Archive for the ‘pictures’ Category

Welcome to our market!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I’m not often here on a Thursday, which is when it is the St Just market; usually I’m down in Clermont Ferrand, working hard! But today, as it’s a Jour Ferié – bank holiday for the Fete de l’Ascension – I’m able to spend a little more time browsing. As we’re trying to save money – or, at least, not spend it unnecessarily – I didn’t buy much, but I did take some photos. The stall holders thought I was nuts, which was iobvious from theirbemused grins,so in the end, I took some shots from our balcony. Even then, I caught the eye of one bloke, who looked at me questioningly!

Taken from our bedroom window, you can see part of the market. It stretches down the road to the left and then round the corner, but here there are some of the stalls that we have – a boulangerie van, the oil cloth seller, and the Mercerie (haberdashery) stall. There’s a goat cheese stand (and a cows’ cheese stand out of shot) and a large vegetable stall too.

At the moment there are also a couple of flower stalls. I bought 5 plants from this gentleman’s display. I have no idea what they are, but they are for hanging baskets and are pink and purple. I think some are petunias, but I’m not sure! I planted some seedlings and some bulbs on Sunday, but it was too early – the Ice Saints hadn’t finished and there was a ground frost on Sunday night which did for my seedlings. Never mind! I’d kept some indoors so I’m hoping they might grow into something. Anyway, back to the market.

As well as the two flower sellers, there is an older guy selling ready-to-plant vegetable plants – leeks, carrots, salad greens, beetroot etc. I thought he was a small local chappie selling off his surplus produce, all soil encrusted and artisanal, until I came across his huge van full of crates of plants. Not such a small-scale operation after all!

The roast-chicken-and-pizza van always smells delicious! You can see the stall holder tending his rotisserie, which has potatoes roasting in the chicken fat below. The chickens are very popular, but I’ve never bought one myself – I don’t know if they’re free range, so I’m disinclined to buy one. His pizzas look good too, and they’re cheaper than next door (although not as cheap as a supermarket or a handmade one!) But neither chicken fat roast potatoes nor pizzas are good for our Healthy Eating lark!

This is the Organic produce van  – taken from our balcony, so it’s hiding behind the greenery a bit! He’s quite a newcomer to the market, and has only been here for about three months or so. Usually, I see him setting up as I go to work. My friend Danièle uses him quite a bit, as does Clare, but I’m not so bothered about organic produce so generally I’m afraid I go to Lidl! He is building up a small clientele however, so I think he may be a “stayer”. You can go into his van which is fitted out like a tiny supermarket!

We have a couple of mattress and bed sellers who arrive in big white vans, man handle theier mattresses out and then manhandle their mattresses back in again. I’m not sure who buys a bed from the market, but still…people must do so! One of them also sells dining chairs and reweaves the seats of broken ones. I took this photo as I liked the design of the chairs…30€ each seems a bit steep though

There are clothes stalls, of course, selling the usual fleeces, T-shirts, leggings and so on, but there are also a couple of “fashion” stalls, selling more flouncy items. These are what Alison and I have named “PISP” clothes – it stands for “Pockets In Strange Places” and refers to the very “French” style of clothing such as

(PISP – right on the hip! That wouldn’t be slimming now, would it?) plus odd bits of stitching. I can’t find some perfect examples of PISP but maybe you get the idea.

There’s a shoe stall. These are leather shoes at 20€ a pair. Very tempting, if I could persuade myself I needed another pair of shoes. But I know I don’t!

(Rubbish photo! Sorry!)

Along the street, there’s a fishmonger, a cheese van, and a couple more vegetable stands too. The 1€ stall was packing up as I arrived (11.15) so I don’t know what she was selling, but I’m sure there was nothing there I really wanted!I’m often tempted by the Artisan Saucisson stall – dried sausages. He has some amazing flavours, including blueberries, nuts and pepper-encrusted saucissons. He also sells them made with wild boar meat and (eep!) donkey meat too. I’m not tempted by the donkey saucissons, I have to admit!

On this stall there were some beautiful quilts

I don’t think they were handmade but all the same they were very lovely. We don’t need a quilt, so I wasn’t that tempted but I certainly admired them.

So there you are! Our little St Just market.

