Les poissons en France

Friday, March 25, 2016

Flowers for Easter

Spring flowers paint a pretty picture for the Easter weekend.
Along the alley, we have a show of Anemone Blandas; after a disappointing start we have about a quarter of the 1000 that we planted now flowering, so not a total disaster!
 Yesterday I was ferrying rubbish to the tip to clear the area behind the ruin and, upon returning I discovered that we had 'viewers'.  A gentleman and his mother were in the process of walking in the garden. 
It wasn't because they had heard that we are opening the garden this year, they saw us and decided to have a walk.  They actually only stayed for about 15 minutes so we hope that this won't be the reaction of summer 'viewers'!!  At least then there will be more things to see.

This morning, typical Good Friday weather, dull and damp!

But I was able to finish clearing behind the ruin so that Sue can use the area for hardening off plants ... or whatever!
Anyone got any chestnuts?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Problems with the Neighbours

No we have not fallen out with Jean-Jacque and Nadine, these neighbours are of the feathered variety. It would seem that we now live in the middle of a housing development and a number of the residents do not want to live in harmony. We have no trouble with the "smaller" residents, although some, like the Nuthatch, play their music too loud from dawn to dusk - but what can you say.

However, Mr and Mrs Magpie, Mr and Mrs Kestrel and the old couple Mr and Mrs Jay have decided that they all live too close and are always squabbling.  The "old couple" down the alley are always grumbling and don't want anybody else near their property.  Mr Magpie (aka Bob the Builder) has got a lot of work on and just wants to get on with it without interference from the neighbours. He spends all day searching for enormous twigs which he delivers home for "Mrs" to carefully arrange. 

The Kestrels have returned to their summer home - in our wall. But.... she's got a fancy man, and it's "three in a bed"!! We need to bring out the binoculars to watch developments.

The resemblance to classic Soaps is uncanny. We have a grandstand view of the "goings on" and it is both fascinating and humorous.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Where's ya bin?

The Head Gardener has 2 main priorities, aesthetics and compost.  This has led to the use of a number of different sites in the garden for compost bins.  Last year we had a small bin in the ruin where we grow vegetables but this had to be moved to increase the room for raspberries.  Also last year, one bin was deemed insufficient and so a 'heap' was made at the far end of the alley, out of sight (which is just as well!)
No this is not Asterix's barrow!

So, yesterday, as weeding operations have started, the construction of compost bins, out of sight, at the end of the alley, became urgent.
It's amazing what you can do with pallets!

Monday, March 14, 2016


We had arranged with some french friends to go to a cinema near them which was offering a season of ballet and opera. Only having seen one ballet in my life (The Nutcracker) I asked John to print a synopsis which I could refer to when I was lost. So we set off to our friends for lunch clutching this very confusing information. Just before we arrived at our friends we were talking and suddenly realised that we were going to see The Nutcracker not Swan Lake, which was the one John had printed. Fortunately I had an idea of the story!!

Our friends told us several times the name of the "town" that we were going to. However it mean't nothing to us. It turned out to be a one horse town somewhere in the depths of the Dordogne. It was not much bigger than St Germain and as it was Sunday afternoon totally deserted. When we eventually found the cinema we were amazed to see that it was very modern, although not multiplex you understand. However it was a little disturbing to find that we were the only car in the vast car park, after all it was a rare cultural opportunity!

Eventually there were about a hundred of us, all of a certain age. Soon the big screen advised us to put on our 3D glasses. Remembering that we were all of an age we duly did as we were told although it caused much consternation as nobody appeared familiar with these "modern" gadgets. Fine, the film began - for two minutes before it crashed! After another five minutes passed the audience began to get restive and the general factotum i.e. the girl who dished out the tickets, whisked in to make an incomprehensible announcement which nobody could understand, let alone us. By this time we could see the funny side of the situation and were in fits of giggles.
After twenty minutes all was well and we marveled at the performance by a Russian company. As a gesture of apology the management provided drinks in the foyer at the end.

Not quite Covent Garden but nevertheless a thoroughly entertaining afternoon, in more ways than one.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ever been had?

Last week a disaster struck.  Or at least it did in the Gardening Department.  Sue announced that her dahlias which she had been 'storing' overwinter had been eaten by mice and the remains were going mouldy!  Sue was almost in tears at this discovery.  However, she lept into action and ordered a quantity of replacements from her favourite supplier in the UK (as luck would have it they were on the point of packing a previous order and were able to add to it!!!!)

Curiously, a few days after this awful discovery, Sue informed me that ... she doesn't know how but some of these dead plants are trying to grow.  So the arrival today of two boxes of dahlias means that we are now overflowing!!!
I expect a very colourful display this year.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Oh to be in England

We have just spent a few days with our very good friends who live in Cheshire. We managed to fit in a day at a museum, a fabulous meal at a gastro pub and a surprise visit to one of the "girls" who used to work for us, whom we have not seen for ten years. As usual Paul and Jennifer were superb hosts - lots of wine, food and laughs!!

We didn't expect balmy warm weather for our visit but neither did we expect lying snow.  We looked out of the window on Friday morning to see a winter wonderland. All very nice on picture postcards but a little unnerving when you have an hours drive to Liverpool Airport. By the time we got there the snow had turned to heavy rain and everything was reassuringly grey. 
Conditions were no better when we arrived at Limoges and we had torrential rain all the way home. By the state of the flooded fields around the village it had been raining all the time we were away.

We shouldn't go to visit friends in March. Last year we went to southern Spain and it poured with rain and was freezing cold.