Les poissons en France

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The End of Summer

Well. summer is officially over. Our 'summer' residents, JJ and Nadine have left for their winter home in Paris.

So now we are left here but not alone this year. Fred, Cynthia and their daughter Elsa now live in our hamlet so I anticipate some better Christmas decorations!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I suddenly realised yesterday that it is almost November. It wasn't obvious from the weather as I was outside working at gone 6 o'clock and I was sweating. I came in shortly afterwards to prepare dinner and then realised that the late Autumn sun looked spectacular on the Quercy Oaks which have suddenly changed colour. I grabbed the camera and set off round the garden. Not quite professional standard but I hope it gives you an idea of the scene which inspired me. Dinner was somewhat delayed!!

We are also aware of what time of year it is by the copious quantities of potted chrysanthemums which pop up everywhere in this week before All Saints Eve (Toussaint in France). The pavement opposite our village shop was covered with chrysanths earlier in the week but when we went to take a picture today there were only 5 left. So the remaining ones outside the shop in the next village will have to suffice.

We just couldn't imagine about 50 pot plants being left outside a shop in England for nearly a week. At Toussaint people put these pots of "mums" on the graves in the cemeteries.

I have had my eye on a piece of rotting tree root for over two years. It was in the hedge on the way to Gourdon and has recently reappeared as the Summer vegetation died down. As we had the trailer connected this morning John suggested that it was a good opportunity to "harvest" the root. Yes its "arty farty Susan " again.

Not quite sure what the finished "sculpture" will turn out to be or indeed whether it will survive my inept attempts at turning it into a piece of art.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spic and Span

Having seen our french neighbours busy shutting down their house for the winter, I noticed that JJ gave his shutters a quick coat of paint. So, as the weather forecast is for some rain soon, I took advantage of the sun to protect the doors and shutters that I made about 2 years ago.

Having done the job, we realised that we ought to repaint in the spring. Everything looks so much better that it would be sensible to get the benefit of it all summer long rather than during the winter.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Omnibus Edition

I don't feel as if I've blogged for a while, or has a lot happened?

My treatment has been delayed as the platelets in my blood have fallen too low to be able to continue. We went down to Toulouse last Thursday but the blood test confirmed the low levels and so I wasn't given the injection. I now have to have a blood test on Monday ( thankfully locally) and will have the injection on Wednesday if the amount of platelets has increased.

So ....... we've been making the most of dry, sunny weather to do some 'closing down for winter' tidying jobs. Having said that, we realised that my clearing of the drains to the grease trap hadn't been successful, so Friday I had my head 'down the 'ole' again .... this time with definite success! This job is going to have to be done every 6 months!
Out in the garden, Sue has started on the Autumn/Winter clear out of the beds; the frosts have finally put paid to the flowers. I've mown the grass, although not for the last time, and put the summer furniture indoors. However, it's raining today, so I've been continuing with the tiling in Bedroom 3; it's nice to be doing something constructive again!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Escapologist Cats

We had agreed to look after our friends' 3 cats for a week and they duly arrived, somewhat scared. When they were put into the 'pen' 2 of them immediately climbed up and disappeared into a small hole between wall and roof. To Sue's relief they did reappear at feeding time. The week went by, but one of the cats, Bella, continued to hide at the top of the walls. Sue took it upon herself to try to block up all possible hiddy-holes, without total success I should add.

Today was the end of their stay and so we needed to get them back into their travelling cage. We thought that we would grab them whilst they were feeding, but Bella wasn't going to fall for that. She was like greased lightning and was back in her little hole before we knew it. So, drastic measures were required, and I began to 'demolish' the tops of the walls; I removed stones all along the top of the walls so that I could at least see the cat.

We got to the point where we had the cat surrounded and I attempted to grab her by the scruff of the neck and pull her out. Needless to say, she escaped and, as Sue tried to hold her, she bit Sue on the hand ..... deja vue comes to mind here! After some more demolition, I had the cat and we stuffed her into a cat box, giving us the chance to view the devastation.

So, a trip to the Doctors, 8 days of antibiotics, anti-inflamatory tablets and paracetamol, and Sue's hand will be fine. M. et Mme. Evans have a lot to answer for!!!!!!!!
(It's a good job they're our friends!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn Colour

The weather forecast indicated frost 2 nights ago, so Sue rushed out to take photos of our 'autumn' garden. Since we've started to get a little rain, and the temperatures cooled down, the garden has burst back into life. It is almost as if we have a spring garden and an autumn garden; during the summer it just survives!

