Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Whirlwind visits

Once again, just to let you know what is happening with us. My mum and dad came back to France with us for a month but unfortunately my dad was really unwell, we think he may have slipped a disc so we came home early. Since then it has been rather hectic, getting dad sorted with a doctor's appointment first which has now been done. He is seeing a consultant on Thursday where he will be assessed and see what can be done for him. His doctor was brilliant and said she didn't want to send him to a back specialist because they would see his age of 90 and write him off. This consultant he is seeing specializes in the elderly and he tries very hard to keep his patients as fit as they are able to be which is much better. Fingers crossed now. I am so lucky to have my sister who lives close to them so she always keeps an eye on them while I'm in France, otherwise I wouldn't feel happy staying there for such long periods. Thanks Sis.

We are now at Vicki's spending some time with them and our beautiful grandchildren who certainly keep us on our toes. There isn't much time to "relax" while we are here, but we love it. Relaxing time comes when we visit Clare and Kenny tomorrow, we will be staying with them for quite a while and we are close to mum and dad there as well, so we can keep an eye on things and do stuff for them. The stays with our daughters is so different, so next week will be more relaxing and catching up with personal jobs, as Clare works during the day so the time is our own. Having said that, Clare has taken a days holiday on Thursday and she is taking me to a Christmas market at Bath which I am really looking forward to. Christmas shopping to be finished off, a lovely lunch, and a special time with daughter just browsing round the stalls, especially when it gets dark and all the fairy lights are on. Tastings of mulled wine, Mmmmmm.

I will blog again when I know what is happening with my dad and let you all know. I will have to try and take some photos as well to make it more interesting. Bye for now.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Just to let you know

I just thought I would let you all know what we are doing at the moment. We were supposed to have been in Morocco this week, but the day before we were due to leave, we heard that a very dear friend had died in the UK. What were we to do? No contest really, we can go to Morocco any time, you can only say goodbye to a dear friend once. So, we are in the UK at the moment, due to travel back to France on Friday and would you believe we are taking mum and dad with us again. I hope they are going to be OK, dad is really looking forward to it and I only hope the weather won't be too cold for them.

We have had some good quality time with the family so that was an added bonus. I will be posting more when I get back home.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Flora and Fauna

Things have been reasonably quiet here and we have been busy working in the garden, tidying and planting onions and cabbages. We are like a couple of children as we plant them, this year being our first attempt at vegetable growing, we are so excited and can't wait to dig them up and try them. We have no idea how long that will be, I suppose we just keep looking and guess???

I thought I would show you this photo of Smokey, he had crept up to our bedroom and climbed up onto the bed and he had somehow knocked teddy down, or did teddy just go there for a cuddle. I couldn't resist taking the picture. Personally I think teddy just got cold and needed a warm from a friendly pussycat!!

I have now finished sewing the bias onto my latest celtic knot block so that is another toward the quilt! Only about 30 more to go!! Have I taken on too much I ask myself, probably is the answer but I do enjoy doing them and I will just have to break it up with doing other things in between. There are quite a few projects that I want to get on with, I just need to give them a bit of thought first. This is what I miss being here because I need to have a "like-minded" person to come around so we could "play" and get some ideas on the best way to do things. There is one particular thing I would like to make, and I can't say what it is, but I'm just not sure how to start. Oh Sharlene, I wish you lived a bit nearer :-)

The weather here has been fantastic, about 25 centigrade and the sunset the other night was beautiful. We went to Spain the other day to do a bit of shopping and when we stopped for a picnic there was this amazing grass hopper. I took the photo but he was about 3" long and had a lovely Jiminy Cricket face.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

It Always Happens........

Today I had to go into my last post and read some of the lovely comments there saying how gentle my lifestyle is, and to be honest, it very often is even though we run around like headless chickens sometimes not knowing which job to do first, the thing is we can usually do the jobs in our own time which makes the differene, but..........

This afternoon sees the visit of the sewing group to our house and using "The Den" for the first time and when we do this, the person who is hosting usually bakes a cake or something. Well, I made some shortbread yesterday which turned out OK, but today!!!!! Why does it ALWAYS happen when you bake for someone else. I made flapjacks this morning (little oaty biscuits) and would you believe I couldn't get the damn things out of the wretched baking tray. While I was wrestling with this, my french neighbour came in, "What are you doing?" "What is that?" Well the taste of the crumbs were OK and she is a very brave lady and has asked me for the recipe. I'm sure I will have to leave the baking tray in soak for a week to get all the stuff off. I rescued enough of them for this afternoon and the birds can have the crumbs so if you see sparrows flying over not making a sound because their beaks are stuck together, you know they have come from my house!! Next on the agenda were cheese scones. Yes you've guessed it! These little blighters have come out like miniature ice hockey pucks and I have no idea what they taste like, I haven't been brave enough yet. Perhaps if I put enough butter on them they will be OK.

What I didn't say at the beginning was, I was going to make a sponge cake and I got all the ingredients together and realised I haven't got any eggs. Disaster! Richard is out all day helping a friend so I have no car to go and buy some, and my friend who has chickens is too far away for me to get on my bike. All cakes need an egg, hence the flapjacks and cheese scones. BIG MISTAKE. I can do no more, it will soon be time for them to arrive. Gentle lifestyle?? Not today it isn't.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bonjour mes amis

Hello again. Now what can I talk about today? I will firstly show you some photos that I have taken, of various things because we have been flitting from job to job. First one is of this beautiful little lizard we found when we were digging over our little vegetable plot. I haven't seen one like this before. The line down the centre of his back was really very red. I will also show a photo of the squashes we have, quite a few of these red ones (kuri squash). Not a clue what to do with them so if anyone has cooked them before I would love to know. Also, while we were digging over the little plot, Smokey thought we hadn't got quite enough "manure" in there so he gave us a hand, or is it a paw? My leeks are doing really well and on Monday, at the market we bought some greens so they have gone in today. It will be interesting to see how we get on.

Today saw another french lesson and my goodness this was hard. We had to make up names and pretend we were going on a flight so had to give and spell our names and flight numbers and seats. Richard and I thought we would choose our family names, so I chose my eldest daughter's name, BIG mistake as it has 16 wretched letters in it, and Richard chose our youngest daughter's husband's name and we weren't sure how to say a double "n". We got through it and we learned a lot, but ..........

The weather here has been glorious, misty in the morning and a bit chilly but really warm during the day, so just perfect. Tomorrow sees Richard out helping a friend put a ceiling up in his barn so I will be doing a bit of cooking ready for the sewing group who are meeting at our house this week. I can finally show them my sewing room and if the weather is kind to us, it will be nice and warm because of the big windows. That's it for now, talk again soon.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Just a little chit chat.......

