Feu de la Saint-Jean/Fête de la Musique

The lovely Lea reports….


Le feu

The Midsummer day is merely in reference to the period  of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. There can be a variation of dates between different cultures. In Estonia, Lativa and Scandinavian cultures, is it the most important holiday of the year with the exception of Christmas.

Before the flames

The French will celebrate the Fête de la Saint-Jean or le feu de la Saint-Jean, with bonfires reminiscent of pagan solstice rituals. The association with Saint-Jean was used when the Catholics adopted the tradition. In my village, the festival takes place near June 21st. The festivities are launched by a drumming group. Even though there is a DJ for the dancing to follow, the drummers stay to enjoy…

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Sunday dinner at Edith and Kenney’s

More about when I briefly lived in Hampshire…

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My good friends Edith and Kenny periodically invited me to dinner at their house, usually on a Sunday. Sometimes Jean and Barry would be there also. Jean worked in a factory in Petersfield and her husband Barry operated a JCB and ran a gang of ground workers on a long government contract in Gosport. All four of them are the kindest, most down to earth people you could ever hope to meet. Jean and Barry live in a caravan park at the other end of the village. As I said earlier, Kenny makes his living from gardening in and around the village. His definite better half Edith, worked full time at a large gardening centre in the village.

Kenny was the first person I got to know when I arrived in Horndean. It’s thanks to him that I discovered the many characters that live there. He introduced me to the…

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Charles Nuggett

Its always good to hear from Peter…


“Perfection,” as my wife might observe, “Lies just beyond the next alteration to the wardrobe or figure.” Her search for the perfect husband stopped with me some years ago, and that jaundiced look around her eyes suggests that she still blames herself for ordering from the menu of life without fully weighing up the choices: I suppose it’s fair to say she is not alone with that feeling.

Anyway, I am straying from my point, if I can remember what it is. Ah yes, it centres on memories of my old friend Charlie Nuggett who did the “Mystic Shuffle” last month and who enjoyed the send-off only a man of his character and social standing could achieve I’m afraid: no one turned up for the service apart from myself and some guy who was seeking shelter from the rain. My good lady refused to attend, citing a backlog of ironing…

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Delusions of Grandeur

More about working on a building site back in the day…

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Over the three years I spent working in the housebuilding industry in England, Keith, Garry and I worked on numerous sites, not always together. My last job was back with Keith once more, as back-up forky on a site southeast of Arundel in a little place called Angmering. The houses were in the higher end of the market in terms of value, half a million quid bought you a narrow two, or three storey brick box, with a postage stamp for a back garden and usually only a hard stand to park your car, because the garage supplied would have struggled to accommodate a couple of bicycles!

Personally I would not give you ten pence for one of those dwellings; to call them a house is laughable. Back in New Zealand the average double garage is much bigger, not to mention better built!

Steve the site forky was in his…

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Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Shop and Bakery – Family 1840s -1940s by Geoff Cronin

Read all about it…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My father-in-law, Geoff Croninwas a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

The Shop and Bakery – 1900 – 1938

My father, Richard (Dick) Cronin, born in 1881 at 12 John Street Waterford, set up business at that address under the style and title of Cronin’s Bakery. His father Owen Cronin, born…

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Every day building site problems

More on the trials and tribulations of a ‘Forky’…

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Because of the cool temperate climate the UK is subjected to, most building sites are bitterly cold quagmires of mud, ice, and snow during winter, and a suffocatingly hot dust bowl in summer. With all the heavy vehicles delivering tonnes of bricks, concrete blocks, cement, scaffolding on a daily basis, and the many other items needed in the construction of the average British brick dwelling, the ground soon becomes impassable.

To add to all of that, the typical site is constantly being dug up by JCB’s to lay services, while 360’s fill large trucks to reduce the amount of the spoil by groundworkers. And, telescopic forklifts continually bump out heavy packets of bricks, blocks and the like to the various teams of sub-contractors across the site each and every day.


 When Keith’s site just up the road from Garry’s was ready, I was transferred there to drive the telescopic…

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Book Review: Life and Other Dreams

Book Review: Life and Other Dreams

Richard gets another review….

Author Kayla Krantz

Title: Life and Other Dreams

Author: Richard Dee

Narrator: Gareth Richards



Who are you when you dream?

Rick isn’t sure anymore….

Is he Rick, living in the here and now? Working a boring job, married to Cath.

Or is he Dan, living 600 years and half a galaxy away? Exploring an alien planet with Vanessa by his side.

Two worlds, one man. While he’s awake in one place, he’s asleep in the other.

Simple enough, until people from Dan’s world start turning up in Rick’s life.

Confusing? But then it gets worse. Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Ricks wife leaves him and both realities are falling apart.

Which life is real? Will either go back to how it was?

If you had a choice, which would you choose.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Rick is just a boring run of the mill guy. Until…

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Building Site Blues

The first in a series about building sites in and around Hampshire…

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Thanks to my mate Keith, I got my first job in the house building industry in the UK as a telescopic forklift driver on a site in a new housing area on the Gosport peninsula, across the busy navy dominated harbour from Portsmouth. This was where I first met a great bloke who became a good friend – Garry. Like me he had emigrated as a child with his parents; in his case to South Africa. Times were tough and he had returned to the UK to find work, bringing his family with him. Garry was my first true boss on the sites in the UK and we got on like a house on fire from day one. We may have been born here in England, but because of our upbringing in the southern hemisphere, neither of us thought or acted the way the English do. We used to laugh…

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How do you count?

Something from a good friend of mine – Biola Olatunde


I am looking forward to my 70th birthday. I am confused though. How do I count? The day after my 70th I will technically be on the first day of 71st right? When a child is born he spends his first day on earth His first year when he moves from 0-1? So I am looking forward to completing the last day of my 70th year should be my consideration right?
Am I frightened by the approaching date? Am I looking forward to it in these days of COVID 19? When being old has become a cause for concern for government and relatives? Before the pandemic became a scourge on our thoughts and plans, we looked forward to joining the senior citizens club. You looked at your grey hair and reviewed your journey. Your sense of gratitude notches every day you open your eyes to gross matter and you thank…

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Lunch at the Oval Office

Remembering good times…

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The Ship and Bell, Horndean, Hampshire

Here is another glimpse into my personal life. In this case when I lived in a Hampshire village while briefly working as a ‘forky’ on British house building sites, after I came back to the UK in 2000. More about that later…


Until I returned here, I had lived most of my life in New Zealand. At the ripe old age of fifty-two I decided to pack it all in and go and see something of the land of my birth – England. I discovered that I was not the last of my family after my favourite aunt passed away, as I had been wrongly led to believe by my father for reasons known only to himself. In actual fact I found I had cousins living in the southern English county of Hampshire.

After arriving at Heathrow tired from the long trip via…

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