Monday, 26 September 2011

Holiday

How could I forget to mention that we actually managed to have four days holiday as well before I went back to UK. We went to the West Coast of the Gironde, to the North of Bordeau. It reminded me of Canada and in particular the West Coast of Vancouver Island (although the weather was better!). There are miles and miles of sany beaches, surf, lakes and forest and fortunately not too many people. We had a lovely relaxing time, just the three of us!



Days out

I seem to now be into a routine of posting every 4 weeks or so. This seems to fit with most other bloggers who start by reporting on the processes of a major life change on a daily basis but then, once the change has occurred, settle into a less frequent and more mundane report on day to day events.
So, what has been happening? I made a brief visit to UK to see friends and family, flying in by the oh-so-cheap Ryan air and then taking the oh-so-expensive train once I had landed! It was a feast of friends, family and food and for me an indulgent few days. I got to eat a Chinese take-away, a curry, pizza and an English Sunday roast. I got to enjoy hundreds of sweaty armpits on the London Underground, people teaming on the pavements, traffic, noise and more people and although it was lovely to see everyone I was very glad to be back here.

I arrived back with Ian's mother, who made a brief visit to see our progress. The good thing about having people to stay is that you have an excuse to be a tourist for a few days and explore things in the area that we haven't seen before despite living here. So, in addition to the weekly market in Eymet we went to the gardens of Latour-Marliac, the largest collection of water lilies in Europe and the inspiration for Monet's own collection at his home in Giverny. 




And then yesterday we went to the national agricultural show in Bergerac for the local breed of cows, the Blonde d'Aquitaine. These are rather like the cows of the Limousin being pale coloured and very big. Although Gremlin is a cattle dog he did look a bit scared of them. I'm not suprised really as the bulls were the biggest, strongest looking beasts I have ever seen. In France all bulls must, by law, have a ring through their nose so that they can be handled more easier, and to see these enormous creatures being led around through a crowd by lightly built teenagers and girls was quite a sight.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sausages (and other things..)

Oh dear, my blogging has really slowed down since the arrival of Gremlin and the summer months. Its not that I don't have anything to say as I am often thinking about things that I want to write. It's just that everytime I think of them I am either nowhere near the computer, or doing other things, or about to take the dog for a walk. Here's where sausages come in. We took Gremlin to puppy school last weekend at the Bergerac Club Canine. It was reassuring to see that dog people are the same everywhere! The trainers were fierce looking women in leather and even Gremlin was called to order. However, in the end it was a combination of firm handling and a good smell of greasy, stinky, oily frankfuter sausage that had him eating out of my hand better than any other treat we have tried! He was excellent at the agility exercises, new situations and suprisingly good with other dogs, although dominant with them. Recall is a work in progress as even a smelly sausage was not enough to entice him away from the other dogs!

Job number two has been dealing with the abundance of fruit and veg that has appeared in my garden (or from the farmer). Despite a dry summer, poor soil and lack of attention from me I am overwhelmed with tomatoes. I also harvested my pumpkins and now have at least 50kg of pumkin to use.


Pumpkin Harvest

They are currently in the shower in the end bathroom, along with the remains of the onions. The courgettes have just about finished and I still have a few potatoes waiting in the ground. I am quite exited about the prospects for next year and have earmarked two new beds that need cultivating in autumn. In addition  to my produce we have been given figs, melons and strawberries and plums from the local farmer, to the extent that I don't really know what to do with them all. I have always thought it would be hard to starve here!

The other big job that has been looming was laying the concrete base for the garage. This was finally finished yesterday with the assistance of our friendly neighbours. At 8.30 in the morning a large truck arrived and poured 7 cubic metres of ready mixed concrete into the carefully prepared base.


Concrete delivery number 2
This was raked and tamped as a second lorry arrived with another load. Finally after some waiting a third lorry arrived with the final load and fortunately we just had enough to finish.

Concrete Boots!

We now have to wait a month or so before we can build on it and so we are off on a well deserved break for three days next week! We are staying here!