31 July 2009

Pesticides and Bee Deaths

Are pesticides killing our bees?
A beekeeper in the Scottish Borders is concerned that a new family of super-pesticides called 'Neo-Nicotinoids' are killing bees across the world. These pesticides are 'neuro-toxic' - they attack the nervous system of insects and they are 'systemic' i.e. they are not sprayed onto the crops, but are applied as a seed-coating at the time of planting. The poison is then absorbed by the growing plant and travels into every part: sap, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds. When the bees, butterflies, hoverflies or other pollen and nectar eating creatures visit the flowers, they receive lethal or sub-lethal doses of the nerve poison and either die, or never find their way home.

The main neo-nicotinoid is called Imidacloprid and is marketed under dozens of brand names. It is used on oilseed rape, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, glass-house crops and on potted plants bought from garden centres. It is even incorporated into Levington Hanging Basket compost - so many gardeners are unwittingly poisoning bees via their potted geraniums and begonias.

The Neo-nicotinoid pesticides have been banned in France since 2000 and more recently were banned in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia. They are still used on millions of acres of crops in the UK and almost universally in the USA, on maize, almonds, apples, peaches, etc.

Read Borderglider's Bee Diary
Articles on pesticides: 'Last Flight of the Honeybee' http://beediary.wordpress.com/files/2008/06/last-flight-of-the-honeybee1.doc 'What Have Pesticides Got to do with Bees?' http://beediary.wordpress.com/files/2008/07/whatpesticidestodowithitjune08abj-1.pdf

30 July 2009

Past editorials from 14Jan 2011

Contents, 1 Oct, 2011
Mel from Nepal
Juicy pink flesh: Joselyn D Morton

StephenO’R’s Sydney

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

Cover: Roger Morton

1st October, 2011

This morning I woke at 7am and contrary to the perceived perception of myself, I stay up and watch Tonga play France. The Tongans won. They beat a Superpower. A historic moment or as the French commentator said “Catastrophe”. He also said “Oh lala lala lala” a lot of times. The best part was when the camera roved amongst the Tongan spectators - children and grown-ups, blazing and beaming in bright red Tongan colours; smiling, dancing and cheering. They were ecstatic.

It is a wonderful feeling when you don’t expect to win and you win. I haven’t had it for a long time. Plus they had all bought tickets to watch a team that would most certainly lose. (I know various well-off people in NZ who said they couldn’t afford tickets. They couldn’t justify it.) Maybe that Tongan support tipped the balance. It wasn’t a fluke that they won. They were excellent. They played like a team. They played hard the whole game through. They did not play like a team that expected to lose. They didn’t play like a team that is saving its best players for something else. They played like champions and they won. I write this as someone who until then, would have been happy for the French team to win the World Cup outright. But I lost my heart to the Tongans. Tonga is a tiny island. Tres tres petit. I went there once when I was eighteen on a cruise round the Pacific islands. I would love to be there tonight. Tonga will be an island celebrating in style.

I wonder if anyone has ever suggested that there should be a Pacific Ocean Rugby team. That would take some selecting. That would be some team.

On another tangent altogether, I think intrusive airport searches need to be subjected to the ‘droit d’ingerance’ which I believe is the right to interfere in the sovereignty of human rights which are being violated. That is, the right to stop unwarrantable interference - but then there is a lot of that happening these days around the world.

Today Roger said “I am actually feeling much better”. Maybe Lymes disease has finally been given the push.

I hope so. It has been a real bitch.

Meanwhile the world is still messing up. Today Protestors are marching in Wall St. Evidently the money markets have taken very big falls in the last 3 months. Ordinary American citizens are getting sick of it. Last week, I watched The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas appeal to the UN Security Council to support its bid for full statehood. He said “Kafa. Kafa, kafa.” Enough, enough, enough. He asked for “bridges of dialogue not walls of separation.” He also said … we have one aim ‘to be’ and we will ‘be’. He was given a standing ovation.

Yesterday at least 20 Bahrain citizens (mostly doctors) may be imprisoned for 20 years for aiding ie treating protestors. I watched two young women being interviewed and dreading what would happen to their children while they were in prison. It was heart-breaking. They gave no thought to themselves.

I had a great birthday last week, which began the day before when the grandson and I moved the four large rubbish bins that have been plaguing my eyeline for the last five years or so. There they were when I sat on the balcon peeling the veg or having a glass of cold white wine; there they were right in front of the sitting room window, slap-bang in the middle of every glorious sunset. Now they are in front of an empty field, which the owner seldom visits. Why didn’t I do it sooner, they have pained me for so long? Idiot. (Mind you for the first few days, I waited for the heavy knock of the canton to come and wheel me and them back into submission. Now I think I may have got away with it.)

The next part of the birthday was the unheard of alarm clock going off in the afore-mentioned grandson’s bedroom. So when I sauntered out later in the morning for a large frothy coffee, he had already planted most of the steep bank with flowers. Dazzling. (I still don’t know how he and Roger managed to smuggle them all here without me noticing!)

I then spent the rest of the day having lunch and dinner made for me while I swung in the hammock reading a novel. The hammock being specially comfortable with the two large flower-vivid cushions that arrived in the post via missfred from Biz’s shop ‘Bones’ in Muswell Hill. A grand day indeed.

I also realise I still haven’t been very regular with the blog posting. I’ll knuckle down to it in November when we get back from Mitch’s graduation. Right now I am inundated with apples, grapes,walnuts, figs and the guilt that goes with not ‘getting going on with them’. (I can’t stuff any more in the freezer. That’s still full of plums from July.) Meanwhile, we are having a heatwave, hot sun shines from a cloudfree flawless blue sky. Enchanting.

Enjoy, Joselyn Morton

14 Sept 2011

Barrobjective: Joselyn Morton

Mel in Nepal: Melinda Phillips

Cartoon: Claudia Ward

Weekend in the country: Stephen O’Rourke

Unison: Joselyn Duffy Morton

Stephen O’R’s ChCh

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

Apologies to all for not posting the blog for so long. Lots of the grandson’s lovely friends staying (16 at last count) plus Roger got Lymes disease and tendonitis and somehow the rest of the world took a back seat. (Roger had 14 visits from nice nurses and 28 deep, slow injections). However we have got the Barro expo to look forward to on Saturday and some good chums J and J are going to drive us there, so totally stress-free.

It is not all doom and gloom, in fact we may now be on edf’s A list because when the guy arrived to check our meter this morning, one of the grandson’s friends had left her generous and fulsome red satin bra winking and beckoning on top of their hire car. I’m surprised Monsieur edf didn’t linger longer.

Tomorrow night the kids are cooking a curry. They have planned and pained over the menu since they arrived on Saturday. Such perfectionists. Such attention to detail. I can’t wait to taste it. Plus they clean up after them. This is a skill seldom seen in this old house. Last night it was beouf bourgignon which had soaked and steeped and marinated for 24 hours. I know for a fact that 2 bottles of red got poured over it. Around about 11pm, Mitch started cooking profiteroles – from scratch! Impressive.

Tonight they are all sleeping at the Blue Lake. Our 80-year-old neighbour might be sad as he has taken kindly to early morning strolls past our top garden where the delectable lie on big old cushions, watch the stars and fall asleep while they wait for one to shoot. They usually sleep soundly there until midday. Interesting for our quiet coin.

Meanwhile another quiet coin, New Zealand, is having a riotous time with the Rugby World Cup. Too soon yet to know the outcome. The All Blacks versus Tonga was a game to remember while we all willed the strong-hearted, fearless Tongas to get a try and they did. They virtually pushed their guy over the line, with every inch of their collective will-power. It was a fun moment.

Not fun was Scotland against Georgia as the referee handed out endless Penalties and nothing else ever seemed to happen. Would a ref engineer the penalties because the teams in the quarter-finals need to have a big television audience base, for their advertisers (which Georgia would not have compared with say Scotland) . What an evil theory. I don’t think referees would go along with such rotten disregard for the whole point of the fairness of the game. Would they? And the players themselves – do you perceive them thinking along the lines of ‘can’t beat, then cheat’. “Oh dear.”

Having spent time with recent graduates I am also pondering the problem of unpaid internships. It sucks. It is fine for young people with a private income or kind and well-intentioned parents but for most of the world, it would put them on an unfair disadvantage. As it does for paid salaried workers – why bother to employ them if you can get an educated, willing worker for free. Presumably workers who don’t get paid, don’t pay taxes – so everyone misses out on revenue except for the business that uses the free labour. It’s a scam and that’s what trade unions were put in place for - to protect workers, make sure they got paid properly and that their employers didn’t scam them.

I was delighted to get a news item from Mel Phillips now living in Nepal. I hope it is the first of many. I had no idea that Nepalese women had the problems that she describes.

Once again “sorry for the long silence”. Sorry also that summer is nearly over. But the figs are great and the walnuts are very desirable. And we already have promises from good friends (ie Stepehen O’R) that they will be visiting next May, so hey, bring it on … and maybe see you at Barro.

Joselyn Morton

Contents, August 10, 2011

Claudia Ward’s cartoon

missfreducation: riots

Stephen O’R’s Finance

Tractors: Roger Morton

Stephen O’R’s Post-Ghee

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

August 10, 2011

Mid-August, the month we all look forward to throughout the dreary months of winter, yet today there are riots in London. I woke at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep. We lived in London for 20 years, the most I have lived anywhere in my adult life. I have such good memories especially of Camden Town and Chalk Farm where some of the rioting is taking place. Roger was the photographer at the Roundhouse Theatre in Chalk Farm when the children were little. We all seemed to spend half our lives there. Two good French friends who live back in France (singers and actresses Lucie Landa, now in Lyon and Jade Nguyen in Paris) we met at the Roundhouse all those years ago and we are still friends..

Since the riots began, the rioters have changed to looters and consequently have lost the support of most of the public. Even when one feels sympathy for people living in poverty with unemployment all around, that sympathy is hard to hold onto when those young people are looting.

Wise intellectuals have warned for years that this could happen, if too many people lived without enough chances or opportunities. They warned violence would increase. Now it has. They warned this would affect normal people’s lives. That is happening right now.

Meanwhile the back story on the police is that the government wanted to cut their numbers (just like they want to close the libraries) Part of the cuts. While riots and looting is going on, nobody will want to see police numbers cut. This situation is more peculiar because the young man, Mark Duggan shot dead by police in Tottenham did not fire his gun at the police. It would seem they had no reason to shoot him. This incident started the riots that have escalated all around Britain.

It is a scary situation. Before it all began, we had a house-filled week with our grandson’s 9 friends from Imperial College. They arrived as rain fell in heavy streams, unbelievable amounts. There was no way they could pitch their tents as planned. Someone how they found nooks and crannies in the attic, squashed into the rose bedroom .... and there they all stayed for the next 4 or 5 days. Crazy. Somehow this funny old house managed. They were all delightful.

It’s like life really, somehow one just has to get through it.

Incidentally I have reached over ten thousand hits – do I keep going or stop?

Graham White emailed that two Italian beekeepers are on a hunger strike because of the use of pesticides causing damage to their hives. Life is not always a bowl of cherries, sometimes it is just three spoonfuls of honey and pollen a day. Keep hopeful, Joselyn Morton

Contents 1 August, 2011

Cartoon: Claudia Ward

Handsome Rupert Brooke: Joselyn Duffy Morton

Music: Joselyn Morton

Lethal cocktail for honeybees

Stephen O’R’s Ayurvedic

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

Cover photo: Roger Morton

1 August, 2011

The sun’s back, which is good because it is still summer after all. Yet we are still mourning Amy Winehouse. Lives should last longer than hers did. Of course we will never forget her voice - stunning, emotional and awesome in the way it lifted one’s heart and one’s spirit followed. Bigger than her body, big enough we had hoped to make her more-aware of the need for ‘self-protection’.

There is something inexplicably wonderful about music. When it is good, nothing else matters. It is true bliss. It must be wonderful to open your mouth and sing in a way that makes people stop in rapt happiness. To let your voice soar out in a huge rumble of wondrous sound with words that are meaningful, apt and timely, how heavenly.

Some people do it with a piano or a violin and that too is awesome but to do it with your own voice, your own living breath, how extraordinary and magical. It must feel like diving into a clear blue ocean. I love that feeling.

On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, all is peaceful here in France. Syria is a different situation. One hundred civilians have just been killed. So sad.

“We won’t give money to foreign banks” say the Greeks. I sympathise. In the 50s, Greeks had to leave Greece and go and live somewhere else, they were so poor. Melbourne became the second biggest Greek city in the world. In the 60s and 70s, we all went to holiday in Greece, it was so beautiful, the Aegean Sea was exquisite, the people were fun-loving, generous and kind. Finally they got rid of the military junta. What’s happened now? I know pollution in Athens was getting blindingly out-of-hand as the air became horrible to breathe.

What’s happened since then? Did converting to the euro hasten this financial mess?

On a more personal note, for the past four years, on the advice of my darling doctor, I have been stuffing myself with calcium-providing food - soya milk (cow’s milk was too nausea-inducing, plus I couldn’t blank out the possibility of all those udders filled with added-hormones) hard cheese and yoghurt. Yesterday a friend tells me that someone we know has had to have the veins in a leg operated on due to calcium (hardening, collecting, adhering?) Can’t remember but calcium was definitely the villain, so why the fuck am I stuffing my face with it? Aaargh! I need more information.

Meanwhile the grandson has ten newly-graduated scientist friends coming to camp in the garden for a few days. I am determined not to panic but nonetheless, there are things I should do (wipe the layer of dust off my desk, clear the lemon-mint away from the hollyhocks so they can flower beautifully like the ones in other-people’s-gardens, finish making the plum chutney that I started the day before yesterday, answer the newsy letter from my 94-year-old mother-in-law, hope the thousands of fallen plums laying around won’t label me the slack-arse that I undoubtedly am as I never catch up (but hey, I have fun on the way.) Hope you do too. Yours Joselyn Morton

Contents 26 July, 2011

Cartoon: Claudia Ward

The Land: Rudyard Kipling

La Ferme Avicole: Joselyn Morton

BBC Radio4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

26 July, 2011

The drizzle continues and although it has only been a week or so of rain, already the hot sun is a distant unattainable memory. I suppose the grey, dull days are a suitable background to world events. The horrendous shoot-out by the Norwegian Right-Wing (he gives angels a bad rap) extremist and the death of North London singer Amy Winehouse spread a feeling of deep despair that is hard to dispel.

It is a strange world and no mistake, Cuzzie, F-A sent me a link to an article in the Daily Telegraph which reveals that a Mossad spy ring may have been uncovered by the earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. A young Israeli man was found dead in his car after the quake and so were the 5 passports that he possessed. However, 4 other men who had been with him, left their dead friend and flew out the following day (not before they had retrieved his Israeli passport and left it at the Israeli Embassy.) What on earth could they have been spying on? Everybody knows everything about everybody else in NZ.

I’m delighted beyond measure that clever Claudia Ward is happy for me to post her succinct cartoons. Enjoy.

I am glossing over the fact that it is now Tuesday and that Friday came and went without a blimp on my blog.

Sorry is all I can say …. And again, sorry. Very feeble of me, I know. I honestly don’t know where the days go.

Darling Stephen O’R has done a bunk from the Ayurvedic half-way house. Well not even – he went straight from the hospital to Singapore airport, it would appear from his emails. He is still promising his 7-day ghee diary treatment (if that’s a no-show, I may post those afore-mentioned emails. Always worth a read.)

Our local Sud Ouest newspaper reports that one of the big Chateau in the heart of the Medoc has been welcoming 420 Chinese wine sellers. Evidently they manage to off-load 100 million euros worth (presumabky annually). Intriguing.

Talking of big – the other day, I drove down a neighbour’s driveway to admire their dahlias. They insisted on looping off a bunch for me, there and then. I swear the diameter of these deep pink-purple dahlias would put a decent-sized dinner plate to shame. They are enormous and they are now proudly displayed on our dining room table. What’s not to like. Keep safe. Joselyn Morton
nts 16 July 2011
Sea Air: Joselyn Duffy Morton

Stephen O’R’s Ayurvedic diet

BBC Radio 4 Extra; Mary Kalemkerian

Cover: Pigeonerie, Roger Morton

16 July 2011

I rarely stagger off to bed before midnight and I often get up before 7am, yet I am still lagging behind my list of desired things to be done. The main thing is that it is all enjoyable and surely one of these days, I will catch up. I won’t be going back to Riberac market in a hurry, if It hadn’t been for the teamwork of my two passengers (One swiftly leaping out and nabbing a coveted parking space, the other cajoling a disinterested market goer into guiding me past vicious tow-bars) I would have abandoned shopping for my grandson’s black trousers and slunk off home. Today’s visit to Villebois Lavalette market was much more appealing. A few gentle folk milling around, some smiley punters munching through oysters and white wine, an optimist trying to sell bottles of 25 year old cognac at 43 euros a bottle and a honey maker quietly making a killing with his Royal jelly and propolis drops. I happily succumbed to a large bag of apples and some peaches and nectarines. (I peeled and sliced them, swamped them with brown sugar, then drizzled lemon juice over them. Delicious. In fact the whole meal was tasty tonight. We started with Charente melons filled with pineau, then rabbit (sorry vegetarian friends) cooked in garlic, butter, white wine and lashings of mustard and crème fraiche. Achingly good with tiny new potatoes and round brown button mushrooms.

Apart from over-indulging in food, I have been completely caught up in Matt, Anna and babies visit in August (see www.gaiaveda.co.uk ) and the craziness that Murdoch’s demise is releasing.

However I am confident that next Friday will be different and that my ‘skipping’ blog days is a thing of the past.

Joselyn Duffy Morton

Contents 5 July, 2011

On the Prowl: Joselyn Duffy Morton

Stephen O’Rourke’s Ayurvedic

BBC Radio4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian

Cover: Roger Morton

5 July 2011

When I worked full-time and the children were young, life was pretty god-damn frantic – yet with no proper job and no young children, I am busier than ever. Country life is a whirlwind of events and we are only skimming the top, there’s loads happening here, that we don’t manage to get to.

Once again the vernissage at Chateau Tinteillac was impressive, a great mixture of work from 14 artists including paintings and some wooden sculptures I would be very happy to own. I particularly liked Dominique Dubois’ paintings of scary teddy bears and Jean-Pierre Goudouneix’s flat landscapes with a solitary women or old Citroens and of course our friend Arthur Baglee’s landscapes and still lifes. Surprising I appreciated anything as I got stung by a vicious bastard wasp as I got out of our car (and 3 days later the red angry circle it left still needed soothing) I also managed to enjoy the peach Lillet cocktail and the elegant canapés.

Unfortunately my wasp sting did not stir me into action as Tsonga’s did when he was playing Federer and beat him (before the wasp sting, Federer had won the first two sets, after the wasp sting Tsonga won the next three).

There are obviously wasps and wasps. I love watching Tsonga play, he is like a great oak tree batting his way through Pacific Breakers. Impressive.

I was very happy to see the television news coverage of the release of the 2 French journalists Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere after 547 days in captivity in Afghanistan.

Finally made it to our village Champagne et Fontaines to see the photographic exhibition of Leo Justin Laffargue. He was a photographer and teacher and I think he was actually born in Vendoire.

Vendoire now consists of nothing more than a handsome unoccupied chateau, a few houses, a restaurant with (unfortunately) a nondescript menu, a mairie and an ambitious mayor. It was much more lively when Leo Laffargue was photographing its inhabitants.

At the moment my main delight is that Matt, Anna and the 2 children are coming for two weeks mid-August – Matt to run a Permaculture Course (www.gaiaveda.co.uk) I get to cuddle the babies for 2 weeks. Delicious. In preparation for this momentous event, we have bought 2 ecoloos. (So for the moment, the big wide world is taking second place.)

Busy, busy, busy … a bientot Joselyn Morton

Ps: Roger is healing well.

