Sunday, 11 November 2012


Today is of course Armistice Day, a public holiday here in France and yet, curiously, not fully recognised in the UK.  In the village here, at 11:00 the church bells clanged wildly and noisily. Something that couldn't be ignored.

Later, as we drove off to visit a Brit friend nearby, we passed a church which was surrounded by recently decanted parishioners: elderly Frogs with berets, best clothes, ruddy complexions, wine-red noses, wives in finery, and medals.

Certainly makes one think.....

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rolling, rolling.....

The weather here has improved a bit. Well, at least the rain has stopped for now and we have blue skies and sunshine once again, albeit with lowish night temps. STill, nothing like Sweden, so I'm sure we'll survive.

There's still no news of Charlie though I remain hopeful. I expect he's holed up here somewehre, living off the wildlife. He was always an adept hunter.  I just hope he returns when the winter chill settles in properly and the wildlife stocks become scarcer and harder to catch.

In the meantime, Rocky has been lording it a bit, snuggling up on chairs by the wood-burner or fire, hunting successfully and generally seeming more settled and contented than ever.

His peace is however about to be shattered with the arrival of this pair:

Both are rescue kittens that desperately needed rehoming. They are a bundle of action and very playful.
Said to be about twelve weeks old, they are very appealing - as kittens tend to be - and the Ginger one (now so called ) is a tiny scrap of a thing, probably a litter runt. The greyish one, a female called Aly, is a bit nervous but slowly improving. Hopefully they'll settle in nicely  over winter.

Ginge already has his spot worked out, it seems:

A friend and former work colleague of J's is over for a week's holiday. This morning the pair of them have gone off 'mushrooming' in the neighbouring fields and woodland. It looks promising countryside and a local barman has confirmed that there are Cepes and Chanterlles around, so here's hoping. We got used to huge quantities of Cepes in Sweden, where they grew everywhere for a few weeks  each Autumn. Indeed, when we ventured up to collect our gear from the house a few short weeks agao, I found a truly enormous specimen on one of the lakeside tracks: easily the biggest I've seen, it weighed a fair bit too. Of course, I couldn't actually weigh it cos the scales etc., were all packed up. However, a few hours later, as we literally driving off from the village, we met one of our old neighbours, Rolf. He was mushrooming and had a substantial quanitity of Chanterelles in a large placcy bag.

We've just about started painting the interior of the house - half a room now done, but all on hold till J's friend returns to London next week. I was hoping to persuade our old buddy, Jaxon, to come out from Kent to paint the place, for a fee of course, but his passport has expired. He has suggested he might be able to do it later this year, though. And as he's a pro painter and decorator he's likely to do a far better job than us, quicker and effortlessly.

We could do with our central heating boiler being delivered sometime soon. For now, we're using the wood-burning stove in the dining room in conjunction with an open, wood, fire in the sitting room and it's not too bad. But if temps drop significantly we will need a bit more to heat the old house. The new radiators have arrived from Germany and are out back but the boiler won't be here for another few weeks, it seems. We're just hoping that the temps remain fair in the interim.

I've been tempted to get myself one of those Kindley thingies. I've always  held out against this technology cos I like the smell and feel of a book in me hands, but having seen one recently and knowing I can download books straight to the device here at home in France 24/7 - as they say - I've taken the plunge and decided to give it a go.  It should be easier than paying for shipping, and the inevitable delays in delivery out here.

The Frogs are already gearing up for the Xmas fling, with decorations beginning to appear in supermarket shelves and aisles and out on the streets. This morning when I went into the boulanger for croissants and pain aux chocolats, the commune were out in force changing the street decor and replanting municipal beds in readiness for the event. It used to be the case that they seldom showed any real interest. Often it was a fine respite from the madness of the UK. But now, they've gone overboard on it all, challenging Britain in ways I'd have never imagined. I must get some piccies of it all.

There are loads of Owls around us, mostly Tawnies with the occasional Barn. J flushed out three roosting Tawnies yesterday in trees just by the house and she thinks she also saw a Little Owl a few days ago. They are certainly noisy enough in the evenings!  In addition, the general area seems to be well populated by Raptors of various breeds and I'm sure there will be Kingfishers around, though I've yet to see one. Herons are around in the fields, fishing in the small streams/rigoles that criss-cross the land, in large numbers, and until recently we could hear a Nightjar nearby most evenings.

All in all, it's odd to be here in France at this time of year as for so long - too long ???? - we've been oop North in Sweden at this time, where the snow is already falling. And although we miss the place and its great natural beauty, 'tis great to be able to buy decent food and cheapish wine without hassle. The weather is simply a bonus.

And apropos of little at all: