I am Charlie – or am I?

Like the rest of the world I am shocked and saddened by the terror attack in Paris yesterday, on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It is hard to believe that this is what some Muslims think their religion is about – killing others, even if they don’t share your beliefs, even if they mock your God. Just as I am shamed by the fact that Westboro Baptist Church peddle the message of hate for homosexuals in the name of the Christian God, I am sure many Muslims are ashamed that extremists are carrying out terror attacks in the name of Allah.

In France, and throughout the world, there has been a twitterstorm and FB of people tweeting, posting, holding banners saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) One of my students had it as his background on his phone. It is a sign of solidarity with those who were killed or injured in this attack.

But I’m not sure about identifying myself with an organisation who considered it acceptable to depict a black politician as a monkey…While I certainly believe we should uphold the right to freedom of speech, without fear of being indiscriminately slaughtered, I do wonder where freedom of speech ends and racism begins. Is it ok to depict someone as a monkey and cry “But it’s freedom of speech!” Is it ok to state that “God hates fags” and then play the freedom of speech card.

I don’t know. I haven’t got any answer. But – while I do weep with those who lost loved ones, while I do decry the slaughter of journalists, while I cannot defend the actions of these murderers – I’m not sure I want to say that I am Charlie…because I don’t think that it is right to mock other people’s beliefs, nor depict black people as monkeys.



Giving away a bit of village life

The Sapeurs Pompiers – fire service – in St Just are a volunteer force. They are not only the fire service but first call for medical emergencies too. We have several friends who volunteer: Clare, who is a district nurse, is the medical officer, her husband Jean and another friend Jerome, are both fire fighters. Just like in Britain, they can be called on to face fairly horrific incidents, sometimes that has happened to friends and acquaintances.

Because they are volunteer, they raise money for their Fete de Ste Barbara (patron saint of firefighters, I believe) by selling calenders at the end of the year. We bought ours, of course (we wouldn’t dare say no to Clare!) but I thought it might be quite fun to offer it as a Giveaway…Who would like to add a flavour of St Just to their office or kitchen with the pin-ups of the fire service?


All you need to do is leave a comment. I’ll randomly choose one of the commenters in a couple of weeks time. This is open to anyone from anywhere. Go on – you know you want to!

How sporty am I?!

The answer to that is: not at all! I’m basically lazy, and avoid exercise like the plague. That’s why one of my NY resolutions is to “do more exercise” – I’m going to try to do a 30 minute walk two or three times a week, though when the weather is as gloomy as it is today the thought isn’t very appealing!

I was reminded of my sporting prowess at school by a post on Magnon’s Meanderingswhen Cro wrote about rugby and rowing. My school was all-girls, so it was hockey and netball in the winter, tennis in the summer. My friend Tracy and I were terrible at hockey. If forced, we would play goalkeeper and goal defence, but that meant we’d stand in the goalmouth chatting, until anguished cries of “TRACY! ALISON!!” would alert us to the stampeding masses of the opposing team heading towards us. We’d let the ball into the net…be chastised (“Oh TRA-see! Oh AL-i-son!”)…and go back to our conversation. In the end it got to a point where we’d just be allowed to take Miss Crawford’s dog for a walk around the games field. EEveryone was satisfied with that solution: the rest of the year group who enjoyed playing, Miss Crawford who got us out of the way, the dog who got a walk, and us, who got out of hockey!

When summer came around we played tennis. There weren’t enough courts in the school grounds, so we would be allowed to go to the local park to play. Of course Tracy & I wanted to avoid any sporting effort, and we worked out that, at the height of the swing of the swings we could see any teacher approaching in time to hop off, to hare to the court and be playing tennis when the teacher arrived. However, our cunning did not stretch to realising that for every up of the swing, there would be a down (when you can’t see the approaching menace of a games teacher) and we were caught, red handed, merrily swinging in the playground instead of playing tennis!

I have tried to enjoy sport – skiing was not a success. Mr FD found he loved it (after I won a holiday) but I was terrible! We went on several holidays, but I never learned to love the sport; I was afraid of the speed necessary to turn successfully, and I could not get up from a fallen position, thanks to poor upper body strength. I tried to enjoy cycling – witness my 1,000€ for 1,000km challenge. I cycled the required 1K km and raised the money, but haven’t been on the bike since!! But dancing…well, I like that! Ballroom dancing wasn’t so good, as I couldn’t find myself a regular partner, but I’m hoping that the Line Dancing will be here for keeps.


I do like walking – a few years ago I regularly went for 5 or 6 km walks between, before or after lessons. I had a map of the hills around Clermont Ferrand, and i would enjoy a stroll. Unfortunately my feet are not in the best of health, with tendonitis, fallen arches and other associated problems, so I can’t get out for so many walks. The weather’s grim too, so I am less inclined than before to go out. STILL – I will be going out as soon as I’ve posted this.

What about you, dear readers: are you sporty? What do you enjoy?

PS: I’m quite thrilled to be typing this up on my new tablet/hybrid. I can blog from the warmth of the living room, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with my other NY resolution to blog more (either here or at Fat Dormouse)I hope you will join me.



Lovely gifts!

Yesterday I told you about my Secret Santa from work, and my Christmas Cracker swop. Now today, I can tell you about the “Send us Christmas” swop organised by Creative Chaos, over in New Zealand.

Here the idea was to cram as much as you could into a 1 litre ice cream type box. I actually bought one (90 cl rather than 1 litre, but never mind!) as all mine were in the freezer with food in them. I was paired with Kelly from Blueberry Heart and she sent me some lovely things. Unfortunately I was too eager to start using them, and I forgot to take a photo of everything together. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything!

Everything was packed, not in a 1 litre box, but a lovely Christmas stocking, which I pinned up on the fireplace. This will now be a part of our Christmas decorations


Inside were several interesting packages, including


a handmade button heart – now on the door handle of the living room



two decorations – a stuffed heart and a Christmas tree (which has spun round so you can’t see it!) which went on the Christmas twigs.  Also there was a decorate-Santa’s-Chocolate-house kit, a pot of sparkly lip balm and a knitted ear warmer, similar to this one:

Somewhat typically, I forgot to take any photos of my box and its contents…I remember there were some chocolate coins, a zentangle, a bag, some bath gel, a bookmark/necklace (whichever one prefers),a couple of straw dollie decorations, a recipe for Mr FD’s Pannetone Pudding…but after that my mind has gone blank, save for a very serendipidous find. I bought it before I had been allocated my partner, just because it was so pretty and light…a printed tin heart hanging decoration – with blueberries on it! How lucky was that?!

If Kerry posts about her box I will put a link on here.

My second Secret Santa was from Ship of Fools. I posted to one person – a couple of notebooks, a secondhand book and a neklace/bookmark (to be used as you want!) – and I received from someone else.

My Santa sent me a set of beautiful handmade notelet/cards in a lovely little wallet and some starry earrings.


I can’t find the earrings at the moment (d’oh!) I think I must have taken them off somewhere other than the bedroom, and put them “in a safe place”. I hope I find them soon – they were lovely!

Our New Year’s Eve was very quiet – dinner eaten, and TV watched and in bed by 11 pm! I saw the New Year in whilst snoring gently, Mr FD saw it in cuddling George the cat in bed. But I wish everyone who reads this a joyful 2015.

I am going to make more effort to blog regularly – hopefully every day – either here or over at Fat Dormouse Getting ThinnerI hope you will join me here or there from time to time.