Pps: Our lovely grandson Mitch arrived sain et sauf even though I booked his ticket under his new name (which is actually his birth name as he changed back by deed pole- however his passport is still in his stepfather’s surname). Interestingly RyanAir appeared not to notice the discrepancy and he did not have to show them the paperwork of his name-change . Mmmmmm ….
Contents 2 5 July 2011
StephenO’R’s Poomully
China: Stephen O’Rourke
A Dream: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Summer flowers: Roger Morton
Petignac: R&J Morton
BBC Radio4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
25 July 2011
I am beginning to share Jemima Khan’s disappointment at Barack Obama’s world peace-making efforts. This is opportunistic of me as I realise it is the only thing that I will ever share with the glamorous Jemima Khan. (This was her Saturday piece in today’s Independent.)For the rest of the weekend, I think I shall immure myself from world events – it is too solidly, impassively depressing. Here continues to be a house of rest, recuperation and respite (ie a bottom lip that is a rest home for a flaring Olympian-sized cold sore; family jewels that have swollen into purple fruits. I wish our past efforts with growing aubergines had been so successful.)Meanwhile my dissolvable stitches form a concrete ridge. When exactly are they destined to dissolve, I wonder.Sadly we can’t get Wimbledon but I did enjoy watching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga play Andy Murray at Queens. Tsonga is a gutsy guy who plays tennis like a rugby forward not afraid to throw himself full-length onto the court to get a shot. He deserved to beat Murray. He nearly did.I was sorry to learn Brian Haw, the anti-Iraq war campaigner, who pavement-slept outside Westminster Abbey, has died of lung cancer.I have just fled from the garden after discovering that our 2 plum trees are groaning with ripe plums that have to be gathered today.Why don’t we live in Paris with a couple of elegant pot plants stuffed onto a tiny balcony? This means I can’t write much cos I have to have lunch and then pick plums.Enjoy mid-summer, Joselyn Morton
Contents 10 June, 2011
Stephen O’R’s Cancelled trip
The Mexican Poet: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
10 June, 2011
Well it was another fast disappearing week or maybe it is just me. Maybe I’m getting slower. Mind you under Roger’s influence and persuasion, I did watch a lot of tennis. Last Saturday the Women’s Roland Garros was won by a Chinese player Li Na. The world was pretty much astonished. So was China. She was plucky and stocky and knew her game. Of course, the game to watch was Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal in Simple Messieurs. I was rooting for Nadal and Roger for … Roger. My man won. It was a great game to watch and in the end it was apparent how much respect they had for one another. Nadal seemed particularly emotional and moved by having defeated his friend Federed. (Apparently he has won every year since 2004, except in 2009 when Federer won.) The game finished sometime in the early evening and the sun was still blazing down hot. Both of them had to copiously use their towels throughout. In fact with Nadal it was beginning to look like some attention disorder thing - dry face with towel, hit heels with raquet twice, flick hair behind headband, pull down back of shorts a couple of times, bounce ball 5 times. But he did need that towel - he was very, very hot.
By contrast at the game we chanced on this evening, the spectators had rugs wrapped round them. This was the end of the Queens Cup quarter final between Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I was so torn. I wanted them both to win. In the end it wasTsonga with his shell necklace that won.
Nadal looked almost stricken. Certainly surprised. Tsonga knows what he is doing plus he has the size and strength of a Pacific tidal wave. At one point he propelled himself through the air, both feet off the ground. Like a flying oak tree. It didn’t seem to bother him that he landed smack on his face. He returned the shot and won the point.
It is probably too late in the night for me to relate this, but I will try and get my facts right: The top 12 American corporations should be paying 35% tax instead between 2008 and 20010, they paid minus 1.5% I don’t know how one manages that but they do. What it means is that they got $62.4 billion in tax subsidies. Go figure!
This is reported from Analyses by Citizens for Tax Justice. These corporations are:
General Electric, American Electric Power, Dupont, Verizon Communications, Exxon Mobil, EdEx, Honeywell International, IBM, United Technologies, Wells Fargo, Yahoo.
Il iked this quote in Telerama “J’adore les Arabes, les Juifs mais la religion ca m’emmerde” It was from Joann Star’s bande dessine Le chat de rabbin.
Syrian and Libyan people are still fighting bravely. I hope they succeed. I hope they overthrow their leaders soon.
In Mexico thousands of people are demonstrating under the leadership of Poet Javier Sicilia whose son was recently killed in a drug war incident – although he and the 8 others killed alongside him had no drug involvement. Around 35,000 Mexicans have been killed in the drug wars in the past 6 years..
It is time there was new leadership in Mexico.
It seems such a beautiful country, so why do its people have to try to enter America illegally so they can earn enough money to live. It is wrong. Big business certainly rules at the moment but maybe it will get too greedy.
Lastly check out Matt Morton’s web site www.ecocentrus.co.uk. He is looking for more people to register their gardens (at this point, the web is only set up for the UK, hopefully in time, it will include other parts of the world.) This is a web site, he set up when he was finishing his degree to study biodiversity and wild life in private gardens. It has now been re-designed and is user-friendly and hopefully a helpful source of information.
I have barely been in our garden for weeks. Maybe tomorrow …. That seems to be my cry at the moment and darling Stephen O’R, I’m sorry your trip to the Aruveydic hospital went belly-up Enjoy the weekend Joselyn Morton
Contents: Raving Reporter in Istanbul; The Sleeping Mask: Joselyn Duffy Morton; Stephen O'R's Oz, BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian, Cover: Roger Morton
A week that couldn’t be contained; that over-flowed. The rellies came to visit from the Gold Coast, Australia; we went to an engagement party and ate at the longest table of my life under a starlit night; we went to a birthday party of musicians who were happy singing and playing. We also went to Bordeaux and I fell in love with it all over again. We walked and walked. Came across a young band playing in a small square packed with young people. There were 11 young musicians in the band, 2 black girls, 9 white guys. It is the first French music I’ve really liked.
We watched tiny toddlers paddling in Miroir d’eau, with their attractive young parents watching over them. Ideal. What a great idea. All around were beds of flowers. So charming, especially as most of the buildings have been cleaned. It really is a grand and handsome city with a river wide enough to berth ocean liners (which it does.)
Took my sister-in-law to Quinconce, she was enthralled by it. Next morning we went back and had breakfast of coffee and croissant and the café owner told me that the immense square in front of the splendid, glittering statueand fountains used to have a chateau in it – Chateau Trompette, but it had been taken down!
Later, I read the plaque and discovered that the English had control of Bordeaux for 300 years, up until the 1400s – maybe that was why that particular chateau was taken down. Three hundred years is longer than Europeans have lived in New Zealand. It is a long time. What happened to those English people that had been living there –d id they all get slaughtered? Did they go back and live in England? Did they marry the French and live happily ever after?
I know nothing.
That took me up to Saturday. Sunday was a hospital bed in Perigueux (I get around) Monday and Tuesday likewise and here I am Wednesday, belatedly doing the blog. To summarise, French nurses and aides-soignantes are very nice and my French is still not good enough…. But I’ll keep on keeping on. Joselyn Morton
Uncle Sandy: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Stephen O’R’s Asia Part 2
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
23 May, 2011
Sunshine means social occasions treble, the diary and life in general fills up and me of weak resolve finds it difficult to knuckle down and post the blog. I love May. I think it is my favourite month. Eating fresh oysters chez Val at Villebois La Valette was truly a treat. The days are so long and the temperatures as Goldilocks would say ‘are just right.’ Of course, here in the Dordogne, the hard-core problems of the world don’t really intrude.
In fact I was quite horrified to read that research that has been done on GM food revealed that there are GM toxins in the blood of 93% of unborn babies. This is a result of the mothers eating meat, milk and eggs from animals whose feed has been exposed to pesticides associated with the cultivation of GM products.
Once again, we have to ensure that the margins of profit and safety are not being compromised. This is something people around the world have to get into perspective. Evidently American middle classes would rather the 1% of immensely rich people stayed as they are, rather than tax them more and use the extra tax money from the rich to help the masses of poor with education and health. The reasoning of the middle classes is that ‘one day they could be rich’. Sadly – the opposite might become true, the middle classes might become poor and then there will be no safety net of social services to help them.
Complex issues.
An article in New Yorker magazine (thanks Billie and Richard and Gay) mentioned that in 1940, a former Wall Street trader named Fred Schwed Jr wrote the book Where are the Customers’ Yachts?
His book commented on the public’s beliefs at the time ‘that Wall Street was full of clever crooks, scoundrels and villains who sell for millions what they know is worthless.’
For the next forty years, due to public suspicion of Wall Street, regulators and policymakers restrained the growth of the banking sector. Consequently major financial crises were conspicuously absent while capital investment, productivity and wages grew so that tens of millions of working Americans were lifted into the middle classes.
This is no longer the case. Obama don’t forget the change you promised.
Meanwhile in Ireland, there is immense excitement in the tiny village of Monegall in County Offaly as they await the visit of President Obama. To everyone’s astonishment, it transpires that Monegall was the home of his great, great, great Grandfather Fulmuth Kearney. Barack Obama really is a People’s President. More than anyone, he has the possibility with all his connections (the Pacific, Kenya, Indonesia, America and now Ireland) to be a unifying presence on the planet and hopefully a voice of reason. I realise he blotted his copybook with the killing of Bin Laden (when he could have been captured and taken to trial) but maybe those Southern Irish descendants will talk some sense into President Obama and that will be his last big error. Irish logic is a wonderful thing.
Last week, there were three world events that took my attention – one saddened me and the other gave me hope. Firstly, the young Kenyan Olympic marathon runner committed suicide by jumping off a balcony as a result of marital problems. So sad and surely so avoidable. The second was the sex scandal of DSK (as he is known in France) Dominique Strauss- Kahn. He fucked up really badly with one sexual attack too many and as a consequence, not only has he lost his job as boss of IMF, his chances of being in the French Presidential race would seem to be over. A meteoric fall from grace. Nobody seems to think he could be innocent – even the most patriotic French person. It will be interesting to see what spin, his highly-paid defence lawyers will be able to put on it ...
Thirdly, I was watching a news item of young Libyans who each day are preparing and cooking 15,000 free meals to be delivered to the frontline rebels who are fighting Gadaffi’s troops. There was also footage on a 19 year old Libyan who is teaching refugee children English. His English was very good indeed. He taught himself by watching television. So clever. I am impressed and awed. I think young people around the planet are going to astound us by how resourceful , practical and caring they are going to be. Enjoy the sunshine Joselyn Morton
Contents 14 May
The hot guts on Montana’s Roundup (Glyphosate)
Stephen O’Rourke’s Asia
A Marilyn Monroe of a Rose: J D Morton
14 May, Saturday again – but I’m not gutted by my failure to post on Friday because the week has been so enjoyable and it was Friday 13th. Our little grandson was born on the 12th after a 3-hour labour with no drugs, no stitches in a birthing pool in their downstairs study. Sweet as. This second successful calm safe birth is a testament to their gentle, unpretentious, easy-going life-style. Thanks also to our old family friend Yehudi Gordon who gave them such good advice (not to mention copies of his very excellent birthing books) first time round.
He looks a fine little Buddha of a baby with a shock of thick black hair, a cleft in his chin and slanting eyes.
So really, nothing else in the week could much touch on that...
Roger and I spent two days with friends down in the Tarn. Their house is so exquisite, they couldn’t prise us out with a spoon to go looking at nearby villages. I had my first swim of the year. Perfect. Andy is a scriptwriter and so I watched Social Network on their home cinema in a room that used to house French oak barrels. Andrew Garfield playing Eduardo Saverin (the partner-friend who got the flick) reminded me of a young Tony Perkins. My slow- moving brain and sound-loss hearing only just managed to keep up with Jesse Eisenberg’s dialogue as the love-hurt Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
The first time I watched a pull-down screen with a home projector was at Chris Tatler’s in Auckland (our young lighting man) I’ve been wanting one ever since.
The Tarn is full of pretty villages built of pink-stained stone from the red earth that surrounds them.
On our last morning we were persuaded to visit Castelnau de Montal which of course was picturesque and appealing with narrow streets, no traffic and picture-book houses.
Got home to find my sunflowers spouting (thanks Graham) and Roger’s tomatoes and spuds looking healthy. All over France the roses are delightful. The South West is tumbling with cascades of
thousands of blooms. If one more densely-thick English person tells me that the French don’t like flowers, I might have to deck them. Every street corner is crammed full of blooms.
I read in today’s Guardian that the Queen is making a Royal visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British sovereign after a mere gap of a 100 years. The article also said that ‘the special branch’ (what special branch?) had already rounded up dissident ringleaders.
As they are Britain’s nearest neighbour, it does shine a light on proximity and neighbourly habits and perhaps puts Palestine and Israel in a clearer perspective!
I heard an encouraging quote from a Palestinian spokesman. He is hoping for peace through the ‘ballot not the bullet’.
It’s worth a try. Most else has failed.
I’m sad to see that the Major General Michael Walsh has decided in his wisdom that he has to open the key spillway on the Mississippi thereby flooding thousands of homes in the French dialect, Cajun Louisiana – in order to save New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Might our Western engineers have got something wrong? Should they have been able to predict this?
It’s a rough, tough old world – so enjoy the spring sunshine and sorry if it is not throwing down spring showers.... Joselyn Morton
Contents, 7 May 2011
A Tornado: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Stephen O’r’s Royal wedding
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
It’s already Saturday evening – this week has been full-on. And really fun. I’ve got no complaints even though my face looks like someone ran rampant with a lit cigarette. In fact it was a young bearded dermatologist at Perigueux Hospital, whose beard sat incongruously on his rounded cheeks as he brandished a fire extinquisher thing and squished various points on my boatrace. I yelped in astonishment. I thought I was there to have an uncharming verrue (ie wart but the French word always sounds a little more je ne sais quoi) removed from my ankle.
Anyway, it was a mere blip in an otherwise sunny and social week.
Of course I realised after publication, that I must have been the only living organism last week not to register the Royal wedding. Therefore, this week, I enclose darling Stephen O’R’s account of it all. Bien sure, I did catch various replays over the days that followed and I clocked that there were a number of sheiks in full Arab garb practically in the front row. I also noted that the Bishop badly needed a haircut – what was he thinking of? I guess he imagined we would all be riveted by his golden gowns of unimaginable splendour. Incongruously, seated right at the front were two drab grey-frocked nuns. So frumpy. I bet they were pissed off that they drew such a short straw. I fucking would have been. Surely, their religious beliefs allow them to let their hair down and get gloriously frocked up every once in a while?
What a hoot it must be to sing ‘ God save Our Gracious Grandmother/wife/mother etc.’ Or even to stand silently while the rest of the world sings it and you think to yourself ‘ God save our Gracious Me, Me, Me’. Very Monty Python.
Lastly, I want to say – in the atmosphere of outrageous over-spending and conspicuous consumerism which laps around the world at the moment, I thought Kate and Will did well ... there was a bouquet of muguet (and considering that the creepy David Cameron is planning to do away with Labour Day, May Day and substitute it with a holiday in September instead – what a dozy cunt, doesn’t he know that workers around the world celebrate May Day!)
Anyway, they had a discreet little bouquet, no long line of bridesmaids, someone called John Rutter wrote some music for them and they drove off in an old Aston Martin. Relatively low-key – all things considered. I think at some point, the Dean said, “this is a day of hope.” Presumably he meant “we all hope this marriage works.”
To digress, I take hope from hearing that the magnificent 94 year old Stephane Hessel plans to back Nicolas Hulot in a bid for the Presidential race against the dreadful Nicolas Sarkosy. Let’s all hope.
Meanwhile I was distressed to learn that French males are committing suicide in unprecedented numbers and that French mothers are being jailed for shaking their babies and causing brain damage and other physical harm. This is all being attributed to stress. What is this modern world? Why is it so unnecessarily harsh?
This week, we had lovely Nathalie from St Machaire come and stay for a few days, just as our television went on the blink, so (encouraged by our love of our new cd player) we went out and bought ourselves a sleek, svelte modern HD version .... and suddenly our nice old sitting room, which has been blighted by an ugly big old telly, is looking rather smart – especially as darling Roger fitted it in beautifully to our old existing shelf.
I haven’t touched on the execution of Osama Bin Laden – an event which has disturbed me deeply. I need time to find out all there is to know. Right now, I feel no one (terrorist or not) should be killed in front of their wife and children. I also see no reason for an unseemly fast burial at sea – ie spiriting the body 500 miles from where the killing took place and then dumping it into the sea. America comme toujours, leaves a lot to be desired.
Most importantly of all – right now, we await the birth of our third grandchild. How lovely is that?
Joselyn Morton
Sers: J & R Morton
Tents on the White House Lawn: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Politics Part 2: Stephen O’Rourke
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
Thanks to the Fete at Sers, Easter was a lot of fun. I’m not religious, so I can make these sacrilegious statements. Part of it was due to the unseasonally warm weather we have been having. It has been such a treat and it is still going on – meanwhile in the States, they have had terrifying tornadoes that have killed hundreds of people. Tragic.
Nevertheless I don’t believe the world is going to end sometime in May like some crazy American preacher has predicted.
In fact it makes me think of something I once read about Woody Allen, he is quoted as having said “ I count them and recount them to make sure there’s seven, because my life has gone well with seven slices and I don’t want to tempt fate be having six or eight.”
He is referring to the number of banana slices he meticulously has on his breakfast cereal.
Then there’s Ai Weiwei, who attempts to effect social change through his art. I wasn’t sure what I thought of his art when we looked at his millions of ceramic sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern some time ago. I didn’t care for the fact that evidently hundreds of Chinese workers were poorly paid to make these seeds. However now that he has been beaten up by the Chinese authorities and indeed ‘disappeared’ I feel much more sympathetic toward him.
I hope he reappears very soon and that those responsible for his initial beating are severely punished.
At some point, when we are not so busy, I want to do some research into the concept of ‘faith and finance’... because evidently hundreds of Christians who work in ‘The City’ in London have managed to find a way to tippy-toe round their faith (particularly the bit in the bible that says ‘it is more difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven’. Notice the illusion to a camel. Most of those London city folk have not had any dealings with camels yet the bible they base their daily faith on was written by folk who were very familiar with camels. Folk who lived in the Middle East and camels were their chosen mode of transport. Because these ‘folk’ before they became Christians were either Jews or Arabs.
Yet nowadays and for many years past most Christians have been very sniffy about Jews and or Arabs. Funny that. Ironic even.
I read a quote, perhaps in the Independent from a Bristol squatter – one of those being accused by the riot police of making petrol bombs.
The squatter said, “ we get our meals from the food bank, how can we afford petrol for petrol bombs?” Nice logic.
So stay logical. Enjoy the wonderful weather (try not to worry that it might be being caused by climate change.) .... Joselyn Morton
Contents: 23 April 2011
Maori Soldiers in Syria: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Gardens: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Sunflowers & bees: Graham White
Stephen O’R’s Oz: Stephen O’Rourke
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: wood grub, Roger Morton

