Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too Darned hot!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Keep your Cool

This reminds me of the dear dead days when I used to stay with friends in the Languedoc during a heat-wave. The sun was the enemy and the first up each day had to close the windows and draw the blinds to keep the heat out. If using the stove couldn’t be avoided - immediately afterwards we had to stick pans of cold water on the stove to cool everything down. At dusk we opened the curtains and the windows.

We wore loose floaty clothes in natural fabrics, flat sandals and kept our heads covered in the sun, which we avoided like the plague. Running water, greenery and shade were our allies. At night we preferred to sleep in single beds with cool cotton or linen sheets.

Do you have any tips for keeping cool in a heat wave?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irUlcLVS3FE - URL for video

Michael's Legacy

Amanda Platell was dismissive of any legacy Michael Jackson may have left when she appeared on the Andrew Marr programmme yesterday Watch and learn Amanda!

Amanda Platell

Later in the same programme Carlos Acosta the world famous ballet dancer -frequently compared with Nureyev and Baryshnikov, spoke movingly of his childhood in Cuba. He was the youngest of eleven children and he and all the street kids adored M J's music and his dancing. Although they couldn't understand the words it didn't matter and they all started to brake dance. Carlos's father was so impressed he enrolled Carlos in a ballet school aged nine - unheard of in that milieu. Now world famous in his own right, Carlos says MJ is his hero. and there are many young people all over the world who have been similarly affected

Carlos Acosta
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Signed sealed and delivered

It's lovely - not as lovely as Jimmy's (link's not working -see side bar)Gothic door but more animated.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27th

Today is Naomi's birthday. Why not pop over to Hollywood California and see what's happening?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson
Rest in peace.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I have some work to do which requires my concentration so reluctantly must book myself out for a while. It isn't just Wimbledon. Honest!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kids, Age and Sound Sense


There never was child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Adam and Eve had many advantages but the principal one was that they escaped teething.
Mark Twain

A sweet child is the sweetest thing in nature.

Charles Lamb

Life’s aspirations come in the guise of children.
Rabindranath Tagore.

Children are poor men’s riches.
English Proverb.

First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.
Lee Rosenberg

It’s not that age brings childhood back again; age merely shows what children we remain.
Goethe Faust.

It isn’t how long you stick around but what you put over while you are here.

George Ade

In me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
Bernard Baruch

Sound Sense
It’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce.
Author unknown,

Achieving starts with believing
Author unknown

God could not be every where, so he made mothers.
Jewish proverb

Bliss in possession will not last; remembered joys are never past.
James Montgomery

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Bientot!

M approved of The Dragon House and enjoyed his partridge, roasted vegetable Tarte Tatin and Panache of chocolate with vanilla short-cake and vanilla ice-cream. On Saturday morning he took me to the nursery so I could stock up with compost, and plants but helas we were too late for lobelia – first time ever. What with three heavy bags of compost I was thankful he is a big strong man.

Almost forgot – on Friday afternoon we met Sheila – she liked the house and we liked her and oh joy I am going to have weekly help in the house and more as she gets freedom. Back to Saturday – after lunch and a sit in the sun it was time for M to start the long journey home – a long drive cross country, an overnight stay and home in Tour the next day. Happily the whole family will come in the autumn - the children were disappointed that school prevented them from coming this time.

It was a lovely visit and well worth cancelling our ballet trip in Cardiff.

It’s the longest day today so mind you make the most of it and for those of you lucky enough to still have your fathers, hugs and kisses are mandatory.

New plants for beds if I can find space - otherwise pots.

Sweet Williams
Surfina - Blue Vein
Scaevola Purple fan
Tumbelina Susanna
Verbena Aztec

Compost - 3 for £10

A new rose - can't find the name.

This sculptural plant - Acanthus mollis I thought I had dug up but it has multiplied so it deserves to stay.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Did we buy?

Yes and no. The sweaters my DIL saw on line weren’t in the store... I think I have found this before but she wasn’t too fussed. Like MTL they are tea addicts so we bought lots of Earl Grey to take back to France. Now was the time to try out the M&S £10 meal for two comprising main dish, side dish, dessert and a bottle of wine. We found it confusing but a helpful member of staff talked us through it and we opted for beef roulades stuffed with spinach and buffalo ricotta with sweet vine ripened tomato sauce. Roasted vegetables were the side dish, the wine Chilean red and dessert Bramley apple pie. The chaps enjoyed it and thought it excellent value. I had tastings and wished we had an M&S in Minehead.

