Les poissons en France

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Long and Winding Road

I'm afraid that I've been a naughty boy! I've been working on the 'serpentine' path without my supervisor. So, today, when the head gardener finally had a close inspection of what I've done so far, she wouldn't sign my chitty.

As you can see in the photo, I haven't got the curves 'sweeping' smoothly. What I've done looks more like a series of straight sections. Sue laid some more of the sets on top of what I've already laid to show me how the curve should go. So tomorrow I'll start demolishing sections of what's already there and redoing it , under the watchfull eye of 'Her who sees All.' It's going to be a long, hot summer.

It's been scorching today; 31 degrees in the shade at the back of the house. When it's as hot as that, you really can't work out in the sun in the afternoon. Having said that, this afternoon I did some more work on the courtyard wall. We're getting there slowly.

Then, late afternoon, Sue went to the Potager to pick some spinach for tea. And whilst she was there she dug up a root of our potatoes which have started to droop. Bingo!

The first of this year's new potatoes. You can't beat eating your own, fresh vegetables! And to make it even better, our evening meal will be home-grown spinach, home-grown potatoes and free eggs courtesy of our neighbour Michel. Soon we'll be really french when we go out scouring the hedgerows for anything that's free and can be made into some form of food.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


My plans to get the sepentine path finished by the end of May have flown out of the window; a) because it's a longer job than I realised, b) because I'm getting diverted onto jobs in the garden. Not that I mind because we've come to see that we need to maintain the work we've done so far in the garden so that it doesn't revert to wilderness! So Sue seems to spend her days weeding and edging, whilst I took it upon myself to clear out all of the shooting new growth underneath our trees.
The trees behind the 'long' bed were in the process of becoming a hedge again, shading the plants.

Then we saw also that the 'white' bed in front of the house wasn't getting any light. So I similarly cleared the undergrowth and removed a few of the lower branches.

Meanwhile Sue has continued to plant things out. Yesterday was the turn of the melons. But first she had to clear the 'melon' bed! She was a trifle concerned about this as we had seen a snake sunning itself near there 2 weeks before and, as you may know, Sue is frightened of snakes (but getting used to them). So, wearing wellies and thick rubber gauntlets, the bed was duly cleared (with no sign of snakes!).

I was then required to go to the recycling centre for another trailer load of compost to spread over the bed.

Betty has been staying with us for the last 3 weeks but we are taking her back to the airport today, so, tomorrow, I'll be mowing the grass and strimming. Hopefully, I'll be able to resume work on the path on Saturday (when I see that the weather forecast is for temperatures of 28 degrees!)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Le Bon Air est dans Les Caves

'Le Bon Air est dans les Caves' means so much more than 'the good air is in the cellars'. It has a whole depth of meaning of good time, well-being, ambience, etc. It is the slogan used to advertise the Cahors Wine Festival which we went to last night.

It's a couple of years since we went to the festival and so we took Betty (who's holidaying with us) to experience the 'bon air'.

The Festival is held in a small village nestling on a hill above the Lot river. It is shut off for the festival and becomes a place for sampling wine and listening to music.
As you can see, we took a folding chair with us for Betty, and this provoked a number of comments from other people who would have liked to sat on it!

As well as the wine and the music, it was a brilliant opportunity to people watch!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It Ain't 'Alf 'Ot

After moaning about the unsettled weather, it's been getting hotter and hotter! I worked on the path this morning before it got too hot.

This afternoon it was 28 degrees in the shade at the rear of the house. The girls don't like it this hot. Fortunately it remains cool in the house, so they don't go out much.

However, 'mad dogs and englishmen....' (and english women) were out in the garden this afternoon for the ceremonial picking of the first strawberry........... the first and only!

And the gardener pulled rank and ate it!!!

Whilst we were down at the veg patch, we decided that the Broccoli was ready for cropping. We didn't know too much about Broccoli and we had thought they'd be growing all summer. They've only been in for about 2 months and they look as if they're about to flower!