This week Syria is in the news. Yesterday 88 people were killed there. That’s very sad and it is far too many people. I hope they get their freedom back.
During the 2nd WW, the Vichy were in control in Syria until in 1941, Free France and the British army entered from Iraq and Palestine and captured it and a pro-British regime was maintained until the end of the war. Then there must have been a gap of a few years before a state of emergency was declared because there has been a state of emergency there for 48 years. That’s a long time. Forty eight years ago I was still legally under-age; it is my whole adult lifetime.
It is too long for a country to be in a state of emergency.
Meanwhile it is Easter Saturday. Somehow Easter Friday came and went and I never got my editorial written. (That’s what happens when you haven’t got a boss breathing down your neck. ..) Good Friday is not a French holiday like it is in England, it is just another day. But maybe it isn’t a holiday in England any longer – who knows where the cuts have hit.
Events have steamed up in Bristol over a new Tesco store opening. The citizens have taken umbrage and created a disturbance which riot police had to quell. I think it might be time for governments and police around the world to find out what their citizens want. Simple questions – do you want a huge impersonal supermarket where the staff don’t know who you are and seemingly are not interested in finding out or do you want to keep the small shops that stock the products you like and the owners work in the shop and are happy to have a bit of a chat when they serve you and take your money?
Riots over shopping is a bit extreme. Sort it out.
Even though we are having a wonderful spring and everyone is enjoying the sunshine, there is still discontent in the air.
However I feel the problems are solvable and I feel the generation that is entering adulthood now, is a generation that is capable of solving these problems. The technology exists for them to be in touch around the world. Once all the world problems are laid out, these young super brains should be able to knock them off in a jiffy.
If only the present generations who are still in power were able to grasp the simple fact that their coffin (or cremation cask or whatever) won’t have any pockets .... maybe they would not have spent their lives amassing all those billions, maybe instead they would have wanted to do some good while they are alive.
Meanwhile this sunny spring has definitely encouraged people to enjoy themselves, so that’s what I suggest you do – watch a few glorious sunsets, hang out with some nice friends and take life easy for a bit. Everyone deserves that for time to time because life can get a little relentless, so enjoy.
Joselyn Morton
Ps in fact we splashed out and guiltily bought ourselves a new cd player (it was on Promo). We love it and our old well-loved cds are getting a right hammering. Then I did the sums and realised that it was 17 years since we bought our last cd player. Bloody hell – all guilt has gone. We are shamelessly pounding out the sounds.
Contents 15 April, 2011
The Whistler: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Funerals, Part 2: Stephen O'Rourke
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
15 April 2011
It is just as well I didn’t marry an Inuit because I am happiest when the sun is shining on my upturned face. I am not happy in the cold. I do the opposite of thrive. This warm sunshine we are having is rather heavenly. Clear blue skies, no clouds just a few straight-lined jet streams. The lilac trees are the best I have ever seen and over-night, the irises have appeared - thick, strong and long. It’s a great spring and although I realise that European bees are beset with problems, the bees around our house are filling the air with a very recognisable bee sound. They sound purposeful and healthy.
As our daughter visited this week (after a gap of three years) we’ve been having a very social time – this included lunch at St Martial de Viveyrols. We sat on the terrace in the sun and slowly enjoyed a 5-course meal with wine included for 14 euros. (I stole their course of goat’s cheese in filo pastry for our little party a couple of nights later. We are in the land of goats cheese and it is so easy to make – it is going to be one of my staple recipes – not that I actually made them myself, I delegated and coerced Mark and young Adrian into that. I showed them the diagram on the filo pastry packet and said “it looks really easy, huh.”)
The other course at lunch that I loved was isle de flottant. Next to my friend Jackie Philipossian’s, it is the best I have ever tasted.
We also splurged on dinner out at L’Escalier in Verteillac (salt and pepper sandwiches for us until the relies arrive toward the end of May). Curiously we were the only four in the restaurant. Melodie, the owner said it is totally unpredictable at the moment. It must be so hard to run a small business these days. We all chose the salad with magret and it was perfect. There was only one main course and so I ate a hamburger for the first time in many years. It was a Royal Flush of a hamburger with foie gras on top and artistically presented vegetables paying homage on the side. Just what we needed after going to bed at 3am that morning.
In fact the last hamburger I ate was in the small restaurant on the small island of Motuihe in the Hauraki Gulf around Auckland. In the good old days, we would sail over and as we got close, we would get on the boat’s radio and place our order. By the time we had anchored and motored ashore our hamburgers were ready. They were gigantic and stuffed with every conceivable fresh salad ingredient. Sadly the restaurant no longer exists – some American conglomerate made an offer to buy the whole island ( which was run by the Department of Conservation and managed by this couple for sixteen years). The couple refused the American offer and mysteriously very soon after, the restaurant was burnt down.
Apart from the house they lived in, there were no other buildings on the island. There was a romantic camp site with loos and showers, right by the beach. The island had had a chequered career. It had been a naval base of some sort during the 1st World War and as a result of a flu epidemic there were a row of graves with sad dedications; during the 2nd World War it had been used as a camp for German prisoners of war. In happier times, during the 1800s, an olive grove had been planted – intriguing because for years and years nobody bothered with olives in New Zealand. It is only recently that people have started planting them again. This island however, must have witnessed a great deal. Not far away is Rangitoto island (sky of blood) This is an extinct volcano which last erupted 800 years ago killing hundreds of people.
Interesting what memories a hamburger can evoke.
This week, there was so much talking, catching up and exploring to do that world news took a back seat because we rarely turned the television on. I am aware, however that events in Libya are still nowhere near resolved and there is much unnecessary bloodshed because Gadaffi still won’t quit.
In Japan, citizens must have no idea what the future holds for them as the uncertainty of the nuclear radiation continues. What we do know is that it will be more difficult to install new nuclear reactors anywhere around the world. That may be one good result from this terrible scary situation.
This coming week I am going to try and find out what is happening to 22 year old Bradley Manning. As the grandmother of a 21 year old, I am very aware that this young man is being treated by the American justice system in an inhumane and brutal fashion. It is a shocking way to treat a military prisoner who has not committed a barbaric crime but by leaking documents to Wikileaks – may have actually aided the cause of world peace.
I think young people these days are frequently admirable. On a slightly different tack, I was terribly impressed by the 8 or 9 young kids who had come with their parents chez nous the other evening. Without any fuss and without even knowing one another and ages ranging from 4 to 12 years, they sat in rows on our bed and watched a film on Lucy’s laptop.
Afterwards I said to Roger, did you take a picture of all the kids on our bed?” He said, “ I didn’t even know there were any.”
They were so undemanding and together. What an interesting generation they are going to be.
Three cheers for the young. And let’s leave them a world to enjoy. Our generation (the first teenagers) had the best of times – so we owe the next generations. We owe them a world that they can enjoy – that’s our duty, to leave behind a clean, healthy planet.
And for once I have finished my editorial before the sun has set. Chin chin!
Joselyn Duffy Morton
Richard French's ipad
Poems J D Morton
Funerals: Stephen O'Rourke
BBCRadio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
9 April, 2011
This incredible good weather we are having is giving global warming a ‘good name’ ( which is why forward thinkers rebranded it ‘climate change’) Cynicism aside, the weather is gorgeous, which is why I don’t want to be inside at my laptop doing the blog – I want to be outside mucking around in the garden. I know if I was properly organised I could do both, but somehow I am forever trailing behind my own self-set tasks.
Nevertheless I have cleared up a load of crap in the garden and I am rather dazzled by the lilac, the tulips and now the irises. They are just what we need after a long winter. Even my new garden, up the top (where the 28 baleful plum tree stumps used to be) is starting to take shape.
The only hour of the only day it rained recently, was when we chose to visit our lovely nearby nursery at St Martial de Viverol. It bucketed down and consequently we grabbed what we could so we wouldn’t get drenched, then stuffed them in the boot. Bit of divine providence must have intervened there because I like what we chose and they are all thriving.
While Richard F. was getting ready to visit Perigueux on the wrong day, I was sending him an email to meet for a little cafe lunch. However I sent it to the wrong Richard – one I used to know in London when I worked on the Radio One Story of Pop and he managed bands. I was very surprised to get a reply from Sao Paulo, Brazil (where he now lives.) We then exchanged more emails and we may even all meet up as his old friend from one of his bands (The Motors) now lives in Carcassone and he visits him from time to time.
We were heading to Perigueux so that Roger could organise a new bit of male jewellery – a hearing aid. However we soon discovered from the lovely expert who tested him, that the one he needs will cost 3,500 euros. Like a small miracle, Roger was suddenly able to speak French and said “ that is the price of half a car”.
It does seem extraordinary that one can buy a new cd player (which I really want as ours has totally died) for about 100 euros, and yet a tiny little gizmo that fits behind your ear costs an arm and a leg. We are madly prioritising.
Meanwhile Japan has had another earthquake and the nuclear radiation situation is still as scary as ever. Pregnant mothers and children are being evacuated. People who lost their homes in the tsunami and earthquake are in a dreadful situation. All kinds of people around the world are holding benefits for them and I am sure it must be a great solace to know that there are people in different countries who care about what happens to them.
Likewise in Libya, the situation there is still dire. Gaddafi has not relinquished power and the death toll continues to rise. NATO seems to have moral issues about how the rebels are allowed to be helped ie they are not to be given weapons and consequently, it would seem that NATO has actually bombed Libyan civilians. The incongruity of all the weapon selling that has been done by Britain and American to Middle Eastern countries over the years – seems to be lost on NATO.
A propos of nothing I was intrigued to read in a November 2010 New Yorker (thanks guys) that George Orwell’s Dad managed the regional opium trade in Patna, India – could that somehow have seeped into the semen and contributed to the son being such a visionary? But surely the Dad had no desire to get off his face (like various legendary poets and such around that period of time).
In the post today (after we got home from my unsuccessful attempt to buy a hammock ) there was a playscript in the post from Oxford Editors for me to assess. http://www.theoxfordeditors.co.uk/
So that will keep me gainfully occupied. Sadly I won’t be lying in a hammock reading it....
Have fun in the sun. Joselyn Duffy Morton
Edmund Ashby: Richard French
Roger Morton spring photos
Frank’s Dead: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Edmund Ashby: J & R Morton
Iman al-Obeid
Stephen O’R’s ChCh
BBC Radio 4 Extra: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Angouleme, Roger Morton
Editorial 64, April 2, 2011-04-02
This week has been sunny spring weather except for the day of Edmund’s funeral which was dismal, grey and chilly, with teary showers of rain. It was a day that matched all of our moods. The only other day that I can remember the heavens imitating how the world at large felt, was the day Peter Sellars was cremated. The London sky above Golders Green turned an inky green colour exactly as one would image if vomiting bile after a serious case of food poisoning. No one wanted the guy to die, we wanted him to carry on amusing us, so that we could laugh ourselves sick and forget any unpleasantness that the world constantly thrust at us.
I realise that death is the one sure thing ahead for each of us but it sure has the power to shock and stun with the cavalier way it makes its selection. I truly sympathise with Edmund’s brothers John and Stephen, who flew out from the States to organise les funerailles. So sad.
This morning we received a letter from an old friend in NZ, on the envelope was a huge stamp and on the stamp was a photo of William and Kate and underneath the words ‘ROYAL WEDDING 29th April New Zealand.’
This from a country whose citizens can’t even live in Britain (unless they have a parent who was born there.) Quaint huh.
Meanwhile there is another celebration in April – on the 26th of April, it will be the 25th anniversary of the huge explosion at Chernobyl that spewed radioactive material high into the air. The destroyed reactor is still full of radioactive waste and nuclear fuel and so it continues to be a threat to the whole world.
The makeshift sarcophagus that encases the reactor is now unstable and a new one is desperately needed in case the old one collapses. This would need to be a structure 100m tall. I hope they get on to it soon. Evidently no women work around the nuclear plant now because of the risk of radiation contamination. Consequently black humour has seeped in ...
“No amount of Geiger counter clicks can prove harmful to big Russian dicks”.
Chernobyl was one of the major reasons that we left London January 1987 and returned to Auckland, New Zealand after a 20-year absence. And yes I constantly thought about Samuel Johnson’s words ‘ No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’.
We weren’t tired of London – quite the opposite, we loved it, we had a great life there but when the Labour Government got elected into NZ with the mercurial, quick-witted David Lange as its Prime Minister, we thought our children might have a safer life in NZ. Bloody buggery bollocks is all I can say about that daft notion.
However we did have 15 years of sailing and that was heaven. I wouldn’t have missed that for the world. Meanwhile here we are now living in the middle of the rural countryside – for the first time. I realise this can have some drawbacks. Excluding and including various people is a bit of a fine juggling act. I don’t have any particular guidelines apart from the obvious ones that I adhere to ‘ people are either shits or they’re not shits.’
If they are shits (and it doesn’t take a brain the size of a planet to figure out if they are, or if they're not ) you avoid them. The other criteria is ‘if they are boring or not boring’ I ’m like Amy Winehouse on this one, if they are boring, I’d rather have cats’ AIDS than hang out with them. So those are the two guiding principles of my social life.
Just heard a few hours ago, that the scene ouverte at La Gavotte has been cancelled this evening. Shame as it was the first time this year that we were actually free to go to it.
My resolution for April is that I must find an Asian supermarket. We had a tasty Vietnamese meal the other night with Richard and Gay safely back from their stunning trip to Vietnam. The beautiful empty beaches looked enchanting. These were on Phu Quoc island, off the coast of Cambodia. The beach they visited is right at the end of the island on the east coast near An Thoi. It looks perfect. You drive on a rough road to get to a basic restaurant with the local fishermen.
We also had some delicious Vietnamese meals in Paris in February when we stayed with our friend actress/ singer Jade Nguyen. We met Jade in London when she was the 15-year old lead in Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre Company. Stomu had not budgeted per diem for the company during the rehearsal period. (Probably too busy having fun driving round town in his white Rolls Royce.) Consequently things were looking a bit grim. The Roundhouse stepped in and found families for the cast to stay with during this period. Roger was the photographer at the Roundhouse at the time and so Jade came to stay with us. We’ve been friends ever since.
Friends are important. They’re gold dust really. They’re irreplaceable.
Incidentally, if you can get BBC Radio Oxford, Matt Morton will be answering gardening/ecology questions from midday to 1pm (UK time) on Sunday.(Cos either before or after ‘friends’ comes ‘family’’)
Summer time – don’t you love it. We even wheeled the table tennis table out and had our first game the other evening. Already it doesn’t get dark until after 8pm. Heaven. Enjoy.
Joselyn Duffy Morton
Contents, 26 March 2011
BBC, Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Baby in the rubble: Joselyn Duffy Morton
March 26, 2011
My astrological sign is Libra, symbolised by a set of balances, but far from feeling balanced, I usually feel the opposite – forever weighing things up, ‘This way? No, this way and so my frazzled mind ponders and probes.
There’s blossom on the hawthorn, plum and apple trees and sweet-smelling hyacinths are competing with daffodils to look the most gorgeous. Winter’s on the out and spring is definitely in the air yet I feel less than joyous. I think it is to do with the affairs of the world pressing in from afar.
The nuclear reactors in Japan are still a cause of great worry, in amongst the deprivations of lack of food, housing and Japanese people trying to keep warm as the snow falls.
The fighting in Libya continues. It seems as though Colonel Gaddafi has been stock-piling weapons for a long time. It is monstrous to imagine that he could open fire on his own people, instead of stepping down from government, but that is what he is doing. There’s also unrest in Syria and Yemen.
Margie, my 94-year old mother-in-law writes worriedly from Invercargill, NZ about the people in Christchurch and how hard it is for them since the earthquake.
Today’s Independent has an article on the 250,000 protestors who are expected to march in London condemning the coalition’s programme for cuts. I continually read articles about American citizens and how wide-scale poverty is on the increase in America.
Here in France, one agricultural worker evidently commits suicide every day. We live in a rural area. Farmers work long days and late into the night. Sometimes they are still in the fields, on their tractors at midnight.
So it is a sad old world, even if spring is here.
A speeding ticket arrived in the mail for Roger this morning. He was doing 81k in a 70k zone heading out of Angouleme, after successfully buying the new element for our old water heater (kaput because we had forgotten to empty out the many kilos of calcaire that were clogging it up). The lovely guy who served us asked if he could keep our old fucked-up piece for a museum he is starting. Lovely though he looked I’m glad I’m not married to him. I hate old broken things.
A friend who has just visited St Lucia tells me that there are no bees left there and says we should do something to spread the news. She bought some seeds from what was described as a garden centre but in fact was just a shop with packets of seeds and more insecticides/fungicides than she’d ever seen in one tiny space. It was a weapons store against the natural world. All the seeds were impregnated with toxic substances.
It is of huge concern that there are no colonies of bees there anymore.
Another friend related a near-identical story about Madagascar - where they started using the new pesticides and wiped out almost all the indigenous bees. Madagascar is the centre of the world's vanilla-crop and the vanilla orchids are pollinated by bees - so this caused an agricultural disaster.
Meanwhile for the rest of the year, starting on the afternoon of Sunday 3 April, Matt Morton will be discussing gardening issues on BBC Oxford 95.2fm, concentrating on the ecology work he does. (Felt it was my duty as a proud Mum to mention this.)
On a different note entirely, I am once again starting to think that the blog may have reached its use-by date. Mr Mwezi is on the move; Chris Mougne is so busy since she retired from UN, that she barely has time to unpack; Richard French is skiing; Stephen O’Rourke is at his 90 year old mother’s birthday in Christchurch; missfreducation stopped once she got a proper job – so very thin pickings this week.
However I did get my bank statement in the post this morning (along with the speeding ticket). I have received my first payment from googleads – 1.03euros.
All those huge, lurid ads and in return one tiny pallid euro.
But I am determined not to be depressed. Spring is in the air, bien sur.
Enjoy the blossom and all the promises that those flowers symbolise. Right now ‘hope’ might be one of the strongest motivating forces around. I sure hope ‘profit’ is on the decline’ It has left much devastation in its wake. (And as Mary Kalemkerian reminds us with her Kenneth Williams’ quote
“Life is short – so let’s get on with it.”)
Joselyn Morton
Contents, March 18
Toby, Springer Spaniel: Graham White
Richard French’s ipad
Tender: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Stephen O’R’s Sydney
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
March 18, 2011
Our visit to London and Oxford has been eclipsed by our water heater breaking down on our return home and by the abscess in Roger’s tooth. Before plunging into deep depression (which sadly these days, is a skill I could acquire) I remind myself of the events in Japan and how Gaddafi is threatening to bomb Benghazi.
Japan’s situation is tragic. An earthquake, a tsunami, radiation fall-out from nuclear reactors and now heavy falling snow. It is more than the human psyche can take. Old, sick, worried and weak, they wait to be helped. I send my emotional support to all of them.
In Libya, the hope we felt for their bravery is now corroded by anxiety. Attia emailed from Paris – the Libyan ambassador has resigned and the embassy is closed. All A’s family live in Benghazi. Evidently many Libyan pilots have refused to bomb their own people. That is a huge act of courage. Unfortunately, there are claims that mercenaries from Serbia and African countries are prepared to be paid to do the bombing. War crimes such as those are unthinkable.
UN has called for a no-fly zone over Libya. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t be easy to implement.
So sadly there is not much to smile about at the moment.
Roger was lucky that his surprise birthday party happened before all these shocking world events and before his tooth flared into pain and agony with accompanying swollen face and numb lips. A caricature of his noble visage!
The first surprise party we threw for him was on his thirty-ninth birthday – the kids and I figured he wouldn’t suspect, he would be anticipating his 40th. Our friends entered our house by the side entrance and hid in Fred’s bedroom until a given signal whereupon they all piled into the dining room and scared the daylights out of him.
This time, old friend Bill McA took him out for the day, while I supposedly helped Fred prepare a family dinner .
Once again he was dully surprised.
A few days later, we celebrated our grandson Mitch’s 21st at a little sushi restaurant , High Sushi, in Muswell Hill. Lovely food. Sadly Roger had already had to visit an emergency dentist. Our daughter Fred, couldn’t understand why the normally friendly staff were so distant. This was the evening of Friday 10th March – either the earthquake had already struck or they had a premonition of it. (Mitch’s 21st was the reason we ostensibly visited the UK, i.e. not Roger’s surprise birthday party!)
I managed to visit Highgate cemetery with Meg and we successfully found Sandy (Broughton’s) grave. Years later and we all still miss her. That was followed by a coffee at Kenwood (and memories of all those picnics on the grass while the music was the real feast).
We curtailed all our other outings. Roger was in too much agaony.
Prince William has arrived in Christchurch - Royal family- bashers may be cynical about how that could help earthquake survivors but one can feel isolated in little old NZ, so in fact I think (strange though it may seem) it will be a comfort. Just as now, in the midst of all these dire world-wide scary events, it is a comfort to see the blossom on the trees and the hyacinths appearing in the garden. Inexplicably one’s spirits rise. Life shouldn’t be an endurance test but sometimes that’s what it feels like.
So roll on spring.
Joselyn Duffy Morton
PS Gaddafi has just declared a cease-fire. Does he mean it?

