Friday 31 August 2007

A Window onto a New World

I started reading blogs in January
and then, tentatively, writing in June.
I have never been able to articulate adequately
what a wonderful experience it has been
to find this inspiring community.

Whymommy has done it for me.
She writes of "a window" that she did not know existed
and a "courtyard" of people calling out to each other and sharing their lives.

This is my window onto that courtyard
and through it I have met amazing people like Whymommy
who fights her cancer with such dignity and courage.

She has campaigned to raise awareness of
and through her website
informed so many women
of the symptoms and the importance of self-examination.

Each of those women
will tell their daughters, sisters and friends
and so the cascade of information becomes a torrent.

And yet it is her perspective on life that is so enriching
- as I read I know that I am so lucky to have the life that I have
- and the health to enjoy it.
I must never take that for granted.

even if you are a committed lurker,
go to Toddler Planet
and say hi to Whymommy.

Reach out of your window,
across that sunny courtyard
and tell her that she is extraordinary.

Thursday 30 August 2007

Selective Memory

I have so many things that I have to remember
pin numbers,
dentist appointments,
where MissM's hockey stick is,
They clutter up a very small space
and leave too little room for important things.

MasterM and MissM are shocked by how much I forget.
I think that I tend to live in the moment or worry about the future
but I am able to file the past and not think about it.

This blog is a space where I store the
things that I want to remember.

The rest slides quickly into the 'I had forgotten that happened' pile
but in the interests of balance here are some examples of
things I would prefer not to remember
from our holiday

  1. Hornet nest in chimney.

  2. Incident when map nearly flew out of car window
    and got ripped.

  3. Four days rain.

  4. Driving to hospital.
    Scary for everyone.

  5. The worst chicken sandwich ever.

  6. Horrible little boys on horrible motorbikes.
    Behind the gite.

  7. Discovering that there was no linen in the second gite
    and having to rush to LeClerc to buy some.
    Then having to arrange a refund
    when the owner turned up with keys to the linen cupboard.

  8. No restaurant at Toulouse station except burger bar.
    Although we were supposed to be having an end of holiday meal.

Now, I am in a quandary,
because these are
things I don't really want to remember.

On the other hand,
I don't want to give the impression
that our family lives a glossy magazine life...we don't.

I just write about the things that take my fancy.

Fairies can be all shapes and sizes

I find myself listening to this conversation between my children

Do you have any fairy wings?
As it happens...I do!
Do you want the extra large or the extra shiny?
I think I should go for the extra shiny.
Do you want a tiara as well?
No, I think that will fall off too quickly.
What about a wand?
Oh yes!! A wand would be really good.
I have got one that lights up when you twist the bottom...
but it is quite precious...
Oh - don't worry - it might get lost.
So you are going as a fairy.
I did think of going as Shrek
but I just don't fancy painting myself green.
I will go and get the wings so that you can try them on.

Wednesday 29 August 2007

The Prodigal Returns

MasterM has returned from Australia
with two arms, two legs and a full set of teeth.
Which is GOOD

He has emptied his suitcase and transferred
28kg of dirty laundry to the floor.
Which is LESS GOOD

He is asleep now and off to a party tomorrow.

He did bring me a teatowel featuring Australian Fauna
so I will be able to wash up
when we have eaten the Fatted Calf.
So that's GOOD too.

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Penne d'Agenais

This post is for our lovely friends, Glen and Mary.

Go up the hill, through the narrow streets
and walk under the archway.
There, in a shady courtyard, is

The seats have downy pillows to sink into
and everything is chosen to please the eye.

Would you prefer

braised lamb shanks,
perfectly cooked steaks,
or little parcels of chicken and wild mushrooms?

Remember to leave room for Rose Glace...

Or le fromage?

(that's for you, bb)

And now, little glasses of the strongest coffee.

Time to sit and enjoy the moment.

Hold onto this memory
because it will keep you warm
on a cold January morning.

Monday 27 August 2007

A Very Small Aeroplane

In which Monsieur C. offers us a ride in his plane.

But first we must wait
while Monsieur discusses compressors.

The runway is a shallow strip between ploughed fields.

Airborne, the land below shimmers
in the early evening light

We fly over hilltop towns,

grand chateaux,

and tiny churches.

All too soon, we are home.

Monsieur nods modestly as we try to thank him.
Even MrM, with his fluent French,
cannot adequately express the joy, the exhilaration,
of seeing this beautiful landscape from the air.

Sunday 26 August 2007

Le Beau Monde

This post is for Alice in Connecticut who cares deeply about such things.

What does the well dressed French woman
wear to Rugby matches?

I know that this question has often tortured you late at night.
To save you further angst, I present my research.
Sadly, the pink and white milkmaid look
and the asymmetric shroud effect
passed me before I could capture them on camera
and are lost forever.

The first thing to say is that if you are

The Principal Fan

you must wear the correct colour and lots of it.

It was agreed that the
"net curtain over jodphurs" style
was too formal.

Is this Nancy Dell'Olio at a Rugby match?
Has she told Sven?

These shoes are delightful
but will stain
if ketchup falls from the saucisson in baguette.

This bag is perfect for programmes and autograph books.

Silk? Flowers? Diamond toe accessories
At a Rugby match?
I think not.

This outfit received the MissM/MrsM seal of approval.

Smart and yet casual,
interesting pattern but not too distracting.
Topped by an immaculate bob
accessorised with patent black Birkenstocks -
who even knew that there were such things?

I am so glad that I decided not to wear turquoise.


This is a land of small farms

and country churches;

of plums and prunes

and sunflowers.

It was the dowry of Eleanor of Aquitaine

and the battlefield of the Hundred Years War.

Now it sleeps, undisturbed by tourism.

If you wander around a corner
you may find a tiny restaurant
in a medieval guardroom

which serves delicious galettes and cider.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Snapshots from a Family Holiday

Where shall we go first?
I know ... let's practise our French in the A&E of the local hospital.

Oh! Look! MrM is not the only one with a hole in the head.

MrM recovers to plan the itinerary.

This will take us to well known locations
such as the Church of the Seven Dwarfs...

and a rugby match...

a Rugby Match?? did that happen?

We are supposed to be on holiday.

We need to build in some time for relaxation

and some window shopping for the latest in trouser trends

If only Poppy was here - the facilities for dogs are fabulous.

Goodness! Is it time for supper already?

We must have some of the famous Potted Spinach.

And finally, some late night poker

in which MrM discovers

that his daughter knows more about poker

than he does.

An expensive mistake.

Thank you for all your lovely messages and comments.
I will reply as soon as I can
but I think that I ought to unpack first...

Thursday 9 August 2007

Summer Migration

We have found the parasol
in the cupboard under the stairs
and loaded up the elephant
and we are off!

MrM will arrange educational trips
to sites of archaeological interest.
MissM will lie by the pool and look elegant.
I will go to sleep.

For two weeks.

These are a few of our favourite mints

MissM loves TicTacs

because they make her breath smell sweet
after a night in retainers.

MasterM loves Fox's Glacier Mints

because they are good to suck when the plane takes off
and flies you thousands of miles from the Lovely MissE
for three and a half weeks.

MrM loves Polos

because they give you something to do
when the wedding photographer is shouting at you.

MrsM loves mint

because you use it in Pimms
and I love Pimms