Zero before 60…

Regular readers may remember that back in January I gave myself a list of 10 things to do before my 60th birthday in October.

Picture me looking shame faced…

Here is the list and my progress so far:

  1. To “purposefully” walk 60 km a month
  2. Organise some kind of art show
  3.  Invite French friends for an English afternoon tea
  4. Visit a Llama farm
  5. Read my French novel
  6. Treat myself to a massage
  7. Spend one night in a Shepherd’s hut/ yurt/ tree house
  8. Go to an open air concert
  9. Write a will
  10. Take my two best friends here in France out for a cocktail or two


  1.  This came to a juddering halt somewhere mid-February. I have just started trying to do a Leslie Sansome mile-a-day but I’m not sure how long it will continue.
  2. The logistics of this defeat me. No idea what to do about it.
  3. One of my French friends has holed herself up after her husband’s death and isn’t going out. I’ve not got that many French friends, now I think about it… I WILL try to get this sorted, maybe for Odette and her daughter Céline..
  4. I’ve just begun to explore this again. I’ll ask Friend Cathy if she’s up for it.
  5. Yeah, right…
  6. This one isn’t actually too hard! I have picked up a card for a place not too far away. I just need to make some effort to book myself in…
  7. There’s a place not far away, which we’re thinking we might book for the Saturday night of the village fete (always a nightmare)
  8. I should have got my act together better – nuits de Fourvieres is nearly over. AND there were bands I’d’ve liked to have seen. Sigh. Not sure if I’ll manage this one…but I am going to a concert (indoors) just after my birthday!
  9. I know I should get on and do it…no excuses (or rather WE should get on and do it!)
  10. This keeps being put off. I can’t think why, it’s not that we’re not up for it!



I’d better go and do my ironing…


A time for crafting…

I’ve been hankering after some acrylic paints, but all that I’ve looked at have been a bit expensive. Finally,  I found a set in Action (nearly as good a shop as Noz!) a few days ago, which was 20 little tubes of acrylic paint for 3,99€. So I bought them, and a set of brushes. Then yesterday I idly started brushing “waves” of green and blue across a piece of watercolour paper. That in itself was very relaxing, as I listened to some music.

Then this morning, I listened to the BBC Late Night Prom with Public Service Broadcasting playing The Race for Space. At the same time I tore up pieces of the beautifully coloured Gudrun Sjoden catalogue and stuck them on to the page…a bit of stamping, some cut out words from old CD inserts, and some calligraphy and I ended up with

You can click on it to biggify, if you want to see it in more detail


I really enjoyed my time playing about with bits of paper and paint…I managed to get over my feelings of “it must be perfect” – I look online and find amazing pieces of art journalling and measure myself with those. I have a very vocal inner critic, unfortunately!

I need to do more of this, I think! The problem is I find it difficult to have a idea to start with. I need to find myself a theme, or something to inspire me. I really enjoyed my “Desiderata” series…

I’m not sure these are in the right order, but never mind!!

Keeping Cool

Bib has discovered that when I have my fan on, my desk is a good place to lounge on.

The trouble is she has no regard for the fact I have to work…my keyboard is in danger of falling off the desk! I am allowed only a tiny bit of space for my work; napping is so much more important, don’t you think?!

Book Review: The Long Road Home (***)

I am proud to be  aTwenty-five Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley.


AND I’m a Top Reviewer, which means 3 or more of my reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher (I bet it wasn’t for any of my 1 star reviews!!)

So I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.So here it is


by JH Morgan

The NetGalley blurb reads:

Ain’t mispronouncing…

Ang, over at Tracing Rainbows, asked about words that one mispronounces even though you know the correct pronunciation. In Dormouse Towers we sometimes talk about “sanniches” and “tuffees” but not always.

However, on my shopping lists, there are two words I always spell incorrectly, even though I do know how to spell them (honestly!) These are “biskits” and “cat fud”. I don’t know why biscuits (see!) became “biskits”, but I can trace the “cat fud” back to this Gary Larson cartoon:


We loved Gary Larson, back in the day, and have several of his books. They are amusing to dip into from time to time.

