Tuesday, 24 January 2012


I went with a large group yesterday evening to La Saigonnaise in Quimper to open the festivities of the Chinese New Year. We had a really good evening, the food was good, and they did a little dragon dance, just for us!

You can just see my blonde fringe behind the nearest lady above!

And today I went to l'Instant T, a nice little restaurant that does lunches (I lunched with Yves there last week) and teas, and had hot chocolate and a slice of gâteau breton au caramel au beurre salé, with another small group! Delicious. This is a photo of their very comfortable tea room:

Sunday, 15 January 2012


I came across this video in another blog I was reading just now. It made me laugh, it also brought tears to my eyes. My blog is refusing to embed videos, you'll have to click on the link, but do, it's worth it.


I looked up Bob Hope's biography. Looking at his facial features I wondered whether he might not be of eastern european origin. No, he was born British (maybe he retained a British passport later, who knows), in London, in 1903. He moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents to the States in 1908. He died in 2003, a couple of months after his 100th birthday. His name really was Bob Hope. Apt, really.

Monday, 9 January 2012


I went for a blood test this morning. I don't mind blood tests, what I do mind is that in France we have to do them "à jeun", which means without eating anything beforehand. I hate getting up, washing, dressing and going out in the fairly early morning without anything in my stomach. I don't know why this is, I don't think that in England, for instance, you have to have an empty stomach.

Just routine, to get a prescription of my thyroid pill and see what my blood sugar levels and cholesterol are looking like.

It's so mild. I went out in a short sleeved t-shirt (to make the blood sample easier) and a light cardigan this morning, barefooted in thong sandals (Fitflop ones, you know? the ones that are meant to firm up your thighs? they do actually, I hardly ever wear anything else).

I'm keeping to my resolutions - my blog is up to date, the http://onefrenchword.wordpress.com one, and people seem to like it. I have lost over two kilos this week, and I've done some gardening. In fact, I'm going to clear a space tomorrow to plant a row of broad beans.

On Saturday I went to a performance of a version of West Side Story, done on percussion and xylophones, vibraphones etc, with four voices. The music was absolutely fantastic, I didn't realize that that sort of keyboard percussion was so versatile and attractive. And physical, the woman playing at the front of the stage certainly didn't need to go to the gym after her performance, she was all over the place. The whole thing took place behind a sort of metal mesh curtain, upon which was projected the story line in the form of sort of cartoons. It was excellent. What was NOT excellent, however, was the English of the singers, particularly one of the men, whose accent was laughable and spoilt the whole thing. If he's touring France doing an English-language show, shouldn't he have had coaching beforehand? Trouble is, he evidently thought his English was great.


This is a video of the^percussion group, no singers, doing something else, Bach, or an arrangement, but it does show their virtuosity. I'm having no luck embedding it in my text, you'll just have to click on the link. I hope it works, I can't check it before publishing.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


For the past two years, and up to last October, I had been fetching an organic vegatable basket in Loctudy, some 20km or more from Quimper. The vegetables were good quality, my basket cost me 8€ a week, but I had no choice, it was all prepared in advance, and although if you told them you really hated a certain type of vegetable (chard in my case) they'd change it, you always got a lot of root vegetables for instance in winter, that are not as pleasant to use as salad and tomatoes in summer. When the price of fuel went up, it was costing me a ridiculous sum of money just to go and fetch my basket, all the more so as I stopped off at the organic supermarket near the farm and did my weekly shop there - superb quality, but pricey. So I opted out in October.

I was a bit lost at first, I had to make "decisions" about what to buy, instead of just taking what was given to me, and I'd lost the habit. I will not buy vegetables in supermarkets, I try not to buy vegetables that come from outside France. Which meant I had to go to a small vegetable store, with fairly limited choice and which was again, a bit expensive. I still go there sometimes.

Then I heard about a farmer's wife three kms down the road who sells vegetables, not organic vegetables, but fresh. Three times a week, she has a little shop in her barn. You can choose just what you want, she has a good choice, and is sooo cheap!

A couple of days ago, I bought 4 leeks to do in vinaigrette, a huge cooked beetroot, three red onions, a bagful of spinach, nice small leaves, a large bunch of parsley, a green pepper, four or five carrots, all for 3€.

I did cooked oysters with spinach, cream and gruyère that night. Have a look at my new blog project http://onefrenchword.wordpress.com for pictures and the recipe.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I went down into town on Monday evening to be present when names were drawn out of a hat for our new tournament. For the SECOND time, I drew the champion of the last tournament. I don't know what message the universe is trying to send me... he was there and insisted on playing immediately. Our first game lasted 10 minutes, the second 35 minutes (I'm pretty proud of having withstood so long), and there we are, the tournament is finished for me. We are forty one players, how I manage to draw the champion all the time is a mystery.

