FareCompare.com is a great website for price comparisons on air travel (predominantly) and hotels. They publish from time to time, some smart hints and tips for trvellers.

Once you’ve spent all your air miles – usually earned on company business – it’s time to become a little promiscuous and fly where the prices are really low.

Here’s some tips from FareCompare:

1. Fly the Cheapest Days of the Week: The cheapest days to fly – to book your departures and/or arrivals – are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

2. Fly Low-Cost Airlines – Sometimes: The EasyJets of the world are superb – but calaculate the additional baggage fees carefully.

3. Purchase Airfare on Tuesdays: You will tend to find cheaper airfares on Tuesday than any other day. This is because of a fairly recent phenomenon: the launch of airfare sales on Monday nights.

4. Don’t Pay Bag Fees (unless you really have to): Surely you can find something better to do with your money, right? Relatives – the days are gone where we can hum all your additional baggage!

6. Fly the Big Hubs – Usually: Not always, but often flying in and out of a large airport will save you money.

7. Use Airfare Alerts: Save time and money. FareCompare offer email alets when prices drop.

8. Fly Out of Season:  The obvious. Avoid school and public holidays.

9. Avoid Other Airline Fees: This one’s easy to do. Skip the food, pre-boarding, phone reservations, and, importanlt, don’t change your flights.

10. Save Time at Security: Know the Airport Security rules for passing the lines quickly.

And remember, starting Nov. 1, 2010 – your airline must have your “Secure Flight” information, and most want to have that info in their reservation systems a few days before your departure: your full name as shown on your government ID, your date of birth, and your gender.
[tips source: www.flycompare.com]

Peeping through the archway at Place de Mairie in Menerbes

Outside Le Closerie in Ansouis

It’s USA time in Menerbes. Erica and her entourage are moving through the Bastide. Food, exercise, high tech gadgets and let’s not forget the bottled water, all make their appearance at some stage or another.

We decided to show E the lavender growing area of Sault which is on a plateau above Apt. Apart from the iconic purple flowers, Sault is well known for being the staging post in the annual Tour de France after the King of the Mountains leg held up the murderous slopes of Mount Ventoux.

On the way you pass freshly ploughed fields and herds of goats – all primed for the chevre which we all enjoy!

Devastatingly, our ‘local’ was closed and after tramping the small streets of Sault we tumbled, literally, into the receptionp of a small country hostelry – Le Louvre. What a revelation! Think Matjiesfontein (in its glory days) in South Africa, Healesville Hotel in country Victoria. The dining room is just that – a dining room. Armour plate, heralds, comfortably ecelectic furniture and some great pub food.

At this time of the year in Provence, there is no recession at the wood chopping companies. Deliveries can take up to 10 days, the wood is usually wet but lay in stocks you have to. The winter is approaching! We have learnt too that even though there are many inviting stacks of wood lying next to the side of the road, you do NOT steal a Frenchman’s wood. Steal his watch, yes. Wood, no.

We had received the terrible news by telephone that our new wood vendor had no record of our order. Off to Coustellet we went to re-order only to be told ‘three weeks’! Imagine our surprise on returning home one day and finding this pile in the drive way.

Naturally, with E in residence we have been requesting some garden advice so a trip to some of the local nurseries was a necessity.

A trip to Cassis was a must. E wanted bouillabaise. As usual, Cassis had its best clothes on.

Some locals!

After Friday’s market in Louramin, it was off to La Closerie in Ansouis for E’s first visit. Menu du Jour was either a lobster risotto (Madame, of course) and Duck breast.

Au bientot – Lovonne and Simon xx

PS: Sorry about the lack of pictures this week. Yours truly has a new Mac (Andrew G – high five). I need to learn more about how to upload more pics, more quickly (Andrew G – when are you coming to Provence?)

Robert Fisk writing in the Sunday Independent:

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general — the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind -– to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who’d been tortured and you’d be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or “collateral damage”, or a simple phrase: “We have nothing on that.”

