In 2011, I went to Lyon to teach English. I didn't really like the job, so I started writing these pieces to pass the time. Nine years, I'm still writing them. A unique blend of commentary, fiction and autobiography. Welcome to the Blog of Philip Ogley: BLOGLEY

The Blank Page

What is writer’s block anyway? I got up early this morning to write something for this blog. But nothing came. And as eight o’clock rolled on towards nine o’clock. And nine o’clock nudged ten, I was still staring at a blank screen. My mind felt empty as though my brain had been scooped out overnight … Continue reading “The Blank Page”

Why I Hate History

And why I think school is a waste of time. Listen or read below. I remember nothing from school. Except the Rivers Act of 1876: A tiny piece of legislation to try and clean up the waterways of England. Why I remember this particular fact is not important. What is important is that I shouldn’t … Continue reading “Why I Hate History”

Four Knots & Back

A few years ago, me and a friend swam to a yellow buoy in Falmouth Harbour. Read or listen to this short tale on fear. ‘There could be sharks down there,’ said Richard. ‘Don’t say that word! Never say that word! And stop splashing about!’ ‘I’m not,’ he shouted back. ‘Hey! Shall we dive down … Continue reading “Four Knots & Back”

Le Glitch. A Novel

In April 2018 I started writing a novel. My third. In the film Sightseers, there’s a bit in which one of the characters boasts about being on his third book. Then gets killed by the guy who’s writing his first. Watch it, it’s funny. I’m probably not going to die, because this is really only … Continue reading “Le Glitch. A Novel”

Puffballs for Breakfast

I had once eaten one at school. Rather bizarrely our physics teacher brought one into class and cooked it on a camping stove during the lesson. Apparently it was part of the laws of thermodynamics module, but I can’t remember the exact context – Everything is created: everything is destroyed (eaten), perhaps…? Remembering Mr. Mitchell’s … Continue reading “Puffballs for Breakfast”

The Swimming Lake

Hello. After spending six months back in the UK, I’ve finally come back to France. To Normandy to look after a farm. How long I’m not quite sure. Maybe enough time to finish a novel? Yesterday was hot. Very hot, so I spent it in the small lake we have here. More a large pond. … Continue reading “The Swimming Lake”

Being a Holiday Rep

I work in France near the town of Sarlat in the region known as Perigord Noir. I’m English but I don’t feel English. I don’t feel particularly French either. I’m just grateful to have a job as it isn’t easy finding work round here. I only got it because the last guy crashed the van … Continue reading “Being a Holiday Rep”

Notes from Copenhagen: The Bicycle Courier Part II

I’ve been a bicycle courier in Copenhagen now for two weeks. I’ve delivered spring rolls, chicken wings, Korean noodles, calzone, spaghetti bolognese, coffee, smoothies, alcohol, fags, sausage rolls, Indian, Turkish and Chinese. Even aspirin. In the afternoons waiting for my shift to start I watch the Tour de France on TV. Imagining myself climbing up … Continue reading “Notes from Copenhagen: The Bicycle Courier Part II”

The Christmas Woodpile

I’m the winter caretaker of this 17th century Chateau in South Western France. If you’ve seen or read The Shining this is as close as it gets. In summer the chateau is used as a hotel, in winter it’s closed. Cue me and Elizabeth who are here to make sure it doesn’t fall down, bills … Continue reading “The Christmas Woodpile”

Death of a Vintage Bicycle

Last Sunday I completed my 10th cycle with the crazy guys from the Caussade Cyclo-Club. My best so far, mainly because I was riding a new bike. Dispensing, rather regretfully I have to add, with my vintage Peugeot PK10 (below). For those of you who know nothing about cycling or bikes. The Peugeot P10 series (PK, PX, … Continue reading “Death of a Vintage Bicycle”

Back in Auty

Auty, Tarn-et-Garonne, France GPS coordinates: Middle of Nowhere Altitude: 219 metres Population: 80 Amenities: Café (open Wednesdays 15.30 – 18.30), Church (Sundays)   I’m back. Looking after a 17th century chateau over the winter plus a Tonkinese cat called Pookie. His real name is Ventura, but we call him Pookie. Although in truth you could call … Continue reading “Back in Auty”

