Friday, 30 April 2010

Sorry Mum, but you will be here with me to clean up the mess.....

To a woman like me, making a hole in a wall and filling it with a framed window door is three days work, furniture back in place, dust washed away and house polished up on the fourth day bish bash job done. How frustrated am I then, we are on day two and I am advised that the making of the concrete frame so designed to look like block work to match the front of the house is going to take three days work starting from today.....I am really cool and things take as long as they do but I really kinda hoped to get the window in before my Mum and Brother Billy come for a visit and we may still have a hole in the wall.
The whole event, no pun intended, is actually quite interesting. Mike and Michael took great care to prepare the site with acrajacks to support the ceiling and then gingerly started the cutting and drilling to start the hole only to find a lintel at the top of the measured area and nothing but stone through to the inside. Both chaps thought that perhaps this back wall was solid stone and the easy job of cutting a hole in a clay wall became a distant expectation but as they worked away it became fairly obvious that they were clearing a blocked doorway and there had been an opening in this exact position way before the previous owners had rebuilt house. The timbers and wall lining are very old and we are non the wiser as to the date of this door way. I had a little twinge about making a hole in a huge wall but when we realised that we were mearly re-installing an old opening it all seemed more legal and moral.
So, today I still have a hole, Michael is coming first thing to show Mike how to strike the shuttering and set up a new set, Mike will continue for the next two days to complete the frame and then we will be able to fit the door and do the decorating.......sorry Mum, but you will be here with me to clean up the mess.....

Thursday, 29 April 2010

For the next three days it is hole in the wall and keeping the dust to a gentle fog.

We have been preparing for two days, moving furniture, packing our ornaments away and covering everything with dust sheets in order to have our mate Michael come around to install the double doors into the lounge. Mike has put up a plastic curtain across the room so he is thinking housework and I really appreciate the sentiment. The weather is cooler today so the watering we did last night is having an impact and I can relax a little. Mike and Michael are working together and I don't have to translate or be involved in any way, they have all the boys toys out and are have a good time trying to Kango their way into the lounge from the outside. With all this testosterone in the house I did a really girly thing and made a cake and went into the loft looking for things to take to the car boot on Sunday.
I am only allowed two selling opportunities in one year without being in business and had to sign a declaration that I, will conform. I guess I could do a boot sale in Mike's name then in HOSS's name and then move onto the Chickens, duchess, nasty, mum and cockadoodledo and that would cover the car boot season for the year. I am not that disappointed that I can't car boot for a living as it is unequivocally boring and unlike the UK, they really do go on to six in the evening, so potential, a 12 hour stake out.....
Everything in the garden is growing well we have had no failures so far. I planted out 30 cabbages, 50 leeks, and we have dwarf beans, runner beans and sweetcorn waiting for our attention but today and for the next three days it is hole in the wall, and keeping the dust to a gentle fog.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

We live in the land of cheese but I will draw the line at putting medication in his bowl of wine.

So, you bring up three wonderful children, hold down a tough job, deal with all manner of issues and difficulties as they manifest themselves but when your dog goes down the universe stops and you forget to breath while you make that call to the vet. You may have gathered that I am a little partial to dramaqueenism but after a week tending to HOSS's blistered back and sore paws I finally had to admit defeat and Mike insisted I call the vet, organise a mortgage type loan to pay for the visit, brace myself and go. It is no wonder that you can get to see a vet in 2 hours flat, at 60 Euros for a 10 minute visit and two boxes of medication there is no way I was going to make that mercy call before I had tried my own alternative approach after a lengthy browse on the Internet, and I expect the entire association of French dog owners think the same. Getting back to HOSS, he has experienced a major tick and flea infestation, to the point where his paws were so sore he was limping to get across the gravel but after all the work I had already done the vet could not find one flea on him and said that generally he was looking good but gave me all the scare mongering facts that if he starts blistering again there are tests to be done and that was enough to make me run a mile. So HOSS is in convalescence and has the utter luxury of having his medication wrapped in cheese because he can smell it anywhere else and that isn't a bad thing as we live in the land of cheese but I will draw the line at putting medication in his bowl of wine.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Things are delicate and we need to take I do.

