Sunday, 29 March 2009

Spring Forward

AM. Am on my own and it is quiet so I thought I would catch up now.

Clocks changed last night, 'spring forward' they say but I forgot to alter my clock.

I had clients wanted an early start but dear J woke me in time.

So there I was up with the Lark........ and the Blackbirds, Thrushes, Black Redstarts, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Sparrows, Chaffinches, Starlings etc.... It was glorious! Just the songs of birds from miles around at 7 am BST. There was a fine mist rising from the river, stunning. The Blackthorn bushes are in full bloom and were glowing earily white through the mist.

Ian and Lee left just before I got up to go fishing at a beautiful lake at Clesse. It is a huge chateau with accommodation in the grounds that has been created into an anglers paradise. Have been past it a few times - a lovely place. The lake is around 3 hectares - a good size.

My clients only stayed one night. Two sisters from the Vienne coming for a two day course at the Vannerie at St Marsault. Vannerie is basket making. Mr Lambert grows his own willow and makes some really beautiful baskets. The finished product is expensive to buy but the quality is exceptional. Maybe I will take a short course with him - one day.....

The last couple of days Lee has done a couple of jobs for us. He finished laying the patio that Jeff bravely started last October. A brilliant job well done, thanks Lee. He also put in a small wall for me in preparation for my 'petit jardin' outside the kitchen. Just got to put my plan on paper and mark out where I want the fence etc. Have thought it through thoroughly and have just got to convince Jeff that it will work..

'tis now evening, have had a day of clearing up, stripping beds, laundry, having lunch and then - suddenly feeling so tired - retired to my bed for a little sleep.

Francoise arrived today to Wwoof for us. She lives not too far from us, mother of two boys, divorced and lives in a tiny apartment. It is her 1st time for Wwoofing for us. She is lovely and has got on so well, helping Kathy plant potatoes in the 'potager' along with Charlotte (not the spuds!!). She may be back with us on weekends to help... Could become another amie francaise....

Have been reading about the Home Secretary and her husband.... Oh what joy!!! She has been taking the 'voters' money for her 2nd home and he has been watching porn on her expenses.....

The so called 'New Labour' are the most corrupt government the UK has ever had.... I read various English 'newspapers' online and see that so many people complain about what is happening but no-one does anything about it. I am sure it is possible to call for an election via ones own MP but it does not seem to be happening. I am so sorry that I have not kept up my ability to vote in the UK..... Yes I know I am in another country but it seems so wrong that the land that I knew and loved has been so politically violated and abused (stuffed and shagged by Blair and Brown - (Jeff's' words) over the past few years. I lose all hope and confindence in the UK for my children and grandchildren...

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Wednesday and it is raining, 1st rain in a long time and really welcome. Plants need refreshing!

Went to the bank yesterday to sort out some minor financial things. They couldn't do it in the branch and we had to see Claudine in person, she agreed that nothing is straightforward in France, c'est tres complique!

Ian and Lee have gone to Mervent to fish for a couple of days. They should be back tomorrow morning. Ian has a couple of rendez-vous this week regarding employment. Looks like a possible locally for him. I just hope he takes it - or the employers take him. He is quite capable for the job. He has been talking about going back to the UK to work in Fire security again. He couldn't stand working in London and he is now thinking of doing it again!! Makes you wonder.

Monday, 23 March 2009


It is 16.45 and I look down over the meadow and there they are, the Swallows have returned at last..... About 3 weeks later than last year.

Lee also arrived to day, via Stansted airport, not via North Africa!!

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Our dear Wwoofers, Kim and Camille, left us this morning, they were such a breath of fresh air and we will miss them enormously. Kim is very nice but seems a little shy. Camille though, well - she ran up to me like a 'puppy' to give me a big hug before going...So totally different in their own ways and I know that I would dearly love to see them again. I will be keeping in touch with them both. We have learned how to talk 'Red Kneck' (rayd nayk) courtesy of Camille!! Kathy has become adept over the last few days!! The girls are making their way by train to Carcasonne and then on to Montpellier and, would you believe, they have found a hostel to stay in in the centre of Carcasonne at only 19 euro a night!! Well done girls!

Kim and Camille have had a look at some of my 'art' and Camille has told me that I should make time and keep at it, both drawing and painting ----- so I will!!

