Category Archives: Journal

Migration Update

Nope, it’s not about legions of ladyboys moving home to Europe (I wish.)

As planned, MacShreach is moving to a hosted platform in the near future. The new address will be macs-world.com

I’ve heard good and bad about the WordPress forwarding system, so for the next few weeks I’ll be double-posting both here and there, and then I will put the redirect into operation. There will be more features and a wider range of material on the hosted platform.

Meantime this is just for fun. Who doesn’t love some hot ladyboys?

Summer at Last

summer-rainstorm001
Torrential rainstorms are a feature of life in France Pic: Rod Fleming

Well, summer did finally arrive here in P’tit Moulin and the warm balmy days are back. I must say they are very welcome, and could have been here sooner. The girls are all out in their skimpiest dresses, to show off their golden-tanned skin and the boys…well, who cares about the boys anyway?

Of course, here in central France the climate is interesting, to say the least. Continue reading Summer at Last

Bastille Day!

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The parade Pic: Rod Fleming

This Bastille Day was celebrated with the usual style in our village. I have photographs of this going back twenty years now, and it’s amazing to see how people have aged. Children who used to run around the square or sit on the banc outside our house have children of their own now. It’s always the same band, who come from the next town.  And it’s always the same tunes… Continue reading Bastille Day!

Flics: Traffic cops in France

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A perfect road to speed on–and for flics to hide on. Pic: Rod Fleming

Les Flics: just as you can’t write about life in France without discussing wine, you can’t write about it without discussing that greatest of scourges,  the bugbear and bane of everyone’s lives and a daily topic of conversation all over France, third only to the weather and politics. And what are les flics? The cops, of course.

 Mostly, when the French talk about les flics, they are talking specifically about traffic cops, who are universally regarded with almost unlimited contempt and no respect at all. However, when the occasion merits, they expand the concept to include any other kind of cop who’s been getting in the way of the French being French. Continue reading Flics: Traffic cops in France

Pork, Secularism, and Anarchy

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The growng French anti-hahlal movement has seized on a blatant attempt to destroy French culture

Pork. It’s such a mainstay of French cuisine, that it’s frankly impossible to conceive of French food culture without it. Every thing from saucisson to saucisses, fried, grilled, cured, dried, you name it, the French have a way of eating pork like that.

It goes back to the time of the Gauls, you know, Asterix and his lads, roasting wild boar on spits. Continue reading Pork, Secularism, and Anarchy

Napoleon was a Big Guy Really

Napoleon Was a Big Guy Really-photo
Napoleon Was a Big Guy Really

Napoleon was actually a tall guy. Did you know that? It’s true. The legend that the great conqueror of Europe was severely vertically challenged is just that—a legend. Maybe not quite an urban myth—I don’t think they had those back then—but nevertheless, a myth.

It illustrates, however, the mismatch between the French and Anglo-Saxon worlds. Continue reading Napoleon was a Big Guy Really

Gendarmes, Police and Faulty Speedos

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The kind of road the Gendarmes like to catch speeders on. Pic: Rod Fleming

 My friend Antoine the potter had a little incident with the Gendarmes from Bligny not long ago. Now before I begin this tale, I feel I should put to rest a belief that has become, apparently (according to my children,) current in the UK in the last few years.

This is that the Gendarmes in France are not real police. Well, they are, and this is a classic bit of Anglo-Saxon, er, confusion. I believe it has even been aired on that odious arch-slimeball Stephen Fry’s television show; not that that would make it any more the truth.

 So let me explain. Continue reading Gendarmes, Police and Faulty Speedos

Hot Cross Buns–Cakes for the Goddess

 

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Hot Cross Buns are eaten every Easter, Pic: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. Used under a Creative Commons Licence

Hot cross buns. That’s what this article is about. So why do I have a picture of a Roman sculpture of a bull’s head here instead of a nice snap of some hot cross buns?

 

Well, hot cross buns actually originated in Assyria as a part of worship of the Moon Goddess Ishtar. At least that is the earliest record we have of them. The Egyptians continued the tradition of offering cakes to their Moon-Goddess Hathor. They decorated the cakes with bull’s horns, as the ox was the preferred sacrifice of the Goddess. The cakes, therefore, were symbolic of the sacrificed bull, whose flesh would be eaten by worshippers.

 Hathor has been identified with Ishtar and Astarte. Astarte is Ashtoreth, who was worshipped by King Solomon, as mentioned in the Old Testament (1 Kings 11, 2), and to whom he erected a temple or shrine in Jerusalem. Continue reading Hot Cross Buns–Cakes for the Goddess

Film: To Sing in its Praise Today?

FIlm image Red Castle
FIlm image of Red Castle, Angus, Scotland

So what is there to sing in praise of film?

Surely it is a nasty, dirty, smelly procedure best consigned to the bucket of history? Surely digital is cheaper, easier, faster, more modern? And worst of all, film is analogue—well that’s just not right.

 

Is it? Continue reading Film: To Sing in its Praise Today?

Slugs and Snails and Tomato Plants?

 

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My surviving tomato plant

Tomato Plants on the agenda again

Tomato plants? Well, spring in France this year was the worst I can remember, and so far summer has not been much better. By this time I should be on first-name terms with the community of lizards that live in my courtyard, but this year, hardly a hello. They’re all still hiding.

 

Mind you, it’s not been so bad for all the critters in the yard. My pet hate, les limaces, our delightful Burgundian slugs, are positively thriving. I mean, these ones are not shy, they don’t even try to hide, and they’re bright orange anyway. Maybe it’s a warning that they taste disgusting. I’ll let someone else find out. What I do know is they like my tomato plants. Continue reading Slugs and Snails and Tomato Plants?