Tuesday, 30 March 2010

We are well motivated now we have a plan to execute, even if it is raining.....

We have been at the mercy of the French Telepathy Phenomenon today and it never ceases to amaze us both how we can take information at face value and still not question it. Some weeks ago we asked a hire company to quote us on the hire of a mini digger and I specifically asked for a weeks hire, we went through an accumulation of huffing and puffing and tapping of calculators until it was agreed that if we deliver the digger with his trailer then return the trailer straight away but come for the trailer and deliver it back a week later then it would cost 150 euros.. Call me stupid, call me anything you like but a weeks rental is a weeks rental and 150 french quids is a hell of a deal but he did ask for cash and made us promise to keep it quiet so how was I to realise that the 150 Euros is for a day's hire....I should have known that. What a blow, so now the digger project is taking a new format, quick digging and quicker digging to hire it for a day only, but not from our wide boy. We are going to our local hire centre who will deliver and charge us per 8 hours worked and we can do the 8 hours over a couple of days so much more of a manageable scenario. It all kicks off on Friday and we have a folder full of info taken off the web on "how to drive a mini digger" so as to be well prepared. I have a friend coming to lunch on Saturday to give me moral support and a bit of a hand if we should need to run behind Mike clearing up. The weather today has been so April, it is a joy and then a complete misery as we find ourselves dashing between the weather squals. We are well motivated now, we have a plan to execute, even if it is raining.....

Monday, 29 March 2010

I was a very proud Nona listening to my georgious grandson read from a book....I miss that

We put our clocks forward an hour and for a day it seemed that everything was out of sinc. It was blaring daylight when I went out to invite the hens to go bye byes and they were most certainly not playing ball, if you have never rounded up hens then come and have a go, it is secretly funny but publicly humiliating. I will now need to change my age old winter routine to accommodate the girls. HOSS is well pleased, his normal little trot after dinner is now too early for the hens to shack up so we will need to get out again later...ohhh gooodie in doggie speak. Today we had a three hour power cut, Mike has instilled a deep and robust lack of confidence in French electrics so when we realised nothing was working after lunch I immediately rushed around the house to see where I had overloaded the system, but today, it was not me, I popped over the road to see if it was a total black out and ended up staying for a coffee and handed over my British shoulder-to-cry-on as my very French neighbour is in the middle of a messy family split up and with no electricity and pouring rain outside I was the dish of the day. I wouldn't mind too much but I honestly only catch 50% of Annie's conversation, so much of the discussion is guess work. It was good coffee though. Mike got brave and agreed to take me to the beach to collect sand on Sunday. We both feel like we are plundering and pillaging from nature when we take pebbles and sand but I really can't see why I shouldn't have a few buckets for my garden, that said, we still act like we are stealing the crown jewels and put HOSS on watch in case we get nobbled. The first three buckets gave us a good idea of how it is all going to look and I am delighted that a little idea, nicked from a local roundabout design is looking promising. I got up a little earlier today to catch Toby in Australia, he was four today and catching the kids on skype is the nearest to being involved and taking part, but it is still tough and I was left a little empty over breakfast but he had a great day and we did laugh together. I buy books on-line in Australia so the kids get books from us. There is a great childrens Australian book section and I chose a book called "far out brusselsprout" and it is a collection of play ground chants and Blue read me three today on line from the other side of the world and I was a very proud Nona listening to my georgious grandson read from a book....I miss that . Happy birthday Toby

Saturday, 27 March 2010

You will bless the day we move her so that I will just SHUT UP and get on with it.......

