Les poissons en France

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Little Light Exercise

We bought some horticultural textile this morning to cover the "mound" in the courtyard. So John decided to start creating the Japanese garden this afternoon.

Firstly he had to scavenge the biggest rocks he could move ( and ones that were really too big for him to move) from the banks around the garden.

The following photos will illustrate the effort involved for an ol' boy with a dicky heart.

Eventually I got involved in a supervisory role and I did a bit of pulling and pushing as necessary

He/we have a lot more rock and gravel to move before the project is complete.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Postal Services

Firstly I must thank all of you who sent us Christmas cards and e-cards. However.....do you feel a rant coming on? As we opened our cards in December I couldn't help noticing how expensive it was for you to send us the cards and commented how generous it was of you to think of us. Also we noticed when the card had been posted often very early in December. (I can assure you that we did eventually open the envelopes and read the cards!!) As Christmas Day approached we thought we haven't heard from so and so this year, "hope they are OK". However into the New Year we began to receive a batch of cards every day, and to our relief "so and so" was OK. But each delivery stoked my anger, culminating a couple of days ago when we received a card which was posted at the main Post Office in Peterborough on the 8th December, OVER A MONTH previous. We are used to getting letters from HMRC which take a month to get to us and tell us that we should have paid our tax by last week, but not Christmas cards. No wonder most of us communicate by email these days.

I don't know which postal service is to blame (although we have had a word with our lovely postman, who just gave a gallic shrug) and I expect it cost us the same to send cards to the UK but we weren't counting. Anyway I feel better for getting this off my chest.

PS Nature Note

We got up this morning to pouring rain and a very dark dismal day but to our astonishment heard a kestrel calling for a mate. We are used to hearing him in early Spring but doesn't he know that it is only 12th January!! The crocuses have also started to bloom early so perhaps the warmer weather since Christmas has confused all parts of the natural world.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Winter work

For the past few weeks now the weather has been very unsettled ... a lot of rain has fallen and there's  surface water lying in the fields.  So not gardening weather!

We therefore scratched our heads and wondered what to do with ourselves and decided that, after nearly 10 years it was time to redecorate the kitchen.  In the past we've moved house when it became time to redecorate.

The first job was to take down all of the eye-ball lights, clean them of years of fly-dirts and then paint around them before replacing them.

I must admit that I wasn't too enthusiastic at the thought of all of the covering up of the kitchen units and the tiled floors but fortunately we have a huge quantity of old sheets and duvet covers in the loft.
   We found some very good French paint that really did cover in one coat, although I was accused of trying to spread it too far and had to do a bit of rectification work (another coat in places!)  However, with me doing the rollering and Sue the cutting in we finished the job in 3 days.
We are very pleased that the weather forced us to do this but now, in the evenings we almost have to sit wearing sunglasses.!!

Friday, January 05, 2018


We have not had a storm like Eleanor but we have had strong winds and lots of rain and this pattern is forecast to continue for the next week or so.

John toured the village yesterday to record the current level of flooding and the state of the little river Ceou which runs through the valley. In the summer it dries up completely and we have seen it with out water in February. However a few days of rain changes it's character completely.
We went to Cahors yesterday and saw that the Lot was a chocolate colour and very high, that spells trouble. So we were not surprised when the local council notified road closures with similar measures for the Dordogne which is equidistant from us.

On Saturday the lid of my Heath Robinson cold frame blew off and smashed. We have a spare piece so were repairing it this morning when John noticed that a very large dead tree had fallen over in the front garden. We have no idea when this happened. More work for him I fear. We were actually pleased that it had come down.
So we then made a tour of the rest of the garden giving a push to all the dead trees to see if they would follow suit. One nearly fell but the others refused to budge.
However more winds are predicted so they may succumb.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Obsessional about chopping trees

It doesn't matter what size they are!

We had talked about "shaping" the field maple tree in the courtyard as part of creating the Japonaise garden however I was a little surprised this morning when the chainsaw and ladder appeared.

He has been in Bonsai mode recently as they need repotting, shaping, training etc before the sap starts to rise. However as he is a "Herring, ie his father's son, (those of you who knew Alf will understand perfectly) repotting means buying new pots and whilst your there you just happen to bump into one or two other shrubs that just cry out to be turned into bonsai. Extending the Bonsai bed is already scheduled.
I dont think the hard hat was really necessary for the bonsai!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So that was Christmas!

Christmas Day duly arrived and Sue insisted that it was necessary to go for a walk before lunch (to work up an appetite?)  We left home in lovely sunshine ... and arrived at our destination (Lac Vert) in mist and cold.
So, back home to the sun and Christmas dinner.
Boxing day here in France is just a normal working day and we all went to Lalbenque for the Tuesday Truffle market.  It was packed, not only with lots of curious folk (and a few buyers) but also an astonishing number of sellers.  There were 2 rows of stalls in the middle of the road.

It's always a fascinating display of country folk who still adhere to old ways.

To round off this festive season we waited till it was dark and then went to Lunegarde where the whole of this tiny village decorate their houses.
So that was Christmas.  Must pack the tree away now!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas is coming!

Things are hectic here with almost every town and organisation holding Christmas markets or concerts.  At the weekend Sue and I started with a small local Carol Concert on the Friday evening.  It was held in the church of a neighbouring village which was, as they all are, decorated with illuminations.
The church has been redecorated at some point, in a very 'naif' style.
Saturday we went into Cahors for an Artists Market which was held in a part of the Medieval City which we have never discovered before.
The stalls were spread along the streets but it was cold and so, as Sue needed a toilet, we had to go into a bar for a glass of vin chaud (the french version of mulled wine).

Sunday we were going to go to a local tourist spot for another Christmas market but it rained all day so we chickened-out and stayed at home to have our own private celebration meal (and champagne!!)

Yesterday Sue's cousin Linda, and her husband Mike arrived for Christmas week and we started them off in style with a meal at the local Catering College.  We all enjoyed it, made more interesting as the pupils waiting at table were being watched and marked for an exam!

And then ...this morning Father Christmas arrived.
He is a lovely man in the village who spends this time leading up to Christmas visiting lots of local events in his role as Father Christmas.  Everywhere he goes he leaves joy behind him.