Articles les plus consultés

dimanche 25 décembre 2016




Hi everybody,

I hope your holiday season has already started sparkling and shining, and that Christmas treats, gifts and wishes were up to your expectations.

Now you must be dieting, exercising and carboloading to be ready to jump into the New Year.
Of course, I can't imagine you, my dear readers, eating or drinking yourselves sick last Christmas Eve, you're far too sensible for that, aren't you ?

But yet, perhaps you had a kind of too boozie or calorie-heavy Christmas Day, and now, let's face it, there is not much time left to get in shape before the big night !
Whittling you waist and slimming down within a few days ? Forget about it : it's just wishful thinking !
Don't feel guilty because you can't slip into your smart dress or button up your shirt ! It's no use beating yourself up !
Loosen up and give yourself a break !
This is the time to put all bad memories behind you and look forward to the New Year with nothing but good things to come !

Yes, besides New Year day, there are a lot of other lesser known days all along the year , just waiting to be celebrated !
Some are relaxing ( January 3rd is Festival of Sleep Day, good opportunity to relax after the hustle and bustle of Christmas), some are funny ( February 13th is Get a Different Name Day. That's when, nearly two years ago I swapped Dany for Perky, and was so satisfied with, that I've kept it since then !), and others are wacky ( March 13th is Open an Umbrella Indoors Day : jeez, doesn't it bring bad luck ?)
You see, the only thing you need to step into the New Year and make your way through it cheerfully is a " look on the bright side " calendar !
Plenty of them on the web !

You know how gung-ho I can get, so of course I have already tested many of those fun days ( I'll tell you later ...).

So, how come I have never played the whole game on Shrove Tuesday ?
Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or simply Carnival day, whatever you call it, it is really the right day to treat your tastebuds, let your fancy go and behave as if you were someone else for a few hours !

As you must already have noticed, I have a sweet tooth, so of course , I always celebrate the tasty side of that day. I mean, I never fail to go on a pancake and waffle binge, then. To be honest, to make sure the batter will be perfect, I often happen to have a few ' rehearsals ' the week before.
I am not that good at tossing  pancakes in the air, but practice makes perfect, doesn't it ?

Well, for Shrove Tuesday foodies, no problem : you can count on me !
But, as I have just told you, I have never made the most of that day ...

Taking part to a parade, standing on a flower-covered float and throwing confettis to the onlookers, that's a part of the festivities I have always left aside.
Riding a parade float is perhaps a bit too much, but on Shrove Tuesday I have often been invited to fancy dress parties, and believe me or not, I have always found a fake excuse not to go !

Lack of imagination ? No, cause I could have dressed up as a perky busy bee : I would have buzzed around the party in a stripy yellow and black costume, waving my antennas !
Afraid of being teased ? Come on, if I had ever felt the fear of being ridiculed, I would never have shared my adventures with you !

So what ? Well, I really don't know, but anyway, I'll never be the Queen of Mardi Gras, and yet ,once I nearly snatched victory and won the title ...
Just read on and tell me if I deserved it or not.

Some years ago, when we bought our house, it needed doing up.
While waiting for the craftsmen's estimates (I should say ' hoping for ' their estimates), we thought there were things we could do ourselves.

We were looking forward to farewelling the kitchen tiled floor. It was old-fashioned, cracked and stained, so removing it would be our first step into the handymen's world.

We didn't leave anything up to chance.
After raiding the nearby DIY shop, we came back home with the tiler's perfect outfit : thick overalls, kneepads, heavy duty gloves, safety goggles, and even earplugs (a pneumatic drill music has nothing to do with a lullaby !).
We had bought and rented so many tools that the kitchen quickly looked like a hardware store !

An umpteenth glance at the video " How to remove the tile like a pro ", and we launched the scraping,chipping and drilling challenge .