We shared some very old louvered wooden shutters that came off Sarah and Peter house during their renovation and we used one set straight away to put doors on the smoking shelter now known as the pepper and chilly house. We went for a cuppa with S & P last week and they have built a lovely garden structure and used the shutters as a wind break. Mike said that he and Peter had spoken about this idea and today Mike constructed our very own version and it is just fantastic. The very first structure in our garden was the hitching rail so called because it looks like a place you might just want to tie your horse to. It was actually designed as a leaning rail so that we could watch the storks on their nest and it was just good use of old timber from the sheep shed we demolished way back in 2007. So, the hitching rail was good to stand, and lean, and watch, until we planted our wood and unintentionally we planted a tree in the exact eye sight to the nest.....mmmmmm, not to worry there is always a good reason for that sort of blunder because the structure itself has enabled Mike to attach the shutters, making a very Mediterranean corner where there was once just three posts and a leaning rail. We have plans to put a hard floor for our bistro chairs and table so if there is a little troublesome breeze then we can sit in "wind break corner" and have a good view over the garden without getting blown about too much. Did lots of little planting jobs today and I am acting like a gardener possessed because I can, and loving it, all at the same time. We spent the afternoon on Beema, she is so ready to go and if you are seriously reading this blog you will bless the day we move her so that I will just SHUT UP and get on with it.......

Friday, 26 March 2010

That works for me as Mike will be doing the heavy lifting, I am just being creative.....

You know you in a veggie glut when you have cauliflower cheese and chips for tea.......all my caulies are showing off at once and smiling at the big blue sky just waiting to bolt and miss the chance of nourishing us unless I can harvest them quickly enough. I grew these plants from seed way back in October, my first, on my own, no help or advice, do it my way, just let me get on and make my own mistakes adventure, I swapped 20 excess plants for a bag of home grown potatoes with my friend but by Christmas I had to call her to see how her crop was doing as Mike had commented that perhaps I had not planted them well enough and they would probably be blind. Anna was however, very reassuring and encouraged me to be a little more patient and here we are enjoying cauliflower until they are coming out of our ears.....I tried to explain that saying to a French friend once ...you have so many they just fall out of your ears..... but it all got complicated and lost in the translation. These friends in Blosville are building a new house in their garden and for the first time I got embarrassingly excited with the blank canvass of her building site garden. I stood in her fantastic lounge surrounded in glass and visualised how it was all going to look. I must be a sad anorak of a gardener for that to happen and I have only been doing this for 3 years......exciting though. Good news is that Anna and William have a field full of stones and boulders which we seriously need to work up a couple of our gardens, so we are going to barter a trailer full of stones and boulders for a bit of heavy lifting to get Anna's boulders into place. That works for me as Mike will be doing the heavy lifting, I am just being creative.....

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Walk the HOSS and get the chips all at the same time....

It is mid afternoon and we have been forced to come in whilst a thunder and lightning storm passes over. We, like golfers and walkers in open spaces tend to gravitate to the indoors as lightning never strikes, but you just never know.....Mike called me up into the garden yesterday to watch our local stork male out collecting nesting material, his girly is hunkered down in the nest with her eggs presumably, or simply being very lazy, we can just see her head over the edge of the nest. This tall and elegant bird almost tropical, and not of this continent proudly poked and fiddled in our old compost heap and found a long bit of decomposing sweet corn stalk from last year, took flight and made his way up into the tree tops, we talk for our animals and imaged he'd have said...here you are dear I've come from Ikea.... Mike is ever keen to get Beema at her best before the tides, weather, temperature and sea state all come together and has decided to change the exhaust pipe, so off we went to the local chandlers knowing that it would be impossible to replace but as we are getting very good at this game now took the shruggy shoulders and desole smile in our stride. We had HOSS with us so we hit the road and went to Cherbourg where the choice of chandlers is mind blowing and the first attempt was successful. We walked to the mooring and introduced HOSS to his new challenge and then we took a stroll around the boat yards and discovered that there is a brand new full size public swimming pool in the marina complex...we had no idea, and what with the pool about to be completed in Carentan we are going to be awash with places to swim. I had commented only the other day that I had not swum for a few years and that is a pretty bad statistic.....I actually hate getting my hair wet but lets not go there....At the end of a good day yesterday we slipped in a grass cut and between us got 95% of it done and then the rain came and it was time for dinner. Today I have planted the broad beans in the allotment and 4 sunflowers in the main garden well protected from the pesky rabbits so we should have a good show later this year. We have discovered a beach on the way out of Cherbourg called Port flamande and on Saturday the beach cafe opens and promises a 7/7 opening and they sell chips, so I can see us doing a few detours to walk the HOSS and get the chips all at the same time....

