Friday, 8 September 2017

Five On Friday - The One Where I Show My Legs

Suzi of Alternative Ageing recently wrote a brilliant post about older women wearing shorts.  Being 55 and having less than perfect legs.... scars, wobbly knees, varicose veins and no ankles, (according to a former boyfriend!) I wear shorts on holiday, where nobody knows me, but I've never worn them to pop out to the shops say, or down the pub at home.  That changed a fortnight ago when temperatures reached the high 20's for a few days.  I was wearing my shorts around the house and needed to pop out, I couldn't be arsed to change and as I'd slapped some fake tan on a few days earlier I didn't think my legs could be too offensive ....could they?   

I need longer arms or a selfie stick...note the return of the 'Deidre' neck!

Anyway, after a liberating trip to Screwfix, where no one gave my legs a second glance I've decided I'll be wearing shorts again and bollocks to anyone who thinks they are 'age inappropriate' (dreadful phrase) or vulgar as my pins aren't perfect.
  Do you wear shorts? Let me know in the comments what you think.

Something I wouldn't been seen dead in, in public (unlike some Tesco shoppers) are pyjamas!  These Sainsbury caravan 'jamas were bought for sleeping in.

I couldn't resist them and thought they'd be just the thing to take to my van... in spring and autumn it can get un peu chilly at night.

After a summer of shite and shows featuring sex-mad millennials on TV I was more than pleased to see the return of Inspector Montalbano. 

 The Sicily portrayed is stark and sparsely populated (where are all the tourists?) but the skies are blue (always a mood lifter when you live in the UK) and Dottore is not bad either !  Subtitled, it's screened on BBC4 on Saturday nights. I need to catch up with last week's episode as I fell asleep whilst watching it, being rather jaded after an eventful day at

My Cousin's Wedding

I travelled across to Bristol last weekend for the marriage of Christopher and Emily.
  I gave a reading during the ceremony, mingled with guests whilst photos were taken, then stupidly cut myself rather badly on a glass between my thumb and index finger.  Fortunately there were lots of guests with medical training...a cardiologist, an anaesthetist two SRN nurses, an armed response policeman and a 999 call operator!  The general consensus was that I needed stitches, so unfortunately I missed the meal, speeches and happy announcement that two will become three early in the new year, as I was sat in Cleveden Minor Injuries Unit.  The staff there were marvellous and after a short wait I was steri-stripped, bandaged and on my way back to the wedding in a taxi, being entertained en route by the driver, whose previous occupation involved touring with pop stars. By the time I was deposited back at the venue he'd furnished me with the name of the biggest bitch in the industry. 
I don't have many photos of the occasion as I was absent for quite a while, but here I am at the end of the day with my cousin, (the bridegroom's sister) Vanessa.

Fortunately I've done no lasting damage and was able to drive home.

 I did remark to my family that there weren't many presents left at the wedding venue and was told this was due to the online wedding list, as the retailer delivers them straight to the couple's address. (I'm so last century!)  No impersonal present from me thanks very much, I gifted them some unusual Mr & Mrs mugs and personalised teaspoons 

I also put together this idea that I shamelessly stole from Pinterest and wrapped the lot in brown paper tied with vintage lace.

Last week a friend suggested a trip to The Depot in Lewes which screens French cinema, so it goes without saying that I was up for it.  We saw Back To Burgundy, (Ce Qui Nous Lie in French - What Binds Us) which tells the story of three siblings reunited when their vigneron father dies and leaves them his vineyard.  It wasn't the best French film I've seen and I tend to agree with The Guardian review here that it lacked depth and drama, nevertheless it was a pleasant enough film and the vistas of the French countryside were glorious.

So that's what I've been up to recently, how about you?
  Linking this post to Tricky's Five On Friday.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Scavenger Hunt - August

I was away for last month's hunt and some of the following snaps were taken on my trip.
The challenge of finding a suitable and hopefully, unique subject is always enjoyable... a couple of them were tough ones though!


Soaking up the rays at St Gilles Croix de Vie 

It begins with an M

A Merry-Go-Round, also at St Gilles

Time for

However I was expecting something slightly more substantial than this paltry €12 platter.  
I won't be frequenting this establishment again.


 Yeah I know it's a cop out as I work at an airport but inspiration failed to arrive.

It begins with an O



 Norman, one of this year's foster cats


 This one had me stumped until an 11th hour brainwave....
the neighbours' Lacecap Hydrangea.


An East Grinstead railway bridge. I thought the mellow brickwork looked striking against the blue sky.


This was the last category to be found in my hunt and failing to find a more interesting subject means that in desperation, I am posting the startlingly obvious.... postman!

My own choice

 This scene is so typical in France.  A group of pétanque playing men measuring the distance of their boules from the cochonnet.

 Apologies for a fairly mediocre selection of snaps, I know I've said it before but I really will try to do better next month!  Thanks as ever to Hawthorn for hosting.

Linking up with  at I live, I love, I laugh.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

It's Nice To Go Trav'ling...

....so said Frank Sinatra.  He also said it was 'so much nicer to come home',  err.... not if you discover a leak under the bathroom basin less than ten minutes after stepping foot back over the threshold and the following day your microwave goes bang .  These things happen I suppose, but I did wonder if I should have stayed in France and after three weeks there, I really didn't want to come home.

I would normally post a travelogue after my trip but I'm concerned that you might be finding them tedious after so many visits to Vendée.  Instead I'm posting a few frivolous thoughts and observations about life across the channel.   

 Mireille Guiliano famously wrote some years ago that French Women Don't Get Fat, but has she been to rural France lately?  Let me tell you, it is a myth that all young French women are chic, skinny and well groomed...they are not.  I saw plenty of overweight women whilst I was there, dressed in unflattering leggings, baggy and over tight tops, devoid of make-up with scraped back hair.  However, there is this notion, perpetuated by many a blog writer, that les françaises wouldn't be seen dead without looking effortlessly put together.        Of course the women I saw may have been tourists but one thing was certain, they were all French. Perhaps British actress Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, an honorary 'froggie' (she was awarded the Légion d'honneur no less) whose views on French vs British women were not well received in some quarters, should get herself down to Le Pays de la Loire as I think she may be slightly out of touch. The stylish and elegant women that I did notice, were locals going about their daily business and mostly over 60.  I wish I'd taken some sneaky photos but I was concerned that I might get caught and offend.

Another thing I've been noticing for a while is how much Anglais has crept into French, something I think is a terrible shame.  We all know about le weekend, le sandwich etc. but du hard discount ??  WTF!       
  L' Acadamie Française has tried to prevent anglicization of the French language, but it doesn't seem to be having much luck does it?  

  Little dogs seem to be everywhere in France, is it a trend or are small canines favoured over the channel?  

I've often read that Paris is a dirty city, I've not been there in decades so I can't comment, but here in the UK I feel ashamed of the litter and fly-tipping that blights our towns, cities and villages.  Litter is not something I noticed in rural France and I remarked upon this to a British friend that I met while there.   We noticed that chewing gum had been jet blasted from les trottoirs, fag ends were absent from the pavements and bins were not overflowing.  Dog poo is very much in evidence though!

As I age, (and I've recently celebrated another shocking birthday, the one where you can take a lump sum from your occupational pension) I'm finding it takes longer and longer to make myself presentable to the outside world.  Sometimes I will just dash out without a scrap of make up, but usually the very least I rely on is mascara and lip gloss.  France is generally a lot more expensive than the UK so I checked out the beauty aisles at the local supermarchés and was pleasantly surprised.  I'm too tight to pay top dollar for high end beauty brands such as Caudalie, La Roche Posay, and Nuxe ...as lovely as they are and rely on less expensive (read budget) products.  I wondered if it was possible to find anything in my price bracket in French supermarkets and found quite reasonably priced cosmetics, mascara and nail polish €3.99, eyeshadow €4.99, sitting alongside the pricier brands such as L'Oreal and Bourjois.  I also found myself a great lipstick in Lidl for €1.29

   A friend took this photo of me after viewing my attempt of a selfie and informing me that my neck looked like Deidre Barlow's!  Thanks mate.
Here's Deidre...for any non UK readers she was a famous character in a soap opera, now no longer with us.

Finally, I discovered some fantastic Gallic tunes on the radio and this one, a big hit from les années quatre-vingts is a favourite. The video was directed by controversial filmmaker and photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino.  Enjoy.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Photo Scavenger Hunt - June

If I ever manage to publish this post it will be a miracle.  After weeks of computer problems and internet speeds slower than an arthritic slug, umpteen phone calls to my provider (...Plusnet, you have not 'done me proud') and to BT, my issues are still not resolved!.  If I do manage to get connected at all, everything takes eons to download, lucky then that I started to draught this post before the problem started.  I've a telecom man coming next week...wish me luck.

So here we go with this month's Scavenger Hunt snaps, thanks go to Hawthorn for some interesting prompts.

Setting Sun

 This sun was setting five years ago in Cornwall...didn't get around to finding an unobstructed sunset this month.

Local wild place

Mill Lane, Felbridge just a mile or so up the road....it would be a lovely tranquil spot if inconsiderate drivers did not park up lakeside with their engines revving and boom boxes blasting.    Crikey I've turned into an old person.

mug of fave drink in garden

 Not a mug or a garden but tea is my favourite drink, only 'builder's' will do.   I cannot function without my morning cuppa and so teabags are a must in my luggage on my travels to France.

My kind of beautiful
  I'm no petrol head and am generally bored rigid by cars, but I can appreciate design flair and Citroën had it in spades when they commissioned the DS in the 1950's.  I'm also no fan of personalized number plates but I'd put up with this one.  Funnily enough I spotted this car in the street en route to my weekly French lesson.

Look to the skies

I was getting the washing off the line when I happened to notice these birds perched all in a row on a neighbour's TV aerial.

Mini beasts

 This slimy fellow was spotted whilst I was gardening so I shot inside to fetch my camera before he slithered off.


Go away!

Something summery

 The first rose of the year!

Urban wilderness
 I struggled with this one and didn't manage to capture anything this month.  After trawling through my archive I found this photo of an abandoned car in Croatia taken a few years back and thought it kinda fitted the bill.

My own choice

 I've just returned from France where I entertained the first visitor in my van, friend and ex colleague Debbie.  We enjoyed many a Kir Royale in the sultry early evening heat. 

Linking with  I live, I love, I craft... and hoping to be firing on all cylinders next time.
Wishing you all a great weekend.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Five On Friday

It's Friday again so I'm linking up with Tricky Wolf at FASTblog with five random things about my week so far.


 Regular readers may remember a while ago that I purchased a salwar kameez in preparation for the walima of a colleague.  Here I am in the staff car park (not exactly looking my best after a 12 hour shift and a rub down with a wet wipe) before heading off to the celebrations.  We were treated to a fabulous selection of curries and a breathtaking display of Bhangra dancing.

New Shoes!

I've bought some much needed every day new sandals.  Due to my awful bunions which I am rather conscious about, I look for a soft design that cover and hopefully disguise them.  Now I'm wondering if they are frumpy?  Sod it I don't care, they are comfy and I can't be arsed with heels anymore.

Poor Service

Image result for penstemon

At the beginning of April I saw some plants advertised in a magazine and duly sent off for them as they seemed a good deal.  Hah!  Was I naive in expecting my order to be despatched promptly?  After four weeks I hadn't heard a word and wondered if my order had even reached the company.  Around that time I received my bank statement which confirmed that the cheque sent, had still not been banked.  A few days later I had cause to phone my bank and so also enquired whether my cheque had been presented yet.  The bank confirmed that it had.  By this time, (four weeks after my order was sent) the company had sent me a promotional catalogue but still no word about my order. 
 I called their head office.
The employee I spoke with told me that I would not be receiving my order until the end of June as the penstemons had been very popular and were out of stock. The tone in which this information was relayed was as though I should have expected this and no apology was offered at all.  I pointed out that if there was going to be a significant delay in processing orders, perhaps it would be good practice to let customers know, especially as by now, more than a month after my order was placed, they had managed to send two of their catalogues but still not a word about my order!  
Suffice to say, I will not be ordering from Hayloft Plants again.
What do you think?  Were my expectations too high or do you agree and think the service was poor?  In the end my plants arrived a couple of days ago....with two more bloody catalogues! 

Another Furry Foster Friend

I have another feline visitor!  
 Norman, a friendly chap with FIV has come to stay for a while until he finds a new owner. He eats like a horse, makes a funny mouse-like squeak and has an incredibly smelly backside.


I've knocked up another mini cat blanket for the Cats Protection which makes three now.... that wool stash is seriously diminishing.. 

 For some reason my camera has turned cerise pink into bright red!

New Crochet Project

On the subject of blankets...I've finally started on a crochet blanket for my van in France.  I bought the yarn a while back in the Wool Warehouse sale and had better get cracking, I want to take it with me when I drive to Pays de la Loire at the end of July.

I always have the radio on in the car and whilst driving around Vendée three weeks ago, I heard this on Nolstalgie, a station which plays golden oldies. It's been playing inside my head ever since my return. 
 Who, like me, is old enough to remember it?

Friday, 26 May 2017

Photo Scavenger Hunt - May

I'm so pleased to have recently stumbled upon another Photo Scavenger Hunt, this time at
 I live,I love,I laugh ..... and I've enjoyed looking for subjects from Hawthorn's May list. Here's my choice.


Taken at the cathedral of Notre Dame, Fontenay le Comte, France.


 The village green at Godstone, Surrey taken on a frosty February morning.


 Residing in the fruit bowl for far too long, this one was almost on the turn!
 With smoked salmon and a wedge of lemon it made a tasty... and healthy lunch.


I shot this in my village during early spring on my way home from a night shift. 


Looks like woodworm have made their home here. 


 I thought a blurry image was more interesting than one in focus for this shot of my friend Juliette crocheting...she agreed to be photographed only on the proviso that I would not show her face!


 The Selfridges Building in Birmingham was completed in 2003 at a cost of £60 million,
the facade is covered with 15000 anodised aluminium discs.


These second-hand suitcases were displayed outside a vintage shop....again in Birmingham.


Legend has it that the number of breaths it takes to blow off all the seeds of a dandelion head that has gone to seed, is the hour number. 

If blowing seeds is not your idea of telling time, consider this:

"The dandelion is called the rustic oracle; its flowers always open about 5 A.M. and shut at 8 P.M., serving the shepherd for a clock." 


This guy was busy videoing his mate who was riding the waves off the coast of
St Gilles Croix de Vie, France.

I'm off to check out the other scavenger hunters and next month's list .
Have a great weekend.