Monday, 26 November 2007

Moules & Frites

We had what I would consider to be a "French" kind of day yesterday. Not surprising being that we are in France you might think. What I mean is that we did the kinds of things that other people seem to do in France and write about on their blogs. Foody winey kinds of things.

In the morning we went to a fete at Chaptelas where there were stallholders selling oysters, sausages,wine, cheeses, liquors and such. We tasted wine, honey and cheese (well I didn't taste the cheese as I hate it but was assured that it was outstanding by TS and our friend Miranda) and bought some. Then had Moules & Frites for lunch along with a bottle of the wine we had tasted and bought in what looked like the village hall. This is the kind of foody winey experience I enjoy. Sitting at a trestle table on a plastic chair rather than in a posh restaurant, with your neighbours wishing you bon apetite and tucking into their food and throwing their moules shells into an old margerine carton in the middle of the table.

Then in the afternoon we went over to another friend's for champagne and cakes to celebrate her birthday. The company was a mixture of French and English as was the conversation. Mine mostly English with the odd French phrase thrown in, some peoples mostly French with the odd English phrase and a few clever people fluent in both bridging the gaps.

Only the one glass of champagne, unfortunately I was driving, but lots of cake to make up for it.

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Tech Support arrived home this morning bearing gifts and things left behind.

The gifts included fleecy pyjamas, thermal long johns and woolly socks, all bought following the minus 9 degree days of last week. A man who will buy you thermal long johns and fleecy PJs is far more precious than one who arrives with silk lingerie I feel.

He brought our Christmas decorations (can't think what gave him that idea!), some pictures and of course more books.

And some things just because they were ours and left behind like the iron (that's the only reason I can think of for bringing it).

He is now sleeping the sleep of a man who has driven for 16 hours to get home and the house is warm again and it's nothing to do with the temperature outside or the logs he split for me after driving all that way. The fleecy PJs help too though.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Sundry Smugness

It's bin day today (well actually at the crack of dawn tomorrow) and my contribution to land fill this week is one small swing bin bag from the kitchen. Everything else this week has gone on the compost, in the chickens or will be recycled. It feels like a milestone to me anyway!

My Inner Child

Everyone keeps telling me Christmas is coming so I thought I know I'll make some salt dough decorations cheap and cheerful.

Here you have them then left to right:- Scary Santa, Terrible Tree, Pathetic Penguin and actually I quite like the snowman I think I'll call him Snowy.

The more observant amongst you will notice that I forgot to make a hole to hang them up. (As if they are going on display anywhere!).

Anyway I have loads more dough in a plastic bag in the fridge and will refine my modelling skills . At the least we could have many many snowmen hanging on our tree this year. A trip to buy cookie cutters may pay off but would defeat the no spend objective.

On the plus side we have big bunches of mistletoe in the apple trees, lots of holly and ivy, pine cones and some little pine saplings one of which will do for a Christmas tree. Good job Mother Nature knows her stuff.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

The Dark Side

Well I absolutely completely and utterly was going to give it a rest on the subject of the chickens. But every day their little bird brains dream up some new way of winding me up.

This afternoon I went out and there was not a chicken in sight. I checked next door front, side and back. No no chickens. Checked the woods and the chemin. No chickens. Came in found cat ball with bell in and got jug of tasty chicken treats. Checked next door front, side and back, woods and chemin shaking jug of food and ringing bell in cat ball. While keeping an eye out that I wasn't spotted by any passing French folk as explanations would of been quite difficult in English.

The bell by the way is what we thought we had trained the chickens to respond to by ringing it when we fed them treats. Normally it brings them running (and there is nothing funnier than the site of a chicken running towards you) but not today.

Anyway I was looking out of the bathroom window torn between worry and thinking well good riddance I've got a fridge full of eggs anyway when I spotted them. In the other side next door neighbours garden. So I was out there again trying to get their attention with bell and jug peering through the hedge. Of course I could of just gone in there and got them but this is strange next door neighbour. The one with an electric fence instead of a gate whose cat wears a collar and is chained up outside a kennel. Honest. (Before you start worrying about the cat I have to say that it looks perfectly happy and healthy and quite often roams through our garden and scares Mimo) So no I was not about to knock on the door and say please mister can I have my chickens back that is the kind of job I normally send Tech Support to do.

