No Smoking….



It’s one year to the day that Frog and I decided to give up smoking. We had both gone for a health check in late July. I was fine apart from slightly raised blood pressure – not really surprising given everything that was going on but poor Frog was told that his lungs were in a very, very bad way. Some people are just doomed if they smoke..

So September 1st 2015 it started . At 11.00am Frog said – well we could have one. I said no – shut up Frog. The day passed in a haze of not knowing what to do with my right hand , it kept twitching. Was so sad that I wasn’t even hungry and didn’t even want a glass of wine. At 11.00pm Frog said “we could have one now”. I said “NO FROG!!!” and so we went from week to week . Hard! I got fatter even though I didn’t eat any more but have lost it now. Frog got fatter and continues to . Régime for him after holidays.

So liberating though after the first month, fresh mouth, fresh air . Can tell a smoker that passes me in the street. Have given up in the past but always thought I would start again in old age  but this time it’s forever. I just hate the smell. I love having a minty mouth. I love not paying more than our rent in cigarettes and feeling anxious  about  not having enough for the weekend.  I will never say no to anyone who wants to smoke chez moi  cos I understand but …So goodbye to Vogue menthols, I loved you for a while but I love me more. And Frog, I am still watching you and it’s still NO!


Marseille is under a cloud – literally

More musings from Marseillecropped-cropped-img_0072.jpg

Three huge fires today around the Marseille area and I mean huge. Whipped up, snarling and blazing full force with the angry mistral coaxing the flames and distruction.  Even in the city, the skies hang low part red and part grey and the air is acrid. A dirty barbeque without meat.

This almost describes the city itself: a total mixture of what is half beautiful, achingly beautiful but right now it is in self destruct mode.  My very first impressions of Marseille around 5 years ago  was that it was (and is in parts),  a wonderful city but with such shocking negatives that I would have  never considered living here. The ugly graffiti  is almost everywhere and I am not talking about artistic graffitti which does exist and is beautiful.  The two are not linked. The fact that most shops feel the need to have heavy metal shutters when closed to avoid vandalism, was an eye opener and something that I was not really used to ,coming more recently from a leafy London suburb.

Yet, I am not totally naive, I recall the Tottenham riots, the Brixton riots- a London constantly under threat.  I have lived in slighly dodgier parts of London before they too became more gentrified: Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith and between Wandsorth Common and Tooting Bec. Ok, I was closer to the Common but I used to run down to Tooting. I grew up having to use the Tube with the threat of IRA bombs.  Difficult times everywhere, then, now and forever I guess…

And so back to Marseille… the underbelly of this city is rotten, it’s dirty, it’s corrupt.  There is no respect.  People throw their rubbish in the streets, let their dogs poo without collecting, dump sofas, mattresses, wherever! There is no sense of service in many bars, restaurants or shops. One time, at the check out in a local supermarket, a product I had was lacking it’s barcode – the reaction from the person at the till was – do you really need this anyway? Really, really?? Would this happen in Waitrose- hmm, I don’t think so!

Solution time. It needs the equivalent of Rudy Guiliani to clean up this town as he did in NYC. It needs angels.  It needs a new mayor who is not surrounded by people chosen by  nepotism rather than merit (hopefully they are all about to retire). It’s too much of a melting pot, too many poor immigrants and angry drugged, armed people. A melting pot can bring wonderful  things but this is just water thin soup with no flavour.  It makes me sad. It could be grand. It could be magnificent. On Sunday, there was a shooting and two dead , 5 minutes from our flat..

Enough is enough but am still happy with Frog.