Sunshine’s Macro Monday #63

Finally, I’ve been out and about taking photos of the start of autumn although, to be fair, it’s not very autumnal here.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your helpful feedback and kind comments on these posts – most encouraging.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge was hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encouraged us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It was a one day challenge without prompts which I have continued to pursue. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

Tag: small joys

Over the past few months, three wonderful bloggers most kindly nominated me for the Small Joys Tag.

– Mrs Holliman, one of God’s children, who spreads God’s Word over at her blog God’s Love and on YouTube.

– Author, James A Best who shares his stories with us on his blog of the same name.

– The blogger on Life Advice with Me who blogs about her life in general.

Now, you all know what to do. If you’re not familiar with these blogs, head on over there and show them some support.

Tag Nominees

In the current, very troubling times we need to focus on what we have and hold dear, find those silver linings as the clouds gather above our heads. I’m sure everyone of you could find at least 15 small joys, couldn’t you? Exactly, so why not join in?

Things that bring me Joy

1.Remaining fit and healthy has never been more important. My beloved and I both try to incorporate some exercise into our day. Here’s proof that growing older doesn’t mean growing out of shape!

A lot of women of late have been much excited (understandably) by the above photo of Lenny Kravitz (56) on the front cover of Men’s Health magazine displaying washboard abs.

2. The weather: okay we’ve had some severe storms of late but generally I’m pretty happy with our 300+ days of sunshine per annum even as we head into autumn and winter.

3. Cycling most days on my bike. I just love getting out in the open air, it puts everything into context.

4. My small circle of friends and family with whom I’ve been able to stay in touch, providing one another with all-important support.

5. I have been spending more time in the kitchen much to the delight of afore-mentioned family and friends, and my neighbours.

6. I have discovered that while I don’t have green fingers, neither do I have the feared digits of doom. My succulent garden, all grown from cuttings, is positively thriving along with my herbs and geraniums. Yes, who knew that all you need to make a garden grow is regular love, attention and water!

7. Shorn of any live musical events, thanks to my beloved’s subscription to Apple Music, I have been encouraging him to download artists that I like. This has broadened his horizons and we now spend Friday evenings listening to music.

8. As you know, we’ve been visiting places nearby that we’ve rather overlooked or taken for granted in years’ past. We try and get out and about either at the weekend or, work permitting, during the week at least twice per month and look at places with new eyes. It’s been a lot of fun and reminded us why we love living here.

9. While we don’t watch a lot of television aside from sport, we’ve managed to catch up on a few series and films that we’d missed out on thanks to our VPN service. However, we’ve not binged and limited ourselves to two episodes a night.

10. I’ve gotten into a much better place with my blogging, making more use of my back catalogue of photos and scheduling posts well in advance leaving me more time to read, enjoy and respond to yours.

11. I’m someone who’s always busy. There’s just never enough time in any day to do everything I want to do. However, the pandemic has enabled me to just chill a bit every day which is really rather nice even if it’s only for 10 minutes. It’s good to have some me time as opposed to lots of his time!

12. I’m slowly but surely organising all my photos. I have a pile that need scanning but I’ve had to be pretty ruthless, otherwise……goodness nows how much space I’d use. I’ve already pretty much used my 13.0GB.

13. I would say that I’m an organised person while my beloved most definitely is not one. This has thrown up a few challenges but generally I’ve been able to keep on top of his generated chaos.

14. We may not be able to travel but that hasn’t stopped me from planning for when we can resume. Yes I have been vicariously enjoying planning future vacations.

15. Despite everything, life in general is still pretty wonderful.

Rules and Regulations of this Tag😊😊

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. List fifteen of your small joys.
  3. Nominate five other blogger friends who bring you joy


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and please, join in. Sx

Song Lyric Sunday #14

I really like that Jim Adams of Song Lyric Sunday Challenge gives us plenty of notice about each Sunday’s prompts. Today it’s Yes/No. As always, it took me a while to think of an appropriate song but eventually I chose a track from Kraftwerk though, as they’re a German band, it’s Ja/Nein!

