Les poissons en France

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deja Vu

You can't keep a good gardener down! Sue has been quietly pursuing sources for some trees for the front garden. So, yesterday we went to a garden centre about an hour north of us. It was well worth the trip, as it was the best one we've found here in France. It was a family run business, had a very large stock which they were producing themselves, and the plants were well looked-after and in good condition. The owner gave us a guided tour of the poly tunnels and we duly came away with more than the two trees we went for! Having got the trees home, it struck me that we've been here before....I hope that we have more success with these ones!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hoovering Up The Glitter

I have just been doing exactly that (well Boxing Day, although non existant here, is a day for recovery) and reflecting on our wonderful Christmas. As is the custom here John and I had our own special meal on Christmas Eve and opened our presents. We always open a bottle of champagne but for the meal we like to have something that we don't have often; this year it was scallops.

We were looking forward to Christmas Day as we had been preparing for some time. We thoroughly enjoy the planning and preparation but when the big day comes it is always tinged with a little apprehension. We were to have a six course lunch but would the estimated timings be right? We had made copious contingency plans to fill in the possibly indeterminent times between courses. But, after all, the guests were all friends and would make allowances - we hoped.

All was ready and our friends arrived, and then disappeared, reappearing later singing carols and serenading us. It was off to a good start.

We began with a cocktail and opened our presents. At the Murder Mystery evening ( reported earlier), we had drawn names out of the hat and we each bought a present for a designated friend. Everyone went to extreme care to customise their gift, even to the extent of publishing a book full of pictures of "us lot", known amongst ourselves as "The First Levellers", - too complicated to explain.

The meal proceeded without too many problems, once I remembered that the vegetarians also wanted something to eat. As per an "old fashioned Christmas in England" we played silly games between courses and had asked our guests to write a seasonal story . The idea was that once we were full up after main course we would quietly relax and read the story. We realised very early on that this aspect of the proceedings was not going to go according to plan. Our friends had arrived with bags full of props.... what was going on? At the appointed time John and I read our tame stories to be followed by a full scale comedy play, a pantomime in which we all took part and a game which ended up with us all on the floor appearing to be praying in a mosque.

Unfortunately at that moment, the one car per week that passes our house decided to go by. We dread to think what tales are going round the village of "the goings on with that English lot". We did not realise what thespian talents our friends possessed - they deserve a more public airing. Watch this space.

We feel privileged to know such good sports (or people as balmy as us - may be that was why we all crossed 'The Channel'). I have a feeling that we are in for another dose at New Year judging by the questionaire we had to fill in this morning!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Christmas.

We've really enjoyed receiving all of your Christmas cards this year; it's been lovely to see that we are still remembered.

Yesterday was special because, suddenly the postlady arrived with about 20 cards; the snow had meant that she was unable to get to us for 3 days. And we had some wonderful cards - from friends who'd found love, health and happiness during the course of the year.
So we'd just like to say 'thank you' to you all
and have a Happy Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nibbles Anyone?

It's been cold all day; hasn't got up above -3 centigrade and the snow covering hasn't melted at all.

It was just starting to get dark (quarter past five) when Sue saw deer trying to find food in our front garden.

We've been feeding the birds in the courtyard all day, but Deer are different!

Sue had to go outside and shout and clap her hands to make them move off.

No doubt they'll be back in the night, when the Gardener isn't on 'Deerwatch'.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Wonderland

We're in the middle of a cold spell and we have had temperatures down to -10 one night. But, this morning we woke up to snow.

We had a 'flock' of small birds feeding at our feeder in the courtyard whilst our two fat, lazy cats stayed indoors! It snowed again late afternoon, but the forecast for next week is mild again, temperatures up to 12 or even 16?!! At least it looks like we won't have snow for Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Future's Looking Blooming

Yesterday, once the frost had gone, we decided to plant up the Arbour. We got on very well as I'd already dug the holes, and, happily I didn't have to do much work at making them any bigger. By the evening we only had 3 more roses to plant. So, when we woke up this morning and no frost, we rushed out to finish the job.

We planted the roses and I was able to tidy up by removing surplus piles of earth and spreading out the manure. Pleased to report that the Head Gardener is pleased!

However, as usual, more manure is required.