[news source: Sunday Independent, UK]

Here’s a South African version of the mobile BB-Q

Thanks, Arthur




What can we say?


Steeped in Blood

The Life and Times of a Forensic Scientist By Dr David Klatzow – as told to Sylvia Walker

‘To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.’
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene iii, lines 78-80





Legendary forensic scientist Dr David Klatzow bookmarks his new book Steeped in Blood with this quote from Hamlet. Klatzow has spent his life searching for the truth – often at a risk to his own life and to his own reputation.

Written without descending into a legal tome of dull prose, Klatzow and his fellow scribe, Sylvia Walker, take the reader through a fascinating dissertation on many of the landmark forensic investigations with which he has been involved.

Klatzow takes the reader through several high profile cases and, probably, the one which has the most appeal beyond the legal fraternity is the South African Helderberg 747 crash in 1987. Drawing on evidence and with some quite exceptional forensic work, he uncovers the massive cover up by the apartheid Government. It makes for absorbing reading.

No stone is unturned in the quest for the truth and insights on such other high-profile cases such as the Kebble affair, numerous apartheid atrocities and, more recently, the van der Vyver case keep the reader turning page after page.

The author relates numerous examples of how conflicts of fact had to be resolved during the cases that he was involved in and that in most of them, his opinions were accepted by the judges presiding. Klatzow’s command of the English language is well known and he uses this skill throughout the book and in describing his numerous court appearances.

In his foreword, Advocate George Bizos SC of the Legal Resources Centre and noted defence lawyer states, “No trial lawyer, senior investigating officer or potential expert witness can afford to ignore this book.”

To this we should add, anyone who believes in the truth.

Steeped in Blood, is published by Struik and can be purchased for ZAR220-00 at leading bookshops in South Africa or directly from the author at david.klatzow@mweb.co.za. A digital version is available from the same email.

Autumn is starting to bite. The leaves are turning, the days are drawing in and the nightly fires have started.

Harvey Boogaloo left with his parents, Paul and Chon, clutching a small purple car which he had acquired along the way and off on the long trip home to Melbourne, TGV strikes et al – how does an eight hour trip from Avignon to Paris sound -standing up?

But, not before a quick trip to Avignon to see the amazing new sculpture on the piazza outside the Palais des Papes.

Paul and Chon 945

For some time now, we have had a problem finding a quality, inexpensive lunch spot in Avignon. Being a Monday and with shops seemingly more closed than normal, we armed Harvey with a jambon baguette and tramped the back alleyways and pavements in search of the place.

We found it! Cafe Verso is tucked behind a couple of large buildings close to the Rue de Republique. The fare is Franco-Italian but the chattering locals who packed the place out was enough of a recommendation for us. It’s great!

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While we all took it in turns to entertain Harvey outside with the various vehicles flashing by and to help him increase his vocabulary from ‘car’ to ‘big bus’, Paul enjoyed the profiteroles.

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For Chon, a creme brulee on the menu is 3-star stuff!

While Mom and Dad went for some cultural injection to the Notre Dame cathedral, Aunty Vonnie (yes! she allowed herself to be called that!) kept Harvey’s eyelids closed.

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Jean-Pierre and Genevieve have sold their house in Menerbes so the de Chevaux has had to leave its warm garage. Cleaned, shiny and newly badged with a Provencal badge it provides a view to passersby.

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Although winter is coming, there’s still quite a bit of greenery around. Here’s one of the local boutiques in Menerbes.

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…..and a view of Menerbes from the ‘other side’

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Mushrooms are sprouting all around the wooded areas – we’re not picking them for obvious reasons, but the markets are full of the fungus.

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After a short two week hiatus to recover from the summer rush, the markets are groaning with fresh produce again.

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Paul and Chon 901

On Saturday, Erica arrived from Chatham and over the next few weeks we’ll be in USA mood with a procession of here mates passing through our part of the world.

Paul and Chon 1108

[Harvey and Chon at the seaside – Cassis. Can there be a better behaved 20 month old?]

Au bientot – Lovonne and Simon xxx

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