Kraftwerk (German: Power Station) were formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. Widely considered as innovators and pioneers of electronic music, they were among the first successful acts to popularise the genre. The group began as part of Germany’s experimental krautrock scene in the early 1970s before fully embracing electronic instrumentation.

On commercially successful albums such as Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), and Computer World (1981), Kraftwerk developed a self-described robotic pop style that combined electronic music with pop melodies, sparse arrangements, and repetitive rhythms, while adopting a stylised image including matching suits.

The band’s work has influenced a diverse range of artists and many genres of modern music. In 2014, the Recording Academy honoured Kraftwerk with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. They later won the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album with their live album 3-D The Catalogue (2017).

My chosen track Sex Object (German: Sex Objekt) comes from Electric Café, the band’s ninth studio album, originally released in 1986. In October 2009 it was re-released under its original working title, Techno Pop. The initial 1986 Electric Café came in versions sung in English and German, as well as a limited Edición Española release, featuring versions of Techno Pop and Sex Object with only Spanish lyrics. It was the first Kraftwerk LP to be created using predominantly digital musical instruments, although the finished product was still recorded onto analogue master tapes.

The album is somewhat infamous for taking the band almost half a decade to produce. Work is said to have begun as early as 1982 (with the working titles of Technicolor and then Techno Pop), but the project was delayed for several reasons: Ralf Hütter suffered a cycling accident in June 1982, there were concerns within the band that the production quality of the album was not sufficiently cutting-edge, and more generally Hütter had become more focused on cycling than on the band’s activities. The album, mastered by Bob Ludwig, finally saw release in 1986.

Lyrics: Sex Object

Ja! Ja! Ja!
Nein! Nein! Nein!
Ich bin nicht dein Sex Objekt
Zweigefühl so ganz direkt
Ich bin nicht Dein Sex Objekt
Deine Tricks sind fast perfekt
Ich bin nicht Dein Sex Objekt
Do machst mich an und gehst dann weg
Warum? Warum?
Warum? Warum?
(Spanish: No! Yes! Maybe Perhaps Yes)
No… si, si quieres
No… si, si quieres
Por que? No. Quizas.
Por que? No. A lo mejor.

Songwriters: Karl Bartos / Ralf Huetter / Florian Schneider Esleben
Sex Object lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

The Musette: roasted pears and nougat with chocolate sauce

You may recall that my beloved husband believes no meal is complete without dessert. While I can occasionally fob him off with fresh fruit, yoghurt or cheese during the week, this does not go down well at weekends, particularly after Sunday lunch.

Sometimes I can get away with cooking the fruit and serving it with a sauce, or crunchy topping or, in this case, both. This mouth-watering dessert is so simple, speedy and made with ingredients that I often have in stock. The nougat melts like roasted marshmallow over the soft unctious pears then you drizzle on the sensuous dark chocolate sauce. Desserts don’t get much better (or easier) than this – trust me!

Ingredients (serves 2 greedy cyclists)

  • 2 ripe pears, peeled and cored
  • 1 tbsp fruity olive oil
  • 200g (7 oz) soft nougat
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g (4 oz) dark chocolate (70% min. cocoa solids) broken into small pieces


1.Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF)/170ºC (350ºF)/gas mark 4. Peel the pears, cut them in half, core them and put them in a baking dish and brush them with tbsp olive oil.

2. Cut the nougat into chunks and scatter them over the pears. Roast the pears in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden and tender.

3. To make the sauce, put the syrup and cocoa powder in a pan and add 100ml (10 tbsp) water. Bring to the boil while whisking. Add the chocolate and stir until it melts. It should be beautifully glossy.

4. Serve the sauce with the pears.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1.Use softish nougat which doesn’t have too many ingredients, preferably white nougat with almonds. You want the edges to just catch and the rest to partly melt over the pears.

2. The recipe makes more chocolate sauce than you’ll need but extra chocolate sauce is never a problem. It’ll be delicious on all sorts of things such as rum baked bananas, banana bread, pain perdu or just poured over ice cream.

3. At the end of a three-course meal, if you were so inclined, you could make this dessert stretch to four, but I wouldn’t!

