A few days away

Day 1

Made it to Lyon early afternoon after an easy and fast journey on the motorway. It did not take long to find the hotel and check in before going out and find a suitable parking for the night. That done, we were able to deamble through town and look at shop windows. As it happens tomorrow is „Black Friday“ and major reductions are being advertised everywhere.

So the plan is to spend tomorrow morning shopping, fill up the boot of the car and make our way to the next destination. I have spotted a couple of shops which look very interesting.

We have reserved a table this evening at a typical local restaurant. One of the famous „Bouchon“ and namely „La mère maquerelle“ which is a few minutes away on foot from the hotel.

Before dinner, an aperitif at the hotel bar is a must. Local white wines of course.

The restaurant is a few minutes walking away and it turns out to be exactly how we had envisaged. Food is good, wine is excellent.

Back to the hotel for a night cap. No rush tomorrow.

Day 2

The 1st order of the day is some serious shopping due to the black Friday sales and indeed we do just that.

Late morning is time for a coffee is an excellent bar / restaurant.

Around midday, we pick up the car, go back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and we set up north for the next leg. We arrive in Vezelay around 4pm, my 1st brother and spouse shortly afterwards.

Day 3

Busy day today

Day 4

Time to head back south. After breakfast we part company with my brother and head to Montelimar where we are expected at my friends C&T for dinner and stay the night.

The drive down is pretty dicy (or should I say icy) in a couple of places where we encounter a couple of mini snow storms.

We make mid-afternoon and it is a very welcoming feeling, even better when the bottle of whisky comes out.

We have a great time catching up on the news and planning new events. I manage to call my friends G&F who just arrived from Iran and find out they are spending the night in Lyon on the way down to Pezenas the next day. This means they will be passing a few hundred metres away from us so on the spur of the moment, they are invited for lunch. All in all an excellent evening.

Day 5

I am currently downloading my daily Covid-19 data for my files which will be updated as soon as I get home later today. I am also taking the opportunity whilst I am alone (the girls have just gone out to get the croissants for breakfast) to do a short update of this post.

Posted in Places, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 22nd

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

612 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



Fluctuat nec mergitur

✏️ 5th wave

What needs to be done to stem the resurgence of the epidemic? Rely solely on vaccination and the return of barrier measures? Reinforce the health pass? Take new restrictions?
On the contamination front, the situation is deteriorating at a rate described yesterday by the government spokesman as “lightning”. On average over a week, the number of new cases has almost doubled. And we can’t count on a helping hand from the weather: the low temperatures are likely to favour the spread of the virus.
The question is whether this outbreak will result in a massive influx of patients to hospital. For the moment, this is not the case, but the level is rising. But it would not take much for the health care system, which is already stretched to the limit, to go under. Invited this morning on France Inter, Martin Hirsch, the head of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, estimated that the consequences of a fifth wave are not expected before “the end of December or January” in the hospital services.

✏️ Income tax

You are not the only one looking for information on the web. The Directorate General of Public Finances is using social networks such as Instagram and Facebook, as well as websites where people meet – Airbnb, BlaBlaCar and Leboncoin, for example – to track down fraudsters. The aim is to use digital platforms, particularly social networks, to ensure that taxpayers do not publish anything that is contrary to the law or to their tax returns. The experimentation of this system, introduced by Article 154 of the Finance Act for 2020 and piloted by the Directorate General of Public Finance (DGFIP), is to last three years.

✏️ German humour is no laughing matter

The German Health Minister’s shock phrase. Faced with the explosion of cases in recent weeks, Jens Spahn called on his fellow citizens to be vaccinated “urgently”. “By the end of the winter, as is sometimes cynically said, almost everyone will be vaccinated, cured or dead,” he said.


✏️ FRANCE 🇫🇷

Daily update on the Covid epidemic in France, with figures from Santé Publique France and the Ministry of Health.

This Sunday 21 November, 19,749 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in 24 hours, according to figures from Santé Publique France, giving a total of 7,414,971 confirmed cases since the start of the epidemic.

The test positivity rate is 4.7%.

There have been 3,269 new hospitalisations in the last seven days.

In 24 hours, 15 people have died in hospital from Covid. The total death toll since the beginning of the epidemic is 118,461, of which 91,564 have died in hospital.

Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in France, 51,644,678 people have received at least one injection and 50,565,421 people are fully vaccinated.

No deaths for 16 days in the Aude
In the Aude, 45 people with Covid were hospitalised on Saturday, 4 more than the day before. Among these patients, 7 are being treated in critical care units (intensive care, intensive care or continuous surveillance), which have been sand for five days; 23 are being treated in conventional hospitalisation (+4); 13 people are admitted to follow-up and rehabilitation care (SSR) or long-term care units (USLD) (stable in 24 hours) and two to another type of establishment (stable).

The number of deaths has not changed since 5 November, i.e. 16 days, at 413. The incidence rate rose above 100 on Saturday, reaching 130 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Sunday for the rolling week of 12 to 18 November.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 1,549 people have been discharged from hospital.

No deaths in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, 94 Covid patients are being treated in hospital (1 more in 24 hours). Among them, 6 are in critical care (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), stable since Friday. Twenty-two patients are being treated in conventional hospitals (one more in 24 hours); 53 in follow-up and rehabilitation care (SSR) or long-term care units (USLD) (stable since Friday) and 13 are admitted to another type of hospital (stable).

No deaths were reported in the department on Sunday, with the total remaining at 425 since March 2020.

The incidence rate continues to rise and is back to its level of the end of August at 166 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the figure communicated this Sunday, for the sliding week of 12 to 18 November.

Since March 2020, 1,820 people hospitalised have returned home.




Quite a collection

Guitars owned by U2’s the Edge, Eddie Van Halen, Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton were among the highest-bid items at a rock-themed auction that raked in over $5 million this weekend.

Julien’s Auctions’ Icons & Idols: Rock N’ Roll event also featured David Gilmour’s stage-used guitar from Pink Floyd’s Momentarily Lapse of Reason era ($200,000, doubling its pre-auction estimate) and Amy Winehouse’s Fender Stratocaster, which the late singer played onstage in and in the “Take the Box” music video; that guitar sold for $153,000.

Despite the controversy surrounding Clapton’s stance on vaccination mandates and Covid lockdowns, people still really like the song “Layla,” as Clapton’s stage-used acoustic guitar from his time with Derek & the Dominoes sold for an auction-high of $625,000, beating its $500,000 pre-auction estimate. (Clapton’s handwritten lyrics for “Layla” sold for $37,500, however, the low-end of its pre-auction estimate.)

The Edge’s 1976 Gibson Explorer Electric Guitar — used during U2’s The Joshua Tree tour — reached a high bid of $437,500, while Bono’s 2005 Gretsch Irish Falcon — played live when U2 performed “One” and “Walk On” — sold for $115,000.



▫️ FRIDAY FUNNIES (on Monday) from Paul

Greetings one and all.

Getting chilly in the north…

□ True story ………………………. for the Aussies…..

Many years ago as a 22 year old I was sent to Brisbane from Melbourne for a company I worked for. 

Shared a flat with a guy up there. Went down to the chippy for dinner and asked for
flake and chips.

Guy looked at me what’s flake ?

Shark says I.

Son, up here the sharks eat the people !!!!!

□ Two blokes living in Australia saw a job advertised by the Queen of England. She was 

looking for footmen, to walk beside her carriage.

They applied and were very happy to be flown to London for an interview with Her Majesty.

On meeting them she says, “Because my footmen must wear long white stockings, I 

must see your ankles to be sure they are not swollen or misshapen.”

After they show her their ankles, the Queen says, “It is also important that you don’t have 

knobby knees, so I need to see your knees too.”

Once she has seen their knees, she says. “Now everything appears to be in shape, so I just need to see your testimonials.”

Ten years later, when the pair are finally released from prison, one of the blokes says to the other, 

“I reckon, if we just had a bit more education we would have got that job!”

