Category Archives: France

Chateaux Drive


Châteaux of the Loire Valley

The big picture - we only saw a handful of the total available!

Occasionally these blog posts will contain more than one video – especially if the video is one item which was split up into separate items as this day chasing chateaux in the Loire Valley was split up in order to keep them on HD in YouTube.

They are all one day out, and they can best be enjoyed from beginning to end as one piece, hence putting them into a single post.

I don’t always do this, but sometimes I just feel like it.

OK, so here are the videolinks in order of their appearance:

Enjoy!

George’s Evening Walk


Here we can see George and me enjoying an evening walk and meeting some horses, over in Cussay, France. George gets used to horses during his hippotherapy, and so it’s no surprise that he has no fear of them, more surprising is the way the horses came over and wanted to see George. They seemed almost to treat this little autistic boy as a guest of honour, specially showing themselves to him. Animals sometimes have an understanding which is lacking in human beings.

My Dad’s 70th birthday


We enjoyed a nice meal together in honour of my Dad’s 70th birthday. This was over in France in Cussay about a year ago – he was 71 last week!

Lost in France – (recent video)


I write ‘recent video’ rather than the term I used before ‘current video’ as it is something I uploaded about a month ago already and the backlog of keeping 2011 uploaded YT videos current on here is already bigger than I expected it to be, so I’ll be working on that between now and the end of March. Anyway, it’s video I took in early July, so the footage itself is more than 8 months old, and I did the post-production a good 4 months back, if I’m not mistaken.

It’s actually pretty bad of me not to have accelerated this one a bit, as it tells the story of how the French police rescued George when he ran away during our French holiday, and how the provincial French detectives used the knowledge that autistic children and animals follow the direction of the sun when they don’t know where to go to uncannily track and locate him, even before the dogs arrived from Tours, and while the helicopter circling overhead had no clues, as he was in a barn.

If you have or know anyone with autistic children, you should listen to this one, as it could come in very handy…

And chapeau bas to the French police. Even in a sleepy village, those guys are wide awake. As far from the Clouseau image as you could get.

Lizard on the loose – monitor exits! (Current video)


This is a tiny piece taken from a Holiday in France film which isn’t up yet – it will be in a few weeks – showing how if you take the context away you simply can’t tell if – as Longlat39 put it “this critter would fit in your hand or take your leg off”. The real answer is that the animal will fit in your hand, but the blood effect on the walls (actually the back of a plantpot and a window ledge were “walls”). So basically the piece was about that, really. Another loyal viewer said he was lost by it, but that’s really all it was. And the fact that I need to balance some big pieces several hours long with some things under a minute.

That way, you never know what you’ll get next.

Some people would never post up long pieces like mine, partly because they still have 10 minute limits in many people’s cases, but anyway splitting an item down into smaller parts gets the hit rates for the channel right up. I never really wanted to drive hits in any way that would be artificial.

So my pieces are really as long as it’s needed for the point of that particular piece. If it’s a reposted Soviet film or a radio show, or a Yom Kippur service like the one coming up, you get the whole thing in one go. If you don’t want to watch it in one go, you can mark how many minutes you were in and come back to it. For years now you’ve been able to start a YT film from any part of it. This was not the case at the very beginning – in 2007 if you remember, you had to start always from the beginning. You could pause, but if you came out of it altogether, you had to start over.

We’ve come so far since there I bet that’s just a dim and distant memory for most of you?

OK, polltime again – I got to quite liking these polldaddy things. Even if you don’t feel like posting a comment (and I do hope more of my new readers will start doing this and we can get a proper community going over here) still it’s got to be easy to respond to a poll. Or better still, please do both!

Secret Life in Lavender (Currently Uploaded Video)


This one shows, to the background of a couple of Thai songs which are highly unlikely to get me done for using music the way that western music is prone to do, some beautiful insects using the lavendar bush next to our holiday cottage. There were bees and hummingbird moths in this film, there were also cabbage white butterflies, hoverflies and other insects on that bush during our week, but nothing as impressive as the hummingbird moth Macroglossa.

Underneath it one evening I also found a toad, which I allowed to remain there undisturbed.

It’s amazing how much life can exist around one bush of lavender.

Pool Concert (CUV)


World map that show the status of YouTube in c...

You Tube political acceptance/resistance map

We’re continuing the footage from our 2010 summer holiday, which is only now, six months later, appearing on YouTube – such being the effects of the new “hundred rule” I’ve implemented. At least we have a bit of summer in winter time.

In this video my aunty and uncle appeared from several hours drive further south in France where they live and stayed a few days. Sophie decided to give a bit of a concert in the pool and some feats of swimming.

And here’s the result.

OK, Poll time. You heard some Abba on this, and you could see how it bridges three generations. Now the question:

I think, therefore I audit. I film, therefore I am. (CUV)


The point of this video is discussing what Descartes‘ famous maxim “I think therefore I am” means to me today, whilst driving past the house he grew up in in the village that bears his name in France.

This is actually video number 18 in the French holiday season, but I didn’t number it as I wanted to present it earlier, so later on the French series will jump from 17 to 19.

Portrait of René Descartes, dubbed the "F...

Oh, Renee!

The phrase “I think therefore I am” always seemed to me to be ridiculous. After all, when people become thoughtless they don’t just stop existing. They exist as they did before. Some even go through life in a thoughtless state. We have no idea to the extent that animals think – some such as bonoboes, whales and elephants may experience thoughts closer to our own than we may expect. Maybe there is thoughtfulness even further away in the cladoscope from mankind than we would even expect. It doesn’t make the more thinking animal more or less existant than the less thinking animal.

So I decided some time ago that another verb was needed rather than “to be” in order to make a more fitting end to this sentence, and I came upon it while teaching audit. I used to, and still do from time to time, train younger folk how to audit businesses, do reviews, due diligences and all manner of accountancy related services for business. I taught that mindless ticking and bashing of documents, without understanding the heart of an entity’s business, its purposes and its systems, would lead to a valueless and proabably flawed audit process, and that the only way to audit properly was to switch the brain on and keep it switched on for the duration of the audit. So I coined the term “I think, therefore I audit” and taught with this motto all around East Europe in the nineteen nineties and still do from time to time now.

The problem is of course, that because the audit profession is dominated by Big Four firms, who know that they cannot make profits on audits by putting people who can think for themselves on jobs, they have made the profession more and more of a box-filling matter so that junior staff, especially first years fresh from university with precious little practical training and little time to have learned how to think about the things they need to look out for, even though they mainly would probably want to, can go in and perform the bulk of an audit. This is not popular with middle tier clients who want some added value from the observations of their auditor which these younger ones are not yet ready to give, and on the contrary frustrate the client with naive questions as it becomes painfully apparent how they are learning on the job, and the middle tier try to field more senior people on work, and this actually costs our firms more, although we are taking generally less because the audits are smaller and the Big Four are erroneously assumed to have more prestige.

Yes. Even after Enron, and all the other Big Four messes. And the middle tier are forced to endure tighter regulation to assure that audits are being done “properly” but this “properly” means being done the way the Big Four instituted and keep on doing – namely mindless box filling. The Big Four lobby the professional bodies and state how things need to look in the way a standardised audit is carried out, and having any actual talent for sniffing out what could be wrong in a company, having any ability to think your own way through to what could be ailing in a company, these things have no premium whatsoever, on the contrary audit has become such a secretarial job over the last ten years that anyone with a spark of imagination is likely to run from the profession screaming. Read the rest of this entry

He’s not heavy – he’s her brother!


We went out for a walk among the sunflowers to use up George’s energy, but in the end when he flagged it was Sophie who ended up using her energy. Pretty strong she is too for a little girl. I think she gets it from her mother…

Poolside by Day (CUV)


The fifth in a series of about 20 quite varying videos from our Summer holiday this year, currently uploaded to YT.

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

You won’t believe the insect in this film – I really had to stop and think whether it was a moth or a hummingbird!

The location is not being disclosed at this time. It may be disclosed in a passworded post later on.

This is because it’s too good. If people knew what good value for money this was, I wouldn’t get a look in.

It’s near Tours, that’s all I’m sayin’. Knawm sayin’?

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