Saturday, 28 February 2009

Last day of Feb 2009

It is now a month since my birthday. Four weeks. I do not feel any different. If anything I feel a bit more fractious.... what a word - it is normally kids that are fractious...... maybe I mean fractured. I am at the moment listening to a baby crying and his dad trying to cope with it.. it is 20.39 French time... I am going to bed in a bit and leave them to it. I do not want to intervene. My house is for a couple of over sixties not youngsters.......

My dear husband had a quiet word in my ear this afternoon. "Be nice to me" he said, "I have given up smoking and want you to be nice to me and understand my bad tempers". "I would like you to give me a bit of support!". Oh yeah, did he give me any support when I gave up smoking??? NO HE DID NOT!!!. What he is after is for me to jump on him with regularity. Maybe if he spoke to me and treated me well then I would.... And yes he will read this................... Got to the point where I don't give a shit... If it is difficult for him I know, well he has been given enough warnings from the medical profession over the past year, but it is his health that is under scrutiny, not mine, it is we (the family and doctors) that want to keep him going and for him to not have the pain of a heart attack or the disability of a stroke......

Anyway I have had my say and am off to bed!!!

Friday, 27 February 2009

27 Feb

Been a strange week so far, Charlotte is on School holidays, the sun is shining and the days are getting warmer. Have done some odds and ends in the garden, bits indoors and started my soup diet...... I just want to lose a couple of pounds and get rid of the stodgy winter feeling that has been building up over the last 3 or 4 months. Been on it for 3 days now and I think (psychosomatic?) it is beginning to work. I am just feeling lighter in myself. Trouble is I have a wretched cough, courtesy of who I don't know, I seem to be the last one in the family to have got it.

Been reading the UK news, God Help Britain. I have never before read of such greed. Why on earth do these people at the 'top of the tree' think that they should benefit from excessive bonuses and pensions whilst robbing those that kept them in a job.... Old Pru' Brown is now 'shutting the stable door' but it is far too late - those horses have gone forever.

My first job on leaving school was a bank clerk in the National Provinical Bank. We knew all our customers (never clients then!). Banking was conducted in a manual and fair manner. People paid a small amount to keep their bank account - known as 'bank charges'. If they wrote a cheque that took them into the red then the cheque was returned - sometimes twice or three times.... I know because I was one of the people that wielded the red pen!!! Banking was civilised and our manager, deputy manager etc. all lived in nice little houses and nice little roads. Then the Nat. Prov. joined forces with the Westminster Bank.. became Natwest for those who don't know. I have been banking with the Natwest forever then next thing I know it is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland - I don't remember being consulted on that one. I know I am not a shareholder but they have my money (not a lot at the moment) and surely I should have had a say along with all the other customers... And now the Government is bailing out the RBS and their 'head honcho' has left and has been given a £650,000 annual pension and he is only 50 yrs old. DISGUSTING!!

Monday, 23 February 2009


SUNDAY Kat, Ian, Charlotte and George went for lunch with Thierry and Kameela today..... How nice it was to have a day a deux. Jeff and I had an uninterrupted day from noon til around 6m. It was lovely, no children noise, no worries about what we said or did.. Our life was ours for a short space of time and I loved it!!!

MONDAY Today is the day that both Jeff and I visited a new cardiologist. Dr Berton, a very nice man who had a good knowledge of English is not longer available. He has moved on or retired, I don't know. His replacement Dr Mahdjoud is a very nice man. He checked my BP, pulse and did an ECG. Everything is fine... I though it would be. Just a routine check bearing in mind my family health history. Anyway, poor dear Jeff, he now has to go and have a scan at the Centre d'imagerie Radio Isotopique at Niort. It is an all day event. Obviously putting something into his bloodstream and measuring and recording its progress. It is all to do with the 'plaquettes' of cholesterol stuck in his system... Yes he did pale and is concerned, at last. I do not want to see him go the same way as his Dad (nice bloke - I was very fond of him), Brother or dear friend David... His Granddad died in his 50's probably heart related as well.. He is at long last sitting up and taking notice..