And, just for fun, here’s another…

Yesterday’s sermon

If you should be interested, here’s a link to

  1. Christ Church, Clermont Ferrand’s website
  2. The website where we publish the “weekly message” (though not always weekly…)

During the summer, the Eglise Reformée, who own the building, have their Sunday morning services there, so we have to have our service at 17h30. Not terribly convenient for people like me, who travel from some distance to get here, but there’s nothing to be done.  Because many of our parishioners go home to visit family, or take the opportunity to tour Europe, during this time, we took the decision to only have services every other week. It’s not ideal, but it does mean that the service leader doesn’t spend hours preparing a service for two people.

Yesterday I was taking the service – the one Eucharistic service in July. My sermon is on the site “Oh Taste and See“, under the title “Being and Doing” If you go to read it, it would be nice if you left a comment, evenif it’s just saying “Hello”!

I can just imagine Martha saying “Those vegetables won’t peel themselves, you know!”


Questions asked…

Someone at church who occasionally reads my blog asked me recently “Why is Andrew known as Mr FD?”

Others of you may be wondering.

So here is an explanation.

In my second year of teaching, I was living and working in North London, while Mr FD was working in the city, and commuting by coach to his parents’ home in Maidstone (which is where we’d met, during my first year of teaching) Every Friday, I would travel into the city, meet Mr FD and take the coach with him back to his parents’. We would arrive there about 6.30 pm, and after our evening meal, I would fall asleep on the sofa, rousing myself briefly to go up to bed, and finally surfacing at about 11.00 am the following day! I was absolutely exhausted at the end of each week! Because of my somnolent habit I became known as The Dormouse.

This is a hazel dormouse. These are an endangered species in the UK.

This is the kind of dormouse that most people think of, but there is also another kind, Latin name Glis glis, which is the edible, or fat, dormouse

These were a favourite delicacy at many a Roman feast. These are known as loirs in French, and can cause no end of damage if they get into your roof space.

I first started my blog way back when, using a “wiblog” account, and used the moniker “Dormouse”; it was also called The View from the Teapot. The wiblogs no longer exist, but some of my “rescued” posts are available on the links above “Some dregs from the other teapot”. Then, when I started getting more-than-a-little overweight, I decided to start another blog to document my food-and-dieting adventures, which I named Fat Dormouse Getting ThinnerHere’s a link to my very first post on the blog in January 2011

So, from that, the person formerly known as MrD, became Mr FD.

Here is Mr FD

Any other questions…?

C’est compliqué!

An expression used in French to mean “it’s complicated”…but it can also mean “it’s difficult” (but not necessarily complicated.) Which confuses my students sometimes.

Well, today it really was complicated – well, one thing I was trying to craft was complicated, anyway.

A few years ago, I went on a training course for the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) and one of the freebies handed out was a clever little card that opened out in a sequence of steps :

Open this like a book, and fold back to reveal…


Fold the top and bottom halves back to reveal…

Open like a book again, folding the two halves back to reveal…

Fold the both halves over-and-back, to reveal… Again!

It really is very clever (and difficult to describe) so I took two of them, one to dismantle to work out how it was done, and one to keep as a finished model. Yesterday I found them tucked into my craft shelves and decided to try to work out how it was made. After much fiddling and faffing, I worked out that it actually is deceptively simple, although you do need to be quite accurate with your cutting and sticking, or else it doesn’t fold easily into place.

I’m afraid I can’t really explain here how it’s done – I will try at a later date (if I remember!) to take some photos of me making one, so you can see the process – but here’s my own version made for Friend Alison’s son, who will be 16 on Tuesday.

Mine wasn’t quite as neatly folded as the model, so needed some help to lay flat. You can see Flynn’s two main passions illustrated – tennis and Fortnite!

I’m pleased with how it worked out, but it did take quite a long time! I’m not sure how often I’ll make a card like this, but it was fun to do. I like things like this that take my full concentration!