□ An oldie…

It was two o’clock in the morning and a husband and wife were asleep, when suddenly the phone rang.

The husband picked up the phone and said, “Hello? … How the heck do I know? What am I, the weatherman?” — and promptly slammed the phone down.
His wife rolls over and asks, “Who was that?”

The husband replies, I don’t know. Some guy who wanted to know if the coast was clear.

□ Did you hear about John Travolta’s covid scare over the weekend?
He’s ok, turned out it was just Saturday night fever

□ So I phoned my boss this morning.
“I’m on the train heading to the south coast now.”
“What?” He answered, sounding a bit annoyed.
“It’s 5 o’ clock in the morning! What are you doing on a train?”
“You tell me,” I replied. “You’re the one who told me to be in
Brighton early this morning!”

□ While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch.
After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant, and resumed the trip.  She left her glasses on the table and she didn’t miss them until they had  been driving for about forty minutes.

By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the elderly husband became the grumpy old man.

He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive.
The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn’t let  up for a single minute.

To her relief, they finally arrived at  the restaurant.
As the woman got out of the car, and hurried in side to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled out to her, “While you’re in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card”.

□ Four older women are sitting around playing Bridge.

The first lady says,
“You know girls, I have known you all a long time and there is
something I must get off my chest. I am a kleptomaniac. But don’t
worry, I have never stolen from you and I never will; we have been
friends for too long.”

The second Lady says,
“Well, since we are having true confessions here, I must get something
off my chest too. I am a nymphomaniac. But don’t worry, I have never
made a play for your husbands. They don’t interest me and never will;
we have been friends for too long.”

“Well,” says the third lady,
“I, too, must confess something. I am a lesbian. But do not worry, I will
not bother you. You are not my type. We have been friends too long
for me to ruin our friendship.”

The fourth lady stands up, says,
“I have a confession to make also. I am an uncontrollable gossip, and I
have some phone calls to make!”

□ Some short ones ……………

• I’m gonna work on being less condescending.

• Bulldozer: Someone who can sleep through a politician’s speech.

• My Golf Coach has identified that I’m standing too close to the ball.
After I’ve hit it….

• I would never call anyone stupid, but I do know a few people
who have bad luck when thinking.

• If I had a dollar for every woman who found me unattractive…
they would eventually find me attractive.

• I went to an Eskimo restaurant to enquire about their house specials.
“Well sir, we have Whale meat, Whale meat, Whale meat, or the Vera
Lynn.”said the chef.
” Whats the Vera Lynn?” I asked.
He replied” Whale meat again. “

□ A man is walking home alone late one foggy Halloween night, when behind him he hears: 

BUMP… BUMP… BUMP… Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes 

out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him. 


Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him. 

FASTER… FASTER… BUMP… BUMP… BUMP…. He runs up to his door, fumbles with 

his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him. 

However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping. clappity-BUMP…clappity-BUMP… clappity-BUMP… 

on his heels, as the terrified man runs.

Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, he locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head 

is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps. With a loud CRASH the casket 

breaks down the door. Bumping and clapping toward him. 

The man screams and reaches for something, anything… All he can find is a box of cough drops! Desperate, he throws the cough drops at the coffin……
and…. of…. course …the coffin stops!

□ A man rushed into the doctor’s office and shouted, “Doctor! I think I’m shrinking!!”

The doctor calmly responded, “Now, settle down. You’ll just have to be a little patient.”

□ Q: Why aren’t elephants allowed on beaches?

A: They can’t keep their trunks up!

□ Q: Why does a tiger have stripes?

A: So he won’t be spotted.

□ Q: Why do sharks live in salt water?

A: Because pepper makes them sneeze!

□ Q: Why did the cow jump over the moon?

A: Because the farmer had cold hands.

□ Q: Why do giraffes have long necks?

A: Because they have smelly feet.

□ Q: What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?

A: “You are too young to smoke.”

□ And to finish the week…..

• Insomnia is awful, but on the plus side only three more sleeps till Christmas! 

• I rang my wife from the shop cos I’d forgot what orange juice she wanted.
‘Concentrate’ she said, but I still couldn’t remember 

• Greggs have announced a new delivery service using drones.
All sounds a bit pie in the sky to me! 

• My Indian friend died of a heart attack last night.
Must have had a dodgy Tikka. 

• I asked Arnold Schwarzenegger what his favourite Christian festival is.
He said, “Have to love Easter, baby.” 

• Me: “Doctor, you’ve got to help me. I’m addicted to Twitter!”
Doc: “I don’t follow you … ” 

• I can’t believe I forgot to go to the gym again yesterday.
That’s 20 years in a row! 

See ya later, Alligator

Oh, that reminds me…

Question from a shrink to his patient, an Alligator:

“Does it bother you that so may people say to you ‘See you later’?”


Some more gems from crazy USA


❒ This town won’t see the sun again until January.

❒ Visualising what happens in an internet minute.


Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 21st

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

611 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



Fluctuat nec mergitur

As the Beatles would say: I am Getting better all the time, but it not over yet. I shall take it easy for another couple of days. Quite a few things are planned later in the week and at the weekend.

✏️ Covid-19: France imposes tests of less than 24 hours on non-vaccinated people coming from several European countries.

After having done so for Germany and Belgium, France is going to reinforce, from 22 November, the sanitary rules at its borders for non-vaccinated travellers coming from Luxembourg, Poland or Switzerland. The deadline for PCR or antigenic tests has been reduced from 72 to 24 hours.
France is tightening up its border controls. All over Europe, the contamination counter is starting to spiral again. A new wave is sweeping across the Old Continent. A record 317,000 new cases were recorded daily on the Old Continent on Friday 19 November, according to Our World in Data, which reports government data. The previous three days, with an average of more than 300,000 infections over seven days, had already surpassed the peak of the autumn 2020 wave. On 8 November, in the middle of the second wave at the time, 287,103 positive cases were detected.

✏️ Rugby

I was zapping along yesterday evening when I came across a brilliant rugby game. It is not everyday you see the French national team achieved a record 40-25 victory over three-time world champions New Zealand.

Roll-on the World Cup

✏️ Singapore I regularly read the Singapore Times newspaper which gives good insight on the local and Asian situation. Here is the latest article on the measure currently in effect in that part of the world.


✏️ FRANCE 🇫🇷

Thanks to the figures published by Santé publique France, here follows a summary report on the health situation in France and in the departments of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales on Saturday 20 November.

No deaths for 15 days in the Aude
In Aude, 41 people with Covid were hospitalised this Saturday, stable since the day before. However, this figure is down by 15% (or 7 patients) since 17 November and is back to the level of the beginning of the month. Among these patients, 7 are being treated in critical care units (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous surveillance), which have been stable for three days; 19 are being treated in conventional hospitalisation (stable); 13 people are admitted to follow-up and rehabilitation care (SSR) or long-term care units (USLD) (stable in 24 hours) and two in another type of establishment (stable).

The number of deaths has not changed since 5 November, i.e. 15 days, at 413. The incidence rate continues to rise, crossing the 100 per 100,000 population threshold again at 103.6 for the rolling week of 11 to 17 November, published this Saturday.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 1,549 people have been discharged from hospital.

Incidence at 140 in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, 93 Covid patients are being treated in hospital (3 less in 24 hours). Among them, 6 are in critical care (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), two less than on Friday. Twenty-one patients are treated in conventional hospitalisation (one less in 24 hours); 53 in follow-up and rehabilitation care (SSR) or long-term care units (USLD) (stable since Friday) and 13 are admitted in another type of hospitalisation (stable).

The department still deplores two additional deaths due to Covid in 24 hours, i.e. nine deaths in six days for a total of 425.

The incidence rate continues to rise and is back to its level of early September at 140 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the figure released on Saturday, for the rolling week of 11 to 17 November.

Since March 2020, 1,820 people hospitalised have returned home, including three within 24 hours.

23 deaths in France
At the national level, 23 Covid deaths were reported in hospitals on Saturday 20 November, bringing the total number of hospital deaths to 91,520. Adding the 26,908 deaths in nursing homes, since March 2020, 118,428 people have died from Covid, according to Santé publique France.

