September 18, 2018

Esperaza en Fete, nearly

Useful site address above, the towns' official stuff - from where I nicked these two important posters :) The fete starts on Thursday night with the Fete du Vin in the place 8 Mai, that's where the night market is held; the Johnny tribute is in the square where even now the stage is being erected;  and the vide grenier on Sunday is by the river, where it normally is.

I have friends staying but we have to miss the return of Johnny due to a previous. Plus in the day we will go to St Ferriol supporting local talent; see


After a virtuous days work my new friends Eamon and Margaret gave me apero at Luc's... they have been doing up their holiday home in Esperaza and had me in stitches with tales of their boiler and water supply. Anyone who has done up a house here can respond to that one :)

 Naturally they know all the plumbers and electricians in Luc's and are fitting in nicely with our merry band :)

Then Claudinne and I had supper together in the still-good ex-Ty-Rex; Valerie is a perfect front-of-house manager. Nosh is consistently edible. Claudinne is always marvellous company (we figure she was my first friend of my age here, all those many years ago) Great evening.
Don't forget; Thursday is the Fete du Vin - tickets at Chez Charlie. You can still reach him, despite the deviation - which is because of water-works further up the road.

September 16, 2018

Market treats

 The market was fab, as ever - sunny and not too crowded - a lot of stall holders absent, grabbing well-deserved holidays while they can.

Was skulking in the back of the Relais Occitain (only really smoke-free area on a Sunday) with Claudinne - who looks more like her daughter everyday - when Yvonne happened by. My pix of her are not good so here's Tim implying her presence :)

Both in excellent form and here for a little while... ran into many other mates who either ducked the camera or I forgot to flaunt it.

Here is one of the moths that are bedevilling us. Its like a Hitchcock movie in Esperaza, you must bat your way through them at various times and in certain parts of town.  Beautiful, of course, but overdone.

September 15, 2018

Strange days

 Here's the sunset through a studio skylight - filled the room with an apocalyptic light, very suited to the current paintings - and here's the sky before the sunset, while I was wandering about outside (avoiding apocalyptic paintings)
Below that is a pile of wood by the railway line. When you burn wood to heat your home in the winter, you order it from a geezer who delivers it on a lorry and dumps it in the street; its then your job to shift and stack it elsewhere. It's that time of year.
Stacking is itself an art-form...

September 14, 2018

Mossies and Moths

 Young Master Theo Bowyer dropped in for lunch between Iceland and a bla-bla car to Strasbourg, from whence to elsewhere; Freddie is pushing off to Morocco to meet their parents Annie and Pete. Who may themselves be visiting us soon - you can never tell.

We had what Theo rightly described as an interesting lunch, which I walked off later - hence the photo of Esperaza. It ain't too warm but it seems that its warmer than Iceland.

This summer will be remembered for the mosquitos and the moths; the former ate heartily off Theo and the latter danced about my head all evening.

 Mossies only eat me if there is absolutely nothing else available.

September 13, 2018

Autumnal fruitfullness

Autumn is clearly here - see rather glum-looking market above, snapped this morning. Esperaza is a-clang with the sounds of bottling, freezing, washing, peeling and the rest. Fruit abounds. 
Here's Shuff who dropped in yesterday with tales of life in Amsterdam.  In good form and a huge fan of the new lake (on the way to Quillan, by the Carrefour roundabout). I've not been there yet - usually people like it though regret the lack of mature trees for sunshade. This will change, given time.

In the meantime I'm waiting for a moonlit night to take a lope.

Did the Mutuelle yesterday, that is the top-up charge for the health system here. Once you have your Carte Vitale you buy the mutuelle to cover the serious costs. Our mayor has negotiated a deal for the folk of Esperaza -living or working here - which seems good, about 800 euros a year. Deals (partially) with eyes and teeth and (mostly) for drugs and tests and hospitalisations.
The point being that if you want a Carte de Sejour in order to be legal after the Brits pull us out of being European Citizens, you have to show that you will not be reliant on the French state.

There is an office on the side of the town hall that deals with all this, with great good humour and panache. Walk in and make an appointment to be interviewed. If its not suitable for you, they'll tell you.

September 11, 2018


 In the interests of research, visited Max and Andrea at apero time and checked out the state of their new home. Then in the interests of conviviality forgot all about it and enjoyed the setting sun and the local fizz.
Thence to ex-Ty-Rex to check that the food was still good (anchovy salad in my case, very good) and there found the Junior Matthews' getting a takeaway pizza... they leave today but are sending John and Margaret back soon. All well.

Dear Bob got a burnt nose in Porto which must be kept covered for the time. Rather fetching though the parrots don't like it; a threatening beak, perhaps.