Wednesday, 29 September 2010

night caps are something in abundance here at the moment.

We went to the depot vends middle of last week to practice looking at, and pricing  potential trinkets for us to buy and sell. I am looking at stuff that could easily go in the post so that we can play e-bay from France and post to the UK. We both feel we have hit a bit of a flat point and would like to have a small revenue stream to get a kick out of something. The garden is all well and good but it lacks that  profit making satisfaction buzz. While we were at the depot vends we came across a fabulous dresser and I just fell in love with it, the detail in the wood work was amazing and I just could not take my eyes away from it. One thing led to another and we also bought a wonderful Louis style three piece suite to give our lounge a more authentic feel for those long winter evenings when we spend hours cuddled up in front of the fire. The existing side board and display cabinet in the lounge are part of a  large dining suite, the table of which is in the out house and the 6 chairs are all around the house filling corners. When we bought this suite in Watten we thought it would look great in our new house in Brevands but we have slowly moved the table and chairs  out to make the lounge into the room we wanted. The whole set is now up for sale and I have a response already and have sent a pack of photos in the wild and ambitious hope that Trudie, the lady requesting the pictures will love it and come and pay me lots of Euros and take it home to make way for our new look lounge. Mike has taken all the flock wall paper off the walls and we are going for a plain look to give the new furniture a chance to breath and be seen. Flock covering has it's place in this life but not on my walls and I can't wait to get some simple lines to smarten up our act a little.
When we took Beema to Cherbourg we spent a couple of days emptying all the lockers and repacking them and chucking all the dross that you keep because you forgot why you had it in the first place, well we are doing it all over again but this time we are going through the house.  I emptied the side board and what filled a box eight feet by five feet by three feet is now in a couple of cardboard boxes waiting for the other dresser to arrive. I could not believe the rubbish we were hanging onto, and, it is so good for the soul having a root round and chuck out. I found four bottles of brandy and two bottles of gin stashed away so tonight we will have a little night cap as night caps are something in abundance here at the moment.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Now why does that not surprise me. -

I am here again in the kitchen, for two reasons, firstly my mac has it's new aerial and I am now able to pick up the wi-fi from the live box in the lounge and the second reason I am in the kitchen at this ungodly hour is that the apples are falling and I am stewing and bottling apple sauce.  I actually don't mind making a bit of apple sauce because we do use it throughout the year and I am always thankful when  I open a jar and get that lovely summer smell mingled with that spicy musky tang of Autumn. I have a good crop of apples this year and we have arranged to put them into the cider barrel with Jeanjacque's, and Jacqueline's apples. Our new mates Ann and Graham have shown great interest in picking and emptying the trees in the bigger orchards so the whole event will be a lot more enjoyable for us and hopefully more efficient.  Last year Mike and I did the entire picking on our own and we were tired and bored by the end of four days. I  called Ann this morning to let her know that she needs to start collecting bottles for their very own booty and that they should both be stretching their calf muscles and get used to being bent double for a couple of days. I am limbering up every day picking my orchard clean. For the past two years Mike and I have  picked Jacqueline's apples single handed and it has always ended up being a four  day event. Two hour lunches shorten the day and after the apperitives, wine and highly suspect eau de vie digestives  the afternoons became very  sluggish and tough. We have agreed to pic-nic in the orchards and get on with the job this year but it is not a concept that Jacqueline has embraced and insists that she supply the grog at least, but as we will be sat on the grass we will be less likely to sit back and knock it back.
The internet telephone is still not connected if anyone is paying attention to this event, I did predict that this was going to be yet another toughie and I was right. It seems that the engineer gave the administration and installation department the wrong info on our new replacement live box and it may need to have a complete set to zero exercise, very scary,  the nice customer services lady was going to call me back in fifteen minutes, ten hours why does that not surprise me.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

do I feel belligerent about nibbling bet your life I do.

We have just said goodbye to our over night visitors, and that leaves us a little melancholy but we had a jolly evening sharing sailing stories with Toney.  Liv has taken up acrylic painting and as a retired all girl school  teacher and learning guru was proud to show off her  progress and explain the best way to learn.  I was both inspired and a little jealous of her commitment and ability to get on and do what she has set out to achieve . Mike and I are really good at that together, but are finding it difficult to motivate ourselves separately, so, food for thought, and perhaps a little practice at not being joined at the hip all day to find time and develop some personal space and achievements.
The reason for this quick blog was to log one mole trapped and dead, (which is the only way to have a mole), and a rabbit in the cage. Mike reset the mole traps as there was still activity and you really need to catch at least two to clear an area, and now we are off to take  the rabbit trap down the road to free, Willy The rabbit, in a farmers field away from my plants, my tree trunks and my I feel belligerent about nibbling bet your life I do.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Is to see if the little blighters have past our way.

