March 27, 2015

on y va # qui mal y pense

 Toques et Clochers commenced with the vernisage of the arts show tonight.
No-one we knew won anything - indeed, hardly anyone we knew participated - so I snapped Kat in front of her pic not even waiting for the speeches and the free drink before leaving for Esperaza and the house of Max.
There a gaggle of international travellers assembled until hunger drove us out. The Normandy Moules Frites called and we ate massively and cheaply and not too badly. (The TyRex is closed; work is being done on the structure so with luck its going to be open again soon)
Conversation was broad based across many disciplines.  Marvellous to have such quality visitors.

There was an alarmingly sad note tonight. Jim Hankinson, friend and philosopher par excellence - who spent xmas with us - is in hospital, not having reached the airport for his return trip to his university in America. Car smashed and himself in it, two to four weeks in hospital. Will visit next week and report.

March 25, 2015

Clan gathering

Max was first in though still waiting for his luggage to catch up - The Scottish Daves drove down with their dogs - Toby and Leo flew from Amsterdam to Toulouse as did Dick and Bonnie (from Chicago) Not sure about the rest though Roy and Jo and Kat were already here, preparing the way...

We had the traditional brilliant first night at the creperie, with long-suffering Nightingale coping beautifully as ever.  Afterwards we went to Scottish Daves and continued being convivial.

---so, yes!! Its the Toques et Clochers weekend!! 

March 22, 2015

End of Limoux Carnival and end of Georges

Last day of Limoux carnival.

Some fairly random snaps... it was Etiennes first carnival and sad to say, the noise of the band upset him. He's probably a music lover.

 It was a jolly affair with some amusing spectacles. We got out just before the rain kicked back in.

Back at the ranch, I bunged on the TV to see the news and to my astonishment, there was Georges Pierru. It seems that he did kill his wifes' lover, strangling him before hanging him as if it was a suicide, see posts passim. Still find this hard to believe and was too surprised to follow the programme, which I'd come onto half-way through anyway. Helene Marty - estate agent goddess - was interviewed (he owed loads of rent) and pictures of our lovely town featured. Scottish Daves house was there as Georges lived in the house next door. An art agent lady was interviewed saying that she had begun by liking Georges' painting but ... she had some sort of personal problem with him though really she meant his work was patchy.
The programme concluded by saying that Georges will spend the rest of his life in prison. Let us hope that there will be a successful appeal.
------------ so sad, for everyone concerned.
Snapped this off the tele - Georges and wife plus the allegedly murdered lover.

elections and departures

 Its the time to elect the departmental leaders - jolly important, I would have thought, but us lot of foriegners are not allowed to vote. Local and European but not the layers in between. Why not? No-one I've asked seems to know. Will keep enquiring.
Should you not be foriegn and therefore able to vote, take a look at Nadines team, the Aude. Nadine is a tireless campaigner for green issues and a sensible woman.

Below are John and Margaret, off to Ireland till May. Bob left yesterday. I don't approve and its raining.

March 21, 2015

gate thieves

Whilst in Morrocco persons unknown stole our garden gate - here it isn't, gap-toothed in the fence at the top of the land on Mont Marot. Annoying for many reasons but firstly because now the hunt can easily swarm over our land killing what they will and my dear dog Lily looks like a young boar. One of the reasons we bought the land was so that she could have a safe haven.

 It wasn't insured so it'll have to be fenced across, which isn't the end of the world - but maybe it can be found? Its exactly the same as this one below, which is the lower entrance to the land.

If you see it lying around or are offered a cheap gate, will you let me know? Can easily test if its mine - I have the key.
Many thanks to Lou and Andy for the photos, I can't get up there at the moment on account of bad breathing with asthma.
---And a nod to Jean-Louis who installed the gates with Jenni; dead but not forgotten.

March 20, 2015

Thursday night, Friday morning....

  Louise at her sewing evening last night, which was as ever a gorgeous experience. Women chattering, mending and making - and drinking and eating and being occasionally daft (see above). Much gossip caught up with.

Below is a snap of todays eclipse, taken through the clever eclipse glasses I'd saved from the last one. Margaret and I were out drawing in our extensive landscape above Alet les Bains when it occurred - chilly morning but the day both brightened and warmed as we bashed out yet more art to an indifferent world.

 We saw goats and sheep and cows and raptors and tiny tiny daffodils and many unidentifiable flowers - and these two -

March 18, 2015

Slow update

 Been a bad blogger - missed noting Bobs arrival, Margaret and John's arrival, dinner at St Gobains; and the death of Gilbert Toustou.

Gilbert was an old friend, a Frenchman who made me welcome when I arrived here donkeys years ago. Charming and thoughtful. Our relationship was very challenged when Lily tried to kill him, about 7 years back - she leapt at him in the course of our morning walk on the mountain and he stepped back to avoid her, falling into a hidden crevase which closed over him. Shocking and terrifying. One minuite he was there, then gone. He was a good 6'4, so disappearing wasn't easy. His 'hareme', the half a dozen or so women he walked with, came into view and I ran to them asking if anyone had a mobile and to call the emergency services. I told them what had happened, they dug around, found him and pulled him out (with me screeching no! Dont touch him! His neck might be broken etc etc ) They clustered round and went off down the road half dragging him, leaving me trembling and in shock.

When I got home I had to know to worst so I looked him up in the phone book. He answered. Very glad I'd rung, he'd been trying to contact me - I'm  listed in the phone book under my married name and he didnt know what it was. He'd been trying to call me, worried because I had gone white and was obviouslly worried. There was no damage, he said,  just some bruising.

Then the mayor, General Lafite, caused a bridge to be built over the crevase, rendering it safe for future walkers should they be attacked by a manic dog. Gilbert and I would laugh when we bumped into each other there; I called it Pont Gilbert, he called it LilyBridge.

A couple of years back his son died of cancer and that knocked him for six. He stopped walking in the mornings. All the life went out of him. I suppose that 90 is a decent age but at the funeral today everyone, like me, thought that he just gave up after that.

The church was packed, there was a choir -!- and only one taped song, a rather tremulous tenor Panis Angelicus. Abbe Bigot did the eulogy with great affection and fond reminicences... all most touching. Gilbert did a lot of charity work and was known hither and yon for quiet good works. I'm not the only one who'll miss him.


This lunchtime Ryan and Alecia, Bob and I took Ettienne out for his first resturant lunch. Naturally it was the child-friendly and arty Creperie that had the honour of hosting him. 

He seemed very taken with Titas little girl in her new make-up (note Tita's new glasses, aint she glam??)

Personally I was taken up with my roquefort, ham and chip crepe. Below is Kevin in the kitchen...

 Cant resist showing off this egg  whisk. It was a gift from Andree this morning; it is an english egg beater from 1904 that used to belong to Andrees grandmother. Lovely - and functional - stylish machine.