One of the pleasures (or trials, depending on how you look at it) of living in a foreign country is the sense that you never have quite worked it out. Something always surprises you, and when that surprise has some sort of pagan/Wicker Manesque overtones, I am a very happy man. In our old village, it was the weird scarecrow festival in the next hamlet. But in Treignac it's the Fete de St Jean. Everyone gathers in a square to have a drink and to listen to euro metal, while...

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Guess Who's Back?

What's that scratching at the door?A shadowy figure, perhaps a vagrant? Or a tired gypsy offering to sharpen your knives?He comes closer, his gait is familiar and up close his face seems to be some sort of a disguise. Could it be? But, but I thought you were dead!Double Merrick, is it you????It is I! Returning from my untimely death like Sherlock Holmes after falling over the Reichennach falls. I had to do it to protect you.  From what? You cry. From nine months of really boring newsletters about me renovating a house. Look, to...

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The Birthday Boy

Hiya!How's things with you?A few weeks ago my friend Richard turned 40. From my viewpoint (39 two thirds and counting) turning forty seems to be a bit of a big deal. It’s unlike previous birthdays, gone are the endless, nebulous possibilities of people’s potential futures. People now have kids, ageing parents, and established careers that they may or may not like. Forty is the ‘you-are-really-in-this-and-this-is-really-is-your-life’ birthday and consequently, how you celebrate it can be problematic. You can’t necessarily go for the full on Oliver Reed style shenanigans that you might...

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Mocktails and Metallica

Hiya!How's things with you?“What are you doing on Monday night?” James K asked me“No plans, why?”“I have a spare ticket for Metallica at the NEC if you fancy it”“Can I wear my corduroy jacket without being stabbed?” I asked“Of course”“Then I’m in” And that’s how I found myself swigging energy drinks, surrounded by pasty bald metal fans. I’m no fan of Metallica, and neither is James (I think he just wanted to see an impressive live show). But I am a fan of doing unusual things and after a light Mexican...

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