26 March 2010


Mr Mwezi

French books

Roger Morton


7 Sons
Tasty  Irish stew, chocolate cake with Baileys sauce set the tone for the 7 Sons debut performance at Riberac’s Hotel Chene Vert. They certainly rocked. Anvar’s support band set the scene with her emotional rendition of Take another Little bit of my Heart, Spooky and Mean Cruel Woman. Once her harmonica player and guitar player lose their nervousness and warm to the mood, things could happen. I look forward to catching them again.
Although there were only 6 of the 7 sons on-stage, the sound was impressive and didn’t let up. Keith strode on stage somewhere between a Colossus and a Tarantino. Just as well he deals in rock and blues or the stage would have been awash with bloody bodies. As it was, the place was soon rocking. Keith delivers a big-hearted, generous performance alongside a band that doesn’t falter. Jim Corboy set the tone with great drumming on his congas and then moved effortlessly to a conventional drum kit for the last few numbers. On Keith’s left, Fred alternated between sexy harp and faultless fiddling. A class act. Behind, was the indomitable duo of Paul on electric guitar and Josef on acoustic. Paul does some damn-fine fingering and bottle-neck. At the back on the right, as though in a self-sealed bubble of concentration was Rod on his home-built double-bass, lending integral integrity to it all.
Keith’s head was a cm from the ceiling as he gave his all, stinting nothing like a self-powered, steam-engine on full throttle. At one point, he breathed into the mic “I’ve been freezing for 4 months and here I am sweating my bollocks off.” He belted and rocked his way through Choochoo train, Hoochy Coochy Man, Hound Dog, Liar Liar Pants on fire,If You ever Change your Mind about leaving leaving me behind ….
It’s been great watching the 7 Sons evolve from guys at the scene ouverte nights at La Gavotte into a rock & blues band that getting tighter and tighter. C’est bath.
Joselyn Morton


Soldier Boy

Johnny boy, Johnny boy
the men are running
from corpse to corpse
and o’er the burning sand
the noise is loud
the light is hard
the pain is there
its everywhere.
Your chain is broke
my throat
is thick
Johnny boy, Johnny boy
we miss you so.

Oh soldier boy
your eyes are shut
your boots are gone
your life was short
your heart
was caught
in a soldier’s war.
Oh Johnny boy, we loved you so.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

BBC Radio 7

Writer, actor and director Barry Letts, who died last October, was a television pioneer, working for over 50 years in the medium. As an actor, Barry appeared in early TV productions of The Avengers, The Moonstone, and Scott of the Antarctic, and his directorial work included episodes of the long-running police drama Z-Cars. But it was his work as a producer on Doctor Who, from 1969 to 1974, for which Barry was probably best known. His first involvement with the show was as director for The Enemy of the World, with Patrick Troughton playing both the Doctor and Salamander the dictator.
Barry's debut as producer on Doctor Who happened at a time of great popularity for the series; it was about to be broadcast in colour for the first time, and Jon Pertwee was the flamboyant Doctor in Barry's first actual production. It was Pertwee's second programme as the Time Lord, and the show was Doctor Who and the Silurians.
Barry's memoirs was published the month after he died. Appropriately titled Who and Me.
However, BBC Audiobooks had commissioned Barry to abridge and read the first volume of his memoirs for audio release in 2008.
As a tribute to Barry, we are fortunate to be able to bring you this fascinating and well-delivered reading, in seven thirty minute episodes, beginning this Sunday 28th March.
He recounts how he began his career as a struggling actor, moving on to become a successful and respected director and producer, and reveals in candid detail what it was like to work with various personalities during his 5-year tenure of the much-loved show.
As part of a Doctor Who mini-season, we are complementing Barry's reading with a selection of BBC Audiobooks recorded from the original Target novels and read with great gusto by Tom Baker, who, as the 4th Doctor, was actually cast in that role by Barry Letts.
The stories, beginning on Easter Monday are: The Giant Robot, The Brain of Morbius and The Creature From the Pit.
These will be followed up in May with four new-to-Radio7 titles from Big Finish: Orbis, The Beast of Orlok, The Scapegoat and The Cannibalists, all featuring Paul McGann as The Doctor.
And as an extra treat, from Easter Monday for 6 weeks, we will be adding a repeat of the 7th Dimension from Mondays to Fridays from 2 - 3pm, presented of course by Nick Briggs, a master of monster voices, most notably for the Daleks and The Cybermen.
So sci-fi fans have some excellent programmes to look forward to in the weeks ahead.
Mary Kalemkerian, Head of Programmes, BBC, Radio 7

