Posted by on December 2, 2006

“You take your turban off my good man and I will then take my shoes off!!!”

6am in the morning at Birmingham airport, waiting in an enormous queue to go through passport control. with JS feeling more than delicate from the night before, we are confronted by an airport official who is obviously equally as bad-tempered as our JS, demands that we remove all likely looking terrorist ammunition from our persons immediately, which involves JS having to tackle his laces, with a headache to die for.
Its not often he flips, but this was just such an occasion. Having spoken his mind, I can tell you, an attack by all personnel was well justified. Whisked off by some airport bouncer, leaving me to face a rather amused stag party from Lozells, heading for Amsterdam! I am told to wait for the accused by the champagne bar, next to the dunkin donut stand!

After 3 champagnes and a dunkin donut, I hear this feeble little voice,”hello, Nessie it’s me” – bugger, they haven’t shot him; I was quite looking forward to Amsterdam!

The accused peers from behind a security door with only his sloggies on ”It’s freezing in here, but I think we (WE!) are ok, I have apologized for being racial and I will be freed shortly!”

Trying to put some euros aside for yet another holiday! I purchase three flat packed items from Toulon Ikea, which all seems a good idea until you come to assemble them! After seriously trying to persuade my DIY man, Pip from Edgbaston, who now receives his free bus pass, or my other man Les, from Harborne, also in his later prime to assist this damsel in distress, Luigi comes to my rescue. With Tash looking on admiringly, me supplying the beers, and JS nowhere to be seen, he completes the task faster than I have ever seen any French workman work!!


Some time ago we were invited for the weekend by a lovely French couple in la Ciotat. The weather was superb, the food excellent, until petit dejeuner arrives. The table is laden with the usual, fresh breads from the local boulangerie, jet black coffee, home made jams and then facing me is this enormous soup bowl! Perhaps they have soup for breakfast in these parts? Looking slightly uncertain what next to do, I glance across to my very posh friend Chantal and I am horrified to see that she has filled her soup bowl up with jet black coffee and is DUNKING her croissants INTO IT! My Mother would die! This is quite a normal procedure apparently, can’t see me doing it at the Ritz!


On our way to the dechetterie (the French skip) Gilly and I are informed by Tash that there is a rather good looking arm chair, waiting to be snapped up by the poo bell (dustbin) which would look just lovely in Luigi’s bedsit! Always ready for a challenge, we girls park the Kia, along with the loaded trailer, next to the desired item. About to load it into our trailer, when another car arrives, and then another, except this one has two German shepherds in the back!! Obviously, all the locals have spotted this armchair!
” why don’t we buy him a flat packed one from Ikea” I suggest to Gilly.
”not likely Olif, you load it onto the trailer and I will distract the locals!”
Well, our decoy is not too hot with speaking the old lingo, but waiving her arms about, suddenly blurts out with some totally incomprehensible jargon that only the German shepherds look vaguely amused about. With the job complete, I jump into the driver’s seat and do a racing start that even Schumacher would be proud of!


Its champignon time here, so naturally our mushroom expert is hot on the trail. Arriving back with several varieties of “edible” fungi, I suggest we just check first with the Figanieres pharmacist. Now, I know I may appear to be dragging this story on a bit (as if I could do such a thing!!) but this pharmacienne (feminine folks!), is about 6ft 5inches tall with a teeny but visible moustache, has never really taken to me since she saw me kiss Jeff, Chantal’s husband, full on the lips (this is strictly a no no in France unless you are married to the person or he’s dead!) And promptly discussed this action with Chantal, who assured her that this is quite common in England. The pharmacienne then told Chantal that I better not attempt this practise on her husband, who I have to admit, is quite delicious looking! so I present the mushrooms to her whereupon, she gives me a wide grin, and enquires to whether I have eaten any of them ”no, not yet” I reply, the grin has gone and she replies ” Je suis desole, il y a toxique,vous pouvez mort!”

Meanwhile, back at St Blaise JS, il couperai les arbres en bas. When he is confronted by a very red faced hunter. Monsieur Chasseur shouts at JS telling him that he is making too much noise, the bonfire is too close to the forest and he is (more to the point) frightening all the wild boar, sangliar, away! Second time in a month, JS flips, it must be pmt! And tells him that it is none of his business and did he know it was illegal to have your rifle cocked whilst trampling on our land! I congratulated my hero, and said what’s French then for cocked? He said I he didn’t know but the hunter just looked embarrassed and checked his trousers.


Frejus has just opened a massive Castarama (similar to B&Q). The French are over the moon about it! despite the fact that the average Frenchman/woman wait until the very last minute, if at all, to repair things. It has to be seen, all the excited froggies looking amazingly at all the different devices to assist one with any diy problem.


Went to Monaco the other day to attend a seminar on preparing your will. Loads of very rich expats, owners of gigantic yaghts, multiple home owners, diamonds everywhere, personal jets, and us!

Short visit to the uk in October, Tash to see her bluecoat friends, JS to buy some Cadburys chocolate and ginger wine for the xmas pudding, and me to visit the dentist to purchase “the latest tooth whitening kit!”

Back at home, each night I have faithfully squirted the gel from the purpose made syringes into the custom made gum shields, to remain in ones mouth for at least 7 hours! What do I look like. Earplugs in, (he still snores!) Gum shields firmly in place, syringes at the side of the bed, its no wonder Hudson is on anti-depressants!

5 days in Dubai, God; it’s a hard life being retired!

Well its 20 degrees here today, so whilst you lot face the Christmas shopping in the storms and gales, you can be thinking of us having lunch outside, a little local rose, all Christmas shopping done and dusted via the internet, just need JS to chose a suitable tree to cut down from the unsuspecting neighbours so Tash can decorate it, and we are there.

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all my mates.

Much love Olif.xxxx

Thank you so much for all the birthday cards and emails, I only had to send myself 8 this year!

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