Les poissons en France

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What a Difference a Year Makes

I am conscious that we have not reported from "our little world" for a while. Well we, along with lots of other people, have had a "fluey" cold for the last three weeks. My has it slowed us down ... or perhaps it's the advancing years, which we refuse to accept. Anyway the net result is the bedroom is not finished (first guests arrive next week) and garden is ticking over - just.

I thought I would check back on the Blog to see what was happening in the garden at this time a year ago. I was amazed, the memory is obviously going as well as the body. The most striking difference was that the weather was warm and sunny. This year it has never stopped raining and last week we had a devastating frost which hit all the young growth and destroyed the common iris display which had just started.
I'm so pleased that we are not opening the garden yet. I fear I will be just as stressed in July, we could have a thunderstorm the night before, everything could be behind because the weather has been colder.... Oh why do I put myself through it???

Friday, April 08, 2016

This and That

I seem to have got lots of little bits to write about that are not sufficient to warrant a post on their own.

Firstly the bedroom. This is how it was when we bought the house in 2006.
And now we are nearly done, 10 years later!  We have finished the ceiling, painting and jointing the wall.
 John has begun tiling so we are moving onto the last lap.
We feel sure that the female kestrel has started laying and is consequently incubating. There is a difference  of opinion as to which hole in the back wall they are using. Just before we went to Spain we witnessed a huge fight in the corner of our courtyard between the two rival males and we assume one has had to seek pastures greener. The hoopoes returned this week as did the cuckoos.
Although the weather is very wet and we haven't been able to get outside and catch up with weeding and mowing, the garden is full of spring flowers. They hide the weeds, well at least from a distance.
Guy  is having a great time in Taiwan. We are very pleased that he looks so happy. He has just climbed a high mountain, I've forgotten how high but its one of those that you have to get a permit to climb and I wanted to share this picture of him at the top. They are always Mummy's little boys even when they are 35!!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Second Visit

After a days 'rest' the workmen were back this morning to continue the work on the road.  I had been told that they were going to build a 'step' in front of our porcherie, so my expectations were different to what we have actually got!
It is just a raising of the road level with a shallow 'gulley'.  I feel that I might be making some mods to this once the roadworks are finished!!!
As you would expect (those of you who know her well) Sue could not resist going out to tell the men that their 'step' wasn't parallel to our porcherie door and that the work they were doing wouldn't work.  However, unlike me, they took no notice.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Another day in Bodger's Paradise

Three years ago we asked at the Mairie if our road could be repaired.  It wasn't the Commune's responsibility and so the request was sent 'upstairs' to the Commune de Commune;  We duly had a little lorry and 2 men who looked, shook their heads and left.  Three years later, yesterday in fact, the Mayor arrived with another councilor and a Highways man and they informed us that they were going to install some sort of drainage system and then resurface the road.

Yet we were still amazed when first one, then two lorries arrived this morning and work began.
As you can see, at least one workman needed to watch to see that everything was carried out correctly!
Work to the edge of the road was done ... in places
but not everywhere!
No one reappeared in the afternoon so we await with excitement and anticipation whenever and whatever more is done.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Culture and Nature

We had been intending to return to the Bird Reserve we visited in the Autumn near Girona in Spain.  The warden had told us that the end of March was the best time so, as I had a hospital appointment at Toulouse (which is 2 hours on the road towards Spain) we decided to continue on and visit Barcelona and then the birds.  Everything was progressing well until we got to the French/Spanish border.  All of the traffic on the motorway was funneled into 2 lanes and then there were only 2 toll-booths working.  Once through this we had to crawl past Gendarmes and then very slowly past well armed Spanish police/soldiers!  Whether they were looking for someone or it was just an exercise we don't know but it certainly caused a massive hold-up.

Our arrival in Barcelona was the usual search for the hotel ... our GPS is about 10 years out of date and has stopped talking to us!!!

The main reason for going to Barcelona wasn't the Barca/Real football match which was this weekend, but to see the Sagrada Familia.  We last saw it in 2008 when the inside was still a building site.  What a transformation!
The interior of the Basilica is finished but there is still lots of new work being done on the exterior.
My photos do not convey the full feeling of the building which we found to be incredible ... one can only say, a spiritual experience. (Whether you wish to call it 'religious' depends upon your beliefs, but we certainly found it quite moving).
The stained glass windows, combined with windows high up which are frosted white, give a magical light show to the interior whilst the ornamentation of the facades and doors are stunning.
 Gaudy was totally influenced by Nature and so used the inspiration of wildlife to decorate throughout.  We loved these entrance doors ...
Can you see the bees, the ladybird and the moth?

We found in contrast that aspects of the exterior are quite Disneyesque but the building still remains very, very impressive.
After this short exposure to 'culture' we went north to see friends at Sa Tuna, which is on the coast north of Girona.  But our next activity on the itinerary was the bird reserve at Aiguamols just some 40 km south of the border.  The weather was mixed ...
cool and rain, but this did not deter us from seeing nesting Storks ...
lots of wildfowl and wading birds ...
 and, of course the horses.
We were also lucky enough to see some migratory British birders ringing and identifying small birds.
We recognised them as British as one had a BTO anorak on and they were using an English identification book (Collins Bird Book).

Those British get everywhere don't they!!!