Category Archives: Family News

Festive Greetings


A pleasant year for the Lalande d’Anciger family starting with some great ski-ing in the Alps and a fabulous adventure travelling across Sri Lanka as well as the usual summer spent in the south of France

Max was chosen for the French football league and won 5 – 0 in his first match, Eliot achieved merit in his grade 2 guitar exam. Papa has been busy rolling out lots of exciting new foodie initiatives for his company and retiring from teaching karate he still managed to get wet as a master scuba diver and joins the boys in plucking the odd string.

Claude organised a fabulous street party for the royal wedding and of course the refurbishment at Mexfield Road!

We wish all our friends, colleagues and family festive greetings and every happiness and success for the Olympic wonders in store in 2012

‘We suffer so they don’t’ – 100 Miles, 1 Day, 1 Goal

The Independent London2Brighton Ride
10 September 2011

Thank You

A few friends & I attempted the uphill endurance cycle recently and due to great support from many of my friends and collegues we all raised over a thousand pounds for action medical caring for children – thank you & truly appreciated.

Now the Irish pal rushed off & finished in record time, the French pal decided to use his iPod sat nav instead of following the sign posted route and of course got lost leaving the Swiss fellow & myself to complete the ride.

All went swimmingly (ok painfully) well until almost at the end we faced the Ditchling beacon a never-ending cliff where there were moments when the bike was about to be thrown over the side!

Our butts looked like a baboon for a few days but I have to admit it was a great adventure and I am looking forward to my next Peter Pan male menopausal stunt!



There was no sense of any musical genius as a young lad. I was forced to play the piano at school during my lunch break and watched jealously through the window at my mates playing in the playground whilst I was doing my scales. So the skill never really took even though I guess some of the note reading may have layered itself in my memory somewhere. In our music lesson we would play a mouth organ and the music teacher would walk around the class and anyone out of tune or playing a wrong note would be feeling the sting of his shoe on their backside – so I opened my instrument up and removed the metal plates so that it made no sound, risky as this strategy was the teacher never suspected & certainly never heard me play a bad note so I escaped any humiliation every week for over two years until I moved school!

It was in my early thirties, living in my own flat that I woke up one morning and decided to play the trumpet. Two hours later I was sitting back in bed with a shiny brass trumpet that I had no idea how to play! So I joined the Lewisham music academy and I ventured into night school. My first teacher showed me how to blow a raspberry through the mouthpiece and handed me a glass & told me to fill it with spit. After half a dozen hour sessions of debasement he grudgingly started to show his ‘honky’ student how to play a few notes. Tenacity kept me going and in a year or so I was able to play the odd tune, even to heralding ‘auld lang syne’ to a thunderous applause at the packed cafe rouge restaurant on New Year ’s Eve after a good service! Although my notes were technically correct as I practiced to the annoyance of my neighbours I was more brass band than the sweet tones of Louis Armstrong, then I fell in love with the beautiful lines and lacquered wood of a pair of congas……

Back to Lewisham academy and more ‘white man has no rhythm’ to which they were probably right! Albeit the poorer cousin my tenacity over the months won me a ‘scholarship’ session with Clifford Jarvis of the rhythm of the gods fame who re-confirmed my lack of rhythm but showed me some great sounds that I could “go to the park” with. I kept going and as most percussionists my range of instruments grew with my intrinsic start with a pair of bongos on a stand that could give me four drums played by hand with a lovely set of tones and a cymbal for great accents and finish. I carried on lessons with a great drummer called Paul Canton with whom I joined for some great jamming sessions in various clubs & pubs. One of my favourite evenings there were up to a dozen jazz musicians yet only one old man & a dog listening & then the old man walked off with just the dog sitting in front of us ears pricked up watching in fascination! At Pelican we formed a work band and played fun sets at manager’s party’s’ et al….it became a cultural and welcomed norm! As I got better I was even allowed to play with the James Earl band and played a few times at Les Cafes des Artists. One of my most fun gigs was playing percussion (bongos/congas) at a melody fm rave at a nightclub linking my tones to the DJ booth! Once the kids arrived; the prospect of me going off to a bar or nightclub at night was shortly tabooed so my musical career came clashingly to a halt.

