August begins with my birthday, which the rest of the family are generally much keener to celebrate than I am! But you can’t stop time, so you might as well enjoy its passing. Caiti cooked up a lovely birthday feast for our evening party. She made goat’s cheese and tomato flan

(recipe at, one of her awesome pizzas, and a truly delicious coconut and mango cake. Here’s her recipe:

400 g flour
I teaspoon vanilla flavouring
100 ml coconut milk
200 g butter
125 g sugar
Fistful of shredded/desiccated coconut
4 eggs
Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour two 20 cm (approx.) cake tins.
Mix the sugar into the softened butter, then add the eggs. Add half the flour and mix well.
Now add half the milk and beat well. When it’s smooth add the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into the two tins and back 50 mins or so until golden brown and springy to the touch.
Sandwich together with jam or butter icing, and add icing on top of
100 g icing sugar and 50 g shredded or desiccated coconut with enough water to bind.
Add some chunks of mango too.

Every household needs a cook like our Caits!

The celebrations continue. Yesterday we got some very good news. Every gite gets its guests from hell, and ours came last year. They walked out within the hour complaining that just about everything wasn’t up to their ‘expectations’.  Anyway, we have had to put up with a lot of ghastly unpleasantness which culminated in them making a claim against us through the European Small Claims Court on the grounds of misrepresentation. The judge dismissed their claim – totally, completely and utterly. There is justice in the world after all.

Our wedding anniversary is on its way on the 9th. We’ll have clocked up 24 years. A search online tells me that traditional gifts for 24th anniversaries are musical instruments. (I have no idea why, though, nor how authentic this might be.) But I’ll be OK as I have a good stock of South American musical instruments in my llama souvenir shop. I’m sure Chris will like some panpipes or a rattle made with tree seeds or maybe even a tarka (not an otter, but a Peruvian wooden recorder)!

Family and friends are arriving this month, either returning to their holiday homes or staying with us. It will be lovely to see familiar faces again. And of course any longed-for non-French groceries they may happen to bring with them! And another public holiday on the 15th. So plenty to smile about in August.