Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Voies Vertes

The 'voies vertes' are pathways which connect up which are open to all public apart from any motorised form of transport. We are lucky enough that one of these-a former railway line-runs along the back of our property. From here, you can cycle all the way to Mont St Michel. It being a former railway line,the route is fairly level. Once, the dogs and I found a piece of rubbish somewhere along here-someone had accidentally dropped a tissue-but I don't suppose we'll see any more rubbish along this path for the next 18 months or so. It's a lovely place for the dogs to snuffle. At the weekends, it can get quite busy when the weather's good with riders, cyclists, and joggers. The doggies like the joggers best.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Simple Pleasures

The (unfinished) shelves shown here have been made by M-they're set into an alcove-there's one of these alcoves on either side of the fireplace, and he's made shelves in each, and lit them. This may seem simple, but it's been a bit of a fiddle since they've had to have the wiring fitted, and buried in the wall, then been lined with wood since the walls weren't straight. I had said to myself that i wouldn't put anything on them til the kitchen was finished but I've broken the rule for these two things. The bowl was given to us today by our Swedish friend Pele-it was made by his Dad. The wooden bird sitting beside it was carved by my son. How good is that? All those things given, or made by, someone I know and care for. Under these shelves on this side, is a little wine rack. This seemed a good idea at the time-but I now realise that if you have one of these, then you have to also have the wherewithal to put a least a few bottles of wine in it-and then have the self-discipline not to just drink them because they are there. Since then, obviously, you'd just have to go and buy more, and the whole cycle would just go round and round. So I might consider filling some of our 'empties' with dark-coloured water-or perhaps vinegar-and then try and find a way of re-sealing them. Then I'd have to think of some way of subtly distinguishing them from the 'real' bottles. Although the wine here can be spectacularly cheap-if a little unpalatable on occasion-so that would probably do just as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Birthday

It was Franck's first birthday today. He celebrated by going to visit his favourite doggie friend this morning-which was a lot more fun than his outing yesterday morning to the vets where he had the stitches from his castration taken out. Particularly since one of them had become somewhat embedded. Never mind...My friend poignantly sighed and said how sad it is that he will now die a virgin. It depends how you look at it, though. he will have a lot less mess in his life as a result.. Then this afternoon, both doggies had a pigs ear each as a treat. i wonder what piggies get when it's their birthdays. Earmuffs, presumably. M has been working on the alcoves in the kitchen. the picture is blurry but the shelves are looking good. Bessie is doing one of her ET impressions and showing us which cupboards she wants used for dog biscuits, treats, and toys.

Monday, March 23, 2009

L'Arte de la Cuisine

Here are the latest views of the kitchen. As you can see, we have decided to dispense with the suburban oppression which characterises pretentious efforts to offer what are in fact unappetising and tedious meals. Instead, visitors are going to be merely greeted with a single mug in which they can have tea (the drink), and then view an artfully arranged selection of DIY tools and accoutrement. This forms the basis of a living exhibition which epitomises the inherent contradiction in the way our lives are both stagnant and dynamic, with the solidity and sheer silent presence of the yellow mug on the workmate contrasting with the vertical thrust of the tube of pinkgrip, and the offer of elevated and alternative positions from the wooden footstool. On taking this all in today, I have informed M that I now regard this kitchen as a completed thing in its present form. It has its own perfection, and is certainly unique. i had previously been a little concerned about the lack of originality involved in our choice of an ikea kitchen -but I can now see that, with all that vital sense of a shared vision, we have been able to create something which is uniquely ours. I am considering starting up a small agency which, for a breathtakingly huge fee, will turn other people's formerly pristine kitchens into something similar.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Busy busy busy

First, an apology-early yesterday Franck was dancing in the daffs, not tiptoeing through tulips. My flower identification had been affected by over-neighbourliness.

Anyway-today Mackerel the cat has been irritating the dogs by walking in the gutter and hurling cat insults down at them from above. I have been tending to the vegetable patch. I read it stories, and pat the earth with a flip flop for reassurance if the story gets scary. M has been cutting misletoe down from the tree. it looks scary, and it is. So we have had a marathon kissing session tonight of course.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tip toe thro' the Tulips!

yes-now is the time to tip-toe through the tulips. Hurrah for Spring cos it is Sprungen and Hurrah for me because I have Drunken. yes-I am in the poo house tonight because I went round to our dearly beloved neighbours whilst M was making tea tonight to drop something off. they did ply me with wine in the French styley and so i was 2.5 hours late home by which time M had made the meal, brought the washing in, made the pets meals, and started entertaining some visitors who had arrived. Oh- the shame of it-and so now I am well and truly in the poo and he has earnt himself the right to feel superior for an almost unbearable length of time. it really was not my fault. I was just being polite.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A New Bone

Franck is showing off his new bone. It's about the only thing he's got which is impressive since he was castrated. Mackerel the cat is appreciative. He doesn't know it yet, but the same thing is probably going to happen to him before too long. I mean the operation, not the bone. The piece of carpet is Dog Carpet which is why it's covered in Dog Hairs. Just thought I'd make that clear. Today, we've been pruning apple trees. The aim being really to stop them getting too overgrown and then blowing over as they have done in the past. They are all cider apple trees-I think there's about 50 of them. We're storing all the wood in a barn so that we can burn it and have more free fuel next year. Hurrah!

Monday, March 16, 2009


here is a picture of the sunrise this morning. it was absolutely lovely as the orange sun came up over the frosty ground. This was a morning which was looking back to the winter, and forwards to a balmy spring. It's gone on to be a gloriously sunny day. I have finished cleaning our utility room/kitchen now since there's been no sign of the mouse for a good couple of weeks. perhaps the cat is actually going to earn it's keep.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Current Affairs

well lots to report today. The kitchen is proceeding apace . much fun and mirth determining which piece is which. We were stumped for ages thinking we had two left hand corner units-then finally realised that if we rotated one of them, then we could obtain the desired right hand corner unit. What a laugh we had when we realised! Also shown is a picture of another friendly neighbourhood Swede rotavating our vegetable patch for us. On Tuesday, M is going to mend a leak on his roof for him in return. Franck was castrated last Thursday. All went well and he is now back to his usual self-just a sturdy plaster on a rather tender area. i hope I'm not going to have to be the one to pull it off.The local Enduro race took place today. There were 270 riders who kept going for around 8 hours. it requires a huge degree of skill and physical fitness. We took our KTM motorbike there in hopes of selling it. It's common here to advertise something for sale by doing a poster with fronds at the bottom which have the phone number on them for easy removal by any interested party. 3 fronds were taken so we have our fingers crossed. Also my strawberry plants have survived the winter. the birds should be happy since they were the main beneficiaries last time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Ikea Kitchen

Now that the floor's done-and so beautifully-we can bring in the kitchen and today, we've been unpacking it. it is the FAKTUM kitchen from Ikea. All very exciting. "Did you get that unit with the pixies in it?" I asked M as we checked the boxes. This being the REKTUM unit which contains 8 pixies-4 dressed in red, 4 in green, who will erect your kitchen for you overnight. They come with their own little self-assembly pine bench. Also necessary is the ARSUP module which contains one pixie on his own with a long beard, and dressed in gold. This is necessary because this pixie actually is the boss and tells the other pixies what to do-without this, the REKTUM is actually useless. However, they never mention this to you until you get to the till. The REKTUM is £40 and the ARSUP is a further £8.95. They're pretty canny, these Swedes. Some people think they're only really good for a casserole but this is to underestimate them. Anyway-"No I didn't" says M. "You were already moaning about the cost ". Well-thanks for that-once more, it seems I only have myself to blame for over-economising. He probably wouldn't have been happy with their workmanship anyway being something of a perfectionist when it comes to matters DIY.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


After a hard days work full of stress, it's essential to recuperate. It's easy to overlook the stress our pets have in their daily lives. There's the need to sleep, to eat, to exercise, to eat, and maybe sleep again-oh I don't know, because then again more eating might be involved, or more sleep,- the permutations are endless. M and I can become a bit preoccupied with our own concerns and tasks, -and fail to pay heed to the challenges these small creatures face juggling sleep exercise and eating. Let alone the times we SHOUT at them because yet again they have got in the way during the kitchen floor laying exercise. Poor wee things.

I have found out a use for dog poos. Apparently, if you dry them they burn well on the fire. Free fuel! This is something which I have to try and show on the blog. watch this space...

Monday, March 9, 2009

More hard work

Well these hardworking men have been at it again today and the floor tiles are now laid-they just need grouting tomorrow. Both of them are now suffering from a case of "Clergyman's Knee". It's all rather exciting to see things progressing at last instead of seeming to go backwards all the time. I'm sure that Mackerel agrees with me.

The Kitchen Floor

Firstly, I have included a photo of M's thumb-as you can see, unpleasant as this injury was, he has had a good recovery and will now be able to hitch a ride away from here when he's had enough of me without people being afraid he's just committed a terrible murder. Also, our kitchen floor has been started thank goodness. Apparently, the new tile cutting machine is very good. Here, M is not being assisted by Noah (who we could do with sometimes given the amount of rain we can get here) but by our Swedish friend who lives a little way up the road. What a kind man. Then his wife asked us to tea last night. What wonderful people! I don't think we ever turn down an invitation which involves free food. It will be so nice when the kitchen's done and we can reciprocate properly.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Dog Pound

Well-today has been a bit of a mixed bag. The success story has been completing the dog pound which means Franck the Teckel can no longer follow his nose to the tasty bitch round the corner. Hurrah! Also M and I worked together successfully at this project today which is no small acheivement.

However, we both also had disasters. M hammered his thumb (and insisted on taking this gory photo of it) and I made a Victoria Sponge but forgot to put the baking powder in. Since you can't get self-raising flour here and have to rely on plain flour, I had this resulting Victoria Flatcake. M said it was very yummy and nice and filling. I think he lies. Meantime, Bessie has been working on her figure and is seen here flaunting it in the sunshine. She is well fit. Then following a minor tiff and upset, M responded by driving to the local Mairie's and provisionally booking our wedding for the 8th August. Surely it can't be right that one person alone can book a wedding-even provisionally

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Look At This. (The moles are back)

Just look at this. Two days ago, I put my bottle on a stick firmly in the ground just here, because I had noted recent mole activity on this spot. The next morning, this is the sight that greeted me-some conniving mole has dug either side of the eco friendly mole deterrent. This mole has not read the anti-mole books, nor looked at how it should be behaving on-line. This is incredibly disappointing. I'm going to have to think again, and come up with some way of increasing the noise nuisance capacity without incurring further expenditure.


About Me

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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.