Les poissons en France

Friday, March 30, 2012

Nature Stirs

We have been basking under glorious blue skies (as has the UK)  for the last week. John has already told you how pleased he was to see the first violets, well, they have now blossomed into carpets, we have never seen so many. Furthermore, we heard the first cuckoo two days ago and yesterday the hoopoes returned and were active looking for nesting sites. We have not seen any deer in the garden for months and I began to think that the chasse had annihilated them in our immediate area. I must admit I had mixed feelings because I do love seeing them. Well, an enormous one appeared at the end of the alley on Wednesday.  They must know that the hunting season is over.

On more prosaic fronts, we have been looking for a source of manure and our friends Annie and Donnie kindly said that they would bring us a trailer-load of horse manure.  They arrived yesterday and we were delighted.

Meanwhile, the 'supervisors' were busy!

All we've got to do now is find some soil to put on top of the manure!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Too many Bosses

Yesterday morning, whilst Sue went off to Cahors for her chemo, I emptied out one of the compost bins to start filling the vegetable beds. Anything resembling soil I put in the 'tomato' bed, and anything which wasn't fully rotted down I put in the bottom of the main bed.

When Sue returned in the afternoon she, and her first lieutenant, came to inspect what I had done.

Sue seemed pleased by my efforts, but Cleo was highly delighted with the scratching potential of the old beams!

I'm always thrilled to see the first violets appear in the grass of the front garden. Spring is knocking on the door. Sue complains that I'm always posting pictures of the spring violets, but hard luck!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our New Maxim For Life

We have decided, on the basis that you never know what's round the corner, that we will go to everything that we are invited to. Consequently, when our friend said would we like to go to the Chasse Lunch in her village, off we went. You will recall that the chasse are the men who spend all winter driving round the countryside in orange flourescent gear trying to catch game without shooting each other!!

We collected Alexa's elderly neighbours en route and arrived at the very plush village hall around 12.30. It was heaving, and we were given to understand that the chasse numbers are dwindling and that young people are not joining. Well there were about 150 of us who sat down to lunch - but I suspect that the majority were hangers on like us. Alexa had warned us that it would be a marathon meal for carnivores, not an understatement.

We eventually sat down about an hour later and were served an apero. A dubious sweet concoction served from washed out 2 litre milk bottles - we were to find out that these receptacles were to be pressed into use for the red and rose wine also. First course was then served. It was the thickest soup we have ever eaten, full of white beans, vegetables, bread and duck fat and very little liquid, absolutely delicious. The second course was fois gras followed by venison stew. Our stomachs then needed a bit of a rest so we were served pear sorbet floating in that lethal spirit "eau de vie". Having recovered it was time for our second main course, steaks of wild boar in a sauce with salad. By this time, 4.30, our stamina failed and we missed the cheese and dessert.

The meal was served and cooked by the men of the chasse. It was superb and we were offered seconds or thirds of everything washed down with heaps of bonhomie!! Do we have to wait a whole year for the next bash?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's All Happening

Sue is continuing to improve rapidly; all of the staff at the hospital are amazed at the change in her!
Yesterday the physio told her to walk every day and to start using my exercise bike, 5 mins in the morning and 5 mins in the evening. I'm going to have to bring the bike back downstairs but that's no problem.

As it's lovely weather (20 degrees plus), Sue went off down the road late afternoon for her walk.

The liitle dot on the road in the distance is Sue!

We've also been exercising our brains. We went to our friends for the first time in 6 months to play Bridge. All part of the return to a normal life.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Beam Me Up......

I decided that I would do something different for my daily exercise today. I sorted out some old beams to use for the 'raised' vegetable beds.

Despite some initial concern from the head gardener, I was able to show that there's always a way to overcome a problem. As you can see, it was good exercise for the legs. (I had to move the car to get the beam through!)

So I've got the Tomato bed in place. For the main bed, which will be in the centre of the 'Ruin', I will need the chain saw and a few more hands.

Monday, March 05, 2012

On Our Own Now

In view of Sue's improving health and our ability to cope for ourselves, the support of our 'girls' from HAD (hospitalisation a domicile) has been withdrawn from today. Whilst it is good that Sue is increasingly independent, we will miss seeing all of the girls who have become our friends.

And friends they have become indeed! To our surprise, most of them turned up this afternoon with Champagne and biscuits.

These signs of friendship remind us of why we love living here in France.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Garden Rethink 1

The Great Garden Rethink has started. I've cleared the accumilated rubbish from the 'Ruin' with a view to creating a raised vegetable garden. We already have two compost bins in there.

Whilst our previous veg garden was productive and also aesthetically pleasing, it was just too far from the house and hence too far for watering. The new plan is to have this raised bed virtually opposite the house, so it will be much easier to water and also quicker to nip out to collect the vegetables.

Now I have to sort out some old beams to make the sides of the bed.