Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Sunny Days

Today has been lovely, no clouds in the sky at all.... A bit scary really though... thoughts of global warming and all that...

My last entry was a few days ago. Have been in the garden clearing so many weeds and nettles and this is just in a small patch by the house!! The area has been upset by the work last year (new fosse septique and related pipework) and we just never got round to sorting it out. Too many other things on the go. Anyway, I am ploughing (figuratively) through this mess. It is tedious and nettle roots are an absolute bane!. But, I am getting to the root of the problem. Good for my health (peut etre) my joints (p e) my sanity etc.... Slowly but surely it is taking shape.. and my plan is coming together.

What have I done this week apart from gardening.... hmmm. Tried to make Jeff feel better in himself by setting him easy tasks.. easy therapy hopefully.. Got to be patient as he is not feeling so good. Takes a while for his system to get used to the medication. (just checked back on previous entries - didn't mention Jeff is now on SSRI's for the depression he is going through). We know it will take time and patience.

Coated the walls in the apartment with unibond prior to putting on the enduit. Just hope the end result is good. Have taken another booking for the apartment from an English couple, friends of Vicki. 1st booking is not until June but it will still be better to have it ready now rather then later. Will need to get Rachel to come and check it out for Clevacances - will be nice to get a key rating from them. Maybe next year get them to do the bookings for us....

We are also getting a few enquiries for the B&B, it has been a slow start this year and we have had no 'househunters' from the UK at all for the last 12 months... a definite downturn in this area.

Our Charlotte is doing well, she still has a cough that is very irritating for all of us. She is on a course of antibiotics and then another course. The final lab results arrived today and have confirmed that she has (had) pneumonia. There was no indication that it was caused by poultry/ducks or legionnaires disease (their 1st thoughts). She seems in fine fettle though in spite of it all...

Dear Siggi has been in hospital since 4th April, she has had tests and is permanently on oxygen. They have now told her that she still has fluid on her lung and the antibiotics have not cleared it and she only has 50% use of that lung. She has been shipped to Poitiers this afternoon to see a professor of pneumology (he has seen her before and knows her case). She has been getting really p'd off as things are happening so slowly. There is a possibility she has cancer but then they also mentioned other things as well..... It is a case of wait and see. She is glad she is here rather than the UK!!

Oh the UK - what a mess!! 'nuff said!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Today it has been raining, all day, not very nice at all. I was intending to do some more in the garden but no... so I was doing things in the house instead. Not a lot mind you, a bit of laundry and sweeping and dusting then updating some family history and cooking and now this. Not a lot on the TV tonight (UK rubbish!)

Watched Britains Got Talent last night (2nd time! - could become a habit!) and saw a couple of good acts - one a music teacher playing the soprano saxophone - didn't know they did a soprano saxophone - he was excellent and the show finished with a 12 year old welsh lad (of mid eastern origins) who sang brilliantly - mind you he has been performing for 7 years. Turn out last weeks turn, Susan Boyle, has been having voice coaching lessons for years as well.... and she has had at least 35 million viewings on YouTube.

Was watching some mixed bathing this evening. Starlings, sparrows and a chaffinch sharing the same puddle... Looks like the wood pigeons are looking to nest in the Oak tree over the lane again this year. Will have to keep tabs on them.

Had a nice chat with big sis this evening. She was saying that she took Mum to Rochester Cathedral for a service commerating the Womens Land Army. Mum wanted to go and she wore her medal with pride. I think being given this new medal has given her a sense of achievement for what she did during the last war. Dad had his medals for his service and at long last she has been acknowledged for hers. Apparently there were quite a few ladies there with their families but I don't think that Mum was acquanted with any of them - she was probably the oldest!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Today it has rained and rained (it doesn't look quite right!) il pleure et pleure encore - peut etre c'est meilleur!

Did my passport photo - OMG (Oh My God) I really need to have my eyelids sorted if and when I win the lottery. I definitely have my dear sweet Dad's eyes. (just call me droopy!)

So tomorrow I source my friend to confirm that it is a likeness of myself and also for Jeff, a likeness of himself, and apply via the British Consulate in Paris/Bordeaux or where-ever at one hell of a cost (but it is at least for ten years) so I can go back to the land of my birth or where-ever...

I am so glad that I planted some shrubs over the past couple of days - they are now getting a good watering in - just hope that they establish themselves and enhance my garden.

Jeff had a little chat with Ian, bridges/fences are being mended - slowly by surely - hoo effing ra!

Charlotte is absolutely fine, she is still having a little cough now and then, but - yes there is a but - she seems so good. Kathy got the results of her blood tests today and has been researching on the internet; too much information!! - Anyway it seems that some bacteria has caused the problem and she has to stay away from the rest of the world!! At least she has 3 weeks to recuperate before going back to school...

Oh what a change to our lives..........................

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Last night I thought that Jeff and I would have a quiet evening.. How wrong can one be! The first night in months that it would be just us - a deux .... but no.........

Dear little Charlotte had trouble breathing, such pain in her chest.

So Kathy left Georges with us and off she went to the hospital.... She eventually returned at quarter past two in the morning. By then I was totally deflated, Georges has fed, slept, had nappy change, continued to sleep then had awoken.... Jeff was fine, just channel hopping to pass the night away (I just can't fathom why men do this?)

It seems that the cough that has been bothering Charlotte over the past couple of weeks has developed into pneumonia. Poor love, she had to have a chest x-ray, blood taken etc. The health professionals thought that it could be Legionnaires disease(?) or something transmitted by poultry. I favour the 2nd option.. Anyway, she is now on antibiotics and painkillers and no school for the next 3 weeks (Easter hols start next week!).

Strange how life pans out!

So today, went to Brico Depot at Cholet via the new route - so quick now - brilliant. Went to price up a kitchenette (cheaper than Castorama - and closer). Also priced up fence posts, metposts and volige - I have worked out that using volige and creating a 'ranch' style fence but enclosed both sides - would work out cheaper than buying panels ready made. At least I can tailor the height and width of the fencing. Not only that but substantial panels cost nearly 80 euros - sod that and they would be the wrong size!

Jeff spoke with Ian this afternoon - at long last fences are being mended. It only needed for him to say that he was out of order. Thank God we are on the road to recovery....

Monday, 13 April 2009

90 - 10 principle

This came in my email box the other day, on a Powerpoint presentation. I eventually got round to opening it! Wow if only I had received it before last Sunday! Life would be different now - here it goes:-

The 90/10 Principle Author: Stephen Covey (Management Guru)
Have you read this before? Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations). What is this principle?

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean?

We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light, but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example. You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just what happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over.

She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work.

You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home, When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning. Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is " D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "It's ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference? Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.
Why? Because of how you REACTED. You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? (A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off)

Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them? WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse. Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it.

The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.

The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!

Thank you Steven Covey for writing this methinks it is time for me to change my life.........

Sunday, 12 April 2009


Watched Britain's Got Talent last night - Haven't seen much of it before - just a couple of repeat shows at the end of last year. Well, last night was a 'blast'. An English Greek and his son doing a Greek Cypiot version of a gaelic dance.... hilarious! A 35 year old 20 stone stripper (female) she wowed Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell but I don't think she will be at the Royal Variety Show. The show stopper was Susan Boyle from a village outside Glasgow. 47 years old and dowdy - plain dowdy - but she had the most incredible voice - even little Georges was spellbound, he just stood in his playpen and listened to her. I have a feeling that she will be snatched up by a record company, given a makeover and be re-presented to the public.

A little rain overnight and this morning. The garden is greening up - plants are growing - weeds are growing grrrr! Put another couple of shrubs in yesterday so they will have a good start. The garden is actually beginning to take shape again - it is perpetually evolving - and slowly (too slowly) becoming low maintenance.

Georges had his first Easter egg today - he ate every scrap he could find - not a bit escaped and there was very little left on his cheeks and fingers. It was only a 'kinder' egg but he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Took a walk up the lane with Jeff, he needed to get out and have a bit of exercise - me too! Pixie followed us to the top of the lane meowing all the way - she was very quiet coming back and gave up walking when we reached the barns! Also needed to have a look at the lake and see how things are there. Moved the ragondin (coypu) trap as they are still getting in from the other side of the lane. Maybe we will get rid of some more - our local guy that was helping trap the ragondin and musk rats has moved on and the ville has not replaced him.

The Early Purple orchids are out in full bloom. They are beautiful. There are also some lovely lilac wild violets sitting like little jewels in the grass. The primroses are coming to an end unfortunately but the cowslips are replacing them and the first bluebells are opening their flowers. Solomons seals are slowly unfurling themselves against a backdrop of brambles, euonymus (spindle), holly and other small (cut back) trees.

There are some young heifers out - last years calves and also a group in another field with one of the bulls. I expect we will see some new calves in the next couple of weeks being brought up from Pellouaille.

