The Pool House

Posted by on January 28, 2007

Five years to construct it, 20 builders and an architect to complete it, one complaint from a neighbour who cannot see it, several visits from the gendarmes, a royal visit from the Mayor of Figanieres, and a court order!

We are talking about a building 5 metres by 2, with nothing inside it but the workings for the pool and my plastic 6×6 inflatable mattress, with gin and tonic built in holder and that’s about it. BUT, there is a 99% chance that the Speers will have to pull this perfect piece of architecture down, having no planning permission, before the summer season!

Monsieur Mayor, an extremely charming man, who admired the St Blaise view, drank my earl grey tea, gobbled up my homemade chocolate cake, and discreetly ignored Hudson trying to control his massive testosterone surge with Hugo!!! (What a time to perform!)

Told us that he would do everything he could to save our pool house, and was there any more chocolate cake!


Christmas went exhaustingly well.

Treasure hunt on Christmas day in 22degrees,plenty of cheating from the most intelligent team members.(as is always the case!) vin choux and a truly French lunch, hot dogs with tomato ketchup, followed by university challenge. Then came the dinner.

JS volunteered to do the festive meal.” Goose and turkey this year darling”

“Found the goose Nessie but can only find the turkey’s leg, where has its breast gone?”

For some unknown reason, the French can produce the most enormous turkey legs, with the smallest of bodies in creation, I mean, this creature must go for a daily 100klm run, followed by several quadricep workouts’ JS says it must be a genetically modified bird or a mutant throwback.

The goose, however, complete with Legs, webbed feet, long neck and of course the head. What does one do with the head? JS suggests putting tinsel on it, Michael says chop the bugger off, and Tash decides she has just become a vegetarian.

Tess finally takes control, covers its head with silver foil, so it cannot see where it’s going (into the blazing furnace) splats olive oil over its feet etc and bungs it into the oven. Then continues with her pedicure!

I have to say, at times like this, one just has to turn to drink, its this or suicide.


All this, and Tash announces that she has finished with Luigi.

Now JS really bonds with this guy, he assembles all my flat packed kits in minutes, he’s a master at cooking pasta, his manners are impeccable, and he’s brave enough to ride his 50cc third hand moped up our track in the dark, in pouring rain and with no lights. Now this kind of man you just have to admire. I am not too sure who is more upset,JS or me. Anyway,after a week of mourning, buying no more flat packs, tash tells us its all on again!!! It was the candlelit dinner, with pasta (of course) that did it.

Now it’s off again.obviosly not enough candles!


The French postal system.

The bright yellow post vans put Ernie, The fastest milk cart in the west to shame (now I am really showing my age!). They resemble posessed drones searching for the queen bee. They know more short cuts to various off the beaten track houses (like ours) better than anyone, and can do it in half the time our four by four can, and the postmen/women are always smiling.

Do they know something we don’t know?


At this time of year, alongside the hunters, we have the cyclists.

This is a major sport for the French and is taken very seriously. the correct cycling attire must be worn at all times, along with the latest medical equipment attached to all parts of the streamlined body, in anticipation of any foul play which may occur when attempting our two and a half klm dirt track, which is a one in four.

Inevitably foul play does seem to be more common at St Blaise!

For example picture this, a cyclist, out for his Sunday 4hour ride, our track looks the perfect place to put the heart, legs and stamina to its full capacity, little does this unsuspecting target know what is in store. By the time he reaches the top of the hill, having avoided being shot in the bum by a novice, over enthusiastic hunter, our four dogs have heard him approaching well in advance.

Bingo, the leader of the pack heads his men into full attack. Each man, I mean dog has a specific human part to aim for, Narla goes straight for the picnic lunch, Hugo attacks the lowest available dangly bit, and Charlie wets herself (she’s getting on a bit now!) and Hudson barks like mad because he has no idea what’s happening!

French swear words are heard at great decibals,our dogs think its great exercise,JS finally arrives to calm down the target, sends him on his way, waving gently as he cycles off, straight into Mimi’s zone, where her Pyrenean mountain dogs are already warming up!


Kate and her Italian lover have been staying with us for the past week.

Frank, the 70year old Italian lover (this is Kate’s toy boy, remember!) has been lopping down trees everyday for the Speers 2008 firewood store, whilst Kate has been industrially sewing curtains for every room. I allow them to finish their jobs when it starts to get dark, they then shower and sit exhausted in front of the fire.

Shipman then gives them a well deserved drink along with their daily pills! Brufen to stop the aches and pains, blood pressure tablets, and two minutes of laser to all the strained parts.

We can’t be having them dropping dead before the jobs finished!


First game of golf this year, played in shirt sleeves, got a good suntan, but we won’t mention the golf!


Js has been doing his Saga phone in every month; it was paws and claws last time.

Apparently he had a 90year old lady, who had difficulty in hearing what JS was advising her to do with her canary’s claws, told him to speak up, and finally hung up on him! Like father like son, Damian has done a similar Saga phone in, advising the OAP’s to become computer literate, thank God Saga don’t pay them!


For all those gardening experts the acacia dealbata are in full bloom along the A8, along with trachycarpus fortunei(sounds like a rather infected case of tonsillitis!) Anyway, it is a magnificent sight, has the M6 planted any yet?


Whilst you are all spending thousands on your central heating you will be pleased to know that last week the weather here in Paradise went down to 3degrees. However, according to Meteo France this week its back to the beach on Wednesday, golf shorts on Thursday and skiing in Val D’Allos this weekend!!!


My pelargoniums are not sure if they should be blooming or seeking refuge in la serre!

All my Love OLIF xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

PS. Love to all, especially Tess, DD & Al, Em, Gez,wherever you may be, and Ozzie, and my Mum xxx and of course Les x, Pip and June, M&M, Mike, Nancy Cag, Kate and Frank (if you are still with us!), Sarah and Frank, Honor and John, John and Juliet and Jenny and Peter (hope you are impressed with my gardening knowledge!) Wally and Gwen, Niki and Jos(more rude emails please), Buzz my favourite chef, Joe and Val, Tom and Andree, Barbara Charmian, etc etc. xxx

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