Les poissons en France

Friday, February 20, 2015

Further Adventures of a Lumberjack

These lovely bright sunny days are making everyone think it's Spring.  Crocuses and Snowdrops are brightening the banks, birds are in full breeding plumage and gardening folk, like our neighbour Nicole, are now to be seen in their gardens.
Our Gardener is happily playing 'Potting up Pelargoniums'.  She seems to have been successful in her attempts to conserve last year's plants.
This good dry weather induced me to finish the tree pruning.  We wanted to take off some of the branches which overhang the Long Bed in the back garden.
We have done some pruning in the past, so what's left are fairly substantial branches.  Which is what lead to a minor mishap.  One of the branches decided to fight back ... as I went through the branch it bounced the wrong way and came towards me and the ladder.  The ladder was fairly secure and stayed up, but I wasn't  and so I fell down ... as did the chainsaw.  However, all was OK as I bounced and the chainsaw missed Sue, who was at the foot of the ladder supervising!

The branches are all cut up now and I just have about a week's worth of chipping to do to get rid of all of the brush.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Excitement

After this morning's events I thought I'd take it quietly this afternoon and clear the turves from the last two new beds.  But look at what I found!!
This huge 'rock' was just on the surface of the bed once I'd removed the grass, so I thought I'd better take it out ... easier said than done.
What a waste of time!

I've rolled it into the bank which is where it can stay.  At least Sue's plants will have enough room for roots now.

Postal Strike

We're into the third week of the strike by the postmen and women of Gourdon.  We had tried to collect our post from the main post office there but that was not possible and we found out that there had been arrangements made for the people of St Germain to collect their own post, but we missed it.  So today, I intended to see if there was any information on St Germain's notice board outside the Mairie but, lo and behold, what did I see when I arrived at the town car park!
There were 4 Post Office personnel handing out mail upon production of proof of identity.  So I joined the queue and finally got our mail!
It's a good job it wasn't raining ... although I expect it would have been in the Salle de Fete!

All of this excitement was further enlivened by the arrival of the St. Germain school holiday club Mardi Gras carnival.
Too much excitement for one morning.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nature, red in tooth and claw

We were awoken about 6am this morning when our cat Cleo was growling and howling, protecting her territory against something on the outside of the patio doors.  I got up and turned lights on by which time whatever it was had long gone.

However, when I went out about 10 , I saw something, a bundle, just past the entrance to the veg patch.  Upon inspection it was the carcase of a young deer.
Who can tell what exactly has done this but if it was a predator then it could easily take a cat.  Whether the fawn was weak, ill, already dead, or whether it really was a dog, a fox or, as Sue instantly said, a panther(!!!) will have to remain a mystery.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Garden Design?

As the garden labourer, I'm not often 'au fait' with the garden plans, except, like yesterday, when I was instructed to dig 4 new beds at the end of the Serpentine bed!
As you can see, this involved a lot of brain energy and measuring and visual assessment to ensure that they were in the right place but also that they 'looked' right.
However, because the beds appeared to be near our 'new' bank which we've been constructing for a couple of years (with consequent concern as to whether the mower would get through the gap), I was side-tracked after lunch into redefining the edge of it.
So, then on with the turf lifting.
By 5 o'clock, the body finally cried "Enough", so there remain 2 beds to clear (the second bed was finished just after this photo was taken).

Perhaps it's time for a promotion.  Could I be called a 'facilitator' rather than a 'labourer'?

"Dictionary Definition of FACILITATOR
:  one that facilitates; especially :  one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision "

I like the ...indirect or unobtrusive assistance ...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Signs of Spring

Eventually winter has succumbed to Spring. We have had a fortnight of sub zero temperatures and the odd flurry of snow. I shouldn't be surprised because it is the norm for January and February, but I have been frustrated. I have germinated lots of seeds with the aid of the underfloor heating. However once they have germinated the central heating is too hot for them. So I moved them to the salon where it is cooler but oh dear not enough light there. We've ended up with plants in the dining room, salon, landing and even in the newly redecorated bedroom. That is currently full of pelargoniums, although I have 75 more to pot on. I am thrilled because the system of over wintering them which I found on the internet seems to have worked. Basically they are stored bare rooted upside down in a paper bag and left wrapped up in a duvet in the porcherie. Better than falling over 200 pelagroniums in the bedroom all winter!!
Enough of the gardener's frustrations as all that changed yesterday. The wildlife told us that it's Spring. A red squirrel (with a black tail) was bouncing through the trees in the alley. A blackbird keeps attacking a black plant pot in the courtyard, presumably he thinks it is a rival. We're going to buy a new pot - different colour - to put him out of his misery. The magpies are building nests and all the other little birds are pairing. We have seen the deer family most mornings and evenings during the cold spell but yesterday at 2 o'clock in the afternoon a young doe was sauntering across the back field and remained around the hamlet for the next hour. She was not phased by us working in the garden, the traffic noise or dogs barking. She needs a bit of education.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Vive la Revolution

We aren't normally too troubled by industrial unrest here in darkest, rural France, but the postmen in our local town of Gourdon have been on strike for the past week.  They are protesting against increased work-loads for no extra money, the lack of replacements to cover sickness and holidays and the consequent refusal of holiday requests.  So, we've had no post for a week.

Grève à La Poste : «C'est un plan social déguisé»
As you can see from this article in our local paper, there have been demonstrations in the market place infront of the Post Office.

Today we had a phone call from the Post Office to tell us that there was a parcel for us and we could pick it up ourselves if we wished to.  So off we went and, walking past the union meeting in the Market Place (compete with Union Banner), I went into the Post Office and joined a large queue of disgruntled 'customers' there to collect post.  It was with amusement that I realised that a man at the head of the queue was unhappy about something to do with this situation and I heard him talking about making a complaint, and not just a local complaint, but a National complaint.  At one stage he leaned into the serving hatch and declared the immortal ''Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité''.
They still take their Revolution seriously here!