Off to watch Masterchef now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 21 February 2009


Been a quiet day, went down/up river, I think UP, had a look at some willows on Gilles bit of land, parfait..... Jeff and Ian took the boat up river and cut some branches, we will plant the other side of our potager fence and grow some nice osiers (maybe I will take up basket making!!) to grow a screen. A lot cheaper than M Lambert who charges for his!!!. They have cost us nowt.... We will also plant up some hazel in the flood meadow as well. Lots of nuts later we hope. Make the land work for us. bye bye sheep and hello sustainable crops... hurrah!!!

Neighbour (English) has planted some small shrubs (for a hedge) against the fence between us and the. The fence is on the literal border between us, there are laws out here that we know about and they have, (obviously) not read the communication from the mairie in January about boundaries and planting, so if we weed kill down the edge of our land and catch their hedge - tough shit!! I don't care and neither does Jeff, Ian or Kathy......They will learn and maybe get the hell out of our lives.................................

The weather today has been superb, the air outside is warming and the bulbs are poking there noses and showing their colour. I just hope that there is no frost to spoil it all.

Jeff and I had a 'domestic' this morning and he has been so very, very nice since.... sometimes men need a bit of a shake up. At least we were sober and understood each other. ~Remember, next row in morning not after a few glasses!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

LIFT day

Today I went to Niort with Zena, Jan, Lyn and Sarah for lunch with the LIFT ladies.

LIFT is Ladies In France Together. It is a new group started by a young Australian teacher, Jessica, and a young Irish girl, Jolene. It was an idea to get ladies together and meet each other once a month for either coffee or lunch and today's was the second meeting the 1st being last month in Parthenay for coffee when 15 attended.

There were 27 ladies for lunch in the Camino restaurant Niort. It was brilliant being out and meeting other people, some of whom have been here a short while and others that have been here for much longer.

For me it was good to get away for the day, hadn't seen the girls in a few weeks so it was nice to catch up on news. The weather was superb, couldn't fault the day at all.

The next meeting will probably be end of March at Chanteloup at La Grange.. Will be a better venue and less expensive.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

I DON'T like to hear my daughter and her partner arguing over such trivial things and I told them so today. I DON'T like to hear them arguing over their daughter. I DON'T like to hear them arguing in front of their daughter or me.


Right, got that off my chest... now for the rest of today. Did loads of laundry but no ironing, did some clearing up in the garden (boy does it need it after the last few weeks). Had a look at the bank balance, not good at all, too much money going out, phone bill far too high, electricity and water costs going up, pensions not healthy. We need more central heating oil - too expensive - no money in bank - got to get enough to last a few weeks...... buggerations... got to juggle... looks like my next holiday will be a cheapy at La Foret sur Sevre!!!!

I am now typing this in the dark, Georges is crying and Ian cannot cope with it. Maybe a bit of dark will help the boy settle. I have already done my bit for the day. Kathy will insist on going out and playing Basketball and leaving the child...... it is NOT in my remit to babysit all the time.

I DON'Twant to step in and help all the time..... They need to parent on their own.

Ian's still not coping so I step in, Jeff goes out (he can't cope with it either!). Georges settled in 3 mins and really asleep in 5.... Experience counts but I DON'T want to do it all the time.....

I know that one day Kathy will catch up with my blog...... GOOD!!!!!

I lost the last bit that I wrote, internet went down.... really annoys me when that happens, really, really annoys me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I said about Mr Mills, (Tessa Jowell's soon to be ex husband) being found guilty in Italy for accepting a bribe of £400,000 from Silvio Berlisconi. So much for the Golden couple - all that glisters is not gold. Also read about Sir Allen Stanford and his so-called fraud of $8 billion.... what a lot of noughts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The world has gone money mad (I could do with a little at the moment).