The willows cuttings we planted last month are making leaf and it looks as though they have probably taken. We will have a decent screen down the meadow at last...

The tree fruit has loads of blossom this year. Last year was a total disaster with no stone fruit at all. We shall have plums and peaches - yummy! The Bramley apple has a lot of bloom too this year - only had a couple of paltry fruits last year, I think it was still recovering from being chewed by the sheep and being moved as well. I have two quinces and they both look well and the new cherry trees are settling in. The fruit bushes that we have moved are looking good so I think I will be having some fun with jams and preserves later this year.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Weekend

How different it is here in France compared to the UK. Very little emphasis is put on the Easter weeked, Maunday Thursday and Good Friday are just normal days, no hot cross buns out here! Monday is the most important day in the Christian Calendar and yes they do have that day as a holiday. As for Easter eggs, well there are some about but not a lot at all, just a few chocolate easter bunnies. And, you know, the children are not bothered at all as there isn't the hype going on.

Had friends round last night and we played Trivial Pursuit - 1st time in a long while. We had a great time and we girls won!! We have agreed that we will definitely do it again - it was a fun time.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Spent most of the morning in Niort today, Jeff had his radio isotope scan and we will have to wait until Tuesday for the results... Not bad eh? The receptionist told me that they fax it today and that they also send a letter to our Doctor and to the consultant for next week - bearing in mind that we have Easter weekend as well - they don't do Good Friday out here! just Easter Monday... Don't think they work with that speed in the UK. I think things are OK as they only did the one scan this morning - they didn't need to do a second one this afternoon.

So we were back home by 2.30 - it has been such a lovely sunny day. Had another Qi Gong lesson - it was a good one and I feel good.

Checked in Castorama this morning for the kitchenette for the apartment. They are OK but Kathy thinks that they will be cheaper from Brico Depot (both companies are owned by Kingfisher Group) so we will be visiting there next week.

Ian is back in the UK safely and has some work to get him going - he will be applying for a fire security job but at least he will be earning something in the meantime. The British Consulate gave him a temporary passport to get home... what a farce. He can apply for a new one whilst he is in the UK.

Expecting rain tomorrow - good for the plants.

Gonna get on with the decorating. It must be done soon!!!!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

8th April

Trying to write my blog but my computer has some problems and I keep getting a network timeout message. My ISP has recently updated their service and I have had this problem since then. It is driving us up the wall. Sometimes I can get online, read and send my emails etc. other times nothing works…. So whilst I am thinking about this I am putting it all onto a windows document to save and paste in later…… grrrrrr….. I hate such inefficiency – I like things to work so that it is all done and dusted!!!


Anyway, got that off my chest for now.

Politics – looks like all of the UK government are on the expenses gravy train. Ho hum – let them all be paupers in their next lives.

Tony Blair is telling the Pope what to do? How can a recent convert to the faith ever understand the fundamentality of Catholicism. At least us born Catholic can understand the doctrine of the faith as it is there from ‘birth’. We are brought up in the faith and are taught what is right and what is wrong – it is a way of life as well as a religion. I consider myself a Roman Catholic and am proud to be in spite of the fact that I do not regularly go to Church to pray or go to confession. I think the last time I went to confession was almost 50 years ago…… Bad? eh? Do I have anything to confess? dunno – I will be judged in due course….

Italian earthquake – horrendous – I feel for those that have lost members of their families and their beautiful homes and had their lives shattered. I pray for them.

Ian – is not here, the house is quieter. Things will settle. Got to get Jeff to rethink his actions – got to be diplomatic – hmmmm.

Jeff – hospital tomorrow – Niort for his radio isotope examination – what fun – I am sure that all will be OK.

English Advertisements – I have noticed (since getting UK TV back) that a lot of ads are in rural/northern/south western/ English – No-one on ads seem to speak like they do in the South East of England. Tell me are those from the SE too posh for ad voice-overs???

Lost a small diamond out of a ring today – don’t think I will ever find it. Dommage!

Apartment nearly ready for redecoration. Will check out kitchenette unit at Castorama in Niort tomorrow. Got to get this done as we have bookings!!!

It is raining – good – it has been far too dry and plants are suffering – especially those recently planted.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Had an ITADS meeting, 1st in 3 months, Ranjith (Don) took me down to Parthenay and we were the 1st to arrive.

At long last the committee has agreed that we only need to actually 'meet' 4 times a year. It seems that the the 'monthly' meetings were decided by Patrick (no longer a member) and Tuesday was decided by Keith (no longer a member) so many changes are afoot. It will make it so much easier.

So I spent a boring morning - meeting finished around 12.25 - and all decisions could have been sorted within 20 mins - talk about a load of waffle. I have decorating and gardening to do.... that is so much more important than 'waffle'..

Ranjith will be going to Trinidad on his own, Siggi will be staying with their daughter Ramani in the UK. She is not fit to travel all that distance. I do despair for her health.


I don't like being an old 'Biddie', some things happen in your life and you wish you could turn the clock back - a day, a week, a year, - and hope that things will turn out differently.

We had a crisis point Sunday 5th April and things will never be the same again. Our lives have irrevocably changed. (hmmm long word!).

Ian has now returned to the UK, with all his possessions.... He is not welcome in our house any more!

I am so sad at all of this....but our lives must continue.

I can't bring myself to publish what happened - maybe I will later.

Dear Siggi is in hospital with a chest infection. I thought that would happen - she was so unwell as I said. In for ten days. Ranjith (Don) and Siggi should be off to Trinidad.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Had a little lottery win yesterday. only 18 euro - better than nothing and the 1st win for a long time. Thought we would have a go and I moved our money plant to another corner. I remember reading ages ago about plants in the house (feng shui of course!) If you place a round leaved plant in the South East corner of your room then it will take care of finances..... Must be round leaved - put long leaved in the opposite corner... Anyway - moved plant - little win. I remember the same happening in the UK... Maybe I need a bigger plant for a bigger win.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Today is the 1st Friday in April 2009...

The day started with a view that was totally obscured by mist.... Could not see the other side of the river....

Did a bit of housework in the morning... could not settle to anything. Seems to be the way of things as the moment. I did not sleep too well last night. I had a session of Qi Gong and felt so good when I got home last night. Had dinner and a little wine - maybe that was the 'undoing'. Finished the book I was reading and went to bed around 00.15 this morning.. Not truly late at all.....

Went to see Ranjith and Sigrid this pm. Got there and Ranjith was waiting. Siggi, my dear friend was in bed and so unwell..... She had no colour to her skin at all. Apparently she helped Ranjith move a large 'merisier' wardrobe and it caused her so much pain.. One day she will listen and adjust her 'energy' to her ability and age..... I hugged her and comforted her. Oh she looked so ill................

I do so love my dear friends and I know it is difficult for her - looks like I am having to go and intervene just to keep her going..

Ian is going back to the UK.... Have found someone who will sign for the UK passports. My God it is so expensive to apply for a passport out here... There are fees for this and for that.... mind you if you go back to the UK you will have to pay for your fare - either via air or ferry - plus all taxes involved and accommodation etc....... Possibly it is cheaper via the British Embassy in Paris after all.................... Who can tell. And God Bless Liz .... she will sign for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am still working on the garden... just want to see it looking good for clients when they arrive.... will post some pictures when it is done.... watch this space!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

All fools day

So another month. April 2009. Another brilliant sunny day - it only rained two days last week - when Lee was here. Didn't do too much this morning, sorted some laundry 'comme d'habitude' - had a look at the garden, had lunch, updated stuff on this 'puter, went to a bourse d'echange at the Chateau St Mesmin with Kathy, Georges and Charlotte. Bless Charlotte, she took some of our business cards and spread them around to the others that were there. We picked up quite a few brochures for various 'touristicy' things. Kathy wanted to speak to various people regarding working in the tourism industry. She has made some contacts.....

Ian is looking to go back to the UK and work in 'Fire Security' again. He has been in contact with some people he knows and it looks as though it could work for him. At least he will be earning money - shed loads than out here!! He wants to get money to get his house finished. Like the rest of us he is p'd off with the time it is taking.

I started to clear some of the garden by the lane. It is so untidy since they put in the new fosse. Jeff doesn't seem to be interested in doing any of it. His answer to undesirable plants in 'weed kill'. I would prefer to get the whole plant and its roots out of the ground. Nettles are an absolute pain - there are far too many of them and as for the ivy, well - what can one say!!. I have a lot to do and will gradually get it cleared then re-seeded for grass. I want to get some more shrubs in but it might be a bit too late.. I just want it to look good as it has been a mess for far too long.

Have got lots of seedling shrubs that I need to put somewhere, also some willow cuttings including weeping willows, osiers and corkscrew willows.. I think a lot of the willows will end up in the meadow, just got to consider where to plant as this year we will have Dominic mow the hay when ready. I would love to see the meadow full of trees. Whether it will happen or not I don't know but it would be really lovely to see.