee is behind us, wouldn't it be timely if H M The Queen declared Prince Charles to become Prince Regent? 

One has to face the facts that The Queen, at 96, is no longer able to fulfil all her official obligations. She has mobility and pain problems, and at her age she deserves a rest.

Charles's duties would be slightly increased, but he has proved himself perfectly capable. He will soon be King, so an interim period as Regent would serve the country well. Now that he has a stable and hard-working consort, they could stand-in for H M The Queen seamlessly; although I imagine that Camilla would remain very much in the background.

I await The Palace to declare what I am suggesting a.s.a.p.

Monday 6 June 2022

Things we've been missing.


Firstly we've really missed pukka sausages. I cannot understand why 99.9% of all UK sausage-makers are incapable of simply mincing Pork and stuffing it into casings, without adding all sorts of 'extenders' and chemicals. 

Nothing could be easier, simpler, and tastier, that a pure Pork sausage with slight seasoning.

I did become quite used to the best that Sainsbury's had to offer, but they cannot compare to 100% Pork.

One of the other things we missed was good French Patisserie. Something as simple as a Strawberry Tart is so much better here than elsewhere. Maybe it's the Strawberries, maybe it's the pastry, or maybe it's the Crème patissiere. Whatever it is, it certainly makes a difference. 

These were delicious, and were consumed for our two-person street party.

Since the stormy weather and accompanying downpour, we have a few Girolles in the woods. Oh how we've missed just popping into the woods for our lunch!

This photo (below) is taken from a previous year. I forgot to take a photo of my yesterday's haul.

Sunday 5 June 2022

Getting there!

The biggest headache is always the pool. Will it be swamp-like and filled with algae? Will some creature have fallen in? Will the pump and filter still work? The problems that could befall it are endless after an absence of nine months. Taking off its over-wintering cover is always stressful.

Luckily all went well. The water is still a bit opaque, but that will go in time. The temperature is now around 24 C, and as you can probably see by the photo, I had just exited after a very refreshing swim.

Our other major headache was the long grass everywhere; it was extremely depressing compared to how it was left last October. Still, after a week's work, and some help from our good neighbour Claude, it is now cut short; even if it is a horrible beige colour.

We've had some serious rain, so the colour will be back in its cheeks again before too long.

We're getting there!


Saturday 4 June 2022

A local Farm.

These Cherries come to me via the kindness of my good friend J. 

I have known FIVE generations of his family, and they are the closest thing to 'relatives' I have in France. J's wife even taught my two oldest children when they were at school here.

J is a farmer; these days concentrating on Sunflowers, Chestnuts, and Wood. He also has several holiday 'Gites'.

Yesterday when picking the Cherries, I had a quick look around the main body of the farm, which is about 1 Km from our own house. 

The big farmhouse is no longer occupied; his Mother died a few years ago, and no-one seems to want to move in, although they tend it lovingly. The barns are all used, and there are fruit and walnut trees everywhere.

I took these few photos showing how life used to be not so long ago, before Brussels got their hands on things. Firstly the old bread oven.

Next the family well, which was fed from rain from the roof of the house.

The old Pigsties. Not used for many years.

And lastly some of the buildings, including two wooden cladded Tobacco drying sheds; still used, but no longer for Tobacco. The building in the middle is the one with the bread oven behind, and was where all the dough-making, and food preservation took place.

Friday 3 June 2022


Did I ever mention how much I hate the colour orange? 

It's my least favourite colour. I would never wear orange clothes, buy an orange carpet, or hang orange curtains.  

Nor, frankly would I use for my French internet connection if there was a viable alternative.

The British telecom Co 'Vodaphone' is a world leader, and after its acquisition of the German Co Mannesmann they were ordered by Brussels to sell the telecoms Co 'Orange'. France jumped in, and France Telecom bought Orange in around year 2000. Brussels didn't like the idea of a UK telecoms Co being so all-powerful. 

Whilst back in the UK recently, from Oct 2021 to May 2022, my internet connection (BT) didn't fail once. I've been back in France now for almost a week and already the bloody connection is at best 'hit-n-miss'. A huge area hereabouts was recently without the net for a whole day.

As I write it very erratic. On, off, on, off. It's ridiculous. This morning we've had some distant flashes of lightning and a few even more distant rumblings of thunder. AT ONCE our connection fails. What the hell is wrong with these people? They couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

My hatred of all things orange, especially, has been enhanced.

Thursday 2 June 2022


The kettle's on. Jellies, sickly cup cakes, Coronation chicken, Battenberg cake, and Cucumber sandwiches are being prepared as I write. Street Parties will be held throughout The Kingdom (and abroad) to celebrate H M The Queen's remarkable 70 years reign on the throne. Silly hats and bunting will prevail.

What an amazing woman. I'm filled with admiration for her.

I read that 12 Million people will be attending those Street Parties, 85,000 major events have been planned, there will be 200,000 special lunches, and throughout The Commonwealth another 600 will take place (I expect there will be far more).

Souvenirs are everywhere and even the crown on the pint pot is making a return, in celebration.

I still have our official booklets from the original Coronation back in June 1953 (when I was 7), although I notice that the one below is priced in dollars; it must have come back from Washington. I'm not sure where my own one is, but I know I still have it. I also have two other original souvenirs; I have a small metal throne, and a lovely die-cast six horse drawn golden carriage (in it's very tatty original box).

So may I wish you a very happy Jubilee Your Majesty, we shall be munching on Cucumber sandwiches, and raising our glasses in your honour! I think even the anti-Royalist killjoys are secretly proud of you too, and will also be sipping a glass of Orange Squash in your honour.

Wednesday 1 June 2022


This (below) was a normal sight back in the 70's, 80's, and into the 90's. As soon as we heard the bailer we'd be out there with our pitchforks either neatening the rows or throwing the new (rectangular) bales up onto the trailer.

Lady M (below) was even known to drive a tractor pulling a trailer piled high with bales. When she shouted "How do I stop this blo*dy thing?", we all laughed and walked away (as one would). We rescued her later!

It was a Laurie Lee view of life in the countryside, and we loved it. These days people (other than some of us) wouldn't lift a finger to help a neighbour. But then, not many neighbours make hay these days anyway.

My lovely neighbour Claude baled our grass for us, and we did our bit by putting everything into rows, and tidying. 

It was hot, so after a quick plunge into the icy water, we later retired to the banks of the pool for a glass or two of 'rouge'.  Such is life.


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