Subscribe here to receive ‘Mon Oc’, our monthly eNews (Free of course), and we don’t bother you either !

CLICK ABOVE to Subscribe or Tweet this article – CLICK BELOW to follow us on Twitter . . .


Please E.Mail us at –





Click-throughs to your local markets, vide greniers & where to get free or cheap stuff

Provence Post Ad for web

Advertise in ‘Mon Oc’. The e.News mailed to 8,000+ readers. 2012 prices still apply.


Check on Petrol & Gazol prices near you


Check on the sunshine . . .


Want Not, Waste Not – Recycling and What to do with those really unusual things !

DAILY NEWS FEED . . . Click on picture to read the full article

April 2017
« Mar    

Got a question?


Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Manish’s Zodiac Signs Predictions for April 2017

09ea10008957507ed947fcc0dc738f5cAries ( 21 March – 19 April ) – This is a month in which your strength will shine. There will be a lot of burdens weighing on you but you need to keep your headup, things will come out just fine. The way you will be organizing your life – both on the job and with family – will have a momentum all its own! Keep your communication wide open in this cycle. Allow yourself to have some fun without compromising the integrity you emanate with your work and family. New friends and romance can emerge at this time. Let conversations and invites flow at this time. Favorable Dates : April 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & Green

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – You might be looking at an influx of creativity and perhaps the birth of a new relationship.  It may also signify an abundance of skills, courage and drive – all waiting to be channelised well.  In a way, it may also indicate at delegating or seeking other experts’ help and guidance to move ahead. The success to come would be usually concerning a material conquest, a venture, a renovation project or a creative setup. You will be keen to enhance the quality of your life, and will not hesitate to seek support. Favorable Dates : April 5, 8, 14, 17, 23, 26 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Green

Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – There may be new beginnings, some of them that you have been waiting for. This period signifies accomplishment and triumph, despite fatigue, strain, setbacks and opposition. You will also be willing to take risks. But, also be patient and vigilant at the same time. You now have the power to bring great happiness to others – so give freely and unconditionally, for the Universe, then will return to you in an equal measure. This is a fertile time – in almost all aspects, and if bearing a child has been on your mind, this is a perfect time. Favorable Dates : April 2, 5, 11, 12, 22, 26 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow 

Cancer ( 21 June – 22 July ) – There will be a palpable joy in the air, as love, bonds and work will bring you success and rewards. Romance blooms, good news arrives and a brighter future beckons with all its might. Use this extremely positive time to get the maximum out of your life. You shall be gifted with an amazing ability to sense others’ needs.  Make use of your emotional energy to make yours and others lives beautiful.  A romantic young admirer may turn out to be quite a charmer and you may find yourself learning about a side of life you never knew about. Favorable Dates : April 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August ) – Your intuition is heightened and you could find yourself getting drawn to all kinds of people almost magically. A relationship that begins this month could turn out to be a lasting love. Initially you may be reluctant to open your heart up – maybe you have suffered heartache, not quite long back. This period also heralds a very sociable time – do network well.  Compromise is another keyword– let the hanging issues reach conclusive ends. Take your determination levels higher and utilise this favourable period to seek the truth, get to the bottom of the matters with confidence. Favorable Dates : April 2, 4, 11, 13, 20, 22 Favorable Colors : Green & Yellow

Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – You may be looking back at the past with a happy, overpowering nostalgia taking inspiration from the positives and resolving to better things in the present. Work may bring you solace and if you’re ready a new romance may be in the cards for you with either someone at the workplace or connected with your line of work. However take things slow. Rushing matters could only lead to heartache. Enjoy the good times and make your loved ones a part of the celebrations. The erotic instinct will become more highlighted. Favorable Dates : April 2, 8, 11, 17, 20, 26 Favorable Colors : Purple & Red


Libra ( 23 September – 22 October )  – This period gives you more time to develop a better relationship with a parent, boss, or authority figure. It can help you to gain a better professional reputation, to become known as someone of rank or significance in your chosen field. This period also increases career and financial prospects. It’s time to expand your marketing or your social contact, to increase your visibility or knowledge base. You may find yourself swept off your feet in a whirlwind romance that could lead to marriage. Expect added intensity, a significant redirection or forward thrust regarding relationships matters. Favorable Dates : April 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow 

Scorpio ( 23 October – 21 November ) – You should see prospects, relationships, and opportunity on the upswing. This period is good for resuming creative projects, marketing revisions, bringing yourself up to speed, etc. Ambition well placed can deliver substantially. This period  can be financially lucrative or it can see you make an important personal breakthrough or discovery. Pump up your immune system and don’t be overly casual in providing personal information or opinions. Feel your way along and do what is in your best interests and what serves in the best interest of others too. Favorable Dates : April 7, 9, 16, 18, 25, 27 Favorable Colors : White & Red

Sagittarius ( 22 November -21 December ) – This period calls for better self care. Aim to get yourself better acquainted, familiarized, situated or secure. Start with your own comfort zone and build it from there. What soothes, nourishes, or comforts you will benefit those around you too. The period could hold enough sway to redirect your life in some significant way. A professional contract, real estate deal or legal matter could come to fruition, or at least it can see significant action. A speculative venture could net a great pay-off. The days that follow can see you cover a lot of good ground.  Favorable Dates : April 1, 2, 10, 11, 19, 20 Favorable Colors : White & Blue

Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – This month  re-energizes you with fresh ideas, attitudes, and opportunity.  It’s an ideal transit for writing projects, classes, marketing, and networking; for diversifying your interests or income sources, and for expanding yourself socially too. Serendipity and creativity go hand in hand, especially over the first two weeks.  Last two weeks are excellent for manifesting. Things can open up and work out beautifully. It’s a good month to travel or to expand marketing or social connections, but keep on the alert regarding potential vulnerable or weak spots. Favorable Dates : April 2, 4, 11, 13, 20, 22 Favorable Colors : Red & Purple

Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – This month can help you to establish a better personal, creative, relationship, and romantic flow. You’ll also find you can finally get going on those side-tracked goals and projects.  This period can introduce you to new people, products, or financial prospects. This  is one of refortifying and strengthening from within.  It is one of learning better self preservation tactics and of more astute planning. It will help you to stand up for yourself more, to speak and convey with more power, conviction, and presence. Favorable Dates : April  1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) – This month can be a mixed bag. Watch for unexpected potential, opportunity, add-ons or rising costs, breakthrough points, big news or major letting go.  Enjoy your abundance, but also try to keep somewhat realistic in your expectations and try not to give into extravagance, impulsiveness, or an overactive imagination. This month can turn the spotlight onto a special someone.  When the heart or imagination is captured, you can be especially vulnerable. Top up your immune system, keep your distance from sick people, protect your valuables and remember to back up and lock up. Favorable Dates : April  1, 7, 10, 16, 19, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Green


Manish Kumar Arora, 91-9871062000

K.P. Astrologer, Numerologist, Tarot Card Reader & Vastu Consultant






Your reading for April . . .