There were 7,974 people hospitalised (34 more than the previous day), including 1,333 in critical care, i.e. 20 fewer in 24 hours.

The incidence rate is still up at 144 per 100,000 this Saturday for the week of 11 to 20 November, compared to 132 according to the figure published the day before. France recorded 22,678 new cases in 24 hours on 20 November, compared to 14,646 last Saturday, an increase of 55%.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 432,421 patients have been able to return home, cured, including 206 in 24 hours.


I am still concerned about our forthcoming Christmas trip to Germany in particular when I look at the extraordinarily high incidence rate in some areas as shown in the chart below. At least Hannover and area is a more reasonable 152,9 which is nevertheless much higher than what we are experiencing here in France and the Occitanie region.


Snowfalls expected in the Pyrenees



Seasonal snack


Something excellent which brings back loads of memories




Has anyone heard from Paul?


Some more gems from crazy USA


❒ Millionaire German shepherd looks to sell former Madonna estate.

❒ Crab migration shuts down roads in Australia.

Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lunch in Sète

And why not, it is more or less the equidistant point between some of our locations (Perpignan, Carcassonne, Montelimar, not quite so with Grenoble).

Anyway we decided to meet there for a leisurely lunch. Séte is the biggest French fishing port in the Mediterranean so obviously it had to be a sea-food restaurant. We selected „La Marine“.

All of us turned up more or less at the agreed time and had to do a bit a news catching up. The food was very good.

A short walk around town was necessary to digest

Before hitting the road back to our respective towns. We decided it was a good meeting point and will do it again.

May I take the opportunity to remind everyone that the « Escale à Sète » boat show will be back in April 2022. As far as I am concerned, not to be missed and maybe another occasion for a meeting.


I was there the last time it took place in 2018

Posted in Friends, Places, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Info Post – November 14th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

604 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



Fluctuat nec mergitur

Yesterday was the commemoration of the 13th of November 2015 attacks in France, claimed by the terrorist organisation Islamic State (Daech), consisting of a series of Islamist shootings and suicide attacks carried out in the evening in and around Paris by three separate commandos.

Fluctuat nec mergitur is a Latin phrase used as the motto of the city of Paris, meaning “It is beaten by the waves, but does not sink”.


✏️ FRANCE 🇫🇷

Thanks to the figures published by Santé publique France, here is a summary of the health situation in France and in the departments of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales on Saturday 13 November.

Hospitalisations at their lowest in the Aude
In Aude, 38 people with Covid were hospitalised on Saturday, one less than the day before. This is the lowest figure since 25 July. Among these patients, 6 are treated in critical care units (intensive care, intensive care or continuous monitoring), +1 in 24 hours.

The number of deaths has not changed since 5 November, at 413. The incidence rate continues to rise, reaching 73.8 in the rolling week from 4 to 10 November, a figure published on 13 November.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 1,538 people have been discharged from hospital, including one within 24 hours.

14% increase in hospital admissions in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, 67 Covid patients are being treated in hospital (3 more in 24 hours). A figure that increases by 14% over a week and is the highest since 3 October. Of these, 7 are in critical care (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), two more than on Friday. No additional deaths from Covid have been reported in the department since 4 November, nine days after it was first reported, with the death toll remaining at 416.

The incidence rate is still rising, from 89.6 to 91 per 100,000 inhabitants in the rolling week of 4 to 10 November, a figure published on 13 November.

Since March 2020, 1,811 people hospitalised have returned home, including one within 24 hours.

Incidence close to 100 in France
At the national level, there were 16 Covid deaths in hospital on Saturday 13 November, bringing the total number of hospital deaths to 91,211. Adding the 26,897 deaths in old people’s homes, since March 2020, 118,108 people have died of Covid, according to Santé publique France.

There were 67,050 people hospitalised (4 more than the previous day), including 1,202 in critical care, i.e. 20 more in 24 hours. France recorded 14,646 new cases in 24 hours on 13 November, compared to 9,605 last Saturday, an increase of 53%.

The incidence rate continued to rise on Saturday, as it did at the end of October, and stood at 98.3 per 100,000 inhabitants in the rolling week from 4 to 10 November.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 430,476 patients have been able to return home, cured, including 199 within 24 hours.


I am quite keen to follow the situation in Germany, after-all our family children and grand children live there. Furthermore, it is our planned destination for the Xmas holiday and I fear new restrictions might endanger that.



Not drinking alcohol at all could be riskier for seniors than moderate drinking

Drinking alcohol in moderation could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in the elderly, according to researchers who analysed this topic in Australia and the United States. The notion of “moderation” varies from country to country, but the French remain among the world’s heaviest alcohol drinkers.
In a multi-year study conducted in Australia and the United States, scientists from Monash University, Australia’s largest tertiary institution, found that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages by the older population could have a positive effect.
In the article, published at the end of October in the medical journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (EJPC), the authors detail the results of their observations of approximately 18,000 Australians and Americans over the age of 70 over a period of almost five years.
It should be noted that all the participants in the study were in good health and had no cardiovascular, mental or physical pathologies.

According to the authors of the report, older people who abstain completely from alcohol have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than their peers, who consume an average of 3.5 to 10 “standard drinks” per week. Such a ‘standard’ drink differs in the two nations studied, with one drink being equal to 10 grams of alcohol in Australia and 14 grams in the US.

Consumption of 51-100 grams of alcohol per week is highlighted by the researchers as the “healthiest”, since it is associated with reduced risks of general mortality, according to the study.
The lead author of the work, Dr Johannes Neumann of Monash University, however, points out the need to interpret his results with caution by referring to other research, which finds risks of developing certain chronic diseases associated with excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Excessive consumption in France
A recent study by Santé Publique France shows that 23.7% of French people “exceeded the consumption guidelines” for alcohol in 2020, a figure that has hardly changed since 2017 (23.6%).

In France, these benchmarks for excessive alcohol consumption represent more than two standard drinks per day, not every day, and no more than 10 drinks per week. Below these indicators, alcohol consumption is considered “lower risk”.
The French researchers also described a typical profile of their fellow citizens who exceed the limits of alcohol consumption considered socially acceptable.
It was found that twice as many men as women had risky drinking habits, 33.2% and 14.7% respectively, with a smaller difference by age. Among men, unemployment is an additional indicator of higher consumption.
Almost half of the French people who exceed the benchmarks had not been in higher education.

At the same time, drinkers are over-represented among people with higher incomes, especially among women with a higher education diploma and a job.


Something different but excellent

Probably one of the best guitar solo ever

Both above are part of this Sunday morning listening playlist




Some more gems from crazy USA


John Cleese pulls out of Cambridge Union event over ‘woke rules’

Japanese-Korean-Turkish language group traced to farmers in ancient China 

Venomous sharks found in London’s Thames river 

Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 12th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

602 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



✏️ CARCASSONNE 8TH BEST CITY IN FRANCE TO LIVE IN Carcassonne is ranked 8th in France in terms of “quality of life/safety” ahead of Cannes and Bayonne. The magazine L’Express is publishing a special edition today entitled “These cities that are redesigning France” with a very serious national survey that sifts through 100 French cities according to different themes and precise criteria.

Living environment, heritage, nature, real estate, safety… Carcassonne is ranked 8th among French towns “where life is good and cheap”. After having been awarded the label “Town and village where life is good” in 2021, Carcassonne confirms with this new study that it remains an attractive town on a national scale.

I am a bit sceptical on this survey in particular coming out a few days about the killing of 2 people in an apparent gang retaliation act. I shall look for and study the survey from the Express magazine.

✏️ FATHER XMAS Each year, you can correspond with Father Christmas, whose secretariat is based in Libourne. On the envelope, you can simply write “Father Christmas” (Père Noël) , without forgetting your address on the back, so that Father Christmas and his 50 elves can answer them.
This is a tradition as the festive season approaches. You have until December 17 to write to Father Christmas if you want to receive a reply, announced Thursday the Post Office, which will open its secretariat in Libourne in Gironde. “As Christmas approaches, everything becomes possible, even correspondence with Father Christmas,” the public group said.

