Monday, January 5


5th January
I took the Director to the airport last night so I was a bit sad and lonely this morning - and then the ants arrived.

Yup, this morning a lovely box full with test tubes of starter ant colonies arrived, here’s the email to explain everything;

Dear Lulu,

Best thing is to put the ants in the fridge, make sure they look like they are hibernating. They might look wrinkled, if they are moving around too much they will need to be cooled down gradually to 5-8 degrees C (don’t let them get affected by the frost). It is important to make sure they have enough water but not too much, most ants don’t make it through the winter because of either drowning or dehydration.

Best Wishes etc

I have been inspecting them anxiously all day for signs of wrinkling or death or life

Before setting off to the airport we had time to attend the annual epiphany tea party at the Salles Des Fetes; on the first Sunday of the new year the Maire invites our village and the two tiny communes next to us to join him for cider and special epiphany tarts, Gallette de Roi. Hidden inside each tart is a ceramic charm, the person who breaks a tooth on one of these charms gets to wear a crown and be king (or queen) for the day. We sat at the white plastic tables while smartly dressed village officials came around with trays of Galletes de Roi, chocolates and cider it is a polite sort of event.

The English man that I have unkindly named Fat Dad was there with his offspring. The French children sat with their parents all dressed in their Sunday Best while FD’s kids careened around like banshees grabbing at chocolates, keeping their mouths full as they shrieked at each other. Fat Dad was beaming as I went to wish him Happy New Year.
We don’t allow any sugar or refined or processed food in our house, so this is a real treat for them – aren’t they having a great time


  1. hey Lulu - thanks for your visit. Sorry I missed you, but I was in France! (my family lives near Evian-Les-Bains - where are you?)

    Anyways, love your blog, and I owe Bill a big thank you for the introduction.

    Good luck with those ants.

  2. You'll have to tell us when this documentary will be aired. I'm assuming that it will be on public television in the states.

    I've had all kinds of jobs but none sounds as interesting as what you're doing!

    Love your blog.

  3. Watching ants in a test tube for signs of frost bite... that alone is a good indie film.

  4. How can you tell if an ant is wrinkled? I'm fascinated.Maybe you could have included some ants (wrinkled or otherwise) into the Gallete de Roi for Fat Dad's children. That would have been an interesting sight indeed.

  5. Our commune's galette effort involves listening to the maire outlines last year's successes. The French children roll around the floor quietly.

  6. Katrocket - nice to see you're back - (or sadly left us from my perspective)

    bb m - We still won't know when it will be aired but will trumpet the event with fanfares when we get news

    Bill - It's the small details that make the best films and books

    Madame Defarge - I am finding the wrinkling an anxious issue

    Frankofile - Our maire did the listing thing too, and the children did quiet rolling - how interesting that this is such universal behaviour

  7. New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake traditionally has a plastic baby inside. Something or the other happens for the recipient.

  8. Hello Dear Lulu -

    This post features the best ant art I have ever seen. You're a wonder. I didn't know English people said "yup". Maybe you just write it?

    No sugar or processed food? My kids would starve. Bonne annee. (Sorry about the missing accent).

  9. hello lulu, haven't been here (or anywhere else for that matter) for ages. Looking forward to a catch up.

    PS - I was one of the lucky ones to break a tooth. They all looked on in envy as I spat out enamel and porcelain.

  10. make sure they look like they are hibernating
    how on earth do you do that then?

    i can't help but think that parents who ban their children from eating sweets, are just mean. what are you teaching them? not restraint, that's for sure. how about moderation, hmmm? of course you can't actually say that to Those Parents, you just think 'twat' as you listen to them tell you what a wonderful thing it is.

  11. XL - The recipient probably chokes

    KSV - We pick up many American habits - we think it's cool

    Ernest - nice to see you, even with gappy teeth

    TP - Fat Dad is a chap who triggers a twatwatwatwat buzzer in my head - nb: the Fat Dad labels.

    For the hibernating I have to check that the ants are breathing, I have a very tiny mirror

  12. Screw them. Were you having a great time? I suspect not. And you taught me something I didn't know about ants.

  13. I was once bored into a stupor by an unattractive man who knew all about ants. He told me they have a highly organised system, with hierarchies, and even a police force and army. No navy, though, for some reason.

  14. I'm with FD
    keep them wild at all times.
    We only allowed Orangina (total cop out)

  15. Ian - My urge to use my garter as a catapult was almost overwhelming.

    Mrs Pouncer - Never get into a corner with an unattractive man, they expressly use that boring talk to stupify - it's the only way they can have their evil way with a girl.

    Elizabeth - I'm all for wild children, but they shouldn't be brought indoors

  16. blimey, can't you always tell the English families out here. Bloody unruly kids.

    watching ants - you couldn't make it up.:)


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