Friday, 24 June 2011

The week of the pool

The focus of this week has been the swimming pool; checking the hole, awaiting the delivery, getting it in place, filling, backfilling, connecting up the filters and pipework etc etc. This is the story of the week in pictures.
This is how the pool arrived, on a truck from the South of France. It left Monday and arrived with us on Tuesday.
It was hoisted into the air

And lowered into the hole (the hole was 'impecable')
Our neighbours helped with the filling in with gravel (what lovely neighbours)
As the pool was slowly filled with water

The filters and skimmers were connected

And Ian went for a swim

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Pools and plants

This week has felt busy. Ian has continued to dig the hole for the pool, this time with some help from our neighbour. It arrives next week and we are slightly anxious and slightly exited. It is coming on the back of a lorry from the South of France; staying nearby on Monday night and arriving first thing Tuesday, when, all being well it will be carefully lowered into the big hole!

In the meantime growth in garden has slowed down a little due to lack of rain and sun. However today I harvested my first courgette. Apparently from now onwards I will be inundated with the little green things and by the end of June running out of courgette recipes!

Monday, 13 June 2011

More tractors!

Ian has been struggling to dig the pool and has got rather disheartened with it. I think it is just one of those things when you take on a big project, as when things don't go quite to plan it can become overwhelming. We needed a day off and Ian had been looking forward to Sunday's event for a long time. It was a heat in the national tractor pulling competition that took place about 20km from us in the Lot-et-Garrone. Ian went last year by himself as he was here for a few a days, but this year we both went, along with our cycling neighbours. It took us just over an hour to get there on the bikes. I didn't think I'd enjoy it but I must confess I found it an entertaining and enjoyable day out.

Tractor pulling is like drag racing with tractors. The machines are purpose built, specially engineered, hot-rod, tractor- type bling-things that Ian admired!

They are hooked up to a sled with varying amounts of weight on it and have to tow this sled down a 100 metre strip. The tractor that gets the furthest is the winner and there are various categories of tractors, including a class for garden vehicles such as ride-on mowers.  The engines are mostly old aircraft engines or equivalent and when they are on full power you have to put your fingers in your ears or wear ear defenders as the noise is so loud it vibrates your whole body.

The event was well organised and had a good family atmosphere. There was a tent where you could buy sausages, chips and beer and another one selling t-shirts and toy tractors. Unlike a similar event in the UK no one was drunk and there were no police on duty (as there was no expectation of trouble and even if there had been any it would be have dealt with swiftly by the local farmers)!

All in all and enjoyable break from the grindstone. When we got back the day was finished off nicely by watching Jenson Button win the Montreal Grand Prix. Ian was much more relaxed this morning!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Continuing professional development

My work in Bordeaux has finished for the summer and I decided that a summer without speaking French would not help me at all. So, to continue with my quest for greater integration and some professional development, I contacted the local retirement home and offered my services as a volunteer. I spent a day writing my CV in French and I think it rather took them all by suprise. I will not speak too much about the details here except to say that I spent an interesting two hours talking with two new graduates from Bordeaux who work there for one day a week. By the end of the morning my head was spinning in French so all was good!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Another week flies by... This post is really a mixture of the weeks'events with no particular theme. Today it has rained most of the day, which is a real relief, as the ground was begining to look like it does in August, and water restrictions are in force.

Last Friday we delivered 95 bales of hay to someone about 60 km away. It was a long, hard day. Ian loaded the trailer the night before with the first load, we got up, drove over, unloaded, drove back, loaded again, drove over again, unloaded and then came back again. It was a long day but our second day of feeling like proper farmers.

Yesterday Ian started digging the swimming pool. We got down to the required depth fairly easily, but the logistics of digging a fairly large hole with a pretty small digger are still to be worked out completely.

I remember last year saying to Ian that you would have to work hard to starve here and it is never truer than now, when people's trees are brimming with cherries and things in the garden are starting ripen. In our field we have a mirabelle tree which is rather like a cross between a wild plum and a nectarine. We noticed yesterday that they had ripened and now I have a big bowl of the things waiting to be used! I must go searching for recipes!

I have also put in an order for my second lot of dog supplies. Ridgey Didge Green and Gold aka Gremlin is now 5 weeks old, growing fast and will be with us soon.

On a sadder note, one of our not so near neighbours has just lost his dog to what they think was poisoning. The vet thinks that some of the farmers are using illegal chemicals on their land and has asked for all the fields around to be tested, as this was not the only dog affected. The worries of being a dog owner!