Richard French's iPod

During our Trans-America crossing we kept a little Olympus digital voice recorder in the two-foot wide, cavernous hold-all that separated our two front seats. This also contained maps, guide books, dark glasses, reading glasses, cameras and bottomless gallons of weak and tepid coffee which is available at every gas station nation-wide, and often free at State Information Offices. (Good thinking). This tiny voice-activated gadget enabled us to record curious sightings, roadside advertising postings and the best copy lines. Here's a fairly random selection:
The near-teenage Border Patrol. We must have been stopped half-a-dozen times as we drove within fifty miles of the Mexican border alongside the rather unimpressive Rio Grande. Nearly all of the Frontier Force preventing Mexican illegals  from crossing the US frontier (and thus providing much-needed cheap labour) were under drinking age (21 here) uniformed heavies with names like Santos and Gonzales taped above their breast pocket.
- the efficiency of the Inter-State road numbering system – ‘even’ numbers running East/ West and ‘odd’ North/South. And many posted with 'Speed monitored by aircraft’ signs. Not so much of a problem for us with top speed limits of 75 mph in many states. And most trucks kept to the max.
-the enormous lady who checked our van into a National Park who exclaimed "I used to be a little itty-bitty gal, weighed not but ninety pounds when wet.” Doubtless the McDonalds effect.
  • the antique dealer in Santa Fe who was selling 'original French Confit jars' at $2,000.00 a pop. Or buy an original Navajo blanket for $5,000.00. That is unless a reproduction from a tourist stand at $5.00 takes your fancy. But then it’s made in India. Some cultural confusion there. Or maybe, Sarah Palin like many Americans think Indians come from ....Oh,  don't go there....
  • Frocks that look like they were run up in the Little House on the Prairie by Mom and Pa Walton Sunday Best suits for church in South Georgia.
  • China City Population 112 said the sign somewhere. China City perhaps. We couldn't spot it as we flew through.
  • 'No hoodies, no pants below waist, no big jackets and no dark glasses after sunset' was a sinister posting in a service station in deepest Southern Alabama.
  • or the City bus in San Antonio, Texas that had an on board request of  ‘No smoking, No alcohol, no weapons’.
  • Dr Pepper shamelessly advertising that they would never make their product available in a Diet version.
  • 'Gotta protect the investment' - said a lowly paid WalMart lube bay serf as he checked our oil. Everything in America is about the dollar.
  • 'Home Delivery' was the promise in Louisiana. They meant it. Buy a pre-assembled house and have it delivered. Today.
  • Truth in Advertising : ‘Walk in , Roll out’ was a fast food restaurant proposal.
  • or ’New Weight Watchers. Watch it go up and up’. To quote a downtown Delray Florida waitron / waiter / waitperson (whatever .
  • and best of all - an award for sheer multi-linguistic, mult-national twist on to-go Italian cuisine: "Hasta la Pasta" . Genius or what?
Only in America
Richard French