And it appears that 'heat lamps' from police raids on cannabis farms have been donated to Dudley Zoo for the benefit of animals that need them.. Ho hum............... what next ??????

Am drinking a reasonably inexpensive Rose, quite nice and I am now feeling mellow. Got a bottle of Nicholas Feuillatte in the fridge - a gift from Jeff for our anniversary. Will save it for the time being, maybe!!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday, another bright and lovely day, but oh so cold.... The air temperature is so very low and we all need to wrap up well outside. Even in the afternoon it is so cold. The nights are clear so there is always a frost in the morning. Roll on better weather, just another couple of weeks (I hope).

Tyler left early this morning to travel south to Toulouse. He has found another Wwoof host. He is wanting to travel the cities of Europe and I feel that he will be moving his way to Spain then working his way back up here then through to Germany (possibly). He has many ideas of where to go and what to do. I wish him well, he is quite a nice young guy but needs a bit of encouragement. We have a Dutch couple coming in May, they are leaving Holland and exploring the rest of Europe with a view to settling elsewhere and we will be on their itinerary. Quite looking forward to seeing them. Maybe we will get other Wwoofers arriving before them, we could certainly do with the help.

We have been trimming back more trees and shrubs, there is so much tidying to do before the spring. I have found 'pockets' of bulbs growing that I didn't realise I had. Won't be long before they are showing their lovely faces. The veg garden needs a lot of work. The weather has been so wet up until now that the ground is still too spongy to work. We have moved all the soft fruit now and need to set up a cage to protect it all. It will need a lot of posts and loads of netting. We will have to check out with some local pheasant breeders where to get the necessary stuff.

Nothing has happened indoors yet. I have clients booking for the odd weekend which is good, it all helps with the finances. Jeff is still unsure about our plans but Kathy and I are confident that it will all work.

Ian and Kathy start free French lessons this week, Kathy has also signed on with an agency and told the employment bods in Bressuire that she intends to look for work. ASSEDIC and ANPE are amalgamating to make it easier for the unemployed. The French have been very helpful for both of them and we cannot see why so many English have problems. Ian is getting 'dole' money at the moment and is looking for work. He really needs the time (and ££'s) to get his house finished.

Been reading about Jacqui Smith and Alastair Darling and their allowances for 2nd homes. Oh my what a government the UK has. Are all these people taking the 'pi**' . I sometimes cannot believe what I read, is it all fiction and as for that 13 year old boy impregnating a 15 year old girl.. Oh what is going on. Don't the parents accept responsibility for their children. The young parents and their child should be taken into care and fostered out to people who really care for children and their moral welfare. It makes me wonder how and why this happens. Morality is non-existent in some families in the UK.

And poor Jade Goody, she now knows that she will be dead within a matter of months. It is very sad but an idictment of the state of the UK. She has not been the most moral of girls and her lifestyle is giving her an early death. It is something you would not want to wish on your worst enemy....

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentine's Day

Today is our 39th wedding anniversary........

Thursday, 12 February 2009

On Tuesday 10th we collected Tyler from Bressuire railway station.

He seems like a nice young man and strikes me as very young, and I mean very young. He is 21 years old from New York but originally from California. He has long hair, and sits, stands,walks etc with his shoulders hunched forward and his head shrunk into his body - almost as though he is trying to make himself smaller, hidden; he is like an English 13 yr old just hitting puberty. He does not have an outgoing demeanour. Whether he will Wwoof for us for long or not I don't know... He reminds me of a short version of Grant who was with us last year. Maybe it the young american male; around 21yrs old, college student, studying philosophy, creative writing, arts etc. of that ilk, that has that posturing, I don't know.... We will see how he shapes up!!!

Over the past couple of days the weather has been bright and sunny. We have got over the storm of the other night thank heavens, don't want a repeat of that in the near or far future...

