You Canna do that...

...but they did

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Where’s the next party?

It was the last day of the Limoux Carnaval today.  We had an excellent afternoon wandering around the square, watching the pierrots, eating and drinking, going on the carousel and enjoying the warmth.  That’s the end of the carnaval now until January next year when it all starts off again.

But don’t worry, this weekend also saw the start of the Festival of Stories and Story-telling, and next weekend is the famous Toques and Clochers wine festival, part of which involves 30,000 people going to party in a very small village (this year in a village only 6km from ours) and another part of which is the second biggest wine auction in France.  Yippee…..you’ll know where to find us next weekend then!

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Mary Poppins and Bert

Fergus watched the 1960s Mary Poppins film the other day with Dick van Dijk as Bert.  He was most interested by the Chim Chiminee routine and afterwards asked if he could watch the "street-dancing chimney sweeps" again.  

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Louis XIV

Savourna’s class is learning about Louis XIV and the palace of Versailles.  Apparently he died of gangrene…took about 3 weeks…everyone kept coming in for their farewell visit to his bedchamber and then had to come back for another farewell visit and so on. 

Anyway, on the internet we found this very cool game where you help to build the Palais de Versailles.  Savourna loves it….and the French accents in the English version are excellent (you can choose your language at the top of the page). 

http://www.versailles3d.com/pagaille-a-versailles/

Go on, have a go!  Give old Louis a hand….

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Chateau de Foix

We went to the Chateau de Foix yesterday - very impressive, lots of spiral staircases (all of them built for right-handed defenders), and a mediaeval toilet.  Excellent patisserie in Foix too!

Savourna announced today that she is going to change her name to Hyacinth!?!

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Nasty toenails = no cakes

Well, I’ve survived the first week of my anti-fungal diet.  That means no cakes, no sugar, no yeast, no bread, no alcohol, no smoked or cured meat or fish, no cheese, no mushrooms, no fruit, no white pasta, no white rice, no milk.  I think I’ve done well to get this far but another five weeks to go!!

I’ve chosen to try this diet as an alternative to the rather harsh over-the-counter medications you can get now for toenail infections.  They have many adverse effect on, for example, the liver and you have to take them for months.

A medicinal plant specialist / herbalist friend of ours has recommended trying this.  The fungus comes from within and is therefore best tackled from within.  Bleeeaaaaarrrgghhhh!

In this first week I am discovering the pleasures of rice cakes, rice milk, wholemeal pasta, porridge and soda bread.  Carrots are my snacks and I’m thinking of applying for loyalty card in the ‘knit-your-own-sandals-brigade’ type shops in Limoux.

I suspect a pleasant side effect of this diet might be weight loss too!

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Local Elections and Carnavals

It’s the French local elections this weekend….first round.  You have to vote for a list of people who, if successful, will become the councillors of your ‘commune’ (village or town and surrounding area).   Once elected the councillors a mayor from among their number, not necessarily the one that got the most votes.  The population size of each commune determines how many councillors will be elected.  Our commune has about 210 inhabitants and about 180 voters…..thus a council of 11 people.  There are 11 candidates on the village’s list so you can vote for them all or score off the names you don’t want!  Each name has to get votes from 51% of all people who vote on Sunday.  If they don’t they go into the second round the following Sunday and hopefully get elected then.

Any questions so far?!

Our commune only has one list so there’s no great competition but larger communes usually have many lists, each broadly affiliated to one (or more) parties.  That’s when the count gets exciting.  The vote count is done publicly - anyone can attend but seeing as they’ve got to count all the individual votes for each of the 11 candidates on each of voting papers I don’t think I’ll be attending that bit!

I read somewhere that 1 in 49 of all electors are actually candidates too!  That’s quite a heavy local administration.  I also read that in the last municipal elections our commune’s voting rate was 83 %.  Not bad!

In the old days of visiting France I remember at election there were posters everywhere…on every available space.  Now I notice in our nearest town that they’ve erected special notice boards, one for each list of candidates, at various locations round the town.  The lists are then only allowed to post their publicity there and nowhere else.  Very tidy!

It’s still carnaval here……been going for 8 weeks, a few more to go!  This week was the school carnaval so in the back of there car here I have Savourna, Romain (neighbour, attractive boy) and Fergus all heading off to meet their classes in town!

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The answer is 42

Two years ago today we were packing the last of our things into a van and dossing down on the floor in sleeping bags for our last night in MacIssac’s and our last night on Canna.  It was a 40th birthday to forget.  We left on the ferry on Tuesday 28th February 2012 waved off by four of the remaining residents.  A sad moment for us who had decided to settle there only a year previously.  If ever there was an example of how not to sustain a community it is the example of Canna.  Its owner, the National Trust for Scotland, is not a builder of communities, should not pretend to be.  MacIssac’s was built for a new family to boost the community.  It is still empty now.  If you want rid of the people living on your Scottish estate then just gift it to the NTS for a while…that should do the trick ;-)

Meanwhile I become invincible today.  I have the answer to everything.  42.