Towards a Jewish State

Part two.
Who were Zionists?  What was their aim? How did they bring about the creation of a Jewish state? Did they represent a majority of Jewish people?  How did they treat the Non-Jewish indigenous population of Palestine? Are the Zionists responsible for the mess that exists today in Palestine/Israel relations? Were the Zionist’s actions good for Jewish people or did they contribute to further anti-Semitism?
My hope is that the next five pieces may give some answers to these questions.
In Part One we saw that by the late 19th century European Jewry had begun to undergo major changes following the Reformation. Citizenship had allowed Jews into Universities and professions where access had earlier been denied. The new freedoms brought the choice of assimilation, the choice to go it alone without rabbinical supervision.  Jewish elders began to fear that Jewish numbers would decline.
Reform Judaism was born out of a need for a way to allow Jews to remain within the tribe but not be restricted by the 613 mitzvoth.  Some might liken Reform Judaism to a sort of Anglican Church for Jews. Keeping the faith, buying a pew in the local Temple or synagogue, but attending only when there is a bar Mitzvah, or a funeral.
The Enlightenment and its freedoms brought many benefits to European Jews. The first half of the twentieth century saw a massive number of middleclass Jews living in the world’s most wealthy and powerful societies.  Norman Davies in his ‘A History of Europe’ writes
‘In the peak years of 1881-6 they (Jews) formed 33% of the student body. In 1914 they accounted for 26% % of law students and 41% of medical students. They reached 43% (1910) of the teaching faculty. By 1936 62% of Viennese lawyers were of Jewish origin, and 47 % of doctors.
The Jews of Vienna were only one of the major forces in the European avant-garde around 1900. But it was Jews who made Vienna what it was in the realm of modern culture.’
Conversely, the largely uneducated Jews from the poor shtetls of the Pale of Settlement and other east European countries, mainly rejected the bourgeois opportunities of Germany, Austria, France and other European countries. Not wanting to trade their ‘strange’ ways of dressing and their religious traditions these mainly Orthodox Jews migrated in large numbers to the USA where the promise of religious freedom and material opportunity beckoned. A very small number chose Palestine.
In France in November 1894 Captain Alfred Dreyfus a Jewish military officer was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. The case against him was based on lies. The evidence which would have led to Dreyfus being acquitted was suppressed by high-ranking military officials and the case was seen by many people as a horrendous example of the anti- Semitism that existed in Europe.
Covering this trial was a Jewish Austro-Hungarian journalist named Theodore Herzl. Herzl witnessed the mass rallies in Paris following the trial where many chanted “Death to the Jews” He was considerably moved by the whole event.  To see a fellow Jew treated in this way, and presumably feeling powerless to stop ant- Semitism, made Herzl stop believing emancipation had delivered him freedom. No longer would Herzl see assimilation as the way to go for European Jews. He began to write that Jews must leave Europe (and presumably other countries) and create their own state.  This state would give Jews a place where they could live in dignity as Jews and be protected from Anti- Semitism.
In 1885, during at the peak of Jewish influence in Vienna, when not doubt the Austria middleclass felt their position threatened by the Jewish ascendency, there came a period of renewed ant-Semitism. This saw the establishment of the openly anti-Semite Mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger.
It was at this time Herzl wrote his play The New Ghetto, which shows the ambivalence and lack of real security and equality of emancipated, well-to-do Jews in Vienna. He wrote:
 ‘The Jewish question persists wherever Jews live in appreciable numbers. Wherever it does not exist, it is brought in together with Jewish immigrants. We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution. This is the case, and will inevitably be so, everywhere, even in highly civilized countries - see, for instance, France. So long as the Jewish question is not solved on the political level. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.’
Herzl now dedicated himself to the creation of the Jewish State. In 1897 he succeeded in organizing The First Zionist Congress that was attended by around 200 Jews, and a small number of non-Jews – who could not vote. The Congress created the World Zionist Organisation – and Theodore Herzl was voted its first President. Total number of Jews in Europe at that time was around 9 million.
With the impressive title ‘President of the World Zionist Organization’ in his pocket Herzl was able call upon influential Jews throughout the Diaspora to support them. It would be the successful middle-class Jews of American which would ultimately become Israel’s main support base although it would take until the 1967 war for the support to be as wide as it is today.
There are 2 interesting books on this subject: Professor Shlomo Sand’s thesis in The Invention of the Jewish People and (Professor) Jacqueline Rose’s book The Question of Zion.
Schlomo is a Full Professor in The History Department at the University of Jerusalem - which has separate History and Jewish History departments
Read them both. More next week.
Stephen O’Rourke


Photo: Roger Morton
Even though Loire is famous for its Sancerre and Pouilly fume, La Distillation still exists!

20 March 2010


Sancerre War Memorial. Very sensitive.

Scottish French war hero, Jacques MacDonald
Jacques MacDonald was born in Sedan, Ardennes, France. His father, Neil MacEachen (later MacDonald) came from a Jacobite family from Howbeg in South Uist in the West of Scotland. He was a close relative of Flora MacDonald who played a key role in the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after the failure of the 1745 Rising. In honour of his service as a general in Napoleon's army, he has a street named after him in Sancerre, a great wine town on the Loire.

