Monday, March 28, 2011

Frankenstein the Rooster

I have created a monster. About a year ago, I rescued a tiny little chick from a local market which was bald, ugly, and covered in peck marks from the other chicks. A year of good feeding later, and this is what I've ended up with. His head is above my knee level (and no, I am not short, contrary to what my children may say). Can you see that look in his eye??? it's breeding season now, and he has become aggressive. Last night, he tried to attack me in the garden. He leapt up unexpectedly and clawed at my thigh though my trousers. I was stuck behind a rock, and he wasn't letting me out. I yelled and yelled before M heard me and came to resuce me, equipped with spade and metal spike.

More seriously, he's also been attacking the chickens-and pariticuarly going for one of them, who only has one eye and dislikes sex.

So today, he's been kept cooped up and away from them, only being allowed out to peck in the chicken coop in the afternoon. By which time, the chickens had gone over to the neighbouring farmer's house to eye up his cockerels. They don't care, my chickens. They are all the very worst kinds of sluts...but to get back to the orginal point, this bird is now clearly destined for someone's pot. The only question is whose?...and how to kill this monster???It may require a machine gun...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Full Moon

well Martin was dreading this-the super duper full moon which stared remorselessly into the house last night. A pretty impressive sight once the clouds had cleared. M's theory being that I turn into a raving lunatic everytime there's a full moon.

I have never heard such a load of rubbish in my life.

Took Frank for a long walk in the sunshine this morning. Sourdeval seems to be welcoming the Spring with a brace of building projects. Sod the recession when there are subsidies and grants to be had.
Everything is neat and meticulous-I have a wave of homesickness and nostalgia for piles of rubbish, screaming families, and graffiti. I'm not kidding-all that order and tidiness can get to you after a while.

Even the building plots remind me more of a model railway for some reason than real life.
Even more spookily-There is nobody, literally nobody to be seen anywhere. We heard a big dog bark from somewhere way inside a house, but that was it. The French have all gone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring chores

At last! My carefully calculated programme of phased nagging has paid off and I now have (as a replacement for my broken rotary line) a single clothes line. Just in time-since the sun has really come out the past few days and Spring is finally here notwithstanding some chilly and frosty mornings. To be honest i think I prefer the aesthetics of the single line clothes line to the suburban claustrophobia of the rotary version anyway. As I put the sheets on the line, the wind started blowing and the sheets flapped and cracked in a most satisfactory manner. There is no fabric conditioner in the world which can outdo the scent of fresh air on newly laundered cotton sheets.

The ducks had taken to sitting in a new place in the coop recently, which meant they were depositing their eggs on the concrete floor. so I moved a new nest box into that position and, after the obligatory few days when they spurned my efforts, they've now accepted the change and happily lay their eggs there. I still can't get over the thrill of collecing newly laid eggs.

Mart has been digging out a new bit of vegetable patch. he is a very aggressive gardener. Probably using his garden fork to vent all his frustrations at beig endlessly nagged to put the washing line up. This does mean that Hilda the chicken is dicing with death as she moves closer and closer to his digging area in the hunt for juicy worms.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Chair

Yessss!!!!! and it's Welcome to my new(ish) Hypnotherapy chair. M says it looks more like the Mastermind chair but that's just silly. It will be fine. In fact, it will be great. Now, just imagine yourself sitting in it, and slowly allowing all the muscles of your body to relax...(starting with your feet...think of your feet relaxing...) See? It's easy!

In the meantime, Frank is waiting by the wheelbarrow for me to join him in the garden for another digging session.

Yesterday, I unearthed all these potatoes left over from last year. Fantastic. Free food. And it's just as well because since I started writing today's blog, M just phoned to ask me to make today's tea stretch around an extra guest.
My larder is beginning to make Mrs Hubbard's look like a branch of Tesco's Extra.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cat Yoga

Today's entry is particularly aimed at any readers who might be a little stressed. (I know there is at least one harassed banker who will be looking at this). This advice and guidance comes care of my cat, Mackerel, who has studied Cat Yoga for pretty much all of his life. As you can see, Mackerel does not have any money, or even any testicles, but he doesn't let that bother him. So yesterday, he found a nice sunny spot on this barn windowsill and proceeded to demonstrate 'The Cat Stretch' which can be achieved by placing all fours on the ground, and arching your back towards the ceiling/sky.