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

spring and warmer things to come is truly promised.

What a busy few days we have had, not that we find we run out of time but events just fill what time is available and then the evenings are for breathing and crochet, and blog took a rain check. So what has been going on.....We have the oil filter for the boat and that went on today I have a real anxious nature when it comes to things mechanic or mending and always think the worst so when it all comes good I literally breath a sigh of relief and that is exactly what I did when I saw the filter go on and the checks to make sure it did not leak complete, job done. We have been fairly manic in the garden I re-potted 44 box hedge plants that we propagated in October and we have the same amount in privet so the hedging costs will be down to zero this time next year. We have a Veronica which originally came from Mike's childhood home in Moordale Avenue, Bracknell. We have moved it from Devonshire Cottages to Chatsworth Avenue in 1981 to Port Solent in 2000 and then to France in 2006, It has been in the middle of the lavender garden here since 07 and today we dug up the two clumps and split them 8 ways, 6 in the wood garden and 2 in the beach garden so I made my apologies to each piece and ordered it to grow and we will see how they all develop this year. The willow tree by the pond is once more a willow, all green and tumbling, and with the daffordiles at it's feet, the introduction to spring and warmer things to come is truly promised.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

I like horses they have this 'I know what you're thinking' look about them.....spooookey

We made it to the show jumping in Auvers this afternoon but first, we sewed seeds, pricked out seedlings and cleared up in the poly tunnel. Mike set himself up in the potting shed or the germination center as we now call it and I set up workshop in the poly, whilst working and concentrating I let my mind wonder as I pricked out 100 marigold seedlings and it occurred to me that I probably sewed 1000 seeds and only the strong and keen who were able to get their two leaves up in time for pricking made it to the next stage. Isn't that just like life. Mike has grown 30 melon, 50 tomato, 88 cabbage, and 15 broad bean plants and we have trays and trays of other stuff just busting to burst out. We had a discussion about quantities and have decided that when we have enough for us to plant out and a couple to give away then we will chuck the excess and concentrate on what we have. Last year we tried to plant everything we grew from seed but realized that Mother Nature facters in a fantastic insurance system that gives you so much more than you need in case she has a bad day. So far we are way ahead of the game but failure is on the side lines just waiting to take part.
I think Show jumping is such good fun, Mike was not over excited but was very impressed with the horse boxes and we had a good few hours doing something we have never done before. I like horses, they have this 'I know what you're thinking' look about them.....spooookey

Saturday, 20 March 2010

John Wayne was as good as it got for the rest of the day.....lovely

There is a horse show in the next village and we thought we might go over and have a look, there is a beuvette which promises beer and perhaps some chips and the plan was to dig over the broad bean plot and then set off, so that was the plan and then it all changed. Despite being retired from the rat race we are not old in the fashionable sense of the word but we do tire quickly and have lost that twenty year old's ability to work all day and still have the energy and will power to go out all night partying. We dug over the plot and cleared the pesky weeds I walked two barrow fulls to Kitten corner and if you have been paying attention you will know that it is 250 steps from the allotment to kitten corner and pushing a very heavy barrow must whop up the calorific spend . Mike walked over with me on one trip and as I grunted and weezed myself across the 250 steps Mike whispered words of encouragement in my ear and pronounced himself my personal trainer and all of this was really good for my oestioperosis (which I currently don't have) and preventative measures should make all the difference. I really fell for that line and ended up pushing yet another load over but this time Mike did bring his own gym session with him. Digging and cultivation is hot work and by the time we had made more changes to the boat garden, which is now an absolute epic we cleared the tools away pottered around with the 'germination plant' and that was the end of that. Stiff legs and twinging shoulders meant Saturday afternoon in front of the TV with John Wayne was as good as it got for the rest of the day.....lovely

Friday, 19 March 2010

The seedlings have sent roots through the bottom of their little pots, so it's now or never....

