Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Where were you when .........

I found this over at Dispatches from France and knowing how fond I am of a meme, particularly a stolen meme ... I stole it. But it was theft by invitation :o)

1) Where were you when Armstrong first walked on the Moon? Still a twinkle in my father's eye ... well not entirely true, more of a rather large bulge in my mother's tummy! She was in hospital waiting for me to appear. Eventually I arrived on August 14th I was 2 weeks late and she was suffering from dangerously high blood pressure. So I missed the moon walk but she saw it on the television as there was an Americna woman on the ward whose husband brought a telly in!
2) Where were you when you heard Princess Di had died?
It was a Sunday morning and I walked downstairs at about 8 o'clock, flicked on the kettle and went into the living room and turned on the TV and in that moment halfway between sleep and real wakefulness I couldn't work out what had happened. It was unreal. Martyn Lewis was making the announcements. I heard my mother coming downstairs, walked out of the living room to find her on the bottom stair and opened my mouth and couldn't speak. Nothing would come out. Total shock. I took her arm and pulled her into the living room. I remember crying ~ I thought Diana was wonderful. I had been an impressionable 10 year old during the royal courtship and had thought that this is what a real princess should be like. Had stood in the rain to wave to her as she drove through Wales after her wedding and had hated her husband for his betrayal of her.

3) Where were you on New Year’s Eve of 1999/2000? I was staying with Simon on the Isle of Man, it was my first visit there and it was cold, blustery and wet. Yet on the afternoon of the 31st the skies miraculously cleared and the sun was shining. At midnight we were sitting on the wall at the front of the house over-looking the beach watching a firework display above the water, drinking champagne cocktails! *sighs* The hangover lasted days :o(

4) Where were you on Sept.11, 2001? I was in school, sitting in the staff room at lunchtime. We were eating jam doughnuts (some body's birthday) and one of the guys I worked with had a phone call from his mother to say put the television on NOW!! The news programmes were talking about it being a devastating accident when the second plane hit. I think every one's life changed that day. And I mean every one ~ the whole world.

5) Where were you when you first heard about the big 2004 Tsunami? We were in France and suddenly the television screens were full of scenes of devastation and I remember thinking that an ex-boss of mine (who I am incredibly fond of) was there with her husband. The horror of the scenes that unfolded in front of our eyes was unbelievable and yet we were riveted to the screen that day. I watched the re-run of the Challenge Anneka ~ the Sri Lankan Challenge on Sunday evening ~ things are taking so long, too long to improve BUT the programme was wonderful.

6) Where were you when you first heard that Madonna would go on tour last year? Madonna went on tour last year? I didn't realise! I guess I was sitting here reading this. I'm sorry to say that I had more respect for Madonna when she was carousing ... I can't be doing with the whole macro-biotic, African child-adopting, children's literature writing, Kabbalah, squeaky clean version. Bring back the slut writhing in the church or with Jean Paul Gaultier tits!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yesterday afternoon

B ~ Mrs Langthorne?

Me ~ Yes B?

B ~ I've got a cock!

Me ~ *thinking not saying* Oh my God!! What did she just say?? *panic evident in the eyes*

Me ~ Pardon B? I didn't hear you?

B ~ I've got a cock!

Me ~ *looks around madly at the Nursery nurse and TA* I hope I mis-heared that! What did she say?

Kelly ~ *starting to laugh at me* She said she's got a cough Mrs Langthorne!!

Blog Fodder #9

This week’s topic was submitted by Rob, over at My Bloody Great Nutshell.

Name a sensory input(s) which trigger a mood change be it uplifting, depressing, poignancy or remind you of a past event or period in time. Examples - the smell of an aftershave or perfume, a song, a baby crying, the sound of a Vegas slot machine, the feel of clean sheets, the taste of a childhood drink.

Good question Rob ~ so many things ... the smell of my Gran's perfume, the song we all used to sing in the car on long journeys, the smell of cappucino in an Italian Cafe, home-cooked chips for a Saturday lunch-time treat.