19 March 2010


I work every day and write daily reports. Some days are only half days and I leave to have lunch. But there isn't much to do. I can't get into the huge base here, so I travel between work and my 4x4 room. My laptop and TV are my entertainment but sometimes I'm so tired I just sleep. I travelled out to the main road and took a photo of the MiG 21 there, but even the US soldiers are 50m away from the entrance and the local police control the entrance. There was a large I.E.D (bomb) (improvised explosive device ed) there a couple of months ago. We aren't allowed to go into the city as the risk of being shot or kidnapped is high. The US soldiers can't even go to the main gate without armoured vehicles and the other contractors don't leave the base.
I've been invited by a few locals to go into town, and the best way is to blend in and go with one of them. So I intend to at some stage as I'm looking quite Afghani now and living here is like being in one of China's prisons in the Gobi desert with no fences.
My Internet connection is very intermittent which is annoying as I can't pick the times to talk, due to work commitments. I haven't seen the kids for about a week but I ring on the cell phone every now and then.
There are a lot of Afghans that want to leave, most I would say. There isn't much of a future for them here and they want try to make the most of it somewhere else (more opportunities). A lot have asked me to come to NZ, and I feel embarrassed some times when I show them photos of NZ.
Europe is also a big draw-card and today one guy explained the people-smuggling route which goes from Kandahar to Iran then Turkey, Greece, Albania and then Italy. Also two Afghan flight crew (a couple) got off at Frankfurt and didn't return, so they don't put couples on the same flight anymore and tend not to have any local staff fly to Germany just foreigners.
The longer I stay here the more I realise there is no military solution. They need social welfare and investment in Infrastructure and good Policing. If they paid the Police more it would help a lot. At the moment most Police join just so they can get fed regularly.
But this type of solution would never go down well with the US public, as they still want revenge for 9-11( approx 3,500 killed).
So even after approx 200,000 Iraqi and tens of thousands of Afghan Civilians killed it isn't enough. The crazy thing is that the social solution would be cheaper than the military one and more effective. I sometimes think that the Local Governments also want to keep the US/NATO fighting as they see it as a way to slowly drain the US and financially cripple it; in the meantime they make their money. The poor people are the biggest losers, but it is sometime handy to have a mass of people that are wanting, so you manipulate them.
I suppose I have gone off on some sort of conspiracy track, but stranger things have happened and there is 2,000 years of history which the neighbouring countries share and the huge empires which united them.
Marjah is about 300km from here. Most of Afghanistan can be dangerous but the whole border region from the southern provinces to the eastern provinces has had the most incidents. Proximity to the Pakistan border usually means higher threat level. Will try and send more pics but not much here, there is a huge desert to the south where nothing grows or lives. Apparently it is one of the driest places in the world. I can see why - the Summer temps are normally between 48 and 60 degrees Celsius, sometimes higher.
Mr Mwezi

Richard French's iPod

Basin Street, St Louis Blues

Truck Louisiana


RV Shorter, our van in the trees, Alabama

Tybee Island, Georgia

Kayaks, Tybee Island

Square, Savannah, Georgia

Tourist River Boat, Savannah
Journey's End
We have slept in our van in forests, beside lakes and rivers, near railway lines and in the centre of cities. Tonight, our last on the road, we are surrounded by orange groves in Southern Florida. Or more accurately, we are in a huge trailer park which is surrounded by orange groves. Our neighbours on both sides are worthy Quebecoise. It has been good  to speak French again especially when we realised our bad accents were rather impressive to the differently schooled French-Canadian ear. Well, impressive to us anyway.
Tomorrow we shall dump this vehicle which, seventy miles an hour in the fast lane, has been our snail shell for the past twenty days or so. It seems a light year since we said farewell to Veronica and Ernie in LA and now all we have are memories, two laptops full of pictures and credit cards loaded to the gunwales with (mostly) fuel bills. 4,500 miles at 9 miles to the US gallon. Do - as they say here, the math. Even at US prices it’s a hefty sum and one, improbably, we did not budget for. Ouch.
The van - it's been sort of OK .They call it a Winnebago but effectively its a big fat 6- wheel Ford pick-up with a plumbed, electrified and heated shell on the back. It has seat belts for seven but we would not like to try that. The upside is that we can come and go as we want and more or less drop our hook wherever and whenever we please. The downside is that it’s a pig to park and and we have to resort to other means to get to city centres. On the other hand it was valet parked in Santa Fe without a raised eyebrow, but then, hey, it is that sort of town.
We have eaten LA smart, Tex-Mex in railway stations, Southern-fried in Savannah , barbecued on an open fire in a National Park, and have avoided McDo's. We have learned to become Denny's loyalists as they serve such good all-day breakfast and we reckon Safeway USA is the only way to food shop. More often than not we have wined and dined best in our mobile shell.
The weather has been its trying self in the worst winter that the South has known for years. We did a 400-mile detour to Tombstone  to avoid treacherous snow in Flagstaff Arizona and then backed all the way up New Mexico again because we wanted to see Santa Fe. And worth the trip it was. We suffered the seemingly endless forests of Southern Alabama and Georgia because we wanted to see the gorgeous old lady that is Savannah and in so doing had a riotous time on Tybee Island. Here Joe, our friendly cab driver went home to pick up his stretch limmo to take us foreigners to dinner (in the local crab shack) in grand style. But after being thrilled to bits to be standing on the corner of those two great old jazzer streets of Basin and St Louis we folded our rolling tent and left the Big Easy and Bourbon Street to its tawdry mess of clip joints, strip clubs and neon blight that today's forces of tourism dictate.
So what can we conclude at the end of our crossing? We have not met a bitter or angry soul and nothing has seemed to be too troublesome. Good old Southern manners are for real, right down to the City bus driver in San Antonio Texas who wished every departing passenger and I include a bag-lady and a for-sure junkie  'Good Night and y'all have a good evening'.  Self confessed God-Fearers and Republicans (often being one and the same thing) seem to lie low or keep to themselves. Maybe we go to the wrong sort of places. There is a real feeling abroad that Barrack Obama is turning out to be a latter day Jimmy Carter. A good guy, a right thinking guy - but ineffective in the Office of the President. So much so that second term is in real doubt. Oh shit. The one thing that all seem to agree on is that 'government is broken'  and 'no-one knows how to fix it'. And big business calls all the shots.
And, to conclude for this week at least, recession or not, the Land of the Free is certainly not Free of Fat. So many people her are just more than huge. But then - Lordy Miss Claudy - we have to lose a few pounds ourselves. From today Absolut, OJ, ice and corn chips no more. Sad as it is to relate.
Richard French