It's raining and we are now confined to indoors. We have just finished lunch, Cheddar cheese on toast, a scarce delight thanks to Mum's food parcel from the UK, who never misses the point of an overseas basket of goodies and always includes Mimite, Chedder cheese and spotty dick. This morning 'we have mostly been' house wives as we have visitors coming for an over night stop. I always wonder why I don't clear up more often, it is fun putting things back where they belong and thinking of new and interesting ways to display and present ourselves. We spent two nights at Odney JLP partners club last week and I had got used to a shiny clean bathroom that miraculously cleaned itself when we were out so today I went though our pink manifestation of a bathroom and it is as clean and shiny as it can be.
Mike had given me the heads up on our impending rain last night so I wanted to get out and deal with the pesky moles that have made in roads to the lawns. Mike set traps in the wood before our holiday and caught two, and that put an end to the activity there, but at the new field-gate at the back of the garden mole hills as big as the Himalayas have appeared. I assisted Mike today to offer moral support but also as cheer leader and getter onner. I know that Mike gets a little fed up chasing these little blighters around the field albeit underground in very secret and mysterious ways but if you don't stop 'em they will take over and the lawn becomes pitted with brown mud marks where the hills were. Mike is well into his eightieth mole caught in his short career as master mole catcher but no end of encouraging coes and statistical acclamations makes the job any easier. Today we had the added torment of working with new mole traps suitably prepared to take off all trace of man smells but in their new state the trap part of the trap kept trapping before Mike could lay them in the holes and I could see that he was loosing the will to live, but carried on in true mole catcher modus operandi, whatever that might be, and saw the job to completion. All that is left for us to do tomorrow, is to see if the little blighters have past our way.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I have a feeling I am going to rack up a few hours in the next few days to get this baby on the road.

We've been back to the UK, if you thought that I was loosing interest, but I do not want to advertise an empty house on this huge, out in the ether style open book we have running here.
We caught the fast cat on Tuesday last week with a huge to do list which included a two day visit to the Boat Show in Southampton. We really needed this visit to put back into perspective the cost and commitment needed to own a boat like Beema. Mike and I made the decision whilst we were there that perhaps the time was approaching that we may need to put her on the market, but that was yesterday, and this is today, and we still have done nothing about this momentous decision. The rest of our time was spent buying all the things we just don't have the courage to pay for in expensive Euros, like exhaust system for the van, a windy hammer for the compressor, paint, wall paper, T-shirts, deckys, oil of Ulay, orange squash, PG tips and the list just rolls on. I did a daily cross off the list, and updated the situation on an ongoing basis, like being back in the office with risk assessment and health and safety consideration, so this visit felt more relaxed and in control. By the time we set off home we had spent quality time with Chris and Sam and had lunch with the Mums, Geoff and the Gambles so mission well and truly accomplished and when we drove off the ferry I was looking forward to freeing the dog from the kennel and putting on the chip pan of which we did, and thoroughly enjoyed.
A weeks worth of post brought good news, and we are once again, but we don't know for how long, back in the french medical system and when I checked the bank account the CPAM, NHS to you, had paid us back 167 € of Mikes 206€ dental bill, so the system works and I just might go and have my teeth looked at now, although, it is never the cost of dentist intervention that stops me, I am just scared out of my brain. When the kids were young I had to be brave and I went every six months like a good girl, but now I no longer have to be brave and I don't go........I can hear you all saying, for goodness sake, get a life..... so I promise to make an appointment....sooooon .
We now have two phone lines into the house , the original land line truly back on the land and a new Internet line that promises to give us free calls to UK land lines and an hours worth to OZZ and Canada but it has come to my notice that all our children live on their mobiles so the benefit is waisted but then again it is already waisted because it does not work yet and Having made a call today to the espace client I have a feeling I am going to rack up a few hours in the next few days to get this baby on the road.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Makes your mouth water just thinking about it, but not this year.

