Sunday, April 30, 2006


Yesterday, we made like tourists and took a cruise up the Orwell River. Here are some pictures.

Ipswich docks

Felixstowe docks and yacht

The Orwell bridge and two dead ships.
Today, was a lovely day. The weather was lovely, the sun shone, it was warm. Before lunch we had kir royals in the garden and after lunch we played bat and ball and French cricket in the garden.

BUT Would you let a man who wore sunglasses like this into your home?

(YES, he is my Father in law)

So far, so good!
Dodgy glasses nothwithstanding!

Friday, April 28, 2006


I went with Nicola today for a long walk along the river Deben at Woodbridge with her wonderful dog, Clem. As she is a new friend, I filled her in on the history of Andy's Dad. But Nicola is far too good for me because she tried to make me see the good side of the man, saying things like 'don't you want him to be happy?' and 'why don't you try to see the good in him' and furthermore, 'maybe he did all these things out of ignorance not unkindness' and 'you've got into rather a negative cycle with him' and 'instead of looking at all the things he doesn't say, respond to the things he does and TELL him and don't wait for him to take an interest in you, just tell him stuff' (Lucy hangs her head in shame)

She's right. It was making me feel a bad to slag him off to the whole of blogland, it made me feel uneasy. The sort of feeling you get at school when you've been bitching about one good friend to another good friend and then spend the whole of the weekend worrying that they are going to tell each other what you've said and then both hate you on Monday! (hahaha, I'm sure I never did that after the age of maybe 13).

So, I changed my attitude. When I got back from Nic's I took him to Ipswich town centre and we ambled around the shops together. He was very positive about Ipswich, saying how lovely the buildings were and how friendly the people are. AND THEN HE BOUGHT ME LUNCH!

REALLY HANGING MY HEAD IN SHAME NOW. I phoned Andy and told him 'we're going to change our attitude and start enjoying spending time with your dad'.


My friend Julia, who is secret lurker on this blog (Hi Julia), emailed me to say that the Andrew that I played tennis with on Tuesday could have been Andrew Castle. I googled him, and it wasn't, but I sure wish it had been. He's GGGGGOOOOOOrgeous!


I have a question for all the women out there (and the men with men boobs).

Do you wear a bra at night? Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker wore her bras in bed in Sex and The City, I began to worry that maybe I should have been doing that all my life? Does it stop them from sagging and getting caught in your arm pit when you are an old lady?

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Well, you know I said I was impressionable? Well, on Tuesday night I went to play tennis as it was club night. I partnered this rather good looking guy, with small trendy rectangular glasses, called Andrew (the man, not the glasses). Anyway, I did notice that he had a 'presence' around him. Thought maybe he was a doctor or something. Today at women's tennis, Nicola said to me, "you know that guy you were playing tennis with on Tuesday?" "Yes", I said. "Do you know who he was?" "No, but he was very good looking" "Well, I heard someone say to him 'I saw/heard you interviewing Natasha Kaplinsky yesterday' " .

That's it. I don't know who he is. Any ideas? Have you seen a good looking man in his late 30's/early 40's on telly recently interviewing Natasha Kaplinsky? If so, it was the guy I partnered on Tuesday. That wasn't worth waiting for was it?


I so want to record my father in law speaking so you can witness the torture I have to endure having him here.

me: Andy climbed Mont Ventoux last week on his bike!
him: Oh, where's that?
me: Provence.
him: How high is it?
me: 2000 metres
him: Ummmm (working it out in his head). That's about 6 and half thousand feet, not very big.
me: (speechless)

me: We have a nice outlook here don't you think? (over fields)
him: When we lived in Lydiard we looked out over fields, had a great view.

The man does not know how to take a personal interest in anyone/does not know how to hold a normal conversation. When he turned up yesterday, the first thing he said was (after giving us a run down of his journey with exact costs of all the public transport he had taken), is (looking at the garden) "Don't you find it depressing?" "What,?" "The weather, I've 0nly been here a couple of hours but it's so dreary in this country, it's depressing" (me: Oh FUCK OFF BACK TO SPAIN THEN!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


A man came to mow our lawn today! Blimus! What a job, I think our (rented) garden is about an acre. He had to go between all the little graves with smaller mower. He was looking a bit hot!

My father-in-law is coming today. He lives in Spain and he comes over every year at the same time because he HAS to avoid the fiesta in his village! That about sums my father in law up! Now, as Thumper would say (before Betty completely corrupted him in one of her blogposts), 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.' However, I think Thumper has been irretrievably corrupted by what he saw in Betty's blog so I will say some not very nice things about him.

