West of the Town

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Keep up the good work

Google have a way of encouraging you. 

I contributed a couple of photos on Google Maps. They appear to be popular!
If you look carefully, you can see Evangeline in the British Embassy.

The fire image is Bastille day at the Eiffel Tower. Clare has some photos of this too. However it is hard to find on the map site because there are hundreds of different photos of the structure. The meal at Martos is different - and was rather exceptional!

Whether I will "keep up the good work" or not depends on how I feel, but the positive feedback, I have to say, does help!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Apple smashing in May

It was Sunday the 7th. I was passing the little commercial centre in Massy where on my way out I had seen someone setting up speakers in the light rain. And now it was after 11am and it appears I had missed the "fun".

There was plenty of evident 'though. Broken apples on the ground (if you look carefully you should see them in the photo, click to enlarge it). It appears some perfectly good apples had be crushed underfoot at the appointed time.

It is election day; but that can't be the reason as it is illegal to promote the candidates in the last 2 days. So this had to be some other occasion. 

A celebration of harvest? of spring?
Nothing on the internet has given me the slightest clue; except perhaps the one place where it said "anything can happen in May"!

I have missed out on the "pleasure" of stamping on apples. And the reason why, I may never know!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Old Grill

This Saturday I could see an odd-looking vehicle the other side of the square from where I live. The side flap was down at first and it in the distance it looked like it said "life savers" which in French is much like "tastes of the grill"; which is what it really said. With France still on its emergency status, and with elections 2 days away, I think the error was understandable.

I wondered if the old style of the van was a disguise.

And what is the thing on the top of the van? From my flat, it looked rather like an early form of Google camera. Close up, it turned out to be a grill vent, not life-saving spy technology.

By the time I got out and walked round it, the side flap was open for lunch. There was no mistaking its purpose now! The flag outside, and tag inside the windscreen says it is from Portugal. It's a long way from home.

Just round the corner there are stalls and market places all about the garden. Very arty but all being set up as I passed. 

It is still a state of emergency according to the government.

According to the people of France, it is business as usual.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Start here

In Spain, it's usual to get a little something with your drink. The hotel has gone overboard on presentation for this unrequested starter. The bottle of wine is in case my glass runs dry. 

Monday, 3 April 2017


Ok, I took a bite of this before I thought to photograph it. But it is not quite what I expect from my regular Spanish hotel.

I actually said "wow!" when it arrived. Elsa, the owner, chef, waitress, cleaner, bar tender, receptionist, accountant, looked pleased. She made the effort and got the result!

And it tasted good to.

The main part is salmon. The purply round part I am less sure about although I could see some carrot, and that red vegetable that I have had only here and for which I have no name; which were clearly part of it. It was part of the good taste.

The observant among you will notice that the size of the wine glass has not changed.

Terry Westoby

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Please to pay taxes

Some of you will know that the residents of a poor town in the Philippines were given eviction notices recently. The terms were 15 days notice and to remove "any improvements they had made on the land". This included the church build there (picture).

Now for most people, not the church, this meant being homeless; men, women, children and babies, young and old. With nowhere to go, it was devastating. As a result, the people were in fighting mood, with one octogenarian vowing to die rather than leave; and she meant it.

The town leader got involved and the history soon started to become clear. There had been 2 hearings where the land had been claimed by an "out of towner". Both failed. But then a third hearing, that no one knew about, had succeeded. The local counsellor was approached and an investigation begun.

Well some weeks later, just a few days ago from this writing, we heard the result. An official from the capital Manila came down. The claim would be contested and it would the the government that contests it. The judge who ordered the evictions was removed from office. The claimant, in view of this has dropped the claim. 

It was good to see the government standing up so strongly for those who were so poor. It is one of the good, but untold stories of the current president, so strongly maligned for being controversial, who has vowed to remove corruption from the country. The country's recent history has rulers who have shown no such concern.

And now the people will be issued with deeds to the properties they "own". It's like buying it free. And there will be, of course, with the official ownership, the appropriate property tax.

I think this time we may find people who are pleased to pay the tax!