21 December 2011


Images  LES Z'IBRIDES de Laurence Cappelletto
15 chemin des Feutres du Toulon 24000 PERIGUEUX
Tél.: 05 53 35 40 09 - Site web :
Photos :
Roger Morton

20 December 2011

Mel from Nepal

I spotted my first hint of Xmas cheer today as I strolled through the Thamel, Kathmandu. There it was, a fake pine decorated with strips of coloured paper and paper machéd objects thrown hastily on its branches. I glance upward and read ‘Pilgrims Book Shop’.
Still something in me felt slightly warmed and comforted by it, and my mind suddenly took flight, listing all the nonsense junk I must purchase to invoke the same nostalgia.
Fake tree, lights, tinsel balls, stars, cardboard to make cards, ribbon for wrapping gifts - gifts....my mental list was now spiralling and I try to gather myself together and proceed on by. 
It was the same when friends who are joining us for Xmas began asking what I wanted them to bring over ... hmmm? How much space do you have?
Well last Xmas we, and our children got just about everything they wanted. (Partially because their father was overseas so we tried to fill that gap with extra gifts, and partially because they get presents from everyone including Santa. All requests are covered...and then some!)
"Will Santa know we are here Mum?" asks my son.
"Will all the kids get presents too?"
I pretend not to listen, but he keeps on ... I start to feel nervous.
"Biswash really wants a bike, he might get a bike!"
How long do I continue with this tripe?
It is plainly obvious that little Biswash ain't going to get anything.
His mother is due to have his brother in a month and Father has gone for milk ... 2 weeks ago! 
Srijana mother has pulled her from school because she can't afford school shoes.
And well they are Hindu.
"No they don't celebrate Xmas" I mumble
They have their own festivals where they give love and aknowledgement of others, where they also shop madly for useless stuff .
Depending on the festival, one can see streams of people carrying huge bags of powders, sticks, ripped flowers, oils, pieces of charcoal, cloth, food to lay out in a particular way before it is completely smothered by other gifts of thanks.
What a waste I say as I watch it all blow away into nearby drains or streets. They could have eaten that food themselves. (How often have I completely stuffed myself with ham and pudding till almost sick?) I watch as colorful wrapping paper is torn and shredded to almost door height and remember I will definitely recycle it next year...oh! Too late.
But all part of a ritual that we mindlessly follow each year even if we endeavour not too.
I have failed again and will no doubt be blasting bing's white Christmas, eating some kind of trifle, roast chicken and bloody marys. It's our ritual and it brings us joy and warm fizzles and it has nothing to do with god, or Santa. It is about us celebrating our family and being together to be so thankful for our family and friends.
Mel Philipps


I feel sad

My friend said
“I feel sad
I don’t know
why. I am
going to see
a psychologue
on Monday.”
I didn’t know
what to say.
She had every reason
to be sad;
around the world
it was the season
and everybody
was looking for
a reason to go mad.

A new friend gave me a bottle
of golden walnut oil.
The summits have been scaled
by her generosity
I gaze into its golden depths
and know that stuff is
possible. If hard nuts
that fall from tall trees
thump onto uncaring ground
can turn into this golden liquid
then there can be carefree days
ahead, sadness can be expelled
and the spirit can feel light again.
Joselyn Duffy Morton©

Richard French in London

Roger Morton's photos of Jerome Savary, who directed and performed (and still continues today as one of Europe’s top directors) and his Roundhouse production of Le Grand Magic Circus From Moses to Mao in 1974.