Today was the day I hoped we would put Beema into her new home but can you guess what the weather is doing??...well it's pants. Rain, wind, chilly and not the sort of day you want to be out on a boat not having sailed seriously for over two years...all is forgiven Mike and we will just take it as it comes. Sarah called to say they can be last minute.com for doggie sitting and I really appreciate that support. I shared our experience at the motor factors with Sarah and we always just end up shrugging it all off and saying ..."that's France for you"...Mike did however call a chap in the UK who specialises in the gear box we have and as it happens, and isn't life just rich with surprises and co-incidences, but Kevin, bloke in the UK, keeps his boat here in Carentan and has an oil filter to put in the post today, amazing. The end of Mike's long and pricey phone call was "lets get together for a half pint" ( you can't buy a pint or even a litre of beer without going up twice with your little glass.) It is conceivable that we have made a friend who is a dab hand and expert with our gear box and we are hoping that he will be a jolly nice fella to boot. With the rain watering all that we have done so far in the gardens we both took our stations, me in the poly and Mike in the potting shed and started pricking out our seedlings to let them loose in more soil and sunlight. It is seven oclock and Mike is just walking in so a full and satisfying day despite the inclement weather. Tomorrow we dig over the broad bean patch the seedlings have sent roots through the bottom of their little pots, so it's now or never....

Thursday, 18 March 2010

I am not sure I like the shells in the boat garden...now that IS a problem

We have been living together 24/7 for three and a half years now but have very rarely had a serious tiff and these days we have learnt to tolerate and accept to a completely different level. I was pretty rolled over this morning as Mike and I had a conversation last night about moving Beema to cherbourg and he suggested that Friday would be a good day and if Sarah could have HOSS then we could walk to the Marina to collect the boat and then when safely in her new mooring catch the train home from Cherbourg all within 48 hours...that to me sounds like a plan and I arranged doggie sitting and started to get things ready for the trip. This morning however a whole sleep later, we are not ready to go, the weather is iffy and there are a million jobs to do on the boat before we attempt the transfer ect ect. No point having a barney, just postpone the doggie sit put the boat bag to one side and start all over again. I insisted we went to the boat to review what needs to be done to get Beema readier than she already is and Mike started an oil change on the gear box. It is on occasions like this that living with a foreign language and culture becomes an almighty effort and challenge when you discover at the local motor factors that the oil filter you have just dismantled and distroyed in order to get it off is totally not available, and absolutely not available, and not available any more..... not words or notions we can put our heads around easily but we have learnt that you must be persistent and not break off eye contact and keep asking the same question and delve into the what ifs and whys if anybody else should come to them with a problem like this. We spoke to three different men on the counter as they slowly but predictably lost interest in our dilemma but finally got the younger of the three to pay attention and we have put an oil filter on order for Monday...but there are no guaratantees as to whether it will fit.....scarey. So not a great day today and worse is that I am not sure I like the shells in the boat garden...now that IS a problem

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I was mad with enthusiasm again and that is the plan

When ever you start something new the promises of continuity and habit making are strong and brave but the reality of boredom and a pre-occupied mind is actually the case.....this has been in the past our prblem with sewing seeds, for the first few days you are there looking and willing the seedlings to come and visit and then you get bored and move on. This year, however, Mike and I have made a promise to visit the potting shed every day and it has paid off already as the seeds have responded by appearing quickly and efficiently on our special hot bed ...with lid...and a visit to the germination plant, as we now call it, is filled with excitement and wonder. Mike sewed cabbage eight days ago and he was pricking them out yesterday, we have 88 plants, oooohhh, so too many, I have warned Anne and Sarah to get their beds dug over and expect cabbage plants soon. We also unloaded the shells onto the boat garden having laid a fleece weed barrier to slow that event down. The shells crashed and smashed when we threw them on as that proved to be the best way to scatter and I was surprised to see that we were left short and will need to go again soon to collect more. We have become very honest with each other and despite my mad enthusiasm for the shells I was free to mention that I am actually not mad with the aesthetic look of a pile of shells around a boat so Mike , always the problem solver suggested a concrete plinth to put the bistro chairs on would break up the expanse of shells, I was mad with enthusiasm again and that is the plan

Monday, 15 March 2010

Come back soon to shovel more shells with us!

We bought a trailer load of gravel for the garden two weeks ago and were quite shocked at the hike in price and with the amount of ground cover planned for the garden we called a momentary halt to the proceedings until we could take stock and consider the cost against the need. As always with a problem to be solved we talked a lot in the car and last thing at night knowing very well that a solution would be found and that we would benefit from this time in limbo. On Friday we saw the solution and today we collected. The long and short of this tale is a chance glimpse at a pile of scallop shells behind a fish processing plant in cherbourg on our way to collect Mim and Dick from the Ferry terminal, we jotted down the telephone number and called the factory next day to see if these shells were give aways....a donner...and the answer was a resounding oui, so today on our way to drop Mim and Dick off at the Ferry terminal to go home we loaded a trailer full of used and 'a donner' scallop shells so that tomorrow, the expensive question of gravel ground cover on the boat garden becomes a free shell solution. We spent a great four days with Mim and Dick and hope they will come back soon to shovel more shells with us!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I count my blessings on both sets of fingers.

We have Mim and Dick with us and have been doing what Mike and I normally do on our own, but this weekend as a team of four. There has been a huge pile of hedge cuttings just waiting for ignition when the wind is in the right direction so as not to suffocate our precious neighbours, and happily today, it was that time. Mike and Dick set to with bottles of petrol and matches in hand to light this monument of a three day hedge cutting saga. It seemed to take for ever to ignite then both men ditched their coats to deal with the heat and Mike went a very serious shade of pink as the fire roared and splattered into action and within half an hour, and just in time for lunch it was a small white hot pile of ashes. We slipped off to the coast while it simmered and picked the last of the pebbles for the beach garden.....what a relief, and to have willing hands to help us with this epic moment felt great. The sun shone and it was quite frankly, pleasantly warm and not at all the March we have had to endure so far, thank goodness we are at the turning point. It is Mothers day and Mim and I have spoken to our Mum twice on Skype and both Deb and George have come to see us from their corners of the world, Mim is now a Skype convert so I am now looking forward to some fun face to face chats in the near future with her. To top my day I got a phone call from Chris to wish me Happy Mothers day so all my bases were touched and I count my blessings on both sets of fingers. Happy Mothers day to both our Mums my sisters and me.

Friday, 12 March 2010

It is even stevens as to what and who needs to put away.......

It is, at last, a little warmer and we have been able to walk around the field and a visit to Omaha beach gave HOSS a good run. We strolled the back of the foreshore understanding the storm damage and wondering when it will all calm down but we did come across another huge plank and now that we have given ourselves beach comber status we have no hesitation in picking up and walking off. We chatted about our caravan on the beach at Selsea and how the sea determined the shape of the coast line for low tide then moved it all around again at high tide. We often reflect on Selsea, it really was our introduction to sea air and out-all-day life style, we had some good family gatherings there and when we look back over the photos we are really pleased we took so many......Mike has got the seed sewing well on the go and I have promised that we will both go every day to watch progress. What a difficult waiting game though, I am learning that instant is not always good and that a programmed wait gives you the expected results in the end.......I can see why teaching Kids how to garden as part of the curriculum would give them proof that you have to plan and wait for the great things in life....Mim and Dick are coming to stay for a few days and we are taking the momentum of excitement to tidy up and clean up. I know I keep a farely tidy establishment here and compared to some French homes we have visited we are definitely ikea and habitat but when we look around our home it feels more like Rue Traversiaire and Avenue du Loriot, two very influential addresses in my life, Mike does not have the same emotional memories and just wishes I would not put an item on every available flat surface but when I clear up it is even stevens as to what and who needs to put away.......

