Friday, 30 May 2008

Eric & Ernie ....and Eddie

We used to have a ginger and white cat called Eric. He was a one off was Eric. He took everything in his stride. A car journey? He would sit on your knee looking out of the window. A trip to the vets? within seconds of being taken out of his basket he would be rolling on his back for his tummy tickling. A strange dog barking at him? No no back arching and spitting just a cool stare and then a good talking to. Oh he never shut up he gave everyone a running commentry on his life and as he got older he would even wander round muttering to himself. Age didn't slow him down and when we tried to keep him in at night worried about his deafness and less than cat like sense of balance he pulled the cat flap clean off the door.

So all our resolutions of no more kittens went out of the window when we saw his double.

We sat last night trying to come up with a name there could never be another Eric but we wanted something connected. Then TS came up with Ernie. Perfect! A name forever linked with Eric at least for anyone British of our age and older. And his little stripey brother? Well he's Eddie just because he is.

Sissy is highly alarmed by the new additions and is staying out of reach on the sofa. She is such a wimp! But she likes cats and when they get past the "are they small or just far away?" spooky stage she'll enjoy their company.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

My troubles are over thanks to a nice Mr Chaney Boswell. Don't tell anyone though it's confidential!

From. Mr. Chaney Boswell.Abidjan, Ivoiry Coast West Africa. Confidentiel message. Attn: I am writing this mail to you from my residence because of how confidential it is and this letter contains some confidential materials and should be deleted from your mail box if you are unable to help me out concerning the proposal. I am the director of international remittance in a bank here in Abidjan Cote D扞voire as an accountant foreign operation department. In the discharge of my duty, Stumbled on this domiciliary account that has remained dormant for three years now with Fifteen Million Dollars ($15M) in it. I contacted my director and we sent out staff for enquiries and discovered that the account holder died in Auto-crash without leaving any next of kin to the fund deposit. I am writing you so that we can work with you to remit the fund into your account as the next of kin. It is simple process which will take a short while to process. outside this, the bank management will confiscate the money if there is no one that comes for the fund as you will be acting as the appointed beneficiary to the fund of which the depositor deposited the fund in the suspense account and a Foreign Partner is his next of kin which he did not indicated. If I hear from you, I will tell you all you need to know about the fund deposit for us to proceed with the transaction. I want you to know that this business involves I and one top officer in our bank and must not be taken as a joke, I advice you to think very well before responding because we need a very strong hand in this transaction. Your percentage and other important details will be discussed once I confirm your kind willingness in helping to the transfer.
Thanks, Mr. Chaney Boswell.


The train station at Limoges.

Rather nice eh? Debs at Us in France tells me it looks pretty good on the inside too. Maybe we'll go somewhere one day and find out.

I didn't even know it was the train station till we somehow got diverted round the one way system and came at it from a different angle.

This photo was taken the last time there was a hint of blue in the sky. Which feels like months ago but was probably last week.

The rain has meant constant slug patrols to guard the newly emerging carrots and newly planted out pumpkins and cucumbers. This entails me walking round the garden with my "slug tin" and a stick for maneuvering slugs into the tin. When the tin is full, or a slug looks like escaping I take it down to the woods and empty it. Well more accurately I fling the slugs as far into the woods as I can. TS takes a more direct approach and picks them up and flings them individually (urghhh).

Snails and little slugs get fed to the chickens (harsh but fair they eat our food so get eaten by the chooks who provide us with eggs so we still get our food, indirectly). I've mentioned before, I think, that our chickens won't eat the big really slimey slugs which is why the big slugs get flung instead. I don't know why I can't bring myself to directly kill them but it just doesn't seem right somehow.

No feeding to the chickens or flinging it's so much more humane.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Not so Fast

Tootling around in Frogmella as is our want. What do we see but sheep spilling out into the road. Oh no! look out!

No gentle reader do not panic these are not sheep but sleeping policemen of the French variety.

"Oh those heartless Frenchies" I hear you cry. But fear not for no sheep were harmed in the calming of this traffic. These are the concrete sheep of Mézières-sur-Issoire.
Convincing aren't they? Well they are when you are tootling along through the town. Close up they do look just a little naff. With strange pointy mousey faces.

They are strategically placed on the major roads through the town to slow the traffic. At least we think that's what they are for. Maybe someone on the council just likes sheep

Friday, 16 May 2008

I Am An Internaut

Following our run in with the law we thought we'd better get on to sorting out registering our ownership of Frogmella and whilst in the mood for venturing into Limoges and looking officialdom in the eye, why not get TS registered as self employed to increase our employment options?

The saga started Tuesday when our very good friend Elizabeth from Limousin Property Shop . (very very very good friend. What else can you call someone who will drive for an hour to do you a favour and then be surprised and delighted when you offer to pay for the coffees, bless her she is one in a million).

Anyway it started Tuesday. First job was to go to our local Mairie to get the right form for the car. We thought at this point (naive!) that we were going to the Marie to actually sort this out. No we were given the right form and instructions on where to go in Limoges to sort it out and what to take with us.

In the mean time Elizabeth had rung to check what we needed to do for TS to register and where to go. So the printer was red hot photocopying our life's archives passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, driving licences, utility bills, bank statements, school report from the fourth year (kidding! or am I?). And we thought "Great! we can get all this done in an afternoon with the aid of our French speaking friend"

There will now be a pause while we and everyone else who lives in France laughs hysterically.

