Sunday, 23 August 2009

Almost Autumn

Almost the end of August... and it is still very, very dry. The grass sounds very crispy underfoot.. My trees and shrubs are looking very poorly. We are not getting any rain at all. There is mist from the river in the morning which leaves a heavy dew-like moisture on the tables and chairs in the garden... but no moisture for my precious plants... Even our neighbour has said that his fruit trees are suffering from lack of moisture.. The French news papers and channels say about the 'canicule' in the south of France but it is the same here.

I am really not very happy at the moment. 'His' ride on mower has just had 700 euros worth of work done on it.. The man that did the work said it was a shame that it had not been regularly serviced.... Same with our motor car...neither of them are regularly serviced.... hence the very large bills that I have not budgeted for... Now you know why I am not too happy... What did my man say to me??? As long as it -seems OK I don't worry..... That has been his attitude since I have known him and throughout our relationship.. (40+years) If it ain't broke then don't fix it!! Trouble is, I think our relationship is broke and he thinks it seems OK, well I assume that is what he is thinking as he does not communicate with me.. I have do my doubts now. Today I mentioned us taking days out and he gave me black looks as if to say "why disturb my peace and quiet here?"

Can't see us taking a nice trip together anywhere in the near future.

Do I really wan't to keep on writing this??

Seems as though there is only one step to take next..


Friday, 14 August 2009

Today - another sunny day in Western France

So far we have had around 2 months of continual sunshine, albeit with the occasional shower for maybe an hour. C'est tres seche..... peut etre une canicule.... I do not know - I listen to the French radio (do not get the BBC - could do on the TV or computer but it is not the same as listening to a transistor radio!!) and do not hear anything about weather probs. Also, as we are now obliged to watch English TV, coutesy of the the daughter and her partner, we are missing out on French newscasts. Oh how I miss Canal + and their wonderful programmes and TF1, TF2, etc.... OH well, maybe we will get back to the French way..

Have an English couple arrived yesterday. They left Dover in rain, arrived in Calais in rain, drove through Normandy in rain. Rain stopped at Le Mans..... They thought they were going to have a wet holiday.

Had some clients from Normandy, last week and this week, they also remarked about all the rain that they are experiencing..... c'est normal!! Even when we came out for our hols all those years ago it always rained in Normandy!!

Sud de Loire = soliel.... C'est vrai!

My grass is so very beige and crisp underfoot. I worry about my spring planted shrubs - they look as though they are about to die..... We water them but they still seem to be in autumn mode... But; the piment, poivrons, aubergines, courgettes, tomates, haricots, onions, are all absolutely fantastic.... Lots of Ratatouille this year (my man does not like Ratatouille in spite of it having his '5 a day' in one dish). Me... well , I could eat Ratatouille all the time - I love it!!! I also like Aubergines in middle eastern cookery - tough on my man - he grows it - he will eat it!! Good for his heart :-)

I have a Bramley apple tree, sourced from a very nice garden centre in Kent, it has been through many traumas since arriving here 5 years ago.. Planted in a suitable spot, growing well then having its bark chewed to the core by some ravenous sheep.... It was then relocated two years ago. The bark on the trunk is absolutely amazing! I must take a photo and add to this entry. It has, this year, produced the most magnificent apples.. such a delight to see. The tree is on a Malling rootstock (can't remember which one but I think it is a dwarf rootstock!). I should have taken notice as I worked at the East Malling Horticultural Research Station when my girls were small. I learnt a lot about fruit, pruning as well as about the types, breeding, as well as when to pick... Anyway, back to the Bramley apples... I will harvest in the next couple of weeks. weigh them and then probably make some of my special apple chutney and turn the rest into apple sauce - I have got bottling down to a fine art now. Better to see on a shelf than taking up room in the freezer.

I still ask myself, "why am I doing all this preserving??" "there is only two of us now" "why is he growing so much? we are a couple not a big family anymore." etc.....

Thursday, 13 August 2009


I have three daughters... Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.....

Goneril - a blue eyed blonde, Regan - a brown eyed brunette, and little Cordelia - a blue eyed blonde...

My three dear daughters..... 1st and 2nd both born 10 days before their due dates.... third born on the day predicted....

Goneril, very enquiring mind, grew up to be a scientist.

Regan, slow did her own thing - with a bit of assistance.

Cordelia, born on due date - did everything exactly.

My concern now is Regan.... she is a mother of three in the process of divorcing her husband. She has child no 1, a lovely boy - father unknown!! Child no 2, a feral daughter. Child no 3, a son with extreme disabilities. No 2 and 3 fathered by the husband who is now being divorced...

Regan was born end of 1972 - she is nearing her 37th birthday. She like to go clubbing every weekend. She leaves child no 2 and 3 with their father I think. Child no 1 (11yrs old) is left to his own devices.... This of course concerns me. I cannot say anything as I am not there in the UK witnessing this.... His stepfather is and so are her neighbours... Word gets back to me.

Goneril and Cordelia visit Regan..... give her hell - they are after all concerned sisters/aunts. They report back to me (Queen Lear??) that her house is an absolute pigsty. Child no 1 is average with his SATS (he is a very bright boy!) child no 2 is kindly talked about by her teachers and child no 3 seems severely neglected.......

What can a grandmother do when she is not in the same country as her grandchildren. As for dear Regan - well I don't know! I sometimes think that she is a changeling. She definitely has a problem - Lord knows what.