Yesterday the girls dug out footings for my small wall, shifted loads of dirt and boy did they work hard. Kim admitted that she felt fit after all we have put them through the last few days. She is developing some muscle in her upper arms and shoulders!!! Camille stuck in and did well but she had been suffering with a sore throat and headache, maybe picked up from Charlotte.

Late morning today, Jeff and Ian set the footings for Lee next week, boy is he gonna work for his stay!! Lay a patio, build a block wall and finish off a dry-stone wall..

This afternoon had the pleasure of watching the six nations rugby, France won, England won and at the moment it looks like Eire is going to win..... Yipeeeee, my favourite three teams.... Don't like football, too many posers!! With Rugby - what you see is what you get!! (still watching Wales v Ireland and it is so close...... unbearable. Ire 17 / Wal 15 with 2 min to go) Yes, yes ,yes - Ireland did it!!! They have won the six nations trophy, England came second and France third..... Lovely!!! suits me down to the ground. Roll on World Cup!!

Jeff sorted a bit more in the garden yesterday and today. It is beginning to take shape at long last. Just to make it easy maintenance. Not much fun getting older and finding it more difficult to cope.

Ian is in one of his 'moods' or whatever one want to call it (male version of pmt?). He has been down the barn and has cleared out loads of stuff, stuff that I thought Jeff had got rid of! Problem is we have rats in the barn and there has been lots of places for them to nest and hide.... They need to be sorted so will have to get traps to get the b*gg**s - daren't use poison because of the cats!!

Talking about the barns, still haven't seen any swallows. They are usually here by now and starting to make their nests in the beams.... Other summer visitors have started arriving , hopefully they will be here within the next week. Not too many butterflies at the moment either. Just the occasional Peacock, no sign of Brimstones, usually the 1st to arrive. Maybe it is to do with the cold winds we are getting. Beautiful sunny days with a chill factor. Loads of primroses up the lane and the cowslips are just poking their head through... lovely!!

Our UK neighbours have planted more hedge between them and us, really close to the boundary. Lets wait and see!!

Friday, 20 March 2009


This morning we had the power cut for 4 hours. The local electricity board was obviously doing some updating somewhere on the overhead lines. Power went off at 8.3o but was back by noon so in truth it was only 3 and a half hours.... I think that out here they allow extra time - just in case...

Again the weather was absolutely superb. So good for this time of year, just hope that it breaks soon, have been planting things that will need water. Apparently it is going to continue for a while.

Camille and Kim have dug out footings for my new wall.... bless them they have worked so hard for their bed and board. My plan is eventually coming together. Lee arrives on Monday and he will build the wall I want, finish off (again) the wall around the bac a sable and also sort out our new patio area. He wont be charged for staying and I know for that he is a bloody good worker and knows his stuff. Went to the bank yesterday but I need to have a rdv with a 'conseiller' to sort out what I want done. I just need to get money accessable. They seem to make it difficult but I know that they have our 'best interests' at heart.... I still know what we need to do with our money!! I now know that I will have our new little private garden, I have waited so long for this to be done - just a little area with privacy and peace... Will post some pictures when it is done. I have plants ready to go into it, sorted out pots for herbs (it is outside my kitchen door!!) - got my eye on a little 'bistro' table..

Camille and Kim leave tomorrow. It will be so sad, they are lovely girls and I have really enjoyed their company, it is so refreshing to have young people who are willing to exchange ideas

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Another sunny day, how lovely for this time of year. Still no Swallows yet, but, the Black Redstart is around, heard his distinctive call. Also, I think, heard the Golden Oriole down by the river. Again a very distinctive call. Just got to listen for the Nightingale next, then the Cuckoo which is about but keeping quiet!! Seen a couple of Wagtails about as well. Spring is definitely on its way.

Dominique put a young bull in a field about a week ago. He has introduced 8 hiefers in the last couple of days. The girls are young and their coats still have the winter 'fluffyness' about them. Took a walk up the lane with Kathy and Georges yesterday and the girls were really curious about us. Loads of primroses and the leaves of bluebells are all there poking their way through. Will have to take a longer walk to see the cowslips, they are en route to Pellouialle.