Mr D is considerig the possibility of a market stall, not just here in St Just but around the area, selling computer/ gadgety things. He’d then be on hand if people needed computer repairs as well. I like the idea and think it could work, but equally I think it would be quite hard work for him. However, he’s also done a mail shot to over 40 gites/chambres d’hotes in the area who don’t have websites, offering to design sites for them. He’s had one request for a quote, so we’re hopeful. It’s unbelievable that in this electronic age, there are so many tourist orientated places that don’t have their own sites: they seem to rely on being on the Gites de France site, but personally speaking, I wouldn’t book a place without being able to see more than the couple of photos that are provided on the GdF site.  And of course, having your own site opens your clientele out beyond the GdF searchers. Fingers crossed that he gets some work from it- I think he’d prefer to be at home in front of the PC than out in the cold and rain lugging supplies to and from a market stall!!!

Anyway, I’m off to cook the two merguez sausages that I DID buy this morning. Not very Healthy Eating…but there’s only one each. With vegetable and lentil soup I don’t think it’s too unhealthy! I also bought some cherries. The first of the season! Nom-nom!

 

 

Various photos

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

First of all, let me share a picture of the birthday card I’ve made for Gilles’ birthday (see earlier post) (Click on it for a better view – my photos aren’t very good, I’m afraid!) It says “Being one year older, Gilles needed a little more help to reach the top of Mont Ventoux”. To explain, he climbed Mont Ventoux (by bike) last year, and plans on doing the same this year – only three times! –  so I thought he might need some mountain goats to help him! (I’ve just thought, a better caption might have been “By the time he was climbing Mont Ventoux for the third time, Gilles needed a little help” Oh well, too late now!

Other photos are from when Mum was here.

This is the Puy de Dome, which we were unable to ascend as they are building a railway to the summit at the moment. It should be ready for Summer 2012.

But we did climb the Puy de Pariou (as you can see, the weather was, er, a little bracing, to say the least!!!) I forget my mum is 83 next month! She was quicker than me getting up there!

We visited the picturesque village of St Jean-St Maurice, not far from here, which is on one of the routes through Le Puy En Velay to the pilgrim trail to Santiago de CompostelaHere’s a view of the tower, from which I took the previous picture, and here’s some of the stained glass in the church(sorry the photos are so rubbish!)And here’s a picture of Pomme. We were having dinner, the night mum arrived, and Pomme was quietly sitting on the chair while we ate. After the meal we sat chatting, and suddenly Pomme hopped onto the table, into the (empty) bread basket and settled down!!! Not to be outdone, when we carried Pomme (+ basket!) into the living room, George decided he wanted a piece of the Basket Action

Don’t worry, we washed and Anti-Bac-Sprayed the basket before using it again!

In which I feel inadequate

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

You may remember I joined in a “bloghop” or blog party” in January called “Imagine the Impossibilities”, where folk all over the world (but mostly in America) made a commitment to try to complete a project that they’d been putting off because it seemed so overwhelming or impossible. I tried  learning to crochet (and what a disaster that turned out to be!)…

Well, the same group are hosting another party called “It’s A Cinch!” where people post short tutorials about easy-peasy projects that they have done. I’m not sure I have a really easy project to share, although I am very proud of these bookmarks:

which I have been creating, inspired by the one I received from Angela as a giveaway a few weeks back:

But despite not joining in with “It’s A Cinch!”, I have been visiting various projects from around Blogland to see what people have been creating.

Somewhat Quirky made a “rustic” cut out with a favourite poem

Happily Home explains how to make an elegant sisal covered vase

Little things… created some wall art…

and so it goes on. You can visit more of the sites from this link

But what I find makes me feel inadequate are the beautiful “vignettes” that are being showed off all over these sites… Such as this from Gardners2Bergers

or this at Thistlewood Farm

I love my old house, here in the centre of the village. I love coming home to it, cool in summer, warm, with our granule burner, in winter. I love the creaking staircase which is different on every level.

I love the little balcony (despite its less-than-romantic view of the public toilet, the HLM housing (council housing) and the cemetary!!),

I love our tiny courtyard,

and the squew-wiffiness of the floors that means if you spill something (or let the freezer defrost by accident…) the water runs fairly rapidly towards one corner…I love our house.

