Thursday, September 30, 2010

The priest and the rabbi

A priest and a rabbi were sitting next to each other on an airplane.

After a while, the priest turned to the rabbi and asked, 'Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork?'

The rabbi responded, 'Yes, that is still one of our laws.'

The priest then asked, 'Have you ever eaten pork?'

To which the rabbi replied, 'Yes, on one occasion I did succumb to temptation and tasted a ham sandwich.'

The priest nodded in understanding and went on with his reading..

A while later, the rabbi spoke up and asked the priest, 'Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?'

The priest replied, 'Yes, that is still very much a part of our faith.'

The rabbi then asked him, 'Father, have you ever fallen to the temptations of the flesh?'

The priest replied, 'Yes, rabbi, on one occasion I was weak and broke my faith.'

The rabbi nodded understandingly and remained silent, thinking, for about five minutes.

Finally, the rabbi said, 'Beats the shit out of a ham sandwich, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where is it?

One thing that continually pisses me off about life in France is the poor service I get from my bank. I bank with Credit Agricole.

I deposited CASH in one of their branches at 15.45 on Monday 27th September. I have the automated machine receipt to prove it. I checked my account at 09.45 on Wednesday 29th September and it didn't show.

What oh what is going on? I realise and sympathise that employees suffer from having to work 35 hours a week and this results in the need for more automation, but a fancy new automated machine takes my cash and seemingly refuses to give it up.

This is cash for goodness sake. Where is it. What have they done with it? Where does it spend its time for 42 hours? Certainly not in my account.

I remember a time when I exceeded my overdraft by €100 over a month end. My account handler was on the phone to me at dawn on the first of the month. 

Now that is good service!!


Later this afternoon I received the following email:

it is 2 days before it si credited on your account because there is a verification of the amount first by an external company according to the amount
it should be credited this afternoon
also they told me at the branch that if you put cash in before midday it is quicker for the credit into the account

So there you have it. The largest bank in France doesn't trust its own staff to count cash and requires two days to credit a cash deposit to your account. 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is that a ferret in your trousers?

Now that it looks like Yorkshire will eventually be our new home I've started elocution lessons for Jan.

She may have an A level in English but she only ever uses southern poofter type words and phrases so I've got a challenge on my hands to get her to talk properly.

Today we started with simple stuff. I started by explaining what a ferret is and how this word will be used in everyday speech.

I had to explain the meaning of 'nowt' and 't'mill' and the meaning of 'eebagum'.

I have to say that she caught on quickly and we agreed that I'd give her some everyday words each morning and she'd have to incorporate them into a sentence by the end of the day.

Today's words were 'bairn' (child), 'beck' (brook), 'biggerstang' (scaffold pole - a bit more advanced) and 'wang' (throw). Today's phrase was 'put wood i'the'oil' (close the door).

We'll see how she gets on.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Please miss.

I don't suppose there would be any point in asking her for a private lesson in macroeconomics?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gut wrenching decisions

Grief, we started to go through my clothes today to see what we wanted to keep, donate or chuck.

It was a gut wrenching experience and Jan had to help. I guessed that she wanted me to smarten up a bit. I even threw away a pair of jeans that were so patched and frail that I was scared to wear them and kept them in the wardrobe. That really hurt.

We found at least 10 pairs of trousers that I haven't worn for years but still kept because they were a size that I could 'easily' get down to. I seem to remember that that's what I said eight years ago. Anyway, flairs are very fashionable now or so I'm told.

The biggest group of clothes was old tennis gear, particularly from my time as a coach in England many years ago. So some lucky sod is going to be walking around France with the name of a very well known public school emblazoned on his chest. How posh is that? It'll look good as he crawls out of his bar!

With a little over a week to go before the removal men arrive, the house is starting to look very bare. When we first moved in we enjoyed a minimalist style of living but it's amazing how much stuff we have collected over the last eight years. Having now packed a lot of boxes and having sold or given away a ton of stuff the place feels very empty. All a bit spooky.

Even after the removal men have departed we will continue to live in the house for a few days because the house we are moving into won't be vacant. So it will be back to the same minimalist state as when we first moved in. Even more spooky.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mixed emotions

Woohoo, a day that really shook up some emotions.

First I get some unwarranted, mealy mouthed comment from my ex-wife (which is I guess one of the reasons why she's an ex) and second I hear that my friend from school, and the best man at my wedding, has died from cancer. That's a real bummer. 