Always being a bit of a workaholic I relished any opportunity to do things with my kids. When they were 7 & 9 we went to Venice and watched a concert in this amazing old church. They sat us right at the front and the boys were completely transfixed as the orchestra played the four seasons with tear jerking musical soul. Two weeks later to the horror of Claude (Mum) three shiny violins appeared at home. A lovely Sloane ranger came to our house on a weekly basis to teach us how to play all together and within time our cat screaming screeching started to take some harmonious tones. The Suzuki method is around a parent learning with the kids showing that all can learn together & that the parent knows what the homework needs to be! We made it fun by playing fiddle battles between us. A year later they lost interest and moved on, I tried to continue for a while but realised I was in denial and it was only ever to give us quality time together, but it was not lost time and as the boys enjoyed it so much that knowledge will stay. To Claude’s great relief the violins ended up on e-bay and to my relief we actually made a profit!

A year’s break and we managed to get the boys back into music with Max learning piano & Eliot learning guitar. It didn’t take long before the jealousy of Eliot’s guitar led to a shiny new larger version for me. Eliot took his lessons back to back with Max at SWS music and I took lessons on a Monday night with a group of similarly middle aged crisis males plucking great classic rock songs. We were incredibly fortunate to have Dee from the famous group Roachford for a term “Only to be with you!” as our teacher and I enjoyed myself so much I don’t know why I didn’t start at 16…..! A couple of terms later and the boy who Eliot shared his lesson with went back to France and Eliot suggested Papa joined him and ever since the due have lessons together. We both took our first RGA exam and I got a distinction and await Eliot’s result which I have no doubt will be good as he loves it. (we were supposed to do the exam together but a laser quest party led to his moving his exam leaving me alone in a room where I was the oldest by at least 30 years!)

At Christmas we booked a recording studio with Max on piano and Eliot & I on guitars. (very cool electric guitars of course followed the acoustic acquisitions!) The resulting disk is of course ridiculously bad but we all had a brilliant fun time recording it and some incredible memories.

There are certainly more stories to follow ……………………..

2010 comes to a close –

The family had a good year in 2010 touring Cornwall in a 1960’s VW campervan in the summer, reading Tin Tin in Belgium in Autumn, diving in the red sea in Spring, surfing in Biarritz, shooting, fishing and recording their first family album with Max on piano and Eliot & Jason on electric & acoustic guitars.

The year finished with family in Centerparcs for Christmas in France and Villajoyosa in Spain for New Years Eve.

Claude looked after the celebrity chefs at the BBC Good Food Show again this year and boys are doing well at the French lycee where Max now travels on his own!

An emotional year as Jason retired from teaching karate after spending over 8 years as the principal instructor at Putney Dojo to take up aido; a more gentler martial art using samurai swords. …but giving Jason more time on family and work commitments. Work continues to excel with both commercial success and a flight of awards. The personal highlight in 2010 was the completion of his coral reef conservation and underwater naturalist courses that lead to him being awarded his PADI Master Scuba Diver rating.

We wish all of our friends & colleagues a happy & successful 2011,

Jason, Claude, Max & Eliot

Bon Anniversaire

What better way to celebrate 45 fabulous years than over an assiette de fruits de mers, champagne perrier jouet belle epoque and of course madeleines and gateau chocolat from Olivier Bajard not only meilleur ouvrier de France for patisserie but champion de monde (world champion) des métiers de dessert.

La vie est belle (it’s a great life)

Body of a 40 Year Old

I had my 5 yearly health MOT from Bupa today and after the blood test, ECG, lung analysis, physical examination and other checks the computer actually gives your body an age!

Mine was 40 and before all the jokes fly in about me being 26 I’m actualy 45 so I have a body 5 years younger!

I don’t smoke, have never been ill from work even for a day, cycle to the office and I guess teaching karate keeps me fit. Check out the Senior Veteran martial art champion from last week in the picture on the left! (I’m far right giving tactical advice to my students)

In true francophile style the glass of red wine with every meal should keep me going till I’m 100.

Not often you get good news from the quack – there’s life in the old dog yet…….

Jason awarded ‘Master Scuba Diver’

Master Scuba Diver

After a fabulous week diving in the red sea on the Blue Horizon liveabord I was rewarded with my master scuba diving certification.

Blue O Two is a superb company to dive with; the boats were luxurious, teams were very helpful and food incredible bearing in mind the facilities and that comment comes from a seasoned restaurateur.

Once you have dived this way it would be hard to do anything else, the boat teams helped you with your kit; you had your own storage areas and you never had to take the tank from your jacket as it was filled with air/nitrox by boat teams.

When the bell range we dived, when it rang again we ate breakfast…….the next bell summoned our second dive followed by lunch bell.

One more ring and we were back in the water until it rang for afternoon tea and in my case for studies & lectures.

When we weren’t in too harshly protected areas we even managed a few night dives.

I felt like an experimental mouse, scurrying around every time the bell rang!

But perhaps one of the luckiest and pampered mice in the world!

We saw sea turtles, barracuda, large Napoleon wrasses, a myriad of brightly coloured and amazing species as well as Thresher, Grey & White tip reef sharks in abundance ~ just awesome.

The master scuba diving certification is given after completing 50 dives, taking the open water course & exam, the advanced open water course & exam, special first aid course, a rigorous rescue diver course & practical exams, five speciality dives and an underwater review by master scuba diver examiner.

The master scuba diver is nicknamed the black belt of scuba diving so of course I had to add this to my array of black belts! OK one New Year’s resolution completed with a few more still on my pad……..

Eliot’s speech to the French Ambassador

To celebrate bilingual students M.Gourdault-Montagne the ambassador of France along with Mr Hands the MP for Hammersmith & Fulham and Mr Greenhalgh the leader of the council visited the Ecole Marie d’Orliac at Lycee Francais.

Eliot was chosen to read a poem he put together in front of the school & honoured guests.

‘Thank you for visiting our school’
‘We think that this is very cool’

‘We are all excited about 2012’
‘I can’t compete as I will only be 12’
‘But for me & my friends we all gain’
‘Lots of new places for us to train’

‘Just one thing…please listen to us’
‘And get rid of the bendy bus’
‘My dad takes his bicycle every day’
‘And I am worried that bus might sway’

‘In French – merci d’etre venu’
‘In English – thanks for coming’
‘En Francais – gardez le sourire’
‘En Anglais – keep smiling’

‘Hope you will have a great day’
‘And come back & see us another day’

After a standing ovation for Eliot; Mr Greenhalgh promised to give an official response to the poem.

Christmas Message

London – December 2009

This has been a great year for the Lalande d’Anciger family despite the much publicised global economic gloom.

New years eve started in Lyon and we were lucky to ski in the Alps, dive in the Canary Islands & the Red Sea, dance on the beach in Denmark in the moonlight and drink rosé in Southern France.

So despite our portfolio of stocks & shares crashing to the floor we enjoyed ourselves safe in the knowledge that we have seen quite a few recessions and have perhaps one or two more to experience!

Jason gained his recue diving qualification this year, cycles to work & still teaches karate on Sunday mornings. He was given a special award for business performance by M&S’s retail director and has started guitar lessons from a 9 year old boy……read on!

Claude worked on Masterchef & the BBC food show again, has started a ‘renovation’ program at home, has been powerwalking, moonwalking and excelling perhaps too much at the ladies who lunch circuit!

What an amazing year for Max too…. as class captain (again) he was awarded the Diplome d’Honneur at the Lycee Francais for services to his school. Max was also awarded his brown belt in karate and if that wasn’t enough he took his Junior Padi Open water qualification passing with flying colours. He has also started shooting clays with his Papa and of course donned his chefs whites to cook the odd dish.

Eliot his brother continues to enjoy life & run the family. He was awarded his blue belt in karate, plays hockey and tennis and his school report could be framed! His maths scores would make Einstein look like a hill-billy. Eliot took his scuba diving bapteme and bakes a mean cookie. Eliot has also started to play the guitar and can already strum tunes from happy birthday to James Bond, and from the Simpsons to Stairway to Heavan – and yes he is Papa’s guitar teacher!

A brilliant year and made so much better by so many our friends who have contributed to some great shared experiences, fabulous food and very memorable wines!

We wish you all every happiness & success in 2010.

Gros Gros Bisous Max, Eliot, Claude & Jason