But I’m not good at “vignettes”. We have three cats (including two Very Bad Kittens) who chase things, or who sit where they shouldn’t, I have a dearly beloved Mr D who doesn’t really notice “vignettes”, and there is me. And I prefer to read, create, watch TV – in fact, do anything – rather than do housework…and I suspect that, lovely though these vignettes are, they require a clean and pristine home to look their best. Dust does not enhance them. In fact, when I looked around our home to find the closest thing to a vignette I could, I came across this:

…and without looking very hard, you can see what I mean about the lack of dusting in our house!! (In this, there is an old Olympus Tripp camera, of which I remember my father being inordinately proud, and an old postcard of Geneva, where we used to spend our holidays)

The other pathetic attempts that are around the house are

my cat ornaments, which are constantly rearranged by the Real Cats, who like sitting on the bookcase to wash themselves and get a good view of the kitchen door (“Is it time for food yet?!”)

and

A very bad photo of our mantelpiece, with varied and unthemed items, including a checkered cow, a handmade santon of an old lady, a puzzle box, my bowl of crocuses and a stone cat-and-mouse. Hardly a “vignette” of Kari’s standards.

And when we go to the bedroom, things go from bad to worse…Four Corners Design offers us this lovely setting

Gardners2Bergers has this beautiful bedside table:

and what can I offer…?

(Yes, that really is a cycling waterproof dumped on top of the bookcase!) and

Hardly the peaceful, calming centre of beauteousness that is shown off on other blogs!

Oh, well! I may be rubbish at vignettes…but I can cook reasonably well! And I love crafting…Maybe I’ll find a little corner somewhere and try my hand at vignetting (do you think that’s a verb?!) I shall be taking tutorials from all over the blogosphere!

Delving into the Archives 2

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I’m really pressed today for time – I’ve got a student coming in an hour and I really ought to prepare dinner before as I’m going out to the cinema tonight.

So:  pictures from a randomly selected date…

This is a box I decorated for Paul’s birthday. I was particularly pleased with this, as I cut the paper into scales and stuck them on. I’ve not done any box decoration for quite a while…I really enjoyed it when I was doing it…but I’m a bit like that with crafts – I go through phases. So I was decorating boxes, then I was making tags, then cards…and so on.  My crochet phase didn’t last long! I must try again with that or I’ll forget how to do it!

Here it is closed. And here’s a picture frame I also decorated:

All of these are dated 13.04.2010.

Thank you for your Pauses In Lent, by the way – I’m sorry I’ve not commented this week, but I have enjoyed reading them. Thanks for your kind comments too.

Right! That’s it! Off I go!

Delving into the Archives No.1

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

So, it’s mid week and I don’t have much time to post…but I do feel I ought to. Otherwise, people might get fed up of turning up and finding I’ve written nothing. So I thought that if I was devoid of inspiration, I should randomly choose a file of photographs (I’ve not sorted them out into subjects – they’re still in date order) to share with you. This wll at least add some interest , and give me someting to write about.

So the date I chose, completely at random, was 28th July 2010. We were on a canal holiday with all of Mr D’s family: his sister and her husband and two children, his brother, wife and son, plus Mr D’s mum. There were 10 of us in all, spread out over two narrow boats. We started off somewhere in Shropshire and followed the Lllangollen canal to Llangollen and back. This was one of the boats that we were on – but I don’t know exactly where it is we’ve moored here. It must be said, our boats weren’t decorated as beautifully as many of the hire boats that we passed! I loved the “canal art” that was on many of the barges – the traditional castles and roses designs, that have been passed down for hundreds of years.

This is an example of the roses and castles that the boat people would use to decorate their homes (the narrow boats) and their possessions. I remember doing a project about Canals with a group of Year 4 children (aged 9 – I think!) We visited a Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, not too far from Miltton Keynes, and the children learned how these beautiful pictures were made. Their attempts back at school weren’t quite as successful! If you’re in the area, I think it’s a great day out! (and the pub isn’t bad, either…not that we went with the children!)

Here are some of the water plants that were growing where we moored – I have to admit to having NO idea what they are! I’m not the world’s best at identifying plants. Mr D is quite good – it comes of studying plant biochemistry at Cardiff University!

And here is a picture of trees. I don’t know why I took this – maybe it was the first signs of autumn, in the yellows and browns in the foreground. But there you are – trees!!