2-The Cobra. Placing your head on the floor, stretch your bottom as high as you can towards the sky/ceiling. Repeat facing towards the other side.

3-Rest. You have earned it. It's not good for anyone to work too hard. Besides which, you're looking gooooooood just as you are.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


M has now there is a chance to fill up my little car with petrol and escape to somewhere else for a while. After two weeks, it doesn't much matter where-as long as it's elsewhere. It's an overcast day but to me, it's like Spring due to my slightly giddy mood as I look round the local town of Tinchebray, making my usual odd assortment of sights I found interesting... For example, this raspberry-coloured handle on a closed-down shop doorway. There are lots of closed-down shops in Tinchebray.

This cafe has lettering which reminds me of old Mabel Lucie Attwell books.

70's style tiling (exterior) on another shop front. Reminds me of the era of 'macrame' and 'The Good Life'.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chickenism (Day 4)

With Wellington the cockerel elsewhere, the chickens have time once more to give free rein to their creative whims. Tonight, they staged a fairly impromptu and improvised play entitled "Chickenism". Whilst Joan and Bianca (white chickens) acted out the more dynamic roles, illustrating the little appreciated roles of Famous Chickens in History, Hilda (brown chicken), kept silent and still on the perch throughout the performance, a vigil which was apparently intended as testament to the effort and suffering of chickens valued for nothing but their egg-laying abilities...
...then, as dusk fell, the harsh electric light illuminated the coop just as the play reached it's climax, and Joan and Bianca leant over Hilda, forming a perfect arc, in a moving tribute to all that chickens have achieved. "Bravo!" I cried as I crouched uncomfortably in the coop doorway, and threw in handfuls of the finest chicken corn.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Star Crossed Lovers (Day 6)

I have separated the lovers. Hilda and Wellington make a fantastic pair but Big Boy Wellington has been becoming a little over-amorous of late. I gather that most cockerels need a harem of a least 5 chickens and Wellington only has 3 here, and the two white chickens we have have had enough-so I've put Wellington out on his own-and Hilda, who is his soul mate as well as a similar breed, just has to gaze at him through the fence now. Methinks I have seen a similar expression of the faces of some ladies who are out on the town on a Saturday night...Perhaps I shall let him loose for a little while on Valentine's day...!

Meanwhile, the pets have rested this afternoon whilst I did some indoor tasks since my back has been playing up a bit again lately. You would not think that they each have their own bed to get into. Looking at this, I am reminded how nice cuddling up can be. Perhaps I am finally missing Martin now. Only 6 days to go now...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yellow Dog food (Day 12)

It's not possible for one person to eat the produce of three chickens and two ducks. So yesterday, i scrambled some of the eggs and fed them back to the chooks. Today, it was the dogs turn-and I scrambled up 5 duck eggs and fed them the result...then stood back and waited for any ill effects...and there were none! Marvellous!

Been keeping the cat in the house at night since I think it's tooooooooooo cold to shove him out. He is still enjoying his day-time naps...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dogs Have No Dignity (day 13...)

M has gone back to England for a couple of weeks to do some work. So it's just me and the animals for a while...Aaaaargh...I give it 5 minutes before i start going a little crazee......Didn't like the quietness of the house today (no more than the chaos as he left anyway) so took Frank the teckel for a walk along the voie verte/old railway line. A cold winter's day-with excitable little flocks of blue tits squabbling in the trees, saw pussy willows dangling on another tree...
and a buzzard-or was it a kite?-flying over another silver birch type tree. Meanwhile, Frank occupied himself at ground level trying to eat as many different kinds of animal excrement as he could get away with.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Last Straw

It was just another ordinary morning at first...doing the rounds of chicken coop cleaning, floor washing, dog walking, fire cleaning, wood collection and laundry sorting. But although I didn't know it, all the time, my body was storing up a secret suprise for me. After lunch, the sun shone warmly across the garden with something of a waft of spring about it. So I ventured out into the garden with my secateurs and had a fantastic time bending down and trimming back nettles and brambles whilst the dogs played fighting beside me, and the chickens pecked for worms in the newly cleared ground. The pile of weeds in the trailer grew steadily higher and I was very proud of myself when I finally came back in the house. Then I noticed a foul odour coming from this small dog. it was too much to be remedied with a spray of air freshener. He had to be bathed. Since he blocks up the downstairs shower with his stupid hair, and has stumps for legs, I had to pick him up to carry him upstairs to the bathroom. So down I reach -and then up again-and PING! -suddenly my back is in agony. Too late-can't drop the dog-so I race up the stairs in agony, and drop him in the bath-I manage to get him showered in there whilst all the time dreading taking him out again. His legs are WAY too short to manage it for himself. NEVER get a dog like this. M was not due back home for ages and I couldn't very well leave damp dog in bath for three hours or so. So nothing for it but to heave him out again...and ever since, of course, I have been suffering. OW OW OW. M doing more of the chores currently-but with more enthusiasm than consistency, I fear. Next time, I shall just strap one of the ambient air fresheners to this dog. Never Ever again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


