Les poissons en France

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lascaux II

This post is out of cronological sequence but I just wanted you to know that our life is not being totally dominated by cats and dogs.

As Guy had been moving barrow loads of gravel for three days solid we thought that he needed a day off. So we decided to go to the world famous caves at Lascaux. We didn't realise that it was so close  - just over an hours drive from us. For many years before we moved here I had imagined visiting the caves whilst on holiday in the middle of summer. Well, when we went it was snowing, however I was amazed at how many other "balmy" people were there.

We knew that the original caves had been closed in the 1960s because the 2 million visitors a year they were receiving at that time were causing fungi and algae to grow on the wall paintings which together with calcification was destroying them at a phenominal rate. So they have made an exact replica, albeit much condensed. Apparently it took 11 years to construct.  No wonder it is a World Heritage site as the paintings were far better than any we have previously seen and fortunately our guide displayed real enthusiasm even though  he must have told the story hundreds of times before. On the whole we were a little disappointed as the display was quite small but nevertheless worth a visit.

It would seem that one or two of you are concerned that the "girls" are a bit put out by Yoda's arrival. I think the following photos will reassure that they still rule the roost!!

I'm Just Going Outside.....

...because I need a wee.

Yoda's arrival has changed our morning routine; he needs to go out ..... no matter what the weather, and, as you can see, we've snow again.  The snow started yesterday but fortunately was only light and so it didn't stop us taking Guy up to Limoges for his flight home.  He's going to miss Yoda as much as we're going to enjoy having him here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cats and Dogs

The new dynamic of home life is slowly sorting itself out as our 'family' try to assert themselves in the hierachy.
Diana is fed up, only because her normal feeding arrangement of 'food on demand' is no longer operating.  And because Cleo is fed up.
Cleo is fed up because she's not happy eating where she normally eats because 'that thing' is in the same room.
Yoda is content because he has a big sofa bed and a big garden but he hasn't worked out how to help himself to the cat's food!

We will eventually devise a satisfactory way to feed everyone without hassle.  Diana seems to be happy just to ignore Yoda but Cleo becomes ruffled if Yoda gets too close.  Having said that, Yoda is very wary of Cleo.

We've been making the most of having Guiy here to help move the stone chippings.  And in fact we've finally finished the path in the front garden that runs along our box hedge.  It must be one of the longest paths in history; only 6 years long!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All Hands To It

A frosty start and a lorry load of stone chippings (castine) arrived at 8.30!
We've finally got fed up with wading through the mud to get to the car. So the road gang set to.
Meanwhile, this afternoon, the garden crew did some weeding.
It's amazing what happens when the sun shines!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Return of Mr Yoda

As many of you will know Guy and his girlfriend separated at Christmas after over 6 years togetther. They were both devastated that they could no longer properly look after their beloved dog Yoda. As we wanted him to have a settled life we offered to look after him and agreed to go to Manchester to collect him.  By luck Jean -Jacque and Nadine were coming down this week so they were able to look after the cats.

So we set off in the pouring rain last Thursday. In fact it rained all the way to Calais. We hadn't intended to drive so far but we were "up for it" and just kept on going. I was delighted because I did a couple of spells of driving on the French motorways which has boosted my confidence for driving  no end. Friday morning we went through the tunnel much earlier than we had anticipated so we took advantage and spent the day shopping for things we cannot buy in France and that we cannot take on Ryanair. We stayed at our elderly friend Betty's overnight before setting off for Manchester on Saturday morning. We collected Yoda from Guy's house and it was obviously difficult for Guy to see him go. Everyone who knows Yoda will understand that he is a very special dog. We returned to Betty's that night and as you will see he soon made himself at home.
Sunday was a much needed day of rest but we did go into Hemel Hempstead for some food. Although we were brought up there John detests the place. Off again on Monday morning  to the Channel Tunnel. Unfortunately just as we arrived all the computers went down so there was a delay whilst manual checking in was resurrected.
We decided that we would return via Rouen to avoid the Paris rush hour traffic.  Unfortunately just outside Rouen a light began to flash on the dashboard indicating that the car was only running on three cylinders. I know that John becomes very stressed when anything goes wrong with the car so I kept very quiet and he nursed it to Orlean where we stayed overnight. After a nice meal and half a litre of wine our problems didn't seem so bad. We planned to leave the next morning at about 8.30 so that we could rendezvous with Guy who was flying into Limoge just after 11am. Unfortunately John forgot to change the alarm clock from English time to French time so we didn't wake up until just before 8 o'clock. Having scraped the ice off the car we set off just after 9am only to receive a text from Guy to say that his flight had been delayed by freezing fog and that he woud  not arrive until 1.15pm. Hey ho it was a gloriously warm day so who cares.
Having collected Guy the next hurdle was to see how the cats would react when we arrived home with the dog. Within half an hour the pecking  order had been established and John said that Yoda was just above him. Meanwhile Diana had commandeered Yoda's basket so we presume there will be no problems.
 It was quite an adventure ( all 2740km of it) but I guess it is the start of many more.

John's version :- this blog should have started

The Return of the Jedi Knight

The Force has returned to Mas de Bouye!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Paris Break

Our neighbours JJ and Nadine kindly invited us to stay with them in Paris and so we went up last Thursday.  I wanted to visit a small museum, the Marmottan Monet in the very chic 16th arrondissement.  It holds the largest collection of Monet's painting and I was able to see a wide range of his styles as they evolved over time.

The next day was planned for a trip to the Chateau of Chantilly but we were perturbed to awake to snow!
 Fortunately the snow wasn't enough to cause us any major problems and we started our day off with a trip to an Orchid Centre just up the road from our friends.
It was lovely to see so many orchids together in great banks of colour.

By the afternoon, the sky had cleared and the sun had come out, showing off the chateau and it's parkland to wonderful effect.
The property holds a huge collection of art relating to French national history; statesmen, military campaigns .... and hunting!  it is an amazing house, especially considering that some of it was only built in the 1880's to house the collection.

There is also in the park, an extremely large 'stable' block with a horse museum which was unfortunately shut.  In front of the 'stables' is a Racecourse which is a national centre for 'trotting' races.
It would seem we need to go again in the summer!