Roads to Freedom

 A coded message from Emmadamus spotted on a French country walk

This week the storks returned to Saint Savinien from Africa. The world was otherwise filled with death and mayhem. Tanks (apparently privately owned by amateur military enthusiasts) rattled around Eastern Ukraine. Amateur religious enthusiasts did some mass beheading to bring us all closer to God. Euro money politics fenced around with the concept that it’s the Grexit wot wrecks it.

In a clear sky it’s easy to tell stork from clutter

And yet even in the cold air a thermal lifted these hopeful voyagers above our little town in South Western France. The legend of storks bringing babies is that they re-appear in Europe nine months after mid summer day. Maybe the message is also a cryptic reminder of re-birth and new hope.

Generally I am a very positive person. Fears of doom and disaster are over played in the media. Yet, as the pretty face of Spring makes its first weak smile, I see a troubled frown ahead. A vicious war is stoking up at the gates of Europe. Rootin’ Tootin’ Vlad’ the Impala is leaping ahead of our lame pen pusher bean counter politicos. Elsewhere, radical religion offers young warriors the sense of belonging and purpose denied to them by the world financial system. The fact is that our play safe geeky faux meritocracy is weak and we have been sussed out. It is not that our leaders have not stood up for our beliefs for they do not know what they are. Our swords have withered into spreadsheets. Politics has been played out on a pitch the size of a handkerchief in an arena the size of Alaska. 

Brave young French kids ride the torrent at Saint Jean d’Angely

The financial collapse of 2007/8 was a warning that the structure was rotten. The bloated corpse of private greed was covered over in a shallow grave dug at public expense. We’ve thrown in some quick setting cement and all our gold coins but erected no headstone. We resemble the court of Louis XVI at Versailles.Who could not marvel at our palace? A stock market failure or other financial crisis will capsize our fragile little boat into a white water torrent. From such catastrophe new leaders arise; and quickly. Cometh the vacuum, cometh the fist. Every accordion player is a philosopher.The suck is as strong as the blow. The one invites and defines the other.

We are at the e cigarette end of the Christrivian era. Our cosmetic goodness-lite is non judgmental and not tested on animals. Yet. 

Emma Thinx: You can’t back off if you’ve got no front.

Emma’s Spare Tyre Tummy Award for Saint-Jean d’Angely

You can take away a pizza but you can’t take away the quality and value of Les Jacobins.

Followers of my spare tyre restaurant experiences will realise the width of my taste and indeed the widening effect of my selfless research into the ecstasy of eating. I am prepared to sacrifice my own perfect form to bring you the fullest insights possible. When not savouring foie gras and monkfish I cavort among the fried breakfasts and the fish and chips.

Today I turn my attention to pizza. The French love it. The English love it. It seems that everyone in the world has some kind of pizza format. The Italian pizza seems to have found its familiar form when tomatoes arrived in Europe in the 16th Century thanks to the Spanish colonisation of the Americas.This means that the Roman Empire rose and fell without ketchup. It also means that “Bloody Mary” queen of England 1553 – 1558 could never have added juice to her vodka. (She also would not have had any vodka because no potatoes had arrived from the Americas). Writing/researching a blog makes up for my complete lack of historical education.

If I go out for a pizza I’m looking for a big hit. I want flavour and savour. Like everyone I have used the pizza chain main street places. I’ve always found them clean and adequate but never special. Recently I went to the French town of Saint-Jean d’Angely to dine with friends. This was not my first time at Les Jacobins. At my last visit the place was at least fifty percent full of English diners. The menu has a large choice of beautifully cooked pizzas, the normal range of Italian dishes, salads and a very generous steak and fries option. There is a decent choice of wine by bottle, pichet, carafe or glass. There are desserts and everything you could ask for to make a wonderful convivial evening. 

I had the 30cm Clermentoise pizza and Oscar downed the Charentaise. The cost of each unit was about £8 – $13. The entire meal with wine, desserts and coffee was about £50 -$79 for three persons! However, we did not eat there just for the price. The service is great and friendly. The ambiance is welcoming with a real independently run family feel. It sure ain’t any kinda chain joint. There is an outdoor terrace for warm summer evenings. If you are holidaying in the Charente-Maritime region and fancy a take-out meal this is the place to come. The staff speak English if needed.

Les Jacobins is situated in the heart of the Saint-Jean d’Angely, close to the ninth century Royal Abbey. The town centre has a medieval authenticity and is worth a visit in itself. So – Les Jacobins receive an Emma’s five star Spare Tyre Tummy Award for value and excellence. Great job guys. 

Emma Thinx: You are born a pizza base. Get the toppings you want.

Flower Power

I cycled through empty untroubled roads from Saint Savinien to the nearby town of St.Jean D’Angely. The cereal harvest is in and ricks of straw create a temporary landmarks of corner and shadow. In France, when a field is fallow, self-seeded wild flowers are allowed to bloom. Just imagine if we left people fallow now and then and let them bloom! 

This truly is a wonderful land where growing things grow and grow as if with joy to be pushing up and yelling out their beauty. So, I’m putting up some flower power pix to pass on their cavalcade of ecstasy. 

In the town I saw a young guy making a film. Being the nosey old moo that I am, I went and asked him what was going on. It turned out that he was a Brit doing a promo for the village and its attractions. We had a bit of a chat and he told me he had just finished a music video for a fantastic yet unsigned group from North Carolina called “Steel Standing”. It seems there is some competition to choose the best edit. Anyway, I checked out his film.  The music has stuck in my head and is driving me crazy because I keep singing it (wrongly I think). The problem is that on first hearing I thought the lyric went “A naked man is on this train and I don’t think that I can make it through….” Have a listen and see what you think. If you like the show please click the LIKE button and help out all these young folk. Do you ever get song lyrics wrong? Does anyone ever get them totally right?

Emma thinx: Will the flowers always bloom their forgiveness?