Sunday, 18 May 2014

Clear Blue Flame.....

Twenty-six degrees today, with full sun and clear blue skies set for at least a couple of weeks to come: most welcome; seems like Summer is about to catch us all out here. I'm just back from a short visit to Sussex and London, visiting friends, one of whom has terminal lung cancer and only a few days, weeks at most, left. All very difficult and distressing. As I flew back home, J flew out to see her old friend, from University days about 40 years ago, for what will be the last time. She flew out on the same plane I came in on, so our paths didn't cross as she was in departure lounge as I arrived.  She simply left the car in the car-park for me to collect. I return to collect her again tomorrow.

Old Jack is now having problems. He's been deaf for many years, lost his hearing while we were still in Sweden, and has been blind in one eye for over twelve months; now, he's beginning to lose the sight in the other eye. In addition, he's partially incontinent, though this is sporadic. As he is otherwise seemingly fine for now, we're managing to cope with plenty of clean-up operations. However, it can be but a matter of time before he must go, too.  He's over fourteen years old now, so has outlived the average span for the breed and still has reasonable mobility. So, all in all, he's had a fair innings, as is euphemistically often said:

Last month we attended a lovely, small blues festival in a nearby town: Terri'Thouars Blues Fest is held annually in Thouars. The 2014 gig was the tenth annual event and was excellent. We both had a blast. I was covering it for a UK blues magazine and so had full all access passes for us both. In addition, an old sort of guitarist buddy from New Jersey was booked for it, so we spent much of the time eating too much, drinking way too much and shooting the breeze together. J got roped in to doing some translation work for the local press when they came to interview a couple of US bluesmen who spoke no Froggo at all:

One of my own favourite US bands, Delta Moon, from Atlanta Georgia, also played, with a great set, much as I'd expect from an outfit of their calibre:

This shot was taken at a small venue where the amplification/sound system was sadly wanting, but they did their best in the circumstances

Toby Walker had the packed hall eating out of his hand with some great acoustic picking and a few words in local lingo scribbled in felt-tip on his inner arm phonetically. This was taken as he came off stage still pouring sweat visibly:

Other than that, we've been working - or rather, J has been working - in the garden trying to create a veggie plot where there was none and some shrubbery and fruit trees etc. A kind neighbour who runs an organic farm in the village came on a small tractor to help clear the initial plot for us, a greatly appreciated gesture:

The cats are all doing well, and have resettled into their Froggo-life happily, catching countless shrews and mice with the odd lizard and rabbit thrown in for good measure. At least they eat the rabbits though, sadly, the poor lizards are simply slaughtered and discarded for me to dispose of. I've taken to throwing them to the Hens, who of course, as always, will eat virtually anything presented to them. And they say Pigs are the most voracious; having kept both Pigs and Hens over many years, the Hens win hands down:

Ginger, who was the smallest kitten a year ago, is now a mature though incredibly affectionate and clingy sort of cat nowadays. Here he is trying to pretend he cannot be seen, hiding from both us and the sun, I expect:

Ironically today, the temps are much the same, if not higher, up in our old stomping ground in Sweden. It can be like that sometimes in Summer, as our old friend and neighbour, Hakan, might have said. We both miss Sweden a lot. It's an odd society but very beautiful and in Summer the colours etc.., are at times little short of breathtaking.

In truth, I miss it more than J; indeed, I'd sell up here and return to the North at the drop of a hat, or beret, maybe; J, on the other hand, misses it but is not so sure about returning to Scandawegia. Frankly, and I'd never have thought I'd say this, I miss it most in winter. The extra low temps, the snow , the Aurora etc., were all simply incredible. At least we have the memories, if nothing else. And.....who knows.....

For now, it may not be moonshine time but it sure is red plonk time for me. A bientot!:

Delta Moon in good form.