But more than any other, the smell of vanilla ~ it always takes me back to making custard in the kitchen at home with my Nana on a Sunday afternoon. To serve with apple crumble. Or some other dessert that we'd made for tea. I spent Sunday afternoons baking with my Nan ~ Victoria sandwiches, pikelets or crumbles. Occasionally scones or rock buns. We'd all eat Sunday lunch together, she'd have a nap and then we'd hit the kitchen! Strange, it was my grandad (Dad's dad) who was the merchant navy cook, yet it was my Nana (Mum's Mum) who seems to have first interested me in cooking. Even now (25 years later) when I make a winter stew (not a casserole, that recipe is all my own) it's my Nana's method / recipe I use ~ stewing steak, onions, red lentils, parsnips and carrots, potatoes added fro the last 30 minutes of cooking to thicken the broth. Delicious!

Monday, January 29, 2007

The end of a long weekend

Busy here guys

Ironing Severe shaking and straightening as things come out of the tumble dryer
Golf widowing (you know what I mean don't you?)
Threshold application

Almost looking forward to going into school :o)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Unconscious mutterings #208


I say ... and you think ... ?

Limit :: Credit card
Voice :: husky today, sore throat too.
Change :: coppers in my purse
Expression :: in my voice when reading stories to children.
Tailor :: Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.
Lemonade :: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"
Thought :: think
Phoebe :: Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan ~ Friends
Impression :: Claude Monet
Sister :: Sister Act

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Blog Fodder #8

All the way from Melonie over at The Joy of Being Melonie.

How does one handle work, home and family (or a combination thereof) without having a nervous breakdown?

Gosh! Well you see, Melonie's got quite a juggling job going on :o) She has 6 children from 11 down and has recently gone back to college ~ it makes me wonder what I should be complaining about. I have no kids, a supportive husband and a fabulous job. But sometimes the daily grind is exhausting.

I realise that Joe Bloggs on the street still thinks that teachers work from 9am until 3.15, have an hour for lunch, have weekends off and take 14 weeks holiday a year ~ this is a slightly out of date and jaded picture. Most weekdays I leave the house by 7.15 and am rarely home before 6pm. This past week I had a staff meeting on Monday (home at 6.10), a Governing Body meeting on Wednesday (home at 8.45) and an IT twilight meeting on Thursday (home at 6.30).

However, the biggest bug bear I have is the daily commute along the A2 to work. The A2 is the main road from London to Dover and originally followed a major Roman Road ~ the famous Watling Street ~ which in itself followed an ancient Celtic trackway. It's traffic problems are never mentioned on the radio in the morning because they are always there! Sometimes the 15 mile drive takes me 20 minutes ~ what a joy that is! Other mornings it takes an hour. And the longest ever was a 3 & a 1/2 hour commute ... luckily I had a book in the glove compartment and had wee'd before I left.

The journey home is similar but at least I can leave early / late and try to miss the bulk of the rush. On both journeys I listen to music to keep me going ~ Radio 2 and the woderful Terry Wogan in the morning. Not only the music but the jokes, poems and witiscms of his readers help me along the way. Whatever CD falls to hand in the evenings ~ currently a great deal of Snow Patrol, the Feeling and of course Michel Thomas ~ the Spanish king!

So that's how I do it ... the bit that could cause me a nervous breakdown, the travelling. I listen to music, try to relax, keep a book in the glove compartment, carry bottled water and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wee before I leave.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A day at home?

tt cool flat
Thirteen things this Thursday morning is a list of websites I visit almost everyday!
    1. The BBC
    2. Question of the Day ~ legal nosiness!
    3. Google ~ personalised my end with the added addition of backgammon and googley eyes
    4. Radio 2 ~ catch up on the shows I miss
    5. Indigo's Daily trivia Game ~ except *gnash gnash* somedays I forget to go. And somedays I screw up the answers. But 10/10 today :o)
    6. RM ~ Our network was provided and is looked after by them.
    7. The Met Office ~ just in case of bad weather.
    8. Gmail ~ Never delete another email if you don't want to ~ do you want an invite? I have lots!
    9. Apple Film Trailers ~ I know I'm strange, but I love trailers.
    10. Hallmark e-cards ~ any excuse!
    11. Yahoo Backgammon ~ fancy a game?
    12. Flickr
    13. And this is of course where I cheat ~ my blogroll, which includes the duckster, a Kiwi or two, la Bella Stella and a somewhat mad Baggage to name but a few.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good morning?