I have been feeling a bit achy, my joints seem to be seized but still haven't acquired any white burgundy yet to try. Went to Qi Gong tonight with a 'sensitive' right ankle but with support it stood up to the session. I must admit I felt a bit better afterwards, more chilled and relaxed.

Saw Dr D today, both Jeff and I, blood tests and cardiologist visits for the pair of us. Jeff was given a lecture again about smoking..... he paled, again! He knows it is for his own good. I am also up for a free colon cancer test... Oh boy, they want samples of my poo over a 3 day period. At least it does not seem to bad a thing to do once it is explained how!! Yeuk.

The old apple tree has been taken down and I now have a clear view down the meadow from our bedroom window. The tree has never been productive and was beyond any pruning. Some nice apple wood for the fire though! Will be getting some willow cuttings from a local chap soon, just to put some interest into the meadow. I would love to see it planted up and put 'walks' through it instead of it being just a big field.

Finished knitting Charlottes 2nd scarf, 1st one got nicked at her school...... It happens, whether you like it or not, if it is not labelled it will be stolen....

Our Maran Cockerel, Bernard, has been 'courting' all of our hens, he has made himself 'known' to all the layers as well as his 3 brunettes, 2 blondes and the redhead in the meadow. He is quite a lusty bird and is taking care of every hen he can find. Peu Peu stays out of his way!!!

With a bit of luck we will have chicks of one sort or another in the next couple of months - watch this space!!!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Last night the power went at 12.15, quarter past midnight. The winds were horrendous. I went to bed early - around 10.30 pm. I read a little of 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins, I am catching up on some English classics. I need to find a copy of 'The Lady in White' as well. Anyway, after reading a couple of pages (it is getting into the Victorian way of writing I find difficult) I settled down and dropped to sleep quite quickly. The wind, however, woke me continually in the night. Our bedroom faces South West and that was where the wind was coming from. I thought that the roof was going to take off it was so fierce. I didn't realise that the power had gone until some time in the early hours. It was so quiet - no electrical sounds from the clock by the bed and of course no light as well. I didn't get up until late - and I hurt. My whole body ached, I think I must have slept very tense due to the wind outside. I so hate the wind. Most of the West of France was affected by the winds, around 140,000 homes without power.

During the day we had to remember not to bother putting lights on, they did not work. There was no radio (which I love - it cuts out the tinnitus in my ears) no automatic lighting of the gas hob - had to remember to use matches to light the gas. Didn't dare open the freezers, didn't know when we would be getting electricity back... How do people manage in countries where they do not have the luxury of such things. Makes us think more of wind turbines and generators as alternative sources of energy. We have a river which could be used for energy - why not? costs of course.....

Tyler arrived this afternoon. He our 1st Wwoofer this years. He seems like a nice, personable young man. If he is anything like the Wwoofers we had last year he will be brilliant. He comes from New York, but is originally from California. He hopes to spend 9 months in Europe and has saved for the last 2 years for this experience. He had a week in Paris before coming here and hopes to do the 'Cities' of Europe. Berlin, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Barcelona etc... We will look after him whilst he is here and wish him well with his venture.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

I am having a day off today, it is Sunday. I woke feeling p'd off - knew it would not be a good day. Yesterday my right ankle decided it would go weak on me. It sort of 'collapses' in on itself but not completely. I suppose it is to do with the tendons which have been weakened over the years. My left elbow is also dodgy, I dislocated it a few years back and tore the tendons badly and also stripped of a little piece of bone which I think is moving about in the joint!! A lot I am sure is to do with the cold weather as well. I feel very fragile in all my joints. Had to get up though, had clients to do breakfasts for..... So much for Kathy doing the B&B thing....

Anyway I have retreated to our bedroom and am staying here out of the family's way. I don't want company I just 'vont to be alone' and not be bothered by noisy children and grandchildren. Have caught up with odds and sods that needed doing 'puter wise. Tidied up my email files and photo files as well. Might just start painting a picture this afternoon. Who can tell? Just don't want to do anything domestic at all.. Somebody else can cook, clear up and clean.