Andy's parents split when he was about 15. Initially he left with his mum but then chose to come back to the 'family' home and return to his school and his friends. But things were not good at home. His father is a very selfish and self centred man, who spent most of his time doing exactly what HE wanted. Not only is he self centred but he was VERY strict and had a VERY bad temper. He was also spoilt and very tight with his money. He is still all of these things. Holly, our eleven year old didn't know that she had a grandad until she was about six! We didn't bother to tell her there was a Grandad in Spain who never sent her a birthday card! (As far as she was concerned her Grandad was Andy's mum's husband)

Andy's dad remarried before Andy left home at 16 to join the RAF. On returning from his basic training Andy discovered that his bedroom had been cleared and was now his Dad's study. All of his stuff had been binned and he now had to stay on a camp bed if he wanted to visit his Dad. Things changed a few years ago because Andy's dad's wife died, rather suddenly of cancer. As soon as she was told she had six months to live, she chose to leave him and she came back to the UK to live with her son and his family. They nursed her through her last days. Andy's Dad was not allowed to visit, she didn't want to see him again! At the funeral there was nearly a punch up because of the accusations that were levelled at him. It's not that he's evil, he's just incredibly selfish. When his wife got ill he could only think about himself and how it would affect him. I think she thought to herself 'I've got six months to live, I'm not going to spend it with a man who clearly can't even put himself second at a time like this!' But a couple of years later he's still reeling from the shock of it all and can't understand why she did it.

I won't go into the other things he's done to hurt us and most of all his son. But, Andy is a kind person so lets his Dad visit us every year. He also lets his Dad drop large hints about wanting to come and live with us. (THAT WILL NEVER EVER HAPPEN). As a man sows, so shall he reap...... this man is one of the loneliest men on earth. He wanders to the bar in Spain every lunch time for three pints and a meal ('only 5 euros for a two course meal' he has told us, oh, so many times), says 'hola' to his neighbours and sits in front of the TV for the rest of the day. I could go on....... The thing is, now he's 75. He needs us. He has noone. He has no other relatives apart from his dead brother's widow. I feel sorry for him.

But suffice to say I have purchased an enormous bottle of gin to get me through the next couple of weeks. As usual it will be up to me to entertain the man during the day and in the evening Andy will pray for delayed trains, or concentrate on climbing alp duez and mont blanc in the garage!


Help, can I come round and live with one of you lot please? I'm scared!

Yesterday, a freaky thing happened which I dismissed. But last night another REALLY FREAKY thing happened that I can't explain. I think we are HAUNTED!

The first thing happened yesterday when the house was empty (apart from me). I was sitting at the lap top trying to blog (!) in the kitchen. Behind me are large, glass sliding doors opening out onto a glazed conservatory type thing with doors off to the garage and study. All of a sudden came an enormous crashing noise sounding like someone had tried to open the outer (glazed door). But they were locked! I looked around but noone was there! I wandered round to the front door thinking maybe someone had tried the back door and then gone on to the front door - still nothing. I was scared for a bit. Just couldn't work out what it could have been!

But the most freaky scary thing is this. Last night, I was the last to bed (as usual) and had been blogging on the lap top infront of Newsnight (which then became snooker so I turned the sound off). I went to bed around midnight when blogger closed down for essential maintenance (just as well). At about 3am, I was awoken by Holly shouting "Could someone please turn the telly off please". Thinking she was having a nightmare I went into her and as I wandered out into the hall, I too heard the telly which was on loudly on a channel that wasn't BBC2 because it was advertising 'Lost'. Bloody hell, was I scared. I tried to get Andy up to investigate but he said there must have been a power cut and just go turn it off 'woman'. He then went back to sleep. I gingerly crept into the sitting room (we're in a bungalow and the sitting room is at the end of the hall through some glazed double doors) my heart a pounding. I reached in and turned the TV off and then went to bed. But I couldn't sleep and clearly neither could Holly because at intervals she called out 'Mum, I'm scared'. I felt like saying 'Me too' but did the grown up thing and said 'It's OK go back to sleep'. I don't think I went back to sleep at all! Andy got up at 5 and stomped about because he couldn't find his keys (Betty have you been in?) He found them in the door! (Duh!)

But can anyone explain to me why my TV came on suddenly in the middle of the night? I ALWAYS turn it off at the button every night (as it saves power!). Freaky no? It even changed channel!

I don't really believe in ghosts (Andy does though,claims to have seen loads). But I sort of believe in Poltergeists (having a hormonal, pubescent girl in the house might make things happen?). Or is it because we live in a cemetery? We have the little ghosts of dogs, cats and hamsters wandering around at night looking for their owners?