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The old battle axes better watch thier moves tomorrow or they will be for the pot

You have heard the term 'pecking order'.... well, we are experiencing it in real life here in the heneriea.....hen enclosure.. Yesterday we let our new-comers free to roam amongst the other inhabitants of the heneriea and as soon as they started to strut their stuff the cock came over to pay his respects and then the older hens let rip and started a bundle, pecking, clucking and chasing the youngsters off. It was wicked and so unnecessary and it sent the little sweeties off under the duck house to take cover. Mike and I stood in the bitter cold wind just making our presents felt and putting in the boot where required and then it was afternoon tea time, and they are hens after all said and done so we left them to it. When it came to closing the henhouse for the night we found the hard core tucked up on the top floor and the youngsters standing by the door wondering what happens next....fortunately they are very easy to handle so I picked them up and gave them a clucking cuddle and shoved them in with their very own box for shelter and this morning that is where I found them not brave enough to climb the ramp into the upstairs sleeping quarters. The good news however is that these little upstarts are already laying eggs, I found one under the duck house and another in the grass so the old battle axes better watch their moves tomorrow or they will be for the pot.
Happy Birthday to Blake yesterday good to see you on skype today...

Monday, 8 March 2010

That nice double crossing chicken seller has climbed into the top drawer

It may be bright but it is so bitterly cold today that I have been caught out, as you would catch the sun, I have caught the cold. My lips are chapped and I am on my last legs with barely the energy to do this blog....OK, bit of a drama queen but the blue Skies and bird song do not tell the true story here today, there is talk of snow in the south of France and that easterly wind is just cutting us in two..... We did a rare visit to the Carentan market today, rare because it is always the same, over priced and packed with the wrinklies of Carentan and the surounding canton blocking the allies as they do their weekly catch up on gossip and stores. I like to go now and then just for the atmosphere which this time of year is buzzing. Today however was a bit special as the chicken seller was there. This very worldly and honest...as far as I could throw him...man sold us our first clutch of hens and the cockadoodledo, we have gone back to him several times but have never managed to make a decision but today we did. I have been managing the chickens recently, cleaning them out and generally doing for them so Mike is giving in and has let me have two more. Nice Mr chicken seller let me choose two then tutted to himself that they were not ready to lay yet and picked another two, Mike smiled wryly probably thinking I was being taken for a ride but I am trusting this bloke and home we came. I have put the new hens in the heneriera but separated so that they can all get acquainted without squabbling and the cockadoodledo has already taken a great deal of interest.....two young little fillies for his delight I can hear him thinking.....Mike and I went and planted 300 onions and 100 shallots in the afternoon and I took refuge at the ironing board and Mike took refuge in the potting shed sewing seeds for the rest of the afternoon. As the sun started to set and the temperature plummeted even further I set up a cage in the barn to overnight the new arrivals and when we went to carry them in .....one had laid an egg......we were both flabbergasted......and that nice double crossing chicken seller has now climbed into the top drawer.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