One Mother’s Journey: Creating My Family through In Vitro Fertilization

by Jennifer Prudenti

Product Details

For most of us women having a baby is something we naturally want, and assume it will just happen, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

In this frank and detailed book the author, Jennifer Prudenti, with timely insertions from her husband Marty, take us on their quest to be parents.
Throughout, they lay bare their thoughts and emotions for us to read, in the hope that it will give others guidance and that it will help to full in some of the questions which others are wondering about, or may have forgotten to ask.

Jennifer’s story starts very openly as she explains how, as the daughter of a loving mother, all she wanted was a daddy, and how, like many before and since, she turned to boys to get the attention she craved from males. This yearning, and the consequences of it took her health and body down a tragic route which eventually led her to need In Vitro Fertilization, or as it is commonly known IVF.

Happily married, all Jennifer and her husband Marty wanted was a family, however, this was not to be – well not easily, as you will read. The path they took was a hard one, IVF. Jennifer explains in detail the various procedure, and tests which she endured, and the life she led dancing to the rhythm of her body clock, and the routines which had to be followed. The unfortunate disappointments, the emotional rollercoasters, and everything being swept aside by Jennifer’s strong feelings that she would be incomplete as a woman, and a wife, without being a mother, despite Marty’s protestations of the opposite.

Along with following traditional guidelines, she found herself trying alternative medicines and remedies. They changed clinics and doctors, done whatever they could until, finally she was carrying her babies.

For many, from then onwards is a natural path, set in stone, but for others (myself included), this is just the beginning of months of fears and worries. Unless you have experienced it no-one can understand the feelings you go through just to get to the magical 28 weeks when baby is ‘viable’, however the author does a very good job, as it certainly brought back memories for me.

As the title suggests this story does have a happy ending, but then as they say in films, this is only the beginning of Jennifer and Marty’s life as parents. I am a true believer that no-one can prepare you for parenthood, of course, the love you feel when you see your baby or babies for the first time, but also the emotional toll, sleepless nights, worries when they don’t sleep, the list is endless. As parents all we can do is our best, and of course hindsight is a wonderful thing.

This story is one which needed telling, not only because Jennifer and her husband thought so, but also to give hope, information, courage and the strength not to give up to the thousands of couples out there who strive to have a family of their own, whatever it takes….


Available from Amazon


Fearne Fairy and the Dandelion Clocks – Book 8 in the Whimsy Wood Series

by Sarah Hill

This delightful Fearne Fairy adventure takes place on a beautiful March morning. With the daffodils swaying in the breeze, and bird song filling the air as young chaffinches practice their singing.
On such as super day, in her moss covered tree trunk home deep in the middle of Whimsy Wood, Fearne Fairy is in the mood for spring cleaning, however, it isn’t long before her tummy reminds her she hasn’t had her breakfast.

We all know that fairies are magical, and can do amazing things, but like ordinary people there are things they have problems with, and Fearne really does have trouble with her landings, and unfortunately on this day she crashes at the bottom of the stairs and hurts her head.

No worries, she thinks, I have just the remedy hidden in my conker cupboard, her special, sore-head-fixing dandelion drink. However, when she goes to the cupboard she discovers that there is no drink left!

What can she do! Well she must have a good think, and what better to help her than a crumpet or four? Just as she finds the solution, she hears a rumpus outside and discovers Bertie and Beatrice, the bunny twins fighting over a dandelion clock! Of course, like most fighting, it ends in tears and also poor Beatrice bumps her head. The situation is urgent, now there are two sore heads and no sore-head-fixing dandelion drink.

But will the bunny twins remember where they got the clock from, because, surely there will be dandelion leaves there, and hopefully there will there be enough for Fearne Fairy to make some of her magical drink.

It is time for a lesson Fearne decides, and so she tells the twins, after their fight about the importance of sharing, and about her family’s motto of ‘share and share a-like.’

But as to the spring cleaning, well…

This is a truly enchanting fairy tale, magical and yet with a little lesson about the importance of sharing woven in. I read it to my little granddaughter and she was captivated, loving both the story and the wonderful illustrations. I look forward to sharing more Fearne Fairy tales with her as we explore this exciting series together.

Available from Amazon


Lessons from Shadow: My Life Lessons for Boys and Girls 

by Shadow Bregman 

Product DetailsWhat a wonderful book for children. Not only is it cleverly written by a worldly black Labrador called Shadow, of course kindly penned by his human daddy Walter Bregman, but it contains some important life lessons for children to learn, and other dogs of course as long as their mummies and daddies read it to them. Because you see, as I already know, but many people don’t, dogs to understand us, and talk to us too!

When Shadow’s mummy and daddy decided to take him home from the rescue centre Shadow had already learnt a lot of good, and bad things. Sensibly they took their other dog Betsy to say hello to shadow before they made a final decision, but they didn’t need to worry, they quickly became friends. Betsy did like to be the boss though, and could be a bit of a bully some times, but the story behind that is in one of the lessons.

Shadow’s lessons cover many subjects. In the first one, Shadow admits to being very greedy, (like most dogs) and tells of the mischief which can be caused if the pantry door isn’t closed, especially if dogs pinch the chocolate!

As we settle down to enjoy the tales Shadow tells, it is fun to look at life through his eyes, taking a dogs eye view of life and situations. For instance, escaping is fun, the bigger the fence the better, until you get to the other side, and discover you want to go home! Then things can be pretty scary!

Family life is varied and sometimes sad, and Shadow explains in his own sensitive, wise way, how he and his daddy coped with sad times in their lives, and the loneliness which affected them after.