Poker was a complete let down ~ the lovely Tracy cleaned up! Shattered this morning as I got home at 12.30 after a 50 mile drive. It's cold and we have a sprinkling (less than an inch) of snow ~ which means that the drive to work will be hell as no-one in the SE of the UK can drive in the snow!! The BBC is forecasting more. The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning.

You know when you have that sinking feeling :o(

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blog Fodder #7

And perhaps the author of this week’s topic is Karen, over at Write from Karen. The weather where she lives is treating her and her family and of course everyone else in her neighbourhood quite badly at the moment. Go and give her a bit of a hug will you please?
Which is more important, intelligence or common sense?
Oh wow! What a doozy of a question! It's taken me days to think about this before I even considered writing :o) And then I wrote a ream and Blogger lost it and I thought BOLLOCKS TO IT!! And I am answering this in one longish sentence, so here goes!
Common sense is more important than intelligence because without common sense you cannot act on your intelligence; but obviously a mixture of the two is best of all :o)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My face, who's face?

Driving to Suzanne's on Saturday morning I listened to Jonathan Ross's show where he talked about a website called My Heritage and their face recognition software! What a hoot!
Go on, have a go & then come back and tell us ... which celebrity do you look like?

Unconscious mutterings #207


I say ... and you think ... ?

Audition :: piece
Urgent :: fax
Lunch :: time
Adult :: grown up
Mug :: of tea
Awful :: terrible
Comics :: The Beano
Damage :: stormy weather ~ our TV aerial (we still have one attached to the chimney even though we hat satellite TV) shuddered all night long in the wind. And there's snow forecast for Wednesday ... joy!
Kicks :: Route 66
Experience :: trying things out

Saturday, January 20, 2007

And the survey says ....

Shamlessly stolen ... no shame in that, oh hang on, I just said, oh never mind ... from Laura over at Adventures in Juggling. And very handy it is too on such a newsless day!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Bleugh, a spot, you need more sleep, roll on summer ... all at the same time.
2. How much cash do you have on you? None, no pockets in my PJs
3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR? Floor
4. Do you label yourself? I try hard not to label myslef or other people ... but it's something that everyone does. Trying hard to be a cup half full kind of girl, if I have to label someone I will go for the +ve label and not the -ve one each time!
5. Bright or Dark Room? Umm, dark to sleep in and darkish to watch TV in. Light if I am cooking, reading or eating.
6. What is your favorite ringtone? I currently have Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire ~ love it! But before that it was the Self Preservation Society from the movie the Italian Job. That probably remains my favourite.
7. What does your watch look like?

8. What were you doing at midnight last night? Actually I think I was reading as I had woken up and was trying to go back to sleep.
9. Where is your nearest 7-11? No 7-11s in the UK, the nearest equivalent is probably the local corner shop ... open 7am to 9pm ... it's about 250 yards *points* that-a-way.
10. What’s a word that you say a lot? I curse .... oh and there's also these 13 things I say a lot
11. Who told you he/she loved you last? Simon!
12. Last furry thing you touched? Oh er missus! Umm ... Anne & Ian's dog Biggie, New Year's Eve's eve.
13. How many rolls of film do you need developed? None, been digital for a long time now.
14. Favorite age you have been so far? 27 was great ...
15. Your worst enemy? My will power
16. What is your current desktop picture?

17. What was the last thing you said to someone? Go back to sleep it's only 6.15
18. The last song you listened to? It was Sympathy for the Devil one of very few Rolling Stones tracks I actually like. It was playing on Radio 2's Drivetime show last night as I rolled up outside the house.
19. What time of day were you born? 7.20pm making me Leo with Pisces rising
20. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Curse, see #10
21. Do you consider yourself kind? Yes, bit of a sucker for a sob story sometimes
22. What’s your life motto? Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
23. Name three things you have with you at all times. Wedding & engagement rings, diamond earrings.
24. Can you change the oil in a car? Umm, no! Isn't that what the garage is for?
25. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? I put a note in one of my Christmas cards to a friend that I haven't spoken to in a while so that would be early December.