A couple of hours later, we were washed out, sore all over, dust-covered , and our white tongues proved that our dust masks were not good value for money !
To crown it all, we were awfully thirsty, and as we were not living in the house yet, no drink to be found in the cupboards ! The previous owners had just left cobwebs, and as if to taunt us, an empty bottle-rack !

It was nearly 7pm, so if we wanted to quench our thirst, we had to rush downtown. So, we hopped into our car and off we went !

In the provinces when the shops close at 7, it means the shop assistants are outside at 7, and it's no use shaking the door.
We were left high and dry.

Before withering for ever, the only thing to be done was to pay a visit to the local pub.
I'm not that keen on beer, but asking for still water or ice tea in that place would be a bit cheeky, so I thought draught beer would do.

As soon as we stepped in, the bartender shouted :

" Welcome to Mardi Gras party , and, please, a storm of applause for our couple of craftsmen ! Thanks for coming ! In half-an-hour the best costume will be awarded a beertender ! In the meantime have fun  and enjoy your beer ! ".

The place had a soft lighting, and we could just guess the customers' figures, but sure it was crowded, cause we were cheered loudly !

A bit embarrassed, we ordered our drinks and sat down.
We were sipping our beer, when a customer came to our table and said :

" Congrats ! Dressing up as craftsmen ! What a brainwave ! But, how did you manage for the dust, the cement stains and the goggle marks on your faces ? ".

Before I could say Jack Robinson, Dearhubby who is always quick on the draw, replied :

" You know, it was not that difficult ! We are tilers. We have just started our own business, and tonight we are celebrating our first contract ! ".

I nearly chocked ! Jeez, my favourite prankster was back !

A last gulp of beer, then I stood up, and to show Dearhubby I could be a pranskter myself, I said :

" Sorry, but I have to leave you, cause of urgent estimates to post, but my husband will tell you more about our activities. See you some day ".

Dearhubby looked flabbergasted. I gave him a little wink and left !

For once, in the pranks category, the student had surpassed the master ...

That's how, I somehow took part to Mardi Gras festival !

Have a nice New year's Eve and don't forget : be perky !

Don't hesitate to send mails on :

dimanche 18 décembre 2016




Today is Monday December 19th, and now let's face it : the countdown has really started.

The countdown to Christmas, of course, but I guess if you are old enough to read this blog, then you are too old to believe in Santa Claus, or it's just wishful thinking.

So, don't count on me to give you tips and tricks not to get lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas. For a lot of us, last lap before Christmas often means hunting for the perfect gifts, cooking, decorating, and all that jazz. To sum it up : a nightmarish marathon race !

No, I mean the countdown to Year 2017 we have been jonesing for !

You know, when on December 31st the clock strikes midnight, and you feel excited to make a fresh start : a new year, a new life, good resolutions and so on !

Most of the time you wake up the day after with a hangover and silly
resolutions you will fortunately have forgotten by the end of January !

Come on, I'm not a killjoy, I'm just clear-sighted.

I have already experienced all that dozens of times !

Can you believe that ? Making crazy resolutions years after years, then feeling guilty for breaking them, and yet, the year after, starting all over again !

Boy, I'm not that stupid ! Once was enough to teach me a lesson !

Jeez, it was such a powerful lesson that I still remember it as if it were yesterday.

So, let me share that ' dark ' memory with you.
Don't worry ' dark ' is just a kind of clue ...Nothing bad ,sad or mad
(nothing mad ? Um, um) happens in this blog !

The only fateful time I made a resolution on January 1st, I had been teaching adults for nearly three months, and, I must confess, things were not getting on that smoothly.

I used to spend whole weekends preparing my classes, rehearsing in front of the mirror, asking Dearhubby and the children to test the exercises to check if they made sense.
When my dear volunteers said everything was ok, then the sky was the limit !

Unfortunately, Mondays came, and then, things got quite different ...

Bye bye Carefree Perky !