Three Recent Books

 Ernest Hemingway – A Moveable Feast This is the book everybody told me I should read. Well I finally read it and immediately wanted to move to Paris. Why not? I thought. I already live in France, speak the language, have a bank account, so a move wouldn’t be that difficult – I could do it … Continue reading “Three Recent Books”

In Serramonacesca

I’ve been here three weeks now tucked under the remote Majella mountains in Southern Italy looking after a campsite for my friends. They told me not to expect too many visitors while they were away on holiday. ‘Highly unlikely you’ll see anyone at this time of year.’ Cue a carload of Germans the second they leave. Questioning … Continue reading “In Serramonacesca”

In Italy

Waking up at Kokopelli Camping this morning was like waking up in a dream I’d forgotten existed. A dream where there’s no falling off cliffs or into holes, or being mown down by out-of-control lorries. A dream that starts slowly, gently gathers pace, meanders a bit through soft clouds and chocolate eclairs, then without any sudden death … Continue reading “In Italy”

Life as a Holiday Rep

When I was 12 I went to Benidorm with my father on a package holiday. I remember the rep meeting us at the airport along with 50 other red-faced Brits, most of whom had already got burnt walking across the tarmac from the plane to the terminal building. Once outside he started doing a roll-call from … Continue reading “Life as a Holiday Rep”

Mangez, Buvez, Bougez

  So what’s happening? I haven’t written an entry for a while because in truth I haven’t been arsed. I did start writing one a few weeks ago about surviving the last three years on very little money. But it ended up being so self-righteous, clichéd and boring that I canned it. Smug, sanctimonious snippets like … Continue reading “Mangez, Buvez, Bougez”

Climb From Le Roc

For a professional cyclist, the climb from Le Roc would be like a fully grown adult clambering over an assault course designed for a toddler. A mere bump in the road that might heighten the heart rate a couple of beats, but nothing more. On this year’s Tour de France, stage eight went up the … Continue reading “Climb From Le Roc”

262 – Things I like about France No. 1: Routes Nationales

From my window I have a clear view of the D820, the old Route Nationale (RN) that runs from Toulouse to Paris. For me these represent old France. France before iPhones, prepackaged sandwiches, shopping centres and Renault Meganes. The reason people went to France instead of Spain or Greece for their holidays. Pulling off at an ancient boulangerie … Continue reading “262 – Things I like about France No. 1: Routes Nationales”

256 – Amazing Coincidences and Incredible Lookalikes At The Caussade Monday Market

I was once told by a friend that beetroot makes your pee go pink. ‘Of course, it doesn’t,’ I replied. ‘I’ve been eating beetroots all my life and never once had pink pee. You must be ill.’ Turns out he wasn’t ill, just low acid stomach levels. But that’s totally unrelated to what I want to … Continue reading “256 – Amazing Coincidences and Incredible Lookalikes At The Caussade Monday Market”

254 – A Man in France

After the phenomenal success of my short story collection, The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd (or TSOMT), there’s been quite a few enquiries as to where The Ridiculous Ramblings of a Man in France went to. For those in the dark, The Ridiculous Ramblings of a Man in France (or TRROMIF) were my favourite blog posts shoehorned into … Continue reading “254 – A Man in France”

252 – The Final Supermarket Trip of Jesus of Nazareth

‘In the name of Jesus Christ. Stop!’ Judas heard a voice cry out behind him as he entered Hussein’s Mini Mart for his daily shop. ‘Oh hi, Jee,’ replied Judas turning to greet his old friend and picking up a basket. ‘What’s up?’ Jesus popped a fig into his mouth from the free-to-taste section, swallowed … Continue reading “252 – The Final Supermarket Trip of Jesus of Nazareth”