Mission accomplished. We went all the way to a vide grenier in Valogne and then on to Yvtot and there I found a huge bag of wool for six Euros. What a great deal and I can now crochet until my hearts desire knowing it only cost me a few Euro. We had a lovely morning and then came back to just sit around for the rest of the day because we are still really hurting. I put in an hour of poly tunnel time which got us up to date and then tomorrow we start again.
We have arranged with an English builder friend to come in the week to help us install our double doors in the lounge. We bought the doors brand new at half price eighteen months ago and have not had the courage to attempt such a big job without a little know how, so our friend is coming to lend a confident hand. I will be up to my neck in dust and rubble but I am assured it will only take a few days and we will be all back to normal by the weekend.....yeah right.....
We are now waiting for some rain, the chore of watering is getting bigger and bigger as we plant more and more and although it is less when everything is established it is now when things are delicate and we need to take I do.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

great thing about getting older is forgetting why you hurt.....

We started Friday with the aim to stay in and catch up with all those jobs that have fallen off the 'to do list' but two phone calls put all plans out of the window and thrown into another day. I did need to go into town to collect a parcel the post lady could not fit into our box so although I wanted to stay in I knew deep down inside that I also needed to go out so a call from Sarah with an SOS to help put up their new gazebo and a call from Anna to see if the tomatoe plants we promised her were ready meant we packed up our tools and set off on a lovely social afternoon. The sun shone and we both put on our sunglasses.....summer really is here....and administered SOS to the gazebo which looks great outside their gite, then off to Blosville for a mutual appreciation of garden ideas and swappsies of plants seeds and a cup of tea and biscuits. Today is Sunday and we are preparing to go out to a vide grenier in Valogne. We are both sore from the work we did yesterday, Mike put his back into clearing a patch of weeds in the allotment that I had totally walked away from. I have booked this particular space on my veg plan for french beans but I had decided that if I couldn't get this plot cleared we would go without beans...defeatist I know but after days of digging and walking wheel barrows about with tons of weeds your resilience can falter. Mike is a dab hand at recognising when I go down and cleared it and then put his rotivator over it to prepare for action. I planted thirty cabbage plants and thirty marigold and capucine seedlings for flower interest in the allotment. When we finally sat down last night after a very nice BBQ and yet another bottle of vino plonko Mike absentmindedly asked why he should feel so knackered and what had he been doing all day..........great thing about getting older is forgetting why you hurt.....

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I often wish I had done a blog like this, then, to read now.....isn't hindsight a great thing

What a fantastic day, a bit chilly but so bright and full of the thrills and spills of spring. We over slept this morning, I shut off the alarm a few days ago and today it caught up with us and I came out of a very busy nights work dreaming and putting the world to rights at eight thirty, I got up to see to HOSS and let the chickens out, then back to bed with a pint of tea news on French TV. The reality that football and a slim scattering of world news will certainly set you up for the day ahead. French news is a fifteen minute loop and does not include politics or bad news in any depth is great.
We went to the marina in Carentan to meet some people we have come to know and then off to Cherbourg for our promised day on Beema, it was blowing a hooley so we left HOSS in the camper and went onto the pontoon.....I just love it there, great memories of marina life and the high pitched whistle of wind in the rigging is so good for the soul. We have put Beema's table back in place, we removed it six years ago to make way for a double bed in the salon but we now feel with the addition of HOSS we need floor space and a table inside to sit at, and perhaps play games and most certainly eat in. The job was done in just a few swift turns of the screw driver and we now have a double bed kit if we ever want to convert her back but for now it all looks good. I had a lay out on the cabin roof this afternoon looking into the blue azure sky and pondered on the white lines of vapour criss crossing over my head and I was reminded of a day when the kids were quite tiny, driving past the cooling towers at Didcot and Debbie, sat in the back of the car, innocently asked if they were the cloud makers. What a lovely memory of bringing up your children, we still call horses, hortis and I can see Chris's little chubby fingers pointing at every hortis we passed and for George, we still talk about her collection of key rings and the day she dropped them into the Thames but Mike went back during the week with a strong magnet and found them , he still does amazing things like that. I often wish I had done a blog like this, then, to read now.....isn't hindsight a great thing

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

So he is off on another creative project and I get to have breakfast in the garden.....

