22 December 2018

267. My music library

I've always been a great fan and great user of YOUTUBE.

A new way of using the MUSIC side of it has been put on line some time ago. Since I really enjoyed Youtube as it was I didn't rush to try the new system. Now listen! It's well worth the move.

Here my own MUSIC LIBRARY with my own playlist for classical music with 30 titles.

19 December 2018


Do not be humble! It’s a waste of time. You’ll be walked over, stomped, pushed away. This is my advice for today. Take it seriously from me as an old hen.

 To start with here’s the definition given by Urban Dictionary on line:

True humility is to recognize your value and others value while looking up to see there is far greater than ourself  into who we can become, who others can become, and how much more we can do and be.

It’s about remaining teachable, knowing that you do not have all the answers.

It’s being really good at something and knowing how good you are without feeling the need to announce it to the world.

When I left my country, France, in 1963 I was 19. I had finished matriculation with philosophy, spoke, read and wrote English and German on top of my native language French. I had succeeded in obtaining a car driving licence after trying my hand at my grandfather’s tractor from the age of 10. I could ride a horse, swim and hold a conversation on politics or religion… I had been a keen map gazer at boarding school and knew a fair amount of geography. I could also ride a bike… In other words I was quite smart!!!

Yet when I arrived in Haifa, Israel, on a migrants boat and was welcome by my pen friend’s family I never boasted of being so smart. There I knew nothing, not the language, not the culture as I was not Jewish, not the manners of the kibbutz. Nothing. I knew nothing and had to learn everything from scratch like a small child.

When Racheline picked me up to travel to where she lived, although we were of the same age and had corresponded for a few years beforehand, she behaved with me as if I was her younger sister. With patience she explained things, showed me things, and trusted me completely. However she never asked about my background, education, family or personal capacities. I remained her nerdy younger sister for ever.

When I arrived at the kibbutz in Galilee to work I never mentioned my background and capacities either.  There was an Arab guy on horseback riding around once I remember. My fellow worker from England asked the guy if he could try his horse. Which he did. I never mentioned I could ride and never asked to have a go. Apparently according to my English friend worker it was quite different.The Arab rider had only one rein to guide his horse.

The kibbutz where I worked and stayed for a year had been founded by a group of German speaking young Jewish people from Austria. As at the beginning I could not speak Hebrew they spoke to me in German. I never boasted I mastered three languages. In Israel everybody masters a number of languages anyway.

So I can say I had been humble, showing humility in my dealings with other people. Did it help? It did not help. With my humble attitude I once was declared a spy by Racheline’s elder sister. It didn’t matter much. And actually I don’t know if it is connected with my humble attitude. I thought so. But boasting was not my way anyway.

When I arrived in Australia and went for a job in federal administration I did not boast, just replied to questions. I got a good job as clerk in a federal government department. (yes, I’ve said it before!) It was seen as quite something for a woman, a married woman at that. I was a clerk, not a typist. My job was to compose letters answering the public mail about the statistics of Australia. I would give my handwritten letters to a typing pool. A good job indeed. The next position up from that was to become a secretary. Should I have boasted I could do so much more? so much better? No way. A married woman remains humble. Period.

It goes on like that right throughout my life. So now an old grumpy grandmother I boast! Yes ma’am, I’ve done a lot and single handed with a child to bring up too.

I am totally bilingual, i.e. have two languages wrapped up in two cultures present in my head at all times so that I don’t know which language of French or English I’m talking. I can handle German and have knowledge of Hebrew which I once could speak and write, some knowledge of Fulah which I once understood when spoken. And, last but not least, I am learning Russian. I can now slowly read cyrillic.

What else? I can boast of having sailed across the South Pacific, not safely on a liner, but as a crew member with various yachties. I survived a couple a typhoons at sea. What else? I survived being hungry stranded on an island in between crew jobs.

I can boast that once or twice, in New Caledonia and New Zealand, I was the tail end guide of horse riding bush rides for tourists. I survived falling badly off a horse twice. A scar on my forehead can witness.