Then, later in the day, I get a call from a friend which really cheered me up. Visiting Paris from the Sates, he's a huge character, arguably the most positive and cheerful man that I've ever known.

At least the day finished on a high note. Thanks Will.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yet more strikes

Another series of national, bloody strikes today which means all the kids will be at home and which means another piss poor internet service for our already overstretched village.

Whenever the kids are at home downloading all their trash (as opposed to my trash) it's really difficult to get a decent service. You have to get up early, as the service gets progressively worse during the morning as the little darlings emerge from their stinking pits. And, before you complain, I've had kids!

When the service is bad it can be worse than dial-up. As long as we have lived here there have been many people in the village who can't get broadband at all because there is 'no more capacity.'

Anybody would think that we live in a small village in rural France.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time to ponder

This is not only funny but does it ring any bells?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Jan does make a fuss about this packing lark. Her natural instinct is to keep everything whilst mine is to chuck stuff away. The house we're moving to, whilst having the same number of bedrooms, is smaller than the present one and based upon the number of boxes already packed I have no idea where we're going to put it all.

I might even have to throw away some clothes that I haven't worn for 10 years. Now that's a sacrifice. I'm particularly thinking about a pair of jeans that are so patched and delicate that I almost dare not put them on. They're so soft and silky that they could actually be made of the stuff.

Mind you, having the reputation of being a chucker has its advantages. Jan does most of the packing herself. She can't stand the thought of me throwing away that priceless kitchen gadget or ornament that we haven't used or looked at for years.

Take the broken down chest type box on the kitchen terrace which I've been instructed to tackle (see how much I'm trusted), it's full of rubbish. Old tennis racquets, bits of moth eaten tennis equipment and towels for the dogs. When I pointed out that we are giving away lots of good towels, the thought that we might want to keep old, torn and manky dog towels didn't make a lot of sense. 'Just chuck the lot', I said.

That didn't go down too well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do

I'm having great difficulty taking the Pope's visit seriously and I've already been warned by Craig not to take the piss out of The Royal Company of Archers, Scotland's answer to Trident.

In no way do I want to attack other people's faith (or point of view) but as all the priests came down from the altar after the Pope's Mass in Edinburgh, didn't they look like the Ku Klux Klan. All white robes and pointy hats. It was a bit scary because they all looked like they were on their way to a good ol' lynching.

Jan, who was brought up a Methodist and tut tuts regularly at all the gold and pomp and stuff (you're so eloquent - Ed), made the comment that Jesus, who lived a simple life as a  carpenters son, preached simplicity, humility and all that good stuff and would not be at all impressed.

I've got to say that she has a point.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Raise your hands before I shoot

As a failed, lapsed, excommunicated Catholic, I still have a morbid fascination for things Papal (or is that PayPal?).

Whilst watching his underwhelming reception in Edinburgh this morning I felt it was very inappropriate that, for a man of peace, they should have a welcoming guard of soldiers.

Having said that, the fact that they were all wearing skirts must have made him feel very at home. I guess they factored all that in.

Before he climbed into his thirty car motorcade (who gets to ride in all those cars?), they checked his passport and frisked him in a white tent at the bottom of the stairs (to the plane) and checked his hand luggage to ensure that he wasn't carrying too much holy water and that what he had was in a clear, holy plastic bag of the right size and the water was in suitably sized containers. Pope or no Pope, you can't be too careful you know!

Anyway, from there it was on to Holyrood Palace to be met by a guard from The Royal Company of Archers. Amazing, I've never seen these guys before and they were actually carrying bows and arrows.

I couldn't stop laughing. Give me an AK 47 anytime.

Imagine the scene at the quartermaster stores for a new recruit.

'Here's your bow and arrows son and your new brown trousers. You'll be needing them!'

Someone needs to have a word with the Scottish parliament and get them to ease up a bit on their defence budget. Excellent.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's a car stupid

One thing that really, really irritates me is reading a forum post where someone asks for help with their PC, and some smug git says, 'buy a Mac.'

Let me nail this one, once and for all.

In all the years that I've owned a PC it (they) have never let me down. I take sensible precautions and they just work.

I see it like this. Two men decide to buy a car with the intention of getting them from A to B. One man decides to buy a Rolls Royce for £100,000 and the other decides to get a Ford, or whatever, and spends £30,000.

For 99% of the time both cars get both men from A to B without any problem. One would expect, and factor into the buying decision, that the Ford, being mass produced, and built from cheaper components might break down say 1% of the time. Both cars perform the same function of transport but one is arguably more pretty and more comfortable than the other.

