Hi remember me?
We've been home for two weeks now and I just don't know where they have gone. Obviously I have been doing stuff but what was it?
Well out of the last six days five have been spent gardening. Unfortunately only two of those on our garden. We got three days work gardening for someone else on the cheque d'emploi system. This is a way of legally doing casual work in France. The people employing you get a special cheque book to pay you with and the powers that be automatically add social security payments into the amount they pay. If you are interested there is more about the system here.
Well, when I say gardening job it was more akin to slash and burn as it involved clearing copious amounts of brambles, broom (which really is a weed here) and hawthorn from a plot that is going to be a brilliant orchard. It has a long south facing wall and it's own spring fed irrigation system. I was a trifle envious (read dark dark green) both of the plot and the fruit trees waiting in the wings. In fact I think I may be turning into a true gardener as I coveted that plot far more than the rather posh house it belonged to. The trouble was as the weather got hotter the slight slope somehow turned into a cliff face without it actually drying out all the brambles and broom and hawthornes enough to make a really good bonfire and complete the burn side of the whole operation leaving the garden clearance slightly less clear than one would hope. Just where is that Ray Mears when you need him?
Anyway back to our rather more humble Chateau La Pants where we have spent the last two days hauling horse poo, weeding and planting stuff. Oh but not enough stuff by a long chalk. We have leeks, cauliflowers, onions, tomatoes and salad leaves in the ground, peas, beans, pumpkins and squashes in our mini greenhouse thing hopefully sprouting and raspberries and currants newly planted in the orchard. On the decorative front (for we are determined to have a beautiful AND productive garden this year) we have a summer flowering jasmin, geraniums, gladioli, dahlias and crocosmia planted out with sweet peas and nastursiums in the greenhousy thing. That only leaves umpteen other things to sow in the ground or in pots and about half the garden still to clear of weeds. But we look like we have had our bit of sunshine for the week and the ground is still waterlogged.
So all in all this accounting of my time is a bit like trying to balance my cheque book. I can justify less than half of my expenditure. It's not surprising I never have any money or get through half the stuff I want to do. All I can say on both counts is, if I didn't spend it well at least I was mostly having fun probably.
Like so many of my school reports it's "must ty harder" and "could achieve so much more if only she would apply herself" and look now it's half one in the morning and I only just got round to the post I was going to do a week ago and I still have to get a good night's sleep then plant more stuff and go to the bank and do the laundry and get more potting compost and clean out the chickens and pay the house insurance, buy chicken food . . .
Oh and I'm still rubbish at French and then there's the paperwork to sort and I need to check out what all of you are up to.