One day, a couple of people will be visiting this area we live in (Normandy, France) and they will stop to look at some of the remarkable, ageless granite buildings here. They will notice pockmarks in the stone work, and speculate as to what they might be. Perhaps a problem with the stonework? Or some kind of acid rain? perhaps one of them will suggest they could be bullet holes from the war-but it could well seem one of the less likely explanations, given the sheer quantity of the marks, and the peacefulness of the town. Since, on a sunny day, it can seem impossible that a group of men nearly all of them under 25 and incredibly far from home-will have been moving around that same area, fearful, and fighting for their lives. Memories are becoming fuzzy and there are many inconvenient truths.
Today, I went to play the piano for some old people at the local 'Maison de Retraite'. As usual, they were all sitting there expectantly as I arrived. I have to cajole them a bit to get them to sing. Then I do some Piaf (a particualar favourite of one of the old gents), then I play a bit of classical, and then I tentatively take requests-since I actually know very few French tunes. Today, one new old lady asked for "It's a Long Way". I wasn't sure what she meant-then I thought-and started playing "It's a long way to Tipperary". She became terribly excited and sang along in English. Afterwards, she told me that she hasn't sung that song for over 60 years-since she was a girl. She said she had previously sung it with French, English, and Scottish soldiers. She has remembered it all this time. Another request came in-"Lettre pour Elise" "Sorry-don't know that" I was saying then...another thought-and yes-it was Fur Elise...I played it, and thought of my Dad who used to love this, too. He had said he remembered, when he was a soldier, going to some free concerts in London given by classical musicians. Dame Myra Hess played Fur Elise, and he had loved it ever since. Later, we got a record of her playing it-and I noticed she put a tiny pause in before playing the 'E' in one of the phrases-and I put this in, too, now. I always think of him when I play this.
I don't know how these things will be remembred in a very few years time. There won't be a memory to be jogged with a tune, or even someone to remember how to play it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Modern Methods

I gather that there are still some people out there who use the outmoded methods of heating involving pushbuttons and timed thermostats. They must be, we like to have fun with our heating. Who wants convenience, cleanliness, and control when you have fun wielding an axe instead....

...then again, it's also a chance to get the little tractor thing out and while away another couple of pleasantly frustrating hours making sure it's runing OK after it's winter rest...
...and then, two aching backs later, you have the satisfaction of another wood pile ready for the next load of cold weather. This is such a GREAT way to heat your house....if you don't really have anything better to do!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Normandy Blues

The Normandy Blues are a well known affiliction here-a kind of generalised mildly depressive malaise. It's most widespread on days when the rain falls continously in a fine mist which demands a adjective other than 'rain'. It's a sogginess of the sky and of the brain. Everything becomes like a damp flannel left on the side of the bath for too long-and one look out of the cat flap can confirm that there's not really much to go out for. Obviously, this isn't a complaint given what's happening with the rain in Brisbane at the moment, but more just a comment on a state of being...

On the other hand, if you are a duck, you can just get on with things and appreciate the increased chance of finding a tasty morsel of worm or slug which the rain has brought closer to the surface...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mr Fox

Nature is a pretty amazing thing. Here, in Normandy, there's a lot of available space for the earth to recover from the more extreme conditions that the climate might throw at it-here are views of our front gate and the shepherd's hut here, at different times of year. Today, the sun has shone brighter and longer than for a long I have even been driven to washing windows and M and I have both noted our respective winter body bulges with some shame. The chickens are looking great with the sunny breeze fluffing up their feathers-we had three eggs today.
But then the darkness falls suddenly

in the evening-and we are sometimes a little slow in toddling up the garden to lock the birds up in their coop. The dogs were very restive tonight and I know there will be hungry foxes snuffling around our plump chooks. We must be more prompt to tuck them up.


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.