Les poissons en France

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Week Away

We have just returned from a week in the UK meeting friends. Of course we spent a few days with Betty who struggles on despite her 94 years. Whilst there we went to Surrey to see Paul and Jennifer who have just moved there from Manchester and the next day we had lunch with long lost friends Moira and Bernard. When I say "long lost" I mean it, I have not seen them for 54 YEARS!!  Moira contacted me last year after a junior school reunion. They have a house in Brittany and are Francophiles like us, so we got on famously.
 Wednesday saw us off to Birmingham for a couple of days with Bob and Jenny who were also at school with us.

The UK weather was predominantly grey and dull, well it was January! When we returned home it had apparently been the same (lots of moaning from locals) and the rivers had risen yet again. However we could not believe how the garden had changed in just a week despite the inclement weather ... I actually mean the weeds had gone berserk, although the same could be said for the bulbs. We are fearful that if this trend continues everything will be hit by late frosts like last year. Nothing we can do!!
Yesterday evening residents of the village were invited to have a New Year drink with the Mayor in the village hall. Never ones to spurn a free drink we went along. We were astounded how many people turned out. We knew about half a dozen and had never even set eyes on most of them. The Mayor gave his annual report and then two speakers from the Lot regional council addressed the assembly. These latter speeches were v..e..r..y  v..e..r..y long not only for me who couldn't understand a word but for everyone else who ended up shuffling, muttering etc. Perhaps they had also just come for the food and drink!!

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Little Light Exercise

We bought some horticultural textile this morning to cover the "mound" in the courtyard. So John decided to start creating the Japanese garden this afternoon.

Firstly he had to scavenge the biggest rocks he could move ( and ones that were really too big for him to move) from the banks around the garden.

The following photos will illustrate the effort involved for an ol' boy with a dicky heart.

Eventually I got involved in a supervisory role and I did a bit of pulling and pushing as necessary

He/we have a lot more rock and gravel to move before the project is complete.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Postal Services

Firstly I must thank all of you who sent us Christmas cards and e-cards. However.....do you feel a rant coming on? As we opened our cards in December I couldn't help noticing how expensive it was for you to send us the cards and commented how generous it was of you to think of us. Also we noticed when the card had been posted often very early in December. (I can assure you that we did eventually open the envelopes and read the cards!!) As Christmas Day approached we thought we haven't heard from so and so this year, "hope they are OK". However into the New Year we began to receive a batch of cards every day, and to our relief "so and so" was OK. But each delivery stoked my anger, culminating a couple of days ago when we received a card which was posted at the main Post Office in Peterborough on the 8th December, OVER A MONTH previous. We are used to getting letters from HMRC which take a month to get to us and tell us that we should have paid our tax by last week, but not Christmas cards. No wonder most of us communicate by email these days.

I don't know which postal service is to blame (although we have had a word with our lovely postman, who just gave a gallic shrug) and I expect it cost us the same to send cards to the UK but we weren't counting. Anyway I feel better for getting this off my chest.

PS Nature Note

We got up this morning to pouring rain and a very dark dismal day but to our astonishment heard a kestrel calling for a mate. We are used to hearing him in early Spring but doesn't he know that it is only 12th January!! The crocuses have also started to bloom early so perhaps the warmer weather since Christmas has confused all parts of the natural world.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Winter work

For the past few weeks now the weather has been very unsettled ... a lot of rain has fallen and there's  surface water lying in the fields.  So not gardening weather!

We therefore scratched our heads and wondered what to do with ourselves and decided that, after nearly 10 years it was time to redecorate the kitchen.  In the past we've moved house when it became time to redecorate.

The first job was to take down all of the eye-ball lights, clean them of years of fly-dirts and then paint around them before replacing them.

I must admit that I wasn't too enthusiastic at the thought of all of the covering up of the kitchen units and the tiled floors but fortunately we have a huge quantity of old sheets and duvet covers in the loft.
   We found some very good French paint that really did cover in one coat, although I was accused of trying to spread it too far and had to do a bit of rectification work (another coat in places!)  However, with me doing the rollering and Sue the cutting in we finished the job in 3 days.
We are very pleased that the weather forced us to do this but now, in the evenings we almost have to sit wearing sunglasses.!!

Friday, January 05, 2018


We have not had a storm like Eleanor but we have had strong winds and lots of rain and this pattern is forecast to continue for the next week or so.

John toured the village yesterday to record the current level of flooding and the state of the little river Ceou which runs through the valley. In the summer it dries up completely and we have seen it with out water in February. However a few days of rain changes it's character completely.
We went to Cahors yesterday and saw that the Lot was a chocolate colour and very high, that spells trouble. So we were not surprised when the local council notified road closures with similar measures for the Dordogne which is equidistant from us.

On Saturday the lid of my Heath Robinson cold frame blew off and smashed. We have a spare piece so were repairing it this morning when John noticed that a very large dead tree had fallen over in the front garden. We have no idea when this happened. More work for him I fear. We were actually pleased that it had come down.
So we then made a tour of the rest of the garden giving a push to all the dead trees to see if they would follow suit. One nearly fell but the others refused to budge.
However more winds are predicted so they may succumb.