Argy Bargy

Sunday saw the clan take to the water as we were off on a canal trip to celebrate the 30th birthday of Big T’s nephew.

We met at Little Venice, picnics in hand and set off on Lady A, a small canal boat we’d hired for a three hour tour, all organised by Big T’s niece.

The weather was a little brisk but with Prosecco flowing, we warmed up nicely and birthday celebrations were soon going strong as we slowly cruised along the canal through Regent’s Park and on to the mayhem of Camden at the weekend.

We went through long tunnels where bikes can’t go and had buskers singing Happy Birthday from the path. We went through Camden Lock where volunteers cheered and sang, it was a fantastic atmosphere.

For me it was interesting as I’ve cycled the path many times but being at water level gave a very different view. We cruised to my office and then turned around to head back to Little Venice.

Three hours later, we were back on dry land. A great way to spend an afternoon and a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday!


My level of paranoia has risen considerably as I approach my third year of cycling on London streets. It’s not the traffic although I have shaken my fist a few times and told drivers to give me space, it’s the level of pollution that concerns me more.

Apparently more people die from pollution in London annually than many other really polluted cities… Mexico City being one example.

Last night I cycled home in a face mask for the first time. I had broken down and bought a Respro mask a few weeks ago. It arrived, a subtle shade of beige (or skin tone) with filters and velcro. I hadn’t had the temptation to wear it during the recent heat wave but as temperatures have dropped, I felt it was time to try it out.

On it went and suddenly I felt incredibly conspicuous. I looked like I’d been muzzled and I felt like I was going out to rob a bank. The only thing was, I felt like I could breathe normally and in the winter it’s going to be great as a face warmer!

Style or safety? 


Packed to the Rafters

We have accumulated some stuff including sun loungers and outdoor furniture (essential of course!) and are now packed to the rafters. 

The back bedroom looks like a storage unit and we’ve just had our new French sofa delivered which is sitting awkwardly and inconveniently in the hall.

The back storage room

Sofa in the hall

Luckily all this stuff is destined for France where we’ll have lots more room (once we get the keys) and we have just over a week until it all departs. 

Until then, we’re climbing over boxes and sitting on a plastic wrapped sofa!

The Cyrils

We have a number of dog toys all called Cyril. We thought they were squirrels (hence the incredibly witty play on words) but it turns out they’re chipmunks. Anyway…

There’s Silent Cyril (his squeak is broken), Squeaky Cyril (obvious), Dead Cyril (in the bin) and so on. From time to time I step on a Cyril and think it’s a dead rat, especially at night.

The Cyrils follow on from the Monkey collection. Original Monkey, Rope Monkey, Big Monkey… the names are helpful in establishing the hierarchy.

All I can say is that as a result of all this research, all dog toys are brown and furry. 

Unless they’re not!

Optimistic Agnes

Our Little Welsh Terrier, Agnes is the ultimate optimist as she wages her second annual War on Flies.

The intense stalking, the mad dash to catch, the ultimate defeat, she is ever-persistent as she’s convinced that one day she’ll catch a fly… but I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…

What the ultimate optimist doesn’t know is that she’s about to embark on a new French adventure, doggy passport clutched in furry paw. Agnes will be summering in France.

The difference is, grass and where there’s grass, there’s bees. Bagster may be in for a surprise or two as she continues the battle of Dog versus Flies.

To be continued…

A Sad Week

So much sadness this week. 

We live in West London and have been overwhelmed with sadness over the Grenfell Tower fire. Quite simply it just shouldn’t have happened.

I was walking the little dog the morning after it happened and saw huge plumes of dark grey smoke over West London. Too real.

We had some very sad family news this week. I won’t go into detail as I’m not sure it’s appropriate but suffice to say, it was the worst and saddest news which has left hearts broken. 

Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to our family.

Mutton Dressed as Mutton

It’s been very hot in London this past week. I would have said 90 million degrees but apparently it’s only 28. 

I never seem to have the right clothes. I have a lot of coats and that’s about it. So off I went in search of something pretty, age appropriate, work suitable etc etc.

I had mixed results.

I found a very nice olive shirt dress which is very age and work appropriate. I’ll probably be wearing it in 2032. I just need to change the buttons as they’re very gold and shiny.

My next choice was what I’m calling Mutton Dressed as Mutton. Working in consumer products I’m very aware of trends… this summer it’s the cold shoulder, the gypsy ruffle, pom poms, rompers, playsuits and more. All age dependent of course.

I came home with a floral midi dress with a gypsy ruffle which can be worn on or off shoulder. Great if you’re 20 or living part time in the south of France. At least one of those options is likely. Let’s just say I won’t be wearing this to work!


Mark the calendar… it’s July 3rd!

All being well, we have arranged to sign on July 3rd. 

We have booked ferry and train tickets and will be doing the journey of extreme madness backwards consisting of eight trains and a ferry from London to Antibes in under twenty four hours. Bloody dog. We’ll be buying a car this year apparently.

Our Man with a Van is collecting our London stuff on July 2nd and delivering it on July 4th.

We’re being picked up by our estate agent on July 3rd from Antibes station, taken to view the house and then returned to the notaire for signing…

And then hopefully we’ll get the keys, crack open a bottle of Champagne and dive bomb into the pool… 

Two weeks to go!

The Golden Thrones

After a great deal of deliberation and far too much thought, I have finally had my old green Heywood Wakefield armchairs reupholstered.

I bought them in 2000 when I was moving into my apartment on Milwood Avenue, Venice CA and had never really liked the fabric but things being what they were, had never got around to doing anything about it… c‘est la vie.

Battered and banned

It wasn’t until Big T banned them as we were trying to sell the Money Pit that I realised I had to do something about it. Did I want to get rid of them or should I reupholster? I chose the latter.

Seven upholsterers and many, many fabric choices later and the old green chairs arrived back this morning. 

I’m very pleased with them as errant springs are no longer and the tired old green 1950s fabric has been replaced with a gold velvet fabric. 

Look who’s home

Retirement ready

They are indeed the golden thrones and I suspect they’ll be around for a while to come! In fact, they look retirement ready!

Now where’s my crown?

Another day, another crazy election…

One thing which has become apparent in the past year is that one cannot rest on one’s laurels.

Three times now we’ve gone to bed and three times we’ve woken in disbelief. First Brexit, then Trump and now May. It seems that things are not always as they seem and things certainly do come in threes.

It seemed like it was a foregone conclusion, apparently not!