235 – Blogley in Marrakech

This week I find myself in Marrakech teaching English to engineers at a phosphate mine 10kms north of the city. It’s hot. About 35 degrees, but it doesn’t seem to bother me too much. I’ve camped out in enough shitty English weather to appreciate searing heat, even if I have to work in it. When I got back to […]

234 – Blogley In Wingerworth

Remember the first blog post I ever wrote. Blogley in Lyon. I’ve come a long way since then. To Wingerworth in fact. A place that to my knowledge has never had a blog post written about it. Certainly not a Blogley blog post anyway. Where is Wingerworth and why is it here? Wingerworth’s Wikipedia entry […]

232 – The Flatlands of Dartmoor

This week I find myself on Dartmoor for the first time in my life. I lived in Exeter and Plymouth for a combined total of five years and never once roamed these moors. Instead preferring the coast path to this bleak barren two dimensional landscape rolling out in front of me. I say two dimensional […]

231 – Cloud Camping in East Prawle

After finishing teaching on Sunday, me and Elizabeth finally headed down to East Prawle on the South Devon coast for a spot of cloud camping. An oblong fog filled field with an old builder’s portacabin as a toilet block and a hosepipe as a shower. Classy England! This is what I’ve been missing. Muddy fields, […]

228 – On the Wirral

I find myself on the Wirral near Neston, which is close to Chester, a city I lived in before I moved to the house in Chesterfield, which if you read my last post, I left for the last time last week. Two towns that begin with the letters C-H-E-S-T-E-R. A spooky coincidence, or a simple […]

227 – A Room With a View

I’m writing this post sitting in the bedroom I had when I was 16. Remembering the days I spent here gazing out of the window before I ever got drunk, smoked cigarettes, made love, had long hair, or grew a moustache. Before I knew anything about life. I returned to the UK last Friday to […]

226 – Why I Can’t Have Dogs

As my ten days as a dogsitter draws to a shaky close, I can categorically say that I will not be having a dog. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY For want of a better phrase. The wisdom they use in advertising campaigns. Free slices of salami or cheese or coffee rationed out in supermarkets by overly […]

224 – A CV of Sorts

A few nights ago I started thinking about all the jobs I’ve ever done. I got so obsessed with it, that I dived out of bed, poured myself a carafe of wine and wrote them all down. They say that a league table at the end of a football season doesn’t lie. The best team […]

223 – Mosquitoes and Lemons

I’ve been fighting a war here recently. Each morning waking up a puckered corpse. Ravaged in the night by an elite squadron of mosquitoes whose only objective is to bleed me dry. So much so that I’ve been thinking of sleeping in a bath of bleach with a snorkel to breathe through simply to get […]

220 – Blogley Takes a Break

Today is the last Blogley for a while. No reason. Just fancy a break from the ramblings. Things to do. People to see. Places to go. I’ve been writing a lot in longhand recently on old fashioned paper and need some time to read what nonsense I’ve written and whether any of it is usable […]

219 – The Pool – Revisited (again)

The pool still isn’t clean. Despite weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks of hard work, it still looks like a silage pit. A deep green vat of algal snot covering every surface like discharge from a gigantic sneeze. The fabled natural swimming pool of the villa, no longer a clear blue green embodiment of […]

218 – Wine Box Bike Racks

I’ve been doing cycling tours on and off for years. Bike, couple of panniers, tent, sleeping bag, set off, see where I end up. They’ve always been great fun, either alone or with a friend. Total freedom, plus a clean and cheap way to see the world. But where do you put your wine? There’s […]

217 – The Mugwump

Yesterday I started reading a post from a blog I subscribe to. It’s called 101 Books and is a journey through all of TIME magazines best 101 books. I wrote about it in Blogley 130. The blog’s author is currently reading Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, which is a personal favourite of mine because of […]

216 – MockVert

If you read my last post, it was about not feeling guilty. Not being harangued by Mister Guilt every time I try and do something different or creative. If you remember, ‘I was wasting my time writing a story no one would ever read.’ So I made a video of me writing it and posted […]

215 – Mister Guilt

On a Sunday I like to sit on the veranda and write a story. Just me and a piece of paper. The house I look after is generally empty from noon onwards, so it’s a good chance to sit down and do some solid writing. Today’s story was about a man who had bought a […]

214 – Beer Cans: Recycling or Rubbish

(this audio blog first appeared in Alexander Velkey’s highly acclaimed Doubtcast on 10 March 2015 – see end of post for further details) I live in a small cottage by the sea. I’m the caretaker for a holiday villa that caters for people who drive cars that look like chocolate bars. Smooth soft-topped motors designed […]

212 – Lessons in Pool Hoovering

As discussed many many many times before on this blog, one of my jobs is to clear leaves and algae from the natural swimming pool where I work. The pool net is the most traditional method at clearing leaves. But as it’s incredibly slow and tedious, I generally favour the pool robot. It’s effective at […]

211 – Is This Entertainment?

It was cold, wet and windy with only the occasional ray of sunshine to keep me company. Not a great day for standing around with a hard bristle brush scrubbing wooden decking. Tedious backbreaking work: the handle of the brush was too short and I’m slightly too tall if that makes sense. Working half bent, […]

209 – Oggers Talks About The Pool – Live!

Since I turned 16 in 1990 I’ve worked as a dustbin man, warehouse picker, call centre operative, musician, charity collector, sound engineer, postman, teacher, chef, waiter, small-ads editor, barman, scientist, van driver, Christmas tree seller, data entry clerk, writer, bookseller, gardener, nacho stall manager, and now pool boy. If I had made a video of […]

207 – Pool Progress II

I didn’t get fired. In fact, I got promoted. Hoisted up by my Speedos to the title of Pool Boy Extraordinaire – King of the Pool Boys. ‘C’est magnifique, Oggers,’ my boss said to me yesterday. ‘You’ll make a good Frenchman one day.’ ‘In your dreams,’ I muttered under my breath as we took a […]

206 – Pool Progress

In case you haven’t been reading this. Here’s a quick recap. My name is Philip ‘Oggers’ Ogley and I’m looking after a villa for the winter on the Arcachon basin in France. One of my main tasks, among many, concerns cleaning and maintaining the natural swimming pool. There are actually three pools here that make […]

203 – The Pool

Cleaning the swimming pool here at the villa has become more than a mere menial chore. It’s become an obsession. Or more to the point, a war. A war against the rotting Beech leaves that lie at the bottom like dead soldiers floating silently among the filamentous algae and strands of spirogyra. It’s a natural […]

200 – Blogley at 200

When I started this blog I thought it would stretch to twenty or so posts about my year in Lyon. Then I would return to the UK and forget about it. Consign it to the digital graveyard. Three and a half years later and I’m still writing it. Twenty posts has ended up as two […]

199 – The Pool Boy

When I left Lyon and my teaching job in July 2013, I had no idea I would end up as a Pool Boy a year and a half later. It’s not my full job title, of course. My full title is le gardiennage, which translates as warden, housekeeper, caretaker, or security guard depending on what […]

197 – The Lanton Pancake Run

After five days here, I’ve realised that I don’t live in Andernos-Les-Bains at all. I live in Taussat-Les-Bains, which is the next village up. And to add to the confusion, I was just about to change the title of the Blog, when I noticed on a letter that my official address is actually in Lanton, […]

196 – Andernos-Les-Bains

The Blogley Roadshow has moved on. Or to put it slightly less dramatically, I simply shoved a few pants into a bag and drove down the D106 to my new home in Andernos-Les-Bains on the Arcachon Basin. Famous for seafood, gentle weather and the setting for countless French films depicting well-heeled Parisiennes sitting around eating […]

192 – Blogley in Paris

Since my last visit in 1989, a lot has changed. I’m not 15. I’m 40. Which means I can enjoy the finer points of a city. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything! For four days I hared around Paris with Elizabeth taking endless ‘rolls’ of film and drinking coarse wine. The results you […]

190 – Scrum Down At The Gare St. Jean

One Friday evening a few weeks ago at the Gare St. Jean, I witnessed the largest exhibition of North Face puffer jackets, Samsonite travel bags and Bose Headphones in the Western Hemisphere. All attached, fastened or connected in some way to the pack of tired looking students hurrying down to the station to catch their […]

189 – Le Grand Meaulnes: Review

It struck me this week after finishing Le Grand Meaulnes, how similar the book is to another great novel I read three years ago when I first arrived in Lyon. The Great Gatsby. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic six times over that winter before finally trekking down to a bookshop one Saturday afternoon […]

187 – Le Grand Meaulnes

Le Grand Meaulnes is a novel written by Alain Fournier and published in 1913. It’s been on the living room table for months now, staring at me like the porcelain geese on the mantelpiece do when I’m trying to write something important. I picked it up a few weeks ago. But put it down again […]

186 – Buffalo Grill

On Friday morning I had an interview at a business park that looked like a disused moon base. A shipment of white tiles, mirrors and concrete dumped there at some point in the 1980s and then forgotten about. Left to grow and evolve into the bland assortment of office blocks and budget hotels that is […]