Two days on the ranch and we have earned ourselves a day on the boat so I am showered up and will have an early night for an adventure tomorrow. We got HOSS aboard Beema last week and although he showed cunning understanding that this was perhaps not going to be as good as running the beach or chasing swallows in the garden he made the effort, reluctantly, and came on board. When we arrived on our new pontoon in Cherbourg however, it suddenly occurred to me that the heights are different and to get on board now, will require a hop and a skip from HOSS and I think we may be looking at gang planks and other contraptions, I fear that HOSS's Master and Commander will be contemplation making him walk the plank in more ways then just getting on board......
We cut a huge branch from one of our trees yesterday. We tagged it last summer when in full leaf, the branch dangled so low that Mike couldn't get the mower underneath, so before the leaves burst into fullness this year the branch has been cut and a sense of fresh air and light abounds. I am the worlds most "use it again " merchant and I got straight down to the triage of big branches, small branches and bits we can do nothing with. It sends Mike completely mad as I become slightly obsessive and tetchy if he gets the piles wrong or ignores them completely but after an hour we stashed piles of wood fire burnables, garden support poles and, the just right for the wood chipper wood. I got the chipper out and then spent two hours encouraging these branches to go through the feeder without getting stuck so that I can have fresh and fabulous smelling wood chippings to use as ground cover in the garden.
Job for today then was WEEDING...I hate that so much but must confess that I am learning how weeds think and if you attack them in a specific way, they really do give up . We have been working on the 'Garden' Garden for three years now and the weeds are mostly opportunist weaklings and grass clumps so the job was not as bad as I try to tell it. I then pottered about with odd bits of Branch and made retainers around the garden area then spread chippings everywhere and as I had 5 huge builders buckets to shift I was able to chuck a good coating to discourage the weeds thinking they can make a show, because they can't, ...I said so.
We bought another Singer sewing machine table in Depot Vends. This is our third and Mike is converting them into garden tables, they are strong and full of character, so he is off on another creative project and I get to have breakfast in the garden.....

Monday, 19 April 2010

What a fantastic place we have here in Brevands.

Mission accomplished and Beema is safely tucked up on pontoon G85 in Cherbourge. We had a great motor round Gatteville light house, there was not a breath of wind, so from far, far too much wind and chilly back lash to glorious bright, sea state smooth with mid summer tendencies, all changed in one day...breathtaking.
HOSS did not fare so well and decided to get the ump at Sarah's and did not go near his food for two days despite her gentle way with him. I have trained him to only eat when I have invited him into the bowl and it is all done with a whisper and twenty seconds of eye contact, any of you in doggie knowledge knows that twenty seconds of eye contact is good.....but not if you have not told the baby sitter. All in all though he behaved and Sarah and Peter will have him back but I will have to give him permission to eat in my absence next time....dogs, who'd av em.
Both Mike and I are bronzed and leather like after our day out at sea. Thibaut across the road came over as soon as we appeared at the gate to get the news as to where we had gone and how it all went...worse than Coronation street, and the first thing he said was 'wow' have you been in the sun.....!
We treated ourselves to a BBQ after a walk around the garden to make sure everything was still in place. We love to go away but we just love to come home. Beema is our cottage at the seaside and we will go once a week to either sail or just be in Cherbourg for the sites which gives us a break from the to do list and the opportunity to realise what a fantastic place we have here in Brevands.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

what a nightmare week this has been, waiting for tide and weather.....

When you make a plan you expect things to "go to" and when you have planned to go sailing and you drawer back the curtains to a thick wall of fog the Ohh Noo expression might depict the end of the world or worse the prospect of not expediting your plans...
We watered the entire garden yesterday using the most fabulous Bowzer pulled along by the tractor and it will prove to be a very useful tool. Sarah and Peter came over for a cup of tea and Sarah was predicting a long and dry summer, so our winter plans to have water available and at hand for our investments in plants and design will have been well instigated.
Our Hens have a new visitor , a small silver hen arrives every morning and leaves every night to enjoy the company and food available within the containment of the Heneriera. I suspect she has made herself a nest in the hedgerow and is popping back to lay an egg every day so the interest of our hefty Cock-a-doodle-do may deliver a set of chicks at the beginning of summer, but in the mean time little hen is treating this place like a holidaycamp day visitor and we are pleased to see her each day.
I am doing this blog at the crack of dawn as we need to be on the boat by 10:00 but with the fog it will all be delayed departure and we may just have to do this trip in two halves and stop off at St Vaast. in any case we will get our sail and Beema will end up in Cherbourg ...what a nightmare week this has been, waiting for tide and weather.....