We so enjoy all of these new experiences!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Black Gold

One of the services our local Recycling Centre provides is the sporadic supply of free 'green' compost. It's obviously made from all the garden waste people take there (and it's black not green). I've said that it's sporadic because you never know when it's going to turn up. But, as soon as there's a delivery of a lorry-load of compost, the word gets round and there seems to be a constant procession of cars and trailers!

However, to our amazement, we suddenly have two lorry-loads of compost. So we're trying to stock up whilst it's available. We've spead it as a weed-suppressant on some of the vegetable beds and now we've started to put it on the 'long' bed.

The only trouble is, we think the long bed would take all of the compost that they've got!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Slow Progress

I do not seem to be getting on very quickly. What with the rain, helping the gardener, and socialising, the path edging hasn't proceeded much.

It's not as easy as I'd imagined; I'm laying the sets across a slope and they're curving back and forth.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't get too hot and I'll be able to do a couple of metres a day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yellow Brick Road?

We were out with friends last night, so we were a little slow getting going this morning. However, true to my word, I began organising myself to start on the 'serpentine' path.

I finally girded my loins and started cementing some of the sets (after a discussion with the gardener as to the preferred path width).

I didn't get as much time on the job as I wanted as we learnt from JJ that there was a delivery of compost at the local recycling centre. So I had to empty the trailer of sand before we went off this afternoon for a couple of trailer-loads of compost for the garden. However, the only thing that will stop me now is the weather!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wall's End

Yes folks, it's really finished!

I was able to put in a full day's work (weather forecast was thankfully wrong again) and have finished fitting the stones along the top. Apart from the fact that it gives a 'finished' appearance, I wanted to have the wall done and out of the way before I begin working on Sue's paths, and I had told her that I would start on them tomorrow! Certainly no peace for the wicked here!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trench Warfare?

No, I'm not trying to recreate WWI, I've been moving earth (and stones!) to get a level for building the next wall. I need to build a low wall parallel to the barn to form the 4th side of our courtyard. This last wall will give us the finished level so that I can see how much of the heap of stones we'll be able to lose in it. (Or how much more we'll need to move into it). I hadn't realised how much earth would be thrown up in digging out these foundations.

As you can see it's been hot today, not an ideal day for digging out trenches

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In Again

Sue's still toiling away in the garden and today she's been planting out tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and courgettes. So I was asked to assist with putting in some stakes for the tomatoes. These ones won't be coming out again!

Needless to say, Sue is in her element when she's gardening.

And, of course, we were both supervised!!!!

Meanwhile, 'comme d'habitude', I'm trying to finish the wall....(nearly there). But, this afternoon, I got the digger out to check how much room I need to leave next to the barn before I build the 'levelling' wall. This also meant changing the slope of the ramp from the courtyard up to the garden level so that I can still get the mower out of the barn.

I'm hoping to have the wall finished (or nearly finished) by the weekend, although we're forecast for rain from Friday. But if it's not finished, it'll have to wait because I'm booked for my next job in the garden on Monday morning.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wisteria Update

I was a bit overcome with pleasure when I posted about my Wisteria bonsia coming in to flower. The blooms have continued to get better and better. I've brought it indoors tonight and the room is full of perfume!

Let the Sun Shine On

Well, we survived the wet weather and, after some week-end socialising, we've resumed work. And I'm almost there! I've got one side of the wall done....

... and I've just to get the second side up to the finished height.

The trouble is that it's now harder to find the right size stones, even though we've got a huge heap to sort through!!!

Because there's so much water in the ground, and it's lovely and warm, everything is growing like mad, which means that Sue is desperately trying to keep on top of the weeding. Plus, because everything in the garden is on the 'grand' scale, it takes a long time to do things, like edging the 'long' bed. She's done half of it today, and left the rest till tomorrow.

We never let things get on top of us, there's always another day.