Looks like the couple who were interested in the wooded land other side of the river have decided against it as it is difficult to get to. Will see the Mairie in St Andre and speak with them about it and find out about easier access for any prospective purchaser. I just want to get rid of the land, it is difficult for us to cope with.

Don't know that we would get permission to build a bridge.... Would cost too much anyway and we can't put in a 'ford' to get across. Not that we bought the land, it came with the original package!! The land itself is prone to flooding so no building is possible, so what about this for a pie in the sky idea?put a house on stilts of course!. There is plenty of wood to build it with. Then one would have to find out about getting power to it, lots of money.. unless one put up a wind generator and had a battery store. How's about a 'yourt on stilts' hmmmm - don't think that would work!! A self sufficient paradise that is surrounded by water in the winter, has the most beautiful wild flowers in the spring and I don't know what in the summer....

Ian is calmer today, thank heavens... He has worked well with getting the new wall in. At long last the apartment is taking shape. I think it will work well. Got some good bookings this year so it has paid for the work etc. already. Just got to go and buy the kitchenette, some hessian carpet, paint to decorate etc... Got the furniture, crockery, cutlery etc..

So how is this day ending, not so good at all...... Kathy had a little too much to drink and started an argument with her father. Definitely not good. Neither would back down. Language got worse and louder. Woke Charlotte and disturbed Ian. Plus Kim was in the room. I tried to diffuse the 'row' didn't work. Jeff went to bed really p'd off with his daughter. she was really out of line on this one. Hopefully things will be better in the morning. Whether she will apologise to her father or not I don't know.. wait and see.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Today has been a glorious sunny day. Got laundry sorted.... goody. froze some leeks... got lots more to do though. There are also parsnips to freeze. Did a bit in the garden, not a lot though. Again has been a bit of a disjointed day. Have actually looked at the bank account properly, surprised what I had missed - got a few euros stashed away that I had forgotten about... should pay for my own little garden outside the kitchen door - our own private space.... Won't need to sneak off to the river for a quiet drink, can do it just outside the house.. hee, hee..!!

Lee is coming out next week, great, he is a brickie.... and a good one... got a few jobs lined up for him. He will be here just like a wwoofer. Our dear sweet girls are going on Thurs. Will miss them enormously, love them and appreciate all that they are doing for us.

Ian threw a 'wobbly' this afternoon with Charlotte. I was absolutely shocked and, basically, 'broke down'... I had never, ever in my life seen someone 'flip' within seconds over something totally trivial. Charlotte broke down in tears and so did I..... unbelievable. There are some issues that need sorting with Ian. I know he has had many problems in the past and that there is something he really needs in his life that he is now lacking - but to behave the way he did was way over the top. He did apologise to me but he should not have done what he did.. There was no actual physical thing that he did, but he reverted to typical 'spoilt, agressive child' behaviour. I still feel shaken up by it all.... He knows it was wrong but whether he will seek help or not I don't know.

Still no sign of the Swallows..... they seem to be very late this year. Seeing plenty of butterflies, Peacocks and whites - no brimstones though, I thought that they were the first to be seen in the year.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Today has been the 2nd wet day this week. Monday good, Tuesday when Camille and Kim arrived was wet. Wednesday, Thurs and Fri so nice that we could sit outside to eat and drink during the day. Lovely weather which made us all feel so much better. Apparently tomorrow is going to be good. I hope so.

Took a walk up the lane, there are primroses and celandines. Lots of tiny purple, lilac and white violets. They are like little jewels in the grass. The early purple orchid leaves are showing just waiting for April to arrive and then throw up their lovely flowers... Hopefully there will be more and more. I notice that the primroses are spreading further down the lane, they might even reach us soon!

Camille and Kim are both artists. I have seen their work Camille has a webpage with her works on it- they are excellent and she has sold many of her works - I think she is very talented. Knocks spots of Damien Hurst!!!!!

Kim works in graphic design -I watch her draw - she is very precise and neat. Again lovely work and to see a pen and ink portrait develop is amazing.

Duck was slaughtered today, have been putting it off for such a long time. Hope it tastes good when I cook it. Thinking also about despatching a few of the hens, there are too many I think. They are layers so only useful for chicken pie or curry or soup definitely not for roasting.