Friday, 16 April 2010

The little ancient rateleuse looks content in her new home on a shiny green lawn that we had just mowed.

Mike is still glued, nay, obsessed with Le Bon Coin and as I sat obsessively crocheting in front of the TV he showed me a picture of an ancient Rateleuse, It does not matter what it used to do as this historic and most lovely piece of farming equipment is just perfect as a movable and interesting object in the garden. It was quite late, but I made that phone call and the next day we set off for a little adventure into the outback of France looking for a tiny village and an even tinier road. We use on-line page jeune, Yellow Pages, and ask for the Mairie, which is the Maires office, in the Village we are looking for. All little villages have a Mairie, we have one in Brevands so there is sure to be a map of the immediate area and we found the town and the road we were looking for so we had an notion as to where we were heading. An hour and a half driving through the bliss of French countryside with no traffic is no hardship and when we arrived we were met by extremely friendly people and the Rateleuse. This piece of equipment is a huge straw rake on metal wheels with a little metal seat where the farmer sits with foot peddles and hand levers to get this contraption to do his work. Originally it would have been horse drawn but has been adpted to be towed behind a little old tractor. We said we would have it and the family broke into a sweat with no suggestion too insignificant to get this piece of history into our trailer. The son and the toddler went off to get their tractor to push it in and then there came acres of wood and a cordless drill and screws appeared to make blocks to secure the trailer for the trip home. An hour of these peoples lives later, we set off back the way we came. We were offered coffee which we declined as I was feeling very embarassed at the time and effort they had put into helping us out and when I handed over 30 euro I just needed to get away before I emptied my wallet to them in gratitude for the service and attention to detail they had shown us. We drove back very happy with our purchase and managed to get it off the trailer just us two, 50% of the effort was helped by gravity and momentum but she came off without too much descriptive vocabulary and then we dragged her up into the garden and I very pleased to say the little ancient rateleuse looks content in her new home on a shiny green lawn that we had just mowed.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Another landlubbed day but at least the sun is shining.

After such a lovely weekend we were a bit fed up with the wind and change in temperature and although it is possible to get out in the garden and potter we really want to be out on the water delivering Beema.
With all the seedlings successfully showing it is important to spend an hour or so in the poly and germination plant every day to keep on top of the duties, we prick out and pot on, but this year we have run out of pots. When we moved in I sorted good pots, bad pots and pots that had attitude and intended to chuck out all those that did not please, but this year we have exhausted our huge supply and I now need to start planting out to free up a fresh supply ...unbelievable.
Mike did a complete weed killer tour of the garden, the squish and squash sound of his pump promises workable ground and weed free digging and I love to hear him make his way around the new areas we have discussed and decided to enlarge and those where we should have been more vigilant with hand weeding, but a good dose puts all that to rights. We then do the guided tour of what is and what isn't going to die and I was silently broken in two when Mike proudly announced that he had got these little buggers which only I know are Honesty which I had grown from seed collected in Harmondswater the last time we visited Bracknell before Mike's Dad was OK though because I have plenty more in the potager and I will replant but the initial OH NO, although a little drama queen, was quickly forgiven. Honesty can look like a weed and it is not until you have grown from seed that you learn to trust your keen eye
....weed, plant, weed, plant.......rule of thumb, if is is tough to pull it is a weed if it just pulls out without resistance it is a plant, and then it is too late to do anything about it..
We went out to the beach late last night to look at the sea, we have done this so often to check sea state and the white rolling waves and stiff breeze gave us another landlubbed day but at least the sun is shining.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Sarah is all primed up to have HOSS, so please cross your fingers for us.

