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lundi 29 juin 2015



   When I started this blog, I told you that, as it was the beginning of the year, I had decided to make a fresh start and get rid of some bad habits.
  Among them ( I wish I could write ' between ' but it would mean I had just two bad habits ), the fact of getting sidetracked in no time really got on my nerves. So, fighting against that became my early 2015 hobby-horse.
  All throughout Winter and Spring , things went on smoothly. I stuck to my resolution and nearly got over that weak point. Of course, I fell off the wagon every now and then, but I got back on track quite quickly. I stayed focused on my goals, took up plenty of mini challenges, and even managed to overcome my unfortunate tendency for procrastination.
  But boasting a victory was way too soon ...

  In the early days of Summer, I started experiencing symptoms suggesting I was about to have a relapse.You know, things like walking downstairs to do one thing and finding yourself five minutes later upstairs doing something else. First I thought there was nothing to worry about. I looked on the bright side and noticed that being a bit sidetracked could bring unexpected touches of fancy in everyday life ...So,I turned a blind eye to the side effects of what I called "  my little quirk ".
  Unfortunately there is a difference between a quirk and a flaw, and I learned a costly lesson when my quirk flawed the first sunny days of Summer. 
  Let me tell you how a perky busy bee can turn into a quirky crazy bee.

  Last Wednesday the weather was set fair. We were having lunch on the terrace and we realized that if the temperatures kept rising, the terrace would turn into a huge toaster. It really met the conditions ; south-facing and white walls !
   With no time to spare, I turned on my computer and a couple of hours later, I knew everything there is to know about  parasols ( history and anatomy) and how to choose one ( pole, mast, thickness of the material and so on).
   I knew my requirements, so I thought finding the right parasol would be as easy as ABC !
  I went to the nearby garden center. Some parasols fitted all my criteria, but before stepping into the " purchase decision process ", I went to a DIY shop where prices are usually more affordable. And that's when things went haywire. It took me a split second to get sidetracked !!

  As soon as I walked into the shop, I remembered I needed some cleaning products for the garden furniture and a light bulb. So, the busy bee I am started fluttering along the shelves..
  One hour later, after queueing at the checkout for a while, I could put my loot on the conveyor belt :
  A bottle of soft soap, a set of screwdrivers, a tube of wonder glue, a doorstop and a pack of chair leg felt pads !

  Hardly had I come back home when the sun on the terrace dazzled me ...

  The quirky crazy bee had bought a lot of  trifles but no parasol !!

  I was ticked at myself !! Will I ever learn ?? Time will tell. I still have a long way to go but I will strive to never let a quirk turn into a flaw !!
  It's a long shot ...

lundi 22 juin 2015



Today, I'd like to attract your attention on a question form which can give you a key to understand British mind.

When you want to know about someone's age ( which can be straightforward and rather tactless, anyway), you've been taught to ask " how old are you ?".
Haven't you ever wondered why " how old" and not " how young " ?
I guess if we were asked " how young are you ? ", we would feel immediately more optimistic and energetic, whereas the phrase " how old .." make us feel the burden of our years !
It is the same thing with the weight ! The question " how heavy are you ? " makes most of us flee far away from the bathroom scales,doesn't it ? Sure 
" how light are you ? " would make our bodyfat leaner !

But let's get back to the question of age. How old or how young doesn't really matter as long as you are young in spirit. It is a common saying and I think it often turns out to be true. Staying young is a matter of body, I don't deny it of course, but it is mainly a matter of mind or spirit. Crow's feet ( laugh lines is a sweeter word) just mean the corners of your mouth often go north and that life is enjoyed to the fullest, period, end of the sentence !
I do believe that as long as we smile, we all belong to the same generation !!

Unfortunately last Tuesday proved me somehow wrong ..

I went downtown to get some special tea ( with cardamon,cinnamon, fennel seeds and ginger).
As soon as I stepped into the shop, I felt I knew the girl behind the counter.I was quite sure we shared a lot of Summer holidays memories. I would have staked my life on it !
To my casual " Hello ", she replied with a formal " Good morning,Madam " which made me wonder.
First I thought she had not recognized me.After all, some people don't have a good memory for faces ! But a little voice inside my head was already humming the lyrics of a chart-topping hit in the late sixties ( ..those were the days my friend,we thought they'd never end ..) which deals with the reminiscence of youth and idealism.

I swept away all my dark thoughts about time flying ( time and tide wait for no man), put on my pink glasses and racked my brain to find out who the girl was. She was still in the back room when it came back to my mind :
The same blue eyes, the same freckles, the same high cheekbones, the same dimples. Of course, she was Fred's sister ! I could not be wrong !

