Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Beginning of a New Era

Sunset, end of the old

Sunrise, beginning of the new

when each day brings opportunity
letting us know that we should try to profit from each lesson of the day.
Every second be receptive to what the day may bring.
Observe, take heed for any learning experience.
Listen to your heart.
Listen to your inner voice.
Be that which you are.
I am what I am. You are what you are. We are what we are.
We are the Alpha and Omega.
Like the setting of the Sun and the rising of the Sun WE HAVE ONE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT! and LIVE IT!

Never too late!

With thanks to Captain Sensible for the photos - the changing views from the verandah.

The End and the Beginning of a New Decade

It is so hard to understand where the last year and the 59 before that went, but they have been and gone!
So here's wishing us all a very better start than end of a decade.
All my love and very best wishes.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Day 2009 Angles sur l'Anglin Winter Barbecue Picnic

By rising waters of Angles, (Ongle)
we mean the river L'Anglin (Longlan)
brilliant sunshine shone
on our dining place upon
the sandy plage,
where shadows cast
beneath poplar trees
as the wintry breeze
fanned the fire
of the 5th winter barbecue
on a Christmas day.

O, Christmas day, when bells appeal, Noël,
crevettes rosy red et saumon savage,
tomme de Savoie marc et raisins fromage.
green and yellow vegetables, white Alsace Riesling,
profiteroles were skipped for the dessert pudding,
nougat, coffee, cognac were not refused,
sun was setting rapidly, a long walk ensued.

Looking back you would not know
that only just a few seconds ago
we cooked and ate and recorded an image
enjoyed some fun and drama on a stage
Friends were met, greetings exchanged.
Another day, another year,
another feast, another cheer,
O special feast in the calendrial year.

I thank the world for a lovely day,
when mistletoe in the peupliers,
hung from raftered branches high in azure blue cyan sky,
where light and shade were astonishing
and cameras wanted to explore the scene.

But really it was just for us and our knowledge of the dream.....
and I thank him.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Seasonal Greetings to Family and Friends

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas 2009 and New Year 2010

A Seasonal Poem
December 2009
Following the Seasonal Year, Bringing you Good Cheer
Christmas Robin all abreast, Christmas Greeting words expressed

This electronic message replaces a paper Christmas Card
so as to attempt to save some trees from being felled
and so as to reduce expenditure on recycled paper cards, ink, paper, stamps, and a journey to the post office. SCROOGE? Ah... HUMBUG!

Unfortunately, some who are not technologically equipped have to receive this by the expensive snail mail postal system. Aaaaaarrgh! If only the Peppermint Humbugs were here to be eaten!

If you wish to print and display this masterpiece of poetic labour and photographic brilliance of a treasured Christmas table decoration that I have had for many years, amongst your pretty commercial and charitable Christmas Cards on your mantelpiece or decking your walls or ceilings, then please do.

Like winter leaves the days fall into darkness,
Days almost at their shortest and nights their longest.
The coming of a New Year cries out, “Janus, cheer Goodbye!
The old has past and gone. His and her story done!”
But then the New Year looks ahead and shouts to Janus encore,
“Hello! What gifts in the months shall we treasure and explore?”

However, just give us a chance to pray
a “Bon Noël”, a “Merry Day,”
a Festive Feast for Round Robin,
a Holiday and a Holy day,
a time for rest or work or play,
a time to be with your family,
Merry Christmas and Joyeuse Année.

We hope the sums are accurate, numerically speaking,
yet, the past year of our lives, living or just sleeping
has seen some positive moments of Living in Poitou-Charentes,
at Latitude of +46.81 (46°48'36"N) and Longitude of +0.54 (0°32'24"E)
Châtellerault, France,
for 12 months or how shall we put it?
52 weeks
365 days (or was it a leap year?)
8,760 hours
525,600 minutes
31,536,000 seconds
we bring you a rhyme in time, for the cheer of the year!
Here comes the Christmas Round Robin!

