My goodness me where has this week gone, this feel like the slippery slope to oblivion when you go to your blog on Friday and the last entry was Tuesday.
On Wednesday Graham and Ann braved the apple picking challenge again and we cleared our orchard, it was actually very easy, we keep our trees on clipped grass and even the leaves get picked up so with the sun out and a warm and pleasant breeze caressing our tired bones we got the job done and dusted by one o'clock and cracked open a bottle of cider, well you would wouldn't you. We then spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and trying to sort out Ann's French homework. The last of the picking was done on Thursday at Jacqueline's orchard, we all met at La Capitainery at nine thirty for the off but worryingly 84 year old Jacqueline was unwell and was getting herself off to the doctors so Mike and I took over the job of preparing the apple pile on her front lawn and organising our friends into action to get the trees emptied and the fruit into bags. I feel so at home at La Capitainery and at lunch time we came down off the orchard and settled ourselves in Jacqueline's huge dining room and tucked into our pic-nics before finishing off the final trees and clearing up leaving the apple pile ready for crushing next Saturday. Jacqueline was away all morning and had a full anaesthetic then surgery on her nose to stop it bleeding, she then drove home, put on her apron and started work again, but I think she was quietly delighted that we had got all the work done for this year and all she had to do was put her feet up for the rest of the day.
We have had a letter from the French NHS to say YES we can stay at a cost of three hundred and fifty Euros a year for both of us. This gives us eighty percent of all our medical costs paid by the state which is the basic french person's cover and then we pay ninety euros a month for top up insurance which pays the other twenty percent so we are fully covered. If any UK resident out there wants to knock the NHS then they should came here and pay the price, have all the medicines taken listed by price to make you aware of your burden on the state. Sometimes you have to pay, if you have a sour throat then the state will not reimburse the doctors prescription because every one gets colds and sour throats, so you pay. Still, the service is much faster and you get seen pretty much straight away but that is because most French people think twice before they go to the doctor as it will most definitely cost them hard earned dosh.
We have booked our trip to Spain in the camper in June but now the reality of leaving our poly tunnel unattended of a couple of weeks is sinking in and Mike is designing an irrigation system that will not only deal with that one problem but act as a permanent feature to take the worry and time out of watering during those few vital weeks when the plants are young and vulnerable. Tomorrow he will start to put the plan together and I for one will be happy to introduce a labour saving process as I spent many a hot and weary afternoon wetting the tunnel down this year to save the souls of our tomato plants who incidental are still producing red tomatoes but sadly I cannot look them in the face as I am totally tomatoed out for this year.