Next week (if I don’t have time for much else) there will be another dive into the Dormouse Photo Archives.

 

A Grand Weekend and a Giveaway result

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Hello to everyone! Just before I start, I want to include a photo which I have already posted a while back  on a blogpost called “Reasons to be Cheerful”. One of my reasons is llamas. I posted this picture. I want to show it again, because I think it is so fab – especially the cheeky grin of the llama on the left.

Aren’t they fab?!

Anyway, I hope you had a good weekend. I did (mostly) I was teaching on Saturday morning, as usual, but I’d forgotten that one of my students wasn’t coming, because it was school holiday. That’s fine – although as she’d only started the week before, it was a bit bizarre to already be taking time off, but there you go. So I had unexpected time to make spicy parsnip-and-carrot soup, and to watch a bit of the “Coronation Street” omnibus. On Saturday afternoon, I’m afraid I was very indolent…I caught up with my other blog, dozed, read, went for a very short walk (Mr D warned me of being strenuous in temperatures of -8°. Apparently one’s blood vessels around the heart contract. I certainly did feel woozy when I got home, but that might have been what we call “sugar bonk”. I felt better after a cup of fruit tea and a couple of chocklits!).

On Sunday I went to church, for the first time (here) since Pentecost 2011, and (anywhere) since Christmas. The service was at Les Sarraix, which is a small village with a tiny Methodist chapel. We have a service here, once a month in order to use the chapel and stop it falling into complete disrepair. Also, I think there are elderly members of the congregation who live in the area and who can no longer manage to get to Thiers every week. Les Sarraix is about half the distance from here, as Thiers, so it’s easier  get there than Thiers from St Just as well. People were quietly glad to see me…I did understand the sermon – not the subtle nuances of the language, but certainly the basic message of each of the points Patrick was making. But I did find my thoughts wandering everywhere during the prayers…Lack of concentration can strike in any language, I know, but in England I would have been able to hear the prayers and mind-wander; in French, I can do one or the other! I’m glad I went, and I’ll probably go to next month’s service at Les Sarraix, but I’m not “there” yet in my Christian life (wherever “there” may be). I turned down the request to lead the Good Friday service this year as well – I don’t think I’ll be in the right place for leading a service, though possibly, if there was one service that I could lead in my current state of confused mind, I think the Good Friday one would be best!

Then on Sunday afternoon, Mr D and I went for a walk to La Cascade de Somewhere-I’ve-forgotten. I took along half a bag of bird seed that I had (I’d used up the other half last Tuesday, stopping at all the Motorway Aires (rest stops) between Clermont Ferrand and home, and leaving piles of bird seed for the wild birds.) and we left little piles of seed on various tree stumps and rocks in the forest.

When we reached the Cascade it was beautiful – parts were totally frozen, and in other parts it was frozen over the top with the water still running underneath. This photo shows the frozen waterfall:

whereas here you can see the water running beneath the ice:

I love the patterns formed, as the water has gradually frozen around the edges of the hole.

I wasn’t intrepid: I’ve always been a cautious walker, due to weak ankles that are likely to give way at any moment, and since my accident in Sept 2010, my ankle and knee have not been as strong as they were. So, even though I had my walking stick with me, I wasn’t going far – I think it frustrated Mr D a bit,  as I struggled to climb up the side of the waterfall in the photo in order to see the main cascadze. The snow was slippy, the terrain was rough, my knee was hurting and I went all pathetic. I started to whimper (literally!) so we gave up, and slid back down the steep slope we’d just climbed.

Here’s Mr D being intrepid

And, I do have to add, my fears about my ankle was justified: on the way back, on flat terrain, it just gave way and I ended up on the snowy ground. I came down quite heavily on my dodgy knee, which is now a bit swollen again, but it’s not very painful today, thank goodness. I put an ice pack on it yesterday evening, and I think that helped.

Today I’m not teaching – it’s school holidazys and the module I teach is on a break for two weeks. I pick up a former student for three hours a day tomorrow, but for today I’m chilling at home, catching up with blogs and cooking for Danièle who is coming for a meal tomorrow. I do have a bit of preparation for Jean tomorrow but not much.

