As Inexplicable As Ever – Eurovision 2011 Round Up

So Azerbaijan won Eurovision 2011. It was an OK song, with a distinct hint of Annie Lennox’s ‘No More I Love You’ about it, and a nice performance by Ell and Nikki, but it mainly benefitted from coming close to the end of the contest. The same thing happened with Denmark last year. A vaguely catching song just as things are winding up, and everyone votes for it. But Italy coming second this year? That is quite simply a no-brainer. As is Switzerland coming last. However, the inexplicableness of the results of Eurovision is one of its chief characteristics!

Jedward from Eurovision.tv

My tips for the top were Denmark, Sweden and Georgia. I hoped Ireland would do well because of our Irish connection, but Jedward creeped me out a bit, it has to be said. Was, as Graham Norton, the commentator, suggested, their hyperactivity due to a heady mix of hair spray fumes and fizzy drinks? However, Ruadhri loved them. I really wanted France to win so that Eurovision would be in Paris next year because I’d have been first in the line for tickets to see it live. I would love that. I’m a hopeless Eurovision addict, as I’ve mentioned before.

For what they’re worth, here are my comments, hastily scribbled down last night as the show unrolled in over-the-top splendour last night:

Finland – Da Da Dam by Paradise Oskar: Tom Dice wannabe. Green song with thoroughly commendable intentions, but dopey.

Bosnia-Herzogovinia – Love in Rewind by Dino: harmless folksy ballad. One cool dude in the band – they guy with long hair and the purple hat.

A Friend in London - eurovision.tv

Denmark – New Tomorrow by A Friend in London: catchy, wholesome song with anthem type chorus. Good looking band.

Lithuania – C’est Ma Vie by Evelina. Cracking singer but dire song. Musical theatre sort of number. Few moments of sign language for no particular reason.

Hungary – What About My Dreams by Kati Wolf: uninspiring retro pop. Very blue outfit but good background dancing.

Ireland – Lipstick by Jedward: disastrous outfits but great stage presence. Fun song.

Sweden – Popular by Eric Saade: unfeasibly good looking boy band wearing a lot of leather and buckles. Slick dance moves. Catchy and impressive.

Estonia – Rockerfella Street by Getter Jani: good magic trick at the beginning. Vague shades of Avril Lavigne in the chorus, but undeniably, Estonia lost the plot this year.

Greece – Watch my Dance by Loucas and Stereo Mike, a David Beckham lookalike and an ageing rapper. Probably the best background dancers of the night. Lots of stubble and attitude.

Russia – Get You by Alex Sparrow: another pretty boy band in leather. The back of their jackets lit up temporarily. Impressive but pointless! Catchy, harmless pop.

Handsome Amaury. Pic EBU

France – Sognu by Amaury: good looking mec with an awesome voice but a misjudgement on France’s part. Eurovision isn’t ready for opera.

Italy – Madness of Love by Raphael: words fail me. Horrendous jazz cum Billy Joel affair. Ugh.

Switzerland – In Love for a While by Anna: super, happy little song. Bit too much ‘nah nah nah’ in the middle, but catchy and singalong. (Certainly didn’t deserve to do so badly.)

UK – I Can by Blue: pleasant but nothing special. Well performed by a smart-looking band.

 

Moldova – So Lucky by Zdob: the garden gnome group. Euro rap with a unicycle. What more can I say?

Germany – Taken by a Stranger by Lena: she hasn’t got any better since last year. She didn’t deserve to win it then, and this year was no different. Dull, posy song. However, I think she may have worked on her English pronunciation. Last year it was quite a bizarre mix of Eastenders meets Essex Girl.

David Bryan of Hotel FM. eurovision.tv

Romania – Change by Hotel FM: Geordie front man with dimples and stripy trousers, one of them attractive the other not. True Euro pop with finger clicking and clapping. Happy, catchy song and excellent piano playing.

Austria – The Secret is Love by Nadine: great voice but a bit of a boring belt-it-out ballad in the Lisa Stansfield style.

Azerbaijan – Running Scared by Ell and Nikki: lots of shiny hair. Nice enough boy/girl duet. Not a patch on the country’s song last year. Drip Drop by 17 year old Safura was awesome. One of my very favourite songs.

Slovenia – No-One by Maja: another young singer with a super voice, but again an unmemorable belt-it-out ballad. The beginning reminded me of an old song, ‘Sunrise Sunset’, that used to be on Junior Choice way back when! Catwomen backing singers.

Sjonni's Friends. eurovision.tv

Iceland – Coming Home by Sjonni’s Friends: like Azerbaijan, Iceland is a musical nation. Last year the sturdy Hera sang Je Ne Sais Quoi, another song I adore! Catchy, close harmony number with a touching story behind it. The man who wrote it, Sjonni Brink, submitted it to be considered as Iceland’s entry. But he died in January this year, so his friends decided to get together and perform the song in the Icelandic song final as a tribute to Sjonni, and it was selected. The John Candy lookalike singer has a fantastic voice.

Spain – Que Me by Lucia: happy, forgettable song with good dancing and mean fireworks.

Ukraine – Angel by Mika: I have no idea what the song was like. I was mesmerised by the awesome sand art going on in the background. I know the singer had dead birds on her shoulders though!

Serbia – Caroban by Nina: great voice but too 60s psychedelic pop for my liking. Truly hideous outfits.

Georgia – One More Day by Eldrine: now this is more like it. Gothic metal and rap. Gutsy performance by a band with personality. Cool group.

 

Can’t wait till next year’s contest!

Oh yes, and I’d never realised just how many acrobatic backgroun dancers there are in Europe. It’s a thriving business.

Naked Gardening and Celebrating Bread

I did it! I put my money where my mouth is and I did my bit for world naked gardening day! The website urges you to put up a photo of yourself participating, so here goes:

Don't tell my kids this photo is here!

As well as grass cutting, I transplanted these peanuts into the garden and got some more planted in the bowl:

then I watered the veg, relocated some stag beetle larvae from a pot to a suitable spot with plenty of rotting wood for them to eat:

fed the chickens, checked the llamas and planted a few flowers a neighbour gave me. And all in the buff! It was the perfect weather for it, and I have to say it was enjoyable. All very one-with-nature-ish.

Now with my clothes back on, this week is fête du pain or bread party week! For fifteen years now, the week that includes St Honoré’s Day – St Honoré is the patron saint of bread – is the time to celebrate French bread. Different departements have different baking related activities. Creuse, sadly, is never amongst the forefront of these various national celebrations. According to the official website, all the boulangeries in Creuse are happy for you to come in and talk about bread with them this week. I’m sure our local baker would, but it’s not the most exciting thing to do! Other places are having special masses at Church, displays of old baking equipment, workshops for children to get their hands into dough and pastry making, decorated baguette competitions and visits to bakeries or mills.

A few facts and figures. Every year around 10 billion baguettes are baked, 90% of them in small boulangeries with less than 10 employees, and the majority of those with less than that. Baguettes, and the larger pains, make up three-quarters of the sales in boulangeries, followed by viennoiseries (croissants, pains au chocolat, pains au raisin etc) and then patisseries (pastries such as milles-feuilles, éclairs, tartes etc). I imagine in Creuse the pâté de pommes de terre is well up the sales list. This is a regional delicacy, a simply scrumptious potato pie.

On average, there is one boulangerie per every 1,800 inhabitants. And these inhabitants love the boulangerie – most people cite it as their favourite shop, due to the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff and the quality of the products. However, our expenditure isn’t that high at a boulangerie. The average amount we spend per visit is around €2.50. I’ve been spending €2.46 there every day the last fortnight for two pains – pretty much spot on!

There’s a website at www.lafetedupain.fr with information, recipes, games for kids and a list of what’s on.

Time To Prance And Dance

World Naked Gardening Day and Eurovision are nearly upon us. Saturday 14 May is the date for both. Better get ready!

I had intended to do a timely book review to tie in with naked gardening day, as I have done with Eurovision in the form of my look at Simon Lipson’s A Song for Europe. However, when I was originally looking, I only came across one book that qualified. It was The Naked Gardener by L B Gschwandtner. I downloaded a sample onto my Kindle to read but it just wasn’t my type of book, so I wasn’t prepared to shell out for the full thing. It was too Anita Brooknerish. And the phrase ‘I’d rather gnaw off my own leg’ springs to mind when I think about reading novels by that author. Oh boy, talk about dreary.

I’ve since discovered another suitable book: The Naked Gardeners by Barbara and Ian Pollard. They spent ten years creating their dream garden, apparently, and always gardened in the nude. As the one review on Amazon.com says: ‘Destined to be a best seller for sure. But where do they keep their trowels?’ If I can get hold of a cheap copy somewhere, I’ll review it for next year!

So I’m just giving you a few tips for the impending eventful day.

Five ways to get ready for Naked Gardening Day:

  1. Ensure inhibition-banishing alcohol is to hand.
  2. Arrange to temporarily get rid of your children or any other relatives who are liable to not appreciate what’s going on.
  3. Plan gardening jobs that don’t involve sharp tools.
  4. Pray for warm weather and dig out the suncream.
  5. Charge up or hide the batteries for the camera, depending on how brazen you are!

And six for Eurovision:

1 and 2 as above.

3. Print out the score cards.

4. Buy in popcorn, crisps, treats to nibble while watching.

5. Make sure your mobile is charged up so you can vote, vote, vote.

6. Put on your dancing shoes!

Have a great gardening and musical day!

Smashing Geocaching!

We have three anglers on Alder Lake this week. They were dropped off here by the dad by one of anglers who, with a friend, has gone on a week’s geocaching and wine tasting around France. The wine tasting you’re probably familiar with. But geocaching?

GPS treasure map

It all began in May 2000 when ‘selective availability’ meant that everyone, and not just the military, got to use GPS. This meant treasure hunting could move into the twenty-first century. No more ‘three paces south from the oak tree’ and ‘X’ marks the spot on a tatty map but a string of GPS co-ordinates that you can download.

Chris, Ruadhri and I went on a geocaching expedition on Wednesday, Ruadhri’s school-less day of the week. Our first stop was at Toulx Ste Croix, a village about 10 km away. It’s famous for having the oldest Christian statues in France – two well-worn lions. We followed the track shown on Chris’s GPS and found ourselves behind the Panoramic Tower, on a rocky field. According to our hardware, we were slap bang on the little treasure chest that marked where the cache was. We poked and searched for a while, and then decided to decode the clue. This was given in a straightforward code on the sheet we’d printed off from the geocaching website.

Ruadhri with the cache

Aha. Now we had a better idea where to concentrate our search. Rors and I went one way, Chris went another. We were in shorts and there were a lot of brambles to push through. Ouch. I made a mental note to wear trousers for geocaching in future. And since we’d seen a snake earlier, a harmless one though, I added gloves to the list of necessary items. I wasn’t going to stick my hand into any crevasses!

Then Chris gave a shout. He’d found it! Carefully wrapped in an padded wallet and then a plastic bag, was a small plastic box. The cache.

 

 

Rors opened it to discover what treasures there were. How it works is that, for most caches, you take something out and leave something in its place, and also sign the log that’s there.

We replaced the wizard figure Ruadhri took a shine to with a polished amethyst. Fair exchange is no robbery. Then we wrapped everything up again and replaced the box exactly where we’d found it, reinstating the rocks and leaves that had been around it.

The list of everyone who has found the cache so far

Feeling well pleased with ourselves, we went up the Panoramic Tower to enjoy the view. We also watched while the ancient sarcophagi were put back into place in the old bell tower. I imagine they’d been taken off for a clean-up.

Then we went onto Les Pierres Jaumatres, where the next cache was waiting for us. Chris navigated us to the right spot up beyond the main rocks, and we began hunting. This time I found the treasure, which was in another well-concealed plastic box. The log showed that several people had found this one by accident.

Rors took a small plastic car and we left one of my handmade silver and Peruvian bead mobile phone charms.

Last stop was for a micro-cache at the Lavoir in Boussac. This time there was just the log to sign in the film canister. This one, like the Toulx one, had been put in place by Fred & Michelle. (The Pierres was put in place by Fildefred.)

A micro cache this time

We didn’t do badly at all for our first go at geocaching – we found 3 out of 3. We’ll definitely be doing it again. It was a great way to spend a morning. We’re also planning to devise our own geocaches for other people to find.

 

Today’s French word: le trésor – treasure

 

Cyclists’ Rights

Cycling is a dangerous sport. Tragically on 9th May, Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt died during the third stage of the Giro d’Italia. He lost control during a fast descent. He was wearing a helmet but that couldn’t save him from sustaining fatal head injuries. He was just 26 years old. It’s a terrible, dreadful shame.

Chris and I are on our bikes every day, with Ruadhri for some of the time as we cycle him to get his school bus and then carry on for an hour or so. We’ve had the most hassle from drivers this year that we’ve ever had in the form of being blasted by horns and then cut up on the roads. And this has sometimes happened when our son has been with us. He has even started joining in the swearing and gesticulating that follows these incidents! Whoops.

Anyway, I’ve done some digging around regarding the law on this. Many car drivers are under the impression that it is totally illegal for cyclists to ride two abreast on any road. False. By daytime it is totally permissible, but no more than two abreast. If the road is narrow, and by cycling side by side you are obstructing cars coming up behind you, then they are entitled to hoot gently from a safe distance so you are aware of their presence, and then give you time to fall into single file so they can pass. None of which they do and drive aggressively and dangerously. Motorists need to learn the rules of the road. And on a wider road, there is plenty of room for them to overtake safely without them hooting and cyclists needing to pull in.

Matching jackets make motorists more careful

Cars and other vehicles are obliged to leave a gap of at least one metre from the cyclist’s left shoulder when they overtake. Again, motorists often don’t and whistle by about 20 cms away. This is one reason Chris and I stick to riding two abreast as much as possible. We’ve found that if we drop to single file, cars don’t bother pulling out far at all. What’s more, they still overtake, even if a vehicle is coming in the opposite direction, which is diabolical. They’re forced right in and woe betide the poor cyclist. We’ve ended up in ditches before now, not in France thankfully. Yet, anyway.

And cyclists are not obliged to cycle into the verge or the kerb to make way for a car behind them on a narrow road. In fact the opposite. Cyclists are meant to maintain a safe line, not too close to the edge of the road where they could hit kerbstones with a pedal or ride over detritus and be knocked off balance.

It’s noticeable but when Chris and I cycling in our matching jackets, we get better treatment than if we’re in non-cycling tops with our longs or shorts. If motorists think you’re in a club or some sort of organised ride they’re better behaved. I shall order us some matching cycling vests so we look more official. Twee, but official!

Anyway, we’ll continue cycling two abreast. When we’re with Rors, one of us goes on his outside and the other one behind to keep him protected (apart from on narrow lanes where we obey the law and drop to single file). And without him we cycle alongside because it makes us work harder and, funnily enough, even after 25 years of marriage and having spent the last 5 years working together 24/7, we still have plenty to say to each other!

Daily snippets for 11 May

Today’s saint: Saint Estelle, martyred in the third century. Also St Mamert.

Famous French person born this day:

Famous French person who died this day:

Today’s word: de front – abreast, side by side

Today’s dicton: Gare s’il gèle à la Sainte-Estelle – Beware, it could be frosty on St Estelle’s Day.

There’s a further dicton: Saint Mamert (11/05), Saint-Pancrace (12/05) et Saint-Servais (13/05) sont les Saints de glace. St Mamert, St Pancras et St Servais are the saints of ice {i.e. could be frosts}

 

Midnight Ramblings

I’m having a bad night. It’s nearly 3am and I’ve been trying to get to sleep for four hours. Even listening to ‘Yesterday in Parliament’ on Radio 4 LW didn’t do the trick today, which shows how bad things are!

Since midnight I’ve read four chapters of Bryce Corbett’s ‘A Town Like Paris’ (review coming soon – very soon at this rate!), raided the fridge twice (yum), drunk herbal tea (yuk), been back to bed twice and inevitably disturbed long suffering but luckily doting husband, trodden on the dog’s tail and done some writing. I’ve also had a rummage through the medicine store. Caiti was prescribed some gentle sleeping tablets a year or so back. Now, I’m a great believer in misguided self-medication so I was going to give them a shot but can’t find them. I do, however, have some cat tranquillisers which are becoming increasingly tempting.

We have a large supply of medicines, thanks to French doctors’ habits of prescribing at least three sets of potions for each visit you make. I have two large plastic containers of past prescriptions here in front of me, and I frankly haven’t got a clue what most of them were for now. But one thing is certain – they all have grim names. Migrpiv, Exomuc (one of the catchiest), Spasfon, Ketum, Zomigoro, Urgo Vital, Sanmigran … Enough to make you feel ill!

So what’s  the solution for my night-time wakefulness? Websites suggest exercising more. If I did I think I’d fall apart. Srsly. As I’ve mentioned before, we lead very physical lives on our farm, plus we’re cycling fanatics and are out on our bikes every day. Another idea is to limit alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. But I don’t smoke, hardly drink and avoid caffeine like the plague anyway. It’s not looking too hopeful.

Never mind. There are far worse things to suffer from than a spot of sleeplessness. I’ll hit the fridge again (good job I’m skinny) and go outside and listen to all the sounds of a rural Creuse nighttime – night jars, owls, deer, foxes and crickets.

And if all else fails, I may even get some housework done. Please let me fall asleep!

Daily snippets for 10 May

Today’s saint: St Solange

Famous French person born this day: in 1747 Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, economist and politician

Famous French person who died this day: in 1774, King Louis XV

Today’s words: dormir – to sleep; ordonnance – prescription

Europe Day

May 9th is Europe Day. Did you know? The day is intended to be an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. And to make matters complicated (beginning to sound more European now), there are two separate Europe Days: one on 5th May for the Council of Europe, and 9th May for the European Union (EU). This latter day is also called Schuman Day, because it was on the 9th May that French foreign minister Robert Schuman made his historical declaration which created the European Coal and Steel Community, the basis of today’s EU. (To cause further confusion, there’s also European flag day on 29th September.)

So the whole thing is designed to foster unity among Europeans. How exactly I’m not sure. Limousin Region has issued a magazine about it but there’s not a great deal in it, apart from a competition to win an iPad which I shall have a go at. And the logo is rather good too.

 

The Limousin Europe Day logo

A few events are happening in Limoges. Not much in Creuse, no surprise there sadly, just an exhibition which seems a bit of a cop out to my mind! It seems to be something of a self-congratulatory day for a handful of politicians. Rather a wasted opportunity.

So here are five ways to celebrate Europe Day chez vous.

  1. Have something ‘foreign’ for breakfast – i.e. French croissants (if you don’t live in France, of course), English bacon and egg if you don’t live in the UK, Irish soda bread, Spanish magdalenas, Dutch Ontbijtkoek etc.
  2. Learn how to say ‘hello’ in at least three European languages. Find them here.
  3. Actually sit down and look at a map of the EU to see where the 27 member states are. I have to confess I’m hazy about a few of them.
  4. Write a catchphrase about or description of Europe using six words starting with the letters that spell the word, but not necessarily in that order. My best attempt is: Everyone undervalues each other’s regional priorities.
  5. Find out who your European Member of Parliament is and send them a Happy Europe Day email!

Personally I would nominate the Eurovision Song Contest (I know, I’m obsessed with it!) to take the place of Europe Day. Much more fun and uniting.

Daily snippets for 9th May:

Today’s Saint: St Pacôme of Egypt, who founded the first monastery

Famous French person born this day: in 1968, Marie-José Pérec, Olympic athlete

Famous French person who died this day: Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval in 1789, artillery office and engineer who revolutionised French cannons

Today’s word: un drapeau – flag

Today’s dicton: Brouillard de mai, chaleur de juin, aménent la moisson à point – A foggy May and a warm June bring about the harvest at just the right time.

 

 

Victory and Victoria

Today, 8th May, is Victory in Europe Day – and also our llama Victoria’s birthday. (Hence her name.) Possibly you recall her dramatic delivery.

Mum and baby meet

She’s one year old today. She’s not fully grown yet – she has another six months or so to go. Vicky’s quite stocky and small, taking more after her dad, Bernard, than mum Katrina, who is tall and willowy. She’s kept her striking looks. She is very friendly and strong-willed. All in all, a smashing little llama.

Vicky, and Elrond (Mutton Chops) in the background

VE Day marks the end of the Second World War (in Europe). It’s a public holiday in France. At 11 am there will be small ceremonies at all the thousands of war memorials around the country. We go to the one at Nouzerines. We missed last year as Vicky started arriving at just after 10.30am, and so were otherwise engaged, but normally we always attend, and on 11 November too. My father, uncles, grandfathers and great-uncles were all soldiers in the Second World War. So were Chris’s. My Nan’s step-brother Ronnie was killed. He was only eighteen, younger than my son Benjamin. I find that hard to handle, frankly.

Nouzerines' war memorial

The ceremony is short but moving. And sadly not very well attended. It amazes and appals me that people can’t spare a quarter of an hour to remember the men and women who died in the war, fighting for what was right. They sacrificed their lives and deserve to be honoured and never forgotten.

Daily snippets for 8 May

Today’s Saint: St Felicity, martyred with St Perpetua

Famous French person born this day: in 1326, Joanna of Auvergne, Queen of France

Famous French person who died this day: in 1880, Gustave Flaubert, novelist

Today’s word: guerre – war

Today’s dicton: A Sainte-Félicie, tous les lilas sont fleuris – On St Felicity’s day, all the lilacs are in flower

 

Search Me

I’ve been keeping a note of search terms used to get to my blog for about a month now, out of curiosity. A few puzzling ones have cropped up. I’m not sure how someone looking for ‘chocolate French blog’ ended up at www.bloginfrance.com, but they were very welcome. Also baffling were ‘wellies’, ‘concrete recycling’ and, sadly, ‘grief public domain’. They weren’t knowingly subjects of any of my posts. Another one I liked was ‘blog of family in France with six kids’. We have just the three, but sometimes it feels like we have six, especially when doing the food shopping.

Turning to the more mundane, not surprisingly ‘Easter sayings’ topped the search list. There is an insatiable interest in ‘dictons’, even though they are old fashioned. And of course festivals and special occasions have plenty associated with them. Searches for ‘French toilet paper’ gave Easter a good run for its money, though. These took a variety of forms – sometimes involving colour and texture!

Following closely behind came searches for ‘custard’ related material. The funniest one was worded ‘Brulée gone wrong runny custard’! One person simply wanted to know ‘Does France have custard?’. I hope he or she got the answer they were looking for in my post on this delicious subject.

Food seems to be uppermost on many web surfers’ minds. As well as custard, there were plenty of searches along the lines of ‘eating llamas’ and ‘llama recipes’. One specified ‘llama with egg’. And ‘cake au jambon’ crops up regularly too. However, there’s a preference for camelids over cake.

Three racy search phrases were ‘France sex blog’, ‘naked blog’ and ‘sex blogs France’. Those surfers would have been sadly disappointed with Blog in France, I’m afraid to say. However, the interest is there, so maybe it’s something worth thinking about … !!

One surfer was looking for ‘naked winter hiking’. Not in Creuse you wouldn’t, mate.

There were lots of other sensible searches too – lilies of the valley, Eurovision, spring birds, French expressions, so at least some surfers are sane! I shall continue to keep a record as it’s amusing and informative to see what people are after from blogs – although not necessarily mine.

Daily snippets for 7th May

Today’s Saint: St Gisele of Hungary

Famous French person born this day: in 1748, Olympe de Gouges, French playwright and feminist revolutionary

Famous French person who died on this day: in 1843, Pierre Benoît Soult, army general

Today’s word: un blogueur / une blogueuse – blogger

Today’s website to check out: http://myevilfrenchtwin.wordpress.com/ – my daughter’s photo-a-day blog!

Shrike A Light!

Ruadhri and I joined SEPOL for 2011 – SEPOL being the Société pour l’Etude et la Protection des Oiseaux en Limousin. We got a letter today telling us about a survey aiming to determine how many of two different species of bird there are in France. The birds in question are the Pie-grièche à tête rousse (woodchat shrike) and the Pie-grièche grise (great grey shrike). They are both migratory songbirds.

Pie-grièche à tête rousse

SEPOL wants observers to walk or cycle along the paths and byways of Limousin and look out for these birds and report any sightings, giving as close a map reference as possible. The best time to look is apparently on warm days between April and July, when the parents are feeding their young and insects are more likely to be lively. There are two key target areas for this survey, both in Haute Vienne, but SEPOL wants people all over Limousin to take part so that they can get as much information as possible. Sounds like a fun thing to do!

More news from SEPOL is that winter 2010/11 saw 130,000 grey cranes – my beloved grues – flying over the area. Me and another 179 observers sent in 762 reports about sightings. This figure doesn’t take night flights into account (no-one sees those). And for the second year running, between 20 and 30 cranes overwintered in Creuse. I wouldn’t mind them staying in our fields!

Daily snippets for 6th May

Today’s saint: Saint Prudence

Famous French person born this day: in 1868 Gaston Leroux, journalist, writer – author of Phantom of the Opera

Famous French person who died this day: in 1951, Elie Cartan, mathematician

Today’s word: un vol nocturne – night flight

Today’s saying – in English this time: If it’s windy on St Prudence Day, the silly sheep will dance away.