Contents 2 March
Jet lag: Stephen O'Rourke
Roger Morton Photos
Soldiers' Knees: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Passion: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Works of art: Attia Bousbaa
Richard French's ipad: Vietnam
Bodleian Library: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
Wednesday 2 March
Sorry not to have posted anything over the weekend. We were in Paris. Yes Paris proper, Paris real. So “Je ne regrette rien” (except of course I do. I would love to have been in possession of the technical gizmos and energy that would have allowed me to enjoy Paris and to simultaneously blog about it.)
We were handsomely looked after by our friends Stephen and Jan, who were fresh from Jan’s stint on the jury of the Berlin Film Festival and were enjoying Paris before the rigours of the Cesars (in which Jan’s film Bright Star) was up for ‘best foreign film’.
For February the weather was mild and we all walked for miles and miles. We were staying in the Marais and the shops were full of fabulous clothes, shoes, hats and gloves and divine things to put in your house. Definitely the place to go if you have some money and you want to buy something special. Everyone was so friendly. It was a treat to be alive. In fact, the food and the drink weren’t all that important – it was just being there and having a people bath. Probably my favourite cafe/restaurant was Les Philosophes, 28 rue Vielle de Temple, especially as it was a minute’s walk from where we were staying.
So we squeezed in as much as we possibly could. That included a twirl around Sacre Coeur. Its architect, Paul Abadie was the same one who remodelled the cathedral in Perigueux and who built the flamboyant Gothic chateau La Mailleberchie near Villebois Lavallette, where we used to buy bottles of pineau, in the old days.
The highlight was being taken to the Cinematheque Francaise, Musee de Cinema, 51 Rue de Bercy in the 12th arrondisement. We walked from the 4th – talking all the way. No mean feat (all ailing bits and pieces considered.)
Jan was a darling and swept us and Stephen’s daughter Jess ( just arrived from Byron Bay and not obviously bothered with jetlag) in with her, into the Director General, Serge Toubiana’s office. He was a true enthusiast and film buff.. It is so great to see someone who really knows his stuff, in the top job. I could tell by the way the staff around the building greeted him, that he is extremely popular.
It’s a Frank Gehry building and prior to this was the American Centre of Culture but they evidently couldn’t afford to keep running it. (or perhaps they were going through a little anti-French era). Whatever. It makes a great cinema centre. Serge took us on the grand tour. We only left the cinema as the audience started pouring in for the next screening. The museum is small but interesting (in the costume section I saw a Shirley Russell dress – maybe mine has some value ... like next winter’s woodpile. It is not too worn-out, after many lazy Lindos dinners.)
The bookshop, to my inexpert eye, seemed to be an Aladdin’s cave. Every imaginable book on film and film stars was crammed on the shelves. The next exhibition is on Kubrik and so we were shown the plans pinned to the wall and the big space where it will be arranged. Who knows it might eventually end up in Melbourne, Australia, where Jan is on the film board. They have already shared the Dennis Hopper exhibition with Paris. I also think Australia should go for the Jacques Tati, which sounded wonderful. I noticed Stephen bought the Tati dvd.
We were sad to say goodbye. We don’t know when our paths will cross again.
However, we once again found the 19th to be equally interesting. Paris people are so friendly. Our friend Jade’s flat needed a code at the gates and another at the door of the building. Naturally, we did not have these codes in an easily accessed part of our brain. One time, an elderly Arab woman actually ran back to the gate, still carrying her heavy shopping bags, to use her card to open the gate for us. Par hazard, three times, we met the same young couple at the door of the building – the last time, they invited us into their flat to wait for our friend. Amazing! They don’t even know our friend, let alone us.
At the exit to the metro, one young chap rang back up the stairs to ask us if he could help us find where we were going ... we had only hesitated for a nano-second (in young person’s terms, that’s probably half-a-lifetime.)
He whipped out his phone and drummed up our street on the screen and voila, we were sorted. So nice.
It was also extraordinary to be having coffee with our Libyan friend Attia Bousbaa while the Libyans were trying to oust Gaddafi. Attia has been spending his mornings outside the closed-up Libyan embassy with the other 3 or 4 Libyans protesting what is going on whilst trying to find out information about their families as all phone contact has been cut.
Attia has his own table kept for him in a cafe near Centre Pompidou and he has lived in Paris for 37 years. Latterly he was at the Musee de Quai Branly but mostly he has been a poet and an artist. He combines all aspects of his life very well indeed and there seems to be little in the world of the Middle East that he doesn’t know about. His artistic work is produced under many names. I counted 15 including Alan Feeney, Asher Lev and Janine AZZAWY.
I guess he works in mixed media – corrugated iron, large abstract canvases and around his bed in his condemned garden atelier is a work in progress, which he paints over as his moods change and presumably events in his life change.
After an aborted effort in the rain, it was cold too ( the temperatures had dropped) we finally made it to the Musee of Photographie, 5/7 rue de Fourcy. There are numerous exhibitions on. Marc Trivier showed close-up of cows in abattoirs plus portraits of Iris Murdoch, Jean Genet, Graham Green, William Burroughs, Samuel Beckett – they weren’t passport photos but nobody smiled, especially not the cows.
Herve Guibert’s work included many young, blond self-portraits and as a contrast a photo essay of two elderly women, Suzanne and Louise. I could have spent hours looking at the collages and poems of Jacques Prevert alongside the work of his friend Robert Doisneau but didn’t, because I was glued to the photos of Henri Houet.
This is the reason people were queueing outside, this is the reason that war has no place in one’s life. Photos of young American and Vietnam soldiers dying and dead in mud and water. They were heartrending. They were taken forty years ago before Henri Houet’s helicopter was shot down. There were desperate women and children fleeing. The famous photo of the naked girl running was taken by Huynh Cong Ut. He was nicknamed Nick and evacuated in June 72, before the fall of Saigon. He won the Pulitzer prize. The book of the exhibition is for sale, we flicked through and saw two group press photos that included our old friend Hugh Van Es. He tried to persuade Roger to go to Vietnam with him as a war photographer working for Reuters to replace the 22 year old photographer who had just been killed. 26 year old anti-war Roger refused.
Hugh took the picture of the last helicopter airlift off the Saigon building. He then covered wars for most of his life with the occasional HK movie stills job thrown in. He died peacefully in his sleep not long ago and we regret so much not seeing more of him or getting to know his wife Annie better.
If you are in Paris try and see this exhibition. We were given 4euro reduit tickets (such are the benefits of aged faces – we didn’t even have to ask. How sad is that.)
With Jade we sampled delicious Vietnamese food and a lifetime’s worth of fleamarkets. With Marie, we congratulated her on her invite to the San Francisco Literary fest and wished we had seen her son-in-law, Boris Lojkine’s feature film Les Ames Errants. We talked and talked and had to use unknown reservoirs of willpower to say our goodbyes and leave. Her flat in Ivry sur Seine is an architect’s success story and totally delightful – comfortable spacious with nooks and crannies (including a harp and a piano) everywhere. You recline on one level and look up at a television screen on another level and everywhere there are floor-length windows looking out on her winter garden. Perfection.
And as we’re off to London tomorrow, I must stop but first, here’s a couple of missfreducation’s jokes
Why did the French chef kill himself?
He lost the huile d’olive (say wit a French accent)
What do you call identical Spanish twin firefighters?
Jose and HoseB
Boomboom and goodnight, Joselyn Morton
Ps the next posting will not be until we get back from London- after 15 March
Stephen O'R's trip: Stephen O'Rourke
February's Moon: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Pierre's Paris: Pierre Albertelli
Richard French's ipad: Phuket
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
19 February, 2011
More than half-way through February – we’ve surely got the winter licked. (Although to be safe, we’ve just had more firewood delivered. We don’t like the cold.) Yet again, I have barely been in the garden, however, I did treat myself to a hortensia (hydrangea) and hopefully I will get time to plant it tomorrow. This week has been taken up with trips to the garage in Perigueux (we now need 4 fuel injectors) a visit to the cinema there and picking up and dropping off, in Angouleme, the jeune homme, Pierre, who came from Paris to visit for a week. (See Pierre’s Paris).
Honestly barely time to draw breath. However we did le tour de Vesunna and we would have stayed to watch the Social Network except it had already finished its run. Mind you, we are still feeling quite sated after Le Discours de Roi. Thousands of words have already been written in its praise – suffice to say, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush did a magnificent job. (And in cameo roles Claire Bloom, Timothy Spall and Derek Jacobi were pretty damn good also, as were the two little girls who played the young princesses. They were delectable.)
We have also watched a good run of DVDs lent by Judith and Jim while they were sunning and swimming in Sri Lanka. Two films of Jacques Audiard were chillingly good The Beat that my Heart Skipped and A Prophet.
Big Night was definitely quaint. An Education was evocative of the 60s and therefore familiar territory to Roger and me. I felt that You Can Count on Me had a sound story that didn’t get properly edited. The premise that the death of loved ones can seriously even severely change one’s perspective is one I totally understand. When I was 28, two close friends died and made Roger and I realise that death was an absolute ‘definite’ and so we lived our lives for the moment not for the future (now the future is our present ... we are feeling the consequences of that.) Nonetheless, we had a grand time. Plus as our two friends each left behind three children, we realised that our young children should have other adults in their lives – in case anything was to happen to us. So we set about making that viable. For eight years, we lived in a 4-storey house in London and we always had other interesting adults living there too. Mostly actors, some musicians – good old Bartholomew Road.
I often feel us ‘war babies’ were a lucky generation. The first ‘teenagers’ the first to benefit from the pill, the first generation where females were free to work in all kinds of interesting careers.
Freedom is a tenuous concept that is still in the news this week as ... following in the brave footsteps of Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt – Bahrain, Yemen and Libya are now protesting and being killed for their efforts.
The gap between rich and poor does not have to be so huge. When it is, it becomes untenable and people are driven to protest. It is many years since slavery was accepted as being bad. Yet one still hears of all kinds of indignities. For example, there are African workers in Spain, picking vegetables and salad products who are being paid well-below the minimum. They work piece-meal and their living conditions are abysmal. That’s awful. In this day and age it should not happen. They are trapped. They are not actually slaves – but as good as.
What is happening in the Arab countries might be the shake-up (sorry about the pun) that the rest of the world needs.
Life is so short. I don’t see why it can’t be a dawdle. A walk in the park ... if we all put our mind to it.
Have a nice weekend. Joselyn Morton
Richard French's ipad
Stephen O'R's trip
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
11 February, 2011
The week belongs to Egypt and the Egyptians. It is a fantastic fairy tale come true on the 11th of February 2011. I heard an Egyptian commentator say “ it is just the unarmed kids next door who did it.”
Tonight is a celebration from Cairo to Alexandria. They deserve it for their determination, for their bravery and for their belief in one another that if they joined together and did not give in, if they all put their lives on the line with moral force and non-violence, they could succeed. They could get rid of Mubarak and the corrupt regime that he had imposed on Egypt with its mindless brutality and torture. The regime which had held elections in which Mubarak was the only candidate or elections in which the opposition candidate was jailed.
The Egyptians have proved that people power can work. Also the military remembered that they themselves were Egyptians. They resisted opening fire even when the clashes between the protestors and the pro-Mubarak supporters became violent and probably terrifying. They handed out water and packets of biscuits from the Palace grounds. They did not lose their cool in Liberation Square.
The Egyptian people want justice and freedom. They know ‘freedom does not come free’. In the past 18 days many protestors have been injured, some have been killed but these sacrifices have not been in vain. What they have achieved is an inspiration to the rest of the world.
They have gained our immense respect.
It is possible to change things for the better. It is a peoples’ victory. It has been a rollercoaster of fear, disappointment and now jubilation.
One of the incidents that triggered the victory was a speech from 30 year old Google executive Wael Ghonim. He had been detained for 12 days. On his release he became a competent spokesperson for the protestors. Another symbolic event was a speech from a man who broke down with emotion as he explained that he lived in another Arab country in a beautiful villa with a pool but he had to stay and help Egypt because he couldn’t bear to see the way they lived. His speech was enough to mobilise thousands of people who did not want to live they way they lived but had thought they were powerless to change anything.
If Mubarak spent a life ‘devoted to Egypt’ what explanation is there for the 70 billion or so he has stashed away. Money that many Egyptians today have vowed should be paid back to help the Egyptians who live in poverty.
Tonight is a night of optimism, hope and jubilation.
I saw Anita McNaught reporting on Egypt from Turkey where she seems to be based. She summarised the events as inspiring wonder and respect. I was reminded of the days when she lived in NZ and we were getting grants from the then-Arts Council (now Creative NZ) and she gave one of our productions a very good write-up. We were very proud. I am proud once again to see what a fine in-depth news reporter she has become. But my pride for the Egyptian people knows no bounds, They really rock. Joselyn Morton
Quinton Kynaston: Joselyn Morton
Dr Who: Mary Kalemkerian
No Going Back: Joselyn Morton
Richard French's ipad
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
5 February, 2011
I have been totally absorbed in what has been going on in Egypt – apart from this evening when we drove off to the scene ouverte in the newly refurbished La Gavotte. Unfortunately , although our car has just returned from the garage in Perigueux with a new cylinder head, there was obviously something wrong and so half-way there, we returned home. I was very disappointed.
I can see in advance that this car problem is going to upset our finely-tuned timetable for the next six weeks! Damn.
This of course, is nothing compared to what is going on in Cairo. There, people are fighting for their lives. As they fight to show how serious they are in wanting to oust Mubarak, they are of course burning their bridges with a great finality. They know they can’t give in, because that regime, if it retains power, would never forgive them. They would not just lose their emotional freedom – if they live, they would be imprisoned and possibly tortured as Cairo has already gained a reputation as the torture capital of the world.
As these resistance fighters fight on in Tahrir Square, they also plan political leadership for their new government.
There would be the brave writer, resistance fighter Mohamed Fadel Fahmy; Secretary General of the Arab League and trusted by the people, Amr Moussa; Egyptian/American Nobel Prize Winner who has advised President Obama, Ahmed Zuwail; Principled head of the International Atomic Energy Authority and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamad ElBaradei, Professor and author of Islamic studies, Mohamed Selim Al-Awa; President of Wafd Party, Said al- Badawi; UN delegate, Nagib al-arabi; heart surgeon, Magdi Yacoub ...
It got me thinking – who would I choose for a UK government?
My list is random and even more so as this fuck-wit new laptop has already ‘disappeared’ the first editorial that I started writing – so off the top of my head, here’s a list.
Philip Pulman, writer; Johan Hari, journalist; George Mobiot, writer; Julian Assange, Mr Wikileaks;
John Pilger, journalist; Bianca Jagger, human rights campaigner; Jemima Khan; cuzzie France-Anne, EU and Scottish National Party; Bob Geldoff; Caroline Lucas, MP & Leader of the Green Party; Steven Berkoff, actor, director, writer; Luke Randolf, film producer; Ken Loach, director; Billy Connolly, Lenny Henry, Ellen Macarthur yachtswoman, Tilda Swinton actor, BBC News Quiz's Sandi Toksvig; film producer Lyn Horsford...
The list is a bit thin on environmentalist-scientists, for which I apologise.
I had a go at a list for a new French Government. Bit short aussi, I’m afraid:
Coluche, mort; Abbaye Pierre, mort; Stephane Hessel, 93 year old resistance fighter, writer; Peter Brooke, director; Jerome Savary, director; Segolene Royal, politician; Jamel Debbouze, humorist, sociologue, Nicolas Hulot, environmentalist; Simone Veil, Auschwitz survivor, Minister of Health etc
Being thrust back home tonight meant that I caught Jay Leno’s Helena Bonham-Carter’s interview. I have therefore resolved that if we have to take the car back to the garage in Perigueux, we can at least take the opportunity to see the King’s Speech because I discovered last week when we went to see Au-Dela(The Herafter) when we picked up the afore-mentioned- but –obviously-not –fixed-properly car - that every bone of my genetically geared Protestant-work-ethic body just loved the idea of sloping off to the movies in the afternoon. I even managed with arm gestures and flashing smiles to persuade the baby-faced child-manager, through the window, to let us in from the freezing cold. He did, but only us two – the rest of the poor punters were left out in the cold, till the official opening time.
I loved the young English 11-year old boy twins and their mother reminded me of Gaille Tinihau, a singer that we worked with on our musical Meatworks; Matt Damon is always good to watch; Cecile de France wasn’t bad; the tsunami was staggeringly forceful and the subject matter was of interest as I once had a near-death experience myself. Plus of course, I think Clint Eastwood is a movie force to be reckoned with. I look forward to his next project although Gran Torino is still my favourite.
I was intrigued to notice in an old copy of New Yorker (April 5, 2010) kindly passed on to us by Billie and Dean that they had published one of NZ writer Janet Frame’s short stories Gavin Highly. I wonder why they took so long. Had they meant to do it while she was still alive?
It is that magic hour 2.22am.
I must go to bed.
Fait de beau reve all of you, Joselyn Morton

bd festival: Roger Morton
The Beatles said it before: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Christchurch earthquake: Tonia Matthews
Stephen O'R's Sydney
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton

This week was extremely full-on as we cleared up for our friends Maggie and Jacques’ arrival from Marmande. Roger bought up all available supplies of mousse expansive so he could fill up the gaps in the rose bedroom. I cleaned things in the kitchen and bathroom that should never have been dirty. Finally they arrived, before we dropped of exhaustion. We then had two wonderful days of having fun. The bd festival in Angouleme lived up to all expectations. We chatted to a cartoonist from the Sechelles. He was part of an Outremere group and was charming . I longed to buy his slender book of cartoon silhouettes that had so much movement and no text – but sadly our budget doesn’t yet stretch to that.
It was extraordinary how much there was to see – we od on bd!
The Dordogne duck I cooked turned out well. I stuffed it with fresh sage from the garden and chestnuts and doused it in cognac from the jar of cherries that Chrissie gave us. Pretty yummy. The next night, I served the jar of civet chevreuile that Joelle had given me. As she suggested, we warmed it up – delicious. I threw together a pasta and we followed it up with Maggie’s almond and apple dessert. Staggeringly good.
After we had sadly said goodbye to Maggie and Jacques with firm promises to do it all again next year, we trailed off to General D’Optique, where a friendly assistant replaced Roger’s broken glasses frame with a completely new one. That was nice. We also made it to Emmaus and even though it was right at the end of their trading day and they must have sold all the good stuff hours before, we still scored a few treats. Roger got a pile of 1914 magazines that will absorb him for the rest of the winter. I found a silver toaster with spaces for 8 pieces of toast (4e), a framed cross-stitch tapestry that I intended to take out of its frame and turn into a cushion, but now I’ve got it home, it somehow got itself under a light and it looks so eye-catching and positively red that I may just hang it on the wall. I didn’t find a piano stool or a strikingly handsome hat or any warm comfortable boots but I did find a darling little clock radio for 2e. I could have been tempted by a very large cream lacquered 40s wardrobe cupboard except that we plan to move upstairs and it would have needed a crane or a cherry picker to move it. There was also an elegant slender Japanese-like table – if we ever rebuilt the ruin, it would be perfect. There was also an intricately inlaid sideboard with exquisite workmanship ... but how many sideboards can a one-toilet, bathroomless woman own?
Luckily I resisted.
Emmaus, to the uninitiated was founded by Abbaye Pierre, a French hero who stalwartly and at first single-handedly raised the awareness for sans abri (homeless). Well-off people take stuff they no longer need there and the rest of the world buys it for a very reasonable amount. The people who work at Emmaus are ex-drug addicts, criminals and alcoholics or just people whose life got into an unsolvable mess. They repair, polish and fix. Everything is beautifully laid out, colour-coded and as swept-up as they can possibly arrange it. In fact Emmaus is our designer of choice. We’ve bought some splendid jackets there by the kilo!
All in all, it was an exciting week – including the visit from the censor woman on Saturday. She introduced herself as the new secretary at the mairie, whereupon I plied her with coffee and croissants (we were in the middle of breakfast.) She was not to be seduced but nonetheless I think I may have made a friend. The old secretary resisted all overtures and may be the least-friendly person that I have encountered locally. So things are on the up.
This includes Egypt where Mubarak is almost ousted and the right-wing sections of the world are not sure what the hell is going on.Many Egyptian leaderless protests continue to grow momentum through facebook and twitter. On an Al-Jazeera report, I heard one man say “ Everyone has taken to the streets, we are all here protecting one another. I feel inspired to stay and help by being here.” Mubarak has been in power for 3 decades. He is 82 years old – let’s hope he goes gracefully and doesn’t throw his country into total civil unrest.
I still didn’t make it out into the garden.
But I am hopeful I will soon. In fact I am hopeful about lots of things.
Stay warm, Joselyn Morton
Greece: Chris Mougne
Dordogne Roundhouse
She: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Rose Petals: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Sign honey petition
Blue Monday Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
Jan 22, 2011
All kinds of unexpected things occurred this week – invitations to dinner, lengthy tasks round the house – consequently I still haven’t made it into the garden to clear up the dead November debris (that I didn’t do before we headed off to the UK). All that I have managed to do outside is to wrap myself in a warm coat and hot-foot it round to the line to hang out the washing. The sun shines brightly from a blue sky but the air is skin-lifting cold.
We’ve been invited out to lunch on Sunday so the most I envisage doing before then, is wheelbarrowing a stack of logs for Roger to cut. We are certainly powering through the firewood but we are cosy.
Talking of cosy – we visited Hester recently-built wooden house. It had all the inside features of a large Notting hill Gate penthouse conversion but the view was different. Luckily we arrived just before darkness fell and were able to see the Dordogne countryside stretching into the distance from her ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall sliding doors. So sometimes ‘modern is good’ – if not ‘downright excellent’.
In her bedroom, she has an elegant glass chair (much better than a slipper, a ceiling or a toilet!) She also has a romantic roundhouse to let (see posting).
It is now Saturday. I failed to do a posting last night because the layout went berserk on me. I still haven’t got the cover back to normal. Grrr. I really must crack the design of the blog, somehow because I like the immediacy of posting a blog. When I worked at IPC magazines as a Picture Editor, we would have a weekly pagination meeting to schedule ahead. Now if a news item crops up, I can cover it (and of course, there’s no boss to dictate. I’ve got control .....”you’re not the boss of me now ....”
My new hero is the Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer who has been trying for something like ten years to inform the public in regard the shenanigans bankers and their billionaire clients get up to. I guess my villains this week are the undercover cops who have been indiscriminately shagging – either green activists or the wife of Shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnson.
Hope all you blog readers will sign the bee petition. The nasty neonicotinoids were introduced by Bayer in the 1990s. Bad Bayer.
A new hero has unexpectedly emerged in Tunisia. This is 26 year old Mohamed Bouazizi. He lived in Sidi Bouzid in the poor interior of Tunisia. He set himself alight after his veggie stall was taken off him by officials. He was a graduate who had not been able to find any other work. He unfortunately is not alive to see how many of his countrymen rose up in support of him and as a result of the turmoil caused by the riots and disturbances, the President of some 20 odd years, actually fled the country. (The president’s wife evidently bolting with a big bar of stolen gold.)
Let’s hope the turmoil settles down and conditions improve for the majority of the Tunisian people.
I saw some film footage which explained that in Afghanistan there is only one psychiatric hospital for 30 million people. I think the doco was called Fragile People Maybe that is something George Clooney can look into once he has resolved the problems in the Sudan.
I heard about George and the Sudan on Piers Morgan’s show (He has taken over from Larry King.) I thought it would be a bit like Hugh Hudson making Revolution, a film on the American Civil War, but in fact Piers is having quite a good stab at things. I watched him interview, Oprah, then radio jock Howard Stern, then iron maiden Condoleeza Rice and lastly gorgeous George (and his very nice Dad, Nick.) So far, so good.
Only one week of January left and actually as Januarys go, it has not been that bad.
So happy blue Monday and just hang on in – the month is nearly over.
Joselyn Morton
ps I won’t be doing a posting until Saturday next week because we have friends coming to stay and we’re all spending Friday wandering round the bande dessiné festival in Angoulȇme.

