Wednesday June 1st

Well, summer is still around but a stiff Tramontane is keeping the temperatures right down at the moment, and though it could certainly not be described as cold, it LOOKS and SOUNDS chilly out there.

The latest P-O Life is hot off the press and I’ll be spending the next week hotfooting around the region, dropping it off at tourist offices, supermarkets etc.

I’m sure I must grow a few inches (should be approaching five foot at this rate) each time I receive a compliment about it – I am so shamefully proud of myself, whilst still feeling a bit of a fraud, and constantly wondering if readers will work out that I’m not a ’proper’ journalist or writer, and feel cheated!

Lucien Lizard

Lucien had his front top teeth knocked out by another boy at the Maureillas ’bal’ last month.

He’s on his fifth or sixth appointment to be fitted for crowns. Just shows that these calm, quaint little villages are still hotbeds of testosterone – it’s exactly the same kind of thing that could have happened to him in Leeds centre on a Saturday night.

We’re hoping that the boy’s parent’s insurance will pay for it, although as it went to juvenile court and the boy was found guilty, it seems unlikely, as it isn’t counted as accidental.

Apparently if the police hadn’t been involved, we would have been covered! However, to look on the bright side, the boy could have had a knife and it could have been far worse.

SnakeHere he is with his temporary teeth and a salamander he found when working on a pool with Olivier.

He was so busy looking at it that he thought the enormous snake over his head (photo to follow when I work out how to transfer it from my phone to my computer!) was a hose pipe and nearly grabbed hold of it! Tee hee…. tho’ only funny when it happens to someone else!!


Dear Papa is back in Leeds, rather pleased to be back there to say the least, to his book club and debating society, regular morning walks, music group, dinners out…

Much as he loves us all, he is 100% party animal, very sociable, and is only really happy when he has somebody to chat to, something to do, somewhere to go….

Olivier and I (and even Lulu) have trouble keeping up with him – we have to keep taking naps to recharge our batteries.

Here he is getting to grips with an artichoke which he can’t remember ever having tried before, so approached the whole dismantling of the leaves as a new and exciting adventure.

St cypHer Royal Hairiness is still defying the vet’s gloomy prophesy and although she has slowed down, sleeps a great deal, smells like a wet sheep which has eaten some rotten fish, has an occasional leak, and is as blind as a bat, she can still lick her bottom like a good ’un.

When the time comes, we’ll know…. but for now she is still a happy doggy. Aunty Michelle brought her a veggie alligator chew yesterday, and although her gut is obviously telling her to leave it alone, her head keeps saying ’Go for it pup’ so every hour or so, she has a little nibble, until she remembers that she hasn’t really got the energy to be chowing on rawhide!

She still enjoys a dig at the beach, although as you can see from this photo, the beautiful beach of Saint Cyprien suffered badly during the heavy rains of April – it has since been cleaned up I believe, so we’ll be pawing down to Australia as soon as this wind stops.

Saturday June 11th

Well, I think that the weather of the past few weeks can only be described, in true literary style, as crap! But no matter. It gives us something to spit feathers about, relieving tension and leaving us calm and serene. (Apart from me, cos I am never serene – it just isn’t in my character.) In fact, when I looked back on my diary, it seems that poor weather in June is the rule rather than the exception.
Here are a few excerpts from Junes gone by.

JUNE 2005

Winter’s back! After a warm and cloudy morning, the wind started hustling and bringing in the rain from the mountains and now it’s dark and stormy – still warm – with ominous black clouds queueing up across an angry looking Albères mountain range.

JUNE 2007

For the past few weeks, it has been moody and unpredictable, alternating between rain, wind, sunny periods….. not cold but certainly lower than normal temperatures, and always with a veil of cloud blocking the sun.
I’m sitting here watching the rain! Yes. nearly mid June and it is pouring down, very warm and close, with the odd roll of thunder cracking in the distance.
It’s funny old weather at the moment – close, cloudy with a tendency to rain at the drop of a hat.
friendsWe had some friends round on Wednesday and of course it rained. But take a look! Were we bovvad? Not one bit. We made our own sunshine by singing our way loudly (and tunelessly according to the boys but what do they know?) through all the old Beatles songs until the early hours, fueled by a glass or two of local vino and a cracking atmosphere. (see photo)

JUNE 2008

It has rained…..and rained…..and rained……..and is still raining! In general I don’t mind a drop of rain or two. It waters the land and gives me a good excuse to spend the day in front of my computer, without feeling guilty about wasting those glorious sunshine hours. However, this time it has gone a little bit too far and I am seriously considering having a word with the powers-that-be to bring an end to this extremely silly spate of bad weather.
It has rained all week (Have I mentioned the rain?)
The big forum do that I was hoping to have last night had to be postponed due to non stop rain.
Well, shiver me timbers and blast me barnacles – it’s wazzing down again! We’ve had more rain over the past month than than they must see in the rainy season in the Amazon!

JUNE 2009
There’s nothing like a huff and a puff from the Tramontane to blow away the rain clouds and hustle in the sunshine – and that’s exactly what it’s done. The sky is blue, the sun is king once again and holds court over a very green and still slightly breezy P-O and now it really does feel like summer is on its way. And no doubt it won’t be long before we are all huffing and puffing ourselves and complaining that it’s too bloody hot!!

