November 12th 2008
I have followers! To all your guys who are following and the ones who posted comments, thank you thank you thank you. I was moaning to my bro-in-law Gaz (or Saltydawg) the other night about how no-one is reading my blog and he said he'd poke me (is that the right term) on his blog and here you all are. Think one of the problems is that haven't actually told anyone I'm doing this, always going to be a problem if you want people to read it!
Anyway, Dougnut-ella comes from Donatella because my awful neighbour in Mandelieu is a poor man's version of Ms Versace, but with bad surgery and long bleached blonde hair which would look great if she was 25 but not so good on a woman knocking on the door of 60. Spent the weekend there and she was nowhere to be seen but I'm sure I haven't heard the last of her yet.
One of my journo friends in the UK emailed me to say how she is really into dressing up and wearing make up at the moment. Since I arrived here five months ago, I've probably worn high heels twice (given that I have a collection to rival Imelda Marcos, that's not good value for money) and have given up on the little make up I used to wear altogether. The heels don't work on a drive that resembles a black run, and living in a rural village in the hills of France, you look dressed up in jeans and a T shirt. It's quite liberating but I sometimes miss going off to an interview dolled up in my latest purchases.
Took the girls to the Armistice Day Parade in the village yesterday. It was very humbling, old men and women from the village wearing their medals, barely able to shuffle aong but standing proud of their contribution to the freedom we all take for granted. All the children carried red white and blue balloons to the cemetery, which sits on a cliff edge overlooking the valley. A saxophonist played, everyone sang the French national anthem The Marseillaise and then the Mayor read out the names of all those who died in the First and Second World Wars. He must have read out 30 names, just from our tiny village. The balloons were released, carrying messages of peace from the children and I'm not ashamed to admit I had a huge lump in my throat.
This afternoon, we are picking olives in the garden. We have eight trees and my Italian neighbour Rosine (who is the pole opposite of the other heathen) has told me they are ready and not to leave it too late. Apparently I need a net to catch them all when we shake the trees and a bonbonniere to soak them in water and salt before they can be eaten. There is a local mill where you can swap your olives for the equivalent amount of locally produced olive oil, which sounds like a great idea as we will never get through them all ourselves.