What else? I can boast driving on my own across the Australian continent and across the European continent… hm… no, not quite across it. Actually it’s my next big idea and project. 

I’ll stop this list. But hear me! Do not refrain from boasting what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.

Oh I forgot... you see I'm not used to boasting really. I'm learning! I also studied at university, three years in France for a B.A. in ethnology and one year as a post graduate towards an M.A. in America. I can cook dinner too. I can tinker with a hammer and nails. And I am a self taught potter and actually ran a pottery studio and workshops in France. I could play the piano, can still read music. I also studied ballet and the Benesh system of writing movement.

I can ride a bike (yes, I've said that before) and grow my own vegetables.  

265. Two Men in a Boat

Friday Fictioneers

Two Men in a Boat

photo copyrights Adam Ickes

- You’re not going into that boat with those big boots!… Harry said. 

So George took them off and clambered into the small sail boat.

They sailed up river tacking three times, moored under the big bridge. Both jumped off and started climbing the embankment to the road. Barefoot George could not make it.     

- I am meeting Meeghan at the post office. Shall be back in a minute with her. Then we can sail down river to Windsor… Harry shouted as he disappeared at the top.

Scorching his feet on the sharp stones, halfway up, George decided to make it back to the boat. Casting off he hurriedly sailed back to the pontoon.

Will his boots still be there?

                            :-)     :-)     :-)     :-)     :-)

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Adam Ickes.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and to Adam Ickes for the photo prompt. 

WRITE A STORY OF YOUR OWN and  Add your own link

15 December 2018



Getting much older, past your seventh decade of existence, your memory works differently. It’s as if what you labelled as “nice” becomes an unpleasant memory, as if your true unconscious self were coming up to the surface replacing the conscious labels you gave to your life experiences.

I had been surprised once when visiting my aging “godmother” she said she was tired of hearing old ladies bitching around all day. I wasn’t sure what she meant then. I see it now. All those lovely photos of your past life looking pleasant, happy and fun, suddenly come up with the true blue feeling of the time that you repressed in haste.

I’ll digress for a while to talk about my “godmother”. When I was 16-17 in France living outside the boarding school in a kind of foyer, I walked one day to the protestant pastor’s place. I had questions! His wife opened the door and from then on she welcome me every time, taking me in as an extra offspring! I kept in touch with her throughout my life and visited her at a retirement home when my little boy, son of my Fulah partner,  was about 4 years old. She’s been a spiritual motherly guide to me. She was Swiss.

So, low and behold, I have become one of those bitching old ladies!

In my 20s I lived in Canberra, Australia. I had a good job as a clerk in a federal government Department and was happily married. A rosy life. My first contact with adult life happened there in the late sixties.

from left to right: my mother Rachel Lagarde, me Frankie, my husband Brian Smith.
In CANBERRA, Australia, in 1969

Brian James Smith was my husband. I was Frankie Smith in those days. He had a job in the Department of External Affairs and was paid a lot more than me. He was trained to become a computer programer and worked on the implementation of computerized pay lists for civil servants and diplomats. One day he told me that he had been offered to work in Geneva in the Australian Embassy there to implement computerized pay lists for the diplomats in Europe. And he had refused it.

Me now in 2018. Photo taken yesterday.
I never ever forgave him for that. In my memory he never asked me my opinion beforehand. Maybe he did. In which case I would have been terribly enthralled at the idea of living in Geneva. But I don’t remember he asked me. He simply told me he had turned it down and passed the offer to a good mate of his. I never forgave. To this day I feel so mad and cheated about it. My grandfather never made the slightest decision without referring to my grandmother. My parents used to talk at length about any decision involving the family. There I was presented with a final decision involving my very life. Hatred built up and was repressed. I pretended everything was fine.

12 December 2018

263. Potters problems

Friday Fictioneers

Potters problems

Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

- That huge clay bubble will never fit in the kiln, will it?
- It’s not for the kiln. See the wire net? I want to grow something on it. I should find on the web some plants that grow in circles.
- Why can’t you grow things on flat ground like everybody?
- Oh! leave me alone, will you?