It was a surprise to discover there are now no TV shops in Taunton. After a visit to Starbuck’s we headed out of town to a complex which housed Comet, PC World and Curry’s. I had already done some research and although not au fait with the latest modern technology I knew we didn’t want plasma, we did want digital and – if possible HD. I also learned that it wasn’t vital to have Sony. Everyone was very helpful even setting up a DVD/HDD Recorder to make sure it didn’t hum too much.

I had got prices already from our local shop which I preferred to use if possible. We came home, had lunch (what bliss to have a chauffeur) and then walked to the local shop. I said we should play good cop and bad cop. No prizes for who played whom. In the end it wasn’t necessary we got a discount which would more than cover delivery and setting it up and moving my mother’s old Sony plus all the accessories upstairs and by next Friday all should be finished. Such a relief!

Sorry if this is beyond tedious but you might as well have the whole picture:-
Samsung LCD TV
Samsung DVD/HDD Recorder
Optimum Vision Stand

And he has agreed to remove the two defunct ones for free. I’m feeling buoyant – I have a visitor at 2pm who may be available to help with the housework and we are taking M to dinner at the Dragon House tonight. Have a good week-end.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Can’t stop…

We’re down to our last TV – my mother’s old Sony, so French son is whisking me off to Taunton to suss what’s available and buy sweaters for his missus (we can do something right over here.) I haven’t been for months so it’s a treat and I can stock up with make-up – unavailable here – Lancombe please note. Oops just checked the spelling and I had forgotten I’d changed to Clinique. Sun’s on high but it’s fresh. What to wear? Bye!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Mean Feat

I must remember to remove my toe-nail varnish before visiting the chiropodist tomorrow. She likes to see feet in all their naked glory. Thanks to Treva Sandals and Aigle boots I haven't been for months but it always feels blissful afterwards.
Talking of feet - Jimmy takes a size 14 - 16 in boots and has Japanese tourists queuing to photograph them.
I couldn't help noticing that Queenie had the prettiest feet I've seen on a grown woman; she said she now blesses her mother for not allowing her to wear stilettos
I dread to think what Victoria Beckham's feet will be like in later years but at least she can keep a chauffeur driven car in tow
.My boots are getting quite old now and (they are French) the firm seem to have stopped this particular style. They are as light as a feather and the chiropodist thinks they are great

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Another day another Blogger.

Well I can tell you that the Blogger I had the great pleasure of spending some time with yesterday is Queenie It wasn’t like meeting a stranger - I don’t think meeting a fellow Blogger ever is – but we had two mutual friends, so knew a fair bit about each other already and I have been following her blog from the start. If you aren’t familiar go and have a read.

She was en route to a holiday in Devon to have a rest and put finishing touches to her novel. She is already a published writer and being familiar with each other’s oeuvre, if you’ll pardon the expression, there was lots to talk about; the difference between writing fiction and non- fiction and our different work habits. I’m very envious of her intellect – she has three degrees (but you have Jimi Hendrix the French son quipped).
We were both in celebratory mode – you’ll have to read her post – both enjoy good food and wine and a giggle - so it was a great day out.

Thank you for all the good wishes re MTL’s ankle; its just one of those boring ailments that takes time, and one is torn between resting it and avoiding DVT. The next few days I am determined we are both going to do the absolute minimum so that when our French son comes on Wednesday we can be bright–eyed and bushy tailed.

If you are at all interested in the arts, the Midi and Picasso do yourself a favour and visit Naomi - you won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Busy busy.

Forgive me if I haven’t been round – I’ll catch up next week. MTL is still not fully mobile from straining a muscle, so I was shopping at 8am today. I must make a habit of it - much more civilised. Nice treat tomorrow when I’m meeting a blogging friend and we are both in celebratory mode. Cheers

Friday, June 12, 2009

The End of the Picnic

The tide is out. When I did talking newpaper I was always reading about trouble with the groynes on the beach which used toraise a few giggles

We didn't need our chairs.

