Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 15.29.44By the way, yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of our move to Carcassonne in France. It has been a good 3 years. No regrets.


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Holiday in Morocco I

Next on my list “Holiday plan 2020” was a couple of weeks in Morocco. Drove to Toulouse yesterday afternoon and checked in one of the airport hotel. The flight this morning being so early, it made sense to do it that way. It gave us the opportunity to spend a few hours in town around the shops and to have dinner there before coming back to the hotel with the tramway.

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Still night time this morning when we boarded the flight to Marrakech which departed a few minutes early in fact. We had a wonderful sunrise over the Pyrenees.

The 2h30 flight was very smooth and soon we started our descent over the fields around Marrakech. The colours and patterns are quite different.

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The airport is quite pleasant and by the way it was my first time there so I need to add it to my list of airports visited. We were through immigration and customs in 30 minutes or so. In fact we had to wait a short while for the driver who was apparently stuck in traffic.

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Nice Radisson Blu hotel in the town centre. Fortunately a room was available for us early.

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In the afternoon we walked aimlessly around town looking for a couple of spots but kind of got lost instead.

After a seriously needed nap, it was time to go out for a drink and look for a place for some dinner. The hotel bars & restaurants did not have much atmosphere to offer and the service left a lot to be desired. Too early in the evening I guess.

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So we went out in search of a nicer place. It turned out to be a bit more difficult than expected since most places do not offer alcoholic drinks. However we came across this gem of a place “Le Grand Café de la Poste“. It is the sort of place full of expats and where you would expect Humphrey Boggart to appear. We shall patronise the place a few more times.

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Holiday Day I, II, III, IV, V&VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII

More photos on JJ’s Cloud

Holidays are fun

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Burns dinner

A couple of weeks late but nevertheless an excellent and fun Robert Burns dinner last night. The haggis and the whiskies tasted fantastic.

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Speeches were made according to tradition. Mine can soon be found here in the cloud.

Others will follow soon




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Project “Smart Home” (II)


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Further to earlier considerations, I have selected a local company “Les Clefs de la Tranquilité” to assist in this project.



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In fact the first step is taking place as I write with the installation of a complete alarm system which includes sirens, cameras, movement detectors etc. The central processing unit (hub) is capable of handling additional wireless connections like a video door bell, central switches and many more. I am already looking at possibilities and equipment in order to budget further installations.

The project is moving forward



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We are lucky

Gruissan this morning

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© Gruissan



Would would think that this place is only a mere 50 minutes away from home? We are lucky to live in this part of France where mountains and the  mediterranean sea meet.

One could think we are in the Carribean.




I did not take the photo but came across it on the net

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Les fripouilles en vadrouille (II)

(The scoundrels are out on the streets again)

This time we decided to meet in Paris. The occasion: Retromobile Classic Car show. We were to meet on Friday at 10am at the exhibition itself located Porte de Versailles.

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 08.26.57It meant a bit of travelling for some like myself. I had decided to take the most comfortable option and come by train since the recent strikes are over, this is indeed what I did and had a very pleasant and fast journey.

First I had to catch the regional train for the 45 minutes trip from Carcassonne to Toulouse where I had a connection to the fast TGV train to Paris (Gare Montparnasse).

The first part of the journey to Bordeaux, although fast, is not on a dedicated TGV rail line. Past Bordeaux and all the way to Paris the train accelerates and maintains speeds near or above 300 km/h. A real pleasure.


Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 08.35.40.pngArrived in Paris Gare Montparnasse on time and decided to walk the 30′ to the hotel Ibis Tour Eiffel. It has been such a long time since I have been to Paris, my hometown after all. I also use to go to school in the area at some point but I do not think I use to walk in those days. Mopeds were much more fun. In any case I found the hotel, settled in and waited for my friend Chris who landed from the UK almost an hour prior and who was making his way into town by bus. Wrong time of day to be on the road in Paris. It took him 2h30 to get into town from CDG. I took patience and waited for him at the hotel’s “Champagne bar”.


Dinner across the street in a pleasant restaurant and off to bed for a good night rest. It was a pleasure to wake up in the morning and see familiar sights.