Jo went reluctantly back to his potter’s wheel. He would have thrown rows of small cups by 5. Jessy never saw how beautiful they were.

As he was producing his last one she came to him beaming:

- You know what? I cut it open in two halves. Your little cups will fit nicely in one half and…
- But it’ll never fit in the kiln, will it?

      :-)     :-)     :-)     :-)     :-)

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Douglas M. MacIlroy.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

Thanks to Rochelle https://rochellewisoff.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers and to Douglas M MacIlroy for the photo prompt.

10 December 2018


First of all I wish to state that I am an impudent grand-mother of 74 years of age. Romantic and sexy perhaps but mostly brash and overbold. Old and aged as well.


I was recently saying to a friend that as a young married woman in the late 1960s I felt as if the rudder of my life had been taken away from me. Did you ever feel like that? Did you ever feel your were drifting away from what you had planned for yourself in your teens? I guess it did not apply to women of the generation before mine. A young woman’s aspirations had to be to get married, be a good housewife and a good mother for ever and ever.

As for me as a “inmate” in a boarding school I had been a map gazer dreaming of striding across the whole world. I compiled a small handwritten little book for my parents where I stated my plans for my own future. I was going to join the parachutist nurses of the red cross and travel right around the globe (…the world was not flat in those days :-)) They did not bother commenting. I was serious though. Many pen friends were corresponding with me and expecting me to turn up at their door step one day.

I arrived in Haifa, Israel, when I was 19. After one whole year there, in Eilat as a cleaning lady but mostly as a helper in a kibbutz in Galilee, one Australian fellow met me. It was not my plan to find myself a husband at all. My first boyfriend was a colleague from work in the fields of gladiolas. He had introduced me to his Arab family, they approved of me and were very friendly. But it was definitely not my plan to get myself a husband. Starting a relationship with Brian helped me out of a future as a married woman in Israel. Yes but…

I wish to convey here the effort I had to make to stop being drawn into this kind of regular situation for a young woman, namely getting married. No, my plan was to travel further and see the world. My next destination was Australia and as I could not leave Israel by land, I decided to travel to London and find a way by sea. Fearless I was and full of grand ideas. Brian was a nice guy. I believe he actually fell in love with me there in the kibbutz. It was not reciprocate. I got used to it, I became involved in a relationship by default. We went to Eilat and I left him there, took a boat to Athens and hitch-hiked to London. He came to London a few weeks later and we lived together in Shepherds Bush. A few months later we travelled to Belgium to my aunt’s. My mother heard of it and came to Belgium to meet us. She offered Brian his dream, namely a year at the Hebrew university in Jerusalem, if we were getting married. On the way back from Brussels to London we argued about the offer. I was not keen at all 1. on getting married 2. on returning to Israel. But we eventually did both. Caught.

In May 1966 in full depression I left Brian and returned to France to my parents. He came to be with me again a month later and my parents paid for our trip from Genoa to Perth on a migrants liner. We hitch-hiked all around the south coast of Australia, from Perth to Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, visiting family and friends of Brian’s. In Melbourne I even met up with my pen friend of old. But somehow there was no more adventure, I was married and in such case people are not really interested in what you are doing since the important person is the husband. For Brian having wed a French girl was a feat. They congratulated him. Except of course when we arrived at his folks in Queensland. I overheard a couple of times why on earth did he get married with that French girl and not with a good Irish catholic woman. Life in a suburb in Brisbane was a shock to me. I would have escaped. Nearly did. Sailed away with a family of French yachties but got stranded with the boat crushed on an island between Brisbane and Sydney. Brian came to pick me up. We eventually ended up in Canberra in February 1967 where I led a very ordinary married life with a 9 to 5 job in an office, living in a suburban house with a lawn mower. We eventually got a car as well, a French car, but not a dog! I did not want to have kids. The rudder of my life had been taken away from me.    

8 December 2018

261. Romantic and sexy

Romantic and sexy

In English it is a common place to say, write and publish that the French language and therefore the French are… romantic and sexy.

