Les poissons en France

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Now, Where's the Grass?

We're very pleased to report that we've finally got a base of manure on all of the proposed 'lawns'.

My assistant (the head gardener) insisted on helping, even with my misgivings on 'the neck'.

The next stage will be to tread all over the manure to help it settle and then start laying a covering of the top soil we bought from our french Del-boy. We're always moving something from one place to another!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Medieval Fete

We have had comments from some of our regular readers to point out that we have been a little tardy and not posted any blogs for a while. Well we haven't been doing anything very exciting. We didn't think that you would want to know that we have been continuing to collect manure every day, and after tomorrow's load we will have covered the two courtyard "potential" lawn areas ready to have the soil laid on top. No, John is not in hospital and infact he is still waiting to hear the result of his heart biopsy which was sent to another laboratory. He has more energy some days than others.

However yesterday was exciting. Some friends of ours are part of a team who are heavily involved in the renovation of a village chateau about ten minutes drive from us. The Mayor is very young and enthusiastic and was fully supportive when the village was asked to stage a medieval fete. They were all relieved when everything went off very well. All the villagers wore appropriate costumes and there were games and stalls throughout the ancient village.

In the evening we all congregated in the chateau grounds for a banquet. We were entertained throughout the evening/night (French "dos" never begin until it's time to go to bed) by a fantastic troop of muscians, actors and jugglers. The food, prepared and served by the village commitee was excellent and of course washed down with copious quantities of " medieval " alcohol.

We rolled home very happy and contented and just gave a tiny thought to those who were due to report at ten o'clock this morning for clearing up duties.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We have had a number of enquiries regarding the success or otherwise of the deer repellent. So far the jury remains out. "Deirdre" obviously continues to visit the back garden as a few things show signs of nibbling but I can live with that. However, her or some of her mates have found the roses in the front garden. Now we are not just dealing with an insurgency here, this is all out war!! I got up one morning and noticed that there were no flowers on the roses in the left hand bed and they had been a picture. Strange! The next day there were none on the right hand bed and my worst fears were confirmed. As an urgent expediant we threw wire netting and twigs over the roses so that we would not lose them all. The trouble is, if they are prevented from eating something they move on to something else. This morning I checked other plants before I looked at the roses but today, no disasters.

We continue to collect copious quantities of manure and the dreams of a grassed courtyard come ever closer.

As John was unloading the last trailer-load of manure for the day, he saw a huge, green catterpillar.

From our searches online we believe that it is a Great Peacock Moth, the largest moth in Europe!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Belle Vue

Having finished the wall, I've cleared the heap of soil and removed the cement mixer so that we can finally see what we've been working towards!

In the fullness of time, the expanse of horse manure will be a swath of grass leading the eye out to the back garden, but, for now, you can see how we're trying to link the house and courtyard with the back. Another piece falls into the jigsaw!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pushing On

Just at the moment, we feel that we're marking time. Sue's only just getting back into the swing of things and my health issues are dragging on without resolution. The results of the heart biopsy have shown negative, ie the protein that they were looking for in the heart walls wasn't there! I've got to wait for an appointment with a different doctor in a different department down at Toulouse.

Meanwhile, JJ's well of 'contaminated' water awaits a plan of action. He bought a little DIY kit to test the water in the well and it's indicating that it's got Kaka in it (that's french for poo). So, we're figuring out what to do about it, hoping that we won't have to dig up the courtyard to check the pipes!

The temperatures are continuing unrelentless in the 30's and Sue's resumed the battle of trying to keep things alive (even with our various watering systems). Meanwhile I've been trying to continue working to finish in the courtyard but, over the weekend, I felt poorly. We went to see the Doctor yesterday and he advised me that, with these high temperatures, I've got to take it steady, drink lots of water and wait for a more specific treatment once my problem has been identified! Still, I have nearly built up the wall!


It was cloudy this morning so we were able to bring home 3 trailer loads of horse manure from our friendly lady, Marie-Lise. I was then determined to finish that b***** wall, so I made a mix of cement and went for it. Needless to say, at that moment it began to clear and become hot! Nevermind, it's done....at last.

At some stage I will have to joint up the wall, but we can live with that for the time being!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

"Del Girl"

We were returning from today's trip to the manure lady when I noticed a man digging a trench with a mini digger at the bottom of the road and putting the soil into a lorry. It is fantastic soil down there in the valley so we stopped and I did " a bit o' wheeler dealing" and within a quarter of an hour we had a load deposited in the alley. It was so good that I thought we needed another load, so "Del Girl" sprang into action and we got it for two thirds the price of the first load. I was so pleased because it was still half the price we had been quoted by the builders merchant. John said we were just buying back our own soil as when it rains our soil is wahed down into the valley. The trailer load of manure was abandonned as John had to make two trips to the cash machine in the village. You really never know what is going to happen next here.

Any volunteers for earth moving???

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

If At First You Dont Succeed........

I think we are on plan Y in our attempts to stop the deer eating the plants - plan Z being to fence all the property which we can neither afford nor is it practical. John's cousin saw a TV programme about Hampton Court Flower Show and it featured a garden as it would have been in Shakespeare's time; lo and behold complete with deer deterent i.e. muslin bags full of human hair. I had read about this before on the Royal Horticultural Society website so decided to give it a go. Whilst I was having my hair cut today I negotiated an indefinite supply. Chantal guessed immediately what I wanted it for so it is not just an English "old wives tale".

Armed with my bag of hair and supplemented with John's trimmings and an old pair of tights (no muslin bags readily to hand) I made the "rats" and we hung them in the deer runs. We await developments!!

It's that time of year again we are on the manure run, and will be as long as our stamina lasts. We are still trying to make soil for the courtyard lawns so John has started to spread it.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"By George I Do Believe She's Got It"

At last a successful watering system. Not exactly high tech but it works well. Whilst the kettle is boiling in the morning one of us will have to nip out and turn the tap on so that half the serpentine bed will be watered before the sun gets on it. We plan to have the "drip system " operating as well, so woe betide any plant that dries out.

We were duly admiring our accomplishment this morning when Nadine put her head out of the window and said "good heavens it's Versaille!"

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It Never Rains but.....

It's been scorchingly hot the past few days; into the 30's, so we (or at least the gardener) have been praying for rain. We were therefore pleased to get up this morning to find that there had been a really heavy downpour in the night. However ...... mid morning JJ came to see us, fearful that there was a problem with our Septic Tank. The water in his well had all gone cloudy! He does have a 'thing' about his well which is outside his barn the other side of the wall I built last spring. He instantly thought that one of the pipes from our tank had broken and was leaking effluent into his well.
After a lot of peering and umming, I finally went to investigate the end of the pipe from the gullies outside of our front doors. At the moment the pipe ends in a hole dug in the ground at the back of the barn, and the intention was to take it on down to the veg patch. But you know about intentions! After due consideration , we (JJ and I) decided that, following the recent storms, when half the hillside seems to have been washed down, with a lot of it disappearing into our gullies, the pipe must be blocked and leaking out somewhere, ending up in JJ's well.
So, out came the digger again.

We cleared a section of trench and then I allowed water from the hosepipe to flush out the silt and debris from the pipe until the water ran clear. Hopefully that will have cured the problem; we'll just have to wait to see if JJ's water in the well clears.

The next job will be to buy some lengths of pipe to take the water away down the hill. Yet another job which seems to have appeared out of nowhere and jumped straight to the top of the list!!