So, having promised you the Giveaway result, I tried to import an image of the random generator thingy that I used, but couldn’t, so you’ll just have to trust me that the number it came up with was number 10. Comment 10 belongs to Floss. Floss has already received a bookmark from me at an earlier date, so I’ll send her the cards (it’s OK, she lives in France, so the postage won’t be too great!) and I’ll randomly generate someone else for the bookmark. Back in a tick.

Randomly generated number 5, who is Caroline.

Thank you to everyone who commented, and I hope that you’ll continue to read my blog. I may do another for 250 posts (if I remember!!)

 

Off With the Cyclo Club. Part 2.

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I think I left you on Saturday night. And so we come to Sunday morning…which is when I said I would ride. Mr D had planned a route, which, he said, followed the Voie Vert (a cycle track following the old railway tracks.) Flat, he said. And, to be fair, that part was flat. The other parts weren’t quite so flat.

Dark words were muttered by all members of the group as we turned a corner and saw an ascent that must have been 1:10. (Well, I say that, but in reality I have no idea what  a 1:10 slope looks like. But it sounds steep. And this was steep.) It was so steep that four of us wobbled to an immediate halt as we tried desperately to change down to the granniest of granny gears without managing it. Roger had a little more success, and got about 50 metres up the road before he came to a wibbly stop, failed to get his feet out of his toe-clips and fell off his bike. Luckily the banks at the side of the road were also steep and grassy, so he didn’t actually fall very far, and ended up leaning at an angle against the grassy verge! The four of us pushed our bikes up the hill for about 500 metres, as it was too steep to get back on the bikes. Only Scary Daniel had managed to keep going, through fierce determination, and he was patiently wating for us at the top of the hill. Then we continued down hill, along road, round the roundabout then heading for home… back to the Voie Vert and only the 2km hill back to the holiday village.

Or So I Thought.

But no, Mr D had kindly popped a small mountain into the route. I was cursing  as I whooped for breath cycling up it.  Even in Total Granny Gear I had to stop for a breather, and a swig of lemon squash…but I managed it! Huzzah For Me! There were choruses of “Merci Monsieur D!” when I reached the top, breathlessly threatening to mercilessly slaughter my husband of 26 years. But by the time I got back I was really so elated that I’d completed the route, that my ritual beating of Mr D with my water bidon was quite half hearted.

Many people had decided not to cycle on Sunday morning, opting for the 8 km hike (poor Mr D had no choice as his bike was dead) or a stroll to the nearest village. The weather was so much beter than yesterday’s – blue sky and sunshine. I’m glad I opted to cycle today!

We got showered, rather hastily, in the one chalet that we’d not yet cleared out of, and then congregated ready for lunch. More of the traditional apero was consumed together with chestnut-and-apple salad, unidentified meat in sauce and vegetables, cheese, tart-and-yoghurt and coffee. We sat out in the sunshine and chatted. Gilles (our friend who had managed the Col de Pas de Peyrol yesterday) was really pleased with himself and saying he deserved a medal. So we decided to make him one and to present it to him next Friday (well, actually, as I’m writing this, it’s now last Friday, but it was next Friday then. IF you see what I mean!)

Then on the coach to head for home, via Salers. Salers is a lovely Medieval town. And is the centre of a proud cheese making industry. So first, we went to visit a Buron which is an old cheese making place.: it’s a shepherd’s hut, now converted into a museum. Actually first we went for a rather roundabout trip in the Cantal countryside as our bus driver got lost. He carried out a spectacular several-point-turn in a narrow country lane. I was very impressed. Anyway, when we reached the Buron we were able to taste Salers cheese (very nice) and various liquers too. I was pleased that I (on thewhole) managed to follow the guide’s rapid fire commentary too.

Here are some of us, having enjoyed our liqueur tasting. We bought some crème de framboise but none of the gentian based Salers liqueur. Claire went a bit mad and bought tons of cheese (we bought a modest 300g or so, but she was buying for her family of three hungry teenagers!) and a couple of bottles of stuff.

And here is the view of the valley where it was situated. Very beautiful.

It was up in those mountains (and along this valley) that the Guys had cycled in mist/rain/hail/ cold the day before. I think they preferred today’s mode of transport!