January soft white snow, scenery stunning for several weeks,
‘sno good for building ‘les bonhommes de neige’ or digging up the leeks.
Bright light dazzles the eyes, but ice was good for downhill slides.
Sanxay - baths and Roman amphitheatre,
David’s birthday, a magical mystery feature.

February made us shiver, frozen pipes and all a dither,
No fresh water in the mornings, wake up and count one’s blessings,
David the plumber is on tap, fancy that, he wears a plumber’s hat.
Then, in freezing temperature, stokes the oak for the warm woodburner,
Helps us to appreciate the finer things in life,
Instead of grumbling about stresses and strife.

March-mad moments, house search goes on,
surprisingly spot the ideal one.
Three months later, investigations reveal
potential rotten timber-frame concealed.

March birthday celebration, of Francesca’s first year,
Teeth appearing through her gums changed smiling to a tear.
Such a lovely little lass, a climbing curious girl
Comes to France, July with Mum, creates a dervish whirl.
Gran’mama loves vitality and tries to keep up gladly,
But sort of pleased as Grandma’s are when home they go, but sadly
Missing all life’s treasures from the darling little one.

March and April come and go, now the bunion’s gone,
Sweetpea was enforced to rest but not without frustration.
David dug and sowed some seeds in the vegetable plot,
May and more, cleaned gîtes for friends – rather fraught somewhat.

June arrived hot and still, prep for party girl,
July came and hotter still, the rain from sky did spill.
Friends brought marquees, tables laid, all so cosy, all was saved.
Roger played piano jazzy, ultimately all quite rosy.
60 roses red, in fact, one for every year,
Sweetpea's life to celebrate in fantastic happy cheer.
At Village de Vaux country venue, 60 guests ate a four-course menu.

August welcomes visitors, adding more enjoyment and exhaustion,
We try to remember to increase our pills, Vitamin B6 and magnesium.
We love them all to be here and it’s always a pleasant rest,
To entertain, but when the “Goodbyes” arrive, Sweetpea's a bit depressed.

September straddles days so warm we sleep out in our hammocks,
Sweetpea goes off once again to become a little flummoxed.
Brittany green and verdant, her cousin makes her laugh,
They natter on incessantly and reads her book in draft.
David quietly stays at home, feeds Big Feet, mows the lawn,
Researches further his learning online for making website design.

October falls, leaves tumble brown, chocolate festivals, nuts and fruits,
Chestnuts, hazelnuts, tomatoes, figs, pumpkins, carrots and roots.
November - David splashes out and buys a brand new camera,
December - we've managed to survive despite poor currency valeur.

Luckily, state pension, pays a crust to save our bacon,
We worry, not so much for us, but for our respective children.
Faced with self-employment, redundancy, loss of jobs,
Makes home-making a challenge, they’re fighting against the odds.
Searching for ways to meet the bills, it’s tough and quite uncertain,
They’re putting on a very brave face whilst hoping to win a million.

We wish that all and all like them a better year to come,
We wish not gloom and yet more doom, one thing we must assume,
Whatever happens there’s not much time, to stuff the veritable mushroom!

We hope that Sweetpea finds a house and David learns more and more
Making simple elegant websites to keep the wolf from the door.

Seasons come and seasons go, All the world is a stage,
Successes here and stories there to turn the robin’s page.
Everyone moves to and fro, busy lives and things to do,
Places to see and people to meet, write, read, twitter and tweet,
What do they do? How do they do? If only the Christmas Robin knew.

Whew!! Well done you for surviving to the end.
Have you ordered the men in the white suits?


