Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Meet the new addition to the family. As you might expect the sonar mouse deterrant was bloody useless so lets hope Leonard likes catching mice.

He would have been off to the SPA today so lets hope he likes his new home and settles in. Signs so far are good - he purrs whenever you touch him, uses his litter tray and hisses half heartedly at Tess, but only if she gets too close. Lets hope they form a bond soon. Yay!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A mouse in the house.

It's no great suprise to see the odd mouse in an old stone house, but one day, seemingly out of the blue, we saw about three of the swines in the kitchen.

We are definately not a fan of poisoning (and refuse to), we hate mousetraps although they can be reasonably effective, so I half heartedly said - Well, we will have to get another cat then. Neil said, "yes, well I think we should".

Having lost Tam on the road outside (which still seems so unfair given the limited amount of traffic we get on the lane) the subject of another cat has been a bit of a no no subject. It broke my heart when we lost Tam, but as Romey the older cat who came with the house has put herself in mouse catching retirement, we may consider another.

I did however buy this tastefully designed(!) mouse deterrant.

The photo is the wrong way up but you get the general idea. It emits a sonic beep that is undetectable to humans, cats and dogs but should keep us mouse free if you believe the hype.

I have to say though, since plugging it in we haven't seen any in the kitchen, although Tess found one in the hall and chased it in the direction of the kitchen. I had a mental image of a mouse with its paws over its ears going AGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

I have started putting a few feelers out for a kitten. Watch this space!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's not what you know but who you know often in this life - and my sister in law Lesley who is a journalist and road tester with a weekly motoring magazine has once again pulled off a stunning piece of blagging with this beauty, loaned from the Caravan Club so that she could bring my in-laws down in pure luxury.

So much so I think all of us (Tess included) would rather like to move in permanently.

I had had a fair amount of vin blanc last night, a bit sad at the anniversary of losing my horse, but touched by the many emails of support I received here on the blog and also messages from many of my family and friends who knew how much she had meant to me, so I had retired early (ish) to bed when this campervan (doesn't sound a posh enough word for the vehicle outside) rolled into town.

This morning has been a lazy start to their holiday, with a large breakfast being followed by some trips up the ladder for a shower. I think we might all use the campervan tomorrow when we have worked out how to heat the water for the plush shower, it's lovely!!

Friday, 17 September 2010

My girl.

It's hard to believe that it is a year ago today that I lost my wonderful companion of twenty four years, Amber.
I have a mixture of emotions about it really. I used to worry myself silly about her. Was she too hot or too cold, was she eating enough or too much and a whole myriad of other concerns. Of course I miss looking out of the window and seeing my horse out in the field. Being able to do that was a realisation of a dream but my first concern was always that she was happy and living out her days as comfortable and pain free as possible.

In her latter days she used to have a massive problem getting up if she laid down, and there were several times I thought she was never going to get to her feet and that it was the end, but then she would find the strength from somewhere and haul herself up. Once on her feet she was happy as anything and went off to continue her favourite hobby of scoffing grass.

On that final day she laid down and I could just tell she has no intention of even trying. I had a good old chat with her before calling the vet. I felt she had made her own decision, and the fact she was lying down already made her injection less traumatic for us both. I still panicked and felt lost as the injection started to take effect, but in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do.

I always felt that I was privileged to have a horse, and to have one with such a lovely temperament and big heart was a joy. She is irreplaceable and I loved her.
RIP my lovely girl, Amber.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

This is Neils' drum kit in the space that is to become our bathroom.

In the photo below is Neil on his kit, having a rattle. He looks happy doesn't he? Imagine how happy I will look when this is actually a bathroom and I will be able to have a proper soak in that bath thats behind him wrapped in plastic.

I bought that bath four years ago, when I thought renovating a house would involve a year or two (at most) in a building site before we would move swiftly on to drinking wine on an immaculate patio thinking how clever we were.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

I admit - and as I have confessed before, I like a bit of inane televisual entertainment.
Tonight there is a programme about several celebrities in arctic conditions.

Neil, a seasoned medic on film sets, ruined the atmosphere by proclaiming that they are probably all in Cumbria with lots of crushed polystyrene. For me, anything with Gethan Jones is worth watching, even if he is wrapped in a 24 tog duvet.

Neil is just jealous. In a previous life he was a seasoned adventurer. Now in the same way I shovel shit, he chops a lot of wood. At least we aren't risking frostbite and minus 24 degree temperatures. Not for at least a few months anyway!!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

To breed or not to breed.....