…and here we are back to the present – and it’s raining! Of course, what I haven’t added is that by mid to late June, my diary is full of clear skies, hot suns.
June 26th 2008
It’s just like living in the south of France! Way up in the thirties, azure blue skies – and that smell of heat and herbs and lavender that makes you think that you must be on holiday even though you know that you’re not! The beaches are still quite empty, the sea a tranquil transparent turquoise and the world is walking around with a smile on its face!

So lots of good things to come.

Monday 13th June

It has done nothing but rain and storm! It’s now midday and we are in our office with the lights on. Feels quite weird. We were hoping to get to the boat yesterday, then today, but both days have been wet and stormy. Bisou slept in her storm drawer last night (actually a drawer without a front on, which she cleverly empties by paw, before squeezing her skinny little body in and lying shaking). Meanwhile, there is drought in England. Mama mia, the world is turning upside down!


So onto more serious matters…. poo. A phantom pooper has been leaving deposits in front of our door and around the pool, and we can’t identify it.

Too big to come out of a bird’s botty, unlikely to be a cat as they like to bury theirs, hard to pin on local squirrels, tho we do have a few, but I just can’t picture them squatting in front of our front door.. so knowing you’d be hoping for an E-Fit (or should that be P-Fit?) I have taken a photo of the latest annonymous offering.

Anybody recognise it? You can click on it and make it bigger if you’d like to study it more closely! I suppose I should have done the CSI thing and put a ruler next to it but it just didn’t seem a priority at the time. It is approximately the size of my little finger (which is approximately the size of the finger of a small lady). Does that help?

Tuesday 21st June

Where does the expression ’work like a dog’ come from? Her Royal Hairiness hasn’t done a day’s work in her life, unless you count the really serious stuff like bottom licking, and fish breath distributing. Oh, and she does the bins regularly so I suppose that makes her a ’fonctionnaire’ to some extent. She doesn’t even work at being cute – it just comes naturally.

I fell off my bike again yesterday – two mating butterflies were clearly too involved in the birds and the bees stuff, and flew into my face. They seem to have survived tho I bet they felt the earth move. As for me, I reached up to defend myself and hey presto… grazed knees and elbows once again, and legs covered in bruises.

The weather has been fantastic over the last few days – wall to wall sunshine, endless blue skies, with scattered white fluffy cloud to remind us that full blown summer isn’t quite here yet, but will be sweeping in imminently for the duration. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right. Today however, distant rumblings and grumblings are warning me not to go out on my bike, but settle down in front of my computer with my faithful mutt at my feet, a cold drink and a diet bar of chocolate within easy reach, and update the site. Hmmmmm, nice.

Oh, and guess what. The aliens who kidnapped my son and replaced him with one of their own kind (grumpy, grubby, smelly, lazy, uncommunicative, unreasonable) have brought him back! Yes, they appear to have landed a couple of weeks ago, around the same time that he passed his driving test, and returned my happy, affectionate son to his home, taking away with them the argumentative other.

I’m a bit worried that the aliens are still hovering, waiting to make another substitution but, fingers crossed, so far so good!

The airport will no longer allow tourist information in the arrivals or departures – or anywhere in the airport! So that means no P-O Life.

It’s not just us, they wont even allow the Mairie of Perpignan to leave their events and festival info – crazy. P-O Life is popular, and carries in it some really useful information for people just arriving – and it’s free.

I wonder whether the new managers, Veolia, will be looking for some kind of payment for providing stands for brochures!! They will be reviewing this in the autumn and do acknowledge that P-O Life is an ’interesting and useful publication’, but I hope they realize what a mistake they are making over the summer in banning all tourist information.

It’s the ’Fete de la musique’ this evening and the Feux de la Saint-Jean on Thursday. We are going to Spain for dinner with friends at the end of the week, dinner out at the lake in Saint Jean with other friends on Saturday, invited round to several sets of French friends for aperos and dinners, next week….once the festival season starts, I am legally allowed (with permission from myself) to drink beer again – I love a few cold beers on a hot evening – and beer bellies are quite fashionable these days aren’t they?!

Thursday 23rd June

The phantom poopster has struck again, leaving us two sausage shaped offerings strategically placed next to the pool. My suspicion is a very large bird or a cheeky squirrel, but neither seem likely. I am pursuing a thorough line of investigation, by sitting outside in the evening with a glass of wine and a book and keeping my beady eyes peeled!

Oh…. and it’s raining!

Saturday 25th June

Olivier was struck down with the dreaded lurgy on Thursday and had a high temperature, painful joints, sensitive skin, burning up — all the symptoms of bad flu in fact.

The problem was not so much the being ill, but overcoming his near obsessive neurosis of hating to let anybody down, which meant that at first he hired me as his chauffeur (hourly rates, he couldn’t stand up for more than 20 mins at a time) and insisted on being taken round his various ’chantiers’ (sites) to make sure that everybody was doing their jobs properly (bearing in mind that this IS the south of France, and nobody likes to be hurried or pushed to work harder than ’quite slow’)

Lulu, who now works with him, took on quite a bit of the simpler work, but it wasn’t long before he was complaining of not feeling well either. Luckily for him, he still managed to go out in the evening and stay out most of the night, so he must have had a sudden ephipany! (dictionary definition: A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization!!)

Anyway, in the end Olivier gave up and allowed himself to be brought home and tucked up to sleep it off, and after 48 hours of loving care from wifey and worried but reassuring lickings from Bisou, is feeling better today, still weak, but very resentful of whatever it was that dared to invade the temple that is his body.

And the weather? Wow!

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