We have stayed in for the past two days to get a few jobs done before we set off back to the UK for a few days. I started out yesterday with secateurs in hand to prune the current and raspberries bushes and as I started I got an attack of non confidence and had to go and fetch the gardening manual to make sure I was doing the right cut in the right place. Mike came into the potager to see what I was up to and decided that he would trim the hedge behind the soft fruit area first to better access the bushes,... and that is how we go from a day pruning to a day hedge cutting. I am always the clearer upper on these occasions and we managed to fill three trailers of cuttings for the green dechete. I read that we are suppose to do two cuts a year but that is just too much like hard work.
I have today done my last food processing for two weeks, I am exhausted from standing at the kitchen sink but I know that during the long winter I will feel quietly contented whilst preparing winter fare with our summer harvest. The sweet corn has failed, it tastes like putty and is not sweet and luscious like we would expect. A little disappointing but natures way and the chickens are delighted with the turn of events. The only reason for our failure is perhaps that we sewed French seeds and as the french do not eat sweet corn like we do I suspect it was a variety that is not expected to be eaten off the cob directly, makes your mouth water just thinking about it, but not this year.

Friday, 10 September 2010

My mission was totally accomplished

We had a fab day off today and as the Lessay faire was on this weekend we decided to do our visit today, Friday and beat the crowds....yeah right....We queued for 6 kilometers to get anywhere near the show ground but used the time to chat to one another and actually talked through the next phase of HOSS's health issues. We walked around the Lessay agricultural fare for 5 hours drinking up the atmosphere and I utterly enjoyed witnessing years of agricultural development on show. Huge combine harvesters, tractors and trailers, cutters, croppers and loaders, all shiny and new. There is strong evidence of business being done and you get a real feel of the new age farmer eyeing up the latest gadget and the old traditional farmer looking on in amazement and wonder. I caught a glimps of a couple of old chaps sitting on shooting sticks holding court with a gang of young guns with stories as tall as the on-site cherry pickers at full height flying corporate flags. Mike was extremely patient and let me mull my way through the dog and small animal enclosure where local breeders had their crop on display. Row on row of fabulously cute puppies and the price to die for ...literally, 600 euros for a German Shepherd or 300 euros for a tiny lap dog, big money and it would seem no guarantees. We took a walk around the horse fare and marvelled at the lack of health and safety with hundreds of horses of all sizes, donkeys and alpaca's just tied up on corrals, so approachable and very dangerous. I witnessed a tiny young boy go up to a Shetland pony to pat his back and the blighter kicked back and missed this kid by a fag paper, but the law is that you are responsible for the welfare of your child so be beware, the health and safety issues that have disabled the UK in terms of live and kicking activities are non existent here except of a red circled sign with a picture of a horse kicking a picture of a the point, and only one sign as you walk into the enclosure.
We ate sausages in baguettes with chips, washed down with a glass of beer and I for one had a fantastic day. I bought three pairs of gardening gloves for three Euros and Mike found 1000 meters of plastic wire for the poly re-vamp for 20 euros, so my mission was totally accomplished

Thursday, 9 September 2010

I was an island in the middle of a huge and vast ocean, alone and out of touch, yep I am a drama queen but that is how it felt.

It has been 16 days since my last blog and I feel like I have been away for a month. We lost access to the Internet on the 27th August and today, Mike moved my Mac into the lounge and connected me to our new live box router with a cable. This is like going back to the middle ages but at least I am on line and able to be communicative and in touch. When the line went dead we spent the whole weekend, switching the box off, turning it on, reconfiguring the PC and uninstalling anything that looked dodgy or cumbersome. We called for help from Sarah's phone in Carentan and I put out an e-mail to all who should know that we are not only off line but have no phone and no mobile signal. Actually, life was quieter, no English radio, no screen watching to see who is where and no trawling the internet for no apparent reason. We were assured by the french speaking indian customer services specialist at Orange that the line was working so we took our box to St Lo and had the box checked and the smartly dressed and efficient engineer in the shop said the box was fine and the line was faulty..are you hearing what I am hearing, the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing. The France Telecom engineer was ordered to come and check the line and arrived two days later. Nice chappy, boasted an english grand mother from Newcastle but couldn't speak a word of english and when he said in his best french la ligne est bonne and the box is faulty I nearly blew a fuse and would not let him go without a little more investigation so he got his live box connected and it worked. Mike was a very unhappy customer so we locked up the house and shot over to St lo again with a report from our France Telecom Engineer. Long story short, we had the box checked again and it was faulty and in my best flirty french, because I needed a result, I had to press the question as to why the box was declared OK on Monday and not OK Wednesday, shruggy shoulders, sweet smiles, pack up the new replacement as quickly as possible, more flirty chit chat because he did not want Mikes fury to deal with and I just wanted to get out with my new box. We connected everything up and although we had to wait twenty four hours for the phone to reconnect we felt things were back to normal and then the next day my Mac lost it's connectivity and I was an island in the middle of a huge and vast ocean, alone and out of touch, yep I am a drama queen but that is how it felt.