Of course the world is sometimes confusing for a dog. In the chapter called lessons, we discover some of the things which we, as humans, don’t really understand about dog communication, and some of the things which puzzle them. Shadows summing up of this lesson is priceless, but you will have to read the book to find out what it is.

If you love dogs, whether you are young or old, you will find this book enchanting. For those of us who love our dogs, it is affirmation that they do understand us, and can teach us so much. The chapters in this book cover very important issues for children, and guide them sensitively in the right direction, to enable them to deal with various situations.


I loved this book! Shadow is a very wise dog and I hope he and his daddy write some more so I can enjoy learning more about their lives, and the important lessons they have to share

Available from Amazon


Diary of a Drug Addict

by Stephen E Crockett

Product Details

You see them on street corners, hiding in doorways, furtively watching, waiting for their next fix, selling drugs, or perhaps they have just had a shot.
When you see drug addicts or alcoholics on the streets, or in the dark corners of bars, do you ever wonder why, and how, they became addicted?
What made this person take that particular route through life, and at what stage couldn’t they say no?

Perhaps you walk by pitying them, looking on with distain, smugly thinking that you will never be in their position, you would never become an alcoholic, or a drug addict. If you do, just stop and think. Who are you to judge? There is a very true saying “You cannot judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” As we go through our lives we make decisions, some very minor, or so we think at the time, however, everything we do comes with consequences. The face we put on to the world is not necessarily the person within, many of us hide behind masks. Sometimes this is done in the knowledge that we want to be deceptive, mislead, and bend a person to our will. However for many others it is a necessity, the only way to deal with the demons within, self-preservation.

Stephen Crockett life changed at a very early age, when he could no longer endure being surrounded by religious fanaticism, made to attend church, and being beaten if he asked questions.

It was in his 18th year however, just before graduation that his drug and alcohol abuse really took hold. Stephen had tried drink and marijuana before, however, whilst his fellow class mates were getting ready for the graduation photo, Stephen was sitting in the car park, passed out drunk. He missed his graduation ceremony because he was in hospital, recovering from asphyxia, and acute alcoholic poisoning.

Missing that ceremony seems to be a turning point, in his own mind he became invisible, unworthy, from then on he began his quest to blending into the background, suffering tremendous feelings of disappointment in himself, and depression.

His decision to leave the countryside for the town opened his eyes to a whole new world, and he became addicted to Heroin, the mother of all illegal drugs, which claims more lives than all the others put together. Stress and depression become his monsters in the closet, as trapped in his miserable existence he turns to drugs and alcohol. Soon he becomes part of the underground scene, dealing drugs, and living from fix to fix, in a drugs and alcohol induced haze.

This book, and its companion ‘Black Tar’ has opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. Stephen has a very frank way of writing, and in his own unique no holds barred style, he talks openly about the addiction he has had for decades.

What will the future hold for you if you go down the same route? Well, as Stephen so graphically explains, you will lose everything – no not just physical things, but yourself, self-worth, friends, and so much more.

So what has become of Stephen now?

Is he drugs free, and if so how did he do it?

Find out by reading his compelling story – I guarantee you it will be an eye-opener!

Available from Amazon

All reviews by Susan Keefe

Get Ready For Spring!

by Amanda Baughen & 13Bees Beekeeping Holidays

Having had enough of the rat race in the south east of England, Amanda and Kevin moved to Confolens (16) in 2015, opening a chambre d’hôte and launching their beekeeping experience holiday business. They live with five cats, two tortoises and several thousand bees, and enjoy sharing their adventures in the apiary with others.

It’s been a bitterly cold couple of weeks in the Charente, but the returning cranes reassure me that we’re now heading towards Spring and better weather. Given the amount of icing sugar our bees have been consuming this winter, I am expecting them to emerge into the sunshine with fat tums. They’ll be thirsty too so I’ll be putting out water for them, taking care that they won’t drown in it.  Saucers of water Bees Square 3with bee-rafts (pieces of floating wood) and plant pots full of soil sitting in small pots of water (the soil soaks up the water and the bees can take the moisture from the soil) are ideal. It’s at this time of year that bemused owners may observe bees drinking at the edge of their swimming pools; they’re not fussy.

Now is the time to ensure that everything is ready for the approaching beekeeping season, as before we know it, we’ll be rushing around Bees Square 2trying to find spare frames, clean hive tools, and extra boxes. Apiary hygiene is key as diseases can spread quickly from hive to hive, and this time of year is perfect for cleaning equipment in strong solutions of washing soda. Old brood frames can be changed for clean foundation wax too – at least three frames per hive should be removed and replaced with new or cleaned ones.

It’s important too to clean all clothing, or, in the case of my gloves to replace them! pictured) Gloves can quickly become sticky with propolis, a resin exuded by trees and collected by bees to be used for filling cracks and strengthening the edges of combs. It’s simple enough to remove, just put the gloves in a bag in the freezer; the propolis hardens and then can be cracked off. Beware, though – you have to work quickly as it warms up and is sticky again in no time.

Dirty-gloves-1024x768Bee stings not only hurt but, along with the venom, they leave behind a pheromone which alerts other bees to the attack site…so, as you can imagine, it’s not a good idea to inspect a hive while wearing clothing that is covered in this scent. It’s an invitation to be stung – another solid reason for thoroughly washing all equipment!

As Spring approaches the colonies will be building up quickly, and seeing bees return to the hive with large quantities of pollen usually means that the queen has started laying. Now is a good time to check that you have spare boxes to catch any early swarms, as you don’t want to successfully bring a colony through winter only to lose it as soon as the weather gets warmer. The ideal space for bees is around 40 cubic litres; they can be a bit like Goldilocks, rejecting anything that seems too big or too small, so it’s best to try and provide them with something that looks just about right. We put out old (but cleaned) brood boxes, roping them up in trees close to our apiary, so that we can easily haul them down again when they become occupied.

Bees Square 1 Next month it will be warm enough to make our first hive inspections and see what state our colonies are in. We’ll be looking for a healthy queen, and signs of her laying, as well as checking how much food there is stored and how much space the bees have. We’ll also ensure there is no disease, and look carefully for evidence that the colony is thinking of swarming.


654 BeeKeeping





In your garden in March . . .

