How many men does it take to change a ‘phone line?

September 16, 2010

How many men does it take to change a ‘phone line?

Originally uploaded by Le Patron

For a long time the landline at Le Petit Marais was hopeless and getting worse. Many men came and looked and merely complained it was my fault because of so many tree obstructing the line. One day Allan turned up to discover the pole had snapped off and was lying in the road. The call centre still denied there was a problem but eventually called a man who called another man who called another man until there were five men and three vans – one with a cherry picker. Works perfectly.

Didn’t get away

September 1, 2010

Didn’t get away

Originally uploaded by Le Patron

Steph was fishing off the jetty and caught this french type fish that isn’t a trout or a roach or a chub – the giant from the deep that attempted to remove it from the line was a pike. I have that on the authority of Steve ‘two kingfishers’ Connor, Steph’s dad.

Tea light on terrace

August 25, 2010

France 2010

Originally uploaded by jenni allen

Jenni took this at f4 1.3 secs – was it on t’ tripod?

Scenes de Jardins

August 23, 2010

I flew out to Limoges to join famille Connor at Le Petit Marais for Danse Martha, performed by Garance Pique.
Excellent turn-out and superb support from the tourist office and the commune. As promised the Maire, M. Emard had arranged for the spoil heaps outside Le Petit Marais to be levelled to form a car park.
The house seems to appreciate a good crowd, floodlighting and a dash of culture!
More photos at

Le Patron

European Court of Human Rights

August 2, 2010

Earlier this year I was at Le Petit Marais with Jack and Donny. After a few days without broadband they announced that my failure to provide broadband struck at the very heart of their inalienable right to sit around glued to a screen all day and as a result they were going to take me to the European Court of Human Rights. Donny suffered such severe withdrawal symptoms that he was reduced to sorting the tiles in Bananagram (a simple, fast version of scrabble where you don’t wait for ages for your brother to win) so he would know whether he was wasting his time hoping to pick a particular tile. See below.

Scenes de Jardins

June 28, 2010

Last year Alan Moody told me the Maire, M. Emard would like a word. I went to see him and he asked me whether I would let him nominate Le Petit Marais as a garden to be opened to the public for a day in 2010. He wasn’t sure whether the St. Jean Tourist Office would select Le Petit Marais but it would be an honour for the commune if they did. What could I say other than ‘oui, pour le commune’
I heard nothing more. On my last trip, leafing through the Mairie’s free sheet ‘Entre Nie et Boutonne’, I found the following! Click on it for a more readable version.
I’m not there in August, not sure about Chris. Steve & Hil are duty Duc et Duchesse – bonne chance!

Liquorice Roll-ups

June 27, 2010

When I was waged, people could trace my movements from a trail of liquorice fag ends gracing ashtrays in various meeting rooms. Those were the days.
David C, Kate’s flatmate, is much more upmarket. You can see where he has been at Le Petit Marais from a trail of discarded pistachio shells.

McKeown Planter

June 27, 2010

Many years ago Steve McK & family rescued a little stone trough from the river and planted it up near the entrance to the secret garden. Miraculously it is still going strong with thyme, sage and wormwood surviving frequent neglect, regular tempetes and freezing winters.

Spike interviewed by Martin Bashir

September 21, 2009

Spike interviewed by Martin Bashir

Originally uploaded by Le Patron

No surprise, Spike was the star of the show when the London and Northern Mottrams met up at Le Petit Marais. He worked the crowd brilliantly especially with his Lady Di eyes – captured here.

CSI St Julien

July 16, 2009

Whilst Zanna Hurst’s party was at Le Petit Marais some local jeunes invaded the house via the window in the pool room nearest the steps and proceeded to bang about whilst the girls cowered, in a brave way, barricaded in the drawing room. In order to improve their conversational French they called the Gendarmes to the rescue – hopefully they have spoken to the Maire who will have put the word out. There was some doubt as to how the youths had got in but the photograph below clearly shows mud from a trainer on the suspect window cill.

Crime Scene

Only a few days later Guy turned up to mow the parc to find the the front door wide open and the keys to the house missing. Merde! New complicated secure access to keys and new locks are a pain in the neck. Le Patron is not a happy Lapin.

All this may be just part of a general St Julien crimewave – see the excerpt from Entre Nie et Boutonne warning communards to take care,Soyez Vigilant