Thursday, 22 December 2011

First floor for Christmas

He's only gone and done it!! My lovely husband has managed to get the oak flooring down and we no longer have to risk life and limb walking from one end of the house to the other. It looks great, and now we can start building some rooms and insulating the house properly.

My boss treated all of us and our partners to the bar for fish and chips for a Christmas treat. I was feeling sorry for Tess as she had spent a bit of time on her own that day, so I wrapped her collar with tinsel and took her along. The fish fryers were so taken with her festive look they cooked her sausage and chips as a free treat - which didn't touch the sides!!!

Off to work now so will add more about the floor soon - Happy Christmas everyone!!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Getting Christmassy

This is my friend Rosie - I dragged her into the woods yesterday to collect lots of green stuff to make some Christmas decorations. I like just using the stuff that grows around us here

Neil is very excited as we are starting to get our first floor laid. He even muttered the words "light" and "end of tunnel". Just to be able to walk across the first floor without risk of death by falling through gaps will be an enormous improvement!

This afternoon we are off to choose a Christmas tree. Last year it started snowing just as we were driving over and it really added to the occasion. No sign of snow yet and I'll just be happy to stay dry!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I hope you like the photo above. Somehow a random Limousin cow appeared in the field and the photo is of my colt, Appie, treating it with some suspicion!!

This is Tom the stallion wearing our new all singing, all dancing rug which sends out electrical impulses to stimulate the muscles along the back. Could do with one myself. It also has a 'warm up' facility. These horses get treated better than us!!!!

Here - dah dah!! is a photo of the first thing to be made in the workshop - a lovely oak door for some people we know. I'm very jealous!! Hope you like it.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


I haven't blogged in ages as we have been back in the UK, visiting family and friends. It's good to be home though, and as you can see, this pair are happy to be reunited!!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

It came as a terrible shock when I arrived at work the other day (Tuesday) to find my boss struggling with the young colt pictured above (much bigger now at 5 months).
He was panicking with the worst case of colic that I have ever seen. My boss was desperately trying to keep him on his feet, as horses have a design fault in that they can twist their gut when rolling in pain, which almost certainly leads to death unless a difficult (and rarely sucessful) operation can be performed.
As soon as I saw him my heart sunk as it seemed to me that his chances were slim. The vet had already been out and given him a drug that normally would stop the spasms and reduce the pain, but it had had no effect.

The vets returned and tried more pain relief, and then it was decided to completely aneathetise him, with the hope that when the drugs wore off whatever was causing the colic would have abated. The other option was to take him to the nearest specialist vet hospital which is three and a half hours away the other side of Bordeaux, with the hope that if he arrived alive they could operate. We tried that with a young colt a while ago and it didn't work - nobody wanted to put this colt through the journey in his condition.

Unfortunately it was hopeless and he was put to sleep not too long after. We were all in absolute shock. He was a lovely colt and the first born at home from our stallion Tom.

The following day he was to be picked up and taken for an autopsy. He had died in a stable next to the main house and we were hoping that whatever came to collect him would be able to reverse up almost to the door to make his removal as easy as possible. Having had a traumatic time waiting days for my own mare to be removed I hoped that this would go more smoothly, especially as presumably having to have an autopsy would necessitate a smooth, clean removal.
When the lorry arrived it was about the size of a dustbin lorry, with just a grabber attached. The driver was about as unhelpful as it was possible to be and insisted we bought the colt right out to the main road using our tractor. He also wanted it done quickly as he was busy and needed to leave. My boss was in shock and stressed after losing her horse and so I put my Paramedic head on and thought quickly how we might best get him out.

I grabbed a ton rubble sack and got her to help me drag him to one side to get the bag underneath him so that we could use it to drag him out of the stable. It was horrible. He was very distended with gas and already quite smelly. As we dragged him out there was a horrible crackling noise as all the gasses in his body were compressed. The driver came and made a token effort to help by attaching a ragged bit of string around his leg and pulling ineffectually.

The idea was to get him onto a palette and take him around on the tractor, but it was impossible to get him onto it in his position. The driver, now really stressed tied his string around the colts' neck and a front leg and one hind and gestured that we should just tie that to the forks of the tractor and haul him out with that. We did try, but he just fell to the ground again. Now though he was on a slope, so I thought if we put the palatte below him we could have rolled him back onto it. The driver refused to listen to me, tying him up again and insisting that we just dragged him out. It was awful. My boss was worried about all the other horses seeing, but I assured her that other than a passing interest I was sure that it would not distress them too much.

