Due to the vagaries of French broadband, it’s best to circulate our latest pics via the website (and it’s a way of getting you to check it out!):

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With Simon swanning off to Singapore with Lufthansa to try and earn some money to pay for the olive trees, Lovonne had a hectic week.

Chilling in bed and deep into the latest Ken Follett, she suddenly heard the sound of chain saws and on investigation found Giles (the gardener) and his mate scything away at the trees around our pool.

Alors! Our pool house construction had started – and a few weeks early! Fortunately, we have our wonderful neighbours Jean-Pierre and Genevieve as project managers, confidants and general translators.

Then, as the sun rose over the mountain to-day, roaring up the road came the bobcat, a smaller tractor, two trucks and a van: Jose the builder had arrived. Who said the French don’t work on a Monday?

In the pic below, you’ll see Jean-Pierre trying to work out what Lovonne wants – the faces of the two builders tell the story (what does madame want now?):

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Then, Lovonne discovered the nursery (should I say nurseries?) and the flower bed behind the kitchen was quickly turned over by the loyal Giles and Julian and, voila!:

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For those of you who like toys – what could be better than this?

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Now these are big boys’ toys!

And the herb garden has started:

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As the cherry blossoms start to burst out of the trees in the valley and the garden, we’ve found paradise!

Tout a l’heur (till the next time, or for the Aussies – see you later)

Simon and Lovonne

In reply to a previous article on Croakey/Crikey:

Medicines Australia Chief Executive Ian Chalmers writes:

A story published recently on Crikey’s health blog, Croakey, described in some detail a cruise trip to Alaska organised by a pharmaceutical company for the benefit of a group of pharmacists.

The company which provided the trip was not a member of Medicines Australia. This is a significant point, but more on that in a moment.

According to the Croakey story, the pharmacists were invited to enjoy a “great tax-deductible holiday”. They would attend a couple of educational seminars, but those sessions would not interfere with the bevy of golf, yachting, fancy-dress parties and fireworks displays the organisers had planned. Attendees were charged a nominal, tax-deductible fee and were encouraged to bring their spouses.

In the context of all this largesse, the distinction between pharmaceutical companies which are members of Medicines Australia and those which are not is important.

The sort of activity chronicled in the Croakey blog would be absolutely prohibited by the strict Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, which sets the ethical standard for marketing and promotional practices by member companies. Under the Code, lavish hospitality is banned, personal gifts to healthcare professionals are banned and entertainment is banned.

The Code further stipulates, very clearly, that any hospitality provided by companies, either directly or by sponsorship, must be secondary to the educational purpose.

Any travel and related costs or expenses for family or traveling companions must not be paid for or subsidised.

The point here is that while marketing and promotional activity undertaken by Medicines Australia member companies must adhere to a rigorous Code of Conduct — and appropriately so — non-member companies have no such restriction placed upon them.

This is an absurd anomaly. There is no reason why appropriate standards of conduct should not be enforceable for all pharmaceutical companies — not just those who belong, of their own volition, to Medicines Australia.

It is entirely appropriate and legitimate for pharmaceutical companies to engage with healthcare professionals for the purpose of providing current, accurate, up-to-date information about medicines.

Indeed, pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to ensure that doctors understand how new medicines work, the circumstances under which they should be prescribed and, importantly, the circumstances under which they should not be prescribed.

It is equally appropriate that modest hospitality be provided during the course of these events — this is customary practice for business meetings or seminars in any sector.

On the other hand, the provision by pharmaceutical companies of junkets, cruises, and entertainment for healthcare professionals is completely indefensible.

There’s a strong case to be made for a level playing field here, and I have made that case to the Government on a number of occasions.

When it comes to engaging healthcare professionals, it is time that all pharmaceutical companies commit to the high ethical standards articulated in the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct.

Medicines Australia is the industry association for discovery-driven pharmaceutical companies.

[thanks Crikey]








[thanks birthday boy xxx]


An additional 20,000 members, says so!


The week started with yet another education session. After a l-o-n-g lunch at Isle sur l’Sorgue in which Papa (mine host) and ourselves debated the merits of the French -English match to be played at Twickers that afternoon, we went to a pepiniere (nursery) to buy two olive trees for the front entrance. Well, we found out that there are 117 varieties of olive trees and only one can grow in Menerbes – and they were the dodgy ones at the end of the nursery! We’ve left the decision to our gardener extraordinaire Giles.

We’ve bought and had installed a fountain (see pic), so the Madame is feeling at home.

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and then on Thursday we had our first French guest luncheon inviting our neighbours Jean-Pierre and Genevieve. We gave them an Aussie barbi – they loved it! But, of course, we had no garden table so had to buy one:

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Friday’s highlight was yet another lunch this time at the Verandah in Menerbes – Rod and Amanda Bennett from Melbourne. A fine time was had by all and rose stocks will have to be replenished.

Jan is here from the UK and we’ve had our heated towel rails installed – but, of course, only one works. We now wait for the electrician to come back ‘sometime’ to fix.

Weather is absolutely beautiful and every days sees new blossoms and tress burst into life.

Vive la France. Au bientot.


It’s not often that Peter Costello gets some praise these days, but have a look at the upsurge in s-xual activity since he introduced the baby bonus.

Well done, Cossie

[graph – Crikey]

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