Sweaty hands, throbbing heart, jelly legs : that's how I stepped into the arena, Imean, into the classroom !
I was so strung up that, when writing on the blackboard, I often happened to drop or even break the chalk !
And my voice ! Dear me, I sounded like a sheep crying for its mummy :
" Mummmy, mummy, come to fetch me, otherwise all those people will shear me ! ".
My adult learners never ' sheared ' me . Quite the contrary, they helped me ahead !

Anyway, on that January 1st, I made the resolution to be less shy, less awkward, more self-confident, more casual, and to have that kind of
' I know the job ' behaviour.

A few days later, I was challenged to stick to my silly commitment.

I was asked to give one-to-one tuitions to a chartered accountant. Two challenges at a time !!

First, I had never given one-to-one tutions before, and just to think about that sent me shivers along the spine !
Then, to a chartered accountant ! Maths had always been my pet peeve, so how on earth would we get along well ?

Actually, the man turned up to be well-mannered and sociable.
Cheerful and all smiles ? Well, not really, but after all, you can't expect someone dealing with figures all day long to be beaming with joy, can you ?

During the first tuition, I managed to sound self-confident, to pretend to know the ropes  and be like a fish to water.
I had left my pounding heart, my cotton wool legs and my bleating voice backstage, and my ' one woman show ' didn't go on too badly.

When I left the conference room, I was on cloud nine .
I had not shied away, I had stuck to my resolution : I had been self-assured and calm !
Now, I could walk through the office door proudly, and even better, pop in to the nearby pastry-shop for a small reward.I deserved it, didn't I ?

I pulled the door open, it slammed behind me, and there I was ... standing in the dark (you remember the dark memory at the beginning of the story ?) in ... the broom closet !!
No way to open it from inside !
I started banging on the door, crying for help ! Nothing ! Just the sound of silence !

I suddenly realized with horror that it was lunchtime. Everybody had gone out !

If  I had not made that ridiculous resolution, I would have refused that contract, and by now, I would be enjoying a crunchy chicken sandwich in my favourite eatery !
My mouth was watering....but all my " Open Sesame "stayed vain !
And the brooms in the closet did not belong to Harry Potter, so no way to ride one and fly away !

The place was rather dusty, and after a while I started sneezing. That beat all !! My allergy was back !!

I was sneezing for the umpteenth time when I heard a voice asking :

    " Is there anybody in ? ".

I sneezed out a relieved " yes !! ".

The door opened slowly, one of the secretaries was staring at me speechlessly.
She was as white as a sheet, as if she had seen a ghost, and I was red with shame !

If I had been more self-confident, I would have gone out of the closet casually, swept aside any explanations (with all the brooms, it would have been easy ) and walked away.
Or, even better, I could have said : " My broom won't start. I'll take the bus".
And then, I would have kept my resolution not to be shy anymore, but my miserable situation was beyond me !!

Once more, I got tongue-tied, and just spluttered " bye " and fled away.

The next week when I arrived in the office, there were signs on each door...
The chartered accountant let me in and asked me if I had found my way easily ...
I blushed !

I was still shy, but at least I had learnt that people dealing with figures can have a sense of humour !

After that adventure I was done with any resolution for ever !!

That's all folks !

I hope you have enjoyed my story and that it will give you food for thought before making any New Year resolutions !

I wish you a Perky Christmas !!


dimanche 11 décembre 2016




As you already know, I'm a die-hard reader, so whenever I go downtown, I always pay a visit to the local bookshop.

The place is rather small, and the aisles between the displays so narrow that to squeeze along requires flexibility, but a healthy diet,as well. I'm not kidding !
One roll of fat too many, and you can get stuck between wobbly piles of books threatening to crash down if you breathe out ! Porty regulars know that either they stop indulging their tastebuds, or they'll have to make do with the end-aisles displays !

The owner there is really the right man in the right place. He is friendly but not too intrusive, reserved but ready to help.
Whatever the novel, the thriller, the sci-fi or even the relatively unknowns you are looking for, he 'll go out of his way to get it !