It has been a strange week really with not a lot to talk about. Richard has been very busy trying to get rid of all the draughts in "The Den" because we tend to spend all our evenings in there and it is rather cold at times. His finger has been rather painful and yesterday we went to have the stitches out and to be honest, it looks a mess. We are taking the next 3 days off just to see if he can get it looking a bit better than it does at the moment. Of course, if Richard is taking the time off, I have to as well, so I may have some photos of my quilting to post in a couple of days. I went off to my sewing group this afternoon and did some more and my latest block is coming along very well.

Here is me saying there is nothing to talk about, but some wonderful news, we had a hedgehog in the garden last night. It's the first one I have seen in the garden since we bought the house 3 years ago, so you can imagine how excited I was. I put out some cat food and now I am going to make up a "hedgehog house" to see if I can encourage him to stay. I am calling it "he" because he was very big. You can imagine what I will be doing this evening with my torch!!

If Jessica is reading this, Happy Birthday Jess. It is also my lovely mums birthday on Sunday and I am very sorry not to be there to share it with her, but hopefully they will be coming out to see us again, I can't wait. It's just a matter of finding the best way of travelling because mum doesn't like any kind of travel, and I can't blame her for that because I don't either, so sea crossing is out, we think plane is out, so what about a train??

Well I had better stop now because I have to admit that I have just written a whole lot of twoddle, and I don't want to bore you any more than I have to. I tried to take some photos this morning because it was stunning in the garden, the cobwebs were dripping with diamond dew drops and the mist was coming up off the field, in fact I think it was steam where the sun was really warm on the dew, but when I looked at the pictures it just didn't do it justice, so please imagine the picture for me. It is such autumn weather, chilly in the mornings and evenings but really warm during the day, so much so that I got a little burnt a couple of days ago. Talk again soon.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Oh to be Quilting Again

How very exciting to be able to write about quilting again. It seems such a long time ago that I mentioned anything about my hobby. The last couple of nights has seen me at my sewing cupboard in "The Den" (My daughter has named the room) and I have finally started another block for my quilt. If you remember, I am making a celtic knot design and I thought I would rave about the gadget that I use to make the bias tape. How easy it makes it.

The photos show the cut fabric being put into the gadget, then you pull it through and it folds into itself, you then iron as you pull the fabric through and you end up with a bias tape that you can make beautiful patterns with. I love doing this and find it very relaxing, though I think I won't hold my breath waiting for the quilt to be finished!! Well, it's time for the Archers so I will say night night, talk again soon.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I am so lucky

Just a short post today, but I just had to tell the world how very lucky I am to have such wonderful daughters. My eldest, Vicki, had blogged yesterday just saying due to family circumstances she couldn't get out to keep a hair appointment which she desperately needed. One of the girls was unwell and couldn't go to nursery and this was the only time she could get to the hairdressers. That was all, just stating a fact.

This morning she got a call from her sister, my youngest Clare, at 8am to say that she was on her way and that Vicki should get ready to go to have her hair done. To anyone not familiar with the roads in the UK, this is a trip on the M25, in rush hour when it is usually a car park, so I'm sure Clare would have had to leave her house probably before 7am, though I don't know that for sure. Vicki kept her appointment and Clare went straight back home to work. Sisterly love, there's nothing like it. Just thinking about what she did brings a lump to my throat.

Thank you girls for being who you are and just know that I love you both very much and I'm very proud of you.

Monday, 29 September 2008

A new family member

We have had a good weekend and today started really well until lunchtime. We went to the market this morning and then a bit of shopping and back to a snack lunch and Richard was cutting the cheese and managed somehow to nearly cut off the top of his finger. After quite a while of trying to stem the red stuff we decided a trip to the doctor was needed where he had 3 stitches!! The doctor, who could speak a little english, said that seeing he had been such a brave little soldier, he was going to present him with a poupee (little doll), our new family member for a while, which you can now see in the photo, good having a doctor with a sense of humour. Joking aside, it was very nasty and we are just hoping that he won't lose the feeling in the top of his finger. I've heard of different ways of getting out of the washing up, but this one takes the biscuit.

Well, tomorrow sees us going for another french lesson and we have been busy doing our homework this afternoon, sitting in the sunshine which was glorious. The sunshine, not the homework! We have been learning our verbs and it will be interesting to see if we are tested on them in the morning. Ho hum..... all in a good cause.

Progress on "the room" is moving along but to be honest, we sit up in it every night as it is so comfortable and there is a wonderful view of the sunset from one of the windows. We are wondering how we are going to warm it in the winter though as it is very chilly in there in the morning and late evening. We are also putting our thinking caps on as to what to call it. When people come to stay we can put a bed in there and there is an en-suite bathroom, but just for the two of us, it is just our "hanging out" room. What do you call a room like that? I am usually doing my sewing and Richard is working on his family tree and we have a radio going with various stories being told or of course the Archers. We don't have a television so it is just a lovely peaceful space.
Today I took a photo of this cute little tree frog and I am amazed how they change their colour at this time of year. I didn't know that. When I looked closely he still has the beautiful bright green on his underside and on the inside of his legs. Can anyone tell me, do they hibernate during the winter, I would assume so. I will miss all the noises they make. I keep promising myself that I will keep a notebook and jot down all the different birds, creatures and animals we see in the garden. Why don't I do that? We were looking in the pond today and there were quite a few footprints which we are taking to be deer. I suppose it could be wild boar, what prints do they make? Anyway, it certainly wasn't Smokey.
Talk again soon everyone, I hope you and yours are well.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Into the Lions Den

Just a short post today, but I thought I would give all my family and friends at home, also anyone else reading this who can relate to my tale, a really good chuckle. I even called my mum and dad and my poor dad nearly peed his pants he was laughing so much. I told them that I have now been accepted into the village because I had just come back from a tupperware party held at the mayor's mother's house!! Tupperware is really "the thing" over here in France at the moment, and when I was living in the UK, it was "the thing" in the 80's and I have a cupboard full and probably a couple of suitcases full as well. After running to the loo a few times in the afternoon, I finally plucked up courage and made the walk to Josette's. I couldn't even say the car broke down because she only lives next door; a little walk, perhaps 100 yards, but nevertheless it seemed miles to me that afternoon. I knew there was no-one there who could speak english so I learned how to introduce myself, say I was Josette's neighbour, pleased to meet them etc. After that I was stuck. I understood a fair bit but just couldn't get the sentances together to have a good old gossip and it is so annoying. Roll on the next french lesson.

It turned out to be a very pleasant couple of hours and they certainly had fun and laughed a lot, perhaps at me, I don't know, but they were desperate to include me in everything. When leaving I was told there was to be another type of party next month, so we'll see!! I had never heard of this one so perhaps I should just go along to check it out. Hopefully after that experience I may have earned a few brownie points just for walking into the lions den.

Talk again soon everyone, the Archers has finished, everything is shut up for the night so it must be time for my book.