The Wwoofers are lovely. They are so pleasant, chatty, amusing and work very well. It just seems that females are more willing to get 'stuck in'. They have made a difference so far with the work that needs doing. Extra hands definitely help. We are so glad that we heard of this scheme. Jeff was so dubious at first but is now used to the idea and is happy to delegate.

Apartment is now ready for new wall and decorating. Will need to get some new flooring though. Have found a nice sold kitchenette to go in, just got to order it then get J-P to install it.

Got a painful left arm, had third tetanus jab on Thurs afternoon. 1st two jabs were worse than this time. At least I am covered now for the next ten years. Strange thing is I cannot remember for the life of me when I had jabs before.... Hence the need for all these shots. The thought of getting ill with tetanus.........

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Wednesday. Sun has been shining, wind has been absent for a change.

Picked up Kim and Camille yesterday, our new Wwoofers. Both are lovely girls - early twenties and looking to enjoy their stay in Europe. Jeff set them a couple of tasks today which they took on with no probs. Both are young and fit, artistic and not too worried about animals being slaughtered etc. Both are down to earth, lovely. Nothing like the young american male at all. In all honesty I can't help but compare between young Josh (New Zealander of 23) with Grant and Tyler both young American guys of 21. Josh was so fit, ran for miles, cycled for miles, lifted rocks, dug garden, drank, ate and behaved with 'gusto'. His physique was - well! what can one say but lucky Anja his new wife!. Then I visualise Grant and Tyler and see two young guys who shrink their heads into their shoulders, have hair over their faces and shy away from 'hard' work. Such opposites. Both the Americans were being fretted over by their 'Moms' yet Josh was over in Europe getting married and enjoying life with his head held high and a beer in his hand.
On the other hand, the American girls, well - they are happy to muck in and get their hands dirty, work hard in the garden, help in the kitchen, clean etc..... would rather have an American girl Wwoofer than half a dozen guys. We have a Dutch couple arriving in a couple of months to Wwoof with us then, I think, a couple of young Chinese/Australian doctors - female - who are doing the Europe thing. If last years experience is anything to go by then it will be fun.

Took out the wall in the family suite today, God bless Ian, he helped Kathy and took the wall out and then set the frame for the new wall. We have the proposed apartment let this year so really need to get the work under way. I have paint, tiles, furniture etc. Have sourced a good little kitchenette (unit with sink, hob, cupboard and fridge) at a reasonable price from Castorama. Got a devis from Jean-Patrick the plumber to fit, so all is underway. Once it is done I will need to get Clevacances out to assess for 'labellisation'. Hopefully I will get 2 'cles' for the apartment as well as the rooms. If Jeff was doing the job he would still be thinking of the best way to go about it, then have a cup of tea and think some more. He is inclined to be a bit pro-inactive is our Jeff, I have even seen him break a sweat when I mention 'decorating'!!!

Got our pensions in the bank this week, we will have to tighten our belts even more. I am so really peeved that we are losing so much. We have to be so careful what we spend and I do not like it. Jeff is finding it difficult. Yes we do have money in the French equivalent of TESSA's but cannot touch it as yet. Got to wait..... We are looking to sell the piece of land other side of the river. I have never been over to see it but looking from the riverbank this side there is lots of good wood for fuel. Maitre C. gave us a suggestion of price when we spoke with him last year and I will advertise for maybe a thousand euro more and if someone offers less then that would be acceptable. We do have a couple that are interested in it and we are waiting on their decision. They know that I want to get shot of the land ASAP and I have given them the lower price. The land is sitting idle and we have plenty of wood for fuel with the rest of the trees we have. Next thing would be the lake - maybe!!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Quiet day today, Mme left with her partner, I will probably see her again soon. It is not good for her Mama, apparently she is now suffering from a degree of paralysis and deteriorating fast. I find it difficult coping with the grief that is there before the 'end'... I feel for Mme, remembering what it was like when my own Dad was so very poorly and just waiting to go...

Cleared rooms, did laundry, cleaned bathrooms etc..... at least the sun was shining but again it is windy. No rain though, good. Caught up on updating the computers, renewing antivirus etc.. sent loads of emails re ITADS. Meeting to be cancelled tomorrow, not enough of us able to attend. Ho hum.... that is the problem with volunteers, life can get in the way of what needs to be done.

