France is still France in the EU


Being in a Union does not destroy individuality, After 300 years Scotland is still Scotland and Scots know that they are Scots and I know when I am in Scotland.  It is the same for Wales which survived the Welsh Knot.  As to the English?  I suggest you read Jeremy Paxman’s book – The English: A portrait of a People and Exotic England: The Making of a Curious Nation – by Yasmin Alibhai Brown.

Last week we travelled to France on Brittany Ferry and, at at the dreadful hour of six, tinkles on the public address system woke us to a view of St Malo through the porthole.

St Malo from Porthole

Friday we had a delightful French evening which started by having dinner with our son and daughter-in-law and a Dutch couple who are good friends.  It was a pizzeria so I had my favourite with capers, olives, anchovies, oregano on the bed of tomato and cheese.  We then went to a small community theatre where a friend was performing singing typically French songs.

The excellent singer, ambience, audience,  glasses of rosé cider, the intensity of the performer and audience was vraiment Francais.  ( I cannot find the cedilla).

There is the wonderful oven-roasted beetroot in Leclerc (my favourite supermarket)

Beautiful beetroot baked that has been baked in an oven, on display in Leclerc
Beautiful beetroot baked that has been baked in an oven, on display in Leclerc
and delicious asparagus bought in the Market at Mauzé sur le Mignon.

One tent supported a society for the protection of “Itinerant Singers” modern day troubadours I suppose,

Itinerant Chanteuse

and there were squares and impasses as well as a very French Café.

Where else but France can I have a plate of whelks, clams, mussels, cucumber salad and hard-boiled egg in a transport café ( Les Pyramids) ?  Well Napoleon was an Egyptian buff,  his soldiers used the Sphinx as target practice.

The shellfish came from a magnificent buffet and it was followed by delicious poached cod.  (The bread was great which is unusual in France nowadays)


So back to Epron and an English rose in a French garden alongside a French river.  The French do rivers very well.

Oops! I almost forgot. France makes toilet paper par éxcellence!

Lotus Just 1












Aunt Margaret 96 years 10 months


We had a pleasant jaunt to Bury St Edmunds though it was for a sombre occasion my Aunt Margaret’s funeral.  She was over 96 and had led a full life. In Victorian times she would have paddled up the Amazon in a crinoline.

We stayed at the Angel, Mr Pickwick lodged there, a lovely room though rather noisy and there was no lift!

Looking along the front of the Angel

The view from our room included part of the abbey complex and, to the left in the distance, the sugar mill silos –  modern monuments.




The abbey ceiling was colourful.

We wandered around the town after our meal and it was lovely in the soft, night light.

In the narrow streets we were in a different, romantic dimension.  The couple seem to walk out of the picture.

The moon was lovely.


The next day we drove to the chapel where there was a service to celebrate aunt’s life and then to a crematorium for the committal.  At the wake I met my 1st, second and third cousins with their partners and children so it was not all sad.  It is sad and final that she was the last of my father’s generation but I still have two aunt’s 90 and 97, on my mother’s side.

I have never seen a Himalayan Cherry before and there was a gloriously shaggy one on the path back to our car.


Sunday at Hampstead Heath and Keats House

Hampstead Heath Walkers 2



We went by Overland train to Hampstead Heath yesterday.  It is lovely travelling by train above ground.  The Underground is a great asset for London and is one of its attractions but travelling Overground seems more civilised.  We were amazed at how many people there were walking and milling around.  The view from the hill was thrilling, London before me, at my feet.

We then called in at Keats house where I bought a badge with the legend “poet” just in case no one has noticed and then went to lunch at Polly’s Café.

On the way to lunch

I had a vegetable pie and Valerie a bacon and avocado sandwich; both were lovely.  On the way to Hackney Central I looked for a sight of another London Skyline with my camera set with shutter priority at 2000th of a second.

Travelling from Hampstead to Hackney Central

I like taking picture from and of trains and am planning a blog of the journey from Enfield to Liverpool Street Station.  From Hackney Central we walked the walkway to Hackney Downs and whilst waiting for our train I took these pictures of trains against the backdrop of the Mossbourne Academy which is painted a beautiful Delphinium Blue