Les poissons en France

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy New Year - Chinese style

As Guy's now working in Taiwan we thought that we ought to recognise Chinese customs and so we organised a 'New Years' meal for some friends.
We tried for some accuracy by setting out chopsticks and decorating with some lanterns which I painted with the characters for Good Luck and Happiness.  The meal started with a Litchi cocktail and then became a bit of a fusion when we all read out some Haikus which we'd written based on the Rooster.

We then toasted the New Year with Saki!
Everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion and Catherine gave us an animated explanation of the animals representing the Chinese Zodiac.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


John and Lesley our friends who have a holiday home on the corner of our hamlet are in their mid seventies. We always marvel at how fit and active they and their entire family are (Tom took part in the Iron Man Race a few years ago). John and Lesley "back pack" in remote regions of the world most winters. It was their 50th Wedding Anniversary last year and their three children and their families bought them a session on the London Velodrome, not your average Golden Wedding present!

We received this email from them the other day and I just wanted to share it with you as it just bowled me over.

Well – we did it!  Our session on the London Velodrome turned out to be great (if a bit scary).  With feet locked on to the pedals, fixed gear drop handle bar bikes and no brakes, you start by holding onto the central grab rail and once you let go, you just have to keep pedalling.  The training session explained how to stop (reduce pedal pressure and grab the rail when your speed is slow enough) and to climb the 45* sloping curves you just have to go really fast or you slide down sideways with disastrous results.  If you want to overtake, it must be on the right side of the cyclist in front and you shout ‘stay’ just before you go so that he doesn’t change lanes and cause a crash.
I was scared stiff at the start (shaking actually) but soon got the hang of it.   The rest of the 16-strong group were, needless to say, considerably younger than us and all male.  I was so worried about bumping into someone that I pedalled extremely fast and found myself right at the top of the banking!  John and Matthew swooped up and down, also very quickly.  Some of the group ran out of steam before the end of the session but I think adrenaline kept me going until we were told to stop.  Quite an experience!
Some of us had a go on Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit’ slide before the velodrome (though not me).  The tunnel slide is the world’s longest and tallest (178m) and you shoot down the twisting silver tube in 40 seconds!     Fantastic design.


Not to be out done this is our resident biker in training!! Note he has moved in from the porcherie as temperatures are forecast to fall to -7 C next week

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Festivities finish

Our seasonal festivities finished yesterday when we went to Prayssac, a small town to the west of Cahors, for a New Year's Viennese concert.
It was organised by a pensioner's club and we weren't expecting anything out of the ordinary ... and yes, the audience was a sea of silver hair!  However it was well supported (we estimated between 400 -500 ) and we were highly amused to witness the arrival of the French as described by the writer in the last posting.  As he noted, every cheek offered was kissed, which meant that earlier arrivees had to keep jumping up and down as friends found them.  Hence, as is the norm in France the performance started about half an hour late!

We had seen that the conductor had an English name and, in his introductions between each piece his very good french had an English accent and he had an English sense of humour which was lost on the older French ladies around us.  Curiously, we talked to him at the interval and his English had a French accent!!!  The interval was also notable for the opportunity to have a glass of 'bubbles' at 2 euros a time.  A fitting drink for a New Year's Concert.

Apart from all of this 'People watching' the performance itself was outstanding.  We had not realised that the Orchestra was made up of young professionals who were enthusiastic and very talented.  Sue was taken with the percussionist and the trumpet player who performed a very difficult solo piece was exceptional.

We came away from this small country cultural centre marveling at the range of events which we are able to support in the depths of rural France.