Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bonne Cuisine

The local french have a fine cuisine, perhaps a little heavy on the cheeses and butter but tasty nonetheless. So here is the recipie for 'chat-en-panier'. This 'recette' was given to me by our French conversation teacher
1-Take a local country cat.
2-place it in a basket.
3-Lower the whole thing into a deep pan and poach for 7 hours.
4-Throw in a pound of unsalted butter and 2 packets each of camebert, brie, and roquefort.
5-poach for a further 7 hours.
6-take the pan off the heat, and strain all the contents of the basket through a muslin bag.
7-Sift through the contents of the muslin bag and remove the cats liver.
8-Pound the piece of liver with a rusty nail from a fence post.
9-fry the piece of liver in goose fat and calvados
10-Serve on a pewter trencher with no accompanying vegetables. Give the rest to the dog. Then kick it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It's a dull and rainy day...again...and the chickens are passing the time by takinfg refuge in the barn, and playing charades. Here, it's Creuella's turn. The others are perched on the trough, shouting out their suggestions. Creulla has already mimed that it's a book by drawing her wings together-maybe a film as well, she's not sure. Then, she suddenly takes off in a complex series of movements, pacing up and down, then seeming to fight herself, with much squawking, then calming herself, she seems to enact a tender love scene moving from one side of the barn to the other, mimicing the lovers' swooning looks at one another. Then she pauses, and gathering herself to her full height, she mimics a scything action as she marches up and down the barn, pausing only to wipe her brow with a wing. "I've got it!" shouts out Joan, who is sitting on the left. "It's Anna Karenina!". Creulla acknowledges her succes with a bow, and takes Joan's place on the perch. For myself, I'm amazed. I'd had no idea that the chickens were so well read. Then Joan starts her turn. "A Book!" says Hilda who is not the brightest chicken and this is one of the few chances she gets to shine. Joan starts her mime-again, it involves much parading and swooning and some flapping of feathers. There is a lot of concentration then a pause when she stops for the chickens to have a think. Then Bianca calls out: "Is it Anna Karenina?" Once more, success is acknowledeged and Bianca takes her place on the dirt floor whilst i suddenly remember that I have some washing up to do...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How To Make A Window

This is a pretty good time of year to think about making a new window. Everything's a bit dark and depressing so why not let some light in? It's made this man smile and it might just make you smile, too. It's easy peasy. First you need to stick some board up on a wall somewhere. Cardboard will do. Then, get a tape measure or ruler and measure out-and mark with a pen or pencil-how big you want your window to be. Then you have the last-and the most fun stage-which is cutting your window out. Then voila! as us francophile types say. You have your new window. What could be simpler? It helps if you put something down on the floor first to help with clearing up the enusing mess but, as you can see here, it isn't essential. More DIY tips to follow soon....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

snow and mud

First, the snow froze. I've never seen anything like this before-it looked like some kind of heavy duty satin. very noisy to walk on-the dogs had to push each of their paws into it individually, then pull them out again when they wanted to go anywhere. They were forced to move at a slow pace-and they hated it. Then, finally, it started to thaw-and the snow was light enough for Franck and I to take a walk along the old railway path which gave us an impressive view over the surrounding thawing fields. Now, the snow is more or less completely gone. Whilst it's incredibly exciting to see green again, it also means we're getting to see mud again. Hence the kind of chaotic scene which ensues when Franck tries to dodge the reception committee.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

cabin fever

This morning, I asked M if he could remember how things had looked before the snow came. He said he couldn't. Nor can I. Had there been all different shades of green of just one? Were some of the fields brown underneath or were they all green? How does a cow look against a green background rather than a white one? We've not had any new snow for a couple of days now but the cold temperatures continue-combined with a bitter wind today so what has fallen is just hanging around. I've just put (un-used!) cat litter around the doorsteps where it's getting icy again. We're keeping the chickens and ducks confined to their pound at the moment-otherwise, we have to carry them home at dusk from whichever barn they're taking refuge in-since it can suddenly get too cold for their feet. It's no fun trying to juggle a chicken under each arm with a torch, whilst trying to avoid slipping on ice. To make up for this restriction, I'm rewarding them with some nice snacks-here is one with scrambled egg, wilted lettuce, oats, pasta, and soggy pear. In turn, they are continuing to reward us with eggs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

chicken talk

"Don't look now" says Cruella, whilst striding ahead, "but I think she's taking a photo of us"
"Whys can't I look?" asks Hilda-
"It's your comb". is the firm reply. "It's too floppy. We may only be common or garden brown french chickens but we still have our standards to maintain. Some of these pictures can be seen abroad, you know".
"I don't care about standards" whines Hilda "My feet are too cold".
"LIFT them" admonishes Cruella. "SEE?" and she lifts her left claw in front of her and firmly waggles it to shake it free of the snow. "But I'm too tired for that" sighs Hilda. "I only just finished laying my egg". "Follow in my tracks, then" says Cruella-a little more kindly. They are, after all birds of a feather. So Hilda trod in her mistresses steps-whilst all around, the snow lay-deep, and crisp, and even.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Decade

Well it's that time of year again-time to take down the decorations and make New years resolutions. Here is a representation, I've just realised of the taste dilemma I have with Christmas.

On the one hand, there's the slightly tasteful wood and red vibe going on-in the other picture, my singing and dancing reindeer and turkey. if you grab the turkey round the neck, it makes a gobbling noise-then if you press it's wing, it dances and sings Christmas songs. Marvellous. Through the window, you can see the heavy frost we had this morning. then this afternoon, we had heavy snow again and took the dogs for a walk in it. I have only broken one of my new years resolutions so far.


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.