Following my spectacular success at getting hold of the last two tickets in the house, at a couple of hours notice, at Sadler's Wells (in its 20th season Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker was as fizzy, exciting and fresh as ever) I decided to have a short term crack at the Round House last night. In times of yore this venue used to be a brief walk down the hill from our place in Belsize Park and, kids in tow, with Marine Ices just across the road, what could be easier, cheaper and better. That was then. Now is now. But again, we got tickets, booked with ease, on-line. Then to our surprise we were able, post-show to make a booking at Made in Camden, the Round House cutting-edge short-order in-house tapas restaurant that is making much noise on the London foodie scene. No walk or taxi this time but a long red 373 bus that stops, with frequent on-time perfection, outside our eerie in the Holloway Road and terminates at Chalk Farm. Could not be more perfect, or more free when our Oldies Freedom Passes are finally processed by the crowded, still grubby, but ever-so-friendly Post Office at Highbury Corner).
The Round House, ah the dear old Round House. memories of taking the kids to the Grand Magic Circus, probably when dear Roger was in house snapper there, memories of hippy-dippy, never any money Round House, striving to stay alive through the economic ups and downs (mostly downs) of the seventies and eighties. the ex steam railway engine round-about with its leaking roof and aged smoke stained Victorian interior ... is no more ... however maybe a good thing ...(I remember some great highlights there – Paddy Fletcher’s Feast of Fools with the now-famous international Casting Director, Suzie Figgis playing a naked serving wench; Steven Berkoff’s amazing Hamleted)
Instead we have cleaned brickwork, many booming bars, a glass-walled restaurant looking out on a crowded Camden street, packed with glistening wet red buses, shiny black cabs and people everywhere. The show, labelled somewhat enigmatically as La Soirée - was billed as a Christmas Extravaganza, although our Polly declined an invitation to include her kids as she thought it 'unsuitable'. It was, in fact, an odd assortment of deliberately unskilled roller skaters, drag queens, trapeze artistes, burlesque singers and megga-blasted hard rock. All right, it was OK, but nowhere near the extravagance, sophistication and high camp production of the night before. The restaurant was, however, a crowning glory. Out of complete chaos a charming and minute Latvian hostie  produced a table, whipped us off to a better one, and with our credit card safely behind the bar briskly landed a frosty bottle of sauvignon blanc on the table. The food was simply wonderful and very much our sort of town. Small but scrummy helpings of crispy sea-bass, flaked hake, aubergine purees, creamy garlic mash, gnocchi and ricotta, roasted onions and sprouting broccoli. All served by a schooled and gloriously juvenile waiter who was genuinely interested in what we ate and what we thought. And then a quick clean crowded tube filled with revellers whisked us home in minutes. 
Post-modern and Pre-Olympic London seems alive and very well. Recession may be in the air but its surely not showing this Christmas.