I decided they would come back of their own accord round about treat time which Dolly and the two Jeans did but Anita didn't. So many more forays into the woods peering through hedges shouting bup bup bup ringing my bell followed. Strange next door neighbour is probably reading this now and thinking yes the words pot, kettle and black spring to mind (but in French obviously).

About an hour later Anita was spotted next door (the other side) and reunited with the rest of The Dinnerladies. So we still have four chickens and I don't have to go buy another four before TS gets back.

No more now on the subject of chickens

Till tomorrow

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The Washing Machine Does Not Go Round and Round

I don't want to bore you with how much I love the way this place looks just now (but I will anyway). This is the chemin this morning.

It is COLD today. I can't tell you just how cold because the thermometer is under the lean to and now I've thought about looking it's too dark to see it. But when I brought the washing in it stood up by itself which is usually the way it is before I wash it.

More so now because the wonderful clothes washing machine has decided not to be wonderful anymore and won't go round and round no matter how much I slam the door or kick it or twirl the programme thing or switch the plug on and off. I think it's dead.

I have checked the obvious things like fuses and sockets and I'm reluctant to experiment further. Not least because it's in the cellar and it's dark and cobwebby down there and I keep hitting my head on the beam. All in all it's the kind of job you need Tech Support for. I shall put it on his list right after the new chicken run.

After weeks of cursing them I felt really sorry for the chooks today, they just didn't like the frozen ground at all. In fact it depressed them so much that they only escaped once. They got pasta and tomatoes for tea but even that didn't cheer them up and they went off to bed half an hour earlier than usual.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

They're not Barbara's They're Mine

Eating rock cakes the other day with Debra in France started me off on a craving for buns that I remembered that were just like rock cakes but without the currants and with jam in the middle. You know the ones. We made them at school.

Delia was no help. This set me off surfing the net (as we say in the trade) for a recipe. My problem was that I couldn't remember what they were called. The only name that sprang to mind was Barbaras and I knew that wasn't the proper name. That name comes from a rather flat chested canteen lady's unkind colleagues.

Well after many a fruitless search with the terms jam, cakes and rock cakes with jam I finally found a recipe that sounded more or less right under jam buns. The next thing to do was of course make some to try it out.

The left hand picture is my first sad attempt which morphed into Super Size Me jam bun. Of course it still had to be eaten and there was only one person around to do it. After all you can't give something like that to a guest now can you? And the chickens are still being little Bs so they weren't getting any.

Because I'm a bit of a trooper I tried again tonight and the right hand picture is today's effort. A little bit more like I remember but if I was Barbara I would still be worried. When I have bravely eaten my way through this lot (by bed time I reckon). Then I shall try again, in fact, I shall eat as many as it takes to achieve perfection.

Perhaps after another half a dozen goes Debra can come round for coffee.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


Just noticed this is post number 100 unfortunately it's not anything more momentus than any other post.
In fact it is an untimely post, a lost in the post post because these are pictures that I took months ago and have been meaning to post but never quite got round to.
We took these heading back from the open all hours tabac/restaurant/grocers/boulangerie(we also sell flowers) some time in the summer.
These two dolmens are a couple of kilometres from Blond and probably about a km away from each other. We go past the one in the middle of the field as opposed to the one in the middle of the fence quite often now and I always shout a mental hello to it.
On this occasion having just been to the open all hours tabac/restaurant/grocers/boulangerie (we also sell flowers). Have I mentioned the Patron has a look of GGGranville about him?
Anyway having just been to the above mentioned emporium and remembering Hedgewizard's excellent advice that you can't have too many friends we left some bread at each and kind of said hello to some people who lived here before us.
Which I suppose actually makes this post not as late as it might at first appear. Given that we have just had Halloween and today is Rememberence Day.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Feeling Lucky

Oh I am in for some good luck now! I know this because I found a horseshoe while I was digging in the garden.
I have propped it up under the letter box rather than nailing it to the front door beause the front door is on it's last legs and it could be the final nail so as to speak. This I believe is the right way up so the luck doesn't fall out.
TS is charged with buying a lottery ticket on the off chance.
If we win I'll still "speak" to you of course but no begging letters please.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