Monday, April 24, 2006

What a Marathon Weekend (Snicker) ((Groan))

Well, on Sunday morning (only with a slight headache) did we make our way to the top of the road to await the marathon runners and in particular Mick! It was Andy, me, half of the 'Wests' as one of the West's children was very resistant to stir his stumps to walk up the road so poor Dad had to stay at home with him, Lettuce and LG. Due to the fact that all my old neighbours were there I saw very little of the marathon as most of the time was spent 'catching up' with one neighbour after another! However, I did manage to get this:

After a lovely Sunday lunch with Lettuce, M and LG, we wandered up at 4pm to Mick and Cas's house. Just in case they were delayed in London getting back from the marathon Cas had given me her house keys and instructions to put the oven on in readiness for the 'little' post marathon party they had planned. On arriving at her house at 4.01pm, we met Mick's brother, wife and two children on the doorstep! Letting ourselves in, we proceeded to find a myriad of post it notes that Cas had left for me! One on the oven nob (second setting), one on the other oven nob (200), one in the fridge (this food), millions on various plates (this dish for potato salad)etc. It was like a painting by numbers but food assembling by post it notes! (She's SO efficient is Cas).

Well, between us (that's me and Annette) - the men had gone to watch the FA cup semi final as soon as they got in(tch), we rustled up a banquet! Half an hour later the conquering marathon man arrived! Excited and full of humourous stories about his run. Family and friends began to trickle in and the champagne flowed. (Sadly, I had volunteered to be the designated driver for the day so only one glass for me).

We went back to Lettuce's for two 'wonderful' cups of tea and some shortbread she had squirrelled away! I have to say that Lettuce's house is truly amazing. Not having a house of my own at the moment, going back to friends' houses is almost like coming home. All the stuff is so familiar and comfortable. If you stand anywhere in Lettuce's house or garden there is ALWAYS something to look at of interest! Not only is it full of Armadillo's, it's also full of other things the two (and later three) of them have collected over the years. Even the toilet is a treasure trove! Bottles and display boxes of interesting stones and shells Lettuce has collected from every beach she ever set foot upon, really interesting junk shop find books and knick knacks.

Her kitchen is the same, hence the word I used 'squirrelled'. There are nooks and crannies stuffed with interesting bits of food! In our house, we use the 'just in time' principle. Food does not stay in the cupboard more than a week (apart from stuff we rarely use that stays in the cupboard for years and then has to be thrown out!) (Quinoa comes to mind!) Lettuce, digs deep into the recesses of her cupboards and pulls out all manner of interesting things. Yesterday apart from the shortbread she pulled out 'pate de lapin' (veritable French stuff), 'rillette de oie' (also French) for our starters! As you all know, my great friend Lettuce is an extremely interesting, clever, and wonderful person!


I'm in a tennis tournament tomorrow! (hahahhahahhahahahahha, gulp). Off to the club now to practise with Wendy my partner. We'll need more than two hours court time I think!

Also, have my book club tonight. The book we (were supposed to have) read is a novel called 'Amazing Splashes of Colour' and it's about a person with synasthesia (sp?) which would interest Trac.

Update: Tournament cancelled! And I never made it to my book club as I hadn't read the book (due to Amazon not delivering it until after my holiday - so not ALL laziness)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Friday, April 21, 2006

Hola come va? (Havana here we come, or Havana came to me!)

Last night we went out! I had the best night! We went to see the Buena Vista Social Club. (Not the film, the real band!). If you've never seen them I urge you to go (if you like Latin American music). The musicians were muy fabulosa! Some of them were ancient. The double bass player had to be helped on and off the stage he was so frail. But the musicianship was completely astounding. They had trombones, trumpets, flutes, clarinets as well as the usual stuff (bongos, piano, guitar, organ,). The pianist was this really cool young black guy in a long frock coat and a black pork pie hat. He could play piano so fantastically, he got a standing ovation at the end. (Can you tell how much I enjoyed it?). I was particularly heartened to see this big venue in Ipswich (which I am still prejudiced about it not being London) full of people who were having a good time. And I sat behind the bass player from Jools Holland's big band who was in the audience. Ask me how I recognised him? I didn't, but Nicola did (who came too, with her teenage sons and some of their friends). He lives up the road. Bet if John Peel were still alive I would have seen him too as he lived near Ipswich. (I'm very impressionable).


Well, got a busy weekend ahead. I'm cooking dinner tonight for my sister and her husband (by way of a thank you for doing our guinea pigs!). As an antidote for all the heavy creamy stuff I had in France I'm going to go Eastern fusion tonight (!). Beef, chili stir fry, tofu satay and something else I'll think of later with coconut in!


Tomorrow we're off to London (again). It's the marathon on Sunday. When we lived in London the marathon went past the end of our road. It was an annual spectacle not to be missed. Our friend Mick is running his first marathon (for the Ron Pickering charity) so we are coming down to see him. (He's a sports journalist and will be miked up at various points to give his opinion on the proceedings - so you might see him on telly - but probably just hear him on BBC London). The Saturday night we will be staying with our friends 'The Wests' and on the Sunday we will be going to Lettuce's for lunch. Then to Mick's (and family) for four o'clock to crack open the champagne in celebration (let's hope) of his success.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


In our family when we go on road trips we like to spot Norbert Dentrassangle lorries. It used to be fun because when we realised that these lorries were all over the place we used to shout out 'Norbert' on spotting one. Now, it would seem Norbert has done SO well that his lorries are ubiquitous so now we have devised a new game called 'Norbert Cache' (e acute). Tucked away in little depots Norbert can be found far and wide. Here are a few:

Sad? Moi?