Electronic correspondence possible
On the envelope, you can simply write “Father Christmas”, without forgetting your address on the back to be sure to receive a reply. There is no need to stamp the letter to Santa. You can also choose the electronic version on pere-noel.laposte.fr by choosing “write to Santa”.

Santa and his 50 elves – volunteer postal workers and temporary workers – will start work on Monday, and are committed to replying in two languages (French and English) to all children and classes who write to him.


✏️ FRANCE 🇫🇷 The coronavirus is once again a cause for concern with indicators on the rise. Here is the daily summary update on the epidemic, with figures from Santé Publique France and the Ministry of Health.

This Thursday 11 November, 12,603 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in 24 hours, according to figures from Santé Publique France, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the epidemic to 7,256,643.

The rate of positive tests was 3.3%, compared to 3.1% the previous day.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised stands at 6,952 (+46 in 24 hours), including 1,145 in intensive care units (-8 in 24 hours).

In 24 hours, 17 people died in hospital. The total number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic is 118,073, including 91,176 in hospital.

Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in France, 51,431,090 people have received at least one dose of vaccine.


Shocking to see the number of new cases yesterday. Germany leads the pack…


We do not have a big garden but the to do list indicates it is time to make it ready for winter



The good old days when one would go to a specialised shop and go through the new and old LPs. In most places you could listen to it before buying it (or not).




G’day Funnies people

☺︎A Scottish mother visits her son in his New York City apartment and
asks, ‘How do you find the Americans, Donald?’
‘Mother,’ says Donald, ‘they’re such noisy people. One neighbour won’t stop banging his head against the wall, while the other screams and screams all night long.’
‘Oh, Donald! How do you manage to put up with them?’ ‘What can I do? I just lie in bed quietly, playing my bagpipes.’

☺︎Dearest Dad,
I am coming home to get married soon, so get your cheque book out. I’m in love with a boy who is far away from me. As you know, I am in Australia  and he lives in Scotland. We met
on a dating web site, became friends on Facebook , had long chats on Whatsapp.
He proposed to me on Skype, and now we’ve had two months of a relationship through Viber. My beloved and favourite Dad, I need your blessing, good wishes, and a really big wedding.
Lots of love and thanks.
Your favourite daughter, Lilly


My Dear Lilly,
Like Wow! Really? Cool! Whatever … I suggest you two get married on Twitter, have fun on Tango, buy your kids on Amazon, and pay for it all through PayPal. And when you get fed up
with this new husband, sell him on eBay.
Love, Your Dad

☺︎I helped my seven-year-old grandson complete his maths homework yesterday. There were twelve toy cars drawn and he was asked to share them equally with a friend.
“So, how many cars would each of you get?” I asked him.
He quickly circled six cars then stopped.
“You have to circle your friend’s group of six as well,” I instructed.
“No, they are my mate’s cars,” he explained. “He can do his own work!”

☺︎A few short ones …………….
• Just heard on the radio that there are many songs which have just the right tempo for CPR chest compressions. Fittingly, the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” is perfect. Ironically, so is Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”.

• Bill: “Did you bet on the Melbourne Cup”
Bob: “Nah, the horses I follow tend to follow other horses”

• I went to a fortune teller who told me that on the 7th day of the 7th month I should bet on number 7 in the 7th race. Yup, came in 7th!

• I backed a horse the other day. The winner came in at 5 to 1. My horse didn’t come inuntil quarter past 3

☺︎Some interesting philosophies ………………

• If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.
Johnny Carson…

• Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.
Steve Martin…

• Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.
Jimmy Durante…

• The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.
George Roberts…

• As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.
John Glenn..

• America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.
David Letterman…

☺︎I have received the Funnies for many years but do not recall any inclusions with graffiti/toilet wall humour, most of which is pretty terrible but a few gems are hidden there. I was travelling in the UK back in the 1970’s and condom vending machines in men’s toilets were a bit of a novelty to us, and a target for graffiti. Some examples from memory:

“Worst tasting chewing gum I’ve ever bought”

Next to the, “Made to UK Standards 12345” Logo, was written… “So was the Titanic”

and of course the many times repeated “My Dad says they don’t work”

☺︎A farmer separated the bulls and cows to prepare them for the mating season a few days later. He built a wall with barbed wires on top. A young bull could not resist his temptations and wanted to mate a cow.
 Other bulls told him there was one veteran consultant bull amongst them that could help. The bull went to him and asked how to cross the wall to the cows.
The consultant explained: “First of all.. stand 60 feet away from the wall. Then run at 60mph.Then jump at a 60° angle. Do what you want then come back the same way.” The bull asked:
“But what if I mess up with the calculations and lose my nuts  in the barbed wires?”
The consultant said:” Then you become a consultant.”

☺︎”A company has come out with a line of medical marijuana dog treats. Finally a medicine that will help my dog lie on the couch all day.” -Seth Meyers

☺︎”The Pope said that married people should have more kids. When asked for comment, married people said the Pope should have a kid and then get back to us.” -Conan O’Brien

☺︎Three men are sentenced to death. They are to be killed by the guillotine.
The first man was a priest. The executioner says, “You can go on the guillotine either face up or face down.” The priest says, “I want to die face up, looking up to the heavens.”
So the priest lies face up. The executioner releases the blade; the blade falls rapidly but suddenly stops just 1 inch from the priest’s neck. Given the miracle, the priest is allowed to walk free.

The next man was an alcoholic. The executioner offers him the same choice, “Do you want to lie facing up or facing down?”The alcoholic says, “I want to face up … to remember my glorious drinking days.”
So the alcoholic lies face up. The executioner releases the blade, and again, it suddenly stops just 1 inch from the man’s neck. Given the miracle, the alcoholic is allowed to walk free.

Finally, it’s the last man’s turn. He’s an engineer. Once again, the executioner offers him the same choice, “Face up or face down?”
The engineer scratches his head and says, “Face up I guess.”
So the engineer lies face up. Just as the executioner is about to release the blade, the engineer starts shouting. “Wait! Wait!  I think I can see the problem!”

☺︎Out in space two alien forms are speaking with each other.

The first spaceman says, “The dominant life forms on the earth planet have developed 

satellite-based weapons.”

The second alien, who looks exactly like the first, asks, “Are they an emerging intelligence?”

The first spaceman says, “I don’t think so. They have them aimed at themselves.”

☺︎Q: What do postal workers do when they’re mad?

A: They stamp their feet.

☺︎And a few of those one-liners to finish the week……
• Is a double negative a definite no-no? 

• Tried cross breeding a bull terrier with a shitzu. Guess what? 

• Just imagine how exciting it must have been for Barn Owls when humans invented barns! 

• Why do you never see the headline “Psychic wins lottery”? 

• A man has been found guilty of overusing commas. The judge warned him to expect a very long sentence! 

• How to cook the correct amount of pasta:
1. Pour out how much you think you need.
2. Wrong! 

• I hate spelling errors. You just mix up two letters and your whole post is urined! 

• My wife asked me to pass her the lip balm but I gave her the superglue instead!
She’s still not talking to me! 

• How do you write “do not touch” in braille? 

• So in retrospect, in 2015 not a SINGLE person got the answer right to “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” 

• I just told my suitcases that we won’t be going away this year. Now I’m dealing with all the emotional baggage! 

• One big difference between men and women is if a woman says “smell this” to you, it usually smells nice! 

• Accidentally went to the supermarket on an empty stomach. I’m now the proud owner of aisle 3! 

• Dyslexics of the world untie! 

• Has COVID-19 forced you to wear a mask & glasses together? If so, you may be entitled to condensation! 

Catch you next week…..


Some more gems from crazy USA


❒ Five things to know about Veterans Day.

❒ The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier turns 100 years old.

❒ … and the public lays flowers at the tomb for the first time in almost a century.

❒ Portraits of World War II veterans.

❒ A secret bookshelf passageway discovered in 500-year-old house. (w/video)

❒ The mystery of the stopped clock illusion.

❒ Man flies away, powered by 50 drone motors. (via YouTube)

❒ The 100 best inventions of 2021.

❒  French fry flavored vodka.

Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 11th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

601 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020





✏️ 🇫🇷 Health situation update

Thanks to the figures published by Santé publique France, here follows the health situation in France and in the departments of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales on Wednesday 10 November.

Little evolution in critical care in the Aude
In Aude, 40 people with Covid are hospitalised this Wednesday, one more than the day before. Among these patients, 5 are being treated in critical care services (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), a figure that has remained stable over 24 hours and has fluctuated between 4 and 5 since 22 October.

The number of deaths has not changed since 5 November, at 413. The incidence rate, meanwhile, has remained below 50 per 100,000 at 47 in the rolling week from 1 to 7 November, a figure published on 10 November.
If Emmanuel Macron had not announced on Tuesday the return of masks for all primary school children from 15 November, the children of Aude could have taken theirs off that day, as the incidence remained below the alert threshold for five days in a row, between Saturday and Wednesday.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 1,536 people have been able to leave hospital, including one in 24 hours.

Rea at its lowest since 14 July in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, 60 Covid patients are being cared for in hospital (3 more in 24 hours). This figure has fluctuated between 55 and 63 since 25 October. Among them, 5 are in critical care services (intensive care, intensive care or continuous monitoring), stable since Tuesday. This indicator is thus at its lowest since 14 July. The department has not suffered any additional deaths due to Covid since 4 November, with the death toll remaining at 416.

The incidence rate is stable compared to the rate reported the day before. It is 67.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in the rolling week of 1 to 7 November, a figure published on 10 November. The incidence rate seems to have remained in the 60s and 70s since the end of October.

Since March 2020, 1,810 people hospitalised have returned home, including one within 24 hours.

Incidence still rising in France
At the national level, 33 people died from Covid in hospital on Wednesday 10 November, bringing the total number of hospital deaths to 91,130. Adding the 26,897 deaths in old people’s homes, since March 2020, 118,027 people have died from Covid, according to Santé publique France.

There were 6,906 people hospitalised (55 more than the previous day), including 1,154 in critical care, i.e. 14 more in 24 hours.

The incidence rate was 76 per 100,000 inhabitants in the rolling week from 1 to 7 November, and has continued to rise since the end of October. France recorded 11,883 new cases in 24 hours on 10 November, compared to 10,050 last Wednesday.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 429,919 patients have been able to return home, cured, 301 of them within 24 hours.

✏️ 🇩🇪 Covid-19: Germany faces fourth wave of infection

After recording unprecedented numbers of infections in recent days, the country recorded for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, on Thursday, more than 50,000 new cases daily.

From Monday, Berlin will ban unvaccinated people from restaurants without terraces, bars, gyms and hairdressers, among others. Here, a restaurant warns customers with the 2G sign that they will not be welcomed if they are not vaccinated (“geimpft”) or cured (“genesen”).

It’s coming, it’s here. A sign of the violence of the epidemic wave that is hitting Germany, 50,196 additional cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the space of 24 hours on Wednesday 10 November, according to the Robert Koch Institute, a federal health monitoring institution. This is unprecedented.

This is the first time that the threshold of 50,000 new daily cases has been crossed since the start of the pandemic; in recent days, Germany has recorded unprecedented numbers of infections. The number of deaths in a 24-hour period rose to 235 on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Angela Merkel, the outgoing chancellor, said that the resumption of infections in the country, particularly noticeable since October, was “dramatic”. “The pandemic is spreading again in a spectacular way,” her spokesman said, calling on the regional health authorities to take new measures to contain the epidemic. Hospital care units are also under increasing pressure.

This outbreak is attributed in particular to the relatively low vaccination rate of the German population, just over 67%.

Several particularly affected Länder, such as Saxony, Bavaria, and very recently Berlin, have introduced new restrictions aimed at unvaccinated people, who are the first to be affected by this rebound in the pandemic.

As of Monday, Berlin will ban unvaccinated people from restaurants without terraces, bars, gyms and hairdressers, among other places.

A negative test result will no longer allow access to these public places if people are not vaccinated or cannot prove that they have recovered from the disease.

A total of 4.894 million people have been infected with Covid-19 in Germany since the start of the pandemic and 97,198 have died.

✏️ 🇬🇧 England has highest death rates of older patients in western world, study finds

I do not often read the Guardian since I am living in France but this article caught my attention.

Exclusive: research body looks at over-65s hospitalised with hip fractures, heart failure or diabetes

England has the highest death rates of frail and older hospitalised patients in the western world, a landmark global study has found.

Harvard University, the London School of Economics (LSE) and the think-tank Health Foundation, all part of the International Collaborative on Costs, Outcomes and Needs in Care (Icconic), a global network of healthcare researchers, used thousands of official medical records to compare the cost and quality of care in 10 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.

Patient deaths are commonly used measures of performance in healthcare systems but until now there have been few sources of comparable death rates across countries.

In order to assess outcomes in frail and older patients, researchers focused on two groups that represent priority areas for the NHS and other healthcare systems: those in hospital with a hip fracture and those admitted with heart failure who have diabetes.

On both measures, England had higher mortality rates than all the other countries, which included the US, Germany, France, Sweden and Spain. The data was analysed for patients aged 65 and over between 2014 and 2018 to provide an enhanced assessment of patient outcomes in the 10 countries.

One year after hip fracture surgery, almost a third (31%) of patients in England had died of any cause compared with less than a quarter of patients in Canada (23%) and Australia (22%). A year after being admitted to hospital with heart failure, more than four in 10 (43%) of diabetes patients in England had died. The next highest mortality rate was in the US (38%), followed by New Zealand (36%). France had the lowest death rates on both measures: 20% and 23% respectively.

High mortality among hip fracture patients is happening despite England performing well on other care quality measures. For example, 82% of hip fracture patients in England received surgery within 48 hours of admission, second only to Sweden, with 85% of patients. This is recommended as a key component of high-quality care. However, one year after their initial admission, 31% of English patients had died, compared with 25% of Swedish patients.

Another striking finding where England stands out from other countries in the Icconic study, is the length of time that hip fracture patients spent in hospital. Patients in England spent an average of 21.7 days in hospital after their initial surgery, the highest of all the 10 countries evaluated.

However, when it comes to financial outlay, England has among the lowest spending in primary care and secondary care on these patients, compared with the other countries. Only the Netherlands has lower overall spending. The findings provide evidence that while the NHS remains a relatively low-cost healthcare system performing well in many areas, death rates for some patients are higher than in comparable countries.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, the chief executive of the Health Foundation, said: “The findings of the Icconic study warrant urgent further investigation, particularly the finding of higher mortality among patients with hip fracture in the year after their admission for emergency treatment.

“That patients in England with hip fracture spend far longer in hospital after surgery than they would in other countries also highlights an opportunity to improve efficiency by reducing the avoidable use of hospital care. Less avoidably long stays would mean existing capacity could be better used to address the backlogs in hospital care as a result of the pandemic. This could contribute to both better outcomes for patients and, as hip fracture is the most common reason for emergency surgery, significantly improved productivity for hospitals across the country.”

Dr Irene Papanicolas, associate professor of health economics at the LSE, added: “Further work is needed to understand what England can do to improve patient outcomes.”

An NHS source said there were many possible reasons for the differences in death rates seen between the 10 countries, including different local thresholds for hospital admission.

The source suggested that this is more likely to explain the variation in mortality for patients with heart failure and diabetes, where the extent to which patients are managed within the community versus hospital differs between countries.

I am beginning to understand why so many come and move to France & Spain




In Limouxin, the 2021 olive harvest will be spread over two months, until December, and should reach 150 tons of pressed fruit at the end of the collection.  At the Moulin du Sou we are confident. The quantity and quality are there.

In the land of bubbles, Limoux olive oil is making its way. The 2021 harvest began at the end of October.  Washed, sorted, crushed, mixed, the 120 tons of olives already passed under the presses of the Moulin du Sou promise an exceptional vintage. “It’s an excellent surprise! The first tonnages are indicators of the harvest. 2021 should be a very good year. The fly has spared our producers and so-called family olive growers. Quantity and quality are on the agenda ” underlines Claire Salvat, in charge of local products for the La Cavale cooperative in Limoux. Every year it is a surprise. Not everyone is in the same boat. Good harvest, bad harvest or no harvest at all… the olive is as dependent on the weather as the grapes. It must resist many attacks to grow and ripen until it is picked in autumn. In Limouxin the 2021 harvest will be spread over two months, until December, and should reach 150 tons of pressed fruit at the end of the collection.  At the Moulin du Sou we are confident. Here the mill receives both olives from individuals and professional producers. On Monday it was Louis Vié of the Rayssac estate who brought in a first batch of 330 kg of very round and fleshy olives. This producer owns 200 olive trees in Castelreng, which produce more or less depending on their age. This year Louis Vié is a satisfied producer. Pollination in the spring went well and the fly, which sometimes wreaks havoc in olive groves, did not affect him. At the Moulin du Sou, the volumes will be there and the crushed olives exhale a green oil smell that perfumes the place with a heavy perfume… Depending on their degree of ripeness, the olives are used for a specific oil, the Olisoli. It is sold by the La Cavale cooperative or made for the personal consumption of family olive growers. In order to find your own oil in your own cans, you have to bring more than 300 kg of olives at one time. The first oils will arrive at Christmas. These are the ones that will be enjoyed by the family for the end of the year celebrations. The Christmas oil gives a green net with an intense and powerful taste. It is said to be fiery with a pronounced bitterness. Lovers of Olisoli oils, which are more yellow and less bitter, will have to wait for the pressing of mature olives with a more subtle aroma and a milder taste. This year at the Moulin du Sou, there is another oil, known as “à l’ancienne”, made from fermented black olives. The three Olisoli oils from the Moulin du Sou are on sale at Gamm Vert, Place d’Aude in Limoux.



❒ The average professional spends half of their week in meetings.

❒ Mapping alcohol consumption by country.

❒ Watch SpaceX’s most recent crew reenter the atmosphere.

❒ Teen rescued after showing a domestic abuse hand signal learned from TikTok.

❒ Maine lobsterman captures a rare cotton candy lobster.

❒ The untold story of sushi in America. (paywall, NYT)

❒ Vintage cars are in again.

❒ … while this car that hasn’t moved in 47 years becomes an Italian monument.


Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 10th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

600 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



✏️ Today represents the 600th day since the 1st lockdown in France as a result of Covid-19. For the first 300 days I more or less reported daily but I think the time has come to slow down even if we are far from normal times. It is clear that a 5th wave is hitting us and the number of new daily cases is increasing everywhere and in some countries like the UK or Germany even more. Let us hope it remains under control and that the year end festivities will not be too affected.

✏️ Health situation update

France as of Tuesday Novembre 9th

This Tuesday 9 November, 12,476 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in 24 hours, according to figures from Santé publique France, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the epidemic to 7,232,157.

The rate of positive tests was 3%, compared to 2.9% the previous day.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised stands at 6,851 (-14 in 24 hours), including 1,140 in intensive care units (-1 in 24 hours).

In 24 hours, 49 people died in hospital due to Covid. The total number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic is 118,023, including 91,126 in hospital.

Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in France, 51,405,775 people have received at least one dose of vaccine.

✏️ Carcassonne. The town has said goodbye to Norbert Serres, its emblematic restaurateur

The emblematic restaurateur Norbert Serres, a pillar of two Carcassonne institutions, is no more. Yesterday morning, at the Saint-Nazaine basilica in the town, family, friends and customers came in their hundreds to attend his funeral.

Norbert was a friend of many Carcassonnais. Starting with Gérard Larrat, the mayor of Carcassonne, who, during his speech, exchanged his status of mayor for that of a friend. “I was one of those to whom he spoke, to whom he confided. I used to go to his house to celebrate my victories and to soak up fear and sadness. He always had the right word. He was a Rabelaisian man. You will understand that my tribute is not conventional because Norbert was not conventional. Norbert made his life a show of which he was the author, the director improvising at every moment. He was an incredible man with a complex personality who let himself be dethroned by his character. Norbert was Norbert.

✏️ Speech from the president on Novembre 9th (Summary) © Le Monde – © Translation J2S

For the ninth time since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, Emmanuel Macron solemnly addressed the French on Tuesday 9 November, with a multiple objective: to boost the vaccine recall in the face of the rebound of the epidemic, to boast about his achievements and to evoke the priorities of the end of the five-year term.

✒︎ Towards a third dose for the over-50s

The Head of State announced that a third dose of vaccine will be required for the over-65s if they want to keep their health pass beyond 15 December. While the number of daily cases is rising and studies show a drop in vaccine effectiveness after a few months, this category is the most at risk. According to the Ministry of Health, half of the patients hospitalised in critical care are currently over 65, compared to one third at the end of August.

“People under 65 are also seeing the protection provided by the vaccine decrease over time. In fact, as I speak, more than 80% of people in intensive care are over 50,” he added. This is why a booster campaign will be launched from the beginning of December for our compatriots aged between 50 and 64.

The mere announcement on Friday of the presidential address gave a boost to requests for vaccination appointments. On Monday, more than 97,000 slots were booked for a third dose on Doctolib, more than double the average for the last few weeks.

✒︎ A new law for internal security

In addition to the announcements on the health pass, Emmanuel Macron announced that a programming law for internal security will be presented in the first quarter of 2022. According to the Head of State, this text should give more means to the police and reduce their bureaucratic constraints.

✒︎ Emmanuel Macron defends his vision for pension reform

If the conditions “are not met to relaunch today” the pension reform project, Emmanuel Macron said that it would be necessary, from next year, to take “clear” decisions on pensions “to preserve the pensions of retirees and solidarity between our generations”. “They will legitimately be the subject of indispensable democratic debates, but they will have to follow simple principles: working longer by pushing back the legal age, moving towards a fairer system by abolishing special schemes, harmonising the rules between the public and private sectors and ensuring that at the end of a full career, no pension can be less than 1,000 euros,” he added.

He also announced that from 1 December onwards it will be necessary to have worked for at least six months in the last two years in order to be compensated by unemployment insurance.

✒︎ Towards the construction of new nuclear reactors

The Head of State also announced that France would “develop renewable energies” and build new nuclear reactors “for the first time in decades”. This is “to guarantee France’s energy independence, to guarantee our country’s electricity supply and to achieve our objectives, in particular carbon neutrality in 2050”, he argued.

France, which gets most of its electricity from nuclear power, is currently building only one new-generation nuclear reactor, the EPR in Flamanville (EDF), whose construction started in 2007 and is still not completed. It was due to be commissioned in 2012 and cost 3.3 billion euros. Its start-up is now planned for 2023 and should cost, according to EDF, 12.4 billion euros. The Court of Auditors estimates that the total bill would be rather 19.1 billion.

France is considering building six additional EPRs, and EDF submitted a file to the government in the spring on the feasibility and conditions of such a programme. President Macron also recently announced investments in a future small reactor project (SMR).

“If we want to pay for our energy at reasonable rates and not depend on foreign countries, we must both continue to save energy and invest in the production of decarbonised energy on our soil,” said Emmanuel Macron, who has already emphasised the advantages of nuclear energy in recent months, particularly from a climate perspective.



Green tea v Coffee

Caffeine content and health benefits

Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant worldwide. It’s naturally found in coffee and tea. In fact, coffee and tea are the richest sources of caffeine in the human diet.

Generally speaking, coffee provides more than three times the amount of caffeine in green tea, which is why it’s such an invigorating drink to have in the morning or when you’re in a slump.

Caffeine works by stimulating your brain, helping you stay alert and preventing the onset of fatigue. It has also been shown to increase energy levels, quicken reaction time and enhance exercise performance. Additionally, it can improve your memory and your mood. Studies suggest that caffeine also has protective effects on the brain and that it may help reduce the risk of dementia and degenerative brain diseases.

Unfortunately, it’s tough for experts to conclusively narrow down the perks or pitfalls of either beverage mainly because it’s practically impossible to do long-term studies on either coffee or green tea without other confounding factors. So what do we know for sure?

For starters, coffee is healthier than you may realise. It’s packed with antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.

Inflammation is implicated in various chronic diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some types of cancer. Therefore, coffee, being rich in antioxidants that lower inflammation, may help lower your risk of certain chronic diseases.

However, green tea wins when it comes to antioxidant content. Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins that help fight inflammation. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a type of catechin, is particularly effective against inflammation. In fact, EGCG has been associated with a lower risk of cancer and diabetes.

Green tea also contains polyphenols – powerful compounds that help manage blood sugar.

Moreover, coffee and green tea also have weight loss benefits. Coffee contains nutrients that improve digestion, like niacin (vitamin B3), potassium and magnesium. Maintaining healthy digestion or a well-functioning digestive system supports weight loss primarily because the process of digestion burns calories. The caffeine in coffee also boosts the rate at which your body burns calories.

On the other hand, a review published in the journal Obesity Reviews showed that the fat burned by one cup of green tea comes to 5.7 grams (g). The review also indicated that a daily cup of green tea is beneficial for stubborn weight loss, especially if it’s combined with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.

Risks of drinking too much coffee or green tea

The pros and cons of drinking coffee or green tea are associated with caffeine. Therefore, the best one for you will depend on your body’s reaction to this natural stimulant. After all, nobody wants a rapid heart rate or to be kept up all night.

Caffeine’s unsavoury effects are actually why some experts don’t recommend having coffee first thing in the morning. Coffee increases a hormone called cortisol, which is also known as the “stress hormone.”

Cortisol regulates your energy and alertness throughout the day. Cortisol is naturally high in the morning. Therefore, giving yourself an extra dose of cortisol when you wake up by drinking coffee can blunt the production of cortisol and mess with your body’s natural cycle. Moreover, some studies have shown that coffee, when consumed in the morning, can cause your body to produce more cortisol than it actually needs. This may negatively impact weight and hormone levels, as well as ovulation periods in women.

Aside from not drinking coffee first thing in the morning, you also shouldn’t have it on an empty stomach. That is because coffee stimulates acid production in the stomach, which can cause discomfort.

Drinking coffee in excess also has potential downsides, such as reduced bone density, higher cholesterol and an increased risk for heart disease.

Green tea, on the other hand, is easier on the gut than coffee. However, it isn’t the best option for people with a history of kidney stones. Green tea has high levels of oxalates, which are also produced as waste products by the body. Oxalates exit the body through urine, but too many oxalates may cause kidney stones in some people.

Other potential downsides to drinking too much green tea are stained teeth – which coffee can also cause – and poor iron absorption. Green tea contains antioxidants called tannins, which can interfere with and decrease how much iron your body actually absorbs in a meal.

Both coffee and green tea offer amazing health benefits. In most cases, you don’t really need to choose one over the other. You can have both. But if you find that you feel anxious or get jittery after drinking coffee, then switching to green tea might not be such a bad idea.

On the other hand, if the caffeine in green tea isn’t enough to perk you up in the morning, then you’re probably better off drinking coffee. Coffee is also great for when you need to boost athletic performance before a workout.

No matter which beverage you go for, remember to drink it in moderation so as to avoid the health problems excessive consumption can cause.


Have you listened to the new album yet?

It is available on all streaming platforms like Deezer, Amazon, Spotify etc




Some more gems from crazy USA


First Chinese woman to go on spacewalk does so for 6 hours 

Earth’s first continents emerged from the ocean 700m years earlier than thought 

Study: Glow-in-the-dark worms may shed light on the secrets of regeneration 

Ketchup on Mars: Heinz preps for a future with condiments on the red planet 


Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Escapade to Lyon & surroundings

Day 1

On the spur on the moment a couple of weeks ago I decided to attend the classic car show in Lyon known as epoqu‘auto. I immediately wrote to my friends from the old gang – La Bande – (so easy nowadays with email) and two responded that they were interested. Even better, one of the two in fact invited us to stay at his place and drive to the exhibition centre in his Volvo Amazon classic car.

9:01am So right now, I am sitting on the train which will take us to Valence near Lyon which is where we are going to be picked up. We are just leaving Narbonne train station where my friend Philippe joined me.

Quite a fast journey and we got off at Valence where our friend Sem, has planned, was waiting for us. In fact his daughter and 2 grand children were also there because they were taking a train towards the south a few minutes later. I am glad I had the opportunity to see her, last time was probably 20 years ago.

Sem drove us back to their house 1h15 or so away in the very small village of Arzay.

We arrived safely and had a proper look around the house and surroundings.

A short while later our friend JL, who also lives in this part of the world and 1 hour away , arrived for the planned late lunch and namely a „Raclette“.

We of course had to inspect the Volvo car and JL gave some tips how to fix door joints etc.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reminiscing the old days and listening to the music we use to listen to in 1968…

and for the insiders Project “N” was discussed at length and I shall report shortly about it.

Day 2

Today is expo day. Time to start the beast which will take us there. It started immediately („au quart de tour“ as we say in French) and we were off.

It takes an hour to get there via country roads. We are directed to car park 4 which is free of charge and reserved for classic cars. It is actually worth having a good look around the car park. Quite a few oldies to be seen.

But of course the main attraction is inside and in the halls

It took a bit of searching, but we found the Volvo Club where our friend Sem was in his element and chatted quite a while with other members he knew.

We left him alone and went to look at some old bikes and go for a deserved and needed drink.

We parted way with Sem who drove back home alone and we took the tram & bus to Lyon‘s town centre.

It was fairly easy to find the Ibis hotel and we decided to stay in for the evening which started with an apéritif at the hotel bar,

followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant „Courte Paille“ where maybe a bit too much wine was consumed. As a result we made quite a few phone calls to friends we have seen for a while.

Day 3

10:12 am Checked out of the hotel a couple of hours ago to go and explore the area.

Lyon appears to be quite nice. Worth a weekend break in the not too distant future. Currently sitting in Modjo bar for my morning cappuccino.

11:15 am I am now sitting comfortably in the fast TGV train to Montpellier where I shall have to change trains.

Currently travelling at 286 kmh and should reach my 1st destination in 1h30. Aperitif time is approaching so I think I shall make my way to the bar on board which magically is in the next car…

13:27 Change of train. I am now in the Intercité from Montpellier to Bordeaux stopping in Carcassonne.

14:30 Finally home in Carcassonne, just a short walk from the train station to my house partly along the Canal du Midi which has been emptied on some sections for maintenance. This is not an issue because the boat traffic stops end of Octobre and restarts in May.

Posted in Cars and bits, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info Post – November 5th

Living through a pandemic

in the south of France

595 days since

1st lockdown in March 2020



It is a bit chilly out there. I have just been out for a couple of errands and a coffee sitting outside and I am glad to be back home in the warmth.

✏️ The restaurant owner passed away

© Nicolas Boussu- L’Independant – Translation © J2S

The restaurant owner, king of the Carcassonne nightlife, passed away in the early hours of this morning, November 5th. Norbert Serres was 67 years old. He was a mountain of energy and good humour. For everyone, he was Norbert. He worked in the restaurant business in Carcassonne for 50 years. He was an emblematic figure of Carcassonne, the friend of the stars, the prince of the party. Everyone remembers the Fiesta Bodega… He still ran Norbert’s Table and the Red Curtain. Carcassonne is in shock. Although he had recently experienced some health problems, Norbert continued to move forward with a sure step. The man loved life so much.