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We set off on foot for the 30′ walk to the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre with a short break on the way for coffees and croissants. We arrive on time and meet up with Christian. In the meantime we are receiving a fair amount of messages from Phil who was flying up from Pau originally but had to change plans due to air controllers’ strikes. He makes it eventually an hour late. Already inside is Gerard and it does not take long to meet him with great pleasure since he has been in Iran for quite a few years and it has been a long time since I saw him last.

Finally we are together and we do what we all came for and namely look at classic cars.

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I have to say it is a fantastic exhibition. Some of the cars are so well restored.  We all have our own favorites. Most of the cars are actually for sale but at prices which could buy you, in some cases, a fairly large house. There is however a hall with cars to be had under €25.000. I was tempted by a couple I have to admit. I had taken the precaution not to bring my check book with me.

In between we had lunch, not the best quality I have to admit but it is to be expected in such places with so many people to be served as quickly as possible. Managed a group photo though.


Mid afternoon we get out of the place and go for a drink across the road to make plans for the evening. We decide to go downtown for dinner and hop on the metro to the Concorde / Madeleine area.

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We end up in an excellent bar / restaurant called “Mon Paris” in one of the nicest small street in Paris and namely the rue Edouard VII.


The Gin and Tonics tasted extremely good probably due to their price but who is to complain when you are in one of the best area of the capital.


From left to right: Chris, JJ, Christian, Gerard, Phil.

Only 4 of us left for dinner in another local restaurant. We all had a very “typical” French dish Fish & Chips (joking of course). Soon it is time to go home which we do by train or taxi in some cases. End of a very pleasant and fun filled day.

Next day Chris and I had decided to play the tourists. After a small breakfast at the bistro next to our hotel we set off on foot to the Hotel des Invalides. Not only there are a couple of well done army and war museums it is also the resting place, among others, of Napoleon Bonaparte. We take our time and go through the place.

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Lunchtime is approaching and we decide to go to the area of Notre Dame. We set off yet again on foot for another 30′ walk through well what used to be well known territory for me over 40 years ago.

We even stop at what used to be my local “Le Notre Dame” for an aperitif. It has completely changed, not for the better, inside but the view is still the same.


Lunch is literally across the street from the bar in a small restaurant I have patronised a few times in the past and namely “Le Petit Chalet“. Excellent lunch as usual with a nice bottle of Chablis to accompany it.


The view of the cathedral is of course very dramatic and the photos do not really relay how sad and fragile it all looks. There are a lot of wooden support in place in particular under the arches. I hope it can all be repaired.


The plan for the rest of the afternoon is to go to Montmartre for which we take a taxi. What a ride that was. The driver lady got upset by a car and chased it for a while, got out of the car and told the other driver in a mixture of words and gestures what she thought of him. Best taxi ride I have had in years. I must mention that she was an excellent driver, fast but smooth and listening to classical music in her cab. Quite an experience.

Montmartre does not change much. Full of tourists as usual, the views over Paris are fantastic. A walk through the Sacré Coeur (where by the way I was christened 65 years ago) is always very impressive and makes you realise how large the building is.

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 On the way down the hill we stop for some refreshment in a local bar before taking a Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 11.09.17taxi  back to the hotel.


A short nap is a must, after all we did a lot of walking. Night falls and it is apéritif time which we enjoy sitting at the terrace of the local bistrot watching the world go by.






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Back in a taxi to go back to the 9th arrondissement and meet up with my brother and spouse for a very pleasant dinner at the restaurant “Les Comédiens“.

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After a good night sleep

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It is time to get home.

Walked to the station Gare Montparnasse with plenty of time to spare.

Enough time for a couple of beers and a very very spicy pizza.





Loads of people travelling on this Sunday afternoon probably due to the fact it was a weekend with the start of school holidays. The train to Toulouse is on time.

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Pleasant ride home at great speed in some instances.



Excellent few days together with friends. Plans are in the making for the next meet and possibly in the Pyrénées Atlantique area.


As usual more pics are in my cloud here


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Souvenir 2010


On my way, with my favorite taxi driver, to an important appointment. In fact I was on the way to a factory opening from a competitor (as well as partner). Always tricky to be the one representing all my colleagues.


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