So, even if the place is cramped, there's always something to whet my bookworm appetite  ! All the more as no book is shrink-wrapped !

That's how last week, while browsing, I stumbled upon " A guide to the toilets of the world " ! A bit weird, isn't it ? But yet quite useful, cause it's better to be prepared for the unexpected ...
Creativity has no bounds :  some pictures were really shocking,others were  hilarious, but all were mind-blowing !

Anyway, no photo of what happened to a Japanese friend of mine in the same kind of place ...

We have known each other since primary school, and even though she went back to Tokyo when she was eighteen, we were such close-knit friends that we have managed to keep in touch so far.

So, some years ago, when she told me that she was coming to Europe and planning a 10-day driving tour of the Loire valley, I jumped at that wonderful opportunity to suggest her to drive a bit farther down and stay with us in Charente for a while.
She was thrilled to bits and so was I !

Meeting again meant endless chitchats, uncontrollable giggles, little confessions, and if, some spare time, sightseeing (plenty of places to see in Charente Maritime), and,of course, indulging her with all our local specialties !
All the easier as Yumi was far from being a picky eater !
When we were at school, to make fun of her appetite, I used to tell her that I wondered what it would have been with one more ' m ' in her first name !
She was quick on the draw and never failed to reply :

   " Don't worry about my appetite ! Just call me ' Yum ' for short ".

The good old days ...

Yumi had never been to Charente Maritime before, and I really wanted her first visit to be an unforgettable experience.
So, everyday we crisscrossed the region to show her round all the places worth sightseeing.
We even took her to an oyster farm where she could see oyster beds and taste the famous ' Fines de Claire ' she had been jonesing for !

A few castles, romanesque churches, arenas,water mills and wineries later, Yumi's art and gourmet tour was coming to an end.

She could not leave Charente Maritime without trying an ' Eclade de moules ' !

For those who have never heard about that dish (poor you !), it is made by covering the mussels with a thick layer (10 cm) of dry pine needles , and then setting the dish alight. Pine needles burn very fiercely for a few minutes, the time needed to cook the mussels and give them the taste of wild pine.
Now, I guess you understand why I didn't want my Japanese friend to miss that spectacular and tasty culinary experience !

By fluke, an oyster farmer of a nearby village was organizing a huge  éclade in one of his meadows (a former camping site), so we decided to put our names down.

Two days later  when we parked in the farmyard and got out of the car, it was scorching hot and the party was already in full swing thanks to the home-made Pineau the owner was treating his guests to !
Not really thirst-quenching, but well, ' when in Rome, do as the Romans do ' !

Dearhubby and I had already experienced the side effects of that sweet aperitif, especially when home-made ...
In a single gulp you get the taste of fresh harvest fruit and throat-burning cognac, and the combination is so pleasant that you just feel like getting another shot, and that's when things start getting wrong...

So, when the farmer offered a third round, we gently refused, unlike Yumi who swallowed it straight back and started giggling ...
Just a glance at her and I knew what was going on : rosy cheeks, bright eyes and a blissful look meant that it was high time she had a hearty meal, otherwise she would start singing up a storm !

Fortunately, a few minutes later everybody was invited to sit at the tables.

I thought we would have the éclade immediately, but the farmer had put on a big spread, and we were first served half a melon with ...Pineau .
I told Yumi that she could pour the alcohol in her glass and have just the melon, but she replied that she was not a teetotaller, she was a big girl able to hold a drink, and what's more Japanese alcoholic beverages were much stronger than Pineau !!
Well, not that strong perhaps, but anyway, pretty tipsifying !

The melon was mellow and ...Yumi, too ! To be honest, Yumi was even too mellow ...
Before I could say Jack Robinson, she was done with the ' melon au Pineau '.

Then she stood up and said she would be back in a minute.
She whispered into my ear (or at least she thought she was whispering) that everything was ok, but she needed to go to the toilets.
And off she stumbled !!