Thinking about my 1st paragraph tying in with the 2nd - when sorting through the emails I found one from Doris telling me about having a glass of white burgundy a day to help with arthritic pain. I think I will give it a go starting tomorrow after going out to buy some!!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Clarkson, Brown and Goody

Oh dear, I read today that Jeremy Clarkson said some 'unfair' things about Pru Brown. I didn't realise he had lost an eye when a young man (Brown that is). Anyway, Clarkson made his statement in Australia, we know how he can let his mouth go into motion without his brain being in gear and it upset a lot of Labour die-hards. The thing is - the man was speaking how he felt at the time of the interview. Then reading in the 'Mail Online' we see that a lot of people have the same opinion as Clarkson. I do not like Brown, I do not like what he has done to the UK, he is a Scot with a Scottish constituency, he was not elected to be PM, and he is bringing the country to bankruptcy. The upshot is, Clarkson has made an apology.....

There seems to be a lot of sanitising in the UK, people are not allowed to express their feelings about anything. Carol Thatcher has been rebuked and then sacked. Young Prince Harry was pilloried and then they brought up a comment made by his Dad years ago.

Maybe it is the Press that is wrong with the UK. They never print anything positive. They like to pick holes in people, give the worst case scenarios etc. All doom and gloom.

I feel for young Jade Goody, to be told that you have such an agressive cancer at her age must be devastating. Although reading her history she had dodgy cells removed at the age of 16. Too young, much too young. And then she apparently missed a smear test result. I hope that there are many other young women out there who live the 'life' who are taking note of what could be. So many young throw caution to the wind 'it won't happen to me' 'I'm OK'

Taling about cancer, a guy I have recently got to know, not well - he is a regular visitor to the B&B, he has just been diagnosed as having bladder cancer and also, it seems, his kidneys are affected as well. He is in his late 40's. What can one say? I don't know what the prognosis is, yet.

Today I have been de-junking our bedroom. I looked at it yesterday with fresh eyes and thought, 'Christ it is a mess'. I have made a positive start but there is still lots of odds and ends that need sorting. I am useless at putting things away, probably because some of my storage is being used for someone else.... The sunshine we are getting is helping me a lot, a definite improvement on the beginning of January. I was awake very early this morning and eventually decided to make a cup of tea around 6.40 - I took a look outside; Oh, the sky was magnificent! The stars were like diamonds sparkling on a dark blue velvet cloth. Absolutely stunning but so cold.... By 7.30 the sun had made an impression and dark clouds were coming from the south.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

February continued..

5th Feb today, it rained last night, quite heavy but dry this morning, well no rain but the ground was rather wet.... Jeff and Ian collected my tumble dryer from repairman this morning - been without for nearly 3 weeks - very frustrating trying to get clothes dry indoors. I haven't got a washing line any more and haven't had for nearly 3 years now..... need to get a new one but where to put it? I don't know - suppose I will have to sort something out later on.

It is afternoon and I am listening to Georges in his playpen blowing rasberries - his favourite thing at the moment and he is so very good at it!! He is sitting well and getting onto his hands and knees so much easier. He has a brilliant appetite and eats everything he is given. He also like to chew paper and cardboard and if he could get it - the cats tail. I think he is a bit of a little vampire, you can be holding him on your lap, playing and talking with him when he will suddenly sink his teeth into your wrist!!! Ouch - he has teeth now- top and bottom! After he has had a bite of your wrist he will give a sweet smile and laugh......

Am off to Qi Gong tonight, missed last week as in UK. Ian went to GRETA yesterday to see about his free french lessons, Clementine my Qi Gong teacher will be his French teacher. At last Ian has got his paperwork sorted for ASSEDIC (social security payments) so should be getting some money whilst not working. He is still looking for suitable employment but there is not a lot about at the moment. It has got to be something he is able to do - there was a welding opportunity but that is something he has no experience of.

