Edited to add another link relating to woad.Scroll down.

Yes, folks, I am home again. Been home a few days, in fact, but somewhat busy.

Have  I really not written since  the New York segment? ?? Apparently. I expect I was having so much fun, racing about the countryside, meeting other bloggers, making new friends, learning, first-hand, about tortoise biology….Others have written about the blogging house party in Norfolk so I’ll skate over that lavatorial episode.

Instead, I’ll jump ahead to my cross-channel quickie.

I flew to Toulouse to spend a few days with Ange in a lovely old farmhouse in the country. My first time in the south! Hard to believe that in all my years living just across the “sleeve” I never got that far south!

What treasures I missed! Still, I did make up for some of that and have certainly whetted the appetite for more!

Ange and her family live just outside the village which, once a month, at midnight, is closed to vehicular traffic for this little parade.   click the top image


Foolishly, I, with TWO cameras, took neither, not realising quite what we’d see as we drove into the village late one night!

The logistics of moving an A 380, albeit in its component parts, are mind-boggling. And not a little hold-your-breath scary! But I’m so pleased to have seen it, being a bit of an aeroplane freak.

And the next day we headed for Carcassonne (passing the Airbus parts in the workshop yard on the way!). I think my earliest knowledge of Carcassonne came from a jigsaw puzzle depicting mounted knights riding up to the castle. Not quite as forbidding today, it’s still an impressive place. The winding, narrow streets are (as you’d expect) a tourist mecca, with, sadly,some of the merchandise marked “frabrique en Chine.” But look carefully and you can still find items produced locally.Or, at least, in the Eurozone. This, I think, is vital, given the fiscal mess so many places are in.

But let’s keep politics out of this!

Sorry.Can’t! Political clout has always played a part in history and the next place I visited was no different.

The Toulouse area owed its prestige and wealth to the humble plant,Isatis tinctoria,  from which an all-important dye is derived.We visited to learn more.


Ange’s son, assisting in a demonstration* Note the greenish colour of the cloth-this will dry blue.


Blue bunnies. Erm…just what is in those carrots!


Blue doors and shutters at every turn…

IMG_0139And, apparently, blue cars!

And just to show that I’m not completely besotted by blue, here’s something black…

black petunias

Petunias! Aren’t they gorgeous? Madame,the cafe “Rouge Gorge” owner said she had planted red-and-black,to complement the decor, but the frightful early summer of cold rain made the reds revert to a faded white and pink. But these beauties thrived.

Had enough of France? OK…back across the Atlantic  for this:

subway ladies

A block-mounted print of one of my friend, Victoria’s, subway paintings. See her site and Etsy shop for more. Some of you already know that I have other work by Victoria and it was lovely to see her again on this trip. We cruised a couple of exhibitions and wandered around East Village haunts and talked a lot! This little gem now hangs above my desk.It puts me in mind of Degas. What do you think? Thanks, Victoria.

Of course, it would not have been New York without my favourite guide...but that’s for another post!

And I think the cats  have something to say, too, now that Estorbo’s people have restored his password and are home with him. For an armchair safari I can highly recommend this blog and this one.

* Aeration/oxidation is an important stage in the process.See this link  for more information.
I’ve found a link to the lyrics of a song I have been known to sing, first, at school and later at parties.


  1. That’s quite an adventure! Would have LOVED to see the Airbus convoy! And that blue? Nothing quite like it… We’re still hanging out in Turkey, and i hope to be able to do a quick post sometime soon… Or i’ll just catch up on my blog reading!


    • I thought of you and Mr.B54 that night! There is some fascinating stuff on that site I linked to;they don’t just haul ‘planes! (And Turkey looks a ton o’fun!)

      On 15 July 2013 17:55, Moreidlethoughts Weblog


  2. What is it with you and wee? 😉 Nice to meet you at Z’s a few weeks back.

    I prefer polygonum to woad dyeing as I find it a much less smelly and altogether quicker process. Which reminds me, must go down to the end of the garden and see how my polygonum patch is getting on…


  3. And I always thought that plant was an ancient English Celtic thing connected with lots of small angry people throwing spears. I’d no idea it came from Toulouse.


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