Cambodian children: Mike Armitage
The Tourist: Joselyn Morton
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
Beeline: Joselyn Morton
Sweden: Alix McAlister
NZ: J & R Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton
Jan 14, 2011
A tumultuous week. Although, for us personally – quite lovely (mild temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. Rather unheard of winter weather for the second week of January.) Last year, at this time, we both fell down the icy stairs in dubious night attire and broke bones that the car crash of the week before had not dealt to.)
For the world at large, not so pleasant. Flooding continued in Queensland, Australia and reached horrendous proportions in Brazil and Sri Lanka.
However, world attention centred on the American state of Arizona where a tragic shooting took place. A 22 year old man gunned down 18 people (killing 6 of them). One of those killed was chief federal judge, John Roll. Evidently his Saturdays were predictable – go to mass, then go home and ‘do the floors’. What an impressive man. Last Saturday I swept and mopped our kitchen floor and how I longed for the days when we could afford someone to do it for us. What an extremely impressive man John Roll was – he ‘did floors’ even though he was bogged under with a backlog of immigration cases, as his area of Tuscon is where thousands of illegal immigrants arrive each year from Mexico.
However it was not a Mexican who did the shooting and committed this sad crime. This crime was commited by someone who people are thinking, may have been inflamed by right-wing rhetoric and consequently wanted to kill Democrat Gabby Giffords. He shot her in the back of the head.
The one spark of hope in all of this is, is the straight-talking sheriff Clarence Dupnik. He has been in law enforcement for 52 years and for 30 of those years, he has been a sheriff. With great sadness he stated that the state of Arizona has become a Mecca for prejudice and bigotry and that the right-wing is deliberately fuelling the fire against elected officials. He also stated that someone who is intent on committing such a heinous crime will find a weapon – whether he steals it or buys it.
Incredibly, it was a 61 year old woman who grabbed the second clip of ammunition from the killer. As this contained 31 rounds, thank god she did.
Meanwhile in France, a 93 year old French Resistance fighter, Stephane Hessel, has taken the publishing world by storm. His first book Indignez-vous has already sold 800,000 copies over Xmas. It is a political call to non-violent arms from the small Montpellier publisher Idigène and sells for 3€. It reflects French exasperation at the social inequalities of Sarko’s presidency.
Intriguingly, Hessel’s mother Helen Grund-Hessel inspired the novel Jules et Jim which became the Francois Truffaut love-triangle film in which Jeanne Moreau plays a woman who loves both men. I saw it in Dunedin in 1963. I loved it.
Hessel joined the French Resistance and was caught, tortured and deported to Buchenwald. After the war, he helped draft the Declaration of |Human Rights. And he became a diplomat.In 2006, he was made Grand Officier de la Legion d'honneur.
His book is an appeal for people to take responsibility for the things in our society that don’t work. He emphasises the growing gap between the very rich and the very poor.
The gap was one of the main reasons that we left the UK for NZ in 1987. We didn’t want to be very rich surrounded by very poor, neither did we want to be very poor surrounded by very rich. Hessel calls for peaceful and non-violent insurrection, for people to reject the selfish power of money.
He points out the complicity between politicians and financial powers. He also denounces the government policies of Israel in the Gaza strip. Consequently (although a Holocaust survivor) he has been accused of anti-Semitism by various French Jewish organisations.
He states the worst attitude of all is indifference.
So my darlings, ‘get involved’ – sitting on the fence, indifference .... they are not the answer. Too many things are going wrong. It is time to stand up and be counted. And there’s still time to have fun. In fact the quicker all these clever people put their heads together and solve the world’s problems, the quicker we can have fun.....so let's raise our glasses 'to fun'.
Joselyn Morton
January 7, 2011
Yesterday a year ago, I crashed the car and wrote it off. My first ever accident. This year we drove to the UK in November to avoid bad weather but we still had to dance our way around the snow on our way home, even though it was only the beginning of December.
Today I believe the US passed a bill denying global warming. It is a contentious issue and when friends with brains the size of a planet want to render you senseless with scientific facts to prove that climate means ‘change’ and that’s what has been going on for thousands of years – they will.
If the ‘climate change’ deniers are correct and the icebergs at the North Pole have melted before and then frozen up again, fine, but why not err on the side of caution?
Right now, we know for certain that there are more people on the planet than there have ever been – I think population figures especially those that fly and drive and have central heating bla bla bla are going to make a difference to what happens to the atmosphere and the oceans. It took a long time to convince people that throwing their bodily wastes in the streets and the rivers made a difference to their health – thank god, they eventually were convinced.
The first week of this year has already thrown up some odd events with hundreds of birds dropping out of the sky in Louisiana and Arkansas and fish dying on rivers and sea shores in their hundreds and thousands in the Arkansas river and the Maryland coast. That coupled with the nightmarish floods in Queensland, Australia with the added terror of crocodiles and snakes lurking n the flood waters, makes for an uneasy mix. Optimists will say ‘it can only get better’.
Auckland friends who were visiting Christchurch for Xmas did their best to dodge the earthquakes and get to the Boxing Day bargains at the sales. They were a bit miffed to get moved along and moved again when they had settled down for a relaxing cup of coffee. You don’t travel all those miles and pay those expensive over-priced internal flights to hide in the boring suburbs even if the buildings all around are shaking their rocks off.
Horrid though all these natural act-of-god disasters are, I think the worst one of all is that due to ‘the cuts’, it is possible that 800 libraries will be shut down in the UK. Roughly one fifth of the total. These are nice warm places, where people who don’t have much money can go ...
Now here’s the thing ... rich people love books. They buy them. Big, fat, lovely hard-covered book. They rarely go to libraries. They don’t encourage their children to go to libraries. There are germs there. BIG, FAT GERMS. Swine flu germs. They go to lovely book shops and they buy anything they want. Then they go home to their centrally heated houses.
Meanwhile the majority of the British population, including well-intentioned, well-informed librarians will be very badly affected. The Kensal Rise library in NW London was opened by Mark Twain in 1900. It is evidently going to shut. Somerset is proposing to close 20 of its 34 libraries. Yet last year 300 million books were taken out on loan. At least they are not proposing to burn the books ...... yet.
I read that Sir Philip Green’s company Arcadia (of Top Shop etc fame) is in his wife Tina’s name. She is a (S.African) Monaco resident. If she were a British resident, there would be £285 million to pay in British taxes. That might help keep a few British libraries afloat!
In 2005 hubby paid Tina a dividend of £1.2 billion. This huge dividend was paid for by a loan taken out by Arcadia, therefore cutting their corporate tax, as interest charges on the loan were offset against Arcadia’s profits.
Does that sound legal to you? Merde et double merde.
The interest charged on our Barclaycard is crippling. They charge 19.25% which means on a measily couple of grand it will take us about 3 years to pay the fucker off. Yet the interest on our savings got slashed in half during the financial crises. Why didn’t the interest on our Barclaycard get slashed in half? Why are the Sir Philip Greens of the world still living like paid-up Roman emperors while libraries are being closed? What will happen to those buildings? What will happen to those books, computers, librarians? Has all this actually been thought through?
Got an email from Stephen O’R today. He and the wife are happily watching the films up for Oscars. His favourite is The Fighter, her's is the Cohen Brothers' True Grit. To me, that is the ideal way to spend a winter. My idea of heaven. They of course are in the middle of summer.
There’s always a catch, huh.
Evidently it is going to be 13 degrees here tomorrow afternoon. I think we’ll wheel the table tennis round from its winter hide-away. Roger’s been on those heavy–duty throat infection pills since Tuesday, still, I bet he can whack a ball around. Then in the evening, if he is really better, we are going to a goodbye at La Gavotte for Alain and Bene . Evidently the new owner is happy to hang onto the music angle and scene ouverte will live on. Sadly Dottie has bronchitis and won’t be singing. These germs have no respect.
Meanwhile Richard and Gay have set off on their travels again and hopefully we’ll have some news from them on what’s going down in Thailand these days.
A la prochaine, Joselyn Morton
The power of today’s date 1/1/11 is the only reason that I am making a posting. It is irresistible. If it were just any old number, I would carry on in my customary slothful way (taking wood out of the woodpile where I stacked it a few months ago, loading up the wheelbarrow and leaving it for Roger to slice with his electric saw. Something I could never do because the very sound of the saw makes me feel quite wobbly.)
Beyond stoking the fire, I am not being particularly useful. I carry on mending an antique patchwork quilt. I think I have been mending it for 15 years now. No one could accuse me of being ‘fast’. I only do it when I’m watching television.
Right now Roger and I are addicted to watching Breaking Bad. The Executive Producer is Mark Johnston, who I worked with years ago. He is a lovely guy so it’s great to see he is still making cutting edge stuff. One of the leads is Bryan Cranston (who played the Dad in Malcolm in the Middle. ) In this he plays a brilliant scientist who ended up teaching science in a High School. When he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he decides to make crystal meths so he can leave some money to support his family (his wife is pregnant with their second child, their first child has cerebral palsy.) He teams up with a young druggie drop-out (who he failed in his science class some years previously.)
It’s great. It was on French television around midnight on a Saturday night until, without warning, they stopped showing it .... in the middle of a series. Fortunately we found it on ‘surf the channel’. Luckily this is ‘streaming’ not ‘downloading’ or Sarkozy could throw us in jail. (The thin moral line between ‘downloading’ and videoing a programme because you are going out, still escapes me.)
Roger’s painful sore throat has allowed us a very lazy festive season. We play scrabble and eat our way through the tin of Cadbury’s Roses which Daren gave us. I applaud that the lousy 2010 is over and I hope, daydream and fantasize that 2011 will be more fruitful and that we will maybe even get that trickle of income happening.
UK Pensions rang back on New Year’s Eve I was quite impressed by that. Looks like we are going to pay them a chunk of money so we can get a snippet of pension every month ... Falling through the cracks was never rated to be much.
VAT has gone up in the UK. People on low incomes will be hit hard. There is a connection between poverty and violence. A violent society is not desirable for rich or poor.
When we’re talking about rich people and tax avoidance we are not talking about clever and talented friends who have done well, we are talking about large companies. Have you seen the action aid ad ‘ Schtop premium taste, premium tax dodging’?
I also think UK Uncut protestors will be a force to be reckoned with in 2011. They have been using Twitter to mobilise action against tax dodging businesses. This was in response to George Osborne’s plans for £83 billion public spending cuts. Sir Philip Green is a retail billionaire whose shops they have targeted (Top Shop, Burtons. Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge). I believe they began in a small way by targeting a Vodafone shop in Oxford Street. Since then many shops have been occupied. A simple fact that emphasises why this action is needed is that “ 15 times more money is lost to tax avoidance at the top than is lost by benefit fraud at the bottom”. It would be good to get rid of both lots of fraud, then maybe Britain could function successfully.
On a lighter note, a dear friend so likes the cafe/delicatessen La Botteca in Lower Sloane Street, she has managed to buy herself a flat in the same street. How addictive is caffeine?
The French actor Robin Renucci is in a series called Un village francais on France 3 tomorrow night. I must have a look. Christian took me to see him in Sacha Guitry’s play Désiré in Bergerac, a few weeks ago. He was very good, the production was very slick and the full-house adored it. I found the subject matter rather thin, in these depressing economic times. (A politician has a mistress who he will never marry and she meanwhile bats off other less sociallywell-placed suitors because she is confident that eventually her politician will marry her.)
We were beautifully indulged on Xmas day with all the trimmings and home comforts by our old friend, D While the UK struggled under layers of snow, here in the Dordogne we escaped with a slight dusting. In fact yesterday, it was 13 degrees and there were people playing tennis on some nearby courts. Extraordinary. We watch the flooding in Queensland, Australia with horror. I so wish ‘climate change’ had been the environmental issue from the onset (not the much-maligned phrase ‘global warming’ ) Journalist George Monbiot explains it much more succinctly than I ever could.
I haven’t yet re-designed my blog. It is still driving me crazy – changes poems to prose with double-line spacing.
Nevertheless I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2011. May the year bring us something to laugh about.
Joselyn Morton
Flash mob: Joselyn Morton
Truth: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Before: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Plum Trees: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Afghnistan: Mr Mwezi
Photos: Roger Morton
Murray Head in Bergerac
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Arachnoiditis: Stephen O’R
Arab Dhows: Stephen O’Rourke
Cuzzie Hannah
Cover shot: Roger Morton
18 December 2010-12-18
We have a new hero. It has been a while. He is 39, single, Australian and his speciality is revealing the truth about what is going on around the world via his organisation, Wikileaks. He concentrates on truth that is usually being hidden by governments or armed forces. Julian Assange has just been released on bail after 7 days solitary confinement in Oscar Wilde’s old cell in Wandsworth prison. There were two charges of sexual assault . The women in question wanted him either to wear a condom or else they wanted to be awake for the Wikileak encounter. Popular opinion seems to agree these charges are trumped up and not at all what we equate with sexy Swedish women. Everybody knows it is the US Government that is after him and wants to extradict him, so what have they got on the Swedish government or what are they offering the Swedes in return for Julian Assange?
Meanwhile Assange’s revelations are serious. The US government finds them so dangerous they have already locked up 23 year old Bradley Manning for a total of 52 years. He is a soldier who leaked documents about what was happening in Iraq.
Already Assange has strong support – the level-headed owner of the Frontline press club, Vaughan Smith, John Pilger, Jemima Khan, Bianca Jagger .. it is an illustrious list.
His arrest followed on from the student protests. Just as well the snow fell and Xmas loomed because civil unrest was beginning to look like a December possibility. The police lost a lot of points when they tipped a student out of his wheel chair. Suffering from cerebral palsy, this young man, Jodie McIntyre was an eloquent and intelligent speaker. We were moved to tears by his sincerity. I bet the police wish they had never gone near him as he expressed concern for the real victim – the young student who needed brain surgery after being hit from behind by a policeman’s truncheon.
Meanwhile Halliburton’s name did not get mentioned in the BP finale let alone anyone getting slammed in the clink.
As of today, the weather takes precedence in the news. All the main airports in Britain are already closed. Hundreds of motorists are stranded on British motorways. Lorries jack-knifing seem to be a fact of life. We nearly missed our ferry from Dover on 12th December because a lorry had jack-knifed on the M25. When are they going to be outlawed and goods sent instead by train or better still people eat seasonal food and stop all this crazy transporting?
We had a great time in the UK. Apart from the week where we were officially ‘babysitting’ we didn’t make plans, just went with the flow. Luckily our friends flow in fine directions, so Mary took us to the Opening night of The End of the Rainbow – Tracie Bennet was magnificent. So funny, so tragic and such a spot-on lush and alkie. Hilton McRae was also great as her pianist – who so adored her and cared about her, he was prepared to go straight.
We enjoyed the recording of the Now show – but it could never eclipse News Quiz. I can now recommend Monday night on the Comedy Club boat (Tattershall Castle)at the embankment. A couple of the stand-ups, including Terry Alderton decided to ‘take’ Roger on and to all our delight, Roger gave as good as he got.
We had a grand lunch at Ivy (thank you cuzzie F-A for making that happen.) Fred, Mitch and us had not been so spoilt for quite some time. My iced honeycomb parfait was heavenly. In fact, it was all great – a wander round the newly refurbished Ashmolean with Anna, granddaughter and friends from Andernos; a flying visit to Brighton where we gazed awestruck at the Chinese slanted decor of the Pavillion and blagged a kiddies’ lunch at a cafe on the beach. With Fred’s advice, I explored Muswell Hill shops but I’ve become a pathetic shopper now I don’t have an income, so shops are more like torture chambers. D lent us her card and we saw the Gauguin exhibition and I was saddened by the unhappy Polynesian faces Though I did like the pink he liberally splashed on his canvases. We had nice family dinners and visits and of course there was never enough time. Don’t know when we’ll do it again. Definitely not in winter weather.
Our pal Bill and his many kids fly to Sweden tomorrow. Will the plane take off? They have been booked for weeks. I hope they make it as Bill is a great garner of information and is sure to come back with the hot goss on the Swedes.
That would compensate for the foibles of my new laptop which is frankly driving me crazy. It won’t do anything I want it do. It seems to be conspiring with my blog to fuck me up all ways. I may therefore not do another posting before the New Year.
I did go to the Healing Centre with V the day after we got back. Cancer is such a disrespectful attacker, one may as well hit it with every weapon available. Was worried about our car and sure enough it needs a new cylinder head. Luckily it is still under guarantee .
I’m sure I’ve missed out some world-shaking events but we need to eat. I must throw together some food. Roger is pulling his weight by constantly feeding the log-burning fire. I am inclined to believe that its feature of ‘burning twice’ is a clever marketing ploy – it is hoovering through our stack of winter wood like a starving teenager.
So, keep warm and have a fun Xmas and a Happy New Year and I hope 2011 is a year that we all love. It could be one where big decisions have to be taken on a global scale. Margaret Attwood gave a succinct example of where we all are at the moment.
‘Put an amoeba in a test tube at midday. It divides in two every minute. By midnight the test tube was full. At what time was it half-full?’
This of course is an allegory for what is happening with our planet’s resources. The answer is not 6 o’clock or 10 o’clock but in fact one minute before midnight!
That’s how close we could be to things getting really bunged up – so it is time for us to take notice of Julian Assange, Jodie McIntyre, Bradley Manning. We all need to know the whole story.
And a warm winter to all of you (and to friends down under – send us some pics) Joselyn Morton

Stephen O'Rourke's Bali
Mr Mwezi's Afghanistan
Ripping out: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Harvest time: Joselyn Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Mr Mwezi

5 November 2010
On the home-front, this has been a satisfying week. Roger finished tiling the piece of roof we were renewing. Therefore my heart is no longer in my mouth (an untenable situation with all those teeth of mine.) I am no longer grubbing about in the immense piles of old tiles we have stacked in ugly heaps. I don’t care if I never touch another tile in all my born days. I am so happy that I am not finding ‘good’ ones, carrying them, cleaning the fuckers and putting five of them in a bucket for Roger to haul onto the roof. I am just so happy that I never got hurt and that Roger never fell off the roof. Plus the result looks good. It takes a lot of shabbiness away and gives the old house a bit of dignity. And thank god it’s bloody finished.
Second achievement was the new expensive (i.e. exorbitant) wood burner is no longer billowing out smoke into the sitting room (although its delinquent behaviour has already darkened the ceiling. Merde,) neither is it caking its glass door black. In fact, it has turned the old farmhouse into a cosy warm house. Last night we had 8 friends over to play backgammon and to my astonishment, various people kept opening the front door to let in some cool air. Incroyable. And never happened here before.
Thirdly we have a new grandchild on the way. How lovely is that? This of course, puts everything else well in the shade.
Consequently we have booked our ferry crossing for Friday 12th Nov. I realise this is my blog posting day but since my ‘big lapse’ I’m just going with the flow. November 11th is un jour ferie at which every little French village remembers their dead from the First World War. The ceremonies in the damp November mornings are still very moving all these years later. Chilling to hear “mort pour la France” as each name is read out. I know it is stupid (particularly as the 33Chilean miners were rescued on the 13th October) but I don’t care to travel on the thirteenth, which is why we are going on the twelfth (even though it is my blog posting day).
On a wider perspective, it would appear that Barack Obama got thrashed in the mid-term elections. However, it would seem that this is a pattern in American elections. I’m sorry that Nancy Pelosi is no longer Leader of the House – as I stated last week, she seemed to have a handle on things.
Meanwhile I think everybody the world over needs to take a page out of Rabbi Arik Ascherman’s book and do some Tikkun Olam. This translates as ‘repairing the world’.
Today, I saw some footage on France 2 of some French nuns. Am I the only one who thinks that their head gear strongly resembles that of Muslim women?
And on a very positive note, my darling cousin F-A emailed that her Italian neighbours make a fine beverage out of their walnuts by adding sugar and alcohol. It’s called nocino. That is now definitely on my list for a new acquired skill. I shall carry on stooping and doing the back-breaking bending for those wayward walnuts with a renewed fervour.
Salut, surtout bonne santé, Joselyn Morton
ps: I seem to have filled up my blog and so Mary's Radio 7 piece has ended up on 'older blogs also Mr Mwezi's credit for his lovely photo of Afghanistan children that I have used on the cover ... will try and resolve this!
pps resolved this, after a fashion. I have to re-think the design of my blog. It would seem that I've filled it up...