Ou can see from the mud that the tide comes up here.

Here also.
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Margaret took this.

One of the creeks.

This is to th left of the quay.

When the tide is in these are afloat.
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The back of the cottages on the road back to Porlock. Note the washing line - perfect day for laundry.

The wild valerian was lovely and the misty haze is so Porlock Weir

That's Selworthy Beacon where I plan to be scattered.

Les girls - after the Shiraz.
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Pill box from WW2. Can you see the face on it?

There is something so pleasing to me about the lie of the land

I wish I could paint.

Back from the beach for my longed for ice cream. The only diappointment of the day - the shop was still shut so I bought a pearl necklace with a diamante ,magnetic fastening.

If Margaret sells her house this could be our last trip all together - but it was a good one.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It was my turn to drive and the girls wanted a picnic so I chose Porlock Weir – one of the prettiest places I know and an easy drive – apart from the bendy narrow road betwixt Porlock and Porlock Weir. It was a glorious day so I wore t-shirt and skirt and didn’t don my anorak all day.

The day before I vacuumed the car – hateful job - and cleaned the windows. I was not best pleased to find my bottle of Windolene useless – it left the windows smeary but Mr Muscle – Window and Glass - did the trick (their Shine is great for keeping showers sparkly.) Like the good consumer I am I tried to contact Windolene but it was too difficult.

I asked the girls to bring a small deck chair each and packed coffee and biscuits and a bottle of Shiraz for them and diet coke for me. We each took our own picnic – all healthy salads although I felt distinctly under water-cressed. Has it got some rare quality that I’ve missed?

We stopped in a leafy lay- by for coffee and the gods smiled and we travelled behind the local bus on the tricky bit – so all the oncoming traffic gave way and we sailed through.

The car park opens onto a grassy sward which becomes the beach and there are picnic tables so in the end we didn’t get our chairs out of the car. It was early so we set off on an amble. It was sad to see the lovely hotel where MTL and I have had many anniversaries had closed, but there is still a decent pub and a good restaurant with rooms.

Engrossed in snapping - the girls shouted to me and indicated that I should join them where they were chatting to some young builders - I have to keep a close eye on them but apparently the boys were converting an old building into a magnificent house for letting and they wanted to show off their handiwork.. They didn’t seem to mind us stepping over them as they carried on working and it was going to be fantastic. With the hills behind and the beach and harbour in front the setting was perfect. There were lots of skylights, pillars, super bathrooms and great floors. I was hesitant about taking photos but they didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Eventually I dragged the girls away and after a browse round the gift shop it was time for lunch.

More later

Porlock Weir

Pillars and skylights

The building inspectors

It's about to be furnished.
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Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Importance of being Tom

I never quite got T.S. Eliot – all that rock and water – but I had seen Robert Webb dancing in spandex (see below) and knew if anyone could help me to understand the poet it would be him. So I watched his My life in Verse on BBC 2. This year Big Brother and Davina will have to carry on without me.

It was a classroom encounter with The Love Life of J. Alfred Prufrock which awakened a life long passion in Robert. He was a troubled teenager having lost his beloved mother. He described the dream one has when one has lost a loved one and in the dream they are there and one is whole and complete. On awakening one realises they are gone and he likens this to Eliot’s poetry which makes him feel totally awake – and he felt ‘unlocked a door for him.’

Eliot’s modernism was a new way of talking about things although some thought he was deliberately obscure and Kingsley Amis described it as an exclusive club to which he didn’t belong. Robert discussed the difficulty of modern poetry with Clive James and they compared the best ‘pulling’ poems including some by E E Cummings which ‘couldn’t be read on air.’

Robert fell in love with his wife Abigail when she read him a poem she had written for him.

I enjoyed the film and found Robert to be a likeable, sensitive guide and it made me want to know more about Eliot the man. Luckily Arena has just done a programme on Tom so I could fill in the gaps. He was born in St Louis, Missouri but his forebears were from Somerset UK and as a young man he came to Britain.

In later life he said:

My poetry wouldn’t be what it is if I’d been born in England and it wouldn’t be what it is if I’d stayed in America. It’s a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America.