Stephen O'R's Sydney

So we had the new Verandah deck finished along with a new set of posts to hold up the roof and now we were ready for the painters. Since the Doctors poisoned me even a simple task such as painting is beyond my now almost useless body. After 18 years we had also decided to paint the bedroom we sleep in. The house was built about 160-170 years ago and the rooms are not over large. Our room was probably the parlour and the huge stone fireplace that takes up most of one wall having long lost is plaster provides a light brown earthy feel but the rest of the room is a gloomy olive green and it's hard to believe we have put up with it for so long.
But were going to change it all with a soft Eau du Nile on the walls and a white ceiling. Yesterday I had crawled on hands and knees pushing a Camphor chest , a Blanket box, two side tables, a mirror on wheels, a Queen size bed on its side, a fake Shaker bed surround. I pushed all of these pieces on their edges or on Persian rugs into the hall and the sitting room where I set up a grand new bedroom with an ensuite kitchen and windows looking North, West and East.
The wardrobe was jammed between the stone fireplace and a wall. Placing a shovel under the front right leg of the wardrobe I rocked it up and down whilst pulling forward with both arms reaching over the top. Amazingly the shovel action caused the jammed wardrobe to walk forward and it was soon out.
The builder who had repaired the verandah popped in. He planed the side edges of the wardrobe so it would no longer jam and then I cleaned the entire room walls, ceiling and floor.
In the morning I turned the heater on early, ensuring the walls and ceiling would dry and be ready for painting.  I also had the garage heated ready and waiting for the arrival of the painters, a married couple, Bruce and Helen. Helen is a midget so I mentally prepared myself to act normal with her.
Everything was ready. Now I could do with a shower and a shave. Just finished as the clock hit 8:30 - the appointed start time. No show.
I made a coffee, my phone went. The text read 'Too wet to paint try again tomorrow'. What! Well yeah it was raining but the bedroom was inside and half the work outside was under-over. I rang Gary the builder who had arranged the painters. He gave me Bruce's mobile number. I rang.
Now I had a whole week planned out I could not wait for the rain. If we could get everything we wanted today we could at least get most of the week done. But I was in the country and people think differently here. Here a man could charge $30 an hour for himself and his midget wife. It’s like one and a half for the price of one. Here you are your own master, you live in a house with a few animals and when you look out the window and see rain and mist you think "not a good day for painting". And you are probably right. Or so I thought.
When Bruce answered the phone I read his voice as hillbilly. I also read "I am not going to paint your house today." "It will take too long to dry." he said.
I have one coat ceiling painting and heaters say I.  Silence. He is not arguing, he has stated his case and that's that. I fumble a few more words and hang up. I follow up with a text saying I look forward to meeting them tomorrow.
I am frustrated.  I pull out my painting cloths and rollers but I know that if I am lucky I might last an hour or two but then I will probably end up in bed for a week or two. I put the roller down and think who else I can get if Bruce and Helen don't turn up tomorrow.
Next day they turn up bright and cheery at 8:20am dressed in painters’ overalls. Bruce is in his late fifties tall with curly hair. Helen is probably in her early forties but about the size of a ten year old girl. She has long blond hair that she constantly plays with when she is not doing something. She spends most of the day standing within a few metres of Bruce. Sometimes she does lower level work but mostly she just stands watching and twisting her hair.
They are both locals and live close to a beautiful river and beach in a suburb called Minimurra.  Never having travelled outside of their locale the local golf club provides them with their cultural outlet. On the third day I notice Helen has a black eye. Turns out she like a drink or six and that for a short person, a fall from the stools at the golf club bar is serious.
They do a six-hour day stopping only briefly for a cuppa tea which I made for them. Jan takes over as supervisor on the second day as I have to go back to Sydney for a couple of appointments. She tries to get them to do more but that deadness cuts in and so it will be January 9 before they get to the back of the house.
I return and find they have only painted the top of the bedhead but not the underside. Bruce agrees to paint the underside when I say I will turn it upside down and mask it off. Helen watches while I do this.  If only one had the skill that comes with years of painting one could tell them to f$$k off.
But soon another long six-hour day comes to an end and they are gone. A few big nights ahead of them at the golf club. All in all a cheery couple who seem to know what they want and who won't let anyone dictate terms to them?
My  body begins to punish me for doing the masking off but I take some more morphine and somehow get most of the bedroom furniture back in place. Gary the builder turns up and helps me with the mattress and it's done. He tells me Bruce did another job that first day.
I pop the rest of my medication and fall asleep hoping the paint fumes will not kill me.
Sent from my iPad

BBC, Radio 4 Extra

Hello again
This week we began decorating the Radio 4 Extra office, not only to get into the festive spirit, but also to celebrate nine years since the launch of our archive network - BBC 7 as was - launched on 15th December, 2002.
However, when we shook out the recycled decorations from the cupboard, sadly, the red artificial tree, gold baubles, the red and yellow paper chains (the colours of the BBC 7 original logo) looked quite tired against the smart new purple logo of Radio 4 Extra.
So all this week, our thrifty Business Manager, Rachel, has disappeared into a small office every lunch time, with any volunteers she could coerce, and yesterday they appeared with armfuls of carefully crafted purple, pink and lilac paper chains and hanging paper baubles, all festooned with purple satin ribbon.
I must contact Blue Peter to check if Rachel and her volunteers can be awarded Blue Peter badges; apparently there is a purple Blue Peter badge, awarded for good ‘team players’.
How appropriate!
Keeping within the spirit of ‘hand-made’ we had a veritable feast in the office on Thursday for the 9th birthday; home-made mince pies and cupcakes galore (more Blue Peter badges to be awarded).
Next year we will have 2 birthdays to celebrate (like the Queen!) April 2nd 2012 will be the first birthday for Radio 4 Extra, and December the 15th will be the 10th anniversary of the launch of our archive network. May we have many more celebrations to come.
But now on to the festive listening fare I recommend for the week ahead:
Radio 4 Extra Schedule
And finally,
The legendary double issue of Radio Times is now available - 294 colourful pages packed with details of the best TV and Radio to enjoy over the festive season.
There is a tremendous choice of programmes to suit all tastes.
I was very pleased to note that in the radio section, there are five Radio 4 Extra programmes highlighted as ‘Today's Choices’.
I hope you'll enjoy them.
Next week I'll be writing a double issue of the Radio 4 Extra newsletter to cover the Christmas and New Year period, taking us into the first week of January, 2012.
Happy listening!
Mary Kalemkerian
Head of Programmes
BBC Radio 4 Extra