Sunday, 20 December 2009

end of year letter

Tous nos Meilleurs Voeux

Another year has passed with all the adventure and discovery that we expected to experience living in France. The bureaucracy has been understood and somewhat tamed. We now find ourselves with both the camper and our imported car registered on French plates, and that is no mean feat, even the French say it is tough. We are also accepted into the French systems and although we pay for each visit to the doctor we are reimbursed and I’m able to track our medical goings on , on-line , in French , it is all very do-able. We are French Tax payers and feel very European finding our way through another culture and finding that we can be very much part of the community.

The garden transformation from farmers field to a nice place to be is well and truly underway and we can now see the form it is taking. We try to plan but our spontaneous approach to all we do now means that plans are short lived and a joint decision on the day is never questioned or worried about. We have made plenty of planting errors that have had to be put right, but, every error means a deeper understanding of what we are aiming to achieve. We are thumbing through a library of “how to” books and are both building a good knowledge

of this gardening lark.

Our family at Brevands is ever growing with our German Shephard HOSS sharing the lime light with Hiss, kitten to our inherited farm cat and earlier this year, Hiss gave birth to OZ so named because she was born on the night that Deb and Jezz flew out to Australia…..! both cats are sterilized now to stop it all getting out of hand. Our Manderin ducks had eight chicks a pair of which ,have stayed. A family of eight moor hens have also taken residence so the pond is noisy and fractious at times with our Aylesbury ducks and the swan managing the pecking order at feed time. We still keep chickens but they are slow to lay so we will need to think about introducing new stock into the brood next spring.

Mike’s Dad died at the end of last year and we were in UK in January for the funeral We also had the girls Deb and Georgie here for the last time before they both emirate from the UK, Deb to Australia in June 09 and George is off this Jan 010 so all in all quite an emotional end of 2008, and although we thought 2009 would be a lousy year it has actually been one of acceptance and joy that all our children have found their way through life as happy as we have. Good luck to them all, We wish all three and their families good fortune. I must say “thank you technology “ for Skype ,which allows us to talk to Australia every week and now that we have upgraded our PC it is like watching the TV when we see the kids on the other side of the world.

We are slowly updating the house although outside activities interest us more, but keeping the house smart is important. We found out that our house dates back to 1750 and the oldest part is in the kitchen we somehow feel very respondsible and are aware that the upkeep is a job like any other….we hate decorating so that is a toughy….Every little job Mike does is a forward step like getting the well water plumbed into the polly tunnel and making workshops with power and light out of the stables. Every weed we pick and every bush we plant is for the greater good and we see a huge transformation when we look at our before and after pictures.

We bought a secondhand commercial Polly tunnel as a flat pack deal at the end of 2008 and on March 31st 2009 we opened it’s doors and started planting. The most amazing plants were the cougettes which fruited from May to November non stop, Mike often brought a crop in and hid it for fear of being shouted at ….NO MORE COURGETTES….but the ones that hid under the leaves and became marrow size got fed to the foul and everything else was eaten, pickled and frozen and of course we grew plenty of tomatoes and produced 40 liters of pasata made with home grown onions and parsley, very useful in the kitchen.

Growing veg has been a eye opener for me and I have taken a keen interest, theory being if you’re going to grow then make it something you can eat. Mike is good with propagating and we have a constant supply of little plants to put out that have cost us nothing but our time , which is currently for free. The large veg plot in the garden is due a big overhaul in April and we have 10 trees to plant out from the nursery beds so we have our work cut out and we cross fingers for dry bright weather from January to May…….fat chance…

We both had a cholesterol scare in Feb 2009 which put us both on a no alcohol ,no fat, no breathing, no talking or anything else that is part of living diet but came out in May lighter, fitter and gasping for a glass of wine. Medics here prefer when you take responsibility for your health, so if you look over weight or lazy they loose interest in you……..It is certainly a good way of keeping people on their toes.

After a dry and warm summer we have now harvested and processed all our crops although I have brussel sprouts and brocolie on the go at the moment but we are now enjoying the fruits of our labours and we are very happy and content.

All is quiet on the garden front, we keep humanly catching rabbits and letting them out in somebody elses field but Mike is less humane with the moles and they have to die…….so sorry but that is the rules of gardening.

We are looking forward to the spring and that is where I start with all our news our gardening issues , perhaps somebody out there will be able to give us advice. Please be there with us 2010 we are having such a great time and we would like to share it with you.

We both look forward to hearing from in the new year.

Viv and Mike

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Happy New Year


Thank you for coming to our Blog,
The very first and most important thing we need to do now is to wish you a very prosperous and happy 2010

Our gift to you this year is the promise of keeping in touch and I will be posting our news here, as and when it happens so that you can see how we are getting on in our new life in France.

Thank you for being part of this year with us and we hope that you will feel free to comment and let us know how you are getting on with your thrills and spills as the year developes

We start the news on the 3rd January and as the editor, that will be Viv...I will keep things simple and current but I will post often, so keep us in your favourites, and visit us often.