Monday, 22 September 2008

A week gone by? Surely not

Here I am again and I can't believe that a week has passed since I last posted. I was telling you we were going for our first french lesson, and here we are, madly doing our homework, dreading another lesson tomorrow. Although to be fair, it was good to be finally at lessons, albeit letting us know just how little we have improved since we have been here. This was made very obvious yesterday when we were at a village lunch, at the invitation of the mayor and trying to understand just a little of what was being said around us. The day was glorious, very very hot and we were all seated (about 120 people) in the meadow behind the church next to the river and under the trees. Oh!! if only we could have joined in more of the fun and laughter that was going on, how very frustrating for us and for them when they were trying to talk to us. We will improve but my goodness it is going to take some time.

Richard and I sit up in "our room" in the evenings and I usually sew or prepare my blocks for quilting and I even tried out my sewing machine last night and managed a very respectable satin stitch, and Richard reads or, at the moment, he is going through a lot of his family's papers and documents. It's wonderful because we even have letters written by the family and they are dated 1765 and the way of writing is just glorious and the handwriting itself beautiful, although we can't decipher all of it. I think we may have a document or two for our son-in-law Kenny to scan and put into the family archives. We are so lucky to have him do this for us because they are then put onto discs for safe keeping and of course the rest of the family can have copies.

Today I made some Pear Chutney. Very strange........... Not sure I want to try it because it looks so odd, but I did as the recipe told me so we will see. Tomorrow I am trying Spicy Apple Chutney so perhaps that will look a bit better. The trouble is you have to keep it for a while before you can try it, to let the flavours come out (so it says). Oh yes, my leeks!!! they are all standing up like little soldiers to attention. If they have only been in a couple of weeks, when can I pick some, anyone tell me? You can tell we haven't done this before can't you?

Well it is now time for an early night because we have to be up at 6.30am ready to be picked up at 8am to go for our lesson. The trouble with an early night is, I get to reading my book and I can't put it down and last night it was very late when I turned the light out. When you have a good book and are tucked up in bed, it's the best thing isn't it? Goodnight and God bless to all my family and friends and anyone who is good enough to come by and read my blog. Thank you.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Nearly There

We have had a few really hectic days preparing, staining and waxing floors in the room, and finally picking up my sewing cupboard. It was like a jigsaw puzzle for Richard to put together, there is rather a lot of it, but we managed it in the end. Then was the problem of finding all the boxes that have been in store of all my craft "stuff". I call it "stuff" because I had forgotten just how much I had got. Where on earth was I going to put it all........still, first things first, to make a start. The pictures below are 1) of the cupboard closed with bookcases exposed. 2) doors open to reveal lots of drawers etc. but with the table still packed in and 3) with the table down ready to go. There are still a few more bits and pieces to it, another little table behind me, for ironing etc, and where the sewing machine is, there is a light box that fits into the hole there so it is flat with the table top.

The very sad thing is, I have forgotten how to use my sewing machine. I bought it just after I had left work, ready for my retirement and it has a few bells and whistles, but, not a clue what to do with it. I think it is going to take rather a lot of time to get used to it again.

Richard and I are going for our first official french lesson in the morning and we are rather anxious about it. We have got to do something, because although we muddle through, I would love to be able to "chat" with our neighbours. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Leek and Potato Soup Anyone?

Gosh, can you believe I'm here again. Weeks of not posting and now I seem to have verbal diarrhoea. Still a woman has to do what a woman has to do. I'm very excited because we have got a coat of stain on the floor in "the room" and Richard has cut most of the skirting boards so a little further forward.

Today has seen me planting the leeks that we bought from the market yesterday. So far I have planted 70, I chose the ones that looked the healthiest and thickest and I must still have about 30 left. The question is, do I plant them or not? 70 leeks ........ Hmmmmmm. I hope I have put them far enough apart, 6-8" and I did as they said, popped them in the hole and just watered, that's why they look all floppy. Well, I THINK that's why they look all floppy!! The significance of the old football is the fact that this is the bed where we buried our lovely border collie Dizzy and I swear her spirit comes out at night sometimes because we find the ball all over the place :-) I had a word with her and she is going to look after the leeks for us, so fingers crossed. Another of life's challenges which we will overcome I'm sure. Anyone for leek and potato soup in a few month's time???? While I was out there Smokey came along to keep an eye on me but I think he got rather bored. He just follows us everywhere and even while Richard was staining the floor he was in there with him.
Because I have posted a few times in the last week there isn't an awful lot more for me to chat about so I had better go and catch up with everyone elses news. See you soon. Hello to all my family who are reading this. Miss you guys and love you lots. Jess, Smokey says hello.

Monday, 8 September 2008

A surprise for the sisters

We have just had Richard's 2 sisters here for lunch and the eldest of them lives in London and has only had a short stay over here, so it was really good to be able to show her what we have been doing to the house. We told them we had a surprise for them and they just didn't know what to expect. Well................. to say they were pleased was an understatement.

While we were back in the UK last time, we were going through some boxes that we still have in store at Clare and Kenny's house up in their attic. There are things like old family photographs etc. but there was also a very old tin which had an old cine tape in it. We brought it downstairs and Kenny and Richard looked at it but we couldn't tell what it was, so thought nothing more about it. When Richard was at my dad's birthday party (you know the one I couldn't go to!!) Richard was asked to go into another room as Kenny had something to show him. Would you believe that he had sent off this film, only about 40 seconds of it, and it was the marriage of Richard's parents!! I'm not sure you can imagine the reaction of Richard's sisters when they saw this, but Kenny, if you are reading this, they have looked at it over a dozen times so far and Sue recognized more people than we did. We can't thank you enough for doing this for us, especially as we had no idea it was being done. How lucky are we to have such a thoughtful son-in-law. I know it is his business, but to see what he can do with old photos, negatives and slides is just amazing. Let's face it, my sister and I wouldn't have had such a lovely gift to give to my dad if it hadn't been for his expertise. We also showed Sue and Judy a lot of old photographs which Kenny had put on a disc for us, so now Sue has taken her discs back to London with some wonderful memories of her parents.

It is very hot today and Richard is sanding the floor in "the room" reading for staining and polishing, then it is moving my sewing cupboard in there!! I will take some photos when it's in situ. I can't wait because now there are a lot of things I could make for the house, curtains, cushion covers etc and it means I can have my sewing maching available at all times. Actually, forget the curtains and cushion covers, I really, really, really want to get back to my quilting. If my friend Sharlene is reading this, she will completely understand.

On another subject completely, I bought some leek plants at the market today, so when it cools down a bit I am going to have a go at planting them. Never done this before and I have read that I make a hole with a dibber, place the plant in, water but don't fill in the hole ??? Strange but there you go, that was in my Country Living magazine which my lovely daughter buys for me as a Christmas gift. Is there anything nicer than having a monthly magazine plop through your letterbox for a whole year? Christmas for 12 months......... bliss. Must go, need to hoover "the room" of all the dust.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Catching up at last

At last we are catching up after being away. This week has found us doing various things in the garden, tying up tomatoes, chasing squash around the lawn where they have crawled like triffids!!! What is it with those things?? We have never grown them before and it is amazing just how big they grow. They get everywhere. We will certainly know for another time. We also didn't know what type they were and they turn out to be kuri squashes, I, of course, thought they were "curry" squashes!! I need to look up now what to do with them; they are the most wonderful deep orange/almost red colour so we assume they are ready. Has anyone grown these particular ones, if so, what do I do with them?

We also had to tackle the mar (pond) which is so overgrown with bullrushes again, even though our friends had taken a lot out before we went back to the UK. Richard put on his waders again and we had a good clear out of weed and rushes. Our neighbours had put 2 goldfish in there quite a while back and so far we have only seen one. Yes I know it could be a different one each time, but I'm sure we only have one now. We'll see. We now have the task of cutting up the weed and rushes and getting it ready to go onto the garden and compost, as it's been on the side of the pond long enough for all the little creatures to crawl out. It's hilarious watching Smokey while we are working because every time a frog jumps out, there he goes and if he catches it, they obviously taste foul and you should see his face. Bless him, he is an absolute joy. You will see from the photo that the pond is rather deep but luckily the water has dropped a lot and it slopes away. Richard is going to the deep end there. It starts ankle deep and then it goes up to the top of his legs and he is 6' 4".

Today we had a few things going on in the village, a vide grenier for one. Sorry if I have spelt this wrong). This is like a large car boot sale and the atmosphere was fantastic, there is music playing everywhere, and there was lunch being cooked which was €7 for 3 courses and wine, and everyone is laughing and joking and generally having a brilliant time. While the musicians were playing, a lot of people were dancing and it was incredible just watching them having such fun in the freedom of the lovely sunshine. I will put a picture up but I don't think it is going to do it justice. The french certainly know how to enjoy themselves and music is a great part of that enjoyment.
Tomorrow is market day and while we are there I am hoping to be able to buy some leeks to put in and just see what else there is I can have a go at. No idea what you can plant at this time of year so I will just have to learn as I go along. We have Richard's sisters coming for lunch tomorrow and I am chuffed that I will be able to pick some tomatoes to put on the table. I will have to pick some figs for pudding which will go with the shortbread I have made. Oh yes! I have made some fig and ginger jam and some apple, pear and apricot chutney. Perhaps I have told you this before, if so, I'm sorry. Must go now, hope to talk again soon

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bless him

I thought I had better post something but to be honest it is very difficult because Smokey just wants to be cuddled. so this is going to be short and sweet. Firstly he isn't micro-chipped so we can call him ours. He is about 1 year old so just a little baby which we had guessed at anyway......................................... Ooops, he is trying to get on my lap again and doing a bit of typing at the same time. He was still very wobbly when we brought him home and we can't feed him till tomorrow. To be honest, I'm not used to little boys and he looks a bit of a mess in his back end, but I'm sure that's what it is supposed to be like? Don't want to get too personal but I thought his bits would have gone? Does that take a few days? All he wants is cuddles so guess who didn't cook the dinner?? I will write more later and perhaps have a photo or two. He seems OK though. Bless them, they soon become your family don't they?? I will keep you posted. Night night one and all, just going to cuddle my cat again.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Back Home Again and He's Still Here !!!!

Here we are back in France and although very sad to leave family and friends behind, it is good to be back home where we have our own space and we're not living out of a suitcase. Having said that, our girls always give us drawer space but you know what I mean. It was lovely staying with Vicki, Bill and the children and we spent more time with them this time, then we went to stay with Clare for the last few days. Brilliant. The really good news is Smokey is still here and he looks very well and has grown quite a lot. As you can see he is back to feeling at home. I whispered to him tonight that he is booked in to have his "little operation" on Tuesday as we didn't manage to get it done before we went away. I don't know what this does to a cat, apart from the obvious of course, because he couldn't be more loving. Perhaps it will stop him roaming very far?? Perhaps to the garden for a pee and then back to the rocking chair??

The visit to the UK didn't go quite as well as it should have done because, if you remember, the main reason we took my mum and dad back when we did was because of my dad's 90th birthday. We got back and my sister and I did various planning and printing of photographs, finding a book to put them in, buying cards, food etc and all the usual planning for a birthday party. That was the first week, all was well. Well............ the day dawned and I was ill!! I had a sore throat the previous day but thought, OK, it will be fine I just won't go too near my parents, but on the Saturday morning, I had ulcers all over the back of my throat, I couldn't speak at all and my legs wouldn't work, so after all that, I missed the whole thing. Everyone else went and my dad thoroughly enjoyed his day and would you believe it, it was the ONLY DRY DAY, the whole three weeks we were back there?? August in the UK has been the wettest on record and still more to come!! You can imagine how we felt just now as we were sitting outside having our dinner at 7pm and it is still 85f. Also while I was there I had been called for another mammogram and I am still waiting for the results 2 weeks later!! When will all this end I ask myself??

Today we have visited some good friends of ours, mainly to see how Sue is doing because she fractured a bone in her foot and can't put weight on it. I lent her some english crutches because the french ones are really hard to use so Sue, if you are reading this, have a go with them!! They have loads and loads of fruit trees in their garden and we went scrumping. We came away with apples, pears, figs, plums and blackberries so you can imagine what I am doing in the next couple of days. I have frozen some but I want to make some jam and I have found a recipe for apple pear and ginger chutney so I am looking up more recipes at the moment and on Monday when we go to the market I will have to buy in some sugar and hopefully I will be able to put something on the shelves of my store cupboard for the very first time. All very new to this so wish me luck. The figs are amazing and Richard just loves them so not many will go for storing or preserving as they will be eaten. We have some coming on in our own garden but they are the beautiful white flesh ones and they aren't ready yet.
It's good to be back talking to all my blogging friends and I am slowly catching up with all your news but if I don't comment, I'm sorry, I am reading them as quickly as I can. Take care all of you and talk again soon.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Back in the UK

Well here we are back in the UK (the very wet UK) for a while and already my mum and dad are wondering whether or not to put their suitcases back up in their loft or keep them out "just in case we need them again". It took a little while for them and us to recover from the journey which wasn't particularly pleasant, with lots of thunder, lightening and rain and we travelled through the night, thinking it wouldn't be so hot, but never again.

We are now looking forward to the celebrations for dad's 90th birthday on the 16th of this month and as you can imagine, there is lots of "whispering" and sneaking peaks of different things and photographs, ready for the surprises. Hopefully I will get some good photographs and will be able to post them for you to see.

At the moment we are staying with my youngest daughter and her husband and on Tuesday we will be going to our eldest daughter's house where we can get our fill of our beautiful grandchildren. I can't wait, I have missed them so much. It has only been 6 weeks since I have seen them, but no doubt, they are doing lots of things I haven't seen before and the girls vocabulary would have grown lots.