Go on, choose a question any question and answer it in the comments ... or just shamelessly steal the whole damn lot!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thirteen things going around in my brain right now!
  1. It's very early and I am awake again!
  2. It's blowing a hoolie and the Met Office have issued a severe weather warning ~ in Kent severe gales gusting 70 to 80 mph ~ for the whole of the UK except the Orkney and the Shetlands.
  3. Which is strange because Orkney and the Shetlands are far enough north to be used to winds at 70 to 80 mph in the winter! Aren't they? *braces email in-box for abusive emails from Orcadians and Shetlanders who'll say I don't know what I am talking about*
  4. I really don't know why I am awake at this god-forsaken hour of the morning. I figure that if I could stay awake longer in the evening I'd probably be able to sleep later in the morning. But because I got up so early, I'm knackered by 9pm and then go to sleep too early and yes you've guessed it wake 7 hours later.
  5. It does allow me to blog / do school work in the early hours.
  6. It is pissing my husband off majorally! It's nice to know I'm missed :o)
  7. The good news on the BBC this morning is that our hosepipe ban has been lifted ... it's been in place since last June. I could go and water the garden this morning if I wanted too BUT I think the garden has probably blown away!
  8. We're having pasta tonight ... need to buy tomatoes!
  9. I don't have anything for lunch and the thought of a haslet sandwich does nothing for me ... the sandwich shop at lunchtime then!
  10. Off to Su's on Saturday morning as long as she doesn't have the baby between now and then, there seem to be lots of new borns around at the moment. Feeling more than a little broody!
  11. Question of the day has moved ... Indigo has packed boxes and shifted across the Blue Nowhere to a new home. Pop over and answer today's moving question! I am quite pleased actually because now I can answer questions ... Haloscan would never let me play on the old site.
  12. Invicta FM have just told me that the A2 is stuffed already ... that means I have been writing this post for 2 hours ... good grief I type slow or else I've been pfaffing!
  13. Which means that I am likely to be late, so no chance of me updating any photos this morning and I am behind! Ah well, have a good day :o)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The text messages flew thick and fast yesterday morning. One after the other ... 1 child asked why my handbag was singing to be thoroughly dissed by another "what's wrong wid you? It's a text ain't it!"* Yes it was going home day! And he couldn't wait! :o) The first text at about 10.50 read

Nearly there, escape tunnel has been digged**, evasion practice completed just waiting for getaway vehicle and insane driver.
Mum'll be glad to be called that! But he wasn't going to get out that early .... there was a visit from the cardiologist and follow-up visits with doctors to arrange and then I believe that they must have released his room mate first because about an hour later I got

All I need is a baseball and a catcher's mitt
... solitary obviously wasn't suiting him at all! But get out he eventually did and I spoke to mum last night. He had been horrified at breakfast time by the antics of his room mate! My dad is a big coffee drinker ... 2 cups of strong (espresso strength) coffee needed in the mornings, more throughout the day. Well in hospital he's been allowed just 1 cup of weak coffee in the mornings. I think this is the bit of going into hospital he hates the most! So yesterday when they came around with breakfast his room mate had turned his nose up at the crackers and coffee ... wait for it ... opened a box at the side of his bed and taken out a baguette, some thick slices of saucisson, some butter *** and made a sandwich. Then the true sacrilege! He took his bowl of coffee to the sink and poured it away. Going back to the box he re-filled the bowl with what dad thought was the last of a bottle of Vimto that he had been drinking from all week ~ turns out it's good Cahors red!

Anyway ... he's home now and by this time of the morning he's probably onto cup number 2! So, "glad you're out Daddy ... don't drive Mum completely mad this week please, she's had a couple of days off and will need to get used to the Irish dancing again!"

* God save me from Estuary English!
** He can talk proper like what I does but he chooses not to.
*** Please remember that they were both in there to have angioplasty to clear clogged arteries!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Friends for dinner

... and unfortunately Jamie's not coming to cook for us and neither is that flirty-girty Raymond either. Nevermind, something simple and not too different for the oh-so fussy but lovely Steve and Ella ~ Toad-in-the-hole** with roasted onion gravy served with mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Straight to Aunty Delia for that recipe* ~ yummy for a Sunday!

