In A Big Nutshell

I haven’t blogged for a while not because I haven’t had anything to say exactly but, in the end, there was too much to say and I couldn’t filter it down into a blog post and also I haven’t had the time.

So, in a nutshell (a big nutshell – something like a coconut)

scalada cirque du soleil

We went across the border into Andorra for a free show by the Cirque du Soleil.  The heavens opened, a storm raged, we bought plastic ponchos and the rain stopped 5 minutes before the show started.  The show was magnificent and we were damp but happy.  The story behind the show was supposed to be something about the history of Andorra but, as with all the Cirque du Soleil shows, I don’t actually know what was supposed to be going on.  I only know that I am in constant amazement at what the human body is capable of if possessed of bendy limbs, muscles like steel, a body weight no heavier than a gnat and an apparent fearlessness of small spaces/high places/empty air between waiting arms.

Having recently had a travelling circus in this part of France boasting tigers, a lion and ‘the largest hippopotamus in Europe’ – and this in a ‘civilized country’ – I wonder why anybody would need to gawp at caged wild animals exhibiting unnatural behaviour when they can see fully consenting human beings in beautiful costumes doing amazing things with their super fit bodies.  That sounds wrong somehow but you get my drift.

Being a tax free independent principality, it is the done thing in Andorra to go and marvel at the enormous bottles of alcohol for sale at silly prices – or is that just us?

Giant Vodka Bottles Andorra

The next morning we drove down into Spain, forgetting that the first Saturday in August is the day that all of France decides is the start of their annual holidays, jump in their cars and pack the roads – this despite the fact that the kids have been on school holiday since the end of June.  We queued for an hour to pay for the privilege of using a toll road as did the rest of France apparently.

Cadaques Restaurant

 When we finally arrived at our destination – a port called Cadaqués – it was beautiful and we pondered buying something there for holidays, rental and eventual retirement.


 Then we looked in a couple of Estate Agents’ windows, saw the prices and changed our minds not having upwards of two or three million euros to play with just at the moment.

Anyway, what they did have in Cadaques, apart from beautiful scenery, charming back streets and good restaurants, was their very own cat rescue called ‘Cats de Cadaqués’.  This is an association that raises funds to feed and, most importantly, sterilize the local cat population.  A lot of the shops and restaurants are supportive, display posters and sell cat themed items.

 This restaurant has embraced the theme in a very picturesque manner.


Despite being a ‘dog person’ I do also have a soft spot for cats (I have 4) and agreed to be ‘admin’ on a new Facebook page set up by the feline equivalent of Dog Rescue Carcassonne which I sometimes blog about.  I don’t really ‘do’ Facebook at the best of times – I usually have problems just uploading photos – and now I am suddenly faced with the myriad opportunities presented behind the scenes when you are an ‘admin’.  I’m still working it out.  There are other ‘admins’ so I leave most of the dealings on FB to them and I am writing ‘the blog’.  If you want to see how I am now the crazy cat lady as well as a dog botherer, you can see my new blog here.  Some comments, likes and followers would be nice as I’m finding it hard to get it off the ground.

Cat Rescue Carcassonne


On the creative front, things have come to a shuddering halt because it was time to clear out my workroom again and, despite many black sacks and boxes of items being removed and deposited at the charity shop, the Dog & Cat Shelter’s vide grenier (boot/yard sale) stash or the bins, there still doesn’t seem to be any way for me to get to my sewing machine very easily.  No before and after pics of that, I promise, because even when I’ve finished it will not look like a magazine photo shoot workshop and, if it did, I’d never be able to do any work in it for fear of messing it up.

Also, I’ve lost my sewing mojo at the moment having made ‘the dress that nearly broke the camel’s back’ which is headed for the bin and had me heading off to Zara and other RTW outlets for a couple of items for my holiday wardrobe.  However, I might blog about that when I have more time so, for now, I’m saying ‘tchau’ which is how you say goodbye in Portugal apparently and that’s where I’m heading for some time away from the computer, the phone, the messy workroom and the dogs and cats and chickens.

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  1. #1 by katechiconi on August 20, 2015 - 10:54

    Enjoy your break from, well, everything! Love the photos from your earlier adventures, look forward to some from the next when you get back. Have a good rest, and don’t abandon hope of rediscovering your creative mojo, it’ll be back once you’ve had a rest, I’m sure.

    • #2 by tialys on August 20, 2015 - 17:32

      Thanks Kate. I think the fact that my workroom is in such disarray is adding to the lack of motivation. It’s getting there but you get to the point where you wish you had never started tidying up in the first place as it seems to have made more mess :/

  2. #3 by on August 20, 2015 - 12:33

    Good luck with the FB learning curve. You seem to have been having an exciting time. I loathe animal-exploiting circuses. One year, after parking the car in Courtances, I walked through to the market area and came face to face with a tiger in a very small cage. I was horrified – not with fear, but with the conditions under which that poor animal lived.