Talk again soon, take care everyone and God bless.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Birds and Cats.........Hmmmmm

Gosh here I am again so quickly you will probably be getting rather fed up with my news, especially as it isn't very interesting. My first bit is:- I saw my first Golden Oriole today!! What a sight. I have heard them every day, but they are rather shy birds and you are lucky if you get a sighting, but he sounded so close this morning so I just waited and it paid off. I didn't see him for long but it was enough to be able to make out the beautiful dark buttercup yellow and black. A silly thing to get so excited about but I was really chuffed. Also we have this dear little cattle egret that has adopted us, he has been in our garden now all week and just walks about, mainly in our pond as you can see. He can't seem to fly very far, he goes a bit like a chicken, up in the air, flaps and then down, luckily enough to get out of the way of cats. He is obviously damaged or hurt in some way, but nothing that we can see and he seems quite happy to be with us in the garden. It's a shame because you can't see him very well in the photo.

Today we took my mum and dad to a festival in a nearby town, it is Jazz in Marciac and we were rather lucky because the day was overcast and not too hot, it would have been unbearable if it had been like yesterday when it went up to 37 and the humidity was very very high. The town is full of stalls selling all sorts of things from musical instruments, clothes, jewellry, special food etc but none of it is what I would call tacky. There is music playing all the time, mostly jazz of course which I have to admit I really don't like, mainly because I just don't understand it. The people selling instruments all get together and they have jam sessions to demonstrate their wares and the atmosphere is electric. Loads and loads of different places to eat, it seems every other house and shop has a table and chair outside and in one street, you can eat from almost any country you like to choose. When we went last year we walked passed the beautiful church and there in the grounds was a grand piano with a blind pianist playing and it just made you cry, the sound coming from that instrument and the feeling with which it was played was amazing. It is like that there, around another corner, there were 5 teenage children who are studying at the local music college, and they were playing rock (more my scene) but again, they were brilliant. Should you ever get the chance to go, it's well worth the visit. It is on every year from the 1st to the 15th August.
When we got home, after the cuddle with Smokey he decided he would check out the little house that my dad has made for him. We have put a little bowl of food at the back to encourage him to go in and he was there for quite a while bless him. Cats being cats, he wouldn't turn around for me to get a better photo, but I thought this was rather cute and it shows you how clever my dad is at making the little cat kennel. It has to be painted yet but we want him to get used to it before we go back to the UK next week.
That's all for now, lovely chatting to you.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Oh Jess, you missed it!!!

What a fantastic week we have had with my sister and her grand-daughter here; Richard took them to the airport yesterday morning and they are now back in their own homes, but mum, dad, Richard and I miss them already. Jess was such a joy to have, she can come back any time she likes. The reasoning behind the title of this post, you will see from the photo. Jess loves animals of any kind and we were looking for all sorts while she was here, but would you believe we found this beauty this morning. Well, my dad and Richard found it in the barn. I have put a mobile phone by the side of it otherwise you don't realise the size of it. I should mention that this model of phone isn't one of the teeny tiny ones either. I'm glad I didn't find it, because I was scared enough just taking this photo, never mind putting my hand on it!!! Yuk!

Last Monday we all went to the Donjon des Aigles, which is an original presentation of the most extraordinary collection of birds of prey (over 45 species) and every afternoon they have a show of international fame performed with a background of music and arousing deep emotion. FANTASTIC!! Eagles, Condor, Vulchers, Owls, Parrots and the like, a secretary bird which was my favourite, to name just a few and at the end, they have them all flying together!! I would never have thought you could have these magnificent birds all in the same air space, but they have them swooping through the crowd so you can see just how huge most of them are, especially the Condor. This picture doesn't do this bird justice, but it was sitting in the tree just above us for quite a while. They must be quite happy doing what they do, otherwise, what is to stop them just flying away?
Of course, I can't leave this post without a photo of Smokey, just to let you see how settled and laid back he is. Mind you, we haven't told him he is being neutered this week!! It seems as though we have had him for years, he is so much part of the family here. Please God, let him be here when we return from the UK. We are making everything as comfortable for him as we can, he is going to have his own "room" outside, with a cat flap, a chair and cushion and the little kennel that my dad has made for him, and the neighbours said they will come in and give him a cuddle for me, he is such a person cat! Well, it is time for me to go get lunch, so I will say cheerio till next time.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Surprise, Surprise

I wish you were here to see the faces of my parents on Wednesday. We got up and Richard had already left to "go somewhere". We told mum and dad that he had to go and help a friend and would be back before lunch when in fact he had gone to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to visit and bringing her grand-daughter with her. He walked into the garden with one on each arm and my dad did a double take and then we went upstairs to mum who was dutifully mopping the stairs bless her and promptly shed a few tears. It was fantastic to have them here and even more special to have family being the first ones to sleep in "the room". It isn't finished but it is certainly comfortable enough. In all the excitement I haven't taken any photos of the room with some furniture in it, but I will do it later. Here is a photo of my great niece, my sister and me at the window of the room.

Our little Smokey is still being as good as gold and just loves being cuddled. I'm not sure what photos to post because I have taken so many. Perhaps this one which is really cute because it seems to show how young he is, because when you cuddle him, he finds a crevice and suckles, perhaps looking for his mummy's milk? How cute is he though?? We had a bit of a panic last night because when it was time for bed he was still outside. There we were out with the torch looking and calling but nothing. We carried on looking for him until nearly midnight and then decided it was time for us to go to bed, because in the end, when we are back in the UK for a couple of weeks, he shall have to stay out, the same as most cats in France. He is already catching various wild life and I can't get upset about it because it is only nature after all. I hope and pray he will still be here waiting for us when we get back; as usual the timing is really bad because we haven't got him here long enough to settle him properly before we go back on the 6th August. All our neighbours have promised to feed and cuddle him, so I'm sure he will be OK. We haven't had him a week yet but I would be heartbroken if he wandered off. I called in to the vet today to buy some Frontline and ask about him being neutered, also to check if he is chipped. The last photo is of my great niece with Smokey, she is having such fun with him and he is loving having a young person to play with. Well I will sign off now and I promise not to go on about Smokey again next time, it must be getting rather boring by now.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Smokey - Settled in Nicely

Oh my goodness, this beautiful little boy has come into our lives and it seems as though he has been here for ever. I will show you a photo of how settled he is and how much my parents have taken to him, not only us. He just melts your heart. It seems there is no-one in the village who has lost him and I have been to the vet and nothing there either, so fingers crossed, he will soon be ours. I daren't raise my hopes just in case. We are waiting to have him neutered (or is it spayed) because we don't want to spend out the money just yet, in case he is claimed. He uses his dirt box all the time, even when he has been outside all day, so we are thinking he may have been a house cat, he is so loving and so trained. Very strange, but very lucky for us. By the way, does anyone know if there is a way we can age our cat, I am guessing he will be about 9 months, but it would be good if we could age them with their teeth perhaps like a horse!!