But, why is it that when you want a recipe for something simple like Golden Syrup sponge pudding ... the one you bake in the oven (like my mum used to make) not the one that Delia tells you that you have to steam for 2 hours ... you can't find one anywhere? So it's Eve's Pudding without the apples but with Golden Syrup instead. But if Stephen wasn't so fussy it could have been Bill's banana butterscotch pudding instead!! That really is a recipe made in Heaven!

* frequently passed off as my own!
** guess what today's photo is going to be?!?

Unconscious mutterings #206


I say ... and you think ... ?

Episode :: series
Source :: Perrier, bottled at source
Jerk :: pull
Introduce :: meet
Ralph ::
John Goodman, King Ralph
Stare ::
Paddington Bear
Cast :: film
Scenario :: what could happen
Flu :: ill
Mad :: The Mad Hatter

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Toys for the blog

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary. If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

You Are only 28% Nerdy

You're a little nerdy, but no one would ever call you a nerd. You sometimes get into nerdy things, but only after they've become a part of mainstream culture.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm always glad to see a Friday ....

But this week I don't seem to have achieved much of anything at all! I've chased my tail. Juggled, but not really completed any paperwork. Lost some really important paperwork! *shit bugger bum arse* Filled in an incident form for a lunchtime supervisor who had been assaulted by an eleven year old! Yes, an 11 year old!! Taken complaint after complaint about IT in school. It's been bleugh but it's the weekend so HURRAH!!

My dad has been in hospital since Monday when he had another angioplasty, this time to clear his femoral artery. They had to remove a piece that was diseased but have unblocked the rest of it so DOUBLE HURRAH!! His French cardiologist has told my mother that having had all this work done on his arteries means they will be good for 20 years, so TRIPLE HURRAH!!! It will also apparently leave quite a jaunty little scar; he's decided to tell everyone that it's his war wound!

On Monday I came home from school with a headache that started somewhere around mid-shoulder and carried on all the way up to the top of my head ~ probably worried about my dad, you know subconsciously thinking about him throughout the day. The French medical system has so far been worth it's weight in gold. Far more efficient than the NHS in the UK and not as expensive or as un-navigable as my parents had been warned BUT this was still my 70 year old dad going in for an op and he just doesn't do hospitals! Ok now though as today he has been told to get up and about and move and excercise it, so they are obviously pleased with his progress. And, he can come home on Monday!! Another HURRAH for that I think!

Sorry about the topsy-turvy post, have a great Friday night everyone ... I'll leave you with a song to get you in the mood *dances off to make dinner*

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

A list of Thirteen Twelve Spanish phrases and an explanation I have learnt / am practicing this week.
  1. So for Christmas I received the Michel Thomas Spanish CDs from Simon. I had dropped hints that I wanted them but I also dropped hints about an iPod Nano and diamonds too and he unfortunately didn't pick up on those hints! All of the language CDs (Simon listens to the French ones on his iPod .... yes that's right he has an iPod) work in the same way ... Mr Thomas (who charges £18,000* for private instruction ... I'll stick with the CDs) links Spanish to English and you repeat and repeat the phrases over and over again ... so simple that even I am managing, are you ready for this?
  2. Es posible para mí ~ It is possible for me. I'm stressing the ible in posible as instructed by my mate Michel
  3. No es posible para mí ~ It is not possible for me
  4. ¿Es aceptable para usted? ~ Is it acceptable for you?
  5. No es diferente ~ It is not different.
  6. No es muy diferente ~ It is not very different
  7. Pero es muy impotante para mí ~ But it is very important for me
  8. Lo quiero ~ I want it!
  9. Lo tengo ~ I have it!
  10. No lo tengo ~ I don't have it
  11. Lo necesito ahora ~ I need it now
  12. Lo quiero pero no lo necesito ahora ~ I want it but I don't need it now
  13. Lo necesito ahora es muy urgente ~ I need it now it's very urgent. So I am practicing every morning whilst blogging ... that might help to explain my spelling over the next couple of weeks :o)

*That's NZ$50,551 Lisa!! But only US$30,000 ~ because you don't have to pay for his suite @ the Mayfair Intercontinental. Wait ... it says here that you get to pay for that and his airfare on top of the course fees! Yeh it's the CDs for me :o(

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One a day

Sounds like vitamins ... but Project 365 is all about a daily photo. One a day everyday until the end of 2007! I've started ... I was a little late but I hope to make up for it by the end :o)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blog Fodder #6

This weeks topic was brought to us by non other than Kim, over at Kimbofo. Kim asks
"what is your most memorable meal? Why?"
Ah bless, you know me, I'm not going to be able to stop at just one meal don't you? There have truly been soooooooo many ... fabulous memories where the food, company, scenery and the happiness all intertwine in my head and simply thinking back makes me smile, one of those private smiles that I don't need to share or explain to anyone. Ok ... here goes!
I remember, very faintly, a memory from my first ever holiday in France, actually France was part of the journey not the holiday as we were travelling through France on the way to Spain. It was the summer of 1976, British readers of a certain age will remember it as the drought year ~ not a drop of rain for 6 weeks, standpipes on the corners of streets for water ... well I missed most of it as we went to Spain for a month. It was quite an undertaking in those days and the drive down the RN20 from Le Havre to Tossa de Mar took nearly 3 days in itself. On the second night we stopped near Lalbenque just south of Cahors* and pulled into a motel, little cabins in a huge garden full of oak trees, fairy rings and cicadas. That evening, we went to the restaurant for dinner and not speaking any French** my mum pointed to a menu and waited with more than a little trepidation!
The starter came and it was incredible a huge pot of French Onion Soup, bread and herbs and onions had formed a savoury crust which completely sealed the top of the pot and mum had to cut through the crust to serve the soup. I remember the latent summer heat, the song of the cicadas and most of all I remember the sound as the spoon went through the crust, apparently my face was a picture and I remember eating a bowl of the gorgeous oniony, garlicky broth with its very own chunk of crust floating on the top. I have no idea what we had after that, no memories of dessert ... but anytime I am served Soupe à l'Oignon gratinée*** my first thought is for that faraway meal in Quercy.
Ok, 1 more I think ... what'll it be? Nearly 15 years ago I worked in a tourist office in the Médoc, South West of France and whilst there met a couple called Mickey and Françoise and their young daughter Mélissa. They were friends of the friends of my parents that I rented from and as such I saw and socialised with them a great deal. That winter they decided to get married and my mum**** and I went out for the wedding (with Tony ... the prospective son-in-law of the people I was staying with! It gets complicated doesn't it?) The wedding began on the Friday evening with a party (drinks and a few snacks) to decorate the salle de fête and then on the Saturday morning the celebrations really swung into action.
The wedding was at 10am and between the 2 ceremonies ~ legal and religious ~ we eventually left the town square at about 11.30. Off we went to a salle down by the lake for apéritifs for 200 ~ tiny little quiches, hot cheese souffles and tomato & anchovy tarts washed down with vin rouge, Kir Médocains and bucketfuls of Scotch whisky. I was already weaving by the time we left there at 1.30 for the wedding breakfast ~ a smaller more intimate gathering, with only 110 people sitting down to eat.
We sat down at 2.00 to a starter of salad Landaise ~ warm duck, crisp croutons, lettuce and a mustardy vinaigrette served with huge chunks of bread and then we danced. And then the second course arrived ~ crisp puff pastry parcels stuffed with creamy ris-de-veau.***** Then the groom borrowed a microphone and toured the whole hall introducing everyone, asking them questions, sharing little anecdotes, requesting a turn ~ my mum, Tony and I sang Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau ... the only Welsh song we all knew apparently ~ and then the fish course was served. I don't remember the fish course except that it was followed by a trou normand ~ a tiny dish of lemon sorbet swimming in Calvados, to cleanse the palate and work as a digestif.