She should never have had children.....I think that these grandchildren of mine would be better off with a responsible adult.... I hate to say it but I do not think that Regan will make 40 years....

Do I shrug off responsibility for this daughter? I do not know..... What I do know is that I will not lose sleep over her but I will over her 1st child....

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Weds 12th August 2009

I have now been blogging for quite a few months...
Sometimes I have been sad, sometimes mad, sometimes happy and sometimes well - you know indifferent.

Today I am OK... I woke early feeling well having had a good nights sleep. The first in such a long time. I feel calm, I feel myself... Good eh?

The weather is incredible at present.... Hot, hot, hot. Early morning the meadow is under a cloak of white mist.... beautiful and watching it slowly dissipating is amazing as it reveals all the trees and other treasures out there. Including stick insects....more of them later

During the day I stay indoors unless it is imperative I go outside - it is so very hot and dry. No cloying humidity at all. My plants are suffering - I just hope that they survive this spell.

I can do my washing - hang it out and half an hour later it is too dry to iron.....

Have clients, very nice people again. I find I am getting more people staying for more than 2 days at a time. It makes life so much easier for me. With my dear daughter away I need the breaks between room changes. Maybe that is why I feel better in myself - my home is my own now.

It seems awful to say, but I do love my children, but it does not mean that we have to live together. I miss her but again I don't. Seems a strange thing to say I know but I am sure that you know what I mean.

Have decided not to open the B&B for next year. Not sure of what will be happening here at all. Will let the apartment of course, so much easier for me. Glad though that I did not open a Gite. Went to a friends the other night for an evening 'do' very nice it was too but their Gite guests were there - Adult Brits in holiday mood.... Oh my, what a lot of alcohol passed their lips and landed on the girls hips... I am sure there was some 'illness', to put it politely, overnight and next morning...

I don't think that I could put up with that here.

We have a wwoofer here, a young german girl. She is very nice, an only child who needs to learn a lot.... I think I mentioned her last posting.... hence the comment above para 3.... she is so tall and slim. Or am I being unkind. She admits that she has trouble with her height and that one of her teachers at school was under 5 ft tall and many comments were passed in her school as well as class. She is not worried about her height but is concerned that if she marries someone taller than herself how tall will her offspring be. At least she is thinking carefully to the future. I have warmed to her.

The garden is almost weed free now.. Potatoes are lifted for storage, tomatoes are coming along nicely. Beans (french) are harvested, Beans (runner) are not so special. Sweetcorn a dismal failure but the chickens are enjoying what has been produced. Cabbages OK, carrots poor. Beetroot fantastic. Soft fruit being moved this year has been absolute rubbish.

Quite a mixed lot this year. My Bramley apple is brilliant with some superb clean fruit and my quince are coming along well. Pears aren't so good though. Think that the trees are a bit too old. Haven't looked at the orchard but Michel and his mates came and collected the fallen plums - we know what for... and will get our share later on.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


My first entry for the month of August.

It is quiet in my house, I am preserving..... So far have made some Courgette chutney and some Beetroot Chutney... Both look very nice - am only doing it because we have a 'glut' of both vegetables. Was supposed to get a recipe for beetroot curry from Siggi.. didn't materialise - will have to email her to get a copy... Might be worth trying.

The plum tomatoes are looking brilliant at the moment. I think I will excel myself this year and bottle more than the 40 litre I did in 2006.... 2007 and 08 we had the dreaded blight and I had to buy tinned tomatoes - quelle horreur!!

We have a new Wwoofer with us. She arrived yesterday after spending a couple of weeks with Siggi. A very tall (6'1") young 19 year old German girl, but she is delightful and is so willing to learn. I had her chopping onions this morning for the beetroot chutney. I don't think she has chopped onions before!! She will be learning how to bottle tomatoes in the next couple of weeks!!
I then have a couple of English ladies coming to stay and help as well.. I need them this time of year purely for all the harvesting and preserving.....

Haven't heard from K for a few days. I think she is OK with everything. She has an itinerary planned out and is at the moment with her partners aunt and uncle. She is back in Kent at the weekend with her sister (who will be climbing Ben Nevis on Sunday - scary for her mum!).

Will be interesting to see how she got on with one and all after her return to la Belle France.

We have a Golden Oriole nearby. I have eventually confirmed that the call I have been hearing on and off for the past 7 years is the wonderful, beautifully coloured and elusive Golden Oriole. I have usually heard it in the spring but to hear it within the last week is unusual. Would just love to see it though. We have also had an Egret hanging around by the river. No Hoopooes this year to date - but there is still time!!

Peu Peu has hatched, and is about ready to kick out, two young Maran cockerels. There are definite spurs on their legs already and they are only 6 wks old. Their pa, Bernard, is for the pot and we will keep one of the youngsters (maybe) to continue his legacy. He is such a beautiful bird but an agressive one... I don't think he has enough ladies to occupy his time!!

Am thinking of taking a few days at Pornic with my man. It is 15 years since we have been there and we found it a delightful place on that visit. I have found a nice B&B to stay in. Just got to convince J that it is worth going.... Still wan't to cross the Atlantic though.....

Have got a new digital camera, from the local supermarket. It is a top of the range on special offer and with my loyalty bonus it only cost 25 euro... Not bad at all. Am taking it all places with me - I have so missed the opportunity to take some good pics of places since my last one bit the dust.