6 février 2007


Here you have a couple of photos of a laboratory here in Orléans. They call it the Centre Technique Interprofessionel des Oléagineux Métropolitains. It is a laboratory focused on the production and improvement of rape (colza). They receive a small percentage on the price of rape seed that is sold by the farmers and they use it to do research into the production of rape. I like going there and chatting with the people and trying to understand what they do. It is a fine laboratory in an attractive park. The fact that there are a lot of good looking friendly women is irrelevant.

Really they have two activities. One is to assist the farmers by giving training sessions and technical support. At this time of year they receive a little packet of soil from all the colza farmers in the centre of France, they analyse it for nitrogen amongst other things, and advise the farmers on the application of fertilizer and other elements. The analysis has a dual role; in reducing pollution on the one hand and improving quality as well as productivity on the other. After analysis the soil is thrown in a big heap and spread around the park. One wonders what soil scientists in 2000 years will make of this rather strange mix of soil.

The other activity is research into how to better grow colza, make a more nutritious oil, how to treat the different diseases etc. etc.

Of course being English they ask me about Tony Blair’s opinion that growing food is an activity of the past. That soil pollution, energy consumption, nutrition are all subjects of the dark ages and not worthy of investment. They ask me why he believes that. I have to be honest and say that I am as mystified as they are.

2 février 2007

The Woodmen

No more watery river days for the moment. I took my little car and headed off into the big bad Sologne forest. Not that we have any wolves nor Red Riding hoods. At this season of the year there are just a lot of woodmen, no I don't think I've seen any woodwomen. One day lots of red marks appear on the trees and then a few days later they are on the ground. Another day or two and there are big bare trunks alongside wonderful neatly stacked piles of logs ready for shipment to wherever. The Sologne sends firewood all over Europe, for those poor overcrowded people in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

I always love the forest. One of the rare English books that I found worth reading was the Woodlanders. I'm not sure why and I can't remember too much about it, but I thought Hardy created a splendid atmosphere. It really smelt and felt like the forest.

If you click on the picture you can see the beautiful intricate patterns of the branches. Beyond the back of the garden there are often deer and pheasants roaming around.

Busy times I had to have dinner in my friend's restaurant, l'Epicurien,(Sebastien is my friend, only his brother Guillaume, the chef appears in the photo. We sat under the water melon) in the evening. With the wild boar I had a gorgeous Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil 2005. Cabinet franc grapes, 20 year old vines. It is a strange wine, it seems to age very quickly and gives the lovely mature taste of a 10 year old wine after only a couple of years. Sometimes it has a fusty taste, which I don't appreciate, but this one was perfect. End of a perfect day, not an Anglo Saxon in sight.

31 janvier 2007


This photo is for those amongst you who have a secret passion to belong to a harem.

29 janvier 2007

Today's bash

This is a quote from today's Sun newspaper:

" SHILPA Shetty’s performance on Celebrity Big Brother has been hailed as a turning point in defeating racism.

The stunning Bollywood star beat her tormentors Jade Goody and Jo O’Meara to a place in the final.

Now the Indian actress looks set to become the nation’s sweetheart after she dealt with racism and bullying with good grace and humour."

Am I the only one to have blood that curdles when I read this insincere tripe? What are 60 million people doing tolerating this hypocrisy?

First off we have heard endlessly up to now that the British multicultural approach had created a harmonious society. Especially during the troubles in the French suburbs. Did anyone believe that?

Then of course the Sun never ceases to exploit the bigoted, nasty vicious goings on of BB to sell more newspapers.

Now we get this humbug.

A respectable nation wouldn't put up with it. Is every Englishman so attached to commercial gain that they are prepared to turn their head away from profiteering out of racism?

28 janvier 2007

Come on, give us some fun

Down town Orléans, right where the Rosbifs called out for Fish and Chips. You can still see the ketchup.

So how is Ségo doing? As you can read in the newspapers she has made quite a few ‘gaffes’, especially on foreign policy. Though there are so many, one starts to suspect it's a strategy. Surprisingly she seems to be turning the corner.