 Photo Roger Morton

 Pigs Flying

The lady at the dairy
didn’t even know
the sea was rough today.
It’s just across the road
a few metres away.
Couldn’t she have raised
her eyes from the till
to see the waves lashing in
and the wind crashing by?
I told her 70 knots
were expected
in the afternoon.
There was a
gale warning out
and I thought
of the pigs
flying through the air last week
in the UK,
like something
out of the old testament.
by Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

BBC Radio

In Spring 1990, deep in Broadcasting House London, a team of young  producers and researchers had been brought together and  were working all hours planning the launch of a new Radio station,  which was to include Sport, Children, Youth and Educational programmes. It was an exciting and heady time, and I was fortunate to be one of the team which launched that new station, Radio 5 on 27th August 1990.
There is nothing to beat the buzz of being part of a team to launch a new radio station!
With dozens of programme ideas to consider, the Controller of Radio 5,  Pat Ewing,  who liked to give us ‘challenges’  set us the task of delivering ’an imaginative, daily  soap opera for  young children….  Not quite the Archers for tiny-tots, but something…… funny.’
From all the creative offerings, an innovative series set in a wild-life area, Wiggly Park, written by Keith Faulkner, emerged as the out-and-out winner. The characters who inhabited Wiggly Park were "EW"  the  Earthworm, Nifty the Slug, Moggy the Caterpillar, Buzz the Bee, Shelly, the French Snail, and Thera the Greek Tortoise. Quite a motley crew. As we could only afford one actor, a versatile radio performer was essential  to portray all these parts - and the actor chosen, and who sprang Wiggly Park to life,  was Andrew Sachs.
Andrew was absolutely brilliant - creating individual  personalities for each of the little creatures in what was to become a long-running series (520 episodes) of 5-minute stories which appealed to children and adults alike.
Best-known  for his role as one of the most iconic characters in British comedy history, the hapless Manuel in Fawlty Towers, Andrew Sachs' career , spanning over 50 years, has included appearances in The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased,  Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who.
He also has a vast repertoire of radio programmes to his credit, both as a talented writer and as a performer of poetry, readings and plays. He is a regular contributor to Radio 4 favourites such as Weekending, Poetry Please, With Great Pleasure and Book of the Week and his play without dialogue, The Revenge, is a masterpiece. A ground-breaking 30-minute thriller, it is  totally devoid of speech, but layered with sound effects, music and human ‘sounds’  If you haven’t heard it, do try and catch it on Radio 7 sometime. A repeat always comes round.
It's exactly twenty years since Andrew came to Broadcasting House to record his first week of Wiggly Park stories. He was 60 years old at the time, so now, 20 years on and in celebration of his 80th birthday in April, we have invited Andrew into the Radio 7 studios to select some  programmes from his long, illustrious  radio career, to discuss and introduce his programmes, and hopefully give us a bit of background gossip. This is one of a series called   I Did It My Way in which well-known writers/performers reminisce on  their radio careers. 
Andrew  was delighted to be asked - but hardly knew where to begin when he was given the lengthy list of his archive programmes. I'm sure his choices will be fascinating, but I do hope he manages to squeeze in at least one Wiggly Park story!
Radio 5, sadly, was a brave but short-lived experiment, and was closed to make way for Radio 5 Live in 1994. However, although not all of the Radio 5 original output has been kept, I'm pleased to say that many of the beautifully produced children's dramas have survived, some of which we have  repeated on Radio 7:  titles recently scheduled in our Young Classics strand  include:  The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book, The Swish of the Curtain,  The Railway Children and Tintin. Great stuff.
Radio 5 also developed innovative comedy programmes, some of which were quickly snapped up for television:  Room 101, They Think It's All Over Fantasy Football League to name but three.
In its brief  4-year existence the network gathered a respectable listenership and a loyal following. The ‘old’ Radio 5 signed off at midnight on Sunday 27th March, 1994, with a pre-recorded comedy sketch to provide a few laughs at the end of the network's  broadcasting life.
The ‘new’ BBC baby, Radio 5 Live, was delivered at 5.a.m on Monday 28th March as a combined news and sport channel. It has been, and continues to be a success - still going from strength to strength.
 And what of Wiggly Park? Well, it literally went out with a ‘bang’ rather than a whimper. In the final programme, the Park and all therein was demolished to make way for newspaper offices and a sports centre. Not a dry eye in the under-five audience.
Thankfully, the programmes themselves were not bull-dozed , but were squirreled away by a crafty producer - so now of course the idyllic days and adventures in Wiggly Park can still be  enjoyed on Radio 7 - except for that final, devastating programme, which has been confined to broadcasting history, and probably ended up in a skip somewhere near Broadcasting House.
And the ‘old’  Radio 5 staff?  Apart from the sporty ones and journalists who transferred to the new network, many of them moved on to even greater things:  some set up successful independent production companies, some moved to television, one is now Controller of Radio One, another is Head of BBC Radio Comedy, then there's a Commissioning Editor for Radio 4, another became Executive Producer on Eastenders and is now Controller of TV Drama.
But lest I forget - one became  Head of Programmes for a new digital network, Radio 7.
I have not met up with a single staff member from those intoxicating days of Radio 5, who doesn’t look back at the time without feelings of affection and warmth. When the network closed, David Harding, who was Deputy to the Radio 5 Controller said: "There has been so much innovation. Radio 5 had a creative atmosphere which allowed people to experiment."
Hear hear!
Do I feel a 10-year  Radio 5 re-union coming on?
You bet!
Mary Kalemkerian,Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7