When she came back to the counter, I couldn't help asking her point blank :

"  I guess we know each other.You're Fred's sister, aren't you ? "

She replied gently :

" No, Fred is my father. "

What a shame ! That's why she greeted me so respectfully ! Privilege of old age ? I was floored !!

To crown it all, when I came back home and told my husband about my misfortune, his derisive comment finished me off !

" Lucky you ! Fred could have been her grand-father !".

I shrugged my shoulders, went to my study and decided to browse through a book which could be my bedside book from now on 

the portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde !

jeudi 18 juin 2015


Hello all of you,

I know, I had promised I would not bore you any more with wildlife stories but today I can't help giving you some news about Mrs Deer !!

Yesterday at lunch-time while we were having coffee on the terrace, Mrs Deer paid a visit. 
This time it was not for a helping at her favourite buffet but to introduce her offspring to us :


She licked its back for a while to male it cleaner and smarter , and then stared at us as if saying :

Have you seen how lovely my baby is !

I was really moved.I am not usually icky but when watching the mother and her baby  I was nearly on the verge of tears !

So, never mind the rosebuds, the figs and the hazel tree leaf,and welcome to our new-comer !

Have a nice day and get ready for next Monday chapter.

lundi 15 juin 2015



I hope you are more and more numerous to follow this blog and that you have fun reading it.
When browsing through the previous chapters, I realize, as some of you have pointed it out, that it is often question of food, and I would add,myself, of animals, as well !
Regarding food, I am a poor cook, but I must confess I never balk at giving myself a treat ! Audierne is a food lover's dream : thanks to coastal fishing we can get top-quality fish whenever we feel like it.And for those who have a sweet tooth ( I'm one of them), Kouign Amann, far, crêpes, and salted butter toffees are on display all throughout the year.
As for animals, I guess you have noticed how much I love them (hard to imagine I was scared of dogs for years).What's more, that runs in the family: remember my god-father's Noah's Ark !
Anyway, I don't want to be a bore,so today let me tell you the last story of my " wildlife sanctuary ", and afterwards I'll try to entertain you with other funny things.

I am an early riser whereas my husband is a night owl and thus a lie-in fan.
So, every morning when my three boys are still soundly asleep ( yes, Ulysse and Canaille also have a membership card of the lie-in club), I tiptoe downstairs and start my daily routine :
First, breakfast with a mug of hot green tea and a mixture of soy milk with sunflower seeds, mulberries and wolfberries.Then, I have a shower, get dressed to shoes and check my to to-do list notebook to see what is on the agenda : compulsory, optional and ' if-any spare time ' matters.
That's how days usually start.

But, last Friday when I got up, I was under the weather. I had had a bad night sleep and I thought that before getting down to the nitty-gritty, I needed a pamper break.So, I took my mug and sat down in a deckchair on the terrace.
The weather was sunny and mild and a gentle breeze was blowing away the last hair-raising pictures of my last night nightmares.What more could I ask for ??
Well, a minute later I got the answer !
Mrs Roe Deer came out of the undergrowth, stopped, stared at me, and then started her household shopping.
I know her den is just a few steps away and then I am the nearest 
She walked to the rose-bushes and helped herself to two rose-buds I had photographied from any angle ! Another glance at me and two shy figs I had been pampering for a fornight were off !!
Mrs Deer was really feeling at ease : actually I was the intruder !
Satisfied with what she had found on the market, she went away.
Well, at least she had spared the mint, the thyme, the sage, the verbena and the rosemary I strive to grow
A few minutes later she was back again ! She didn't even pay attention to me and just caught one tender leaf of a hazel tree. She chewed it quietly and then left for good.

I counted :

2 rose-buds + 2 figs + 1 hazel tree leaf = 5 

That's the right amount !

Mrs Deer knows about the healthy benefits of getting 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day !!

lundi 8 juin 2015



A few days ago my husband went downtown to fetch some books we had ordered from the bookshop. I'm not a great fan of shopping, so I usually buy a lot online (household linen, dry petfood and all sorts of odds and ends). Yet, for books it is something different. I love the smell and feel of books.I enjoy browsing through them, discovering new titles, and what's more I think booksellers are people we must stand by.

Well, let's get back to today's story.So, after having a summit with our bookseller about the weather forecast, the arrival of June holiday-makers, parking problems, and other Audiernais hot topics, my husband was about to come back home, but then he remembered the '' greedy busy bee '' waiting for him in the hive.

