Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Freezing Fresian!!

Brrrr - it was cold this morning, thats frost on the poor babys' mane and back!!

Monday, 29 November 2010


You can hear them coming a mile off - no, not the type of crane that poor old fellow blogger Jan is having to put up with (http://jamjaragain.blogspot.com), but the bird type passing over us as they do twice a year following their migration pattern.

I think our house is in some kind of dip that is good for thermals - as they always seem to pause here to swirl around, gain height and head off south or north, depending on which time of year it is.
Watching them pass, as you must - it's obligatory, it's hard to imagine just how huge they are. I think I am correct in that they have a wingspan of about a metre.
Anyway, I just thought i'd share them with you.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


These three have the right idea - cosied up in front of the woodburner. Last night the snow started to fall, and this morning we have woken to a blanket of the stuff. The outside animals don't look impressed do they?!!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Tessy had her 3rd birthday a few days ago and here is a photograph of her with a present sent from my Mum. She is never quite sure what to do with toys, squeek, bury or stash them, but she was suitably excited when I found the parcel in the post box.

Last night Fred master stair builder and his wife Pat came over so that we could say 'thank you' for their help with the stairs with a meal.

We toasted our new staircase with a bottle of champers and had a hastily prepared raclette. We like the raclette and love this social way of eating, and luckily Fred and Pat were thinking of buying one so it gave them an opportunity to test one out.
I say hastily prepared as we had both been out all day working so when we got home there was some frantic chopping and marinating going on!!!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Up the wooden hill to the land of nod

is what my grandmother used to say when we were off to bed as children. The wooden hill has been non existant in our house since about January when we ripped the old staircase out in order to put a new block and beam floor in.

I have never been fond of ladders, but as that has been our only way of getting to bed I have got quite used to them.

Tonight though, will be the first time that I am able to go to bed via our brand new staircase. The left hand upper flight went in today and the ladder has been taken outside where it belongs.

Now I am working full time, Neil has been able to stay at home and dedicate his time to the stairs, with more than a little help from staircase supremo Fred.
In fact Neil seems to think he can take no credit for our new staircase such is his debt of gratitude to Fred, who has planned and worked out all the angles and maths that are involved in such a project, but I know that my husband has spent hour upon hour sawing, planing,sanding and lugging large sections of green oak.

We are hoping the final flight will go in tomorrow, and then all the spindles and hand rails are to be made, but this is a momentous time for us and a central part of the renovation of the house.

I was a tad disappointed that Fred had to rush off tonight, as I didn't get to thank him properly and I had put three glasses on the table ready to fill with champagne to toast the new stairs. I'll have to open another bottle next time he comes.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

When are caramalised onions burnt onions?!!

I'm making soup with a load of vegetables Keith and Margaret grew and kindly bought over. I thought caramalised onions would make a nice base, but when they were 'caramalising' keith and Mags popped over and whilst I was away from the cooker the room filled with smoke and the onions have a slightly darker than caramel hue.
I think they are ok though, so I have pressed on, but obviously if the soup is rubbish tonight they will take full blame.

The photo below is my kitchen table mid vegetable preparation. Note several different bowls - veggies for soup, compost and pig food!!

for afters I have cooked the sponge base from the 5-4-3-2-1 recipe (because it is so simple I use it for everything now!!) with toffee and pineapple that will be added later. I have purchased a tub of creme fraiche that I am assured will whip up and Voila!! pudding!!

Now some photos of progress. There hasn't been a lot of that over the summer as Neil has been working hard on paid projects for other people but here is a preview into the nearly finished utility room - ttaaaa dddaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

the first door holds a walk in larder and the second the downstairs loo

Here are two photos of the larder - mainly because I am so proud of it but also I didn't think you would be interested in a photo of a loo!!

lastly a photo of Neil working on the staircase. Fred the stair maestro has been over to give him a guiding hand so that he can get on with it, and we are hoping one day in the not too distant future we can chuck the ladder outside where it belongs!!

ps there is a main course - its a beef stew and it is sitting on the wood burner in case you were wondering........