Ten things I loved about Provence: (in no particular order)

1. Warm weather (apart from three days of the Mistral)
2. All the cherry trees and wisteria were flowering their heads off.
3. We were in Cotes de Rhone and Cotes Ventoux country! (nuff said!)
4. Boulangeries in the morning! (Croissant and gros pain!)
5. Nice tarts!
6. Wonderful restaurants and cafe society!
7. Dogs in restaurants.
8. Stunning scenery especially Mont Ventoux!
9. No telly (or computers!)
10. Playing scrabble and Mille Bournes in the evenings

Ten things I love about being home:

1. Husband is back at work
2. Kids are back at school
3. I am alone for the first time in 14 days
4. I can go to the shops on my own (including TK Maxx)
5. I can go to the supermarket on my own!
6. Tennis twice in two days!
7. I can blog all day (if I so desire!)
8. The promise of lots of properties coming onto the market. (soon please)
9. The wisteria isn't out yet so I have that to look forward to all over again (double bonus)
10. We have two cases of Cotes de Ventoux in the garage!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


From the bottom.................

to the top!


Here is the man AFTER the event!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Well, today's the day. The bikes are lined up ready to go on top of the car - that's the super duper hybrid bike

all raring to go up that
Mont Ventoux. The head turning tandem

for the days when Alice just can't pedal (that'll be every day then!). Holly's nearly new and hardly used bike all ready for it's first visit to La Belle France.

and my trusty, clunky, workaday bike that gets me where I want to get thank you.

And I definitely DO NOT WANT TO GO UP very steep, mountainous, Tour De France routes thankyou. Give me the river valley, canal path route any day!

I will, however, be following hubby up the mountain in the car, attempting to throw bananas, carbohydrate bars and drinks and bottles of Vittel at ever opportunity. I will have to be careful not to throw too hard in case he falls off and down a precipice!

At the moment, we have no idea what the weather is going to be like at the top of the mountain. Bedouin, which is where we will be staying (or base camp if you like)

is basking in 20 degrees but the top of the mountain has a working ski station. There is a webcam! But they don't update the picture very often! Keep looking though. Next week, you might just see a whippet thin man struggling up, followed by a blue multipla spewing bottles and bars and bananas!

Back on the 19th (Tuesday) with video footage! Bet ya can't wait!

That villa looks rather nice doesn't it? Wonder if it's as nice as it says on the tin? We've probably got the old unrenovated 'pente' at the back! The pool isn't heated but I bet we'll go in anyway (at least once!)




Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The New Technological and Literary Phenonemonmenonmenon

Now that we bloggers have been featured on The News At Ten I'd better pull my socks up! Apparently we are the new literary phenomenonmenemsnem. With literary agents reading this very blog!

Me and the birthday cake remains have travelled south today to visit Lettuce. It's so strange being back. It feels SO familiar as if I still live round the corner!

We've had a lovely day so far....managed to offload the kids. Alice has a sleepover at another friends and Lettuce's hubby M has taken LG and H and India (not the sub-continent you understand) into Woolwich for something greasy. Lettuce and I had a lovely lunch in a pub that seems to have become Lettuce's local for lachrymosity! But lachrymosity today, oh no! After that we did a bit of child ferrying and dropping off to be free again for a visit to the local garden centre. After that, Lettuce mentioned an exciting new coffee bar she'd heard about on Shooter's Hill. So we went but it was closed. There was a sign on the door saying something about the owner had gone to do a PR lunch launch in the south of France!

We are currently eating pistachios and on our second large gin and tonic (hic).

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Poo (but no tit or bum) (well not that I'm going to show!)

I had a load of poo delivered for my allotment!
The EU butter mountain has now been depleted after the making of Alice's mega cake!
The icing is pink but looks red in the photo!

I rode my bike past a butchers shop and in the window - (wish I'd had my camera) were some chickens with a label on them saying 'Diaper Chickens'. ha ha how I laughed, especially as Dons had been talking about hen nappies!
Do you know, I'm really tired and am going to sit down with a nice glass of wine.
We have friends from London coming tomorrow (their daughter is Alice's best friend in London). Such is their enthusiasm they will turning up at 10.30am....I feel tired already!
Oh, I've gots loads to say really....but I'm just tired so going to veg out now.
Bonne nuit!
OOoooh Dons....found the link to Diaper Poultry!
Sorry for lack of blog. I can't blog yet, but will later.