Sunday, 28 October 2007

. . . and another soup

Chestnut and Celery Soup

1. Look up lots of chestnut soup recipes on internet and find that you don't have ingredients for any single one so get a general feel and go with what you've got.

2. Go to barn and jump up and down to reach sack of chestnuts hung just out of reach by absent husband

3. Weigh out a pound and half of chestnuts as detailed in only recipe that didn't measure everything in cups. (what is it with these people that they can't use proper weights and measures?)

4. Cut X in each very slippy chestnut with dangerously sharp knife while cat "helps" by batting chestnuts all over kitchen floor

5. Roast chestnuts in oven for twenty minutes then peel while still hot

6. Put chestnuts back in oven to get hot again and peel some more

7. Repeat 6 till you loose the will to live and finish up with a whole 8oz of mangled chestnuts and give the "leftovers" to chickens

8. Make a sandwich for lunch this soup will never be ready

9. Sweat the vegetables in pan then add chestnuts after you have probably discarded the bit that the cat tasted and spat out.

10. Simmer for ages then puree and taste.

11. Give to dog and make another sandwich for tea

Thursday, 25 October 2007

I am not the God of Chickens

The chickens have sussed out that The God of Chickens (aka TS) is AWOL and has left me in charge. They are playing me up big time.

Yesterday I had to retrieve them from next doors garden twice, the second time I got caught in the act. Luckily Tuesday I had given Madame a dozen eggs so she was feeling kindly disposed towards them. Nothing will persuade them to come out of there on their own as the bloody daft things can never seem to remember how they got in there in the first place.

I tried shaking the can of sweet corn but all they did was jump up and down and squawk that they couldn't possibly get back and they would never get to eat that corn and they might die. So in I went after them narrowly avoiding a well placed bit of barbed wire, did they squat down like they do for The God of Chickens ?

No they kept just out of reach under the sprouts and crapped and pulled off the odd leaf just to make sure next door knew they'd been. Or ran round and round the pampas grass.

In between the two forays into next door Debra down the road knocked on the door to say she'd just chucked one of them back over the fence as it was out the front near the road.

So I put the chicken run back up, we had been letting them range round the garden now that there's nothing much left for them to ruin.

I obviously did a bang up job because this morning they got out and when I got back from walking the dog I could hear one in the chemin. Again she'd got out there couldn't remember how to get back in the garden and was in a right tiz because she absolutely had to lay an egg right now. I love walking down the road with a chicken under my arm it makes me feel so sophisticated and cosmopolitan.

I was going to round them up again but they promised to be good and just potter about and sunbathe next to the house so I relented. Now at least two of them are next door again, little Bs.

Time to go chicken wrangling then hide round the corner and see how they are getting out. I feel like Mrs Tweedy.

To think I promised not to eat them while TS was away.

ps Got caught again and now all the chooks back in their run jumping up and down looking over longingly at next doors garden Oh and something has eaten all my leeks so it looks like only the brussels sprouts left. It'll be a windy winter!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Are You There Yet?

Day 1

Still waiting for TS to confirm that he has got to Leeds and is crashed out on my brother's sofa watching Stargate and eating chicken tandori pizza washed down with a pint of really hoppy beer.

I've not managed to kill myself by falling down the stairs, off ladders, chopping my arm off with the chain saw, starvation or hypothermia. But it's early days.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Be Careful Out There

It's the dreaded day when real life comes back to slap us about a bit.

TS is currently driving back to Leeds to flog the UK car in the UK where they prefer the steering wheel on the right hand side and do some work for money. He will be staying with my brother who rashly offered to put us up anytime and is happy to be paid in the dark chocolate with raspberry bits in.

A month to six weeks he'll be gone unless by some fluke of fate we win the lottery without buying a ticket.

So today we have both been outdoing each other with the warnings and the cautions and the general fussing.


Drive carefully
Stop for rests
Don't stop for rests in Paris on your own in the middle of the night
It's not going to rain so you'll be OK but watch out for ice
Drive carefully
Have you got your ferry confirmation, passport, euros, pounds etc etc etc
Drive carefully
All the numbers you need are on the phone
Look I'm packing this in here
Look I'm writing this down for you


Don't go up any ladders
Don't use the kindling except to start the fire
Bring enough wood in don't stumble about in the lean to after dark
Don't use the chain saw, drill or any other power tools
Don't walk in the woods after dark
Lock the door
Lock the shutters
Eat breakfast

So of course I shall be spending the next six weeks locked in the house eating breakfast and TS is bound to be driving towards the ferry at 50km per hour.

It's probably not worth your while popping back for a bit

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

One Soup . . .

You may, or may not be aghast to learn that I have never made soup. You might not care actually one way or the other about soup. I didn't. It was a tin from the back of the cupboard that you opened when you absolutely positively could not be arsed to go out to buy something and didn't have the money for pizza delivery.

As for the idea of making soup WHY?

That is until last week when the supermarket had an incredibly good deal on leeks. They were such good value that I just had to buy the 3kg sack (you know one of those stringy sack things that just look so farmy and vegetabley).

So I got Delia down from the shelf and looked at the pristine pages of soup recipes (the pudding pages particularly are piratically scratch and sniff, actually that should of been practically but the spell checker preferred piratically and so do I now).

Leek and potato soup what a success. Now followed by pea soup and vegetable soup. In fact there is a pan of soup on the stove as I type. It's easy and you make it out of just about nothing. Why did no one tell me or why did I not listen?

Soup is hereby added to list of things I have never made till I got here along with omlettes and pancakes.

Don't laugh I was sixteen before I learnt to fry an egg and married several years before I could make chips. At this rate we'll be having yorkshire puddings. Now they really are pointless.

Monday, 15 October 2007

It Don't Mean A Thing

We are waiting to start proper French lessons.

We've been here since March and while we can understand lots of what is going on and what people are saying our spoken French seems to be stuck at the two year old stage. We can say lots of names for things but somehow sentances are something that happen to other people. As for conversations well they feel like being on the loosing end of a tennis match. The French speaker is effortlessly batting comments my way while my head runs all over the place trying to muster a reply. It's exhausting.

The tv has been good strangely enough for spelling and numbers. This is down to quiz shows like the French equivalent of Wheel of Fortune and Countdown. It's also good to watch the local news and get a bit of an idea of what is going on. Not that much does go on which is nice.

So anyway we decided progress had to be made and went to see a French teacher to get assesed for what level we were at and book some lessons. We are "wrong beginners" by that she means we have lots of words without having the grammar rules to put them together.

So we are waiting for her to get a few more English signed up and away we'll go being right beginners.

Friday, 12 October 2007

If I Was Poetical

October is my favourite month here so far. When it gets back round to March I'll let you know if it's my favourite of all months here I suspect it will be.

We first came to the Limousin in October to look for a house working on the basis that it would be grey and miserable and if we liked it then we'd like it any time. What we didn't know is that the Limousin is golden in October. I really don't know how to describe it to you other than by saying it is golden. It's a sort of quality and softness to the light and air combined with the sweet earthy smell of fallen leaves and chestnuts. So if I was poetical or a painter or something like that I could make you understand why I fell in love.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

We Know a Song About This

I am supposed to be working right now but this has really tickled me so I just had to share it.

If only I'd seen it months ago the house could of been finished!