Kathy had a bad night with Georges. Poor little chap, he is suffering so with his teeth.

Charlotte back to school today, I think she missed it over the last two weeks. She so loves her friends and, of course, the language.

Mel's new relationship seems to have 'bit the dust'. One day she will realise that friendship counts before 'relationships'. She is inclined to just dive into 'relationships' and then find that she is drowning!! It does concern me - what effect is it having on her children for a start. Are they going to grow up having lots of 'uncles'? I do hope not. They are of the age when they are influenced by grownups, especially Tom, the dear boy has had enough problems over the past few years. Natasha has met her daddy's 'girlfriend' - good God mummy and daddy aren't even divorced yet!! Frightens me!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday, a quiet, wet and blustery day. Typical March weather. Maybe it will go out like a lamb, who can tell?

A regular guest arrived yesterday, her mother has Parkinsons disease and is not at all well. Madame, as you can imagine, is very sad. This is the second time she has travelled from Paris this year to see her Mama and is keeping me up to date as to her condition. I find it very sad as her visits used to be happy visits.

George had a little lesson today, quite funny really, he sneezed whilst having his fingers in his mouth!!.. He has 4 teeth now and bit himself when he sneezed. He was quite shocked and bawled for ages afterwards. Must admit, we grown-ups laughed !

We have two Wwoofers arriving on Tuesday, a couple of American girls, Kim and Camille. They have already had a few weeks in the UK and are working their way through Europe. They have a Blog going as well charting their progress. I am going to keep up with it and see how they do. We have plenty of things for them to do in the garden, especially my garden..

Still waiting for the swallows to arrive, they seem to be late this year as last couple of years they arrived late February. Ian saw a Sparrowhawk in the garden last week, in swooped close to him in hot pursuit of a blackbird. Reading up on Sparrowhawks it must have been a female as they go for larger birds and, I didn't know this, they are about 25% larger than the males that take small birds like blue tits, sparrows, wrens etc.. will have to keep a look out for her, she might be nesting nearby. If I had a photo I would post it!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Last night the wind was horrendous. I kept waking up and hearing the roaring. I buried myself under the covers but I still heard it. I so hate the wind. Maybe we will have to move. If not when I am on my own - just to go where there is no strong winds. I hate it.

It rained hard as well. At least it is helping the willows that I planted to get going. I find that I am typing too fast for this computer and it is pausing and catching up eventually, I find it quite disconcerting. Today has been sunny and wet with the occasional shower of hailstones. Typical weather for this time of year.

Haven't done much at all today, a bit of tidying but finished a Lynda la Plante book. Naughty me, I didn't feel like doing too much at all. Never mind, at least I cooked a decent dinner this evening.

Got Gill and Ken around tomorrow evening. Will cook a vegetarian lasagne for them along with a some salad and maybe a nice chocolate mousse for dessert. Will be fun. Love them both and if they do find their dream home in Mirepoix I will miss them enourmously. So many friends are moving away! Mind you, there are a lot of Brits moving out of the country because of the awful exchange rate. It is definitely sorting the wheat from the chaff..

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Thought I would change my blog template, this is better!!!
3nd of March today. Weather not too bad, in general things not too bad at all. Saw some primroses out this morning, apparently they have been about for a few days - just goes to show how long it has been since I have walked up the lane. Saw a peacock butterfly on Sunday, a sign that spring is well on its way. Birds have been twittering about all day. Ian saw a cuckoo a few days ago. Haven't heard it yet.

The picture is of Bernard our lovely Copper Maran Cockerel. He is very attentive to his ladies and quite a gentle soul, not like the other Cockerel we had. The poulltry are all now well penned in. I was a bit peeved having to chase them out of the garden. I just want it to look nice and tidy for clients. Can't have them (clients) arriving to an untidy entrance. Am tidying a little on a daily basis, just to keep it under control.

Planted some osiers in the meadow just the other side of the garden for a screen. They didn't cost a penny as Gilles let us take some cuttings from his down river. Maybe this year I can get my mental image up and into reality in the meadow. To have it planted up with willows and hazels. Maybe some other trees if I can source free saplings. My tillieul is growing up nicely and needs to be planted out now. Need to discuss with Jeff where to put it!! There may be space up the lake. I have some weeping willow cuttings that have grown and need to be planted as well.