    • #4 by tialys on August 20, 2015 - 17:35

      I have to say that, from a distance, this circus looked clean and well equipped but seeing tigers in a cage in a drop sided lorry is depressing. Imagine how they must feel being whizzed along the motorways to the next venue – although I suppose the poor things have been used to it since birth. As for a hippopotamus in a lorry containing a water tank – what is that all about?

  3. #5 by jendavismiller on August 20, 2015 - 14:03

    My goodness, coconut shell indeed! You have been a very busy woman…..the seaside photo makes my heart sing. One of those lifelong dreams, you know. Good for you with the dogs and cats, if only we could save them all! And Viv, I can’t imagine plight of that poor beautiful tiger, you must have been heartbroken.

    So enjoy your break! And I’m heading over to the new blog now.

    • #6 by tialys on August 20, 2015 - 17:38

      Thank you! I suppose we are already fulfilling one lifelong dream by living here in the South of France but the grass sometimes looks greener…….

  4. #7 by lovelucie1 on August 20, 2015 - 16:21

    I recognize that feeling! Have a wonderful from everything. But make sure you come back!

    • #8 by tialys on August 20, 2015 - 17:41

      I’ve got to come back – I haven’t finished tidying the workroom yet. It’s been two or three years – since my eldest started Uni – that we have all been away together though so I found myself reminding my neighbour of the kennels we are putting the dogs in ‘just in case’….. She’s feeding the cats and chickens so they’ll be alright

  5. #9 by sew2pro on August 20, 2015 - 16:35

    Facebook is a necessary evil in my view as it eats up a lot of time but I recently discovered and joined a group trying to get the zoo in my birth town (Split) closed down. The animals are kept in torturous conditions. Imagine bringing school children in, buying tickets, giving them the impression that this is how we treat animals.

    I’d be delighted to follow you cat blog. And should you ever want to buy a place in the sun like the one in your photo at a fraction of the price, there’s always Croatia which really, really needs cat and dog rescue heroes. Though things are slowly changing.

    I remember in the 70s my dad taking me to the Split zoo and the visiting circus: his grim face told me he regretted what he was seeing. Yet it’s easy to go home and forget and not make the effort to change and improve.

    Enjoy your well deserved holiday!

    • #10 by tialys on August 20, 2015 - 18:00

      Funnily enough, we were thinking of going to Croatia – we were going to drive there, stopping at Italy on the way. I hear it’s beautiful. Maybe next year.
      It’s true that FB does lots of good things such as raising awareness about many topics, thankfully it’s not all about pouting teenagers posting selfies and endless updates on the minutiae of life.
      I find it strange though there was an international outcry about Cecil the lion who was killed by a hunter – horrible though that was – yet not much said about the appalling conditions endured by many wild animals in captivity – to say nothing of battery hens and tethered sows in industrial pig farms. Sometimes there seems to be no end to things to get upset about – and that’s before we even start on the humans! I obviously need a holiday.

  6. #11 by Emmely on August 20, 2015 - 18:59

    When I’ve seriously lost my sewing mojo I sometimes start a simple project that I know will turn out right because there are absolutely zero challenging steps but will make me happy when it’s finished.
    And you just made me want to visit France with those pictures…

    • #12 by tialys on August 22, 2015 - 08:53

      That’s just what I’m going to do when I get back, hopefully revitalized, from my holiday Emmely.

  7. #13 by Jan Marriott on August 21, 2015 - 23:41

    Cadeques sure has changed since I was there in 59!!

    • #14 by tialys on August 22, 2015 - 08:54

      Wow! I bet it was a much sleepier old port then and apartments didn’t cost upwards of a million euros.

  8. #15 by nottaholiday on April 12, 2019 - 14:46

    so Im four years behind on your blog…better make a cuppa and settle in. Completely agree about the zoos. Its a hard no on anything with animals acts for me.

  9. #16 by tialys on April 12, 2019 - 14:57

    Almost four years on and the same circus is doing the rounds again. I think there were some ‘manifestations’ against it by a French animal rights organisation but people should just boycott these places. An English friend of mine apparently popped over to the ticket office on site the other day and asked if there were any animal acts because, if there were, her grandchildren had told her they wouldn’t want to visit. Not true but they don’t know that. Same friend refused to leave a garden centre the other day because they had puppies for sale behind glass with hot lights shining down on them but no water in their bowls. She had to speak to four staff before one of them agreed to fill the bowl up – her daughter pretended not be with her but you get to a certain age and you don’t mind speaking up for what’s right even if it makes people stare at you.

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