To be fair we did loose an hour by getting lost in the one way system and not being able to park.

Then we went to where we thought we should go only to find out we should actually be somewhere else at the other side of the city centre. So we hopped into Elizabeth's car to go where we ought to. There we (well Elizabeth) spoke to a very nice lady who couldn't actually help us but promised to pass TS's dossier on to the person who could the very next day. This person would ring Elizabeth if they had any questions.

And she did the very next day. We were impressed!

In the mean time the very next day we went back to Limoges to sort out the car registration as by the time we had finished at the right place where they couldn't actually help us at that moment in time the Prefecture was closed.

We went in a took a ticket. Good system I thought. It was. The only problem was the 33 people in front of me in the queue. Anyway to cut a long wait short I presented all the right documents got a slip of paper in return then queued at the paying for the car registration desk and YAY ! got the new Carte Grise (car registration document).

Do you know I have lost the will to live just recounting this so I will race to the finish and tell you that another two trips into Limoges later TS is registered as self employed in the business of Computer and Internet Services and Gardening. His title? Chef D'Enterprise.

I am consumed with envy at this important title as I am now classed as his dependent (then again I always did want to be a kept woman), but my time as 34th in the queue was not wasted oh no for I learnt a new French word whilst watching the information screen going round and round. I am an internaut ! So much more dashing don't you think than internet surfer.

ps the park is the Jardin Moulin Pinard which we found when we were lost at some point over the last week.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Will it won't it Shall I shan't I

Don't know how long I can hang around tonight the thunder is thundering in the distance which means the internet thingy will soon have to be unplugged or risk being fried.

It's been lovely and sunny today and once more the rain on the weather forecast seems to have moved back a day. May is a time of bank holidays and thunder storms and of me dithering about if I should water the garden or not. The sky looks awfully promising there could be lots of rain or it could just pass us by.

My seeds could be sad little dried up things or they could be floating away down the road. Decisions decisions.

I have also learned why lots of people round here have what look like little bus shelters over their tomatoes. For thunder storms can bring hail stones as well as rain. After running round the other day trying to cover mine up with bits of plastic while getting pelted with hail I shall have a bus shelter for mine next year. You live and learn.

Oh I almost forgot, we got stopped by the police yesterday whilst tootling about in Frogmella. It was most embarrassing as TS suddenly couldn't find first gear, or any other for that matter, to move to the designated being pulled up by the police spot. When we eventually got there and they asked for our documents we just shoved everything barring Sissy's pet passport at them.

The policeman tried and failed to speak English to us and we tried and failed to speak French to them so I guess we were quits. At least TS didn't break into Greek which he has been known to do under pressure a new twist on "it's all Greek to me". Incidently the equivalent Greek saying is it's Chinese. You really needed to know that didn't you.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Verte-ually a car

At the first sign of work involving driving about naturally our car went to pieces.
This meant an SOS for a cheap car that didn't use much fuel, that was cheap and drivable and most of all cheap. So here is Frogmella who fits the bill admirably.
A 21 year old Citroen AX with a somewhat younger engine who had been languishing unloved and unwanted in a friend's neighbour's barn.
Unbelievably she passed her CT (kind of like an MOT but lasts for two years) first time. Should she have any problems also included in the deal was a huge sack of spare parts that would almost make another car. Not that we would know what to do with them of course, well TS might. Luckily our French car insurance includes breakdown cover.
We will now blend in with the locals and as long as we keep our mouths shut, could be mistaken for French. That is as soon as we get up the nerve to tailgate other cars on long straight bits of road then overtake on blind corners or the brow of a hill.
Did I mention she was really cheap? To you guv 300 euros and 2 hooligan pumpkin seedlings

Monday, 5 May 2008

Good moaning

Finally today we got to our first proper French lesson.

The ones we enquired about oh last Octoberish.

I've really tried, honest I have, to buck the system and get things moving even to the point of trying to get someone round to give lessons while we were in Leeds but to no avail. I was beginning to think I was cursed to spend the rest of my life having the poor lady in the bread shop explain the difference between saying "I'd like two croissants AND two pain au raisins" and "I'd like two croissants OR two pain au raisins"

So today we have done days of the week, months of the year, bonjours and aurevoirs, thank yous and excuse mes. All of which I know but I am trying to get a proper grip of things to fill in the gaps and I thought going back to the beginning was the best way to learn all those pesky little making sentences words that get you beyond talking like a two year old and asking for socks of apples when you mean apple turnovers. On the down side it will probably make life very dull for the local shop keepers.

I always have a mental picture of myself as the policeman in Allo Allo (though he is probably better than me) as I wander round The Limousin generating gallic shrugs in my wake

Other than that we have mostly been doing the garden and I'm pleased to report that Bristish hooligans will soon be rampaging all over the place. Hooligan pumpkins of course.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Bring me my gin

A hot sunny day yippee!
The Dinnerladies needed the use of the parasol for a bit of shade. I think they were waiting for drinks to be served too but they had to make do with nibbles.
The dry weather gave us the chance to plant out some peas, beans and chard and more flower seeds and generally do what we like best and spend the whole day in our garden.
TS took over the job of weeding the Bermuda Triangle which is the flower bed at the side of the house (well a triangular shaped bit of land) into which hours and hours of weeding and planting go without it actually looking any less like a bomb site. I think after about ten wheelbarrows full of weeds, broken bricks, bits of plastic and broken glass it now almosts looks like part of a garden if a bit bald. I softened it up for him last week though!