This afternoon we were off with our friends Sue and Jon to a Carol Concert in english and french at a church in Cahors. Despite our attempts at singing the carols with french lyrics, we enjoyed the service, and the glass of mulled wine afterwards.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santa's Little Helper

It's that time of year again, and Sue has been roaming the hills looking for dead trees suitable to make an 'arty-farty' Christmas Tree.

The making of the tree involved a quick physics lesson involving centres of gravity, leverage and gravity. However, it's up and now decorated with baubbles.

All I've got to do now is find a small spotlight and rig it up to shine on the tree (just to make sure that Father Christmas doesn't miss it).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back on Hard Labour.

We just about avoided a frost this morning, and so, after Sue had got herself ready, been to the market, and then we'd had lunch, we finally started on the Big Plant.

We were soon stripping off clothing as we had dressed for a cold day. By 5 o'clock we'd planted up the first bed with 15 roses.

Whilst all of this manual labour was going on, Diana contented herself with boosting her sun tan.

Hopefully we'll have another good planting day tomorrow....depends on how strong a frost we have!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

They're Here!

Just when the weather is about to become seasonal, with frosts every morning, the roses have arrived. We were wandering around in our dressing-gowns this morning (well it does stay dark till gone 8 o'clock) when I noticed a large lorry trying to turn round so that he could reverse up the hill to us. Frantic dressing ensued, but not really required as it was only two smallish boxes containing all of our roses.

So, we now have a dilemma, or at least the head gardener does. The planting instructions say that you shouldn't plant them out in the frost. Having looked at the weather forecast, I think that we will start having daily frosts from tomorrow morning. We've earmarked the next two days for planting but we'll just have to see!!

Needless to say, Sue had to inspect the roses and then make sure that the roots were damp. She's very pleased with the quality, but I'm not pleased with the huge roots that they have. No doubt I'll have to make the holes that I've prepared much bigger!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mind Where You Step

I lifted the last of the floorboards in the bedrooms this afternoon. The next job will be to decide which of the beams need strengthing and how I'm going to do that!

At least we're ready for the electrician when he comes in January!

Monday, December 07, 2009


You may know that we often go on a 'village' walk with our friends Simon and Judith. This Sunday, the walk was used as a means of raising money for charity under the umberella of 'Telethon'. the french equivalent of Red Nose Day or Children in Need.

There was a choice of an easy or a longer (8 km) walk and the event was well supported.

The end of the walk finished back in the Foyer Rural to a spread of a drink and a huge selection of home-made cakes. We are always greeted so warmly that we feel part of the group, even though we only see these people once a month.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mama Mia!!!

Oh what a night! Early December back in twenty 09 ....

Sorry to destroy that song lyric, but last night we were back in the '70's for Mama Mia's murder mystery, with full '70's dress and food (or at least as near as us old people can get to it).

The evening was somewhat delayed as two of our friends put their car in a ditch before arriving in a taxi, but that's another story! Once they'd arrived the evening went off fabulously with everyone entering into the spirit of the occassion. The investigation was conducted by Inspector Fernando ( a Teddy resplendant in his police medals and carrying a trungeon and handcuffs). The "suspects" were Dr. Sue Patroopa (of Eastern European origin), Walter Lew (Mamma Mia's Agent), Ritchie Keeter (Mamma's support act), Julie Voo (Ritchies Japanese Bodyguard - expert in martial arts), Jacqui Chansonme (rival Agent), Dan Sequin ( Mama's Choreographer), Ivor Dreme (her security guard), and Davina Texital (her PA). So that's a little quiz for you Abba fans!

Our friends Sue and Jon had put a huge amount of work into organising the mystery, games, the food and everything,and so the outcome was an incredible success, finishing at 2 in the morning.

I don't know how we're going to match that at Christmas!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Kinky or what?

I've been continuing with taking up the floorboards in bedrooms 2 & 3.

Whilst I won't be able to do too much in the room until next year when the electrician's done his work, I'm begining to see what needs to be done to 'strengthen' the beams before I get involved with trying to get everything level for the new floor.

Some of the beams are fine, but some are very springy. We have at least one beam which is about 9 metres long (28 ft.) and starts off as a substantial beam, but by the time it reaches the opposite wall it's become a whippy pole!

There is one beam which appears very strong, even though, half way along it suddenly becomes half the width. Fortunately it stays the same depth, but it does look disconcerting!

At the moment, there's not as much reinforcing needed as I at first feared.