Sculpture Saturday #30

This week I’ve again picked something more classical. Jeanne d’Arc is an 1874 French gilded bronze equestrian sculpture by Emmanuel Frémiet (1824-1910). The outdoor statue is prominently displayed in a public square, Place des Pyramides, in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

The original statue was commissioned by the French government after the defeat of the country in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and inaugurated in 1874. It is the only public commission of the French state from 1870 to 1914, called the Golden Age of statuary in Paris, the other statues were funded by private subscriptions. It’s been classified aa a  historic monument since March 1992.

This challenge is kindly hosted by Sally Kelly over at Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition.

Share a photo of a statue or sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

Friday Photo Challenge – Dreams

This week Sandy’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge is to share pictures and stories inspired by DREAMS.

This week’s challenge was inspired by a Fleetwood Mac song from way back which has once again found fame via TikTok. I’m not a fan of the band, nor familiar with the song.

However, I’m taking my inspiration from  photos such as these which show I’m living my dream in the beautiful south of France.

I’m much enjoying these weekly challenges hosted on alternate weeks by either Amanda or Sandy because they force me to think about what’s in my photo archives and how I might re-purpose them.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not join in the fun?

Friendly Friday

One from the vaults: Open Letter to Spammers

I wrote this back in October 2011 but, guess what, it’s still very relevant!

Dear Spammers

Frankly, I’ve had it up to here with Spam on my email accounts and my blog, so I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. OK, I know my name is a bit unusual but surely my photograph gives it away, I’m female. So I have no need of any aids to lengthen, strengthen or enlarge an appendage I don’t possess. Nor is my beloved in need of any assistance in this department. If he ever is, we’ll contact you, not the other way around.

I am not in the habit of knowingly buying copies of designer goods. In fact, I’m not overly fond of brands which expect me to provide them with free advertising. Want me to wear your label? Please contact my agent. It therefore stands to reason that I wouldn’t buy fake handbags, watches, jewelry etc etc. I do hope you get the picture. I’m a law abiding soul, apart from running the odd red light on my bike.

I am allergic to doctors and medicines, my only indulgence is a spot of Vicks Vapour Rub and frankly half the fun is having my beloved rub it into my chest. So, thanks, but I won’t be taking you up on any offers of cheap or generic drugs. I know I mentioned that clenbuterol seemed like the answer to my prayers “helps you breathe more easily and lose weight” but I was only joking. You can take a joke can’t you?

I’m not trying to lose weight but there’s no need to keep sending me emails offering on-line help and assistance.   Sadly, there is no miracle cure. If there were, no one would be overweight.

I don’t want or need to borrow any money. That’s why most of the world’s economies are in trouble – too much instant gratification. If you can’t afford it, try saving up for it. You’ll enjoy it all the more. Since I have no need to borrow, I have no need to check out my credit status. Nor have I been sold any financial products where I haven’t completely understood all of the small print. So I don’t need to sue anyone for misselling. Nor do I need to leave a cash sum for my nearest and dearest, I don’t believe in subscribing to temptation.

I have no desire to gamble on line. I’m an accountant we don’t gamble either with our money or with anyone else’s, we have better things to do with our time. We know that the house always wins and don’t like the odds.

Emails purporting to be from banks, building societies, utility providers, government officials, the tooth fairy, Nigerians offering large sums of money in return for assistance, all requesting details of my bank account and my passwords do I look stupid? No, I thought not.

I have no need of any bells or whistles to drive readership to my blog. Its sole intent is to keep my family and friends apprised of my daily life in France. I am seeking neither endorsements nor advertisements. If others find their way to my blog and derive some enjoyment and amusement from my musings then that’s fine. If you send me messages which bear absolutely no relation to the blog entry in question and are clearly some blatant attempt to sell me something, then guess what? I just delete them.

I do hope I have made myself crystal clear but I’m sure there’s still some of you out there in Spamland who’ll blithely ignore my sound advice. But, hey that’s life.

Thursday doors #89

Yet more doors from Biot! And, no I didn’t photograph every door in the village.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).