Sunday, 28 June 2015

Turn your back and this is what happens

Yet again I have lost the battle of the weeds in the veg patch. It will take ages to regain control. Just went in to check my veg, which by some miracle is still growing, and found this in the courgette bed! It will be grated and given as a treat to the chickens, ducks and geese. Seems a waste but whilst we can cope with courgettes in stir fry or roasted veg neither of us likes marrow!
The new pond pump is ordered so I must get on and finish cleaning the pond. Having an evening off today as I created a blister on my finger that has burst hauling up the bucket. It was the string! P has given me a piece of rope for tomorrow.
I have made a good start on my dress, the first of four I plan to make. It is twenty years since I did any dressmaking and I am a bit rusty. I am having trouble with the tension but need more brain power to deal with it. It also took two attempts to put the zip in! It is taking shape though and I am pleased with it.
Was given a bucket of cherries today so made them into a runny jam that P loves with my homemade yogurt. Made it in the bread machine! Don't think I will try it again but it is too hot to light the Esse. I am trying to keep space in the freezer for the lamb that will come later in the year. I usually get given lots of fruit, somthe freezer is kept full.
Back to my crochet this evening as I really want to get this cover finished.

Friday, 26 June 2015

First day home

Sorry I have not been around. I left last Sunday to clear the flat and attend the funeral. Thanks to my wonderful daughter most of the work was done. We finished up on Monday morning. Monday evening we went out to dinner with P's brother and wife. Went to a country pub which was a treat.
Tuesday we went to visit auntie Elsie who will be 100 in September if she gets there. Then in the evening we went to see Jurassic World, complete with rumble seats! Had to keep my eyes closed for some of it being a complete light weight but it stopped me thinking about the next day.
The funeral was very quiet and our son in law took the service. We decided on no flowers as it was a cremation. I did get upset but regained control. After just us and daughter and husband went out for a pub lunch. It seemed right. We were the ones who were involved with him. His friend from the RAF came to the funeral but did not want to come with us. I had wrapped some plates of war time planes as a gift from dad and he was delighted. I was pleased to be able to do it.
Just a few more things to sort out then it is over.
I feel totally exhausted.
Today I pegged out three loads of washing, cleaned the bathroom and made a fruit cake. We collected our dogs from the kennels this morning too. Boring stuff but part of settling down again.
Project pond has begun...I am emptying it out to clean and repair it. Long over due. Hard work though as I am using a bucket! It will take a couple of days to do.
Changeover day tomorrow for the Gite but the next guests are staying two weeks.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Geese and ducks

Today we moved the geese into the orchard sort of on their own. This picture is goose hall made from pallets. We had to take the roof and door off to lighten it enough to lift over the fence. It would not go through the gate. The geese have been attacking the ducks. Next week we are away and a friend will let them all out and put them to bed each day. During the day there will just be the guests in the Gite until we come home on Thursday. I have two ducks sitting on eggs and at least some of those eggs are due to hatch this week. The geese would attack the ducklings so they have been moved. They now share the same area as the chickens but so far have not met! They are mooching about the orchard quite happily. It does mean they no longer have the pond but I am planning on creating another small pond for them. I have yet to tell P.
I have been wanting to do this for some time. Eventually we will build another fence and gate to separate the chickens. The ducks have stayed in their area since the geese left. They had been going into the field to get away. Hopefully all will be ok whilst we are away.
P has nearly finished the plaster board downstairs in daughter and son in law's house. Just the window reveals to do. Next we have to plaster the joins then it will be second fix plumbing and electrics. The end is just about in sight. For that building anyway.
Tomorrow is changeover for the Gite so a busy morning. After lunch we take the dogs to the kennels. Then the new guests arrive in the evening. We have explained things and they are happy. We will leave them our mobile numbers and email address. Also the friend who looks after chickens, ducks, geese and cats will be here twice a day if any problems arise.
It has occured to me that this is the last time I have to go to England! Once my eldest daughter is here there is nothing to pull me back. It is a good feeling!

Monday, 15 June 2015

All arranged

The funeral that is. I am very pleased the end is in sight. Wednesday week. A very small affair with my lovely son in law taking the service. We have written the script which he will put in his own words. He gave a lot of care alongside my eldest daughter to my father so it is fitting he does this. It is a non religious affair. We have booked our ferry for next Sunday, a hotel for four nights and our ferry home on Thursday morning. On the Monday we have an appointment with the bank to sort that bit out and will spend the rest of Monday and Tuesday clearing the flat. We want to hand back the keys on Wednesday after the funeral. The ashes will go back to the funeral place to be stored until we can next get over to spread them on Blackheath. We will not have for this before going home as there is a delay for collecting the urn. This way we will be here for this Saturday to do the changeover but will have to explain we will be away until Thursday. A friend will come over morning and evening to sort out the chickens, ducks and geese and cats so will check all is ok with our guests. We will also give them our mobile number and email address. We will be here for the next Saturday changeover too. I think I will book Frank and Bruno into the kennels. They know the people and the set up as they have stayed many times.
I am looking forward to getting my life back on track.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The sun is shining

It always makes me feel better when the sun shines. This picture is part of the front of our property. You can see a damson, an Elder and a Holly tree. When we bought this place 7 years ago this was overgrown with Brambles and Ivy. The trees stood in a big overgrown bed. It took months of weeding to get it like this. You can just see the fencing we built to secure our front. This stops the dogs leaving our land. The postman was very grateful when we did this as he can now keep out of Bruno's reach! Generally the French are not too good with big dogs. Farm dogs are kept chained!
I have been doing lots of decluttering and sorting out which helps repair the damage losing my dad has caused. He has left me some money and when it comes through I am going to buy what we need to start bee keeping. Dad loved wildlife so it seems fitting.
We did bring him down here for a long weekend a few years ago. He loved using his school boy French to buy croissants for breakfast. It made realise how much he had deteriorated as he could not have done that in the last year. We took him on Eurotunnel as we felt it would be easier to cope and he was intrigued by it. He couldn't understand that we had to stay in the car. As it was a train he thought we would be sitting in a train. It was totally outside his experience. He talked about the trip for months afterwards.
Le Tertre is a very restful place, healing, and it is doing its work on me. Our latest guests left this morning saying they felt restored and rested. It is good that others see that too. This afternoon a new couple arrive, this time with two Labradors. Bruno and Frank will get very excited. I always hope people will enjoy their stay and be enriched by it.
All the bedding and towels are on the line drying in the sun, the house is quiet apart from a blackbird singing and one of my cockerels crowing. I used to think they only crowed in the morning.
I will try to call in often again. It will go mad again for the funeral but for now I will enjoy the peace.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


For the kind words.
I am in limbo just now waiting for all the paperwork to come through. We have chosen the funeral and are going for a simple format as there will not be many there and I think it is what dad would want. He left no clear instructions other than cremation and where to put his ashes.
There is so much to do it makes my head spin. Not until the funeral is over can I move forward.
I am keeping busy. I have stripped and cleaned the walk in larder, removing out of date stuff and thinning out the shelves so I can see what I have. I have asked P to put another layer of shelves at the bottom as I would like to put the maslin pan, stock pot etc in there. They are too big for my dressers.
I also want to clear a corner of my still unfinished kitchen to put a small breakfast table and two chairs in place. I will search the second hand furniture shops for these.
The home made washing up liquid did not lather and P was not happy with it so I have an eco brand of wash up and dishwasher stuff. It feels like a compromise but as P said this has to work properly!
The dogs have been very windy since changing their diet and it has not settled down with time as I thought it would. So we have gone back to their kibble. Another backward step but needs must.
I am getting on well with my crochet blanket but have yet to make a dress. I need my brain for sewing and it is strangely absent just now.
So at the moment it is a waiting game and I know life will resume as normal once this is over.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Didn't see that one coming

I am fortunate to live in such a quiet place. Just now I need to be quiet to cope with life.
This is not the place to bare my soul so I will not give any detail.
Yesterday my father died. My childhood was traumatic but when dad had a major stroke in 1985 I had to bury the emotion and get on with caring for him. I have been fighting for him since to ensure he had a comfortable, happy life. I feel I managed it. He died peacefully, just slipped away and now I can face my childhood. If I am not around as much I hope you will understand why.
I had a quick trip to England. I left Thursday evening, arriving at the hotel at 2am. P came with me and was and is so supportive. We stayed at the hospital all Friday morning and spoke to the consultant. I said no heroic measures. He had another massive stroke. I sat and held his hand and said goodbye. By 11pm on Friday we were pulling out of Portsmouth harbour on our way home. Reaching home at 9.30 Saturday morning to perpare the Gite for guests. The call came at 10.30.
I had to call my sisters to let them know and spoke to them both before dad died. I have not spoken to them for over 15 years. The pain for all of us goes too deep. I am trying to find my brother.
I will continue to talk to my sisters as now I feel I can.
My dogs sat and watched me preparing their breakfast of scrambled eggs. Bruno kept nudging me. They didn't do that when I tipped kibble into their bowls! They are both loving real food.
As I am no longer on standby for trips to the UK I can settle into life here. I want to develop our gite business. This time as well as the usual welcome pack I gave the home made crab apple and blackberry jelly in a jam pot and wrapped one of my soaps in tissue and left it in the soap dish in the bathroom. I want to add a few extras for our guests. I will have to get going making more soap and bathbombs. I also want to get ahead by making bits for the other two Gites.
Daughter has a survey being done on her place tomorrow morning so looks like the sale is going ahead. We are still holding our breath though. Meanwhile we will crack on with creating a home for them.
Weather is blue sky and sun. It looks so beautiful here at the moment.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My boys and other things

The dogs that is. The slow cooker is currently on with the dogs dinner in it! I am moving away from commercial kibble that I spend a fortune on! I have read lots of websites to gather information and now know what is needed. As I am nearly at the end of the current sack seems a good time to start. I bought a big pack of chicken thighs when shopping this morning. P commented that his food was cheaper...10 pork steaks for €4 and ten chicken thighs for €8. I will make the meals in batches and freeze it in portions. Today it is chicken ( I will remove the bones once cooked) with carrots, potatoes and celery with rice added for the last 1/2 hour. There is enough for 3 meals. They will have the meat meal in the evening. For breakfast it will be scrambled egg with rice. Eggs I always have in abundance. I have a recipe for Bonio type biscuits so once this box is nearly gone I will make them too. I have to order Bonio from Amazon as I cannot buy it here. I would like to move the cats to real food too but it is tricky as two of them are outdoor cats. They have a wooden cat house in the garden with a covered area for feeding.  Fresh food would attract flies and rats. Not nice. I have been feeding them an expensive kibble too but have now gone back to Whiskas. My indoor snowy bengal could have real food as she is mostly fed indoors.
My eldest daughter is embarking on a food regime to treat her severe PCOS and asked if almond milk could be bought here. No, but we can make it! It really is incredible what can be made. I have been getting quite a lot of respect for what I am doing too, although most feel they couldn't do it themselves.
All my fabric has arrived so soon I will begin dressmaking. I used to do it and made lots of the chidrens clothes when they were little. When my eldest was due to go to senior school she asked if she could have a jumper from the school shop rather than one I had knitted. I understood but was sad she felt that pressure. Now it does not bother me what people think, I think homemade is best!