Saturday, January 31, 2009

Plan "B"

Well-that didn't work. This morning, as I entered the "kitchen" with some trepidation, I found the mouse trap empty and the morsel of Lindt's finest dark chocolate with fondant whisky flavour centre missing. So now to plan B. Having taken Mackerel the cat to the vets this morning, we found that his (He is a boy!) routine injections cost 51.50 euros. Much expostulating from M in the tiny vets waiting room as to the cost.His mood probably not helped by fact we'd had the earliest appointment, had to wait 45 mins for the vet to turn up, and M had no breakfast inside him. Anyway, it does make me think that it's time that this small cat, who apparently is 4 months old, started earning his keep. My daughter was right about this. As with so many things. So it's banishment to the cold utility room for Mackerel tonight, with a hot water bottle tucked under his bed-although this might cause some tension tonight since we only have two, and I'm not relinquishing mine...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Trap is Set

For a few days now, I have been aware that we have a mouse visitor in our utility room which is also our temporary kitchen. My inital urge was to scream when i realised this, and run away. However I also realised I would only have to come back again and M does not respond to screaming any more so I've had to think how we'll get rid of it. Mackerel the Foundling Cat seems too small still to sleep in an unheated room, and face possible attack in the depths of the night from a ferocious rodent. All the mouse traps available locally are vicious, lethal things designed to torture and maim-not just kill. By now, of course, I've started to form a vague relationship with this little incontinent creature. Luckily, our Swedish freind Pelle came up trumps and produced this humane mouse trap. I have baited it with the finest french dark chocolate which I'm told is a mousie favourite. Hopefully tomorrow, there will be a little mousie sitting in this trap and we can then take it somewhere far far away. We shall see in the morning...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Bess the Staffie and Franck the Teckel are pretty good friends. Being different kinds of dogs, they sometimes misunderstand or even irritate or annoy each other. But they never bear a grudge and are always ready to offer each other a shoulder to lean on when it's needed. If they were people, I'd be almost inclined to call it love.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Before he met me, M was a wild man like a pirate who did all sorts of terrible things like jostling old ladies, scaring babies, and spitting on the floor. I am sure there were much worse things than this but he wouldn't tell me so this can't be made public. Anyway, a nefarious past is surely the only explanantion for the ease with which he removed these bars from the kitchen window today. Well I can always fantasisie...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Since we sort of live on the job, we don't have regular days off. However, Sundays are different not least due to arrival of the "bread lady" in her little van at about 9.15am. Usually, we just buy a couple of croissants but today I treated us to a couple of little tarts so to speak-here displayed on my little Alfred Meakin plates against background of pseudo Cath Kidstony tablecloth.

We are, apparently, at the start of the bread lady's round. Perhaps this is due to the french feeling "les Anglais" are unlikely to indulge in anything other than the most perfunctory bedroom activites even on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When will I ever learn?

Like most French houses, ours has nearly all hard floors. This has pros and cons from the cleaning point of view. It's nice to be able to mop the floor quite easily-but large clumps of fluff and dust can accumulate and blow gently around the floor like that stuff you get in desert films when someone's about to die-which I can never remember the name of.For a long time, I managed with a broom and brush and dustpan, then one day, I decided to buy a little hoover just for upstairs to get things really nice and sparkly clean. Will I never learn? We went to the nearest big supermarket and i carelessly selected the cheapest hoover. it cost 34.90 euros and I was robbed.

It's so plasticky that the hose doesn't bend, the on/off button has already broken, and it's got less suck than an ashtmatic kitten.

Now I think about it, 34.90 may have seemed cheap (for France), but in fact if paid a minimum wage, (which is common here), you'd have to work at least 7 hours just to buy this useless heap of plastic junk. Of course, nearly all your money, wehn you're poorly paid, goes on basic living expenses, so in fact this hoover would take you at least a full working week to purchase as long as you had no other indugences that week and someone gave you a lift there and back to the shop to buy it.

Now, because it's useless, it's going to exist as a pice of horribly coloured plastic whilst my grandchildren's grandchildren are sitting around discussing the meaning of life.

Also-doubtless the people who produced and assembled it worked in miserable conditions for next to no money.

Why couldn't I have just carried on with my brush and dustpan until I could afford a quality item? or bought one second hand?

This is not the first time I've made this mistake.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Dogs Prayer

As I lay me down to rest,

I hope that I have done my best.

I've walked to heel, I've stopped and sat

I've hardly even chased the cat.

I've chewed my bone, I've played and run

I gave my family lots of fun

But now it's night and I'm in bed,

There's just one worry in my head.

It's not of baths nor even of vets-

It's just one question...

Does God love pets?????????

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Impressive Thing

What does impressive mean? I don't know-but M has now finished the wiring and plumbing. French electricity is exciting-sometimes shocking even! French plumbing can be quite complicated...and expensive. All the wires and pipes run between the ceiling beams and so now he can put plaster board between the beams for insulation. A thankless task now as he fills and sands the beams and boards. The room is already warmer. I'm pretty impressed.

Bess is still loitering in the utility room-and today Mackerel the Foundling cat added to her problems!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poor Bess

Being a Staffie, poor Bess always wants to be with me. She could have been lying by the fire but instead she insisits on coming into the cold utility room when I'm working there. So I've tucked her up in a blanket and given her a new bone.

Project 3

My brother gave us some choccies for Christmas. What to do with these beautiful wrappers???

Project 2

One of our outbuildings has a bread oven-seen here from outside and in.

I love baking bread and it's one of my ambitions to restore this little oven well enough to use it one day. In the meantime, we call it "Daniel's house" after my grandson. M wants to build a little kitchen to go in it.

Projects-Number 1.

Blimey. As if life wasn't difficult enough, I've found 3 projects which are of varying comnplexity, time, and expense.

First is the vegetable plot which is currently this miserable minging mess. First, we need to hire a rotovator. We've realised it's too big to double dig by hand.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Wood

At last-we have some properly seasoned beech wood to burn. It's in the woodburner now glowing really hot-the glass doors have stayed clean and the rads are piping hot. the joys of properly seasoned wood!

Unloading and stacking the 5 steres of wood took a little while so I was too tired after to cook a full meal in our unheated, temprary kitchen. besides which, I suddenly had a whim for some sardines on toast. M found himnself a tinned steak and kidney pie in the larder. He opened it and sniffed. "Umm...smells of dog food" he commented. i gather this must be A Good Thing.

Whilst we were doing this, we forgot about Franck who got left outside. He busied himself digging an enormous hole. As a result of which, he was covered in mud and had to be showered.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Well here I am blogging at last. Problems encountered with entering DOB turned out not to be due to my being too old, as was partners ("M"'s) suggestion.

We are myself, M, Franck the french Teckel, Bess the Staffie, and Mackerel the Foundling cat.

All living in Normandy and trying to do up our house and survive in this now very expensive country.

Recently completed project was the woodstove-which now fires up 7 rads, and the Incredible Reappearing Trench for the earth and for elec for our garage.

Current projects are the kitchen ceiling, (aided by a very tall Swede) and wallpaper stripping.

Also trying to identify the best kind of wood to burn having mistakenly bought a load of unseasoned wood.

The Christmassy tale bit is that of the cat-which the dogs found on Boxing day when out on their walk. This tiny, half-starved cat followed us home and has not gone out again since. We intially fed it loads because it was so hungry, then looked at its belly which was size of football, and started cutting back. it seems to have doubled it's size since. And I thought cats and dogs didn't get on !
M has always professed to be a cat-hater but it seems we have managed to find the one cat which surpasses all others and he happily lets it slash his hands.


About Me

My photo
I've lived with my partner in Normandy, France, for about four years now. There's lots I love about our lives here-including our beautiful surroundings-but I also miss my wonderful children and grandchildren who are back in the UK. I trained as a hypnotherapist originally in the UK and am now registered for this in France, I also like making (and hopefully selling) some jewellery.