It is too early for the weeds to grow..but they will

What a treat this morning...the first of the years vide greniers....car boot to you, and such good fun, we will travel some distance on a Sunday morning to have a good rummage. Mike has been wanting to buy a new glass for our Gazlamp and has been astonished that the glass alone is seven euros but today he bought the whole lamp with perfect glass for two euro so he is very chuffed. I am always on the lookout for cheap wool for my blanket and anything for the garden. We are rarely temped to over spend as we both have a keen eye on a bargain and walk away more times than get hooked, fortunately the French put great value on second hand junk so you must really want it to buy. We came home via Gefoss fontenais beach and were horrified at the damage the high tides and easterly winds has done to this little stretch of estuary on the Insigny-sur -mer side of our bay. The good thing out of all this erroding is the way the sea has washed all the sand off the pebbles and there was a huge bank of flat round stones just ready for the picking so we took our usual two bags and also came across a 2 meter piece of timber that Mike thinks is off a trawler, we hope the boat is OK...... it will form part of the barrel bench we are creating at the boat garden. With such great weather we stayed out doors and Mike switched on the warm bed to sew seeds in the potting shed and I cleared the beds in the Poly tunnel. We are therefore officially on our way for 2010 and from now to May will be all hands on decks to get the veg and flowers germinated and planted out. All the growing areas look clear and tidy today, it is too early for the weeds to grow..but they will..!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

That job, that keeps me up at night fretting, will be done for another year.....

Retirement means there is time to read, and although we lack a place to sit at leisure in plenty of light, ie, a conservatory we do get through plenty of books sat up in bed and in the better weather out on the terrace. We enjoy a good read and both get through a good number of stories and experience the highs, lows and difficulties of many, but I bet none is so bad as to equal the difficulty and horror of digging over the compost heap into a new cubicle....well that is what I did today. Mike got the weed killer down this morning much quicker than I had expected and caught me as I was about to engage in a bit of VIV DIY.....I have been bleating that I needed a new divider in the compost area and having moved all our two year old compost onto the allotment I was ready to turn last years and then turn this years but I neeeeeed a divider. Mike caught me red handed on my way to his workshop in search of a mallet and when I explained that I was just planning to drive some stakes into the ground to keep the corrugated iron sheets up he just looked crest fallen that after all this time I still went for the bodge and scarper technique. True to form he collected his drill, screws, washers and hunted through the barn for good wood and within an hour I had a fantastic all singing and dancing divider that will still be there in 2090...great. After lunch Mike got the Renault tractor (circa 1965) out of winter hibernation and set off with with gang mower in tow and did a complete cut across the entire field. I, during that time, and getting back to the most horrid of jobs, dug out last years compost heap to turn it and sort out the undesirables which included miles of the nylon bits in an all wool carpet....never put a carpet in your compost, or corn on the cob plants they just do not decompose. I am only half way through this rotton , or should I say well composted job, as two barrow fulls was enough to raise my heart beat and make me feel giddy, so by tomorrow or perhaps Monday that job, that keeps me up at night fretting, will be done for another year.....

I remembered why I enjoy sailing, a full set of sails is an awesome sight.

We had a day two of halves yesterday, Mike was keen to get down to the boat again...Beema can't believe she's just a boat, with all this attention he is giving her...should I worry??...but as it was frosty he decided to wait until the afternoon. The time was then given to gardening and it is me who calls the shots, I was up into the allotment to move more willow trees. I dug one out as a bare root and had an attack of confidence so I went to fetch Mike for his opinion. With a spade in hand he then effortlessly dug up another four and we BOTH went to replant them. I have decided to put a row of willow along the ditch between us and the sheep field, there is a hole in the boundary on that side and I like the idea of a row of willows, it reminds me of the Thames and when we chugged up and down in Hannah and Sheer bouy. Mike broke sweat and broke a spade as well so nothing unusual there, we will need to invest in some quality tools sooner or later but I hope Mike will weld the spade AGAIN, but then I think I am pushing my luck a bit too far.......After Lunch we left HOSS in charge of the house and went to measure up the extension invention and it fits and it works, so after another coat of paint we will set it up and let HOSS decide the best way to approach his access problem into the warm and cosy place we call the cabin........I really hope he can suss it out. The sun was hot and dangerous I could feel it burning my face this early in the season, but we took advantage of a light breeze and got all of Beema's auxillary sails out and hoisted them all one at a time to dry them and look for damage. There were people promenading around the marina and we gave them a good show with the huge colourful spinnaker cracking and flapping her way dry and I remembered why I enjoy sailing, a full set of sails is an awesome sight. Happy birthday John H for yesterday

Thursday, 4 March 2010

We have been talking about solving that problem for years and hey presto, problem solved.