Also this week, we had some friends come over because they wanted to pull some bull-rushes out of our pond as they wanted to dry them for making more baskets. It was quite good fun getting them out of the pond and Richard was up to his hips at one time. Phew, the after-shave he was wearing was a bit off though!! It's amazing how many rushes we have because we haven't planted any, where on earth do they come from. We still have so many more, I suppose you just keep pulling them out?? Any advice on that one? It was fascinating poking through all the rubbish, weed and roots on the side of the pond and just looking at all the life that is there both large and small. I love it and could waste quite a few hours just watching.
More has been done to "the room" today and I think most of the painting is finished. We have to stain/oil the timber and also the floor and tile the bathroom, but as it is, should anyone arrive unexpectedly, they would be able to sleep in there. I have to say, it is the most beautiful room for light, amazing in the evening because the sun sets and shines through one of the big windows. I can't wait to be able to use it all the time. Oh dear, I'm sure I have said this before, I'm getting rather repetative (is that how you spell that?) I'm going on rather a long time now so I had better go and catch up with other people's blogs. Talk again soon, goodnight from us and goodnight from Smokey.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Could we be this lucky?

I'm afraid I'm not finding much time to write my blog but I just had to make the time for this one. Would you believe what happened to us today?? Look who arrived on our doorstep in need of a home? How very bizarre but isn't he beautiful. Our neighbours have asked around and no-one seems to know him, it seems as though he has been "dumped". He is very friendly and snuggles into your neck, he appears to be about 6-9 months old perhaps, he hasn't been neutered, so that will be the first job, but oh, how adorable. We are trying to keep him indoors at the moment to get him used to us, not easy when you want to open all the windows in the evening because it is so hot. We will not do anything for a couple of days, just in case someone claims him, then hopefully, he will be ours. He looks pure siamese, how could anyone dump him? Fingers crossed because we haven't got long before we have to take my parents back, we have 2 weeks for him to settle and the neighbours have promised to look after him when we go back to the UK for a few days.

The next photo is of "the room" which is coming along nicely. One more coat of paint, then we have to oil the beams and wax the woodwork, then stain the floor with a walnut oil and linseed which will give it a more "lived in" look. We are very happy with it and can't wait now for it to be finished. I wonder why all the finishing touches take the longest, when all you want to do is move the furniture in. Still, we have waited a long time so............... One of the good things about having this room finished is the fact that we can get rid of some of the excess furniture in all the other rooms and I can finally get my sewing cupboard out of store in a friends house. I wonder who will be the first guests to stay in there. The room is so lovely and bright I think Richard and I may use it as our room, the views from the windows are superb.

Mum and dad are still enjoying themselves and I can't believe the work my dad is doing to help Richard. Bless him, we have it planned out now that he works and does bits in the morning, then after lunch he has a sleep. We don't really want him to do anything else after that, but if he wants to we can't stop him. It is usually watering or something like that. At around 6pm, after he has had his tablets, we sit and have a "shangri-la" as dad calls it, Sangria to everyone else, and we sit and look at the mountains and he says, "I could get used to this". I can't tell you how good it is to have them here. Oh! Perhaps I have told you that already in a previous post, sorry. I will keep you posted about the cat, we need to think of a name for him, my my suggested Smokey which is quite good for him, what do you think?

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Goodbye Little Friend

Very sad today because we have lost our little Marmalade, the cat we inherited with our french farmhouse. We don't know exactly how old she was, but the neighbours seem to think she could have been about 17, and all I can say is, we gave her the best we could in the 3 years we have had her. We have given her a couple of operations for cancerous teats, and she was always wormed and front-lined for ticks and fleas. I am happy to say we never found a tick on her so we were much luckier than my friend Debra. I have a photo of her here soon after we arrived and we were "camping" indoors and it shocked me to see how healthy she looks, very different from the last few weeks. Animals seem to know don't they because she hasn't eaten for 5 days and she kept going off and hiding. We did think about taking her to the vet, but I would have hated her to die on me while battling to get her into her carry box. Very hard to watch, but much better it was done nature's way. If only they could speak, she could have told us so much about this house and the people who lived here before us. Goodbye little friend, only known for a short time, but loved just the same.

Friday, 11 July 2008

A Couple of Days Off

We have taken a couple of days off, 1) to give my dad and Richard a break from all the clearing and taking trips to the tip, and 2) we have been visiting family and friends. Yesterday we went to see Richard's sister and brother-in-law in their newly built house. It is beautiful and in a breath-taking position with a view of the Pyrenees almost all around the house. They live in a very remote part and not what I would want at all, nevertheless, to be able to walk about bare-foot and not worry about the mucky floors was a brilliant feeling. We had a lovely lunch with them and it was good to catch up and mum and dad really enjoyed themselves. The only problem with the day was, it was SO HOT. I know we shouldn't complain, but oh my goodness I thought my mum was going to melt, it was about 106F. (Can't do the "c" I'm afraid). Having said that it was lovely and cool in the house, so perfectly lovely all the time we were there.

Today we went to some friends who live about 17 miles away from here, once again for lunch, so mum and I are pretty lucky on the cooking front at the moment. The day was cool and overcast, amazing how quickly the temperature changes, but very pleasant to walk around and look at their garden and what they have done. The picture is of mum, dad, Richard and myself at their well. They are getting on really well with their house and it is looking lovely. The garden is perfect and never a weed to be found, not like ours at all!!! While we were there, we went scrumping and ate a lot of their cherries, they were tiny but oh so sweet. Once again a lovely day and fun showing my parents all the different houses, some new but mostly all of them being in some state of renovation, so hopefully if they come again, they will be able to see the difference in them all, especially ours.

On the way home, we went a different way just to see some more of the countryside and we saw this field of cows and just look at this one, what a lovely face it has, I just had to stop and take a photo. Mum and Dad can't believe the lack of traffic, we now count the cars on the way to somewhere just to see if we can get into double figures. Also, in one part of the journey today, near our friends house, there is a view which I would love to make into a patchwork picture, the fields of different greens, browns and hedges etc. Superb. Will I ever get time to do that I wonder? Probably not, but it's good to dream. While in the garden we have been watching the birds, my dad made me a lovely bird house, (I will have to take a photo of that tomorrow) and they are already used to it and having great fun hanging off the fat balls and eating all the little titbits we put on there. I really should write down the different types of birds we have in the garden, it will be interesting to see how it varies from season to season. One batch of our swallows have flown and the second are now hatched and coming along nicely. We are going to start work again tomorrow, perhaps on "the room" so some photos of that will be coming along soon. Hang on Brian, you will see them eventually.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Parental Approval and Enjoyment

We have all settled down now and mum and dad, especially mum, have got their bearings and know where they are in the house and garden. Dad never had any problem, but mum, oh dear! I can see where I get it from :-) We have spent most of our time trying to get to grips with the garden, although the lawn had been mowed for us once while we were away, it was still very long and even though Richard went over it on the sit on mower, the dreadful task of raking up and wheelborrowing the mowings to the bottom of the field were a nightmare. I think we have finally got on top of that, but today it is overcast, rainy and warm. YUMMY!!! says the grass, we'll have some of that then, let's grow very quickly and come out and play!! You will see from the couple of pictures I am putting in that dad is in the "french official gardening uniform" bless him and the other one is of us sitting outside first thing in the morning with our first cup of tea and they are getting to know the cat, Marmalade, who was very pleased to see us back.