Then the dancing, lubricated by bucketfuls of the local Médoc and Moulis really began, old-fashioned dancing ~ waltzes and tangos and polkas ... which of course gave everyone an appetite for the main course ~ whole goose breasts, roasted over sarments ... the dried clippings of the vines that surround this area. And we danced and ate, ate and danced and by the time coffee was brought around and the tables were cleared it was 8pm. My god the French can eat ~ 6 hours for one meal and my god what a meal! But of course the tables were only being cleared so that they could be relayed ... for the evening buffet and more guests. I got home at midnight. But our hosts stayed and shared a breakfast of onion soup (yes that old favourite again) with the bride and groom at 6am.

The next day was the clear-up party ... what constitutions they have ~ a little paté and rillettes, some saucisson, a few dozen oysters, steak grilled (just) outside over the sarments, dancing until midnight before the long drive home. But what a meal and what a privilege to see into French life like that.

* Little did we know that 25 years later this would become my mother's weekly shopping destination.
** Yep, not one of us spoke one word of French. Pas du tout!
*** Delia's got a great recipe if I've set your saliva glands a-sweating! It's exactly like the one my MIL makes.
**** Dad was still in treatment and a booze soaked French wedding was hardly the place to take him.
***** Worth following the link just to see how badly an automatic webpage translator can really be :o)

Monday, January 08, 2007


Just for you Mrs F .... a small snippet (most are packed away ... I'd like some kind of display cabinet) of my Oriental eating utensil collection! Including (from the bottom) Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I always knew I was a slut

Your Pickup Line is
"Hi will you help me find my lost puppy? I think he went into this cheap hotel room across the street."

eww! Sticky

Question / Plea for help

Does anyone out-there in blogdom / the blogosphere / on t'Internet know if there is a special way to create a sticky post i.e. a post that stays at the top of the blog and doesn't disappear when you post new posts? Other than the obvious and far-from-techie* method of putting a date on the sticky post 10 years ahead :o)

* Not that I want to be close-to-techie well not unless me as close-to-techie suddenly resembles Ashley Judd

Unconscious mutterings #205

I can mutter, mutter, mutter all the muttering day long

I say ... and you think ... ?

Incomplete :: unfinished
Bobby :: Bobby Darin
Chopstick :: collection
Trauma :: broken nail
Hesitate :: think
Leap :: jump
Magnify :: huge
Yards :: silk
Alexander ::
Fracture :: clinic

Saturday, January 06, 2007


So, I think we can safely say that my sleeping pattern is buggered! Awake at 1.50am ... I want to go to sleep and I can't! Got a length of 4x2 handy anyone?

Friday, January 05, 2007

*grabs for a tissue*

I turned on the car radio on the way to school yesterday morning and Fire and Rain was playing. Such beautiful words, they always make me cry . I know it's an oldie but its beauty truly is timeless and you've just got to I just love James Taylor.

Stress relief

Just in case you are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals.

Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

No one knows your secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

Calm now? See .... works for me too!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

tt Christmas whimsy resized
Thirteen of the things I have done over the last 2 weeks.
  1. Driven (well the majority was done by Simon) over 1200 miles. Mostly a week last Friday and last Sunday.
  2. Put up Christmas decorations, talk about last minute rush!
  3. Shivered whilst walking in the fog, taking pictures of the hoarfrost.
  4. Watched Simon cut wood and then fed the fire with logs.
  5. Opened Christmas presents ~ es bueno para mí ~ mine included a Spanish language course, some coffee-caramel candles and the new Take That album.
  6. Cooked a fabulous Christmas dinner for 5 ... our German guest said "I didn't know that british food could taste like this! it's wonderful!" See! Why does everyone always think that British food is awful? The bread sauce was particularly good ... but I'm waiting for the duck's technical support's recipe which sounds divine!
  7. Had a hair cut!
  8. Applauded (male ego-stroking) and provided hot tea whilst Simon and Dad built a pergola / car port.
  9. Laughed until I cried over the Vicar of Dibley and my mother and the tomato sauce bottle fiasco!! You had to be there but suffice to say her curiosity nearly landed her with an eyeful of ketchup.
  10. Cooked New Year's eve's eve dinner for 6. They were British and they know how good British food is!
  11. Came home and *smiles fondly* loved my broadband connection ~ *gets quite emotional* thank you Blueyonder ... you allowed me to download/upload my holiday photos. You can find them here! Yes it really was that cold ... and then it got a lot warmer :o) BTW, the road sign pictures are for a French language display in school.
  12. Spring cleaned the kitchen ... I know it's not really spring BUT it needed doing. The dining room is next on my hit list.
  13. Went back to work ~ yesterday for an hour or two, today *boo, hiss, sob* for good!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blog Fodder #5