With love from Captain Sensible and his Sweetpea xx

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Thursday 17 December 2009 It started snowing here at 12.45 (now 15.00).
A thin but getting thicker layer of dry white flakes covers the world outside our window.
And just to cheer us up with grateful thanks to whoever made this and to Heather at her excellent bed and breakfast / chambres d'hotes in Maureville, France for passing it on!!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A Lesson of Mince Pies

At the end of this trimestre (term), teaching English and learning French, we would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has enabled us to enjoy integration and bonhomie. Before anyone could taste they had to read and comprehend the text "English Mince Pies". I had none of my own home-made vegetarian mincemeat so lazily bought some from M@S and it was excellent. All we needed was the festival of nine lessons and carols from Kings College Cambridge to be truly festive!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Aircraft of War

I didn't take a photograph of the memorial and now I regret that because I would like to find out more about what happened. I felt very touched and sad when we stopped at a war memorial for the American bomber crew of a B17 Flying Fortress that had crashed in the fields nearby during the war against Germany. Although I read the names, I am ashamed that I cannot remember them, some seemed Eastern European surnames, except that two of the crew were saved by the resistance. We were in our own department of Vienne which was split in two by the "ligne de demarcation".
My history of WAR is very sketchy to say the least and to avoid any emotionalism which can consume me, I have I am ashamed to say, learned to block out thoughts of suffering whenever remembrance services occur. This is not to say that I don't think of it. I do. I pay my respect in silence. War, the destruction, the loss of lives, the hurt and pain to loved ones and family was devastating. I could not have survived. I would have wept and wept and died myself. I appreciate my fortune of experiencing peace as a result of those who fought against situations and people that could have created a different Europe. On the memorial it mentioned the words "Press the Button Jenny"and I think that these were words said when there was an instruction to release the destructive bombs. I cannot condone war but I cannot dispute how brave are those who go to war.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A family visit

November.  Sweetpea headed north to her favourite place with it's sea and beach, her favourite offspring and a little busy one, plus other relatives. A surprise visit was made to Tate Modern and Paddington Station was fun.  I love driving and found the journey of 8 hours to Calais rather splendid. The Force 9 gale encouraged me to take a nap on my settee lounger, despite the enthusiastically vocal dutch youngsters. The white cliffs of Dover were viewed in brilliant sunshine as the waves chopped around the Pride of Kent. We waited two and a half hours to enter the harbour. This rather delayed my journey on terra firma but never mind .. it was interesting! Two weeks in UK did not seem sufficient.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Snip go the scissors to lighten the load

I am 60. Time for a new me. I have always been afraid of going to the Hairdresser's. Maybe it was that perm my mother made me have when I was 15 ... or was it that my sister could always have long hair but not me. Between 18 and 32 it grew to below my posterior. Gradually it was made shorter. Then I grew it long again and Damian of John Olivers, Norwich cut it regularly for over 10 years. Brave man. At 55 I just let it grow ... something about wanting my last youth I seem to remember!!! It had been growing for over 5 years and was longer one side than the other because as I twirled it on top of the head with long metal scissor-like pins they eventually broke the hair! I loved the feel of the long hair but it could never be worn loose as it would just fly around and be in the way of cleaning, cooking and just living. I had dipped out of going to appointments for about three years - cancelling them when I lost courage. Really I wanted to stop looking and feeling senile, so my daughter was instructed to come with me and block all exits. An emergency appointment was made and Philip of the same establishment discussed the crisis and was OK about my plan to plait the hair and cut off the plaits ostensibly to use IF we ever do mediaeval re-enactment again. Snip. Snip. Now he can style the shortened hair. AND what was the problem Madam? I am free again. Yes. Great. A new woman. Oh.. and those plaits.. they are in a plastic bag and one day they are going to have a burial. My dead energy is in them.
Thankyou to my daughter who would take no nonsense, to Damian who stopped to chat, to Philip who needs new scissors, to Francesca who thought it was fun, and to the staff of John Olivers for washing the hair, for making me tea and for taking the photos. Best Hairdresser in Norwich Award from me, Sweetpea.

Friday, 4 December 2009

House Hunting Part Three

Well, I'd like to make a posting but I haven't time available. Let's just say I was on to the second prospective house purchase getting a long way down the road and it has come to a full stop!
It was very nice!