Of course the opinion polls are showing her with a small deficit to Sarko, but it remains small and if she can recover credibility then she can still win.

Probably the biggest coup was the Canard Enchainé information on the Renseignements general. This is the French KGB who had investigated a colleague of Ségo. It did not look too nasty of itself. The French are tolerant of the RG because they have a pretty realistic opinion as to what the world is like. They prefer having these types of snoopers, with accompanying strong arm tactics, to the attacks on the New York World Trade Centre and a war in Iraq. Nevertheless there is a difference between acknowledging their shady existence and being associated with them on the front pages. It makes Sarko look a bit nasty. Unfortunately for him, he went after a greeny rather than some business type. Bad memories of Mitterand's Greenpeace fiasco in New Zealand. It also gives him a problem with his resignation from the interior ministry. If he resigns now it will look as if he was pushed, if he stays there is plenty more room for ‘bavures’.

Sarko also looks nasty because of the Dehan incident. Imitating the prime minister of Quebec and Ségo saying that the French would be happy to give Corsica its independence. Nobody contests it is true, in general people think the place is more trouble than it’s worth. Besides people who live on islands are trouble makers. But it is not the sort of thing presidential candidates should say. Nevertheless the socialists are managing to make it look like dirty tricks from Sarko rather Ségo’s incompetence. Not so easy to have a go at a lady!!!

Ségo’s off in the Antilles saying that she is happy to be away from the rough and tumble of politics in the metropolitain. “C’est dur”!!!. Pesky women for you, when they are winning they fight and when they start losing they run to the teacher. But of course it's fair tactics. Nobody was born yesterday.

Her relationship with Hollande will probably run and run. It looks like their ‘partnership’ is pretty rocky. Hollande has certainly not been too much of a gentleman so far. One suspects that her kids were born by immaculate conception and she’s not too cuddly between the sheets, or at least not with Hollande. Where has Hollande been getting his little ‘gâteries’? Still Sarko is studiously avoiding that territory, where he probably has a pretty patchy record as well. The French press as usual is also steering clear of ‘personal’ questions. Come on now, give the gallery a bit of fun!!!

Oh yes policy is off at the moment.

26 janvier 2007

Going Global

From today's London's Times

Poms whinging beer ad pulled

Englishmen living in Australia succeed in their campaign to outlaw advertising depicting Englishmen as whingers

Last month British People Against Racial Discrimination, the organisation campaigning for the removal of the advert, said that the word Pom was derogatory. David Thomason, the group’s spokesman, said: “The Oxford Dictionary classes Pom as being derogatory.” Mr Thomason said that he believed that there was a fashionable wave of derogatory insults against the British. He cited the behaviour of Australian cricket fans towards the English on the current Ashes tour.

“The songs the Aussie supporters sing talk about how ‘We can’t get near your body because of your smell, your body odour, your bad breath, your buck teeth, your whingeing — have you got some soap?’, ” he said.

25 janvier 2007

Clocking in to kill

This is from the New york Times today. I thought it was incredibly funny. Soon the troups will have to clock in.

"Many of the Iraqi Army units who were supposed to help secure Haifa Street in Baghdad on Wednesday did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own."

The view from Orléans

Some establishment figures have unfairly accused me of anti British bashing. Well, I ask you, how about this quote from the establishment's own rag. “Tony Blair faced fierce criticism …………. for failing to attend the first full-scale debate on Iraq for nearly three years.” Now would I ever suggest that a country, even with limited democracy, would wait 3 years to debate in its national assembly, a war in which it was killing thousands upon thousands of innocent people? Would I ever suggest that any leader anywhere, however mercenary, would be so consumed by his commercial activities as to not even attend the debate? I would never suggest anywhere that such a thing could possibly happen. It is just too far fetched to believe that the worst banana republic behaves in this manner. Who finally are the Brit bashers, the establishment’s own journal, that prints unwarranted criticism of the country.