This week, PractiGal, who apparently makes a mean spinach lasagne ... I have to admit that Sainsbury's makes my lasagne but this recipe looks good ... as a by-the-by, I wonder how much fresh spinach equates to 3 10oz packs of frozen spinach squeezed dry? Because after all, if you squeeze it dry it wont weigh 10 oz anymore and as I prefer fresh spinach, would I need 30 oz of fresh spinach because that would probably fill my kitchen! But I digress, back to the topic, this week PractiGal says

"tell us something about your in-laws, funny memories etc."

Ok, my in-laws ... I met Simon's parents pretty much at the same time as I first met Simon in person. Back in 1999 they lived in Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex and we went down to visit them on one of Simon's first visits over from the Isle of Man. We drove down from Kent and Simon knocked the door (at the same time informing me that he hadn't told them he was coming) ... no answer. He knocked again and we waited ... no answer. So he disappeared around the front of the house to knock a window. And you've guessed it, the door opened! I looked wildly around for him and then turned to face his mother. Who looked right down her nose at me and said "yes?"

So that was my first introduction ... not exactly funny, unless you mean funny in a peculiar way. Cold, frosty and a little intimidating to be honest. Anyway Simon arrived back from the front garden and things warmed a little, hugs/kisses for her darling boy but then she turned back to me and said in the same withering tone ... there's another corker coming ... "and you are?" Topping that off by asking me if I was "over 18 and solvent?" Things have improved hugely since then, she likes me now! To the point of asking me on the eve of the wedding if I really wanted to marry Simon because "you're a lovely girl and I can't see what you're getting out of the bargain!"

Simon's father died in October 2003, he had been ill for a long time before he died, but was a lovely gentle giant of a man with a quiet sense of humour. Parkinson's disease had made communication slow and difficult but every now and then a spark of what he must have been like in the past would show itself. One day, again in the house in Goring, Simon's mum was talking about what they'd been doing and was complaining about the amount of time spent watching sport on the TV* and she'd said something along the lines of "well, he watched blah, blah and I said blah, blah, blah and I asked him blah, blah, blah and he said nothing, he didn't answer and then he went to sleep. Didn't you John? And what did you want?" To which he replied "he didn't want anything," chuckled & turned the horse racing up. Dealing with my MILs ire quite effectively I thought.

At Christmas time 2000, the whole family went to Scotland for Christmas. Simon and I followed on Boxing day ... it was an enormous drag, right up the east coast to Gairloch (parallel with Inverness). For the first time in years the coast (right down to the beaches) had had snow, about 6 inches on the harbourside and the family were staying in 2 cottages on a hill above the village. By this time John was pretty much confined to a wheel chair and to get from the cottage to the village pub Simon's brother stood on the back of the wheelchair and snowploughed John down the hill. Both of them were laughing aloud and cheering with the excitement of it all ~ fantastic!

Here's a scan of the photo from the windowsill in the spare room of Simon and his dad larking on Clapham Common, probably taken in the early 70s. They had obviously gone up there en famille to get some fresh air / sun etc and had taken a frisbee with them. They are fooling around pretending the frisbee is a military award, standing to attention for the photo and the surpressed laughs on their faces make me smile everytime I see it ... I only wish I'd had a chance to get to know him better.

* I think it's genetic ... Simon is an addict too!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Oooh! I'll go and check now ...

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Are you sure the back door is locked?
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Unconscious mutterings #204

Better late than never .....


I say ... and you think ... ?

Resolution :: New Year
Happy :: New Year
Bubbly :: Champagne, Krug, non-vintage ... headache!
Kiss :: Miseltoe
Leather :: Fetish
Fancy :: Hugh Jackman, a good excuse for a photo, or two.

Pages :: Patricia Cornwell
Stupid :: Stupid is as stupid does.
Apologize :: Sorry
Secrets :: Yes, I know some and I'm keeping them that way!