In 1915 aged 27 he married Vivienne and worked in a bank but she was mentally unstable and the marriage wasn’t happy. They separated and she ended her life in a mental home where he failed to visit her. He was by now a successful poet and a good hands-on publisher with Faber and Faber. It was here he met his second wife Valerie – 37 years his junior and his true love. They married in 1957 and had 8 happy years until his death in1965. He had always been a heavy smoker and although Valerie devoted her life to taking care of him his lungs eventually gave out.

The eternally running musical Cats was inspired by his poem McGonogle and Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row is said to be a re- writing of The Waste Land.

Ted Huges whose work was published by Eliot, when asked how he felt about him said it was like standing on a quay and seeing the Queen Mary coming towards you. He also worked with Tom Stoppard and W H Auden but rejected Orwell’s Animal Farm. Jeanette Winterson said he was a man who could hear the grass grow – such was his keen awareness of everything around him. He was said to be a brilliant poet and essayist but also a brilliant publisher.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature and he is commemorated in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. Ezra Pound was one of the first to recognise his talent – was blown away by the Prufrock poem and insisted it should be published.

T S Eliot has sometimes been accused of anti Semitism but Leonard Woolf, who was Jewish, judged that Eliot was probably ‘slightly anti- semitic in the sort of vague way which is not uncommon. He would have denied it quite genuinely.’ This was the fifties. In 2003 a previously unknown cache of letters revealed that in the early 1940’s Eliot was actively helping Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria to re-settle in Britain and America.

I vaguely remember The Cocktail Party – one of his plays in the West End in the fifties, but as someone said in the Arena programme no-one could understand his plays on a first viewing. On his death his ashes were buried in East Coker, from whence his ancestors had set out for America. East Coker is one of his Quartet poems and coincidentally is where we used to stay when looking for a home in Somerset.

Here is just a verse of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherised upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an over whelming question…

Oh do not ask, ‘What is it?’

Let us go and make our visit.

It worked for Robert.

The URL for the video below is:


Friday, June 05, 2009

Picnic Time

The sun is bright , the grass is riz, and I know where the daisies is.
I''m taking 'the girls for a picnic'. Wish me luck.
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZANKFxrcKU

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Train of Thought

My poppies reminded me of this song from my childhood - before WW2. Then I remembered it is the 65th anniversary od D Day on Saturday. Shame no-one thought to invite Her Maj.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The end of the Affair

I know some of you were disappointed not to hear what happened to that tragic couple Robin and Jenny.

LOM particularly felt the omission deeply and set about researching the story.. As a result she has printed the whole poem in its entirety. If you click on the link you will be transported to her vale of sadness. Be warned - tissues will be required.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Two Treats for Tuesday

I nearly chopped this briar because it was hanging near the clothes line. So glad Ididn't.

'Alas that Spring should vanish with the Rose!' Edward Fitzgerald 1809-1883

An Alium
Stand up stand up for...Karen - it never would for me.

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Monday, June 01, 2009


We have a new tenant. At first MTL said it was a small robin – which is odd when you read the poem below - but it is a wren. I think the poem is an old Irish folk song and it ends in tears so I’ve just kept the happy bit.

The photo gives no idea of how exquisitely tiny he is. According to MTL - it’s the male who does the feeding. Imagine how tiny the babies are. We feel chosen.

It’s the 1st of June. White Rabbits everybody!

When Jenny Wren Was Young

'Twas once upon a time, when Jenny Wren was young,
So daintily she danced and so prettily she sung,
Robin Redbreast lost his heart, for he was a gallant bird.
So he doffed his hat to Jenny Wren, requesting to be heard.

"Oh, dearest Jenny Wren, if you will but be mine,
You shall feed on cherry pie and drink new currant wine,
I'll dress you like a goldfinch or any peacock gay,
So, dearest Jen, if you'll be mine, let us appoint the day."

Jenny blushed behind her fan and thus declared her mind:
"Since dearest Bob I love you well, I'll take your offer kind.
Cherry pie is very nice and so is currant wine,
But I must wear my plain brown gown
and never go too fine.

House to let

Jenny Wren is in the building. Yippee!
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