248 – The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd: A Short History

I first started writing short stories in 2003, the result of my six part sitcom, Crushed Soup, being rejected by the BBC comedy department. Gutted by their total lack of vision and foresight, I decided to shun script writing and pen short stories instead. The first one I wrote, Capital Household, was about a father who … Continue reading “248 – The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd: A Short History”

247 – The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd and Other Stories

The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd is a bizarre and enjoyable journey featuring an unforgettable cast of characters in some of the strangest situations imaginable. An angry postman in Bristol. An elderly couple addicted to bad French food. A boxing match on a cricket square between two public servants. A very unhealthy freezer shop in rural … Continue reading “247 – The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd and Other Stories”

244 – L’étranger

“Aujourd’hui maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. J’ai reçu un télégramme de l’asile : ‹‹Mère décédée. Enterrement demain. Sentiments distingués›› Cela ne veut rien dire. C’était peut-être hier.” The first paragraph of L’étranger, a book I read years ago after finding it in a pile of my maternal grandfather’s belongings after his … Continue reading “244 – L’étranger”

241 – God, Garlic, Christmas Turkeys and Dried Sausage at the Caussade Monday Market

The best part so far of being in Auty is the Monday morning market in nearby Caussade. A six kilometre drive takes me to this rural working town where they once made straw boaters (canotiers) for Europe’s dandies. Nobody wears them here any more, unless you’re on holiday from Kentucky, but Les Caussadaises do wear their berets with pride in … Continue reading “241 – God, Garlic, Christmas Turkeys and Dried Sausage at the Caussade Monday Market”

238 – Blogley in Auty

By this time next week I’ll be back in France. Where I’ll remain until I die. A wild slashing overly melodramatic statement I know (and almost certainly false) but a forceful way to sum up how much I am looking forward to returning – I’ve even renamed the blog and done a new logo to mark … Continue reading “238 – Blogley in Auty”

236 – A Four Day Walk Along The Avon Kennet Canal For Absolutely No Reason Whatsoever

There is a gap in my summer posts. In July I went for a walk along the Avon Kennet canal. I was going to write about it after I got back but forgot. Only to be reminded of it a few days ago when I found the shaky film footage of the trip on my … Continue reading “236 – A Four Day Walk Along The Avon Kennet Canal For Absolutely No Reason Whatsoever”

233 – Loch Swimming, Canal Walking, Russian Oligarchs, Cardiff Castle and Teaching in Marrakesh

Since my last post I’ve swum in a freezing cold Scottish loch, visited an utterly drab Cardiff, camped out in sub minus temperatures in North Yorkshire (in August), walked along the Avon Kennet canal for four days and four nights for no reason, read the first three Knausgaard books, taught English to Russian oligarchs who … Continue reading “233 – Loch Swimming, Canal Walking, Russian Oligarchs, Cardiff Castle and Teaching in Marrakesh”

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 … Continue reading “228 – On the Wirral”

225 – Three dogs, a Nervous Breakdown and Two Very Good Cups of Coffee

After driving 480km from Taussat on the Arcachon Basin to Alaigne in the department of Aude, 25 km south west of Carcassonne, which included two rain washed nights camping out in the Ariege-Pyrenees, me and Elizabeth finally met up with the three dogs we were going to be looking after for the next ten days. … Continue reading “225 – Three dogs, a Nervous Breakdown and Two Very Good Cups of Coffee”

221 – Final Pool Update

After three and a half month’s work, the pool is clean. That’s all I’ve got to say on the matter. Time for a dip.    

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 … Continue reading “217 – The Mugwump”

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 … Continue reading “216 – MockVert”

210 – Sometimes You’ve Just Got To Let Go – A Short Film

Yesterday wasn’t a particularly good day weather wise – cold, windy, rainy. When the sun finally came out, I spent it larking around with my video camera that used to belong to my great friend Stan. My plan was to film something of interest. Something mind blowing. ‘Who knows what lies on this part of … Continue reading “210 – Sometimes You’ve Just Got To Let Go – A Short Film”

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 … Continue reading “209 – Oggers Talks About The Pool – Live!”

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 … Continue reading “207 – Pool Progress II”

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