I'm doing quite well on resolutions. My new blog http://onefrenchword.wordpress.com is on schedule, which is more than one can say for a lot of people who were in the starting blocks with me, and I have quite a few followers. Have YOU signed up yet? Please do, just click on the follow button at the very top left hand of the page if you find it challenging to fill in a form to follow via email. The result is the same. I really want you to see what I'm doing.

I've lost 2kg since getting back from London (or rather, to be honest, since leaving for London, I don't think I put on much weight over Christmas, we eat nice healthy stuff and I didn't drink a lot).

I took Ellie to the vet yesterday for her vaccination, and she'd put on weight too, so now she's on reduced rations prior to a serious exercise campaign.

And, third resolution, no gardening until today, for the simple reason that I wasn't about to get soaked and catch pneumonia just to keep to a resolution. We had a ray of sunshine this morning (gone now) and I went out and cut back my raspberry canes, and the rather long top shoots of my eleagnus hedge. Took about ten minutes, but that's sufficient !

Monday, 2 January 2012


Haha, it's a bit like Charley Brown and the football (Lucy invites him to kick the football and whips it away at the last moment, but he always gets caught...), making new year's resolutions. We know they'll get whipped away, but we make them anyway.

So mine this year are several (like that maybe one will get to survive?):

1. I'm going to take more care of my body than my mind. It's so much more difficult. But I'll try. Not quite sure how. Yesterday, 1st January, I missed lunch, not so much to avoid calories, rather that I was not hungry. So that one was easy. No outdoor activities (a little walk on the beach for instance) were possible as it chucked it down all day. Today the sun it out, so it's decision time.

2. I'm going to do a minute little something in the garden each day. Even if it's just taking the secateurs down with me when I pee the dog, and lopping the top off something.

3. I've taken on Project 365 on Wordpress, which involves posting once each day on my new blog. If you haven't visited it yet, go and sign up, it may even interest you.

OK, bets are open. Which resolution will last the longest? Which will I drop first?
That's easy, isn't it!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


It's been so long since I last posted, I'll try to do better this year. As I write, the rain is teeming down, but it is really mild, enough to go out without a coat if it weren't for the rain. I've just got back to the Finistère from spending Christmas in London with Nicholas, who spoilt me rotten with good food, comfort and tlc. I nearly didn't get there at all, since my Belgian housesitter was caught up in the Belgian general strike and couldn't make it. Luckily a very kind friend here in Quimper moved into my house with his son to spend Christmas here and look after my animals.

And I had a bit of a problem getting back from London too, my plane arrived 40 minutes late at Charles de Gaulle, I had to wait 35 minutes for my luggage (which one has to reclaim and transfer oneself when leaving from Orly) so I missed my connecting flight, the last one to Quimper that day. Endless queueing, explanations, transfer to hotel for the night, paid by Air France luckily, so having left Nicholas' flat at 10am Thursday, I didn't get home till 11am Friday (Tokyo-Paris would have been quicker!).

No festivities for New Year, just a dozen oysters and a glass of good white wine, followed by duck breast and chips. Quite an acceptable end to the year.

One important thing I did in November was to go down to Paris for the evening/night for Paul McCartney's one and only concert in France 2011, first time I'd seen him live. Nicholas came over from London for the evening to accompany me, very jet set, and we had a very good evening. Sir Paul is very good value, he performed for three whole hours with incredible energy and good humour. His voice hasn't changed, and he is very fit, thanks to a vegetarian diet I expect. But as I said to Nicholas, easier to be a vegetarian when you have a cook to do it for you!

In the last three months, I have been quite active in the creative sector, but I'm only just starting to write it up on my arty blog http://crafthanded.wordpress.com . Do go there now and sign up to receive blog entries in your email box, like that you can keep up with what I'm doing effortlessly.

I've also started a new blog today, in which I am going to try to keep up a post a day. It's called One French Word http://onefrenchword.wordpress.com . You can sign up for that one too! I need the encouragement of having followers. What I've decided to do is to take a French word a day, explain its meaning and pronunciation, and give a few examples of how to use it. BUT it's going to be a FOOD word, and I shall attach to it a recipe and hopefully a photo. This should be of interest to far more people than just vocabulary and grammar. Tell me how you find it.

Happy New Year !