Romantic?  characterized by the expression of love? suggestive of an idealized view of reality? “Romance” refers to the passion you get from pursuing an ideal that you value, says the google definition. Romantic also means something exciting and mysterious and having a strong effect on your emotions.

I am writing this while viewing the news live on what is currently happening in Paris. Right now an uprising is taking place throughout the country. Great violence last weekend has turned the “romantic” capital city of France into a battle field. I guess, yes, it fits the description of a passionate exciting  people who throughout its history has run barehanded against their king or government whenever those deviate from their ideal and values.

Have a look at the C-news live here and let me know if you find it romantic :

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Now about being “sexy” it is mostly referring to the women. I once asked a British friend of mine why they say that, how come it is such a common place. What he replied left me without breath. He said: in France you’re like a cat in a fish shop.

7 December 2018


(Friday fiction)

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

She knew that on the other side of the tunnel there were green meadows. She knew. 

Today she was peeling potatoes for dinner when he got home in an hour or so. It dawned on her that today precisely that old fashioned train would slow down before the tunnel. 

Every month it happened. On a certain day an old fashioned train would appear, you know, the type they used in the wild west when cowboys just jumped on and off them at leisure. She had often laughed at it.

She left the potatoes, grabbed her dirty jeans from inside the washing machine and put them on. She took a shopping bag, the one she often used to get odd items at the local grocery. She looked at herself in the mirror and asked herself aloud if he would notice.
He walked home and waited at the crossing as usual to let the train pass. He saw her, there hanging outside a wagon trying to open the door. 

Hooting and whistling the train was gone. On the other side of the tunnel the meadows were green.

                                :-)            :-)         :-)        :-)         :-)       :-)           :-)

Word count = 100
Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Dawn M. Miller.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

6 December 2018

259. Christmas 2018

Christmas in christendom is one of those festivities that are now rather remote to what it must have been in the early days of Christianity. I once lived in Israel and as a Christian attended a service at the YMCA in Jerusalem. I think it was in December 1965. Then and there, Jesus was still the reason for the season, as the saying goes.

Nowadays, in France anyway, the main reason for the season is buying presents for kids and various family members who will attend a huge dinner deep inside a house with all doors closed. You’ve got to have the “dough” for all this great spending and to produce good food for your family. I used to absolutely hate, detest, abhor this time of the year when, as a jobless single mother, I mostly found myself unable to come up to the mark.

This Xmas I surprise myself loving the occasion! A grand-mother now I find myself taking great pleasure at decorating my place. No hassle. Just fun.

yes, that blanket isn't much for a xmas hanging! it's to block the passage and keep warm in the room
a bit messy backstage in the kitchen... but hang on! I haven't finished

got logs delivered for the fireplace
As I have recently joined again the bloggers community I had left a couple of years ago to waste time on FaceBook, I relish in reading posts, logs and blogs of old friends who were more faithful to blogging than myself. Funny enough my English speaking friends react as if I had never left. I am “lost between two shores” somehow. On the French side of it you just don’t mix with people you don’t know and so I find myself pretty isolated with my French blog. I shall publish exactly the same post in French now and see what happens…

5 December 2018


Search and the web is our heritage, it is at the heart of everything we do.”  So says Matter Solutions, a knowledgeable team of computing web experts in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 

Well yes, and writing a web-log has changed a lot since I first started more than 10 years ago. From a friendly laid back activity, hands on keyboard and smiling to your screen, it has become the hard driven activity to success it is now. Success! Your business online. Competition. How to secure competitive advantages over other businesses in your industry.

Thank God for my old blogging friends who have remained out of the competition and still blog the friendly way, i.e. post whatever they fancy, whenever it suits them, to the world wide web for friendly readers who leave nice comments by the side. A web of human friendliness across the globe in your own language, freely translated on the side by a google friendly machine. Cool!

So, this morning, I shall post photos of my day dawning at 8 am in France as I am waiting for the chimney sweep to come and sweep my chimney. Well, that has changed a lot too. These days a huge vacuum cleaner is put in the fireplace and the job is done in a couple of minutes.

Dawn in December is at 8 am at my place in France

I’m back into blogging, yeah!

And by the way many thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee.