Friday, November 26, 2010

Books, books and more books

I found this on Dru’s blog. I have read more than 6 (pokes out tongue at BBC). There are even more on this list that I’d like to read…

”The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.”

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road - Jack Kerouak
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton?
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Wouldn't it be a good thing if EVERYONE could live their lives to old age?
Please watch this video, it will only take just over three minutesof your time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I gotta find peace of mind

I bought myself a new parka in the sales at La Redoute last week. It’s really snug and warm, designed in Sweden (winks to Anna) with a faux fur piece on the hood. I went to collect it from the baby trading shop (not babies, but baby equipment). The lady in there was listening to some music on her laptop. It sounded really interesting so I asked her what it was. I didn’t understand who she said at first (she was saying the name a la Française). Anyway she showed me the name and was listening on Deezer so I knew I’d find it again.
Lauryn Hill. At first all I could find was rap, but I persevered and found what I wanted. Listen to this; bet you cry too. (though you’ve probably heard it all ready)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Charlie Chaplin and Richard Herring

I’ve discovered Richard Herring over the last two weeks. He’s currently presenting a series on Radio 4 about objects we’ve grown to hate, like Hitler moustaches and, this evening, hoodies. Last week he talked about the BNP getting seats in the European parliament because people didn’t bother to vote, like happened in France with Mr Le Penn. He talks a lot of sense and he sent me looking for the speech from the end of The dictator by Charlie Chaplin (so that’s where Hitler got his moustache from). Here is the text.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Dom emailed Rob and I simultaneously asking us what the word self-ascription means. I couldn’t find self-ascription, only ascription in the dictionaries and I must admit to not being sure at all as to what self-ascription means. I presume it’s from a psychology paper she’s reading at the moment.

Any ideas?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Forever Autumn

I was waking up one morning as this song was being played on the radio. It was the first time I heard it and now it always reminds me of that special time half way between sleep and waking.

I hope that your autumn is as beautiful as this one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Candles and stained glass

As part of our trip into town this morning, Rob and I went to look around Saint-Sauveur church. For about 10 years the church was closed to the public while it was being restored. It was worth it. It certainly does look much better than I remembered it. We always light a candle if we visit a church or cathedral, thinking of our fathers and relatives who are no longer with us. I also think of the living too, there seems to be need among my blogging friends at the moment.

Part of the restoration included the stained glass windows. I love stained glass. They are each opposite a pillar and the sun was shining in through the windows as I turned away from the area where the candles were. The colours and patterns from each window were reflected on the pillars. It was beautiful.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some local history

I must write this down before I forget it. Remember the old man I helped one day when he felt ill? His name is Robert and it’s quite a time since we had a talk of any length. Today we started to talk about the war. He was 14 when the Germans arrived and took over the village. He’d just finished school and had been awarded a new bicycle for being a good student. The Germans took all of the good bikes, so he dug a hole on the courtyard behind his house, wrapped up the bike and buried it so they couldn’t find it and take it. When the soldiers went to the beach for a swim (they used to skinny dip apparently), he and his friends used to go down and cut the tyres of the bikes so they would have to walk back to the village. I’m sure that they got up to other tricks too. To get to work at the boatyard Robert had to ride an old bike with hard tyres, sometimes he told me people used hose pipes wrapped around the wheels.

On the day that La Rochelle was liberated he heard the church bells ringing so he sneaked into the village church and rang the bell. The German HQ was only across the road so he disappeared pretty quickly after doing that.

Life was very hard for the villagers. The men were taken away to labour camps and the woman, children and elderly had to manage the best they could. There was hardly any food. As soon as he could, he joined the French Navy. He was in French waters for a year or so, which was a ‘comfortable’ job after the war and then they sent him to Indo China until he finished his five years duty. It was a much harder life and he was ill while he was there. On one of his train journeys from base to base he met the girl who was to become his wife, their first two years consisted of exchanging letters

Coming back to France in the early 50s wasn’t easy as there were no jobs, so he became a gendarme and worked his way up through the ranks to Major – he came back to the village to retire.

That’s what I remember from what he told me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Art is Truth

This afternoon I collected my new glasses. The frames are black and inside the right arm is written “Art is Truth”. I didn’t notice it when I was choosing them, but it’s the kind of detail I like.

I haven’t managed to find who or where the quote is from. Is it the same as ‘The camera never lies”?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Something to make you feel good for the weekend

I went to visit a site to see some great pictures of how a girl got her revenge. Then there was a video at the bottom. It is very slow to load which will give you time to find a huge box of Kleenex before you watch it.

Go here

Okay, so the first was a hoax, but the second wasn't - sorry

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Yesterday evening we took some time off and decided to watch a film/movie. Nothing too demanding and nothing that we could fall asleep to, so we chose Knowing (‘Predictions’ in French). A time capsule is buried by school children in 1959 to be opened in 2009. One of the papers buried contains sequences of numbers which of course falls in to the hands of Nicholas Cage who is capable of deciphering them and trying to do something about it. We did stay awake, but we thought that there were a couple of weak points, like the first number just happened to be 9.11 and how did he know that the car that crashed was the one that she (The leading lady) had stolen? Other than that a good film if you’re looking for something not too challenging on the brain cells.

Rob and I had a conversation this morning. In all of these kind of films at the announcement of impending doom, everyone starts running around looting. Do you think that’s what you’d be doing if you knew that the earth was going to blow up within the next few hours?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Me on the radio

With the help of Dom, who fixed me up with a skype account on her beautiful little computer, I made my debut as a radio interviewee this afternoon. This will hopefully be the first of many interviews for Radio ExposeYourblog! of members about their blogs and why they blog. The interview will be repeated several times during the coming week. Don is also pleased to have obtained even more music for everyone to listen to. If you have requests, ideas or would like to be interviewed yourself, visit the forum and click on the Radio ExposeYourBlog! Section.

You don’t need to be logged in to listen, just choose a link:

Windows Media
Real Player
All others

I write like...

I found this on Micah Charlson’s blog, I thought the result was pretty good!

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I tried it with several different pieces that I’ve written and got several answers, this was the one that came up twice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life throws a curve ball

I don’t know if I’ve been conspicuous by my absence in the last couple of weeks. We’re nearly at the end of a tunnel. Hopefully life will be back to normal in a week or so. I haven’t commented much as I couldn’t concentrate on anything too complicated for a while, though I have been visiting and reading.

This has been helping me everyday

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Which chick flic ?

Every summer on Thursday evenings there are Night Watchman’s tours of La Rochelle. Members of the public are taken around the town by the night watchman visiting various venues from different epochs where little scenes from history are acted out. When we went several years ago the tour finished in the bunker built by the Germans as their head quarters in the town. This week it’s Rob’s turn to work during the evening, opening up the St. Nicolas tower for the actors to change in and checking the public’s tickets.

As I’m on my own I’ve decided to watch a DVD which I will choose and no moaning from anyone else. On Monday Unchained Melody was played on the radio station used by the supermarket I was in at the time. I do love that song especially the Righteous Brother’s version used in the film Ghost. There is a Wikipedia page on the song and I’ve discovered that it was born in 1955, which doesn’t surprise me at all as all the best people were born in 1955!! In was written for a film about prison ; ‘Unchained’. I discovered that Bing Crosby sang it too, though it doesn’t quite have the same power as the version used in Ghost.

Ghost is on my list, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Forrest Gump, Pretty Woman, North by Northwest or perhaps Spellbound. Which to watch? If I’m not careful Rob will be home before I’ve decided.

To save you from having to look it up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Peace and solitude

I found this on the back of a postcard written in 1909:

« Imaginez au pied de l’abbaye au milieu du bois, une rivière qui roule ses eaux torrentueuses parmi les rocs, et dites s’il existe un séjour plus solitaire et plus pittoresque. J’y resterai, je pense, quelques temps »

“Imagine at the foot of the Abbey within the woods, a river that runs with torrentuous waters amongst the rocks, and tell me if there exists anywhere more solitary and more picturesque. I’ll stay I think, for some time.”

This is where they were talking about, the Abbey at La-Pierre-qui-Vire.

Monday, May 31, 2010

New blog exchange

We’re proud to announce the birth of a new blog exchange being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 1st June). If you’re looking for a blog exchange that has an admin team with real powers to deal with problems and cares for its members look no further than ExploseYourBlog!

BlogExplosion users will probably recognise some of the names behind the scenes. We hope that we can look after you properly from now on. We’re not completely decorated as we would like but the basics are there and we’re looking forward to hearing from you in the forums if you have ideas on what you expect from a blog exchange.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where the children go

I think that we can say that Dom has left home for good now. Even when she stops studying in the summer, she’ll be off to Chicago meeting other psychologists and then she’s going off to the UK so that everyone can meet J-M and see how wonderful he is…

A couple of weekends ago they came home for a visit and I heard her say that it seems like she lived here in another life. It got me thinking:

Our children exist. Every moment of their lives still exist. We as children exist somewhere. What happens as they grow up is that they are replaced by an older model. I can prove it. Babies , of course are replaced more rapidly, they have “growth spurts” when they are replaced. If you are a parent do you remember wondering where toys had got to when your children were growing? They took them with them. The replacement didn’t need those toys. Just think about the socks, t-shirts, jeans, pyjamas which suddenly vanished into thin air. Another example is homework – it explains a lot, doesn’t it? Have a think now. What about the beloved teddy bear or soft toy? Where is it? See what I mean.

Next time you hear a mother bemoaning that her son seems to have gown centimetres overnight you’ll know why: He’s been replaced by a bigger one.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I found it!!!

I put this on my other Still Learning blog years ago and I've been looking for it ever since. The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac. The teacher who taught Christian and Dom to read put the rules up on the school notice board. A very sensible woman.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Seven Black Roses

A long time ago I used to have a guitar. This is the kind of tune I would have liked to have played....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Goodbye and see you soon

This evening amongst hugs and goodbyes
Miss yous and love yous,
Waving until the car has gone out of site.
I was suddenly taken back through the years to
the last time.

A peck of a cheek
“Take care of mum for me”
Never a thought that it would be
The last time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

George and fork

On Saturday evening I watched the first half of a television film about George Sand. It was beautifully done, filmed on location, costumes, Chopin’s music (she lived with him for 10 years) and all the best from a costume drama. It is about George bringing a peasant girl into the house and teaching her to read and write (something that she did do in real life was teach local children to read). Poor George, she had so much to cope with, a nasty daughter , a dreadful money grabbing son-in-law, Chopin, who was pathetic and childish and then bad tempered servants. I don’t know where she found the time to write. I must confess that I was having difficulty with the name of the peasant girl. I though that her name was Fourchette (fork) but in fact it was Fanchette. I haven’t been able to find out if she really existed as searches on Google just bring information about trhe TV Film – and a picture. The first part ended with George dressed as a man dragging Fanchette off to Paris away from the temptation of her son

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Picture the scene, the early 70’s in the 5th form common room. Mini skirts and long hair. There is a record player and there are alternative music days. One day ‘hairy’ music, the next Reggae, there has to be or the record player will be confiscated…. The words to Slark popped into my head this morning, so I Googled Stackridge. They were always being played on the ‘Hairy’ days. I even went to see them at Malvern Winter Gardens.

Monday, March 15, 2010

In which men step out of the postcard album and start doing things

Not literally but you’ll see what I mean in a second or two

Last week on French TV we were shown a documentary about the rounding up and detention at the Velodrome in Paris of the French Jews during the war. It was very moving, especially as there were survivors participating in the studio. The film about the ‘Vel' d'Hiv Roundup’ has just been released. A young Jewish boy Joseph Weismann, managed to escape. He went to see the making of the film at the Velodrome. He had to go outside at first because he could smell the stench of thousands of people in a confined place for 5 days – it was still on his mind nearly 70 years later! All of the young people that escaped were rebels; a psychologist explained that sometimes it’s good thing to be the one who misbehaves.

Anyway back to the postcard album. The documentary also told us about the people that helped; I know that a lot of people think that the French did nothing during the war, but I can assure you that there were quite a few people quietly making life very difficult for their occupiers. If you look around all over France you’ll see plaques on walls near to where men (and women) were shot during the war. I used to live a few yards away from one, just an ordinary place outside the shops – nothing spectacular. The French citizens who helped the Jews are mentioned on the Wall of Names at the Shoah memorial in Paris.

In my post 'A True Story' in January I mentioned the father of the little girl, Odette, helping Jews to escape from the town where he was mayor. Because of the program last week I wanted to see if I could find his name, Paul Legras de Grandcourt, on the wall. I couldn’t online so I’ll have to go there to look, but I did find this and it’s in English too.

The second man to come out and start doing ‘real' things is Odette’s Uncle Justinien, sorry; Count Justinien de Clary. He took part in the Olympics as a trap shooter back in 1900. He and one of his friends were partly responsible for strange idea of the 1924 Olympics for winter sports….

That was quite an album

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Have you ever wondered about the accents your blogging friends speak with? It occurred to me the other day when I realised that one blogger I know of doesn’t come from London as I thought, but the North. I’ve heard a few of you speaking on the radio and some of you make videos of yourselves, but what about the rest. Do you have a regional accent?

I have a midlands accent. Rob (R.P., of course) tries to correct me when I say ‘bath’ and ‘grass’, so I always ask him; what about ‘gas’? I was on a course once with a girl who told me that that I ‘talked posh’. She told me she was from Canvey Island - ‘can’t you tell?’

Friday, February 26, 2010

All of this from one little postage stamp

This week I was in Seville( not really, but through my postcards). I wanted to date a card so I looked at the postage stamp, a boy king? Let me see…

Alfonso XIII of Spain was king from his birth until he was forced to leave Spain in 1931. The interesting bit was that, during the first world war, Spain was a neutral country because Alfonso had family on both sides. He caught flu in 1918 and became seriously ill. Spain was the only country that had news other than the war and that is why it became known as 'Spanish' flu.

Alfonso was married to Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenburg, Named after her Grandmother, Queen Victoria and Godmother the Empress Eugénie. Her full name was Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena. The Ena part is interesting because her mother had chosen Eua (Gaelic form of Eve) which was misread and so she was Christened Ena as her last name. She was known as ‘Ena’ by the public after that. They were both destined to marry other people, but despite everything (haemophilia being one of the problems) they married in May 1906.

The stamp? Around 1901.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Bridges of Madison County

Back in 1995 I heard about the film being released and thought to myself ‘I must see that’. Last night I finally go to see it. It was worth the wait and I really enjoyed the bridges, the country side, the era and the relationship between the photographer and a lonely housewife. Rob enjoyed it too, though I didn’t really expect him to. He was quite thoughtful afterwards and asked me what I got up to when he went away on courses in the past. I reminded him that I had three small children to look after at the time. It reminded me that when he was away we used to put a chair in front of the front door at night. The idea being that if anyone tried to get into the house they’d knock over the chair and wake us up. We all slept better for it.

Most of my boyfriends before I met Rob were well travelled or had lived abroad, Rob had lived in Sweden and France before I met him. There must be something about travelling men….

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another postcard story

Rob is going through some of the first postcards we bought at auction 3 years ago. I remembered the family they came from because they have a Danish name – Our name is Norwegian and the Norwegian consulate was on the outskirts of the village when we first moved here, so Scandinavian connections always intrigue me.

I had an old postcard from Svendborg in Denmark of a ferry, nothing really special, so I prepared my keywords as usual and Googled them to see what the opposition is. The family name came up. How could Google possibly know who the postcard was addressed too? It turns out that the family were ship builders in Svendborg. It’s funny that I’ve taken 3 years to find it out. This is the kind of boat they were building

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soothe your troubles

Which is harder, to suffer pain or watch the ones you love suffer pain?

Yesterday I was listening to the music on my computer and I’d put all of the tracks into alphabetical order to make a change. Then this song from the Cranberries came up. I wasn’t really following the words, just listening to the voice and that wonderful Irish accent, it’s almost a hymn. So for the weekend I’m offering you balm for your troubled waters, something to soothe your pains.

Here are the lyrics anyway:

"No Need To Argue"

There's no need to argue anymore.
I gave all I could, but it left me so sore.
And the thing that makes me mad,
Is the one thing that I had,

I knew, I knew,
I'd lose you.
You'll always be special to me,
Special to me, to me.

And I remember all the things we once shared,
Watching T.V. movies on the living room armchair.
But they say it will work out fine.
Was it all a waste of time.

'Cause I knew, I knew,
I'd lose you.
You'll always be special to me,
Special to me, to me.

Will I forget in time, ah,
You said I was on your mind?
There's no need to argue,
No need to argue anymore.
There's no need to argue anymore.

Ouuu, ouuu, ouuuu...

Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D. Salinger

To be honest until yesterday evening I didn’t know whether he was still alive or not.

I’m reading 'Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction' at the moment. I’m about half way through 'Seymour an Introduction' to be precise. I’ve been carrying it in my bag for waiting room moments and to annoy Rob when he starts texting on his iPhone when we go for a coffee. A lot of waiting room people probably thought that I was slightly mad as I read and laughed out loud. I love the way he talks to me, his reader, in person. The part that really speaks to me is that he lived in close proximity (in the book) to someone who was a genius. Since Christian was ill and his IQ confirmed I’ve been drawn to people writing about this subject. Trying to get more clues, I suppose. That’s why I read very carefully every single word written by Bomarzo and André.

Dom lent me 'Raise High…', - in English - and I’ve asked her to bring 'Franny and Zooey' when she visits again (I haven’t been able to find it in her room). When I was at college we read 'The Catcher in the Rye'. I can’t remember the ending, but I remember lots of silly details and how I felt when I was reading it. I want to re-read it – just to see how it grabs me now I’m a lot older.

I didn’t’ know much about J.D. Salenger, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that he was a recluse. I wonder if he was a blogger. I think it would have suited him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A little bit of Karma

I lot of the time people seen to think of Karma as a revenge thing. Karma is also a good thing too. Sometimes we get the chance to pay back the good karma. Sometimes we don’t realise it, but Karma is paving the way for us too.

Yesterday I went off to supervise exams on the bus. It was early in the morning and the bus was pretty full with students going off to Lycée (they start at 8 in the morning) and some older students. I prefer to sit on my own by the window but I couldn’t, so I asked a young lady if I could sit next to her and she said yes. Then we realised we knew each other. When Dom was at primary school she had a friend who was half Japanese. I always thought that they looked so sweet together, Dom was very fair with big blue eyes and S was dark with big brown eyes. Here she was – all grown up. I used to see quite a bit of the family and Rob loved the way that S’s mum and I managed to communicate in French (neither of us spoke too well back in those days), so of course I asked how everyone was. Apparently her older sister has been very ill with depression. I was able to talk to her about how we all felt when Christian was ill.

A few weeks ago Olivier and I were discussing the same thing and he spoke to me for the first time about how much he hated Christian being ill because everyone was so sad. So I made a point of asking S how she had coped with it all. She seemed pleased to be able to talk about herself.

Isn’t it true that when someone close is ill everyone is very kind and sympathetic, but the immediate family, the people carrying the load get missed somehow?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Closer than we think

My retired lady arrived for her hours conversation this afternoon. She didn’t look too well and told me that her week hadn’t been good. One of her daughters is in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. She hasn’t quite got the passport and visa ready. The orphanage has come off quite well compared to other places because the children were playing outside at the time of the earthquake. Unfortunately now they are all worried about the children being fed and having enough to drink. Hopefully the paperwork can be hurried through and the children waiting to be placed with their families will be able to leave.

Now read Peter’s post.

Stop press, Friday 22nd eight-thirty pm :

We’ve just had a report on the evening news that a group of Haitian children have just arrived in France to join the families that have been waiting to adopt them. Unfortunately I don’t know what my pupils daughter looks like, so I couldn’ tell whether she was there or not. I’ll know more on Tuesday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A true story

Perhaps I mentioned it here, perhaps on one of my other blogs. We bought some postcard albums in the autumn that came from a chateau. The albums belonged to a little girl and her mother. The little girl, Odette, used to stay with her Granny the countess when her parents were travelling. Because of the postcards we sold, the present owner of the countess’s chateau got in touch with us. Odette’s mother didn’t exist in any of the records he had!

This week I received a package in the post. With a little help from us and a lot from other places, he had pieced together the life of Odette’s mother. She wasn’t really the Countess’s daughter but the illegitimate child of a close relative (who died) and a nobleman (who acknowledged her as his daughter) Granny, the Countess brought her up as her own. There was a lot more in the document sent to me. Odette lived into her 80’s and died in 1983. Her only child, a daughter, died a year ago, unmarried and childless. This is how we came to buy the albums at auction. I’ve often pieced together the lives of the people whose postcards we’ve bought in the past, but never have I had anything confirmed like this. I think that you can imagine how pleased I am. Odette’s father, a Doctor, earned the legion d’honneur in the first world war and helped the Jews in the village where he was Mayor escape from the German army during WWII. I always knew he’d turn out to be a hero.

I’ve still got plenty of cards left in Odette’s album… and I’m still looking for more clues.

If you're interested, you can read here about the floods in Paris exactly 100 years ago.