Looking Good in the Garden March17

Postcard from the Edge, from The Provence Post

An introduction from Julie Mautner at The Provence Post:
Every now and then I ask foodie friends in France . . . or just back from France…to write about one restaurant in Provence they love. When my chef pal Andy Floyd mentioned he had just been to the Le Château de Sormiou, I was all over it–I’ve wanted to go there for years.  
As the GM of KitchenTable Cooking School and the Academic Director of the Professional Culinary Arts Program at Colorado Culinary Academy (Denver), Andy has been teaching budding chefs for more than 20 years.  For 10 of them, he directed professional programs at Culinary School of the Rockies (Boulder) and took groups of students for month-long trips to cook and to stage in some Provence’s finest restaurants.
As a result, he remains intimately connected to the food world in the South of France.
After a few years away, Andy recently returned for vacation with his wife Lucy and their three kids. Here’s his report about their day at the Le Château . . . not just a restaurant but a true adventure…

No trip to Provence would be complete without a visit to the Calanques between Marseille

On the Edge: Sormiou is one of the lesser known calanques, considered something of a locals' secret.

On the Edge: Sormiou is one of the lesser known calanques, considered something of a locals’ secret.

and Cassis. The white limestone cliffs and inlets that begin in the heart of Marseille and follow the coast to the picturesque port town of Cassis are the summer playground of the Marseillais.

The approach to the Calanque de Sormiou, where chef Andy Floyd and his family had a great afternoon at the restaurant Le Chateau.

The approach to the Calanque de Sormiou, where chef Andy Floyd and his family had a great afternoon at the restaurant Le Chateau.

Over the years, I’d visited Cassis many times with my culinary students.  A bouillabaisse in the port followed by a boat trip to the awesome Calanque d’En-Vau is de rigueur for anyone visiting the area. But I’d often heard of another very special Calanque, a well-guarded secret of the locals called the Calanque de Sormiou and I was determined to explore this little gem on my recent family trip. But–understatement here–it’s not easy to get to. If you want to avoid the hour-long hike in, your only choice is to rent one of the tiny seaside bungalows or to make reservations at the Le Château Sormiou, the little restaurant with a “to die for” view of the Sormiou Calanque and a fresh-out-of-the-water seafood menu. It’s open from the first weekend in April to the last weekend in September and has been serving customers since 1948.

If you plan to go by car, make sure you reserve way ahead, as you’re vying for access to this amazing spot

After a somewhat tense 4 kilometer drive down a narrow, winding'll arrive wanting wine quickly. Note, the parking lot is filled mostly with small cars.

After a somewhat tense 4 kilometer drive down a narrow, winding road…you’ll arrive wanting wine quickly. Note, the parking lot is filled mostly with small cars.

with quite few others. When you call Le Château for reservations they’ll ask for your car’s license plate number; this is mandatory or “le gardien” won’t let you through the gate that takes you up and over the limestone mountain into the tight, steep descent into the Calanque.  If you don’t know your rental car’s license plate number when you make the reservation, just explain that you’ll provide it closer to your arrival date. (Need I point out that good command of the French language, as well as being able to decipher the subtleties of the Marseillais patois, are a pre-requisite to making your reservation?). Once you’ve booked your table, you’ve overcome the major obstacle to getting to this little gem. Well, one of them at least.

I’ve been to Marseille many times and though I can easily find my way to the main landmarks, I could never have navigated my way to the entrance of this Calanque without a GPS. I felt like I was in a scene from the The French Connection as I exited from a major highway onto an elevated single lane that led me into a construction area and then into an eight-lane boulevard. Then finally, after many disorienting directional changes, I began to see signs for the Calanque de Sormiou. Much relief! We began to leave the bustle of the city into a forested area and then finally the GPS said we had reached our destination…even though we were still 4 km from the entrance.
The entrance to a private little cabanon, off the beach

The entrance to a private little cabanon, off the beach

Once we arrived at the gate, the gardien looked from our car to his clipboard and back. No match, he proclaimed. We weren’t on the list!

Actually, we had planned to come with a friend in her car and when that plan fell through, I called to make the change….but I guess the gardien didn’t get the updated license number.  We managed to convince him that we were legit restaurant customers with a reservation and eventually he relented and lifted the gate.
Now we started to question what kind of drive we were about to have, if such a careful selection process was required…and then a few clicks in we began to understand. But we really got the picture once we arrived at the top of Calanque and began to make our way down a one-lane road with pot holes and certain-death drop offs.  We prayed that no vehicles would be coming in the other direction and I surveyed the options ahead for any slight widening of the road. We made it down to the parking area (4€ charge) in a state of high stress and in desperate need of a glass or two of rosé.  We gathered our beach bags and gear and headed to the restaurant.
Chef Andy and his wife Lucy both had fish soup followed by grilled dorade. The kids ate shrimp and pasta. The meal was excellent...and expensive.

Chef Andy and his wife Lucy both had fish soup followed by grilled dorade. The kids ate shrimp and pasta. The meal was excellent…and expensive.

We sat outside on the covered terrace with a gorgeous view of the sea and the Calanque.  Within minutes the empty terrace filled with clients.  It’s very important to note this is a strictly cash restaurant and there are no ATMs or electricity or running water for that matter. Be prepared! We ordered up a bottle of rosé which came in a cute little plastic bag filled with ice. Lucy and I both settled in on soupe de poisson and a grilled whole dorade with vegetables and potatoes. The kids chose shrimp and pasta but there were a few

The cove and beach that beckon you before and after lunch. Andy says the kids didn't want to leave.

The cove and beach that beckon you before and after lunch. Andy says the kids didn’t want to leave.

meat dishes offered as well.  If you call ahead, you can order bouillabaisse, the local specialty, priced at 45€ per person, minimum two people. The food was excellent and unquestionably fresh though clearly priced with the captive audience in mind. Our lunch for five, with one bottle of wine, came to around 250€.  We changed in their restroom and after giving them a big wad of cash, headed to the beach.  Pleasantly, it was a real beach with sand (not rocky, like many coastal beaches here), and the water was perfect.  This day was without a doubt the highlight of our trip and the kids really didn’t want to leave.

On the way home, Marseille (and civilization) loom in the distance.

On the way home, Marseille (and civilization) loom in the distance.

