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.