The frost is forecast again tonight, so that should see the end of all the colour!
As for me, I'm in the middle of the second cycle of the chemo, and I've spent the past 3 days on the loo, hence I've not done anything. We're back off to Toulouse tomorrow morning (in the frost!) and hopefully, they can either give me something for it, or adjust the levels of the medication.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A New Beginning

I can honestly say "the grass is greener" here now. Three days ago I was astonished to see that some blades of grass in the courtyard had germinated and were an inch high. Following the weekends rain we now have a green haze in the courtyard. Very promising. Unfortunately there is no similar success under the pergola. The ants are obviously still active and have harvested the seed again; evidenced by piles of grain the size of saucers in various places along the length of the pergola.

I am delighted to report that John has started tiling the floor in the ensuite of bedroom 3. His heart medication seems to now be the correct balance. One never imagines that some one receiving a course of "chemo" has so much get up and go. We are of course not counting our chickens but it is lovely to have the "old " John back.

Yesterday was the start of cycle two, so we set forth at 6am in driving rain, having first fed and toiletted five cats (ours and our friends 3 in the porcherie). We joined the Toulouse ring road at 7.30 and immediately found ourselves in a traffic jam. We normally encounter a lot of traffic as people are going to work and it takes about half an hour to get from the motorway to the hospital. However yesterday we got into the hospital at 10 o'clock. Apparently the Fair People were demonstrating about the disruptions caused to them by the new tramway. Its a good job we're not going today, there is a General Strike!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dans le Merde...Again

I was quietly enjoying myself this afternoon mowing the grass, when Sue reported water leaking in the kitchen. It appeared to be coming from the washing machine, so we had to drag it out from under the work top. Further investigation, in conjunction with the fact that we've noticed a water leak from an external soil pipe, led us to the Grease Trap. All of the water from the kitchen passes through the Bac a Gras before entering the septic tank, and this was blocked solid with grease. Upon talking to JJ, he cleans his out twice a year, and ours has been neglected for 2 years!!!!

So of course, I ended up with my arm down in the bac nearly up to my shoulder, with Sue boiling up kettles of water to try to soften the grease.

We eventually managed to unblock the pipes, but you can guarantee that it won't happen again!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Back To It

I've felt really good for the past two days and so, I've been able to resume work. I've managed to finish the first coat of emulsion in bedroom 3, and put a second coat in the en-suite.

Sue's told me that she can finish the painting in the bedroom when we have days of bad weather, so the next job for me is to tile the en-suite. It's nice to be 'doing' again!

Sue and Irving have dug up some of the remaining Irises from the veg patch, with a view to planting them in the 'raised' bed. As you can see, Sue made herself comfortable before she started to trim them!!!

Now that we are in to Autumn, and with 'proper' rain, the Nasturtiums on the 'raised' bed have started to give a lovely display.

This is what we were hoping for during the summer!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Grass, Grass

Irving has done a splendid job preparing and seeding the courtyard "lawns". We had heavy rain this morning so I am expecting germination tomorrow.

As we have now lived here for four years we do not often find new flowers or wildlife to tell you about. However, Irving and I were going for a walk the other day down towards the river and we noticed some "crocus" growing in the meadow adjoining the river. As they were lilac with large stamens I immediately assumed they were safron crocus. On the way home I began to reflect that safron crocus grow on the driest,stoniest most impoverished soil possible and these crocus were growing in fertile moist conditions. Could they be colchicums (Autumn Crocus, Naked Ladies) ? A quick look in the wild flower book confirmed that they were. I always forget that flowers we commonly grow in our gardens were collected from the wild at sometime.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Lap 1

I'm pleased to report that I'm now home, having finished the first round of chemo and, so far, I have not experienced any significant side efffects. As I remarked before, the program has seemed to change with every visit, but I was sent home today with dates for my next round of treatment and, hopefully, this is how it will continue. I will only have to go to the hospital in the morning, have blood tests, the intravenous injection, be monitored, and then come home in the afternoon. I have this twice the first week, twice the second week and then a week 'free' at home. So, each cycle lasts for 3 weeks and I'm to have another 8 cycles, which will take us to the end of March.

We'll see how we get on with Lap 2.