The drive back up the Calanque was little less stressful though a lot busier and we did have to negotiate cars coming down at the same time. As we crested the top of the entrance to the Calanque we were presented with a stunning view of downtown Marseille and reluctantly we drove toward it, tucking away the experience of the special gem we had just uncovered. And yes, we would absolutely do it again!

Le Château Sormiou
Tel: +33 (0) 4 91 25 08 69
GPS: 226 Chemin de Sormiou, 13009 Marseille
Open seven days, first weekend in April to last weekend in Sept.
Lunch served 12 to 3; dinner 7:30 to 9:30.

Reservations required, no email, no credit cards.

The Floyd Family's Excellent Provence Adventure included this photo opp in the hills facing Les Baux de Provence. Clockwise: Lucy, Paris, Andy, Sophia and Soleil.

The Floyd Family’s Excellent Provence Adventure included this photo opp in the hills facing Les Baux de Provence. Clockwise: Lucy, Paris, Andy, Sophia and Soleil.

All photos by Andy Floyd. To reach him:

Your reading for March

Stories of Music Volume 2

by Holly E Tripp

The powerful effect of music on us is universally recognized, just a few notes from a certain peace can instantly evoke memories which transport us back to another time, event, or place.

Raised in a musical family, the author, Holly Tripp has fond memories of listening to her grandmother’s reminiscences of a childhood dancing to fiddlers’ music. However, it was the tragic death of her brother Brandon, and their shared love of music, which reawakened her love of song writing, and subsequently, the realization of the special place in our lives, and memories, certain pieces of music hold.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s first book, ‘Stories of Music’ Volume 1, and have been looking forward to Volume 2. As with its predecessor, this book enables you to, by visiting the free companion web edition, use the QR and short URLs throughout the book, to enjoy the original music and videos which accompany some of the stories.

The book is divided into sections, Origins, Interconnection, Exploration, Against All Odds, Transcendence, and Ghosts. The stories, poems, and essays within each section are personal accounts, from authors, and artists, throughout the world. All wanted to share with others how music has changed and affected their lives.

There are so many wonderful recollections to enjoy, however one I particularly like is called “The Magic of the Mouth.” In this story, newly arrived in Goa, India, Mukta Patil recalls being invited to a curtain raiser for World Mouth Harp Festival of India.
He recounts his confusion, as he imagines a full sized harp, and cannot see how one will fit in a mouth. However, as the story progresses all is revealed, and we learn about this fascinating musical instrument, thought to be one of the earliest known to man. There are wonderful pictures included, and the opportunity to listen to one being played by Neptune Chapotin.

They say that music breeches all boundaries and this book does just that, demonstrating clearly how music can inspire, create and heal. The icing on the cake for me, however are the QR’s and URL’s which provided me with the opportunity to enjoy the full sensory experience.

As a foot note I would like to add, that following through with her belief that music heals, the author is donating 10% of all of the proceeds to the non-profit organisations, Hungry for Music, and Music & Memory.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon

Tricycle and Friends: True-Life Adventures of a Three-Legged Golden Retriever and His Rescued Farm anima Friends

 by Lester Aradi

This wonderful children’s books is about a three legged retriever called Tricycle who is adopted by a family, and goes to live at their farm.

Once there, he meets Buckaroo, the miniature donkey. The two quickly become friends, and Buckaroo introduces Tricycle to some of the other animals. Many are adopted too. He soon discovers that there are all sorts, not only other dogs, but horses, llamas, chickens, and honey bees.

They go to meet Cantara and Pink, the llamas, and discover fascinating things about these lovely animals. However, the icing on the cake is when they learn that there will be another new arrival at the farm the following day, a little baby alpaca! Everyone is excited! But what is an alpaca, and what will it be called?

The author teaches in a very gentle way, through the experiences of Tricycle and his friends, how being different is okay. And, as the book progresses we learn about bullying, the importance of adopting animals, and many other things.

I loved the way the reader gets to meet lots of the animals through delightful illustrations and lovely pictures. I thing they are so important in children’s books, and bring the farm wonderfully to life, adding so much to this enchanting tale.

I can’t wait to read more adventures from Tricycles and his friends.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon

Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man

by John E Quinlan

Product Details

Ever dreamed of doing something different, going to exotic places, stepping right out of your safety zone and taking the bull by the horns?

Do you wonder if people really do just change direction, start new businesses in different countries, juggle their lives, just like that? Is it possible?

Well, in this incredible biography the author takes the reader on his remarkable journey. After the end of his marriage he gets on his motorbike, leaves Grosse Point (a suburb of Detroit) and begins an adventure which takes him from the American West, through to Australia/Papua New Guinea.

An established CEO- entrepreneur, the author is not afraid of taking risks, and going with the flow. This bravery takes him on travels to amazing places, where he forges forward with the courage of a true entrepreneur.

On his odyssey, he finds new love and is never afraid to go with the moment, something I truly admire.

The book is beautifully descriptive and I especially loved his account of his life whilst he was running his South Pacific fishing business, which gave some fascinating insights into what life is really about living on-board ship. His first impressions and dealings with the South Pacific island natives and his business dealings with them are interesting, and the great thing is, that whatever the outcome he brushes himself off and starts again.

Juggling life between his business interests in Grosse Point and other part of the world is difficult at times, emotionally and financially draining, however, he copes with everything and is an inspiration to those of us who would love (or imagine they would love) to walk in his shoes.

He was known as Tau Bada, ‘big white man’ by the native farmers of Papua New Guinea where he worked hard to build them a sustainable living through the selling of coffee and chilies.

Travel lovers will thoroughly enjoy his accounts of his visits to different places, and wish they were a fly on the wall watching him meet people from many nations. It is an exciting way to really learn what it is like to live amongst various peoples and learn their customs.

This book is truly an awe-inspiring quest of discovery for one man, re-evaluating his life, taking on challenges, dealing with the consequences and all the time living life to the full. Whatever your dreams and ambitions, I would highly recommend this book, it is inspirational, informative and very thought provoking.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon


by Terry John Barto


Product Details

This is a simply wonderful story about a dragon called Nickerbacher, whose job is to guard the Princess Gwendolyn who lives in a tall, tall tower. However the princess and Nickerbacher are friends and their favorite thing is staying up watching the live performances on The Late Knight Show every evening.
Soon we discover that Nickerbacher isn’t your ordinary dragon, oh he knows his job is to guard the princess, fight the knights who try to rescue her and generally be a big bad dragon, but that’s not what he wants to do the rest of his life – he has a dream. Nickerbacher wants to become a stand-up comedian! He hates the stereotyping of dragons and wants to show the world a different side, a caring, funny dragon, so dragons can be acceptable members of the community, not third rate citizens.