Got to sort out raspberry canes today, they are going into the new soft fruit garden. Hope it all works well, we intend to cage it all from the birds. With a bit of luck Jeff will downsize the veg plot rather than enlarge it. He has increased it too much and it makes for a lot of extra work.

We have our first Wwoofer of the year arriving next week, Tyler from the US. He (she) is in Paris at the moment. Also had an enquiry from a Dutch couple for March. Things are looking up, free help is such a good idea and we do so like the company and to hear of their homes, lives and experiences. All we have to do is house and feed them and they help out with the garden etc. Josh (NZ) and Anya (Germany) (they were newlyweds) last year were with us for weeks and were such a great help as Kathy was out of the equation with George and Ian working. We also had Catie (US), Yvonne (Swiss), Kenny and his wife Vivid (Taiwanese), Grant (US) Marianne (US). They were all lovely people who we got on with so well. The garden was weed free and Josh built us a wall and helped to take down a very tall wild cherry tree. All the Wwoofers were brilliant with Charlotte and all fell for Georges. It took a lot of work out of Jeffs hands and he was able to de-stress.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


We are home from the UK. We left on the 28th for David's funeral on the 30th. Thought that we could get some shopping in whilst there. Stayed with Mum, boy is her bed uncomfortable, she did say that it needed a new mattress, how right she is!! Bless her for an (almost) 88 year old she is fantastic. Obviously there are some health problems but they are all under control. We shopped on Thursday got most of the dry stuff in, also went and bought some seeds that we cannot get out here. Gonna be fun trying some of the chillis that we bought!!

The funeral was conducted by a Humanist, it was a very beautiful service and no hymns were played or sung. Just Paul Simon, Under African Skies, Maria Callas and Madame Butterfly, Nina Simone and Feelin Good ending with Aretha Franklin Respect. David was a smashing bloke and we will miss him so much. Joan and their son Nick were fine. It was good to meet Kirsty after all this time (Nicks wife). The sun shone, but it was bitterly cold.

Saturday was again sunny and dry, took Mum shopping and then to the cemetary to put a plant there for Dad. It was my birthday, so sad for me. Mel came with children to see their g.grandma, then we shot of to Vicki's. Bless that girl, she baked me a cake - with candles.... After cake and and glass of vino we went to Mels for dinner. One day that child will be organised, all her plans went to pot - and she had two days to prepare!!!! 'nuff said. So we had chicken Fajitas instead of Lasagne (a la Maman) - hmmm not too bad.

Sunday morning James and Carol came to visit. Had the usual 'how are you? etc' 'how are the kids/grandkids, blah blah, my you are looking well' sort of chat. I am finding more difficult to talk to my brother and his wife - don't know why, maybe our priorities in life have become very different.

It started to snow in the afternoon, and it snowed and snowed and didn't stop. I was wondering if we would be able to get home on Monday. So we woke up Monday to a beautiful white blanketed garden what I remember so well from my childhood. I did not feel at all like making a snowman or snowballs - much too cold. Got all our stuff packed and into the car - we decided to leave early for Dover. Usually 50min to an hour. We left just after 9, shot into Tesco en route for some last minute things then off on M20 to Dover. We got to the port around 10.30 and took a chance on getting onto an earlier ferry. I had booked for 1.50pm and we were able to get on for the 11.10am ferry. Brilliant!!! get home sooner. The trip across was uneventful and the ferry was less than 20% occupied. At Calais the snow was not letting up. We had foul weather all the way to Rouen but the roads were very passable. The only 'lit' signs we saw were to be careful of the gritting/salting lorries. There was not hassle at all. After Rouen the weather improved and there was only a smattering of snow in the fields. By Le Mans there was not a sign of bad weather at all. We got home at 8.55pm - not bad going at all. IT WAS SO NICE TO BE HOME AGAIN!