Yesterday was Sunday, and we know that by the fact that radio four sounds completely different and once the organ strikes up we are up and out to find something to do. This time of year is prone to the odd car boot sale called a vide grenier which translated means empty your loft, and is not only the lofts to be cleared but barns, hedge row and rubbish heaps get a look in as well. The concept of pile it high and sell it cheap does not exists here so we really only go to look and reminisce. I am on the look out for cheap wool for my frantic crocher hobby and I found a box full of odd ends so I jumped on it, probably too enthusiastically, to ask the price and the dear old bat, simply shrugged her shoulders, so I presumed she was open to offers, and offered her five Euros, she looked at me as though I had stolen her life and took the box off me. I then asked how much for each ball end, and she priced her valuable stock at one Euro a piece, I pay one Euro for a new ball with a choice of colour in the shops and I told her so in no uncertain terms with a few Ahhh Non in there for effect. We came away empty handed and then popped over to Apperville to visit Anne for a cuppa and a lovely slice of lemon cake.
Anne lives on her own in a cottage she bought 16 years ago as a holiday home and while she was working has converted it into a lovely cosy home. She mentioned on Saturday, at our concert, which incidentally was fantastic and great fun, despite my worries about not being prepared, so Anne mentioned she had been robbed of fire wood, somebody had driven onto her field and taken half her stock. Mike and I were utterly shocked because nicking wood is as bad as robbing a bank and it just is not done, so I wanted to make sure she was feeling OK and encourage her to get down to see the Maire to have a moan and groan about the whole nasty incedent
The weather has turned windy and chilly, but we are still preparing to move Beema this week Mike is lost in the weather websites and tide plotter and we just hope there will be a little window for us to launch ourselves. Sarah is all primed up to have HOSS, so please cross your fingers for us.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

I know this will prove to be another of our great purchases at 35 Euro, I could flog it at Depot vends for 200 euro tomorrow.

It is so nice to have visitors who ohhh and ahhh at the work we have done here and we had a full years quota yesterday when Melvin and Dee, and John and Linda came over from the UK for lunch. M and D's last visit was two years ago and the changes to the garden and even the house are quite impressive and we both just so enjoyed having a bit of wowism to justify the hours of work and planning we put in each day. We had a wonderful lunch under our new gazebo, but the time was all too short and they were all bundled back in the car for an 20:15 fast cat from Cherbourg before we had time to take breath. The prezie of peanut butter and chedder cheese was well appreciated and we will relish the next proper cheese and pickle sandwich..
Mike has had a good result from the le bon coin free ads site, he saw a water bowzer for sale for 35 euro, galvenised tank with huge metal wheels and tow bar to hitch up behind the tractor. We never know what to expect from these type of Ads, probably the case the world over, but dutifully we set off this morning to meet the nice chappy who was patient and understanding in having to spell all the words in his address letter by letter, I have learned that if I do no follow this little procedure we get hopelessly misguided and lost when trying to find places. We were met at the gate by said very nice chappy and taken to the back of the garden where the most wonderful barrique d'eau all shiny, but still very antique looking sat waiting for us.. For 35 euros this was the deal of the day and we thrust the dosh in chappies hand and did a runner but not until we found we needed to take a wheel off to get it into the trailer and when the wheel slid off with no resistance we realised that we had a better deal that we could have ever imagined. This afternoon we filled our new Barrique from the well and towed it up to the wild garden area at the furthest point from the house and watered in our new little seeds, and they said thank you. I know this will prove to be another of our great purchases at 35 Euro, I could flog it at Depot Vends for 200 euro tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

One more day of fun and laughter then we must knuckle down, we have lost momentum.....

Today marks the first day of summer for us ...we ate our dinner out on the terrace. What a treat, Mike and I bit the bullet this morning at Leclerc and took advantage of their giveaway price gazebos and we now have our very own outside room. We have been contemplating a conservatory and this will give us an objective opinion on how much use we would get out of a of a hunk of building stuck on the front of this beautiful house.
I have been on another days rest, I actually need to get up into the allotment to prepare the ground for veg but I am on my last legs. I have fasted a little today to give my body extra energy to mend....what a drag.
We have our friends John and Linda and Mel and Dee for lunch on a whistle stop trip to France so we are looking forward to a fun filled lunch as they need to be on a ferry at 5:00 so it will be a quick sit and eat.
We have just come in and it is nine o'clock, this is what we are out here for and every thing is so bright and new, we took a evening walk around the field last thing and I noticed that Mike gravitates to his gate at the top of the garden everytime, he so wants to finish this project, and we will, but dare I mention, we need to move Beema then Mum is here and we we need to prepare for a busy May. One more day of fun and laughter then we must knuckle down, we have lost momentum.....

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mike has been glued to his PC with his finger poised over his buy button for the past three day now.....

Heavy work always rears it's ugly head on our physical condition two or three days after a hard days slog and this morning we both woke up like Zombies for the dark lagoon. My state, as the woman of the house was much much worse and compounded by the fact that I had a gruelling choir practice in the church at St Combe Du Mont to prepare for a concert on Saturday for which a we are ill prepared.
We were expecting a deluge of rain today so we cut the lawns yesterday and decided to do a complete cut and pick up, it means going over some areas twice but on our evening walk tonight we both felt is was all worth while, not quite the Augusta golf greens that brother Billy is hoping to see in May but passable for Downshire. We also took the opportunity to kick start the compost heaps and lasagnaed a good layer of grass cuttings, Mike put his hand in the pile in Kitten corner this afternoon and it was roasting in there so the rotting process will have sped up so we can recoup the compost sooner.
So, we are both tired, achie breakie gardeners this morning and I had already put today aside for rest but a visit to the hire company to pay for the digger was a priority and then it would be back to take things easy. Doing anything that has an flavour of authority gives us a little heart murmur because any discrepancy is a difficult and challenging affair, so the simple task of paying for a days hire is fraught with the possibility that we could get ripped off and taken to the cleaners but we were greeted like old mates and after the confetti display of paperwork all in triplicate, never a mention of a querie, like "how many hours did you really use sir"..... I don't know why we have this foreboding approach to anything with a process behind it but bet your bottom dollar the day we don't have the heart murmur and go prepared and alert will be the day it all turns sour.
Anna recommended that we look at a web site called Le Bon Coin, it is a free ads site selling absolutely everything and is regionalised so sellers are local, great site except that the Manche is a big place with loads of people selling their tosh and Mike has been glued to his PC with his finger poised over his buy button for the past three days now

Monday, 5 April 2010

We have committed to mow grass in earnest in the morning, touch of maniana

We have concluded, that as we should be in gainful employment at our age, any work we do here on the ranch, is work! it is gainful as it puts value on our investment, it keeps us off the streets and occupied. With this concept embedded in our psyche we can honestly put our hands up to having done a good days work today. Our friends Anna and William as I have mentioned before have stones and boulders in their garden and today we went with our trailer in tow to pick and nick for our garden designs. It was all very barterish in terms of process, we all picked for us until the trailer was groaning into it's suspension units and then we carried on until Lunch to pick and place stones and boulders on the perimeter of their spanking new terrace around their spanking new house. Both Anna and I were left speechless, but not for long, watching Mike use all his powers of fulcrum and lever appreciation managing single handed to move huge monolithic lumps whilst we hand picked the smallest and most maneuverable in between a good natter and a good load of gossip. Job done for the day, we shared a fab lunch with loads of fun and laughter and realised that we shared so many things in common, Anna is an avid Croc wearer and blow me down, owns the same colour as mine, she also has just finished her round crochet blanket...and so have I ......spooky. We came home intending to mow the grass but, what went into the trailer had to come out so we barrowed tons on stones up into the boat garden and that is that finished, and looking great. Happily the meteo looks good for tomorrow and we have committed to mow grass in earnest in the morning, touch of maniana

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Came home to collapse infront of Saturday night UK TV and fell asleep, it is good to talk.

We had jolly good company yesterday in more ways than one, it all started with a quiet walk around the garden with my mate Anne with whom I sing with on a Tuesday night and then we sat down and had a proper lovely lunch just chatting about everything and anything. Anne, Mike and I are of the same vintage and it is novel and pleasant for us to chat to somebody who is from our era. We are confounded by the age of our acquaintances and friends and we find ourselves wave madly at Genevieve's uncle who is 95 and Geneviere herself who I put right up there with my best mates is 76 so you can appreciate that when a whipper snapper turns up we are keen to hang on for relevant aged discussion. During our 1954 mode lunch my 84 year old friend Jacqueline with whom we make cider with every year, phoned to say she needed an Internet connection for her sons friend and could they come around, so we ended up 6 around the table with a Kiwi, Yank, Canadian playing on Mike's PC trying to send a very vital and important document somewhere in France. We then all ended up in Jacqueline's huge reception room at La capitanerie later that evening for aperitifs where I had another opportunity to tel our story and that of my Mum's, how come I speak french, Mike dosn't and how we manage. By the end of the day I was numb from talking and laughing, we turned down the offer of dinner at jacqualine's and came home to collapse infront of Saturday night UK TV and fell asleep, it is good to talk.

Friday, 2 April 2010

I have at last cracked the profound and unsolved problem of bunny bundles and rabit ragings.

My dog eats one and a half large tins of meat a day and over a week that amounts to a big bag of empty tins. In the early days I horded them away like a little squirrel knowing that I would find a really good use for a storeroom full of tins. Last year however, I emptied my substantial stash into the recycled box because my plan to build a full size sculpture of a tin can man sitting on a bench in my garden was dashed when Jez and Mike, who know about these things, convinced me there was no real easy way to join thin tin to create a that idea dashed I gave in and away they went. Today we sowed the wild garden, in fact four gardens and in my anti rabbit mind set came up with a fantastic idea to hang used tin cans around the gardens to upset and deter the peskie, meddling, cute but annoying rabbits. Mike was busy hard landscaping so I got on with the project and made holes in the bottom of HOSS's food tins threaded string through so that they can be hung from a stick. I made a good twenty before Mike came in so the process was well under way before he could stop me. He asked if I had been onto the Internet to find such a hair brained idea that rabbits would be scared of a tin can but I have taken all the credit for the idea and tomorrow I will hang them all around the gardens and we will see if I have at last cracked the profound and unsolved problem of bunny bundles and rabit ragings.

We ate defrosted hot cross buns this morning and they were just great... thanks Mim.

Pestkie rabbits are having their debauching way on the 40 little hedge plants I dug in a couple of weeks ago and there is nothing more annoying to make my blood boil. I don't mind them having a go at the willow as they 'kind-a-like' a good prune but stay off my hedge ! . I baby sat the young chap across the road yesterday and tend to take advantage and use him to get a translation on tools and activities around the garden, I feel very comfortable asking a 12 year old fundamentally easy questions and he seems to like being so knowledgeable but I fear he misunderstands my motives and thinks I am a complete uneducated dunderhead and I wonder if I should read into the sweet smiles and knowing nods we get for the adults in the village. However when he comes over I always do something in the garden because we both benefit so I set off with chicken wire and metal staples to wrap all the new hedge plants in a rabbit proof coller..40 times...grrrrrrr.. During the procedure we ran out of staples and I asked Thibault what he would call them and his quick and confident reply was " un truc" which boldly translates to " a thing" so I was none the wiser and we set off with wire cutters to cut and bend a handful of truc....His Mum was horrified with his response but couldn't come up with a plausible one word descriptive answer either, so I just smiled sweetly and nodded knowingly. The digger turned up onThursay afternoon instead of Friday morning , crack of dawn, and as the sun was shining Mike set out immediately to dig an entrance through the heavily hedged boundary into the Field. This has been a year long project and we really needed to get the heavy work done so we can then take our time preparing for gravel. We are hoping to park the camper and tractor up there so I can own the back yard and make into an outside room....that was very design speak and if I mention that we can take a journey through it then Mike will squirm and leave the van there and call it the van park. Easter is with us before we have had time to contemplate a special treat but we ate defrosted hot cross buns this morning and they were just great... thanks Mim.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

We spoke softly to all the little seedlings growing in a row.....grow you buggers grow.

April showers have nothing on us today, it has been the worst so far. Last night I woke up to the sound of howling winds and torrential rain and this morning after breakfast Mike and I took a walk around the site to suss the damage. Happily to report that the only thing really suffering now is the barn roof, there are tiles slipping off it like confetti and it is starting to look sad and disgruntled. We looked at the price to hire scaffolding, echaffodage to those who like the local lingo, and it seems that we can buy enough scaffolding to cover the front face of the barn for two grand in the UK, here, you are looking at a cool three grand plus TVA at 19.6% so it looks like we could plan a trip to see the Mums, Geoff and Chris with a trailer or hire a van and still have change, to hire the same amount of scaffolding would be 400 euros a month but by the time we have had to leave it up for 6 months because we are not roofers, and would need to take it really easy then I can hear us saying, should have gone to the UK and bought some. I did suggest to mike that we could store scaffolding as a tower in the middle of the garden and set it up as a viewing platform....we both like the sound of that. but hey ho that is more expense and we are trying, and I mean really trying to keep our expenditure to a moderate concern so perhaps next year we will be able to attack the roof. So, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, that is the order of the week but we have the tunnel to run to and today we worked on the geraniums and spoke softly to all the little seedlings growing in a row.....grow you buggers grow.