Monday 26 November 2018


So our homecoming wasn't quite as we imagined.  Driving across France which was in gridlock because protesters were blocking the roads was awful, stressful and worrying.  The demonstration stated out over a week ago against the rising price of diesel, something that affects mostly those in rural areas, but then turned into a general discontent.    The protesters we encountered varied from polite middle aged ladies to militants who were burning tyres across the road, hanging effigies, had opened up the toll booth barriers on our auto route and presumably frightened the staff away.  Many wore masks over their faces adding to the intimidation.  At first the demonstration didn't get a lot of press in the UK until Saturday when Paris was under siege, but in the first few days 2 people were killed and over 600 injured.  It was awful to see on the television news the yellow vests, as the participants in the movement are known, tearing up the street cobbles to use as missiles, building barricades with outdoor furniture from nearby cafes, tearing down road signs and traffic lights.  Police with tear gas and water cannon attempted to control the chaos, it was ugly.
Photograph from the Evening Standard
France is a beautiful country, wonderful open spaces, beautiful villages, its tidy and smart compared to Italy and certainly the roads are in much better condition.  One of the protesters being interviewed complained of working all hours to exist and said he was sick of being poor.  As everywhere there is inequality in France but maybe he needs to take a look round the world to see what real poverty is, I imagine many people would happily change places.  I read that a week of blockades has lead to shortages in shops and that retail in France is down by 35%, that and the general disruption, inconvenience and widespread damage will have to be paid for, I imagine as in most cases by the public via taxes or rising prices,  yet it seems support for the cause is high.  
We were relieved to get on the ferry thinking our ordeal was over but there were so many roadworks, accidents, and general traffic jams that our drive from Dover took almost twice as long as expected but at least we were back in the UK and didn't feel threatened.  
Recovery is taking time, we've both felt out of sorts, perhaps still a little cross about it all, and maybe you don't bounce back so well when you are 70.  However, we are loving being in the penthouse and as long as we don't think too much about our Italian cats we are fine.

Monday 19 November 2018

These yellow jerseys I don’t like

Just don’t talk to me about French road blocks, I’ve had a hell of a day and it’s lucky we booked such a nice hotel for tonight so I can calm down.   Tomorrow we’ll face the burning tyres and try to get to the ferry.  I’m seriously thinking of boycotting the Tour de France next year, that’s how cross I am with the nation.
And yes I can understand they have a grievance but why take it to the ordinary people who are inconvenienced and stressed.  The blockades are ugly and scary particularly for visitors.

Saturday 10 November 2018


2 long days picking olives
125 kilos of fruit
20 litres of oil
Not our best crop or our biggest yield but we are grateful.



Saturday 3 November 2018

I’ve never been 70 before

It was my 70th birthday this week, no please don’t make a fuss I didn’t, like new year it’s just another day.  We went out for dinner with friends, I had lovely presents and cards from italy and the UK including these hand knitted dishcloths with matching oven glove from my danish friend.  She had apparently noticed the dreadful state of my oven glove, holey, stained and ragged, found me a new one and sourced some matching cotton
I thought I was no different as I reached my next decade until I was blocking 
my latest pair of socks

Bummer, one foot is at least 20 rows longer than the other.  My first thought was to knit another equally mismatched pair.  I’d have one normal pair of ladies socks but the larger pair would be too big for anyone I know, even if they liked a rather short leg
So old age isn’t going quite as well as I hoped, and I’m sorry this post is all over the shop.  It’s hopeless posting with the iPad even though I can finally add photographs it almost kills me doing so as I can only ever see a small section of the post at any time and the screen constantly jumps about.