Mike had a dodgy back this morning, we know that it is time for him to look for less physical work and wait for his spasms to go away and leave us alone. With the blue sky and bright sunshine I knew that I had to go and move the preparation of the allotment a little further forward. I set off with a loaded barrow of tools to lift and replant the rest of the privet hedge we have propagated all last year. I dug out the last 20 plants and have homed them in the wood garden to create hedge on the corners and I also planted a block of six to create a square shrub....in the next three years that is, you really do have to throw yourself two of three years away to imagine the end result before you plant....I like doing this, you only know if you have succeeded in three years time....what an inspirational concept. Mike busied himself in his workshop, that little haven in the court yard where junk and left over materials go in and usable, sensible and creative stuff comes out. Today Mike worked on the boat gang way 'step extension invention' He worked in metel and wood and frankly it is brilliant because it will double up as a second seat at the chart table, and we have been talking about solving that problem for years and hey presto, problem solved.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

how we get this 40 kilo dog out of the water if he falls in is quite another sleepless night's worth.

The brighter days are really allowing spring to put her Sunday best on and it is such a thrill to see the willow going green and the daffs promising not to be blind with juicy flower buds well on the way to a flurry of activity. We left HOSS behind on duty yesterday so that we could concentrate on giving Beema a really good clean. We donned our wellies, packed the pressure washer and got cracking. It really is a one man job using a pressure washer, no matter where the other person stands, works or sits they get wet. I tried to get on with washing the canopy then the teak but Mike was in my space no matter where I turned so I just spent much of the time watching him spray on "clean". The pressure washer has got to be the most amazing and effective gadget developed this century, we take it totally for granted, but watching the dirt and grime just disappear is quite mesmerising and satisfying. The event was tinged by a deep regret that we have let Beema get into such a horrible state but we are sprucing and adjusting to get her ready for her trip up to Cherbourg to moor in sea side conditions and marina atmosphere, don't want her looking like an ugly bug at the ball so she will be at her cleanest and tidiest before we set off in the next couple of weeks. HOSS got the message today that he is really not welcome down on the boat and slouched off into his room when we said "back later" as we loaded the car and set off again......but today was a general Beema tidy up and measuring up Mike's new step extension invention to give HOSS access into the cabin without falling through the five foot drop into the saloon. We want to get it installed and working before getting HOSS involved but he will come along with us, we already have his life jacket and he wears it quite happily, how we get this 40 kilo dog out of the water if he falls in is quite another sleepless night's worth.

Monday, 1 March 2010

I think I won on quantity..... not quality.

It seems we made it through the tempete, can't say the same for the Vendee and Charante regions in France with 50 people killed in floods and wind damage. I came out to walk HOSS this morning and all seemed well, there was a ground frost so it didn't even seem boggy but I was troubled, there was something different and I had to walk to and from the house twice before I realised there was a big bit of sky I don't normally see behind the Poly tunnel. I ran up into the bedroom and threw open the shutters to see out over the pottager and saw that madam next door's huge conifer tree that usually stands behind the polly was uprooted and playing dead along our fence. We need to go out and buy a lottery ticket as this was luck looking us straight in the face. The wind was in the right direction for us other wise this enormous tree would have flattened our treasured polly tunnel ......and my lettuces. We had visitors today, Anna and William back from a month away came to deliver a pot of peanut butter...can't buy it here...Anna was very excited about my crochet as I had taken it up since she left and I showed off my blanket now five feet in diameter. We are both new at this crochet lark but I think I won on quantity..... not quality.

Highlight cut and paste this web address to see all our photos