Mr Mwezi's Afghanistan
Stephen O'R's Sydney
Roger Morton's Photos
The Storm Joselyn Duffy
BBC Radio 7 Mary Kalemkerian

October 25, 2010
Although life has been just as precarious as ever, my blog did a ‘no show’ for weeks. Initially this was due to my 8-year old lap-top giving up the ghost. This was followed by some intense weeks of kvetching re replacing it. These days the notion of spending chunks of money sends me into a financial paralysis somewhat akin to throwing myself off a cliff without a parachute. My nerve ends are exposed and flapping in the wind. Finally the thing was bought and then I had to learn to master it.
During this time, my resolve weakened and I skived off to various fun happenings - races round the remparts in Angouleme , the beach and other social delights. Plus there were apple, figs, walnuts and firewood all demanding attention. There was also Roger re-building the roof and needing assistance from his cak-handed wife.
Finally there were a few firm-minded readers of my blog who protested at its absence and who convinced me I should continue. Susceptible to praise (which I took it to be) I shall cobble something together ... though there may be a wobble or two.
Historic legislation in terms of health care is already Barack Obama's legacy. Because of that he made a healthy impact on the Federal budget. Trillions were saved from the waste, fraud and abuse in the system in order to fund the Health Bill.
He has already created 4 million jobs - this is without any Republican support ... I watched a TV interview with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives. I found her very sympathetic. Already the bankers have paid back 29 billion and the Government has practices in place which means that the rest of the money that was given to the banks to bail them out, will eventually come back to the people.
However, as I understand it, this is not the case in the UK. Their banks were also bailed out but there are no controls in place to make them pay this money back.
A way to solve the present financial crises would be to tax the International bank transactions and use that money instead of raking money from the under-privileged by cutting housing benefits. The Press are having a field day anticipating and talking about 'ethnic cleansing'. Does life have to be this grim?
A proposed Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on bankers that would raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad. The people behind this are impressive, they include philanthropist George Soros and economist Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz.How many families are on benefits? Poverty does breed violence. Can Britain afford to get any more violent?
'Create jobs and be fiscally sound' is what Nancy wants. Sounds good to me. She also wants to act on the Climate Issue. Bravo. Brave lady. She supports private and public sectors coming together in order to encourage the market forces. She feels the erosion of the American private economy by cheap foreign imports has to stop.
“Where are the jobs for our forces when they come back from Afghanistan and Iraq ?” She is very impressive. And practical. And extremely personable. Maybe it's a 'Grannys rule' thing happening. Grannys are accustomed to watching out for everyone whilst planning and cooking a family banquet and kicking up their heels and rocking to the beat.
Don't forget this generation of Grannys were the first teenagers, the first rock'n'rollers, the first to take the contraceptive pill, the first feminists (apart from those arrow-toting Amazons) the first to burn their bras, the first to coin the term 'toy-boy' (though as far as we can tell mature ladies in the olden days had it off with many a pretty Tom, Dick and Harry.)
Today’s Grannys were also the first to hold down full-time professional jobs as well as running a family (not counting the generations of darling peasant women who worked all hours to do whatever was necessary to keep the family afloat.) So ‘go Grannys go’
No country can create a strong economy without co-operating with corporates. These should be canny companies who want to make worthwhile products, not shonky throw-aways with the life-span of a lab-rat .The future of Green technology is one that we hope will pay dividends for everyone.
Meanwhile here in France, strikes prevail over the raising of the pension age from 60 to 62. I sympathise even though we ourselves have no pensions (and no ‘it was not our choice’ UK Inland Revenue have lost Roger’s freelance N.I. contribution records.) Of course, if one has an interesting, absorbing job one might want to continue ad infinitum but for those people .who have worked continuously for 40 years in what might be loosely described as a dreary job - they want their pension. There are also 12 French oil refineries blockaded. It is not a straight-forward situation.
Even in NZ, there are strikes – actors have tried to get Lord of the Rings director, Sir Peter Jackson to pay decent rates. He has refused. The NZ public, the wanna-be-elves and hobbits are very much on the side of Sir Peter Jackson.
There is an outbreak of cholera in Haiti. The death toll is mounting. The people there do not deserve that after what they went through with the earthquake in January.
There has been some good news. The news that delighted everyone around the world was that the 33 miners in Chile were rescued. That’s the kind of news that we need. Why does there have to be so much death and destruction? If only our thousands of years of education would lead the movers and shakers to set up more stories with happy endings.
Young grumpy footballers don’t need to be paid £1mill per month. It’s obscene when poverty is the cause of so many problems. Rich ENRC mining giant billionaire businessmen don’t need bottles of wine costing $1,500 on board the 400ft yacht Savarona. I wonder if he ever gave a second thought for the trapped miners?
Right now world problems are not insurmountable. What it needs is like-minded people regardless of race or religion to form some kind of alliance to tackle them. I don’t know if face-book is quite up to the task. Maybe face, body and an arm and a leg or two.
Keep smiling. I’m trying, Joselyn Morton
summer pics: Anders Ford
Stephen O'R's Sydney: the elections
Quinze aout: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Free Edinburgh fringe: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton

Friday 20 August, 2010
Today, I need to post in the daytime instead of my usual meandering on through the night and into the small hours if need-be because we are off to Chez Camille’s for a party. As they are party-throwers par excellence, in honour of the occasion, the temperatures have risen and the sky has lost its dull grey pallor and is a blazing blue.
Our grandson is over there helping and has phoned with instructions on what clean clothes to bring him, so we can’t be late. (The grandson also comes from a long line of party-endowed genes. He is in his element arranging a party or being at one.)
Stephen O’R cheered me up after I wrote to him that “we have a veritable legion of undone tasks to occupy us” He replied “Remember all tasks are 'undone'. Just think about all the ones you have finished.”
That was very consoling because I have got through a lot of stuff in the past, it is just that ‘now’ seems a bit of a desert except for all the crap that needs doing (and still not a paid job in sight). I finally decided I should check out ‘monetise’ on my blog. It appears that after all these months of Google ads being placed on my blog, I have earned the princely sum of $3. Only sums over $70 gets paid into one’s bank account and this is paid at the end of the month after one reaches this huge amount.
I was pleasantly astonished to get a comment from John Wilcock as he is one of the co-founders of Village Voice. His book The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol has just been reissued. (I read somewhere that he is presently the darling of the American intelligentsia.) I am so curious as to how he came across my blog. As his comment came after my piece on Claudia Ward’s play Ferry Lights, it is timely for me to remind everyone to go and see it at the Dogstar in Brixton, London. It is opening Tuesday 24 August for 3 nights only
The big, pumped-up news this week is probably that US combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq. As 50,000 troops still remain there and as there could be a possibility that private security firms will be replacing the troops that have been withdrawn, I can’t feel too jubilant. Nevertheless, troops being taken out is better than more troops being sent in there. Nonetheless the mess that is Iraq and Afghanistan still fills me with despair. Coupled with that I have started reading Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine which our grandson brought down with him for the summer. By co-incidence I saw some news footage of her and so I have a clear image of her intelligent, attractive face as I read her book. The first few chapters have been a shocking indictment of the damage inflicted by the CIA in South America in the 60s and 70s as they followed the economic doctrines of Milton Friedman. It is hard to believe the facts. They are so outrageous. Torture is so evil. How can people do this to one another?
On a happier note, the other day it was Elvis’ birthday (or deathday) and Arte ran programmes on him from 10am till 2am. This line from one of the songs that he sang stuck in my mind ‘ I’m like a one-eyed cat peeping in the seafood store. I could look at you till you ain’t a child no more.’
I watched some coverage on the funeral on Scottish Trade Unionist and communist Jimmy Reid. I need to find out more about him. He saved 6,000 jobs at the Glasgow shipyards and was appointed Rector of Glasgow University. My grandmother’s family were boat builders in Fife and her brother started Miller and Tunnage boatbuilders in Dunedin, NZ . Maybe that’s where I got my love of the sea from. Meanwhile I’ve swapped seagulls cries for the sound of cows and tractors.
Right must go … can’t be late. Enjoy your summer.
Joselyn Morton

Claudia Ward: Joselyn Morton
Pleased by the mouse: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Edinburgh Fringe
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Roger Morton

Fruday 13th August 2010
This week is like this year’s veggie garden – thin pickings. Nothing has zoomed in from Stephen O’R in Sydney. Hope he is ok. He must be pleased to no longer be in China while these terrible floods are going on. One hopes the flooding in Pakistan will stop soon. It’s appalling. As are the fires in Russia as they creep ever closer to a nuclear plant. The temperatures there are 47 degrees, while in the UK, they are around 13. Something doesn’t add up. Then of course, today is Friday the 13th.
Meanwhile culture, in the form of theatre is trying to raise the tone – our friend Vivienne is rehearsing for a play down in Esperaza, Steven Berkoff has opened Biblical Tales at New End Theatre, Hampstead ( the Independent gave him a Philistine review – I think they were accusing him of being ‘Berkoffian’) and darling Claudia has written Ferry Lights. This opens on Tuesday 24 August at The Dogstar, Brixton at 7.30pm
The Liliane Bettencourt scandal continues. All sorts of figures are banded about. How’s this for starters? She lives on the interest of her billions. This is estimated at 34 million euros a month (approximately 25,350 times the French monthly minimum wage). Some people might bare-facedly say “if you’ve got it , flaunt it.” However, strong rumours of tax avoidance are being banded about. Strong enough, it is said, to bring down the Government.
Therefore it may not be the most advantageous moment for Sarkozy to bring into being the very unpopular Creation and Internet law controlled by la Haute Autorite pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des droits sur Internet (HADOPI – I imagine it might get shortened again to ‘dopey’)
This new body has the right to monitor your internet connection in case you are downloading or filesharing copyrighted material such as music, video or software. It could impact badly on Gite owners because the owner will be penalized (not the person renting the gite who could well have time on their hands and be downloading illegally… not the grandchildren or the grandchildren’s friends!) So having cheered the onset of Wi-Fi, it is possible it could have an Achilles heel.
Of course it is Draconian and Big-Brotherish.
It seems that the copyright owners will contact you via HADOPI. They tell you the time the offence occurred but not what the offence was (Der) Then your internet service provider ISP (alice adsl etc) will monitor your connection (is that ‘spy on your emails’ by any chance?)
If another offence occurs in the next 6 months, you get contacted again and if you are suspected of continuing to download wot you shouldn’t then the ISP is required to suspend your internet connection from between 2 months to one year. This third step can also lead to you being blacklisted so that other ISP won’t provide. Then you have to try and cancel your subscription.
Tricky doesn’t cover it.
What a quagmire. Life is complicated enough without all that crap. Evidently these powers started in July. However there has been a constitutional challenge and things have stalled for the moment… As we know, not a lot happens in August.
Before our grandson's friends left on Wednesday, Camille and her friends came over. Nice to be amongst a crowd of young people who are living life to the full, like what they are studying and are enthusiastic about all the various careers they might take up.
Our neighbour J dropped by today. He worked on oil rigs for years and had many nail-biting tales to tell. Crashing into the sea from a helicopter then being stuck in a rubber boat for hours in temperatures of 2 degrees; the man beside him having to have a leg amputatated. On another occasion, he saw the pilot in a worrying position as a spider the size of an oil-rigger’s fist tried to take the controls. I realised there are varying degrees of ‘all extremely precarious’.
However when 10 aid workers get murdered in Afghanistan, I think the moment has come for world leaders (and that includes leaders in Afghanistan) to try and protect innocent people. One of the ten, Dr Karen Woo was on her way to a remote area to set up mother and baby clinics.Her death is such a shameful waste. Such a tragedy.
So, an entire year has passed since I attempted to start an international news blog. I’m still not happy with the design. I still can’t set out the pages how I want to and coming from a magazine background that is extremely frustrating. However, I never sit down and struggle with it because I don’t have enough time. Mostly the house is a tip and the garden is bordering on unkempt…so I can’t sit wrestling with an unwilling design layout on my blog.
Design issues apart, I’m pleased I attempted it. I think there has been a fascinating bunch of contributors involved and the content from them has been far-reaching and intriguing, so for the moment, I shall keep on keeping on. Meanwhile Happy 1st Birthday Allextremelyprecarious …
Joselyn Morton
Contents 6 August, 2010:
Guy Denning: Joselyn Morton
Local Vernissages: R & J Morton
Gypsies in France
Hummingbird hawk-moth: Angus Hogg
The neighbour's pool: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Stephen O'R's Sydney
Cover: Roger Morton
Friday 6th August 2010
Have just typed a poem (The Neighbour's Pool) I scribbled on 29 July, not that long ago, but could be decades because then I was happy. On Sunday, I decided to take a stall at the Champagne-Fontaine vide grenier. Quelle erreur, what a mistake. It involved getting up at 5.30am, so I could go in convoy with the French neighbours. That wasn’t too bad. Do-able. But it all fell apart when the l’orage struck. Everybody around whipped out large tarpaulins. I didn’t even have a brolly. The day before (and the days before that) the sky had been clear and cloudless and the sun too hot to be in.
So the neighbours and their small children and I bundled up our drenched stuff as the heavens dumped torrents of rain. Soon we were back home – my attempt at helping the dwindling family finances in wet disarray. My goal was to put something towards the hundreds of euros needed (this afternoon) for the car and household insurances. I was way off the mark. Since then depression has settled on my psyche like a mouldering fog. I remind myself of the horrendous heat-induced fires in Russia, the dreadful floods in Pakistan and still I haven’t been able to shake off the blues.
Although they have been alternated with various interesting social encounters. These included us being unexpectedly brought huitres, clafoutis and ‘le croquant et le fondant des amandes et pignons torrefies trempes dans un grand cru chocolate noir’ from Andernos-les-Bains by the very charming and amusing Jacques and Maggie. I certainly felt unworthy of such delights, such was the precariousness of my low mood.
I then did a day on the grubber, spade and hand trowel demolishing roots of ivy and nettles down the sides of the two walls that Roger is rebuilding. That gave me a small sense of satisfaction which was tinged with the seeds of doubt that they will be back. If only we could make money as fast as our so-called garden makes weeds.
Anyway I can’t wallow any more, I’ve got to get going … pick more plums to squeeze into our deep-freeze, plant out plants that must be longing to get out of the plastic container and into the ground, mow down the dandelions (the grass has given up the ghost).
I hope that my joie de vivre will be back by next Friday but if not, I may do what Telerama has done this week and post a numero double (deux semaines). In the meantime, have a great August
Joselyn Morton
ps and for those of you who have the dosh to do it, buy a piece of art. I’m sure you can get it couriered home, if you can’t stuff it in your luggage.
Contents July 30, 2010
Cover: Roger Morton
BP Oil Spill
Roger Morton images
Butterflies' Wings Joselyn Duffy Morton
Art Show 10: J & R Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Stephen O'R's Sydney

July 30, 2010
It’s nearly midnight. The magic hour. It’s been another great summer day but I’m flagging.and yearning for bed. Soon, soon, soon. The BP oil spill still dominates the news. The repercussions on wild life and marine life are immense.
Conversely our garden and the neighbouring fields are full of healthy noisy birds. I’m intrigued that they keep to themselves as they do when the sky in which they fly appears to have so few boundaries. Today I saw footage on TV of a baby donkey/zebra. It had the body of a donkey with zebra-striped legs. Very fetching and makes me more than ever curious as to why birds are so parochial.
This week, in response to being lent an old CD player (because ours is kaput) I organized all our CDs. Rog put shelves in a cupboard and there they are, all arranged in rows. Just how I like them. Tres bien.
Roger also photographed the 2nd litter of baby swallows before they left the nest. One day, there they were, all five of them squashed into a nest the size of my closed fist. Not moving, hardly breathing, just sitting there staring straight ahead hour after hour. The next day they were flying. Not learning to fly but flying – swooping, swerving, high, high in the air, never missing a beat, graceful and effortless. How does that happen? Baby people take a lot of swaggering and toppling before they master the art of walking. Flying seems much more difficult and much more wonderful. I’d rather learn to fly like a bird than spend millions knocking the shit out of my body to go up in space in an spacecraft to visit another planet. But those little flying baby birds are something else. Epoustouflant!
Some of you may have been wondering after reading last week’s posting who the guy was in little old New Zealnd who could afford to install a Richard Serre, an Anish Kapoor and an Andy Goldsworthy. No small change any of them. According to Wikipedia, Alan Gibbs is a businessman, an entrepreneur and an arts patron. He has done exceedingly well. In the 60s, he imported electrical appliances. (How many toasters and washing machines can a country sustain with 4 million inhabitants?) By the 80s he was running a merchant bank and privatising Telecom. I guess it was all uphill from then on. Anyway overseas artists must love him. Hopefully he patronizes local NZ artists as well (but judging by film directors I have worked with in the past, it is not always the case. A lot of good NZ actors got used as wallpaper.)
There’s talk at the moment,regarding British soldiers not being properly equipped to fight. I’m anti-war but I think it s shameful to send soldiers to fight without the right gear. Especially as many soldiers come from the lower socio-economic groups. It’s not fair. It’s shameful. I am sure businessmen wouldn’t venture into the City if they weren’t kitted out in the right gear. The sooner the whole farce is stopped the better. How many centuries do men have to carry on fighting? It’s barbaric.
I’ve just been watching a Nestor Productions doc on Tahitian dancing. It’s intoxicating and mesmerisingly sexy. Everywhere one looked there were vivid splashes of colour – on the walls, cushions, on the fabric of their clothes on the flowers in their hair. Impossible to be grumpy in amongst all that. Dancing is definitely one of our big achievements. Nearly as good as flying. Or sleeping …. very appealing Joselyn Morton

Contents 23 July 2010
Shanghai Film Festival: Stephen O'Rourke
North with Bill McAlister
Maybe He Should have Called it Duffy: Joselyn Duffy Morton
NZ Sculptures: Tonia Matthews
Remembering Peter Sellars: Mary Kalemkerian
23 July 2010
There has been terrible floods in China and tempestuous weather here in the Dordogne. As this included rain for our parched potager we didn’t mind at all. We are lucky that we have a well and a sturdy pump, so we have been able to water the flowers and vegetables every day. I keep meaning to get the well water tested and see if we can drink it. We are surrounded by agriculturists, so there could be indiscriminate pesticides leaking into our water table. On the other hand, it could be perfectly fine and my suspicions could be completely unfounded. When I stayed at Esperaza with Vivienne recently, we drove about 10k to a natural spring at Alet-les-Bains where we filled up loads of bottles. This was our drinking water over the next week or so.
Last weekend we bought some wine from a Bordeaux wine grower and he carefully explained the consistency of his terroir and when we asked him if he thought this summer would produce a good wine he replied that since quinze aout 1997 he never says he’s having a good year. That year it had been a great summer and then on the`15th August, there was a terrible rain and hail and all the red was ruined - it had been so dry that the grapes greedily sucked up the moisture and then they exploded. However the white was concentrated and sweet. It was excellent.
There is so much to know about making wine, it is terrifying to contemplate. Sometimes I look at our sloping uncultivated field and wish it were covered in vines and then I try to imagine the amount of work that would entail – we are already so behind with everything. Roger, with grandson Mitch’s help has just begun rebuilding the end of the house where the roof got left undone by us about 28 years ago. Extraordinary how the years whizz by. We are the slowest people we know.
Last week I included an email from Stephen O’Rourke roughly touching on his visit to the Film Festival in Shanghai. That was just a taster. This week, he managed to email me a more detailed account of what it was like.
Our mate Bill McA visited the borders this weekend. He sent a few pics but no words. Luckily the images themselves contain a few clues. Earlier in the week we watched an Aljazeerah documentary on Vietnamese children who have sustained horrendous injuries as a result of Agent Orange. Although Agent Orange was dropped in the 60s during the Vietnam War, the water table is still contaminated fifty years later. Children are still being born with unbelievable deformities. This was filmed in South Vietnam. The American Government still refuses to accept responsibility even though the proof is irrefutable.
I didn’t manage to catch the credits. I think I was crying.
Yes ‘change’ would be a good thing. Bien a vous, Joselyn Morton
Impromptu treat: J & R Morton
Alan & Ray: Mary Kalemkerian
The Church: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Sunsets: Roger Morton
St Privat: J & R Morton
L'Atelier Mouche: J & R Morton
Stephen O'Rourke's Sydney (or Shanghai)
Cover: Roger Morton
July 16, 2010
I love summer. I am unstinting in my love for it. It can’t happen often enough. Therefore my posting a blog at all in those long, hot idyllic days is nothing short of a miracle. So if this editorial is light on substance ie if it seems positively lightweight – blame it on the sunshine. My inclination is to lie down on the mattress I have laid out under the old iron frame, now entwined with an old-fashioned tea rose, honeysuckle, runner beans and a reluctant grape vine that I am coaxing along.
I need a new hammock, the present one is badly torn. Sad because there is nothing more restful than lying in a hammock. – however the mattress is a good substitute.
This means I have not been taking that much notice of what’s been going on in the big bad world. I’ve just been enjoying the summer sunshine. I’ve also been reading Howard Marks autobiography Mr Nice, which our grandson brought down. Holy mother of hell (and that’s only after the first few chapters). He mentions so many places and people that are familiar. And it was our era. The seventies. The eighties. Was everyone dealing drugs? Was I the only sweet young Mum while the rest of London was either smoking hashish or smuggling it in. Just as well I didn’t go to Oxford and meet all those dodgy dudes.
On a different note, Keith sent me a link for the Nicolas Brothers. Here it is.
They are simply divine.
I guess the biggest news in France, is the scandal that Nicolas Sarkozy is still attempting to divert away from himself. The fall-guy appears to be his Treasurer Eric Woerth. Monsieur Woerth’s wife has or had a job in the company which manages the Bettencourt fortune. He now intends to resign. It would seem that tax evasion is the other nasty element being made public. It seems particularly galling in these hard times that a billionaire such as Liliane Bettencourt. Evidently the richest person in France, can’t just pay her taxes. She wouldn’t even notice. For the ordinary Joe, it’s a big chunk of what they earn, for a billionaire, it is do-able.
So chill out and enjoy … Joselyn Morton
Contents 10 July, 2010
Shanghai: Stephen O'Rourke
Chateau de Tinteillac: R& J Morton
Bexhill Art Centre: Bill McAlister
The Game: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Alan Plater: Mary Kelemkerian
Stephen O'R's Sydney
World Cup in South Africa: Richard French
Cover: Roger Morton
July 10, 2010
Apologies. Mitch and his 3 friends came to stay and the blog got the elbow. Then it got hot and my resolve melted. However enough people have mentioned my blog to me that I determined to keep going, over-heated or not (or as the returning Kiwi servicemen used to say during the 2nd WW about the Americans stationed in NZ “over-sexed, over-paid and over here” which was shortly before they gave them a hiding for plying their womenfolk with chocolates, nylons and romance.)
But I digress.
Right now, vernissages are de rigueur. I loved the one at Château de Tinteillac. We used to go there when it was a hotel and organic restaurant. In total, we had 3 extraordinary meals. The first was when Bill brought down the precious Dante Leonelli and the lovely Australian writer Robyn Davidson (who wrote about riding camels through Oz and India). Even though it was October, she slept outside under the stars. The second meal there was Fenella’s fortieth birthday where the large table was strewn with roses and the meal was the essence of romance. The third and last was a bizarre family Boxing Day night dinner, at which a large fire blazed at each end of the dining room and our small table was all set to combust with its own fired-up circumstances and emotiions.
The couple who ran it were unique and I wish we could still go there for these extraordinary meals but I guess the next best thing is if it occasionally gets opened to the public.
Summertime in the Dordogne is of course wall-to-wall, back-to-back party time. The sun beams from a flawless blue sky and it becomes hard to remember that we were ever miserable in that long, cold winter that we struggled through.
Billie has just lent me a great book. Stanley Karnow’s Paris in the Fifties. It was published in 1997 by Three Rivers Press. Why have I never read it before? I could happily read it again. Right now.
There’s a suburb of Paris in the news right now – Neuilly-sur-Seine, where President Sarkozy was once mayor. It is also the home of L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. She is accused of donating large sums of money to Sarkozy’s political campaigns. In France, one is only allowed to donate 150e cash and 7,500e a year to campaign funds. The weekly Le Point magazine has an unsmiling Sarkozy on its July 8 cover with the huge headline ‘L’Ete Meurtrier’ and a smaller cover-line reads “Le recit de l’incroyable serie noire de Nicolas Sarkozy’
Will it bring him down?
The new British coalition government is all set to close dozens of schools. Will it bring them down?
They would have more money if they pulled out of the war in Afghanistan. It evidently costs US $7bn a month. I’m not sure how much it costs the UK but June 2010 has been the bloodiest month yet since the conflict began with 88 soldiers dead.
And for what?
The Twin Tower bombers did not originate in Afghanistan.
The international terrorist network, Al- Qaida, led by Usama bin Laden did not in originate in Afghanistan (who knows what the situation is now after all the hate generated by 9 years of killing).
Afghan people live in Afghanistan.
British people have no right to go into Afghanistan and kill people.
Sadly, they can’t even afford to.
Put it to the vote – schools for British children or killing Afghans in Afghanistan.
Shine on summer sun and remember that each and every one of us (billions and billions) of people can have an effect. So be true to yourselves … Joselyn Morton
Contents, 26 June 2010
Short-haired bumblebee: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 7 New Writers: Mary Kalemkerian
Stephen O'Rs Shanghai: Stephen O'Rouke
Cover: Roger Morton
Saturday June 26, 2010
Basking under blue skies. Relishing being chez nous for June although tinged with lashings of guilt for we should have been in Oxford for our granddaughter’s 1st birthday.
Am suffused with feelings of living in a parallel world called ‘you shouldn’t ought to be here, you ought to be there’.
So the best I can do is write Happy 1st Birthday, Freya
I wonder what happened at my first birthday? I have no idea and now there is no one around who can tell me. No one.
While I’m on the subject of birthdays, it would be very remiss of me not to wish our daughter Fred, Happy Birthday.
She has already realised that forever after her birthday is about to be over-shadowed by her niece, Freya’s. Intriguing. Stealing Fred’s thunder is not an easy task.
While I’m on ‘the family’ – we’ve just had a phone call from Ken in Sydney. The body is an amazing machine. Apart from the beard he looks amazingly the same. If bones can heal so fast, why are cancerous cells so hard to cure? There’s definitely something there that the scientists and medical researchers are missing.
This week has not been dull. I think the biggest news for me was that President Obama sacked General McChrystal for dissing him in an article in the Rolling Stone magazine. I love it. Here’s a guy who has been happily immersed in a darkened room filled with big screens. He’s been the button-pusher sending off the drones to kill American enemies. A fucked-up teenager’s dream job, I’d say. Of course he’d want to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone. (Hope this helps Dr Hook’s sales. I love Dr Hook … especially Sylvia’s Mother, Driving through Paris with the wild wind in my hair etc etc.)
The Rolling Stones owner and originator Jann Wenner is not Dr Hook’s (at the age of) 37 instead he is the Beatles celebrated age of(will you still love me, will you still need me when I’m…) 64.
What an amazing guy. I wonder if he has garnered any Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prizes? I certainly think he should get one for this issue. He started Rolling Stone in November 1967 with a $7,500 loan from his family. Nice family.
Ridding the world of a General who likes fighting definitely should put Jann Wenner in line for a Peace Prize.
I wonder what the people of Afghanistan think of Obama giving McChrystal the boot?
I wonder when any of the world leaders who are trying to balance their books are going to give war the flick.
If they did, they would have more than a little loose change to spend on health and education and creating employment. Meanwhile Governments around the world seem to be stuck on the notion if they make people work longer, they will save money by not giving them a pension. (This of course is only meant to inflict pain on lower working class people: a) they die younger cos of all the manual labour they have racked up over their working years – not including when they were too drunk to get to work of course. b) rich folk aren’t too bothered about pension age being raised because they retire when they feel like it and their pension money is just peanuts that wouldn’t make a scrap of difference to their daily lives but it has to be paid to the fabulously wealthy because it wouldn’t be fair if it wasn’t.)
I speak as someone whose pension is not being paid due to some crack in the system and whose lovely lovely work has dried up due to a load of daft decisions which I made voluntarily and without any Guantanamo Bay torture-induced tactics.
On a lighter note, there was the World Cup except it wasn’t all that light because the Big Guys fucked up. First there was France. I have not yet found out all the nitty gritty but I’m working on it. Main facts are that one French player, Nicolas Anelka, wouldn’t apologise for calling the coach Raymond ‘the son of a whore’. He therefore had to be sent home. All his team mates then refused to practice. Next they didn’t qualify for Round 2, so the whole team had to go home in disgrace.
At the last World Cup, even after Zindine Zidane head-butted the flappy, foul-mouthed Italian player for insulting his mother and sister during the game – when Zindine got home to dear old Paris, President Chirac still gave him a hero’s welcome.
This time, it seems the whole team and the coach are in the collective bad books.
Then Italy, the present World Champions failed to make it into the 2nd Round. Unheard off. You could have heard a pin drop or a sharp blade slip between the ribs and into the heart of Italian coach Marcello Lippi. I personally (and from of a vantage point of total ignorance) would blame the Italian goalie. He was all arms and legs (and a bit of hair-flicking) He should have been a windmill. He certainly didn’t know how to block goals. He could take a lesson or two from the NZ goalie Mark Paston, who was a powerhouse between the poles. Nothing could get past him. Just that one fateful goal which allowed the Italians to equalize. This bastard goal was given on a gold-plate by the Guatemalan referee who awarded a penalty to Italy for something that I (with my new over-priced bifocals) did not manage to see. All the NZ defence were removed from the goal mouth. The Italian kicker was given the ball inches from the goal post. All he had to do was wham it in.
What was that about? They say it was awarded after a slight shirt-tug by Tommy Smith on Daniel De Rossi. The afore-mentioned Daniel De Rossi then collapsed to the ground, long after his shirt had been tugged.
No international referee would award such a sure-cert penalty kick for such a little shirt-tug unless there was some back-story.
I think I have the answer. There is a long-running TV soap in NZ called Shortland Street and for many episodes when it first started, the punch line was “You’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata.”
This was in response to the lead character Dr Ropata (played by Temuera Morrison) making some high-handed, unorthodox medical move. Maybe this built up a feeling of intense hatred for NZ in the hills and valleys and city boundaries of Guatemala and Referee, Carlos Batres seized his moment to take his revenge.
Whatever. NZ did not make it to the 2nd round. However for a country of 4 million who have never before scored a goal in a World Cup, they did good. Who knows, soccer might even get some decent funding and sponsorship in NZ now.
It is now Saturday afternoon. Friday slipped away on me. Before I finish, I’ll just wish Dottie Happy Birthday – last of the June birthdays. But not the least. Bonne Anniversaire et bon weekend, tout le monde.
Joselyn Morton
Contents, June 18, 2010:
Trees only Move in the Wind: A Study of unaccompanied Afghan children in Europe: Christine Mougne
De Gaulle: Joselyn Morton
Steve O'Rouke's Shanghai:
Domaine Musical de Petignac: Joselyn Morton, Photos by Roger Morton
Sarkozy in Chelsea
Moulin de L'Abbaye: Joselyn Morton
Gaiety Girl Genes: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Young Winners: Mary Kalemkerian
Roger's ChCh Reply: Roger Morton
Cover: Roger Morton
Friday 18 June 2010
There has been torrential rain in the Var this week - 25 people have died and 14 more are still missing. The last time they had rain like this was in 1826. It has been devasting to see the tragedy unfold, people terrified and scared as they are rescued by the pompiers. Life can indeed be very precarious.
Aung San Suu Kyi is now 65 years old. Brave women in Burma baked cakes and blew out the candles for her. She has been under house arrest for 14 of the the past 20 years. Very sad. I am sure she had much to contribute as a world leader.
This week has whirled past after a particularly fun social weekend thanks to the arrival of cuzzie F-A. Roger and I had already been to the Opening of the revamped L’Escalier restaurant on the Thursday evening in Verteillac. (We weren’t there very long as I did my blog on Thursday evening last week, so I could hang out with F-A - but long enough to realise it was worth another visit.)
Saturday morning, we woke late, flagged breakfast and headed to Villebois Lavallette for a stroll round the market and café and croissant at the café in the ancient covered market. In fact the market is miniscule but the fishmonger is a gem. F-A noticed he was selling product from Aberdeen. Interesting!
Ran in to my old French teacher who reminded me about the fete she is hosting for all her old pupils in two weeks time. Sadly, the lessons have come to an end (due I gather, to compulsory retirement age and budget cuts!) The café owner at the market was incredibly civilized and cheerfully informed us they didn’t have croissants, so we should go and get them at the boulangerie and by the time we returned our coffee would be ready. I love it when the world is sensible like that.
We visited our yellow chateau neighbour J on the way home and just made it to L’Escalier in time for our 13h30 lunch booking. It’s the latest I’ve ever booked for a restaurant in France but they didn’t seem to mind.
The restaurant wasn’t full (perhaps they’d all been there at midi on the dot) so we had time to admire Manfred’s three large artified photos. (‘Manfred’ is the name Matthew escaped. As Fred was two years older, I was sorely tempted to call her new brother Manfred, but I knew that was a joke I couldn’t allow myself – even in the serotonin-post-birth haze.)
The rest of the weekend disappeared in a chocolate-champagne, pleasure-soaked haze. Any minute now and we’ll be back to the old salt and pepper sandwiches. The highlight was definitely the Music Festival at Petignac. F-A has already promised to be back for next year's on18th June, 2011. It was perfectly organized with seven Steinway pianos and numerous concert pianists to play them, candle-lit gardens and good acoustics for the jazz, blues and rock bands that were playing.
Friendly, friendly people served food and sold excellent biologique wine for 6e a bottle. Starry, starry skies and people with interesting faces. And even though we lunched at the Le Moulin de L’abbaye the following day on the terrace with the cool clear water tumbling down the weir, smilingly served and spoiled by finely groomed and exquisitely bred staff – the night at Petignac could not be over-shadowed. It was so perfect. Hurrah for Chopin (and the 7 Sons of course.)
We were very sad to wave goodbye to cuzzie F-A. It was like when she came sailing with us in the Gulf of Hauraki in Auckland - endless days when we all never stopped talking. I’d like to know more about my Gaiety Girl Great Aunt (my Grandmother’s sister). She came from a boatbuilding family in Fife and eventually married Walter Levine. They owned the Florence Hotel in Park Lane and spent their winters in the South of France.
On a more sombre note, Obama’s oil-ocaust continues (thank you Telerama ). He has had huge disastrous issues to contend with and deal with and unfortunately people are beginning to feel he is behaving like an ambitious politician and not being as straightforward and determined as we had hoped the first black leftwing President of America would be. He’s not being tricky. He is just not convincing the millions of people around the world who rejoiced when he won the election, that he is tough enough to stop the international corporate companies such as BP and Halleburton from their careless cost-cutting practices. For example, if BP had installed an automatic blow-out preventer, the oil rig disaster would have been averted. Instead there was a manual button which the operator was unable to reach due to his injuries. An automatic one would have cost $500,000 more. They chose to go for the cheap version. Now they must pay.
The companies imvolved must be made to pay for the damage and to compensate all the oil rig workers whose jobs have been suspended or lost due to this huge environmental disaster.
Perhaps, now that the world has witnessed first-hand the scale of damage to bird and marine life, it is possible that solutions may be found – not just to facilitate the clean-up but to avoid (not just oil-rigging) actually using oil. Some creative scientists may be able to use this disaster to persuade governments that there are better methods of fuel energy. Ones that don’t cause countries to want to kill their neighbours so they can have access to their oil.
There could be a silver lining to this oil slick.
Enjoy the weekend – it’s almost midsummer’s day. Just don’t fall in love with a donkey. (For some women it’s easier to do than you might think.) Sleep easy, Joselyn Morton
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
Photos: Roger Morton
Dark Upstairs Window: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Oxford: Matt Morton
Stephen O'R's Sydney
To blog or not to blog …. I feel (after a two-week gap) that if I don’t post one this week I’ll lose the impetus and as life and the universe continues to be perversely precarious, I don’t think I should stop just yet. The living proof of this is that since the last posting, my brother-in-law Ken whilst cycling home in Sydney, got run-over by a hit and run driver. He was left lying in the rain with horrendous injuries. Luckily Ken is a very fit, strong-willed, resilient man. Yesterday he left the hospital and went home. Stephen O’R has lots of harsh words to say about Sydney drivers and their attitude to cyclists. What a crazy, crap world it sometimes is. Many people out there need re-educating.
On an International front, the oil-leak in Louisiana, is a world catastrophe that has taken all our attention. It is causing untold damage to marine and bird life. While the experts are trying to find solutions, people around the world are actually questioning and thinking about the necessity for deep-oil drilling and our dependence on it. Who knows, maybe there will be a good outcome in the end, whereby powerful companies such as BP (and the deeply-incriminated Halliburton aka Dick Cheney) have to drastically change their methods.) I simplistically wonder, with no scientific basis whatsoever (sorry Matt, Mitch and Roger) if there is a connection between drilling deep into the planet and a volcano erupting ….
I haven’t kept abreast with the polls because the last two weeks have been busy but before I headed south, the Green Party candidate in Colombia, Antanas Mockus had astounded everybody by increasing his chances in the polls from 1% to 37%. (Naively, that is what I had hoped might happen in the polls in the UK elections. Fat chance, they preferred a Mickey Mouse Tweedledee Tweedledum result.)
Then of course there was the dreadful shooting in Cumbria. So sad. Life really is unutterably precarious. I know the killer’s actions were reprehensible but there is the slim possibility that after he was beaten up by three passengers who had hired his taxi, two years ago, that he may have incurred head injuries that caused mental instability. I hope Governments around the world instead of cutting mental health budgets, start increasing them. When one member of a family has mental health problems the rest of the family often has an unbearable load to bear.
Thank god it’s summer or it would all just be too too much. As it is, there are vernisages and music festivals and flowers in the garden. (My favourites this week are roses and lupins.)
My departure to meet Vivienne at Montpellier hospital was a French farce. I discovered quite by chance the day before I left that there was a general strike happening the next day. After hours on the phone and listening to computerised voices telling me to ‘tapper un, tapper deux’ I finally drove to Angouleme and they rerouted my ticket to Marne La Vallee ie Disneyland and from there to Montpellier. Duly arrived early the next morning at the Gare only to hear a huge explosion emit from my TGV and then see flames burst out of its roof. It was a star-crossed couple of weeks.
Vivienne has done the Research team at the CRLC (Centre Regional Lutte Contre le Cancer) proud. All her stitches are out and she’s making plans by the bucket-load. Indomitable as always. Go V go. Dominique has also been through a hellish hospital experience and luckily she too has yards of wild witty humour to see her through the worst scenarios.
This century is certainly proving to be a bit of a bitch. I had hopes in January that we’d got through a bad decade and life was going to be sweet like it always used to be. Mmmmmm, I’m now having to admit that 2010 is not shaping up as sweetly as I’d hoped. Let’s just hope there’s not one curve ball too many.
Meanwhile I read that Paris town planners plans to replace some highstreet chains with bookshops (librairies) or small publishing houses. As this deadly decade saw their Paris librairies drop from 231 to 137. The mayor Betrand Delanoe said “it would be an insult to our soul to resemble big Anglo-Saxon cities.” Tres bien.
The other scary event since I last blogged was the storming of the Gaza aid flotilla by Israeli soldiers. People got killed. Israel is not making the right decisions. Killing people is extreme behaviour. The people who were killed had not gone to attack Israel, they had gone to take provisions and to obviously show support for the Palestinians – that is not enough reason to kill them.
The Swedish writer and creator of Wallander, Henning Mankell was on board the flotilla. He said he was robbed of most of his possessions, by the Israeli soldiers, from his laptop and credit card to his socks. He also wrote that Israeli women soldiers often end up as drug addicts on Goa. Life in Israeli doesn’t need to be that desperate. It’s all gone wrong. I so wish there are Israeli and Palestinian leaders who will emerge who will sort it all. And soon.
In our neck of the woods, I will be content with the weather settling into a pleasant pattern of warm sunny days. That would be very satisfying.
So shine on summer sun… Joselyn Morton

Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
BBC Radio: Mary Kalemkerian
Melodrama: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Stephen O'R's Oz

The temperatures have soared - it’s 22 degrees here at my desk and outside it is much, much higher. I hear Roger starting up the strimmer, he will soon be frying in the heat as those mauvaises herbes get laid waste.
The first dinner-plate sized peony is out. I know they’re probably common as dirt and nothing like the exotic wonders that Katie and Mike grow in their heavenly garden but nonetheless I am besotted by its luscious pink petals and its pale yellow centre. My stolen rose is also out. It’s a memory of a lovely day at Jarnac with Min and Lins when I couldn’t resist its heady old-fashioned fragrance. There was an enormous bank of them in a public park, probably accumulated over the past hundred years. I feel a huge parental pride that I have managed to successfully grow it.
On a real grown-up ecological gardening front, Matt (Morton) is giving a talk this weekend at a festival in Oxford on Sustainable Urban Ecology - The City Block and almost one-year old Freya will be having her first sleep in a tent. (Though as she is heavily teething, let’s hope she does sleep.)
Once I finish this, I think I’ll go and have a little doze in the sun. (I feel like I’ve been cold for so long.) Also this was a week of many miniscule small achievements including successfully ordering wood for the coming winter and cleaning windows (well most of them) and glass doors. It feels good to be healthy again.
On a much bigger front, 30 buildings were burnt in Bangkok. A sad situation. On an optimistic front, maybe something good may arise phoenix-like from the ashes. Thailand is a country that has problems that need addressing. We all know there is a thriving sex industry there yet nobody boycotts (or girlcotts) it. Maybe this terrible disruption will give the Thai people, government and the rest of the world time to reflect.
Meanwhile the fighting and obviously the killing goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I’ve only just discovered the famous Saatchi brothers are Iraqui Jews who were born in Baghdad. They’ve been so feted by the Brits who with the other hand or hat are killing their countrymen. Strange world we inhabit. Maurice is now Lord Saatchi and Charles is an art collector.
Some days ago I noticed that there were three adult swallows flying to the nest. Our couple has become a ménage a trois. As there are now five large baby birds squashed in the nest, this domestic arrangement of the parents was probably one of expediency rather than a high-flying surge of sexual desire.
Rachid Bouchareb’s Hors La Loi with Jamel Debbouze is creating a stir at the Cannes Film Festival. Right-wing politicians say it distorts events and sullies the memory of French troops. It depicts the tragic killing of 1,000 demonstrators in Algeria by French troops.
Meanwhile the oil spill continues in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is accused of not being forthright. In real-speak, that means not telling the truth.
I’m not going to post a blog next week as I’m catching the train south to Montpellier and from there travelling back to a little town near Carcasson with our good friend Vivienne. We’re going to hang out together while she recovers from her last sojourn at the Centre Regional Lutte contre le Cancer. Stephen O’R just emailed that they’ve bought their tickets for Shanghai where Jan’s film (Bright Star I guess) is showing in the Festival and his is showing at the Shanghai Museum. What a golden pair they are. He modest soul that he is, did not include the name of his film. ….
Enjoy the good weather and try to close your mind to the volcanic ash that is lurking in the background. As always, Joselyn Morton
Contents 14 May 2010
Bangkok: Chris Mougne
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Andy Warhol: Roger Morton
Promise: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Christchurch Vatican: Stephen O'Rourke
Kumeu Harvest: Tonia Matthews
Cover: Chris Mougne
Friday 14 May 2010
Didn’t post a blog last week as I was too sick. The after-math of that malaise now seems to be a lack of joie de vivre. I am mentally trying to master and over-come that. Meanwhile Roger is still spluttering and coughing as he is some days behind me in this latest lurgy attack. I will the sun to come out, to no avail. We now have almost no wood left to power the wonderful new wood-fuelled central heating that cleaned out our bank balance.
On a wider scale, Greece is in crises and is being taken to the cleaners for its 16% debt over GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Britain meanwhile has a 25% debt and it seems to be business as usual. I don’t know how that works. I suppose the world always had more confidence in Britain’s finances than they ever did in Greece’s. World finances baffle me. Our own terrify me.
Meanwhile good old Steven Berkoff is evidently about to take a Shakespeare production to Greece. A giant amongst men as always, with a huge talent.
My one small achievement lately is that I grew some bean sprouts. Something I’ve been meaning to do for about 40 years. They were nothing to write home about. Seemed to take forever to grow and they were a demanding responsibility and when there were finally ready, there was barely enough for a chop suey meal for the both of us. Still I’ll probably grow them again as I bought a whole box.
The other day, Steve Richards wrote in the Independent ‘a pure moment is never going to arrive’. I have to accept his wisdom. We’re stuck with impure and compromise which might very well describe the new Conservative-Lib-Dem Government in Britain.
Actually I was pleased that Gordon Brown got as many votes as he did. I was worried he might get a drubbing and basically I think he is a decent man (whereas I continue to think Blair is a slimebag.). I would have hated Gordon Brown to have left office feeling like a total failure. Instead he made a dignified speech. Poor Sarah looked stricken. I felt she didn’t want her man to be hurt any more. The boys looked like darling sweethearts.
Meanwhile two thing puzzle me. Why did top members of the Labour Party not cement a deal with the Lib-Dems? Wouldn’t that have been preferable to letting the Conservatives in? (Especially as Gordon Brown made the supreme sacrifice and had agreed to step down as Leader). The other question is, how did the gap between rich and poor widen so obviously under the 13 years of Labour Government. Evidently they made great improvements in Health and Education (which is what one would expect from a Labour Government.). I’m not convinced that they did. What did appear to be convincing is that the wealth of the rich in Britain increased. Immeasurably.
I suspect that my sense of humour may have vanished with my joie de vivre and so I’m going to stop now, have a cup of coffee and then go and cut some grass.I might even plant some flower seeds. If they actually grew, I might perk up myself.
Joselyn Morton
Contents 30 April 2010
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
Thailand: Chris Mougne
Farmers in Paris: Joselyn Morton
Cartoon: D'Iturria
Film review: Stephen O'Rouke
Turbo-charged: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Cover: Mr Mwezi