So, when Prince Happenstance arrives, fresh from the Prince Guild, with a mission to rescue the princess, he soon discovers that Gwendolyn is no ordinary princess, and Nickerbacher no ordinary dragon. Before he knows it he finds himself agreeing to take part in a plan cooked up between them to get Nickerbacher to La La Land so he can audition for The Late Knight Show, and make his impact on the world!

La La Land they discover is quite amazing, full of many sorts of wonderful creatures, all living with the humans, but there are no dragons, so Nicerbacher arrival causes quite a stir, and everyone wants to know why he is there.

However being there is only the beginning, can he get an audition with Johnny Kingston, and if he does, how will it go?

Find out if Nickerbacher’s dreams come true, will he star on The Late Knight Show?

Can he wow the audience with his jokes, and change their perception of dragons?

Discover the answer to these questions, and much more in this exciting children’s story full of magic and surprises, written by Terry John Barto, and beautifully illustrated by Kim Sponaugle.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon

Fearne Fairy and the Landing Lesson

by Sarah Hill

Product Details

In this delightful children’s book we join Fearne Fairy as she is wakened by the dawn chorus in Whimsy Wood on a marvellous May morning.

Fearne is a lovely kind fairy, but she has a terrible voice, so when she asks to join in the chorus the woodland birds don’t want to hurt her feelings, after all why make someone unhappy if it isn’t necessary? Instead, they divert her thoughts by asking how her best friend Mustard the Magpie Moth Caterpillar is.

Racing down stairs she finds Mustard happily sleeping soundly in his little leaf basket by the stove. Fearne loves her friend so much that she decides to make him a special breakfast, and sets off for the Woodland Store. However, although like other fairies Fearne can fly, her landings are not so good, and on her return she crashes. Startled awake, Mustard suggests that she needs to get some help perfecting her landings, and she agrees.

Thus begins a magical adventure, as we join Fearne and Mustard in their search for Bristle Bumblebee and Dewberry Dragonfly, flying experts who Mustard thinks will be able to help her.

After breakfast, with picnic packed, they set off on their quest to find Bristle and Dewberry.

The woods are wonderful, and most of the creatures are having fun, and enjoying the lovely May weather, but then they come across Bromley the Badger, and his friend, who is a very sad Hedgehog called Humbug.

However, when Fearne discovers the cause of Humbugs unhappiness she realises that it is within her powers to make him happy again, and so she waves her magic wand, and says a special spell, making things right.

Pleased to see his friend happy again, Bromley tells them that Bristle and Dewberry have opened a Flying School down by the purple orchid patch, to help the May bugs and stag beetles who are having problems learning to fly. So off Fearne and Mustard go in search of Bristle and Dewberry’s Flying School.

But will they find it?

And, if they do, will Bristle and Dewberry be able to help Fearne improve her landing, after all, she isn’t a May bug or stag beetle?

Well you will have to read the story to find out the answers to these questions, but the only thing I can say is that practice really does make perfect…

The wonderful way this magical children’s story is told, and the way its beautiful illustrations compliment the story makes this not just a book, but a prized possession, the type of book which will be handed down from child to child, through generation.

I would liken it to the famous The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, and think it definitely deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon

Warrior of Light (Adventures of the Mind Traveller Book 3)

by James McKenna

Product Details

In this third book in the Mind Traveller series we join a 16 year old Rosie as she, having just finished her GCSE’s, is looking forward to the summer holidays.

Laying under the ancient oak tree at Haston Manor, she is dreaming of Oliver, one of the local boys and one of her partners in adventures, when an Inca boy called Titu suddenly arrives. He has been sent by his brother Apo, who is an Inca prince from Vilabamba with news especially for her. A piece of the Dove of Peace is in the Huacas.

So Rosie and her SAS Angel Elissa travel into Mind Space, and asks Grubalot what they should do. He reveals that the dark angels are rising again, they are becoming very strong, amassing a large army, and he has another mission for her. She must finds her parents, and the last pieces of the Dove of Peace, because, when the dove of peace is whole again, love will spread across Mind Space, and together with the white angels they will win the war against the Dark Angel, and his forces.

And so begins the adventure for Rosie and her friends Oliver, Charlie and Dan. However her discussions in Mind Space have been cunningly overheard by the despicable Skreg, a slimy creature who works for the dark forces, and he is prepared to do anything to stop Rosie from completing her quest.

Thwarted at every turn, bravely fighting terrible creatures, dark forces, creppins, and the hideous Skreg, the friends desperately seek Rosie’s parents. However, they are being kept prisoner, and with deception and lies at every turn, and things not being what they appear to be, will the friends be able to find them?

Then, if they do, will they really hold the key to the location of the final pieces of the dove?

Who will win the war?

Calling on allies of old, Rosie’s mothers secret diaries, and discovering some amazing new things about themselves and others, they courageously undertake the mission.

In this marvellous fantasy adventure, the reader not only joins in an amazing escapade, but also discovers through the adventure that, united, despite the dangers, true friendship and perseverance can achieve wonderful things.

Although the third book in this Mind Traveller series, it is not necessary to have read the others to enjoy this great story.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon

Driving in France? What to do if you’re involved in a car accident

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident (accident d’auto), you must do the following in addition to the standard procedures that apply in all countries.

1. Stop immediately. Switch on your hazard warning lights and put on your high-viz jacket which you should have inside the car so it can be easily reached.

Place a warning triangle at the edge of cy27hc_0the road 30m (100ft) behind your car, ensuring that it can be seen from at least 100m (325ft).

2. If anyone is injured, immediately call the fire service (sapeurs-pompiers) by dialling 18.

Emergency phones (orange pillars with SOS written on them) are positioned at 2km (1.2mi) intervals on motorways and every 4km (2.5mi) on other roads.

To use them press and release the button marked pour demander au secours (‘to summon help’) and speak into the metal grille.

Give the number of the telephone and as many other details as possible. The mobile (cellular) phone emergency number is 112.

