Monday, 26 November 2007
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
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
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
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
Thursday, 15 November 2007
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
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
Saturday, 10 November 2007
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Monday, 5 November 2007
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
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.