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Romey minus ear

Here, mostly for the benefit of Judith who is in the UK and is Romeys foster mum when we are away is a photo of her minus ear.
She was away with the fairys for most of last night and it wasnt until about 11pm I felt her safe enough to come out of the box and sit in front of the fire.

When we got back Tess and Lenny came and sat with her, keeping her company whilst she writhed around in the carry box.

Today she seems much better, and even attempted a friendly 'head butt' on the bad side of her head. I am hoping that at least she will be more comfortable now.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

It's not like it is in England.......

Yesterday I was busy sweeping away at work when a tatty black car pulled up outside the stables. A short, rather scruffy farmer type bloke got out of the car, gave me one of the most limp handshakes ever (as is fairly typical of the french male I find) and asked if my 'patron' was available. Luckily my boss was making his way over to the yard and was treated to another limp handshake. They went off together to look at a patch of land while I racked my brains to work out where I had seen him before. Perhaps he was a local farmer coming to do some fencing I thought, before it suddenly dawned on me that he was, in fact, our local Maire.

Shouldn't he be wearing a chain or something? or at least look a little less like Compo from Last of the summer wine....

This morning I had to take Romey (the cat that came with the house) to the vet to have a cancerous ear taken off. I was dreading that moment where they give you a form where you have to agree that the cat may die during the operation and you consent to it going ahead. I handed over the cat and the vet just looked at me.
"Don't I need to sign anything?" I asked. "No" he replied "you can pay when you pick her up". I guess it is just taken for granted you know they may croak it and accept that. I went on to tell him that the last time she had had an anaesthetic she seemed to me to take a very long time to come around afterwards and was still out of it at ten oclock that night... "Seeing pink elephants?" he asked "absolutely normal".
Ok, I'll just go then.....

It is different here isnt it?!!!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Halloween Horrors

It's been quite a week. I've been working hard, feeling rather grotty with a second hand cold left here by my parents (only joking mum) and spent the night in a body bag.

Some of our friends have an annual Halloween and firework party and every year we fail dismally to come up with an interesting outfit for the fancy dress. I kept saying to Neil that this year we needed to make an effort, and so I drove to a local town the day after Halloween hoping to scoop some post halloween bargains in Gifi.

I couldn't believe that in the space of a few hours the shop had changed from a spidery den to a Santas Grotto. I still quite can't believe that anyone in France can move that fast or that efficiently in a shop. Neil I think was quite relieved my mission had been fruitless, as someone had suggested a 'Rocky Horror' theme, and the chance to wear a minimum of clothing was appealing to his naturist side.

He drove over to Janes' house and went through her 'smalls' (another fantasy I'm sure) and came back with a bag of goodies. He put on his outfit for me, and as much as I tried to offer him some larger items that I suggested might be more flattering, he was steadfast in his resolve to wear the minimum.

This still left me with a dilema on the outfit front, but in the middle of the night whilst boiling the kettle for yet another lemsip, I suddenly remembered the body bag in the piggeries containing the garden cushions and decided to go as the walking dead.

I borrowed some horse chalk from work - used to make white markings on their legs look super white, and plastered my still reasonably tanned skin in the white powder. On the front of the body bag is a pouch to put information in, so I got Neil to take a photo of my face, whited up and with mascara scars and marks on to put in the pouch. He took a couple of photos before commenting that I didn't look very dead because although I had my eyes closed I was standing up, so we repeated the process with me lying down on the floor and I zipped myself into the bag.

Tess was giving me some very funny looks, but she positively freaked out when Jason who is staying with us walked in in his scary wolf outfit, barking and snarling whilst simultaneously backing under a table for protection .... (thats Tess not Jason!)

The party was a great success. I was very relieved that the gendarme didn't pull us over on the way to the party. A wolf, A person in a body bag and two rocky horrors (Mel, Jasons girlfriend joined in with the theme) would have made for an interesting discovery for them I am sure.