How could she know where the toilets were ?? She had never been there before and no sign to show the way to the toilets anywhere ! She had not even asked me !

No time to think it over, the farmer was about to set fire to the éclade, and was inviting all the guests to get ready to take photos of that unforgettable experience.

I looked around, but Yumi could not be seen in the far distance !

The pine needles had burnt and the mussels were being served , when, at last, my friend turned up !

She was in a sorry state ; soaked to the bones and shamefaced !

She told me that she had gone across the meadow to find out that in the shed there were only squat toilets !
What a culture shock !
She would never have thought that French people were still using that sort of stuff !
And even worse, after that awfully uncomfortable pee break, when she had wanted to flush the toilet, she had gone through a kind of ice bucket challenge ! And yet, she had never been willing to dump a bucket of ice water on her head !!

I burst out laughing, and explained her that she had been mistaken.

The shed, she had been to, were the showers of the former camping
site !
The toilets were just in the opposite direction !

As she was looking rather embarrassed , to give her smile again, I added that now the showers had been turned into drunk tanks , and seemed to be quite efficient ...

That's how my Japanese friend got to know Charente Maritime, its delicious Pineau and also its side effects !!

As for the éclade , she could enjoy the mussels, but for the pine needles on fire, she had to do with my photos !

That's all for this week, folks !

Don't forget : be perky,but don't drink one glass too many !

dimanche 4 décembre 2016




Some time ago I told you about my driving licence, and how I couldn't take it, cause of a scared-stiff instructor threatening to resign if I was to have one more lesson.

I gave up, because , whenever I stepped into the driving-school, the poor guy got panic-stricken as if he was about to be sent to the scaffold .
He was in his early forties, and the apprentice road-hogs he had trained had already left stress wrinkles on his forehead and bags under his eyes.
I didn't want to be his executioner, so I bade farewell to my dream of holding the steering wheel and playing a remake of 'Thelma and Louise' with my best friend.
Anyway, no regret, cause I care for her and giving her a lift would have been life-threatening, you see what I mean ...

As years went by, I got used to being the front seat passenger and getting on Dearhubby's nerves with my constant warnings (how come he still can't get used to them ?).

To compensate for my lack of licence, I have done my best to master the art of driving shopping-carts, and I've passed the test with flying colours ! That's something I can brag about !

I am the Queen of the shopping-trolley corrals !

Whatever the coin, the token or the card to insert, no shopping-cart  rebels ! I can  unlock one a in wink and its wheels never jam !!
Can you believe that ?
Yes ?
Well, you're wrong ! It's a bundle of lies ! I'm just like you. I often struggle with faulty carts ! Some of them are even so sneaky that they pretend to run smoothly, and then get stuck just when I'm passing through the revolving doors !!
But I have tremendous drive, and up to now none has driven me nuts !

So, whatever the trolley, I don't really mind household shopping. I know the local supermarket layout so well that I could go on my shopping trip in my sleep !
I know all their tricks, and I have a tried-and-true way not to fall for them :

a well-planned and well-organized shopping list !

Thanks to it, no wandering along the aisles aimlessly, no waste of time, no impulse buys, just what I need and nothing else !

Smart and easy, isn't it ? Yes, but unfortunately often untrue !

My tricky shopping list manages, either to  stay comfy at home, or to get lost on a display !
Then, the only thing I can do is rely on my memory, so more often than not I end up buying needless things and forgetting what I had come for.

That's what happened two weeks ago.

It was Dearhubby's birthday, and I had planned to invite a couple of friends to share a ' a choucroute '. Not typically English, but so hearty and comforting when the weather turns chilly.

All the way to the supermarket, I was clutching my precious list and trying to learn it by heart, just in case ...
For once, Dearhubby could drive quietly without any of my "brake! slow down ! watch out ! " background music !