30 April 2010
I’ve got a head cold. A bad one. So I’m just wallowing in that, really. Sad, but there it is. Meanwhile all around me spring has sprung. Yesterday, the temperature went up to 27˚ and then plunged to 13˚ By that time, the cold had taken such a hold, I was past caring..
In fact I’m feeling so bad I don’t think I’ll make it to the scene ouverte at La Gavotte tomorrow night. Doubly sad. Roger meanwhile is still fighting his ear infection. He has to return to the ear specialist on May 10 for a local anaesthetic, so we are a pair of old crocs. I know it’s only a cold and on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s nothing but god I feel like crap.
I watched the last debate for the British elections last night and while more facts and figures were revealed than previously, it was still very light on how it would all be implemented. How it would actually come about.
While George Galloway is outed for smoked cigars that cost ₤400 for 25, these 3 politicians talk about someone earning 25,000 as though it was a huge amount. It’s not, it must be just over 500 quid a week. Before tax, before mortgage. If you’ve got 2 kids, you could barely survive on that.
I don’t know which way the voters will choose. They haven’t got much of a choice. Meanwhile Greece is going down the plughole while Turkey is about to build a 4bn bridge. Interesting.
Life is indeed extremely precarious. Thank god, Chrissie didn’t get zapped by a large hunk of concrete. And thank god the thieves who’ve been breaking into houses near here (first time in 30 odd years) didn’t attempt to get into ours.
On another note, what are the Belgians thinking of? If they can’t keep the different nationalities happy of which their country is comprised - what hope is there for Europe? It’s madness. Belgium has also hit the headlines for banning the full burka attire for women. It will be interesting to see how that ripples down the rest of Europe. I would hate to be forced to wear the burka – either by religion, peer pressure or by a husband. Certainly in summer. It would be a nightmare to be enclosed in metres of material while the sun shone hot and hard.
Why does religion have to be so extreme? Why do the rules have to be so demanding? One could understand it if the god to be worshipped was a vengeful god, but supposedly he is a loving one. So someone, somewhere has got their wires crossed.
I’m going to stop now because my head feels as though it is full of hot, wet cotton wool. A la semaine prochaine when hopefully I’ll be back en pleine forme.
Bien a vous, Joselyn
Contents 23 April 2010
Brooke's Double Zero bike ride
Mr Mwezi's Kandahar
Thailand: Chris Mougne
His Wife: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Are You Listening Yet?: Anna Morton
Towards a Jewish State, Part 6: Stephen O'Rourke
Cover: Roger Morton

23 April, 2010
This seems to have been a long week – especially for those people unable to travel home because of being stranded in an airport due to aeroplanes being grounded because of volcanic ash from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull (16 letters). Then there’s a sister volcano that is promising to blow in the very near future. Wild.
Meanwhile chez nous, we were having the opposite problem – our fosse septitque appeared to be backing-up (which is very much preferable to the odious thought of it ‘blowing’. That would be very foul.) However, our lovely neighbour has organized for M Chateau to come and empty it, and he will empty Guy’s at the same time – making it cheaper and more profitable for all of us.
Our other neighbour got robbed yesterday He is 78 years old and has lived in the same house all his life. We knew his parents who died in their 90s. They had lived in that house all their married life. He has never been robbed before. He said the robbers might have come from Riberac. He said ‘Riberac’ the way my Scottish relatives used to say ‘London’.
They broke a window and took his bank book and bank card. The gendarmes came. We don’t usually lock our door at night. It’s a nice feeling. I guess we’ll have to now. We weren’t there for all the excitement. We weren’t home, we were in Perigueux where Roger was being seen by the charming ear specialist. After a while I wondered why he was being so overly sympathetic about Roger’s good ear – which had been operated on in the past. He thought I had said Roger had had sept operations, whereas in fact I had said “cette operation…”
He assured me it was not my fault. I had said it perfectly correctly. Both sept operations and cette operation are pronounced the same.
Now Roger has to put more and different drops in his ears for the next eight days and then he goes back to the hospital and has his ear vacuumed out. Hopefully. The thing is, he has already lost the little jar of drops. The tiny little jar. I have searched everywhere. Aargh!!!
Yes, a long week. One that has already forced me to start choosing between flowers and food. The flowers are so enticing but they are not cheap. I harden my heart as much as possible. Already I have succumbed to lathyrus latifolius, Delphinium. Lamium maculatum, Digitalis purpurea, Ephemera de Virginie, Aquilegia varie and lupins.
Meanwhile any of you bloggers with some spare dosh might like to sponsor Brooke for a few euros. He has already managed to cycle from the UK to Spain – which considering the horrendous injuries he sustained 5 years ago, is amazing. All the details are in the main section of this week’s blog (www.doublezero.org)
The countryside is now awash in yellow – first it was cowslips and pis en lit. Tens of thousands of them. I’ve never seen so many. Now its rape. Fields and fields of it. You can’t ignore it. It is dazzling.
The gardens however are lavendar – wisteria, lilac and irises. So pretty. No wonder people take heart in the spring.
Meanwhile back in the UK life does not seem to be particularly hopeful. On our way back from Roger’s ear appointment, we popped in to R & G’s and were persuaded to stay for supper and watch the political debate of the Three Stooges slagging each other off. What a disappointment. They are clearly more interested in being cock of the roost than providing a Government for the British people that would lead them into prosperity, educate the children, aid the aged and provide health for the sick. Simply put, they were not up to scratch.
On the other hand, if you want a good laugh you must watch Sarah Silverman. She is truly wicked. The video you must watch is ‘Sell the Vatican Feed the World’. I think it puts religion in perspective .The Islamists who are sending death-threats to South Park
creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker are not putting religion in perspective. Surely religion is a personal private matter. That’s on the one hand.
Only some people need religion. Others, myself included, get by perfectly well without it. In fact, I am delighted not to have it weighing down my every thought. On the other hand, people cannot live without laughter. It’s like food and oxygen. It’s essential. Without it, people will wither up and die. First they will probably snap a lot of people’s heads off.
So my darlings, have a good laugh. It’s de rigueur.Go check out Sarah Silverman. She’s legendary.
Joselyn Morton
PS Jackie and Keith just Skyped me from Rotorua. So nice. I do miss them rather a lot. They had their camera on, so I could see them. Liked the graffiti on the wall behind them. Very Banksi.

16 April 2010
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi & Joselyn Morton
Walnut trees: Roger Morton
Koch Brothers: Joselyn Morton
Chiang Dao: Chris Mougne
Anyone for tennis: Joselyn Duffy Morton
BBC Radio 7: Mary Kalemkerian
Towards a Jewish State, Part 5: Stephen O'Rourke
Cover: Mr Mwezi

16 April 2010
This week has been a star-crossed, going to hell in a hand-basket kind of affair. A ‘friend’ gave us stomach flu that decimated us for three days, Roger was invaded by an ear infection that big-gun anti-biotics still haven’t been able to kill off; little old Iceland (which last year turned the international finance world on its elbow when its banking system ate up all the dough including some British pensions) has now got all the aeroplanes out of the sky with volcanic ash falling from its erupting volcano. A feat only previously achieved by 9/11.
A Polish air tragedy killed 95 Polish members of state, leaving the world to speculate if it was the pilot’s fault (he was told by air control to divert to another airstrip) or if it was a contre temps between the pilot and the President. The President perhaps insisting that the pilot land the plane in spite of the fog.
We do know that if the plane didn’t land they would not have had enough time to travel from the other airstrip back to the important commemoration ceremony. (Distances in Russia can be immense). If they didn’t land on that fog-swirling airstrip, they would miss the ceremony. that they had waited 60 odd years for. It was to be an apology for the time when 22,000 top Polish military were gunned down in a field by their Russian enemies. This was the important official apology for which they had waited so long.
Meanwhile here in France, the sun shone and the tulips appeared in a blaze of colour and as we fought the flu bug, we had no corresponding joie de vivre with which to greet the flaming flowers.
The Icelandic ash has imploded on lots of lives; two of our friends were booked to fly yesterday (one to visit family in England prior to her next cancer operation in Montpellier, the other was flying from the Borders to give lectures in San Francisco on the National Park environmentalist hero John Muir. I wonder if they made it or if they were grounded by volcanic ash. After being snowbound for 3 months, it would be odd to be thwarted by Icelandic volcanic ice. You couldn’t make it up!
In Thailand, events continue to hot up. Four Thai policemen were killed by anti-government protestors. Hopefully Chris Mougne will be able to fly out as planned on the 17th from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. However, her flight from there to London might be held up, as the news on flights still seems grim.
I mentioned in the piece on Afghanistan that the three British political candidates have so far avoided bringing the Afghanistan war into the political debate or equation. They should. It is an important topic – thousands of Afghanistan civilians have been killed or wounded. They can’t keep skimming round the subject. I know that ‘… trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside.’ They are not alone. These politicians should stop skimming and skirting round the outside and get to the heart of the matter,deal with the issues and start talking sense.
Bed calls. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on.
Already it has been a fast-moving quixotic kind of year, and it’s only April.
Sleep well. Joselyn Morton
Contents: 9 April, 2010
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
Heroes: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Scene Ouverte: Roger & Joselyn Morton
Richard French's iPod
Albert Mougne: Matt King
Jewish State, Part 4: Stephen O'Rourke
Cover: Roger Morton

9 April
April – so far, so good. In fact, this week feels like it has been quite productive. We have ordered, the new progressif glasses. They will cost more than 800e. The reason they are so expensive is because we chose the lenses that had ‘real’ stuff over most of the lens ie they weren’t placebo or imitation. It was like being offered a 2-legged table, a 3-legged table or a 4-legged table. Jesus, hell – why are they allowed to sell prescription, progressif glasses, that only cover part of the surface? We were offered the identical same choices when we went to an optician in London last week, so we know that this is not a scam that is only peculiar to France. Bloody weird. I think it should be knocked on the head. One wants to buy the best product that is available not be terrified or shamed into one’s decision.
The guy must have seen my look of deep non-comprehension (which is pretty much my ‘look’ these days) because without any prompting he suggested we pay over 3 months. Then when I pulled out the faithful cheque book to write a deposit, he grandly waved it away. That would not happen in London or NZ. Deposits are de rigueur.
He will phone us in 10 days. Fine by me. Any mind-numbing miracle could have happened by then. If I can lose a diamond. (Fuck, fuck, fuck …) the law of averages and balances states I can also find one. Doesn’t it?
That was not our only achievement this week – I became deeply infatuated with a glass shower door. (Forget Midsummer Night’s Bottom.) How could we have waited so long? How could I have dallied these 7 long years with a plastic curtain?
Lastly Roger is putting the door that has fallen off, back on the loo. This is taking a lot of pondering. It’s a heavy 200-year old door. In fact, an hour or so ago, as he was lining it up for its new hinges, he accidentally whacked it against the new glass door of the shower. That was a low moment in the week – but luckily no damage was sustained.
We got invited out to dinner twice this week, which was great as I love not having to cook. (We can’t invite anyone here cos of the loo door being off ...)
We have also made appointments to have our ears tested at Perigueux Hospital (too many years backstage at rock concerts peut-etre). I’ve also made an appointment to have my bone-density tested (inifinitely preferable to having my brain-density on display!)
Richard has written what may be his last piece as he and Gay are back home now. He mentions charming Kenwood House in Highgate. I have strong memories of us being there listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, unpacking our picnic, drinking pink bubbly and lying on the grass alongside our daughter and her punk teenage friends kitted out in bold tartan with their young manly faces topped by pink and purple Mohicans. The other prom-addicts were giving us a wide berth, which was ok as that popular summer spot can get rather crowded.
I watched an excellent doco on a young Vietnamese woman, who was one of 99 orphans who were flown to Britain in 1972 and adopted. It was directed and produced by Matthew Wheeler. She said she grew up in a family where she was so loved. It was an English family not a Vietnamese family and it rather put paid to all those p-c values that one shouldn’t let a child be adopted out of their race or culture or nationality. Her story proves that it is ok to adopt children from another country. (I know of 2 young couples in their late 30s who have been unable to have children. They have decided they would adopt but have so far not been able to. Sad.)
Talking of race, culture and nationality. The Jewish/Palestinian problem continues to dominate the news. This week Stephen O’Rourke mentions Shlomo Sand’s book Jewish Identity. Prof Sand is an Israeli Professor and his controversial point of view is that the Jewish identity is essentially defined by religion rather than race or nationalism.
Israel has actually placed a gagging order on their national media, for reporting on 2 Islamic Jihad militants killed in Jenn in 2007. They had been targeted for assassination in violation of a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court. Israeli journalists ( Uri Blau and Anat Kam) are now in hiding. Haaretz’s editor-in-chief said Haaretz has a 90-year long tradition of protecting its reporters. Let’s hope they succeed with Blau and Kam.
The Catholic church is still being hammered for protecting and covering up the actions of priests who sexually abused young boys. One highly placed official Christopher Jamison said “those who dislike the church have been given a great deal of ammunition.”
Bullshit. This is not about protecting the church it is about young boys being abused by men in positions of power.
Other people that need protecting are working families. I keep reading about families in which both parents are working and yet they would be better off if they were unemployed and on benefits. The reason being is that they do not get paid enough. However, they want to give their kids a good example. They want to work yet to them it seems ironic that if they stopped working and applied for all the benefits they are eligible for, they would be financially better off.
How can this situation be addressed?
Easy, their employers have to pay them more.
If their employers would go bust if they paid their staff more, then the employer must apply to the government for a subsidy.
Like the banks did.
It is time to decide what a living wage is and then pay workers that amount.
Not less.
One child in three is under the poverty limit in Britain.
That is shocking.
And shameful.
Sociologists have proved that violence is linked to poverty.
I remember being astonished in 1968 when our lovely landlords the Waldmans who lived in a beautiful house in Hampstead explained why they voted socialist. “We don’t want our kids to grow up in a violent society. If people are poor and needy, they will become violent.” Stanley Waldman was a judge and in my opinion a very wise man.
If only there was a political party worth voting for in the UK. The present candidates just don’t seem to cut the mustard.
Meanwhile just enjoy the moment – springtime is so worthwhile. Yes, I’ve even done some gardening this week. And next week, I plan to visit my favourite Pepiniere at St Martial de Viveroles.
Anemones, prepare to be adopted (ie bought and planted.)
A bientot, Joselyn Morton
Contents 2 April, 2010
Afghanistan: Mr Mwezi
Easter cartoon
Roger Morton photos
Romance before the Revolution: Joselyn Duffy Morton
Richard French's iPod
BBC Radio 7: Peter Reed
Towards a Jewish State, Part 3: Stephen O'Rourke
Cover: Roger Morton
2 April 2010
Easter Friday, but in France that doesn’t matter, it’s not a religious holiday. It’s not even a holiday. It’s a normal day. No suffering, no gloom, no worries (as they say down under).
So, we went to the market comme toujours, but it was so cold, we didn’t linger. In fact, what we actually wanted to do was go to the optician, which we did and once again we recoiled in fright at the price … the nice young man really was saying “200 euros for one lens” … and therefore “400 euros for two lenses”. (No one-eyed trouser talk here – this is serious money.) That, I assure you does not include the cost of the frames (designer or not designer). We will be extremely lucky if we come out with change from 500 euros.
We had a perfunctory look in Spec-saver in London but didn’t see anything eyecatching – they were all so drab.
I’d like something a bit jolly – lime green with a purple stripe or apple green and orange peut-etre. Plus, I would at least be able to find them; they wouldn’t blend into the atmosphere and the furniture as they have been wont to do.
Today’s excursion was after we had made the executive decision to go for 'progressive' ie bi-focal as opposed to one pair for reading and one for watching tele and driving (as well, we should have replicas in sunglasses, but we don’t.) I have driven myself mad swapping glasses as I read the map with my reading glasses and then swiftly, seamlessly swap to my long-lens glasses to read the road-signs. Impossible.
I cannot do it anymore, even if the new-fangled progressives make me nauseous, I will just have to persevere because if other people can master the simple art of wearing them, so can I! (After all, I can’t sing in tune, draw, dive very well or transform a wildnerness into a magnificent garden. Therefore surely to god I can master bloody progressive specs.)
Stupidly Roger and I are having new specs at the same time – so whatever the final horrendous figure ends up at, it has to be multiplied by two. Holy hell. However, I think with this haemorrhaging of money, we get prescription sunglasses free. That would be a benefit. A small mercy, bien sûr. I am certainly delighted at the thought of lying in the hammock with a novel and a glass of white wine wearing sunglasses and being able to read through them. That will be rather heavenly – but not however if we have to choose between that or a substantial pile of firewood for the next polar winter.
I did remark last night that I never ever thought I would covet an unknown neighbour’s stack of firewood. How my spots have changed!
That’s why I don’t understand how rich people can be so frigging miserable and endlessly grumbling. It must be wonderful to walk into a shop and simply order the progressive glasses that you want. Delicious. Anyway, we shall ponder on it a little longer. After all, we’ve only had the ordonances since early January. And it’s only April.
We had a splendid time at the family do. M and A have so many lovely friends and A has so many nice sisters and other family members and over the years we are gradually getting to know them all. So lucky. Our granddaughter is well and truly ‘named’ and now there is a mature rambling rose planted on top of her placenta where it will entwine itself around an oak tree. Her parents wrote some lovely sentiments, the godparents vowed to be a good influence in her life, the sun shone (tremoulously) but shine it did. I had finally emerged from my dark winter coat into a silk spring number (with many layers underneath, I might add.)
Travelling Ryanair, one learns endless tricks. Before boarding (with our identical small trolley bags) I was told that mine was the correct weight but too fat; Roger was told his was the correct width but too heavy. The somewhat grim attendant then asked if there was anyone seeing us off and on learning there wasn’t, said we would have to pay another 30 euros. I calmly explained we would dump a few things in the car – we had loads of time. (I refrained from a Neanderthal desire to boot her up the jacksy.)
On a wider note on the way home, after tucking into a tremendous feast of sausage, bacon, scrambled egg, tomatoes, spicey potato wedges (at Stansted airport of all places) I am back to renouncing meat. I am not a ‘real’ vegetarian. I only do it to support Roger who is on a Shyam Singha diet, in an effort to beat his psoriasis. However, no sooner had I stuffed my face than hours later, I watched the saddest awfullest (sic) doco on pig-rearing in Mexico. Local Mexicans were interviewed. Briefly, the whole swine-flu epidemic was caused by a large American company that rears thousands of pigs. They are trapped in tiny spaces and fed hormones and crap. The camera zoomed in on these pigs and it was horrible. One could taste their despair. They were over-sized, bloated meat-rearing monstrosities. The company allowed all their filth to filter into the water table. A percentage of these pigs died and were never properly disposed off. They were thrown into a space and left to rot. Thousands of flies lived around them.
Meanwhile the local Mexicans said that since the arrival of this American company, they were all getting sick and some of their children were dying. The stink was abominable. I saw footage of Mexican mothers desperately trying to soothe sick children. Horrible.
As if that wasn’t gruesome enough, I then read about Pakistani surgeons who are implanting bombs into women suicide bombers’ breasts. Our world is truly becoming atrocious.
On a positive note, there is a theatre group in the UK whose work I hope to see sometime – they are called MUJU (Muslim Jews.) I was also intrigued by Andrew Sullivan’s article in the Sunday Times, he wrote ‘How do you trust an ally that steals British citizens’ identities for an assassination?’
On Sunday, I was totally delighted when our friend Karl Stead won the Sunday Times short story competition for his story Last Season’s Man. (He and his wife Kay are the friends we went to visit in Tuscany last September.) He writes under the name CK Stead. In the 6 days away (including the 2 travel days) we had many lovely times and yummy meals. (Inspired by M and C’s dahl and coriander meal, I bought 2 coriander plants at the market this morning.)
We were enchanted to be taken by Meg and Luke to the Pizza Zizzi in Highgate – we practically walked there from Muswell Hill. From now on, I am liberally sprinkling my pizzas with rocket and yes darling John H., I really do want a pizza oven in the garden. That would be sublime.
We were moved when the kids organized everyone outside (at Freya’s do) to toast our wedding anniversary.
We had some lovely walks, including wandering round Magdelan College and admiring the ground cover of daffodils and tiny delicate blue and lavendar flowers, whose names I have already forgotten. Plus, we were very happy to celebrate again with M at the lovely old and unchanged Amalfi’s in Wardour Street. We got off the Oxford bus at Marble Arch, met M , had a coffee and then – without any particular plan, walked all the way to Wardour Street and into the bosom of half-a-dozen Italian waiters. That did it for me. That’s my treat for the century. I can grind on in the garden for another 6 months and carry on wrestling with those unrelenting, unremitting French verbs … a little treat can do wonders. However, the magic moment came when F. led me into her bedroom to look out the window at the luminescent full March moon ...
I wish you all many more full moons.
Joselyn Morton, editor