Saturday, 19 August 2017

Last gig for The F.E.W?

or maybe not.
I hope they may get together from time to time, my lad and the others to have a mad intensive rehearsal and then perform where they all first got together in our small French town.
The end of an era . . . Ezra off to Bordeaux, and the other two F.E.W members, William and Freddie in Toulouse. Many happy memories and great to see their progress from a few tentative number's in Carl and Lisa's garage to energetic and captivating performances for various town and village fetes over the last three years.

                         



                                       




Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Things-phobia

I seem to be suffering from an increasing sense of panic every time I walk into a supermarket. I try not to walk into them too much but for certain things like dog biscuit and bulk-buy tins of tomatoes and 'fosse-septique (cess-pit) cleaners they are useful. We buy most of our stuff in a small co-op organic shop down the road - yes, it's more expensive, but . . . it isn't, as the nature of shopping there compared with the grocery-sheds is utterly different. I go in and buy milk, veg, flour etc, and don't get distracted by anything else NEW, or on special offer, or 'oo, that looks nice, maybe we should try it, and we could use a couple of new mugs, and well, I suppose we could have a bottle of fizz, and maybe a cake, and some ice-cream, and the towels are looking a bit sad; look, they've got green ones in, those would look good in the bathroom . . . STOP! what did we come in for? Dog biscuit and shoe polish.' Yes.
The worst aspect of the sheds/shopping cathedrals is the amount of plastic everywhere, especially in the home-care and toiletries sections. What do we really need for both cleaning ourselves and our dwellings? Not much. Some soap, a basic shampoo and a clothes wash/washing-up substance.
This picture is of a locally made product called VAM, made of vinegar, herbs and water. It's brilliant; I wash surfaces, floors, showers etc, with it, and if you want some heftier cleaning - add bicarb of soda. Job done, and you can take the bottle back and refill it.




We NEED more of these products, and more ways of re-using containers - for everything. It's mind-numbingly terrifying to read about the amount of plastic that ends up each day in our oceans. I've started taking a bottle of TAP water out in preference to buying yet another small individual bottle of water shipped from  hundreds of miles away - like Scottish spring water in our local French airport - uh? Deranged!
We are mostly all blessed with clean drinking water and it's just advertising hype that keeps the pressure on to buy 'pure mountain' water.
Apparently, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away to end up in landfill and incinerators every day . . .

Friday, 11 August 2017

Portrait

Mark wearing exactly the right shirt to go with the rust and grey paint of this rivet-pocked lieu - part of the disused submarine mending-place (not the right title I expect) in Bordeaux's eerie and photogenic quays.

                       

Saturday, 5 August 2017

furnishing for nowt

or almost.

Luckily, our lad who is about to go off to study fine art in Bordeaux (see a few posts back), is completely laid back about 'old stuff' furniture- and crocks-wise. I heard several other parents, while in various queues in the estate/renting agents, agreeing to all sorts of white melamine construction projects with their offspring. Anything to avoid a trip to the giant blue and yellow shed, hours of frustration with bits of chipboard and allen keys, and possible return journeys to the establishment as something is missing . . .
So . . . for 130 quid so far we got a lovely chest of drawers from 'Le Bon Coin' - a sort of on-line 'free yourself of unwanted things' site, a book shelf from Emmaüs (like Red Cross) a big rag rug, a large, deep set of shelves and a rather nice (library?) ladder from a junk market. The ladder will be clothes/electric guitar cables hanging space as the flat is too small for a wardrobe.
We did buy a bargain oblong oak table but couldn't get into the ridiculously tiny doorway so it will now grace our kitchen and he can inherit the drop-leaf table that has followed me about through about six house moves.



Shoebox, but at least now a clean off-white rather than gruesome pink shoebox

Still to go - bed with storage underneath. And again, no flatpack as if I end up having to assemble one it will be disaster: a hedgehog of bristling nails where I have misinterpreted the instructions - or rather ignored them. Our friend Ed makes a mean bed - solid, easy to screw together and whatever length you like. I'd get an old one but the lad is topping 6 foot and still growing, so to restrict his growth by an old 1920s wooden bed frame might be a tad cruel.
Everything else should be gleanable from our house with a few things to find from junk shops, and the construction of a couple of hand-made shelves in the 'kitchen' which is a small dank cupboard under a sink and a two-ring electric hob. We weren't looking for luxury but a shelf might have been nice . . . still, the landlord did offer to pay half for any improvements - fairly unusual, I would think.
In two months time and he'll be in his student pad sorting out his new 'on-his-own' life while we sort out our new 'without-boy' life. Weird!