Photo Roger Morton
Spring Emerges
The spring settles in the mind.
What was I all this winter long?
Living in a cave of my own making
Waiting for some warmth on my skin
A sense of freshness blows through my mind
And I reawaken to you
O beautiful place where I tread
Possibilities, options, decisions to be made, the thinking time is done the choosing begins
What will I be today?
Hope, and a lightness leaps through my stomach, my heart, my eyes,
As I gaze at evening light and shadows of life
Whilst the gentle background tingle of birdsong soothes my tired soul,
Oh what sweet blissful peace to feel so alive and ready….
Anna Morton ©
I was framed.
Photo Roger Morton

This was no timorous beastie but an invading terrorist. It took up residence while we were in the Loire and it happily shat and peed its way round the kitchen. Luckily, thanks to my housewifery skills and the fact that I like big glass jars, the only thing it munched its way into was a cardboard box of coco lait.
It now lives in the woods far, far away. Lucky for it, that it finally stepped into the non-killer trap – it had so pissed me off . It had continued its manky ways for 2 days after we got back. I had meticulously cleaned and scrubbed everything on Day 1. How boring is that!
Day 2, there was pee and poo in the drawers again. The kindly trap was still empty, so I was down in the workshop searching for the death-trap … couldn’t find it. Returned to find the mouse in the cage trap. Wise decision, mon ami.
Joselyn Morton


Association Variations have pleasure in announcing their forthcoming performance of the MOZART REQUIEM featuring Variations Ensemble Vocal and Orchestra conducted by John Jenkins. Soloists are Clementine Lovell, Alison Chew, Russell Painter & Daniel Roddick. Concert also includes other solo, choral and orchestral works by Fauré and Mozart.
Performances: Friday 9th April 2010 at L'Eglise St Astier 2000hrs and Saturday 10th April 2010 at La Collegiale, Riberac 2000hrs.
Tickets on sale NOW Reservations 0553 906203 price 15 euros children under 12 free.
Variations website www.variationsfrance.com
Teresa Rekowska, Secretary Variations Association
Website: www.variationsfrance.com