We then went to Salers – a very lovely town. Mr D wanted to look at the buildings, but I’m afraid Cathy, Claire & I (and Steve to a certain degree) got very excited about shops! Claire was definitely in spending mood. I bought myself a very nice bracelet and was tempted by some copper engraved earrings, but resisted temptation. I gave Mr D the camera, but the battery died, so he didn’t have much luck. Still,

here is a picture to give you an idea of what it’s like. We had our picnic just outside the village – all provided by the Cyclo club, it was delicious. The younger members of the party amused themselves by having a cherry-stone-spitting competition. I joined in, and they were most impressed until they turned round to look at me in mid “spit” and discovered I was only making a ptoui! noise and throwing the stones! Curses! Foiled again!

Then we were on the road home. We got back to St Just at about 11.15 – I was very aware that I had to be up again at 5.15 the next morning, but it was, all-in-all, a very enjoyable weekend away.

Here is my picture of the Chateau we went to on Saturday:

and here are a couple of pictures from some walks I’ve done in the past few weeks. The puppy is Marvin, and belongs to Alison & Gerome. He is a dear little thing.

This is a view of the old railway viaduct at Juré. It was a lovely walk – just about my distance, with a pause for a cup of tea with friends!

The lamb crossing the bridge rather tickled me!

So there you are. I really need to go and work now, as I’ve got a new student tomorrow, and I have no idea what I’m doing with him.

Footnote: we presented Gilles with his medal on Friday night, up at Steve & Cathy’s. He was very pleased and didn’t take it off all evening. I meant to take the camera up, but forgot. Tant pis.

 

Enjoying a few days of leisure

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I decided to give myself a short Easter holiday, so cancelled my lessons for yesterday and today. I was tempted to take the whole week, but have a student who is desperate to continue his lessons as he goes to the US in a few weeks and speaks very little English. So I’ve taken pity on Albert and I’m back to work tomorrow.

On Good Friday I was working, and took along Hot Cross Buns for students and staff to try. They were a little dry – but extraordinarily sticky too! – but generally met with approval.

but I was also leading the Good Friday meditative service at church in the evening. I used a resource recommended by someone on the Ship, which was great. We passed various symbols of the crucifixion among the congregation – a crown of thorns, nails, vinegar etc – to touch, smell, taste, and I used some well chosen (thanks Mr D!) music as well.

My friend Jean made the beautiful big cross, which I shall keep now and use every Good Friday service!

Over the weekend I didn’t do much as I was still full of cold. I went for a cycle ride by myself, managing 17 km. I’m way behind target again, thanks to this cold stopping me from doing very much, but I’m not too worried. A couple of weeks’ outings with the Club and I’ll have caught up! We watched and enjoyed Doctor Who, and look forward to the rest of the series (though I do find Amy Pond very annoying) and we chilled with friends.

On Monday Cathy and I did the Marche Aux Violettes at Cremaux. This is an organised walk – there are various distances from 5.5 km to 40 km – where you pay to take part, and refreshments are provided at the start, finish and various points in between. It was a beautiful day – rain was forecast but didn’t arrive. Here are some photos:

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to just do the 5.5 km walk, as my feet aren’t very happy at the moment. Had there been something between 5.5 and 10 we might have been tempted by that, but there wasn’t. Unfortunately, we didn’t see many violets, but there were loads of other wild flowers and we heard frogs being amourous! Half way round we stopped for a glass of rosé (though we could have had squash, water or lemon drink as well) and some brioche-and-chocolate (apples, cakes, and biscuits also on offer!) and had another glass when we got back…Ah! The joys of France!!!

We also paid a miserly 7,50€ for a delicious coq au vin, followed by a millefeuille cake (custard slice to you!) in the local café when we reached the finish. Then I had a coffee back at Cathy’s, sitting in the sun and relaxing.

Yesterday I spent time making loads of cards. I had a great time. Here is a gallery of my cards.

And now, having made tomato soup and Coronation Chicken for lunch, I really should go and do my ironing. 🙁

ETA: I’m not sure quite WHY photos are multiplying and posting themselves several times over. But they are. Never mind. They’re quite nice photos!

Back walking again

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Last Sunday I went for a walk – it was really mild. Unlike today, which is beautifully bright and shiny, but blummin’ummer it’s cold! All the way over to church, and back again, Danielle (different Danielle to Danièle…!) kept looking at the temperature guage and reporting “Minus 8.5….Minus 10…Getting warmer…Minus 5…Minus 1…” I don’t think we got any higher than -1°.