Only last week there was an entertainment program on TV and the presenter at some point commented to his guests “if you ever go to Carcassonne, go and see Norbert, he is a good friend of mine”. He really knew a lot of people in show business.

✏️ Health situation update

On Thursday 4 November, 9,502 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in 24 hours, according to figures from Santé publique France, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the epidemic to 7,190,334. The test positivity rate is 2.2%.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised was 6,718 (-46 in 24 hours), including 1,099 in intensive care units.

In 24 hours, 47 people died in hospital due to Covid. The total number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic is 117,849, of which 90,966 have occurred in hospital.

Since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in France, 51,301,210 people have received at least one injection (i.e. 76.4% of the total population) and 50,148,444 people have now received the full vaccination schedule (i.e. 74.6% of the total population).

✏️ Politics

On Friday morning, the National Assembly (French Parliament) definitively adopted the bill “on various health vigilance provisions” and in particular the extension of the health pass until the end of July 2022.

✏️ Cinema update

I am sure a few of us would qualify



Suggestion of the day

Linguine and clams



▫️ FUN



Top of the morning/evening to you

▶︎Some short jokes to start……

◆What was a more important invention than the first telephone?
The second telephone.

◆What do you call a blind dinosaur.?

◆Farmers have decided to stop using dyes or branding to mark their flocks. Instead
they will use black and white vertical stripes and call them…..

◆If the USA is so great, why did someone make a USB?

◆A friend asked me if my stomach was flat? I answered
“Yes, but the “l” is silent”

◆The bishop came to our church today, but I think he was an impostor.
He never once moved diagonally.

▶︎A young blonde person went to the doctor complaining of pain.
“Where are you hurting?” asked the doctor.”You have to help me, I hurt all over”, said the person
“What do you mean, all over?” asked the doctor, “be a little more specific.”
The person touched the right knee with the index finger and yelled, “Ow, that hurts.” Then touched the left cheek and again yelled,
“Ouch! That hurts, too.” Then the person touched the right earlobe, “Ow, even THAT hurts”, the person cried. The doctor checked her thoughtfully
for a moment and gave his diagnosis, “You have a broken finger.”

▶︎A woman answers the phone and has the following conversation:

“Yes, Mother, I’ve had a hard day. Hank has been quite difficult…
Yes, I know I ought to be more firm, but it’s a difficult thing to do.
Well, you know how he is.
Yes, I remember you warned me.
I remember you told me that he could be a vile creature who would
make my life miserable and you begged me not to marry him.
I appreciate you always being there for me, and you were perfectly
right. Oh, you want to speak with him? Okay, hang on……………..”
She lays the phone on her shoulder and calls in to her husband in
the other room:

“Hank, your Mother wants to speak to you!”

▶︎When Rod’s wife ran away he got so depressed that his doctor sent him to see a psychiatrist. Rod told the psychiatrist his troubles and said, “Life isn’t worth living.”
“Don’t be stupid, Rod,” said the psychiatrist. “Let work be your salvation. I want you to totally submerge yourself in your work. Now, What do you do for a living?”
“I clean out septic tanks.” Rod replied.

▶︎”Needing a man is like needing a parachute. If he isn’t there the first time you need him, chances are you won’t be needing him again.”

▶︎Four friends spend weeks planning the perfect girls getaway trip – shopping, casinos, massages, facials. Two days before the group is to leave Mary’s husband puts his foot down and tells her she isn’t going.

Mary’s friends are very upset that she can’t go, but what can they do.
Two days later the three get to the hotel only to find Mary sitting in the bar drinking a glass of wine.
“Wow, how long you been here and how did you talk your husband into letting you go?”
“Well, I’ve been here since last night. . .  Yesterday evening I was sitting on the couch and my husband came up behind me and put his hands over my eyes and said ‘Guess who’?”
I pulled his hands off to find all he was wearing was his birthday suit. He took my hand and led me to our bedroom. The room was scented with perfume, had two dozen candles and rose pedals all over. . .  On the bed, he had handcuffs and ropes!  He told me to tie and cuff him to the bed, so I did. And then he said, “Now, you can do whatever you want.”
So here I am.

▶︎Scene: A conversation between two of my friends.

Friend #1: Are you visiting us tomorrow? Do you need

Friend #2: I’m all set. I have the address, a GPS, and a
 GPS override.

Friend #1: What’s a GPS override?

Friend #2: My wife.

▶︎Doug asks, “I know you’re crazy about that little daughter
of yours, Bill. What are you going to do when she starts to

Bill says, “I figure I’ll take the first young man aside,
put my arm around his shoulder, and pull him close to me
so that only he can hear. Then I’ll say, “Do you see that
sweet, little young lady? She’s my only daughter, and I
love her very much. If you were thinking about touching,
kissing, or being physically affectionate to her in any
way, just remember… I don’t mind going back to prison.”

▶︎One day a truckload of fertiliser went by this farm where a young boy lived.
The boy stopped the truck and asked the driver, “What are you going to use this fertiliser for?”
The man said, “For my strawberries.”
The boy replied, “Well at my place we put sugar and cream on our strawberries.”

▶︎A stock analyst and a Wall Street broker went to the race-
track. The broker suggested betting $12,000 on a certain
horse. The analyst was skeptical; he had never been to the
races before and wanted to understand the rules and look
over all the horses before placing a wager.
“You’re too cautious and detail-oriented,” the broker
criticised as he placed his large bet. His horse won and
he raked in a bundle of money.
“What’s your secret?” the analyst asked.
“It’s simple,” the broker explained. “I have two kids…
ages two and six…so I add their ages together and bet on
number nine.”
“But two and six is eight, not nine!” protested the analyst.
“See!” the broker replied, “I told you you’re too cautious
and detail-oriented.”

▶︎ My husband, Mike, and I had several stressful months of
financial difficulties. So one evening I was touched to
see him gazing at the diamond wedding ring that symbolised
our marriage. “With this ring…” I began romantically.
“We could pay off Visa,” he responded.

▶︎ These two girlfriends are very close, allowing them to be
totally honest with each other.
As one fidgeted in front of the mirror one evening before a
date, she remarked, “I’m fat.”
“No, you’re not,” the other scolded.
“My hair is awful.”
“It looks just fine.”
“I’ve never looked worse,” she whined.
“Yes, you have,” her friend replied

▶︎ 3 on Grandparents
◆My grandson was  visiting one day when he  said  “Grandma, do you  know how you and God are alike?” I mentally polished my halo  and I said, “No,  how are we alike?” “You’re both old,” he replied.

◆A 6-year-old  was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh,” he said, “she lives  at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.  Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to  the airport.”

◆Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good  things, but  I don’t get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

▶︎ Guy goes into the doctor’s. ‘Doc, I’ve got a cricket ball stuck up
 my backside.’  ‘How’s that ?’ ‘Don’t you start.’*

◆Q: What do you call a pig that does karate?

A: A pork chop.

◆Q: What has a lot of keys but cannot open any doors?

A: A piano.

◆Q: Why did the cat sit on the computer?

A: To keep an eye on the mouse.

◆Q: Where do American cows come from?

A: Moo York.

◆Q: Did you hear about the comedian owl?

A: He was a real hoot.

▶︎ And a few to finish off the week…

◆ A Covid test nurse asked me if I’d had a sudden loss of taste!
I told her “No I’ve always dressed like this!” 

◆ My kid: I feel like you’re always making up rules and stuff
Me: Like what?
My kid: Like if I don’t clean my room a portal will open up and take me to another dimension.
Me: Well that’s what happened to your older brother.
My kids: What older brother?
Me: Exactly! 

◆ What I if told you …
You read the first line wrong? 

◆ I’m opening a school for cattle farmers. You herd it here first! 

◆My wife’s leaving me because of my terrible spelling. I might have guest! 

◆Enter new password:
> chicken
Password must contain a capital:
> chickenkiev 

Catch you later….


Some more gems from crazy USA


Instruments on Hubble in safe mode; NASA trying to understand why 


Posted in Health and fitness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment