Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our smallest room




M has been decorating our toilet. It's a French style loo, having just the loo in it. So it's very small. So you would think it hasn't been too tricky-or expensive. Just a matter of chucking a bit of paint at the walls. Sadly, this has turned out not to be so. M decided to alter the position of the loo whilst he was at it, straightening it up so to speak so there have been all sorts of complications some of them a little smelly, given that our plumbing is via a fosse. This isn't the final colour scheme-the wood will be painted. Hopefully not poo brown! In the meantime in order to cheer things up a bit, I'm including a picture of Bianca playing a fun chicken balancing game on the chicken feeder.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Growing Up

The ducklings are growing up terribly fast. Already their yellow down is going and you can see the start of white feathers especially towards their backs. They're still very sweet although they're also extremely mucky shitters. M has called them Clarissa and Jennifer after the two fat lady cooks wot used to be on the telly. I think this is a little over-posh for ducklings (this one is Clarissa). Once their feathers have grown, they can go and play on their pond. Hopefully, they will also grace us with some eggs in due course.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Courgette Madness


Courgette Soup, Courgette Bread, Courgette Bake, Courgette Curry, Courgette Chutney, Courgette chocolate, Courgette crisps, courgette fighters, courgette nightmares....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chickens and ducks





At last! We have our poultry. Their accommodation is rated by oeuf rankings rather than etoiles. M's sterling efforts have given us 'cinq oeufs' out of the maximum sept. The only things we are missing are radio (to help them get accustomed to human voice) and warm air heating. We have two brown chickens and two white ones. I talk to them all the time. I have yet to identify their breeds from the chicken book. So far, there's been no fighting or quibbling at all. We also bought two little ducks and we can't wait to see them venture outside to find the pond M has made specially for them. This pond replenishes itself with water from the guttering system which runs along the roof of the chicken shed, the pipe also doubling up as a further perch. M also created an soakaway for the pond-thank goodness, since it's been raining solidly here for the last couple of days. And we even have our first egg!!! We are both being very polite about who should be the first to eat it. Given that it's arrived so early, it will have been "en-vent" so to speak as we bought the birds It's likely to be a while til the chooks have settled in well enough to start laying properly. But aren't they lovely!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Short Males and Big Girls




Teckels are definitely the Tom Cruise's, or the Dudley Moore's, or the Danny De Vito's of the doggy world. To illustrate this, here is Franck with his new girlfriend-Jet. She is a big black collie type bitch. At first, she was a bit jumpy when she met him, and she did tease him a lot, but our Franck quite likes a few high spirits and it wasn't long before he was leading her out into the long grasses for a spot of mutual snuffling and rootling. As a result of which, I had to spend ages picking the burrs off him last night, including on some rather intimate areas. When will he ever learn?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Moley



Oh dear...tonight, M and I were taking the dogs for a walk together. This was actually a very nice and even slightly romantic thing to do as the sun was setting. Our neighbours-two brothers-drove past as we walked down the road and stopped for a chat. Well in fact the car was going so slowly that they may have just carried on driving as before-i don't know. Anyway-they are very nice and friendly but a bit hard to understand for us since they speak a patois French which even many of the native french here find hard to understand. This is what was established: 1-they were on their way out for a drink. 2-They have heard M is repairing the chicken house. 3-they can get us some chickens. Ready to lay-5 euros each. All the rest, we're a bit confused about. Not sure if they're planning to call in tonight with the chooks which they're getting from their farmer friend. M now madly trying to finish off the hen house. Only just stopped them from getting us 30 chickens in the nick of time. Also forgot the french for duck (how can I be so stupid!) so I had to mime that we wanted two of these which they found funny. M trying to tell them yes he wants a cock me saying oh no he doesn't. All very confusing. We shall see...
In the meantime, we have found a second moley-=pictured above. As is my courgette harvest including a couple of distressingly misshapen ones. I'm going to try and plant out another crop of peas tomorrow. it's a bit late for it really i think but I've nothing to lose by trying...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chicken Shack








Herewith the current state of the chicken shack-which should really be known as the Poultry Parlour given that it will include a couple of ducks. M will be digging a little pond for them. he's also going to construct a kind of external egg box so that we don't have to go right into the chicken house each time to get the eggs. This is the theory anyway...The chooks will have a great view of the maize field-and the forest beyond if they stand on top of each other. Or fly???More worryingly, we've found out that the cat can squeeze through the little holes in the fence. Since he can catch, and kill, mice, shrews, moles, and garden birds, will he be able to do the same to chickens? We don't know...


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Apricots



I've never cooked with apricots before-I think that I used to find them too expensive in the UK. Here in France though, I managed to get a big box of them for not much so I've made some apricot liqueur which is currently steeping, and also this apricot chutney. I'd been concerned that I might have let the apricots get a bit over-ripe but in fact the ripe ones are the most flavoursome when cooked. The flavour is incredible. M is putting the finishing touches to the chicken shed. We're also going to have a couple of ducks because they are very cute and characterful and duck eggs are also tasty. We are not getting a cock though. There is no need.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cabbage potatoes and peas


To be honest, I don't know what I was expecting to happen when i put some seeds in the ground a few weeks ago-because I seem to have been immensely suprised by the fact that some vegetables have come up! . These are all home grown, no chemicals used, and fresh as could be. Marvellous! I plan to try making a soup with the pea pods and am also tackling some apricot chutney this evening and may even make a foray into some apricot liquer. I would love to have a garden gnome somewhere but they don't seem to do them in France. This just doesn't seem to be a whimsical country.

Friday, July 3, 2009

MY NEW PIANO

Here is a picture of my new piano-which I've been wanting for ages. This is how I got it: I have been pining for a piano for a while now, so M kindly drove me quite a long way to meet someone who had a piano to sell. it was an electric piano. (oh dear!) After much experimentation playing the Titanic theme using the "strings" effect, (Are we drowning?) and then the Bridal March using the "Church Organ" effect (did M read any significance into this???) , I sadly decided that this instrument was not the one for me. Which might have irritated M a bit since he'd just spent ages negotiating with the owners to get the price down a bit. So we went paddling instead. (being near the sea by now). On our return, this meant that there was, briefly, an amount of cash left without an immediate hole to fall into. Then the very next day, M took this cash to another shop in Caen and bought this Window Piano from a big DIY store there. So now the money is gone. But we did, undeniably, need new windows. M tells me that I can tap my fingers on these Window Pianos if I like as long as i clean the finger marks off afterwards. So far, I haven't managed to get a tune out of them. Perhaps, once he's put them in, they will start working properly. Or perhaps I'm just out of practise. These French pianos look very different to 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.