How the supper party nearly got scuppered…but then I learned a lesson!

More musings from Marseille

So we finally got a date in the diary for a couple of friends of ours to come for supper last weekend. I had planned to do a delicious Moroccan tagine – chicken, olives and preserved lemons which is second to none apparantly.  I don’t like to boast but Frog lived In Marrakesh for 5 years, so he should know.


We met Frog’s brother by chance on Thursday at a local bar where we arrived for just one drink, get some fresh air and  to catch up on the week- just the two of us. Frog’s brother ( I have nothing against him) but he has the tact and sensitivity of a bull in a china shop or as they say in France “comme un elephant dans un magasin de porcelaine”.  I think that this image is actually  much more forgiving.

Suddenly our cosy evening for four, turned into a barbeque soirée, in the garden of one of their sisters, for nine people. I made mutterings about it how it might just be a tad rude to alter things especially since we had cancelled our friends last time when another sister was in town.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the way this family has welcomed me with open arms and I love spending time with them. There is always lots of laughter, great food, rivers of wine and a sense of belonging. I just didn’t want our evening to be hijacked. Our contribution was to be all the meat and some salads. No comment.  Frog said how lovely it would be to all eat outside.  Don’t forget that we have neither a garden nor a balcony attached to our teeny weeny pepperpot sized flat.  So I stopped making a fuss and just decided to go with the flow, not without, however, stamping my foot first by saying that I would not be preparing any food.

Needless to say, I spent Saturday afternoon preparing baby aubergine beignets (delicious) and Portuguese style carrots ( good but not the same as I used to eat in the Algarve.)  I gave in as we were stuck waiting for our new oven to arrive and thought that I might as well do something useful.  Oven never did arrive and do you know what ? I was  not even surprised, I felt it in my bones from the moment I woke up (inspite of an alloted time slot).  Thank you DARTY- it’s the last time you mess with me.  Oven hasn’t even arrived at the warehouse yet! For goodness sake – service, service? Happy to take money but not deliver…

However, the evening was great fun in the end. It was lovely and warm and for once I wasn’t attacked by mosquitos- are they getting used to my blood? Lesson learned: just stop trying to control everthing and get on with life….Still not sure why we had to provide all the meat though!

aubergine beignets



Photo I sent to Frog’s sister saying what a nice evening we had in her garden during her absence.  She laughed.

Thoughts please….



The Rant – Part 2!



It would seem that getting a parcel from the UK to France is a very tricky affair, especially if the sender has paid extra to ensure it’s arrival.  I am beginning to think that the French customs at Roissy ( goodness knows where that is), see a package that is marked “suivi” and they clap their hands in glee …”allez on va s’amuser” as they twirl their moustaches!

Last year “dear friend” sent me an innocent package : a book and a lilac scented candle, knowing how much I love the smell of lilac trees in spring.  It was posted in April using a superior and  what I imagine to be  an expensive courier system.  I finally got to open my parcel in June after many visits to La Poste, phone calls and emails- grrr!

This time it’s a case of having left my toothbrush charger in London at my daughter’s flat.  Good daughter posted it immediately  by recorded delivery on July 9th .  It arrived in Rouissy again (the home of all confiscated parcels) on  July 12th.  How the hands of the customs men must smart after all their glee clapping and twirling of moustaches! So last week, realising that my toothbrush was fast running out of juice, I decided to chase up my package.  Many hours on the phone ensued: answering various automated options and surprise, surprise, I was actually understood; only to reach  a message telling me that there were no available representatives to help me at the moment.  They were obviously all off dancing with the twirling moustachioed customs men!  I persevered as is my wont when faced with a challenge like this, knowing all too well that I will end up red faced, cross and having achieved little else during the day.

Finally, I got through to a very charming lady of probably African decent and with both of us having foreign accents, it took us a while before she could track my package . Success it was in the system! Failure it was not a package but a letter after all and so she could not help me!  How can a toothbrush charger be classed as a letter? I would have to telephone the same number again and repeat the process. Bonkers! And of course all lines were too busy to deal with my call.  No doubt by this time, all phones were off the hook and every one was having a very merry time indeed! The next option was to send an email outlining my plight. I cannot tell you how hard it was to find the email link, so deeply buried was it in the website but years of watching detective series proved to be very useful indeed.  A couple of days later, a reply pinged its way into my mailbox.  A loose translation was “dear Madame” if you feel that your letter has been lost then please get in touch with the Royal Mail. Double grr and shaking of fists! A very apologetic and” I know this is ridiculous  but” message to Royal Mail  was sent and a very swift reply arrived. Basically if there is no sign of my toothbrush charger after 20 days after the day it should have been received, then a number of steps can be taken by the sender to get compensation from the UK.  All very clear ,so hat’s off Royal Mail or “chapeau” as we say in France.  Some translations are almost exact but not many!

So reader, if anyone has actually lasted this long, I gave in and bought another electric tooth brush – a basic one with no timer but the charger works on my slightly more flashy one.  Toothy pegs are shiny and squeaky clean but I have not given up.  August 20th is the day when a claims process can be put in motion, funnily enough my daughter’s birthday.  Sorry, I will double check not to leave anything behind next visit.

In the meantime, “dear friend” has sent me another “tracked parcel.  I might just have to invest in some moustache wax, a bottle or two of decent wine, don my dancing shoes and pay a visit to the depot in Roissy. A bientôt!



The rant.

IMG_4024Well here goes. Why am I writing a blog? No idea. What am I going to write? No idea. Actually, that’s not strictly true. *  I have been pestered for a while now by “dear friend” who shall remain nameless but she knows who she is.  In fact, I  may well be using her as a source of inspiration when my own life seems dull but all in good time…

I had planned to start all this by introducing myself and giving a potted history of my fairly unremarkable life but that would be the logical beginning and of late “logic” seems to have deserted me. So instead, I shall have a small rant.  So good to get things off my chest even if no one will ever read it.  Actually, “dear friend” is duty bound to read ever single word that I write and beg me for more musings or else she will be “ex dear friend”. I can be a little harsh when I choose!  Maybe that’s why Frog (my beloved -more of him another time) sometimes calls me Pol Pot.  I like to think of it as a term of affection but I sometimes glimpse in his eyes a slight look of terror .  It hovers uncertainly for  just a second and in a blink it has gone.

Last night, for example, he spilled some sauce on my new table cloth which, by the way, is giving me immense pleasure this week.  I said nothing, just started to remove the tomato based mark with cold water and applied my special stain removing pen that came from New York many a moon ago.  I am really, really good at stain removals after many years of practice with my two dear but albeit messy children.  They were  incredibly messy when they were young.  Well one is still a bit of a “muck pig” as I used to call him.  I bet his ears are burning now! Actually, now I come to think of it, the other one still has her moments. Only last week when I was visiting her in London, I found my stain removing services were required by both her and her flatmate.  Ah, if only there were money to be made in an international stain removal company!

Goodness, how I am waffling.  I never thought that I would be writing about stains in my first blog. I don’t even have time for my rant.  I need to shower.  It’s 4.00pm and I am lying on top of the bed in a beach kaftan.  It’s too hot for the beach but I can pretend.  I haven’t even set foot  out of doors yet as I have been so caught up in the the reason for my rant. Again not totally true.* I did open the door and cross the threshold when the Amazon delivery man came.  I was very pleased to be in my kaftan rather than my nightie although there is really not that much difference between them.  All he would have noticed was a wild haired, unmade up ,middle-aged woman.  Actually, he probably noticed nothing at all.  Anyway to the shower to transform myself into a chic ,wild haired, middle-aged woman.  A quick dash to the shops, prepare  another delicious supper that may well end up on my tablecloth et voilà. When Frog finally gets home tonight he will never imagine just how lazy I have been.  SSShhh not a word….


*Am I turning into a fibber as well as a dictatorial, waffling ranter?