There isn't much difference in the actual arrival time for most journeys because other factors like the speed limit and traffic come into play. There's only ever seconds or minutes in it.

If the Ford breaks down there is a garage on every corner that can help. If the Rolls breaks down there's difficulty finding a dealer and he will charge a lot to get the thing fixed.

Each man can of course spend his money as he wishes but some men will think carefully about buying a means of transport that, when all is said and done, still only performs the function of getting them from A to B.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Too Anglo Saxon?

When I read this, one part of me said that they've got it right and the other side said lazy sods.

In the end it all comes down to 'where does the money to pay for it all come from?'

From my rather narrow view of France, I get the impression that the nation seems happy with the status quo, as long as the health service is top class.

I don't get the feeling that there's much of a demand for change.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jobs - change the way you walk

Something to cheer you up as the nights draw in.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Memory lane

After spending quite a bit of time with my mother this past year, it became obvious that she needs a bit more practical help than can be given with us living in France.

So, whilst you may think that all we did during the last week in England was eat, drink and look beautiful, we actually worked hard with lots of driving, nodding, and smiling to see if we could find a house that we liked. It looks like we may have done it.

Of all the many places we looked at, the one that ticked all the right boxes is in Ripon, North Yorkshire. The house we have chosen has been built and modernized to a very high standard (unlike you - Ed) and will be perfect for Jan and I the dogs, as right outside our front door is a huge park and a cross country walk to Fountains Abbey, a place Jan once called the most peaceful place on earth. Added to that we're only half an hour away from chez mum

Given the flaky house buying system in England, we now have to wait and see if the purchase runs its course. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The wrong combination

Jan was trying on a new bikini this morning and asked me what I thought.

When I said that I didn't like the earrings, she got into a right strop.

Where did I go wrong?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Seems that I'm not the only one who has a problem with Apple.

A bit of a scare

Coming back from dinner with friends last night was very scary. It had been raining heavily over the last couple of days and whilst there had been a few local problems it hadn't affected us. The road to our friends was clear with no sign of problems. After three hours that all changed.

Just outside Lezan, at the roundabout with  the Anduze road, the flood water was so deep (about 1 meter) that it was impossible to see where the road began and finished and which direction to take. It was very dark and I was in the flood water before I could do anything about it.

Added to that a huge lorry coming in the other direction wanted to get passed and was blocking the road.

Added to that I thought I was nearer to a roundabout than I actually was and was about to turn fall off the road and get into a right mess in a deep ditch.

Added to that it was impossible to turn around.

Luckily my trusty local navigator was with me and pointed out the error of my ways. For once she got it right (well done that woman - Ed) and saved us from a real problem.

We bought the Jeep about eight years ago as a result of the flooding problems around here in September 2002. You can always expect heavy rain at this time of  the year but since then it has hardly rained, bugger. Anyway, until last night I was beginning to think that maybe the purchase was an over reaction. Not so mes braves. The extra height off the road allowed us to drive through the unexpected flood water and get home safely. Phew.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Home sweet home

I suspect that mum would have liked us to stay a bit longer but two weeks was enough for me and, three weeks after the op, she seems to be doing very well. I anticipated a much longer recovery time more like three months. Still, she will need a bit of help with some of the more energetic jobs but at least she can potter around and do all the simple things.

The flight with Ryanair landed 30 minutes early which meant we could get back quickly to pick up Max and Minnie and to settle back in.

It's good to be home.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Stoned to death for bad taste

It's not often that you will see me agreeing with the Iranian government but I'm in absolute agreement with their latest edict to control hair fashions. You should be sent to prison for having such poor taste.

The latest fugitive to return to the UK after being on the run for 17 years is Asil Nadir.

He has rather an unusual bald head and mullet so if they can't get him on his alleged fraud charges all they have to do is send him to Iran where he'll no doubt be stoned to death.

There's just no escaping real justice!

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Relief forces have arrived.

I picked up Jan from the airport the other day.

See, I got my second week covered and there you were thinking I was some kind of angel. Frankly, I've had enough nursing, cooking and cleaning to last me a life time. Well OK, not quite a lifetime but long enough.

Mind you I was quite surprised at how well it all went. I usually got the dishes in the dishwasher seconds after the last mouthful was swallowed. My motto is 'if ya gotta do it, do it quick and get back to taking it easy.' Which I did.

The shopping is different now. Instead of buying ready meals we now buy ingredients. It's a whole new learning experience for me.

And, oh yes, mum is doing fine.