Thus,he went to the cake shop where he could get my guilty pleasure:
 a "non-autorisé" ( my grand-mother used to say that name dated back to WWII when butter and all dairy products could not be found anywhere).
What a good idea !!
After cleaning the laundry from top to bottom, I deserved a reward !
Come on, I can already hear your comments :
A reward ? Yes, but why not a sauna bath instead of a creamy, buttery and sugary wrap ?
Well, don't have a sharp tongue !
Carpe Diem is my number one motto, and anyway, you can't change how you are made !

When I took my cake, I noticed a tiny label on it. I had a closer look and said to my husband : " Look, there's a picture of a bee on my cake ! Is it just a
coincidence or is it in honour of Dany the Perky Busy Bee ?".
He giggled and replied : " It's not a bee but a bumblebee ! Let me remind you that the cake shop's owner's name is Bourdon !

The word bumblebee rang a bell.
Light years away from now, I mean the first time I went on a language study holiday, I was reading in the back garden of my hosts when suddenly a bumblebee swooped down towards me. Its buzzing was so impressive (and not as pleasant to my ears as " The Flight of the Bumblebee " by Rimsky Korsakov) that I rushed back in. My hostess asked me what was wrong with me and that's when things went wrong. I didn't know the English word for "bourdon". I racked my brain,.. in vain ! My English vocabulary about insects was limited to two words : bee and fly ! (Do you remember learning phonetics with : number three is a bee, number five is a fly?).
The lady was staring at me, so as a last resort, I stammered :
" I have been attacked by the bee's husband !".
Of course, she told me the right word,but later on when I was with a member of my English family, he or she would ask gently :
" Hey, Dany, any news of the bee's husband ? "

Thanks to them the word bumblebee will be etched in my mind forever! 
And in yours, too, I hope !!

lundi 1 juin 2015


When my husband retired, we thought it was high time to get back to our roots, our childhood and adolescence memories, and to settle down in Audierne.
Before starting house-hunting, to make our search easier we listed down all the criteria required to meet our great expectations. We set our priorities, then we chose top three must-haves, and while being at it, bottom three ones,too ( our very last wish being an orchard).
Convinced we had everything under control, we embarked on a grand tour of the houses for sale in Audierne.We were quite sure we would be done in no time. How gullible we were !
One year later we were back to square one. We had been shown round dozens of places but none measured up to our desires, either in features or prices. I guess we were the local estate agents' worst nightmare !
Before giving up, we had a last disillusioned look at the websites. We came across a house we had not visited yet, and after a few " one never knows and why nots ", we made an appointment with the notary in charge of the sale.When we arrived there, it was love at first sight ( with the house, not the notary,of course).We were aware of the dangers of falling in love with a house you are buying, number one being love is blind ! Yet, we swept away all those warnings. We were walking on air ! After a gruelling quest for the Holygrail, we had found it ! It fitted all our requirements from the top must-haves to the bottom ones ! Yes, there was an orchard with a majestic cherry-tree !
Three months later the house was ours.
Since then we have had no regret. The house is comfy and the orchard delights our taste-buds, and the maggots' ones, as well ( organic apples are tastier !).

Just a slight drawback : the cherry-tree is as majestic as ever, but it is also a giant bird feeder.Birds pick the cherries off, even before they are ripe. Since we arrived here, the only cherries we have eaten came from the greengrocer.
You know how much we love birds. We have even considered becoming members of LPO. Yet, this Spring, when admiring cherry blossoms, I started feeling a bit resentful. Last Winter we had welcomed tits,blackbirds,wood pigeons,robins and starlings, fed them and even saved some ( remember Hypolais) and then ...overnight those sweethearts had turned into a squadron of rmerciless raiders ready to go on a cherry binge.This time I wanted the biggest share of the loot, I would not content myself with stones !!

I had four solutions :

. attach a bird netting to the tree : considering the width and height of the 
  object of desire, forget about it !
. use a fake owl or cat in or near the tree  meant to move it regularly because
  birds aren't that silly, so too binding.
. hang windchimes ( birds don't like loud, ringing sounds) : I had been 
  offered one by my daughter but too nice for the little rascals !
. hang CDs : they reflect the light, shine in the sun and birds think there's
  a predator coming towards them. 

I remembered I had a cardboard full of old CDs ready to donate to the charity shop. Why not pick up some to scare away my spongers ? 
By fluke I came across 3 CDs of the same songs by the same singer. Great !!
I tied a string around them, hung them on some branches and I thought I had parried the attack. I went back home, rubbing my hands.

The day after, I rushed to my cherry-tree. No more fruit !! Gone away with 
the wind ?? Of course, not !

I could hear the chorus of the birdies singing a joyful song of Thanksgiving !

What I didn't know is that CDs only work when there is direct light, so when it it is night time ... have a guess !