No not Neil and I, but it's that time of year again and it seems Tess is coming into season.
Cue mental tussle as to whether to have puppys or not.

The list of good reasons not to hugely outweigh the list of why we should. In fact there is nothing much on the list of why we should other than my liking of cute bundles of black and white fluff, but until we get into sensible mode and get her sterilised it will always be a temptation.

I have just been reading a local forum (angloinfo) on the internet and someone has asked for information regarding local animal shelters for a dog. I know those of us who love animals tend to get a bit emotional when we think of poor abandoned beasts, but some of the replies were a bit over the top to say the least.

The person who posted said nothing of the circumstances - for all we know they may be asking for a neighbour or someone else - but a couple of the replies stopped just short of proclaiming the poster should be horsewhipped for careless abandonment of a helpless animal.

Sometimes (most times) the forums are a really useful source of help and information, but they also give 'know it alls' space to air their malice and make themselves feel superior. I did leave a message reminding them that unless we knew the circumstances perhaps it would be better not to judge, but I doubt they will be getting off their high horses any time soon.

It did make me think about the huge amount of animals in this country sitting in shelters that need a home though, which was a timely reminder that they don't need us adding to the dog population. Pants.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Our feet don't seem to be touching the ground at the moment we are so busy. On returning from the UK we have been working non stop and entertaining our latest visitor, Jason, who is an ex-colleague of ours. Well I say entertaining, in fairness we have been trying to provide an equal mix of work and pleasure for him. Work such as wood chopping and stacking and pleasure such as quad biking, trailbike riding, and the usual drinking of beer and wine and eating too much cheese and french bread.

For some reason (happily) we have had a social get together with friends on just about a daily basis, so he has had plenty of opportunity to get a taste of life in France. He has been checking flights for a return trip, so I guess he has enjoyed the experience!

Neil is slightly worrying me. He wanted nothing to do with the pigs, claiming that it was my project and that he was worrying that I would get too attached. He now comes down the garden on an almost hourly basis waxing lyrical about their latest 'cute piggy trait'.
Now he is wishing that we had bought a sow so that we could keep it and breed from it.

The apples and pears are falling rapidly, so we dragged the crusher and press out of the shed and pressed a load of both fruits. We tried them fresh from the press before deciding to add vodka and give that a try. Quite a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Jason is off home tomorrow and we are quite sad, as he has been a good fun guest and hasn't minded at all roughing it in the tent. Hopefully he will be back out soon with his other half Mel so that we can show them there is more to life than being a paramedic and nurse. Not that anyone in the NHS needs much persuading of that!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

ENG VS BUL. What a load of BUL.......

I'm sitting in front of this computer slightly miffed that something I wanted to watch on tv, oh ok then I admit it, Coronation Street, has been moved because England are playing Bulgaria on itv tonight. The new football season has obviously started and stretches out in front of us heralding the start of chillier times. Bah!

I have been very busy at work this week since returning on Monday. Judith and I have been painting one of the stable blocks and managed to get it done before the arrival of my boss today, who has had a three month trip to the UK to compete three of her horses.
Having travelled through the night in a very large horse box she looked exhausted but gratifyingly was hugely impressed with how the stables had been transformed.

We now have three large bottles of sloe gin and vodka on the go. I'm not really a huge fan of spirits, but I must admit to finding the finished product very drinkable in a kind of sweet medicine sort of a way.

One of our neighbours stopped by for a chat earlier this evening. It seems we have been calling her husband by her name for all of this time. Why do the French have the same names for women and men? - We thought her husband was called Joel, but it appears she is called Joelle and he is called Lucien. He didn't seem to mind being called Joel bless him. I wonder why he never corrected us. Wasn't worth the bother presumably.

An old paramedic colleague of ours arrives tomorrow. I can't remember whether or not I told him just HOW rustic his accomodation for his stay is, but being ex-army I'm sure he will be able to adapt to it. As with all guests, a certain level of inebriation at all times will help to forget our state of advanced camping.
did I say advanced? - ahh.....

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

yay! I've got a camera!!

Ok, so now I am going to bore you silly with photos!!
I took these pics this morning at work,
This first picture is of the two yearlings in the foreground, Vinny and Vasco. The trouble maker two year old stallion Ugo is in the field behind them.
In the background is the indoor school and one of the stable blocks

Next is the second stable block with me walking Tom the 3 year old stallion who is still recovering from his leg operation

This is Lily. born this year. What a cutie!!