If you take an injured person to hospital yourself and he dies in your car, you could be sued for a great deal of money! If there are no injuries and if damage to vehicles or property isn’t serious, it’s unneces­sary to call the police, unless another driver has obviously been drinking or appears incapable of driving.

You must never leave the scene of an accident, however minor, before completing this procedure, as this is a serious offence.

3. If either you or the other driver(s) involved decides to call the police, don’t move your vehicle or allow other vehicles to be moved unless this is necessary to unblock the road.

Front form4. In the case of an accident involving two or more vehicles, it’s standard practice for drivers to complete an accident report form ( constat amiable) provided by insurance companies (keep one in your car).

As the name implies, this is an ‘amicable statement’, where drivers agree (more or less) on what happened.

It isn’t obligatory to complete a constat, although an insurance claim made out in any other form can take longer to process.

If your French isn’t good, you may complete a constat in another language.Open Form

At the bottom of the form there are a number of statements describing the circumstances of the accident. You should tick the boxes that apply, add up the number of ticks and enter the number in the box at the bottom.

This prevents the form from being altered later.

It’s important to check the details included on forms completed by other drivers against official documents, particularly those relating to a driver’s identity, driving licence, car registration and insurance details.

It’s a good idea to photograph the other driver’s documentation, his vehicle and the scene of the accident. Look out for ‘dirt drop’ from wheel arches which indicate the exact position of vehicles. Take as many as you need to ‘tell the story’.

If anyone is injured you must indicate this at the foot and centre of the form.

Drivers must sign each other’s forms. Always check exactly what the other driver has written before signing.

It’s a NCR (self-copying form) so you both have an identical copy of what you each wrote. DO NOT change anything once you have exchanged forms. Then make further comments on the reverse at leisure and send it to your insurers within 5 days.

Don’t sign a statement, particularly one written in French, unless you’re certain you understand and agree with every word. It’s a very good idea to get the Google App on your phone which translates automatically from the camera lens.

In the event of a dispute, a local bailiff (huissier de justice) should be called to prepare an independent report (constat d’huissier).

If the police attend the scene of an accident, they will also make their own report.

If you witness an accident or its aftermath, it’s a criminal offence not to try to assist anyone in danger, at least by calling for help, and you can be fined up to €75,000 and imprisoned for up to five years for failing to do so.

France has a national fund, the Fonds de Garantie Automobile (FGA, that pays compensation to people injured and vehicles damaged by hit-and-run drivers.

5665081_948ae0e6-f43d-11e5-8a4d-9d182ae8b405-1_1000x625However, you can claim for damage to your vehicle only if the person responsible can be identified and is uninsured or insolvent.

To make a claim, those in the south-east of France should contact the Marseille office at 39 boulevard Vincent Delpuech, 13255 Marseille Cedex 06 ( 04 91 83 27 27); those in all other parts of France should contact the Paris office at 64 rue de France, 94682 Vincennes Cedex (01 43 98 77 00).

Accident prevention is promoted by Prévention Routière (01 44 15 27 00, Other useful contacts are the Fondation Anne-Cellier Contre l’Insécurité Routière (01 45 00 95 35) and the Ligue Contre la Violence Routière (01 45 32 91 00).

But please drive safely, be careful, and if anything happens – take a deep breath, keep calm and don’t miss a trick!

Edited from original article from Living and working in France

Flights three times a week from Stansted to Lorient – from £19.99

Ryanair announced a new summer route from London Stansted to Lorient, with a three times weekly service beginning in July, one of 140London Stansted summer 2017 routes now on sale.

ryanair-aircraft-(10) (1)Ryanair celebrated its new London-Stansted-Lorient by releasing seats for sale across its European network from just £19.99 for travel in February and March.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said:

“Ryanair is pleased to announce a new three times weekly London Stansted service to Lorient, beginning in July, one of 140 London Stansted summer 2017 routes. 

UK customers and visitors can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for summer 2017, so there’s never been a better time to book a low fare flight on Ryanair and we urge all customers who wish to book their summer 2017 holidays to do so now on the website, where they can avail of the lowest fare air travel to and from London.

To celebrate our new summer route from London Stansted to Lorient, we are releasing seats from just £19.99 for travel until 31March Lorient.82017,which are available for booking until midnight, Monday February 6th. Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto and avoid missing out.”

Route Frequency Start Date  Fare
London STN – Lorient  3 x weekly 4th July 2017 £19.99
Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today (2 Feb)

Manish’s Zodiac Predictions for March 2017

pisces-zodiac-symbols-20-1Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) - You will organize yourself in a way that allows you to expand with much more success than other times. You can push out from what has been restrictive. People can come into your life who add balance and the sense their presence is meant-to-be.  Being flexible with and responsive to others would be the key to success. You gain a new sense of stability for many reasons; ultimately lightening your nature so a much more flexible, sensitive, porous you gets ready for new instructions. Eliminate the old tapes playing in your head, and dive into dreams to make them a reality. Favorable Dates March 3, 6, 15, 19, 22, 27 Favorable Colors : Blue & White

Aries ( 21 March – 19 April ) – A new venture can be in the works that builds on what you’ve done but represents a new way of communicating or a new service or format  You had been gathering your forces, working with your talents in the past, but not presenting things, only developing and practicing them. You will relish the excitement of every hindrance now. You will speak with eloquence and insight and guide others in the process.  Follow your heart too  on every plane as you’ll need to use both your intellect and your heart, in order to be truly successful. Favorable Dates : March 2, 7, 11, 16, 20, 25 Favorable Colors : Red & Green

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May )  – You will want to spruce up, innovate, remodel, and remake whatever is foundational in your life. You might be changing location, if not just moving things around. You’re all about what’s new. You will organize yourself in a way that allows you to expand with much more success than other times. You can push out from what has been restrictive. You’re betting on new creativity and it looks like a good bet. People can come into your life that add balance and the sense their presence is meant-to-be. Favorable Dates : March 1, 2, 10, 11,19, 20 Favorable Colors : Yellow & GreenGemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – You might have a very big project that begins later in the month and there might be a lot of build-up to it where you have to get ready for it with concrete steps. You’re freer, and you’re better organized financially and more physically able to be expressive. It’s looking like a very creative time. If you are a married girl and if you wanted to, you could get pregnant and the timing would be good. You have recently disengaged or left situations that allow you to do more of what you want. Favorable Dates : March 3, 8, 12, 17, 21, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & White


Cancer  ( 21 June – 22 July ) –  Keeping your head above water, pay attention to what you want to grow in your life, not your emotional reactions to things.  Do this for the sake of the inner world you want to be in and the operating state of consciousness you aspire to. Whatever revolutionary thing you’ve been thinking about and wanting to bring into your life for a long time, now has a greater chance to materialize. The new life you create gets easier because you’re more willing to participate in it.  So go for it if it brings a smile to your heart. Favorable Dates : March 3, 5, 12, 14,21, 23 Favorable Colors : Red & Blue


Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August ) – It’s a good month to straighten things out so your life is easier to move around in. It’s a time of creating better personal order so business and life becomes more pleasant. It can have a positive impact on you. Armed with an understanding of what you want and how to get it, you will be empowered with table-flipping energy to break through your limitations. It’s a fortunate time to begin health improvement campaigns and develop habits your body will appreciate. It’s also a wild time with so many new beginnings and changes. Favorable Dates : March 1, 5, 10, 14,19, 23 Favorable Colors : Red & Green


Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – With strong determination you’re getting somewhere  on your way to a new vision. Expect a huge boost of self-confidence this month. There’s a tremendous elation you can feel being on your own, doing whatever represents independence. You feel much better about yourself and are more at peace. This is a month of increase, with positive events occurring on both inner and outer levels. Investing in your career will pay off now, as powerful people step up to assist you in your efforts. It feels to you like going further and higher than you’ve ever gone before. Favorable Dates: March 3, 8, 12, 17,21, 26 Favorable Colors : White & Blue


Libra  ( 23 September – 22 October ) – Grass roots movements should gain strength. Life will give you dramatic lessons about self-responsibility, and that you are responsible for the success of your dreams. The period gives you inspiration and visions about what will fulfill you.  The desire to escape will also be strong if you get complacent or you might choose to come to your own rescue instead of denying what needs to be done.  You can get more self awareness and implement new systems and solutions for your lives. Let your internal voice be your guide Favorable Dates :  March 2, 5, 11, 14, 20, 23 Favorable Colors : Purple & Yellow


Scorpio ( 23 October – 21 November ) – You’re processing your own life. Work deals are being made and steps towards career goals are moving forward, A new venture can be in the works that builds on what you’ve done but represents a new way of communicating or a new service or format However, your approach to your own progress is wavering and complacency creeps in between. You may deal with resistance and what enables you to move through resistance is a more strongly felt love for life. You’re going to keep on making those important choices that lead to your own fulfillment. Favorable Dates: March 2, 4, 13, 14, 21, 23 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow


Sagittarius ( 22 November -21 December ) – This is a time of inner gains – your greater emotional and psychological strength allows you to move on. Trust your instincts, they lead you to the truth.. You may not have yet articulated to yourself where things are going, but you feel much brighter about the future, and you’ll have the space and time to think anew and develop a project that, as it turns out, can have a big impact on your fate and is something that’s destined.  Your ability to find a work-around, no matter what the roadblock, would be the key to success. Favorable Dates March 4, 9, 11, 16, 22, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow


Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – This is a month where there are not big moves on your part, but your work is to just keep things humming along.  An even pace is best as you put the work into what you want to achieve. Finding more enjoyable ways to make money; getting physical and being in nature; laughing with people, having fun, and taking care of your health would be the key to success. You’ve got the luxury of being quite involved in your dreams and your potential and not so worried about instability, but focused on the hopeful future. Favorable Dates March 2, 7, 13, 18, 22, 28  Favorable Colors : Purple & White


Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – Your new ideas are the ones you want to try, the ones you’re going to be rewarded for, the ones that expand you, and the ones that are coming to you through new insight. You can connect with a lot more people or a larger world. Stay the course on your personal journey towards happiness, because the potential is high for the next phase to be a more complete and magnetic and inspired version of yourselves. Look at everything as a work in progress: your health, your relationships, and your financial goals. Favorable Dates March 4, 7, 15, 18, 24, 27 Favorable Colors : Blue & White

 Manish Ad Nov16





Masonry in Literature

by Shirley Brieger

People who know very little about Freemasonry often refer to it as a ‘secret society’.

However, there has been so much spoken and written about the subject it is actually a very open society. References to Freemasonry in literature occur in many works of fiction. For instance, way back in the year 2BC in Rome, Titus tells a good friend that his wife Vipsanias joined a women’s masonic lodge called the ‘Good Goddess’.

His friend comments, “That damned female masonic cult again. I hope it never spreads to our sex, Titus.”

Oh, how wrong he was…

This reference occurred in Quadrantus Rex by Norbert Coulehan.

Buchan, Capote, Eco, le Carre, Dan Brown, Tolstoy, and many more  have made references to masonry, so Norbert Coulehan was in good company.

Dan Brown, for instance, in his novels The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, uses and manipulates the symbols of masonry to produce a best seller. But it actually has no real relevance to masonry as we understand it. His ideas about the Rosslyn Chapel with its many masonic symbols in its carved stonework,  and the legends and beliefs about Rennes-le-Chateau being the place where the Holy Grail was said to be hidden and Jesus is buried, are a mixture of fact and fiction. However, non masons are all too ready to accept all these references as the truth.

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace, Freemasonry is a thread that runs throughout the story. Count Pierre Bezukhov struggles with his understanding of masonry.  And this could be Tolstoy revealing his own struggle, as many people believe he actually based the character of Pierre on himself.

References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat – that of being marginalised, trivialised and fictionalised. Most of the references are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society.

However, I must return to the the author Dan Brown. Love or loathe his books, he wrote a letter to the  Guests of the Southern Jurisdiction, and it reads as follows . . .

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 08.39.02

In my humble opinion, this is probably the best explanation of Masonry I have heard, and one we should perhaps all remember when so often we are asked: What is Freemasonry all about? Freemasonry is worldwide, with the first Lodge being founded in London, England in 1717. To celebrate the anniversary of this event, Lodges throughout France and the UK – and many other countries – are opening their doors to the general public on 24th June.

If any Mason would like more information about the Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, more commonly known as the Mother Supreme Council of the World, simply Google any of these titles to find a fascinating history of Masonry in the USA.

652 Masons in France March17