Believe me or not, I guess I am doomed to challenge my memory,cause while I was unlocking a shopping-cart, a strong gust of wind blew away my damned list !
I ran after it, but in vain ! The faster I ran, the farther it flew !
So, I gave up, cause the Breton wind is strong and stubborn , and I knew it could turn my shopping list into a weathercock in a squall !

I had to do my shopping from memory, and treading along the aisles and picking up the right ingredients for a choucroute was far from being a walk in the park ...

Anyway, while queueing at the check-out, I was, I must confess, quite proud of myself : the sauerkraut, the ham hock, the knackwursts and the different  kinds of sausages were just waiting quietly in the bottom of the cart to simmer and make us happy !

Not so surprising yet, cause, if honey bees are able to remember the scent of the countless number of flowers they visit, why a perky busy bee should not be able to memorize a shopping  list !

All the way back home, I kept harping on about my memory and how accurate it was !

What a braggart !!

I should have remembered a Spanish proverb I learnt at school :

   " Tell me what you brag about, and I'll tell you what you lack ".

As soon as back home, Bragging  Perky had to eat humble pie : juniper berries and mustard were reported missing, or, to be honest, my so-called unfailing memory was just like a sieve !

Well, juniper berries were optional, but a choucroute without mustard made no sense !
No, mustard was a must (hey, that's a good mnemonic when shopping for a choucroute, isn't it ?).

So, I had to swallow my pride, and asked Dearhubby to give me a lift back to the supermarket.
He accepted, but couldn't hep saying :

  " By the way,have you thought of writing a chapter about Memory
     Leaks ? ".

I didn't reply.

He dropped me off in front of the supermarket, and stayed in the car, but, just as I was about to go through the entrance doors, he put down the window and shouted :

   " Perky, juniper berries and mustard,will you be able to remember ? "

I just shrugged my shoulders and went my way .

I knew where the condiments department was, so I was done with my small shopping in a wink.

That's when I came across a cousin of mine I had not seen for over six months.
Too bad !

Come on, I do love my relatives,but you remember that chatting is the favourite sport of the women in my family !
So, time to tell her I was in a hurry, and half-an-hour had gone by !
Time to part and say good-bye, and the sneaky needles of my watch had moved one quarter ahead !!

Chitchats are time-consuming, aren't they ?
Unfortunately, Dearhubby is not aware of that, or, at least, he pretends he can't make it out !
I had to find another excuse, cause cooling his heels for nearly one hour was something difficult to swallow. Yes ,for sure, much more difficult to swallow than a hearty portion of choucroute !
Telling him that juniper berries were not ripe enough and that the shop-assistant had to go and pick up others was a phoney excuse, wasn't it ?

So what ? Too late to think it over !!

I rushed out. It was drizzling and night was falling, but I could see our car headlights fading away !

Sure, after waiting so long, Dearhubby was beside himself and had decided to teach me a lesson !

I still had a flicker of hope not to go all the way back home on foot and get soaked to the bones : at the parking exit there was a roundabout, and Dearhubby would have to slow down and yield priority to the flow of traffic quite heavy at that time of the day.

I ran over the speed limit, and could catch up with my raging chauffeur.

I knocked madly at the window, and cried :

   " Open the door, that's not funny ! I'll explain ! Come on, don't play
      dumb, I'm getting drenched ! ".

The window went down, and behind the wheel there was a man I didn't know, looking at me suspiciously !

Before I could utter an apology, another car stopped beside me, another window went down, and a voice said :

   "Perky, once more you are harassing drivers ! Stop immediately and
    get in our car ! You remember what the psy said about harassers,
    don't you ? So, be a good girl, get in and take your tranquillizer ! ".

Jeez ! What a disgrace ! I was feeling mortified, and to put an end to Dearhubby's snarky joke, I hopped into our car !

All the way back home I kept silent. After such a shameful misfortune, I was far from feeling as keen as mustard !!

That's all for this week, folks !

Enjoy your meal, and don't forget : be perky !!

PS : By the way, the choucroute was delicious !