This doesn't really do it justice.
Out and about today it was so beautiful I had to add wishing I was an artist to my long list of stuff I would like to be good at.
Actually I would like to be good at all sorts of arty crafty stuff mainly because I like the raw materials and implements. I can spend ages wondering round Hobbicraft despite having neither hobby nor craft to my name.
Given the chance and the bank balance I would have a "studio" with a potters wheel and kiln and pigments and textiles and beads and paper and brushes and those little power tools and little drawers to put them in and shelves to display them on.
I can make candles. But then who can't?

Monday, 5 November 2007

It Could be Worse

TS has definitely got the rough end of the deal right now

Arnold the Methodical

One Goes Mad in France

Mousie invited me to play a game. Basically you enter your name into Amazon Search and see what books come up. This was my favourite - Breezy Broadstairs

Actually it's "An ephemeral guide to Broadstairs with black and white drawings and advertisements for local businesses of the period" but it was the name I loved it conjours up (for me at least) heroines of days gone by, a mix of Joyce Grenfell and Margaret Rutherford striding round the countryside. I did want Joyce Grenfell playing WPC Ruby Gates in St Trinians to illustrate my point but alas I couldn't find a clip of her. You'll have to make do with the This

Thank you Mousie for Breezy Broadstairs she has given me hours of fun today while I chopped wood and chased chickens in my new persona.

Well TTFN chaps off to make coffee and put some more wood on the bally old fire what ho

Try the game you'll like it

Friday, 2 November 2007

It Don't Mean a Thing Part Deux

I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't know enough English to learn French. English grammar that is.

Verbs, nouns and adjectives are about the limit of my grammar words the rest seem to of passed me by somehow. Probably while I was writing "I must remember to bring the correct books to my English lessons" 500 times for most of a term in high school. Except for infinitive but only because my english teacher was always going on about Star Trek splitting the infinitive in "To boldly go" and mentioning Star Trek would get my attention.

This leaves me trying to learn two things at once - the words and the words for the words. If we just knew at school which stuff was padding and which stuff was going to come in handy it would save so much trouble later. I can still remember how ox-bow lakes are formed and that little bit of knowledge has never ever done me any good. In fact it is probably taking up brain cells that I could be putting to some useful purpose right now.

So I listen to that man on the CD

"say give me 13 euros"

"say I have some"

"say will you buy me some wine"

"listen and repeat"

"say how much do I owe you"

on and on with the words that never spring to the tip of my tongue because that bloody river making that bloody ox-bow lake is meandering through my mind.

Geography teachers, they have a lot to answer for.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

I'll see your dog on the roof and raise you a cat

So it's been over a week now and I have survived!
Mind you I have not used the chainsaw yet.

I have however climbed up ladders almost every day. Not because I am madly doing DIY or anything useful like that. Oh no. I am climbing up ladders propped against the same spot on the outside wall almost every day because Mimo insists on getting stuck on next doors barn roof. I am one woman cat rescue or complete sucker.

I'm beginning to go with the latter as the last couple of times she has jumped from the roof to the top of the ladder to my shoulder and looks suspiciously pleased with herself.

TS e mails leave her up there for a while but I daren't. You see I still don't have the chickens under control and it's only a short hop from the barn roof to the neighbour's bedroom window. Call me paranoid but first the Anglaise chickens trash the veg then the cat invades the bedroom things get difficult and before you know it it's pitchforks and flaming torches.

Until my daily ladder climbing started I never realised just how tricky they can be. My first couple of attempts at propping those ladders against the wall were frankly farcical and an excellent practical demonstration of the laws of physics as regards levers and centers of gravity. Anyone with a video camera could of earned themselves £250 on the spot. I am now adept at ladders. In fact I could join the fire brigade in their cat rescuing department.

Throughout all this cat and chicken nonsense the dog has been impeccable. She is now my favourite

Chiffres & Lettres

For those of you who asked. It's on now!!!!!

It's what I've been calling Countdown because I've never seen the introductory titles before.