We didn't watch as he was lifted into the truck, but the stench of the other carcasses filled the air and I promptly burst into tears. Not with the trauma of moving this poor colt, but because the smell bought back the awful memory of losing my own horse.

The following day I tried to get the stench of death out of the stable and scrubbed and disinfected the floor several times. I can still smell it, but I am sure it will leave eventually.

On Thursday we had a two year old colt castrated. Once again my job was to hold the horses head so that it could not move at the critical points of the operation. I asked the vet afterwards if he could do Neil at some point, at which he said "you always ask me that - is it the same husband? Poor man!!"

Today is a beautiful autumn sunny day. I am going riding this afternoon and I am so looking forward to blowing the cobwebs of the week away.
On a positive note Neil has made a lovely window sill out of some old boards he found. I hope you like it x

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Today is a bit of a drizzly day here in the Limousin. We had some fantastic weather at the end of October though and it was difficult to believe we are heading towards the end of the year.

The yearly cider fete in the nearby village of Champagnac La Riviere was on a lovely sunny day, they have a massive apple press which is a spectacle in itself

We arrived just as the lunch was finishing, and saw the marquee with the diners being serenaded by a very loud walking band. A good time seemed to be having had by all!!

The following week we headed off down to the South of France to spend a weekend with some cousins who live in viewing distance of the Pyrenees - which looked particularly spectacular with their dusting of snow. I tried to take some photos, but we really weren't close enough to get a decent picture. We were sort of celebrating our anniversary and were spoilt rotten by Robert and Valerie who treated us with champagne and some home produced fois gras.
Here however is Neil having breakfast on their terrace in the sunshine enjoying a good old fry up before having a go at fishing on their lake...

he didn't catch anything but it really didn't matter!!

Now thoughts are turning to Christmas. The geese are looking a reasonable size, and one was sealing it's fate yesterday by running up towards me looking vicious and attacking my boot. They don't half make a racket, and they give our neighbours chasse dogs a run for their money.

Neil has made a fantastic oak front door for some friends and has been run off his feet catching up with all the work that has been piling up whilst he has been busy building the workshop. He is desperate to carry on with the renovation here, but as his list of paid work mounts up getting our own stuff done seems less and less likely. I guess we should just be happy that at least we are making a living, but it is a bit frustrating seeing every body elses' places getting completed whilst ours is so far off being done.

With longer hours at work my time with the Fresians is somewhat limited at the moment too - they are all getting really unfit and hairy!! (like all of us here in the country!!!) Still, we are now getting into log fire and mulled wine season - so it isn't too bad!!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

About last night....

It's already going all Pete Tong (wrong). Dutch Bird and her husband (the French farmer) are coming around for dinner , and Neil and I have already consumed far too much alcohol to be providing a decent meal and entertainment.

Neil invited them over with the idea of having an entirely 'French speaking' evening. I always try to speak to DB's hubby in French, as I feel that she befriends an awful lot of Brits (probably because we all buy property with land that she can then graze her horses on when we realise that we can't possibly manage it properly) who make no effort whatsoever (or at best very little) to converse with him in his own language in his own house. That may be an unfair critique but I fear not.

It's now the morning after, and I have to say the evening went incredibly well - I even learnt a couple of French phrases that I will have to ask my teacher about (luckily she is very broad minded) .

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Blimey it's happened again - time whizzing by and me suddenly remembering the blog and thinking that if I don't write something I will be in major trouble with either my or Mags's mum.

Jason has been over again and bless him has been working his fingers to the bone log chopping, digging and basically having a go at anything we chuck at him. I keep apologising for having such poor accomodation in return for his labours but he seems quite happy tucked away in the little caravan. Still I suppose anything is better than the tent that we put up for him that nearly blew away (with him)one stormy night!!!!

Neil is busy in his workshop working on an oak door that someone has been patiently waiting nine months for. I have installed a phone in the workshop so that I can call him in when (I think) his time is up. Trouble is, now that he has some decent lighting and coffee making facilites in there I am never going to get him to come in for his tea as he doggedly works on...

Dutch bird has been internet searching more musical rides for next year. I had to laugh when she showed me one video of a group of fresians all performing quite high level dressage movements (well they would be difficult on our young untrained horses). It was quite a challenge just to get the horses to go in a straight line at the show, let alone sideways whilst high stepping. I think she needs to have a reality check but I doubt she would agree with me.

What do you think about it?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Our Lounge

Doesn't look much like a lounge does it? But this is a huge step for us - now this area is empty of (most) of Neils' tools we can get on with transforming this space into a comfy warm space. sigh. one day!!!.

When completed the wall on the left will be pointed and the stairs will be hidden by a stone surround for the wood burner with a back boiler that will power radiators to heat the house.

Out of shot on the right are the old cattle stalls. We are going to sand these down as a feature with a shelf above. The barn doors will become patio style glass and oak doors.

It feels like the start of a bit of progress..

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Happy Golden Anniversary!!

A couple of weeks ago Mum, Dad, my sister Claire and her husband Paul and my neice Megan flew over to celebrate Mum and Dads' Golden Wedding Anniversary. They stayed in a lovely gite down the road which is run by Mags and Keith (see the link on the right)and we went out for a lovely meal in Limoges to celebrate and cooked a bit of our home produced pork as a Sunday lunch.

We also took Megan to a wonderful zoo park just outside of Limoges which I would recommend if anyone is in the area and likes wildlife.

Neils Workshop

At last the workshop is up and running (and needing some more equipment apparently?!!!) it looks fantastic don't you think?

The Musical Ride

Even a few days before the show the practice sessions for the musical ride were a bit of a shambles to say the least - school holidays, changes of riding patterns and more than a few senior moments were making me wish that we had had a lot more practice. The final rehearsal was a complete disaster - with our 13 year old rider being spectacularly dumped. It was a long time before she could be persuaded to get back in (a different) saddle and even then mistake after mistake led me to think we were heading for a complete disaster.

I kept telling myself that it was only a small show and that it didn't matter, but months of preparation (for a handful of us) made me want to do it and do it well, but I did have somewhat of a sinking "it's going to be a disaster" feeling as the day dawned.

The weather forcast wasn't good, and we were pleasantly suprised when the morning dawned clear and sunny, so that at least made us feel a bit more positive. The Fresians that Jane and I were riding had scrubbed up well and we loaded them up, drove to the showground and managed to get all the horses in a handful of stables by doubling up the social Fresians.
We were then treated to a free lunch and some wine (which was very well appreciated). I had heard dreadful reports of the lunch, but apart from some extremely fatty pork accompanied by some beans that had had the life boiled out of them it wasn't too bad

After the lunch we realised that rather than the three oclock that we thought we were going to be riding, we were supposed to be on at four and then as the events got further and further delayed it was going to be more like five. Few of the horses are used to standing idle in a stable and were getting a bit bored. Just as it was our turn to get ready the original weather forcast kicked in and it started to rain as we were getting on.
Most of the spectators headed off and the remaining stragglers started putting up their umbrellas. I don't know what it is with horses and umbrellas, but unaccustomed to them, as well as audiences plus some riders nerves made our normally calm horses start to panic slightly, and as we rode down towards the arena a few of them started playing up.

I managed to get a woman, her umbrella and two small kids to move away from the fenceline as my horse was going to go nowhere near them and in a bit of a panic we tried to get on with the ride.

I can laugh about it now, but there were several points during the ride that I turned a corner and faced horses that weren't supposed to be in front of me - but Jane and I just doggedly carried on and our supportive families said that to the untrained eye not much of it was too noticeable. During the ride the sun came out again, so in the photos it just looks like a bright sunny day with no spectators!!!!!

It's a shame but it just felt like a bit of a relief when it was all over with no casualties!!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011


I've got a horrible feeling that anyone of you who reads this blog must be feeling like they have personally built this workshop, such is the amount that I have gone on and on about it.

Yesterday we got plastered with the help of Helen and Richard, a couple of friends who are looking at moving over here, who foolishly offered to help with plastering.

I think we got more on us and the floor than the walls, but with these two working like absolute trojans we got the whole place done in one day. The electrician is coming to connect the electrics tomorrow and then all that is left is to build a temporary door until Neil is in the workshop and can make the proper one, and fit it out - yay!!

This will leave the current workshop, our barn, empty and ready to be converted into our lounge. Neil and I have just had a lighting discussion upon which we had a minor disagreement.

Neil seems to think that it is not necessary to base the entire lighting plan around where I want the Christmas Tree to go. I think he'll find he's wrong. The debate goes on.........

Sunday, 4 September 2011


A strange plant has appeared in my field. I actually quite like it, and bouyed by some success on finding birds on an RSPB bird identifier website I decided to try a similar tactic to find the name of this plant.

I like flowers and growing a bit of veg, but would never describe myself as a gardener as such, but I never dreamed that the plant world would be so complicated. The site started off quite simply with colour of flower, evergreen or deciduous then, it went off into the realms of, and I quote..
mat forming
narrowly colmnar
narrowly conical
rounded to broadly columnar
rounded to broadly spreading
pendulous etc etc

Now don't get me wrong, I know what the majority of these mean but really - look at the photos and tell me what do you reckon?!!!

So I have done the only thing I normally do in such circumstances and I have enlisted the help of the "Oracle" aka my Mother in Law Beryl to help me identify this strange plant, but I would be interested to know if anyone out in blog world has ever seen this anywhere. It has white flowers on it, and the spikey fruit like things are absolutely rock hard.

Bon chance!!!!!xx

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The other day I was chatting with some friends and we were talking about how the longer you live here the more you get used to living without many of the supermarket items we are used to in the UK.

A lot of them can be purchased in the British aisle of the local Intermarche, albeit at a hugely inflated price, but we choose to live without them or take advantage of the kind offers from friends returning with space in their cars or suitcases.

Sometimes though, you really fancy a taste from home. The other day someone was talking about Cornish pasties. Oh! how I fancied one. So not to miss out I found a recipe and voila!! what do you think? They tasted great and didn't last very long!!!

Keith has finished the stonework today - doesn't it look great?!! Give that man a pastie!!!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Here are some more workshop pictures that I have just taken - it is really coming on.
Everyone thinks it is far too good to be a workshop, but for us this holds the key to the rest of the house being done, and with the value of hindsight is what we should have done first right from the word go - apart from the stable for my beloved horse Amber of course!!

Talking of stable, the computer seems to have (touch wood) become a lot more stable. I am not sure if it is the programs I have been downloading - but I have a sneaky suspicion that foul play may have been an issue. It suddenly occurred to me that at the time I was having such problems with the internet our phone and internet provider had been trying to flog us extra internet security options. I'm not sure if I am being a tad paranoid but it does seem strange that now we have told them finally that we won't be purchasing the extra cover that the problem seems to have sorted itself out.....

Our musical ride practice went ok this week, although it was no less dramatic. Dutch Bird decided to try the two mares who have foals in the ride, so as I and my boss Sam rode the two mares, the two foals were doing flat out loops of the school as we were riding. They looked magnificent and it seemed the mares were glad to have a bit of a break from their offspring!! I did manage to stay on board this time which was a bit of a result.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Please work!!!

I'm writing this on the word processor part of the computer - as every time I go online the computer goes completely haywire and starts playing up before crashing completely. That's something else we are going to have to find the money for then. Bummer.

So I have to apologise to those who have been trying to contact us, not least Jase who has been doing some online research on 'how to get rid of bastard foxes' (I added the bastard bit) because our local fox is still on the prowl and managed to get an escapee chicken the other day. The run looks like Colditz at the moment with the electric fence around, but it's that or get rid of the poultry altogether.

Also apologies to Diane, a fellow blogger who came over to meet us and the animals last week, who very kindly provided us with some home grown vegetables and preserves and wrote a lovely blog about her visit. You can find her post at


I have no idea how to do one of those neat little links, but I hope you can copy and paste the above and read about her day - she also kindly omitted to mention that whilst we were practicing our musical ride I was rather unspectacularly dumped off my horse when it spooked at something, particularly embarrassing as I had been going on and on about how brilliant and calm and unshakable the fresian breed is!!!!!!
Still, apart from finding sand in parts of my anatomy that should remain sandless I was practically unscathed.

Every time I tried to go online and thank Diane for her lovely emails after her visit my computer had a spaz and I was unable to send anything.

The boys are progressing well with the workshop, and several people are stopping to congratulate them on their work which is nice. By way of a bit of a treat we went out with Keith and Mags last night to try a "Food of the world" restaurant in Limoges.
I was so looking forward to a nice spicy indian or thai. It seems though, that the food was distinctly mellowed down for the French palate, and as a consequence was rather bland. They did serve Kangaroo though rather bizarrely which was ok but a bit strange.

Right I am going to try and upload this and a photo of the workshop. If you have read this it will have been successful and frankly a bit of a miracle, so if I don't blog or reply to any comments please don't think I am ignoring you or can't be bothered!!!!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Musical ride training

I know it doesn't look like much is going on in this picture but last night we had another practice for the musical ride with the four lead horses. For the first time we included a three year old stallion, Bart on the ride and considering all the other horses were mares, he behaved himself very well.
Thursday night there will be two more of the riders joining us - so I hope itcontinues to go well - especially as we only have a month of training left and we are far, far from ready!!!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Another week has gone by at breakneck speed - Neil has spent much of it holed up in the workshop sorting out electric and phone cables and putting in lots of studding so that he can insulate and board. The wall outside is coming on, and Neil is hoping to crack on with the rendering for the rest of it soon.
He is out there at the moment insulating the roof - a job he detests, and the insulation he is using is making him itch and sore - but at the price he got it for he decided it was worth the hassle of installing it.

We had some visitors of the weekend - some friends from Gloucestershire in the most well equipped Land Rover I have ever seen. I think they could cope with any eventuality with this beast - although the biggest problem they have encountered so far is to find a campsite on the coast that is not full - peak season in France = no room at the inn, but they had a day relaxing and having a splosh in the pool before heading off towards mountains in the South.

On Sunday Dutch Bird invited us and many, many other people for a barbeque to celebrate her daughters' fourth birthday. Unluckily for a young cow, but luckily for us one of her beasts had broken a leg and so this fed us and the party of about forty without any problem!! Neil looked like desperate Dan tucking into the beef.

Judith was telling me this morning that her elderly neighbour had given her a begonia cutting some time back and had enquired how it was growing.
Unfortunately the cutting had died, and when the neighbour heard this she went off and thought about it, and then the next time she saw Judith she said the reason the cutting must have died was because there weren't any catholics living in her house!! Work that one out!!!!

Lastly thanks to everyone who has left comments or contacted regarding our friend in intensive care - he is making a good recovery and we look forward to speaking to him soon xx

Monday, 8 August 2011

Here is the horsewalker - finished and in use, a great relief to Neil who is desperate to get on with our house as we are heading towards winter.

We went to a French/Dutch version of banger racing on Saturday - our friend the French farmer 'souped up' his grandfathers old car and went flying round a field over jumps and around a lake - it all looked like fun and apart from a touch of whiplash and some seatbelt bruising escaped pratically unscathed

It looks quite mad and we all fancied having a go ourselves next year!

Sunday we went to a meal organised by the local chasse as part of a fishing competition, it was our first real chance to try sangliere (wild boar) - which was really tasty.

Although it all looks like fun, it has been difficult to enjoy anything for very long this weekend. We found out on Friday that a friend of ours is in Intensive Care in hospital in the UK. We don't know if he will recover, but our love and best wishes go to him and we hope to hear some positive news soon.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Today is almost unbearably close and muggy - energy sappingly so, and work was a bit of a struggle this morning. It was quite exciting to use the horsewalker for the first time though - I so wished I had taken my camera.

We put an irish showjumper mare in and also a little childs pony that is short and fat and very lazy (bit like myself). I was glad it wasn't me in there as the pony struggled to keep up with the pace of the irish mare and unceremoniously got a tap on its arse as the horsewalker arm swung round keeping the horses up to speed!! My idea of hell really.

I have had a real blast from the past this week, courtesy of a facebook group for the equitation centre where I trained for my British Horse Society exams back in 1983. This video must have been filmed at about that time, as the instructors and the horses are the same.

The centre had been used to train our Olympic team back in the year dot, and the yard and horses were kept to an unbelievably high standard - I once got dismissed from a riding class for having a blade of straw on the underside of my riding boot. It certainly gave me a good grounding in all things equestrian, but the video is unbelievably 'jolly hocky sticks' and I would only bother watching it if you are really into horses!!

In the last week the two fresian foals have been born, a colt and a filly. the filly is full sister to my yearling colt Appie - so it will be interesting to watch her progress. Here are some photos for you and also one of the three stallions that are in my field. At ages 2,3 and four it is somewhat unbelievable that they are co-existing harmoniously and says a lot about the fresian breed.

They probably can't take each other seriously with these ridiculous face masks on!!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Happy birthday Neil

Yesterday was Neil's birthday and for once he had decided to take a day off, have a lie in, a lazy brunch and generally take things easy in the pool before inviting a small group of friends over for drinks in the late afternoon .

He was particularly looking forward to brunch, as for his birthday our friends Jane and Denis had generously bought him two very large filet steaks as a treat, and he had planned his steak lunch with chef like precision.

The day before we had noticed our old cat Romey shaking her head, and we were concerned that her cancerous ear stump was starting to give her some pain. When we got up yesterday morning Neil noticed blood on the window next to where she had been sitting, and on examination we found to our absolute horror that she had maggots in that ear stump. So the decision we had been dreading was taken out of our hands and I phoned the vet who agreed to meet us at the surgery for immediate euthanasia. Neil and I were heartbroken to take her, but also kind of relieved that the inevitable decision had been made for us.
The vet was very kind and coped with us both being so upset very gently.

So poor old Neil, rather than relaxing and taking it easy, found himself digging a hole to bury our cat.
We've had a bit of a love hate relationship with Romey -She was a sitting tenant in this house when we bought it - in fact Neil always said we bought a very expensive cat and got a house free with her.

As she had lived in the house on her own for nearly two years she had no compunction in using the whole place as her personal litter tray - and she would drive us nuts by refusing to use a tray rather than any floor surface she pleased. That said she was so loving and she felt to us like a real part of the history of the house and of the story of our lives here.

When she was buried we had a chat and decided that rather than spend the day moping we should try to enjoy the day as much as possible and agreed not to tell anyone about what had happened - as sympathy was the last thing we needed and we did manage to enjoy the day more than I would have thought was possible.

It was very quiet in the house this morning without Romey demanding her breakfast as soon as our bedroom door was open. I do hope that she didn't suffer unnecessarily - I am convinced that until perhaps the day before she died she was enjoying her food and cuddles and having a quality of life.

RIP Romey.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Just for Pat and Kathy!!

I have been gently nudged and reminded to blog by both my mum and Margarets' mum Pat. Hi to you both and thank you for your dedication in reading this blog - it's just sometimes I really can't think of much to say!!
Not that we have been idle, the workshop is progressing and the outer stone wall is being built by Keith, whilst Neil has been railing out and insulating the inside and beginning to sort out the electrics.

The musical ride is coming on. There are only a couple of months before the show, and it became evident that at least six people of the twelve who were supposed to be taking part were not going to be making an appearance, so we are now going to do the ride with only 8 ( so two people have some fast learning to do!!)

My colt Appie is becoming more used to handling - he loves people and is very social, but he has to get used to having his legs picked up and being touched all over and led about. I'm really looking forward to the training process as he has a lovely temperament.

Right, I must get on and do some stuff - I have spent a fair bit of time today trying to organise a free and inventive birthday present for Neil's birthday on Sunday. It's one of my more ridiculous ideas and i'll tell you more about it when it's not a secret!!!!!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Our friend Jason is here again for a mini break, and what a devil for punishment he is!! Here is a photo of him helping Neil to insulate the workshop - you'd think he'd want to sit around and drink beer like normal people!!

Keith and Mags came over with the pups last night and Tess's nose was severely put out of joint when not only the pups, but Lenny the cat all decided to help themselves to her tea

Well, Quackers does indeed now have a new friend and companion. As I was working all last week our guests Warney and Carole (yes I did once have a duck and a chicken named after them) drove some distance early one morning to a market that I knew would be able to supply our guide duck.

With their limited command of the language I was impressed that they managed to buy a very handsome looking fluffy duckling, much to the amusement of the vendor I am sure - as their chief instruction was to buy as small a duckling as possible which is not the usual requirement of those purchasing fowl at the market.

Quackers appears even more delighted than me - he seems more interested in life, has put on weight and is constantly preening his new friend and chattering away to him.