Here are some photos. I started by taking a photo every 500 steps, but I got bored counting. Then, as I found that 1,5000 steps took me to a wayside cross, I decided to take photos of all the crosses I came across. Four in a fairly short walk isn’t bad! I find that when I’m walking I have to watch where I’m walking, as I’m a little unsteady on my feet and fall over quite a lot; it’s even worse at the moment with my dodgy ankle. So taking photos is a good excuse to stop and look around at the beautiful scenery. We are so lucky to live here.

Here are the four crosses that I came across:

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and I’m beginning to look forward to Spring when I can re-do some of the walks that I did last year around Clermont. Mum’s coming at the beginning of March: I hope it will be nice enough to do a couple of my favourite walks. There’s one around Volvic that I really like: I think if I can do it, Mum shouldn’t have too many problems. She’s 82 but is fitter than me (shame…!)

*******************

I’ve finished the box for Danièle to keep Paul’s mementoes. I’m really pleased with it:

showing inside the lid

The quotations I put inside are, in French, part of the reading from Habakuk that was read at Paul’s burial, and, from Revelation 21: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

And in English “Do not stay sad that he has gone, only be glad he ever was”. This is something someone wrote to me when my dad died (except it said “Do not be sad…” I changed it, because I think it’s unrealistic and unhelpful to say don’t be sad, because of course one is sad. But do not stay sad is a different thing…) And the lines I quoted in an earlier post, that I think are very moving.

The little bead on the ribbon for opening is faux amber, which I thought quite appropriate for the geologist in Paul.

...and here's the front.

The Gentlemen of St Just

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I don’t know why the local cycle races are called “Gentlemen” – the competitors aren’t limited to those of the male persuasion, but there is a run of about five or six races on consecutive weekends around the area, each called the Gentlemen…

Ours was a couple of weekends back. Mr D cycled first with A, one of our English friends (doing the course in 50 minutes or so, 9 minutes better then their previous best) and then with one of the young lads from the cycle club, in about 35-ish minutes (sorry, Mr D if I’ve misrepresented you!) I discovered that if I’d cycled round with A -whatever time we had recorded – we would have come second in the all-female team category! Mr D promised A that she could hae a Magnum ice cream if she got round in under an hour…we girlies will do anything for chocolate! 🙂

I was roped in to help prepare the meal afterwards…so I spent time mixing grated carrot, laying out lettuce leaves, popping olives on top of heaps of grated carrot, mixing macedoine of vegetables with mayonnaise, and laying out 32 slices of saucisson on plates.(Probably not a brilliant idea with my bad foot/knee, as Sunday night I was in quite some agony from doing too much standing both Saturday & Sunday.)

But generally, an enjoyable time was had by all.

Mr D was in charge of the projector as the results were called out. It was good to see so many young people taking part too – there must have been at least 20 under 18s piling up onto the stage to collect medals.

Sadly though, there were rumours of the suspicion that drugs had been taken by some of the winners. It seems sad that even at this local level drugs can rear their ugly head. Mr D has pointed out that these competitions can be the springboard to a low-level professional team for the young riders, so the pressure to perform is there, and thus the temptation to take drugs. But for a race of about 20-odd kilometres, it seems ridiculous to take performance enhancing drugs.I find it sad that the reputation of cycling has taken so many knocks with the drug scandals of the Tour de France winners – and losers. I used to admire the strength, stamina and determination of these riders, but now I just wonder if any of them are clean.

Ah well, back to the Gentlemen.

Mr D & A arrive. No need for drugs here!

Prize giving

Please note: I am not suggesting that anyone pictured here has taken performance enhancing drugs in any form (except possibly in the form of a white chocolate covered ice cream lolly!)

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Other news: None really.

My injuries are continuing to heal. I’m now having physiotherapy on my knee and ankle every week, but I am naughty because I’m ignoring the Kiné’s (physiotherapist) advice of ice on my knee. I don’t want to get cold…she whines wimpily. Also spending four hours on one’s feet preparing a meal (that was the Sunday activity mentioned above) -incidentally for the Kiné and his wife! – isn’t exactly helping the healing process! Never mind.

And a question that mystifies me: how did I forget about half a raspberry-and-rhubarb cake for so long that it went mouldy in the tin?! That is most unlike me. Or Mr D, for that matter.