One of our old former neighbours up there, Mats, tells me the past two winters have been horribly mild - in his eyes anyway. He and his wife Gertude - pronounced Yertrude in Svenska, so not so dickensian as the Engelska version - are both keen on cross-country skiing in winter and trekking etc through forest tracks. He's grumbling because the lack of severe frosts means the conditions are not ideal for their normal winter pursuits. A sign of global warning, no doubt. It still gets down to minus 20/25 or so but seemingly no more minus 30 or below. And without the enormous snow dumps, we all used to enjoy and marvel at.
We have two new dogs, following Jack's demise in late December 2014. He died lying in his basket before a roaring log fire - a reasonable way to go. The two newcomers are Gollly, just under two years old and Benny about 8 years old. Both are Spaniels again and both came from Rescue centres.
They have their moments at times but are now settling in okay.
Sadly, our old car, an ageing Saab 900SE Turbo convertible has decided to partly pack in. Reverse gear was becoming an absolute pain to find at times; a surprisingly common fault with this model. It would be repairable but not easily or cheaply here in France. Ironically, were we in Sweden, I've no doubt we could have had it done at reasonable cost without difficulty.
As a result we were forced to find a replacement, so bought a thirty-five year old, new, 'old' car: a 1980 Renault 4 GTL. We had one of these when we were young, living in the Brecon Beacons area of Wales. We paid about the same amount now as we did back then for a near-new model! They were wonderfully simple and reliable. We always liked it, so we hope it's a good choice over here where parts/repairs etc should not pose a problem. It also came with a full 2-year CT/Control Technique, or MOT.
No more than a box on wheels, in reality
We had this chap hopping around the hall recently, a crapeau - toad. Always pleasant to find them around, I reckon:
And today, when out walking with Golly, I came across a large green lizard, a Western Green Lizardr by name. No camera, so no piccy. We have loads of Goldfinches in the garden each day and the Hoopoe has again returned. He flew into a tree by our chicken-run and sat on a branch raising and lowering his crest for quite some time. A wonderful sight.
The cats remain as ever, though I still miss Charlie, my old favourite from Sweden. Rocky has a problem with one paw but it's healing now with the aid of Vets, antibiotics and pain-killers, so he's out hunting again. He came originally from Spain, where I found him living as a kitten in the streets of our village. Sally, is another lovely cat, she came from a rescue here in France. Surprisingly, the two of them are like old lovers. They spend their time together, come in and out at each others heels and preen each other constantly. I believe this is unusual in unrelated cats:
Ginger, who came with Sally from the same French rescue, is adorable but a bit left-out by the displays of affection of the other two. He prefers to be an indoor cat for the most and wants attention constantly from us. He's not against trying to muscle in on the others at times, though:
What is it about cats and boxes, or in this case, truggs???
It's now wine o'clock, so I best be off. I'm off to UK for a week or so, leaving tomorrow. Can't say I'm looking forward to it though I will be seeing LVP, our daughter, and old friends. Also a gig by Phil Ciunningham & Aly Bain while in London. So not all bad!