Yesterday we went to our village dinner and we had a great time even though the language was a bit of a problem. Mum and Dad can't speak any french at all but that didn't stop people coming up and making them very welcome. My dad was the oldest one there and really, you would never have known that, he looks so young. Everyone was amazed at how young they both look and I was very proud of them. The lunch lasted from 12.30 to about 5pm and then anyone who wanted, went back for the evening to finish off the food and drink, so we walked back and watched the men playing boulles, which was great fun. I would love to have had a go, perhaps next time.

Today we are taking it a little slower because we don't want to wear my dad out before the end of their stay, there is too much to do!!!!!!! :-) For any of my family and close friends reading this, mum and dad are absolutely loving it and there are no problems whatsoever, certainly no talk of coming home early, so sorry Hilary, you have their cat for the month!! I am now going to go outside because I have just peeped out of the window and Richard and Dad are sleeping and my mum is reading her book, so I think I'm missing out somewhere. Take care everyone, talk again soon.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

I'm still here

Just to let you all know that I am still here and will soon be posting some more photos. We are back in France and have brought my mum and dad with us, so we have been quite busy getting them settled. My dad is really enjoying himself and all our friends over here can't believe he is 90 next month. He has been helping us in the garden and is now helping Richard clear out the barn. All in his own time of course, but as my mum says "He's like a pig in muck" :-) It has been very hot here today so dad was up with the lark and we were doing various jobs in the garden before 7.30am. We worked all morning and after lunch we advised them to have a sleep for a couple of hours. When in France ....................................

Mum and I pottered around the house and I caught up with some washing because yesterday we had to go out and buy a new washing machine because mine had broken a couple of days before we left here last time, so there was a back log. Seeing we had run out of knickers, we thought we had better do some laundry!!!!!

I had my re-scan last Wednesday and I got the all clear and I don't have to go back again. Thank God for that, a nightmare over and done with. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

While we were in the UK last month we caught up with a lot of family and friends which we thoroughly enjoyed and we look forward to some of them coming to visit us this summer. We can't wait. Really B & D, we can't wait to have you here :-) I will send you some pictures soon Brian.

I am going now as Richard is going round locking doors, closing windows etc. The Archers has finished it is getting dark, the owls are hooting and the bats are flying; is that my book calling? perhaps it is time for bed. I will get more organised and post more often now we have our computer up and running again. Talk again soon. Night night.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Story of Og-Pog

Here I am at Clare's again so I thought I would just put a short post. As I have told you, we are staying with my mum and dad and when I left Vicki and the children, my little grandson asked me if he could have a red Og-Pog. What is an Og-Pog I hear you say? Well, I knitted him a little blanket and on this blanket was a pocket in which fitted a knitted teddy. Very, very basic, almost to being quite ugly, but he LOVED it; it was in brown and at the moment, his favourite colour is red, so he desperately wanted a red one. I bought the wool and then found that I have left the pattern in France!!!! Catastrophy!! I went to the shop where I had originally bought the book with the blanket patterns in and found the book. It is £6, so I really didn't want to buy another one, especially as I wouldn't be knitting any more blankets. I told the lady in the shop my problem and showed her the little pattern of the teddy and asked if she had anything similar. The answer of course was no, they were far more sophisticated and she was very apologetic that she couldn't photo copy it for me. I quite understood and then started planning the next plan of action. While I was deliberating, this lovely lady came and handed me a piece of paper and a pen and said, " I didn't just do that" and walked away. How cool was that? The next few minutes was spent busily scribbling down the pattern and I came away a very happy bunny.

When I arrived back home, I showed William the red wool and he was so excited and he wanted me to start it now!! Of course I couldn't because I hadn't got any needles with me so I needed to get to my mums and do it there. All he could say was, "Please Nannie, please, can't you do it with your fingers?" You could try. Now I am at my mums and it is time to knit the little Og-Pogs. As you can see, I am getting rather carried away now and have done a couple for the girls.
Mum, Dad, Richard and I have just enjoyed a lovely meal at Clare's. Mum always says she loves coming here because, with Clare and Kenny being trained chefs, the food is always superb.
While staying at mums, in the evenings, they put food out for the fox, (not very popular with the neighbours I expect) but oh how fascinating to watch them. A couple of them arrive at about 9.15pm and we watch them for about 15 minutes. They are very nervous which surprises me because you would think they would know they are on to a good thing. Here are these two people who go out and buy tins of dog food and put it out for them every night and welcome them into their garden, what is there to be nervous about? Mum and dad sit in darkness in their dining room just waiting for them to arrive and are thrilled to bits when they trot in. We are sure they have babies at the moment, so let's hope they won't be too disappointed while mum and dad are in France with us. Mum is busy planning what to pack and we are now counting the days off the calendar to when we leave. All Richard and I can think about is the height of the grass and weeds!! The neighbours did say they would mow it for us, let's hope they do.
Well, back off to mums again now, I will post again when I get near a computer.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Back in the UK again

Sometimes it's a job to know where we are, we travel back and forth so many times. We are here in the UK for 3 weeks now, until the 26th June as we have some celebrations to go to. Also I heard today that I have my re-scan on the 25th June, so fingers crossed on that. Although I have had the all clear once, I am still really worried about it. Richard and I are staying at my mum and dad's after a short stay with Vicki and the grandchildren which was wonderful. We will be doing various little jobs that mum and dad want doing and planning their trip back to France with us.

You will notice that there won't be many posts from me because I can't use my laptop at my parent's house, I am doing this at Clare's, but I will be catching up as soon as I can. My mum has said that she would like to be able to use a computer and we have a spare laptop, so while we are over in France, I am going to try and teach her, and if she gets on OK, she can have that one. The thing that really excited her was looking at my blog, she had no idea I was doing one and she couldn't quite get her head around the fact that you can put "pictures and diary" on there so your family and friends can read it. She particularly laughed at the photo I had posted of her and me in bed one morning. Bless her, 88 in October and wanting to blog, how cool is that??

I will post again when I can. Take care everyone, I'm now off to catch up on all your goings on.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Countdown to parent's arrival

Richard and I are now on countdown before we go back to the UK for a couple of weeks. We are going for various reasons, 1 - Richard has some dental work that needs to be completed, 2 - It is our daughter's birthday on the 14th and 3 - Our best friend's son's wedding on the 21st. After that we are back here and bringing my mum and dad with us and I am SO looking forward to it. At the moment we are trying to clear up and make it look presentable for them for when they arrive, because when you live in a "building site" for a long time, you don't tend to notice the plaster dust and bits and pieces until you know your mother is coming to visit!!!! All hell is let loose around here at the moment, and anything that stands still for just a while gets a dust, look out Richard. Having said that, it looks exactly the same again the next day and to be honest, my mum isn't going to say anything anyway. I just want it to look the best it can and I hope and pray she doesn't worry about the holes in the stairs and the plaster coming off the wall. Ooops, perhaps I should tell her about that?? No, she'll be fine. Dad has wanted to come out here for such a long time because he loves helping Richard and pottering about. He is 90 in August so we don't expect any heavy work from him, but he just likes to feel part of it and they work so well together. It gives dad a purpose. Mum called me the other day and asked if she needed to bring anything, like the porridge oats that dad has every morning. Bless her, I think even she is looking forward to it now and we didn't think we would EVER get my mum out here. Oohh I'm so excited.

I said I would take a photo of my basket so here goes, promise not to laugh. I know it has a "sticky out" handle, but I quite like that crooked bit and it gives it a bit of quirkiness and character. Now that it has dried out I need to give it a coat of linseed oil tomorrow and that should bring the colour out a bit more. As you can see, it holds our eggs without falling over!! I am going to pull some bullrushes from our pond tomorrow and hang them out to dry, then I can have another go at a basket with my mum when she is here, she will love that.
All we seem to be doing at the moment is mowing the lawn because the weather is warm and wet, and the weeds!!!!!...... What it will be like when we get back I haven't a clue. I could do with my friend Debra popping over to look after it for us! I know, a bit too far.. :-)
I have planted up some pots and tubs today and we are taking them round to a friend's house in the next village and they are going to water them for me, then when I give them a call to let them know we are on our way, they will bring them round and arrange them in the drive to greet mum and dad. How cool is that?
Well, I suppose I had better get on with some more clearing up and putting away and to be honest, I need to listen to the Archers, lots of catching up to do. Thank you to everyone who came by and commented on my last post, it is so good to have you all back again, I was worried I had lost everyone forever. Night night, talk again soon.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

To Hell and Back

Gosh, how long has it been since I last posted?? As you can see by the title of the post, it hasn't been a particularly good time, lots of things going on and I couldn't get my head around the blogging. I had a horrid health scare which involved doctors, mammograms, ultra-sounds with those horrid words "Oh I don't like the look of that, do we have your permission to do a biopsy now while you're here". All this was back in the UK and we were coming back to France with my youngest daughter for her 2 week holiday on the Sunday and the biopsy was on the Wednesday. It was going to take a week to get the results!!! Do we go on holiday or not?? I decided yes, what the hell I was desperate for Clare to see our house, she has only had a flying visit of one night and that was soon after we bought it, so she hasn't seen any of the renovations yet.

Anyway, I had a call from the hospital on Monday evening and ALL IS WELL!!! I have to go back to be re-scanned in 6 weeks, but they say it is a cyst that had burst and they want to make sure all the "rubbish" has been absorbed. Now we can enjoy having our daughter to stay at our house. As it happened though, her husband wasn't too good and wanted to go home, so they only stayed for one week. I was very upset, but understood the reasoning behind him wanting to go home and at least I had Clare here for a short while.

When we turned up at the house in France I was amazed at how much Richard and our friends had done while I had been in the UK. It looks fantastic and they have made huge progress on the room. Still a lot to do, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, while I was in the UK, my mum and dad have said they are coming back with us next time, so it will be so good to have them here for a while. Hopefully they will stay for the whole of July, I can't wait, we have so much we want to do with them and introduce them to our friends. I think also, it is going to be their 67th wedding anniversary while they are here, so we will have to have a party for them. That certainly is something to celebrate isn't it?

Before and after pictures!

Last Friday I went on a course for basket making. Not your usual kind of wicker basket, but all stuff you gather in the hedgerows and your garden. We spent the first hour of the class just walking around in woods looking for lovely shaped pieces of wood for handles etc and the actual weaving was done with bull rushes that had been dried over winter. You then soak them and use them. I ended up with a basket, I haven't taken a photo of it yet, but perhaps I will if you promise not to laugh!! After all, it is a first attempt. It was a really good fun day, a bring and share lunch with wine and the weaving after that seemed a piece of cake! Since this has been the first time I have posted for ages, I just hope I have some old friends popping back to see if I'm still around. I have to say a HUGE apology as well because I was given an award before all my troubles began and I haven't done anything about that, so I am really sorry, please forgive me, I was very honoured to receive it. I am now going to catch up on all my blogging friends and wish you all well. After reading one of my friends blogs, Big Blue Barn, my "Hell and Back" is NOTHING, so now is the time to forget and move on. Take care everyone and talk again soon.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Family Life

The children are in bed, the parents are out and I am here on my own, so wish me luck!! While all are safely tucked up I thought I would take the opportunity to post a few words, that is, as long as I can keep my eyes open. We have had a couple of bad nights with the children, poor Bubbs had croup and he really suffers trying to breathe, so that was one night up, because it had also woken the girls and they were screaming just for the hell of it. That was my first night back here, the second night, poor Bubbs had bad dreams so was up again. He is usually so good at sleeping as well, I'm beginning to think it is me. I would hate to think I am upsetting the system by being here.

Today, the weather improved in the afternoon and the children played outside in the sunshine for a little while. So good to be able to let them free in the fresh air, and hopefully it will help them sleep tonight. I spoke to Richard again this evening and he is busy starting to clear up ready to come back to the UK. I can't wait to have him back again, but also, I can't wait to see what he has been doing. It sounds as though he has got on very well, the bathroom was going in today and the electrics are in. I am amazed how quickly he has done it all with the help of a very good friend and his wife. When I was chatting to him earlier, they were sitting outside, having a drink after they had finished their dinner which Richard had BBQ'd. I was very pleased to hear that our swallows are still on their nests, so all the upheaval hasn't upset them. I would have been devastated if they had gone. It's quite amusing because when he is talking to me from outside, you can hear the frogs singing in the background.

Well I am going to go now and catch up with all the blogs I have been missing for the last few days. Take care everyone and I will talk to you again soon.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Quality Time

Well here I am back at Clare's after spending 4 days with my mum and dad. It was really good to catch up with them and while I was there we spent a day with my sister for her birthday. We had a lovely meal with her and all her children and grandchildren came round to give her gifts and good wishes, so it turned out to be a lovely family party. While at mums, we did a bit of knitting because my grandchildren are needing some dolls clothes, so after we had sorted out some patterns from my sister, we came home and started. The knitting needles started clicking and the little clothes started growing and it was a contented time sitting with my mum sharing our hobbies. While we were knitting, dad was busy in his work room making a box for Clare's knitting needles. He is so happy when he is doing "stuff" and when he has any of his family there, quite different to when they are on their own, but then, I suppose we are all a bit like that. One of the things that was fun was the mornings, dad would get up and make us a cup of tea and I would hop into bed with mum and we would chat and read, just like the old days.

Today, being back at Clare's she gave me a real treat and we went in search of bluebells in a village close to where I used to live. We found them and they were fantastic, this carpet of blue especially with the contrast of the new green of beech leaves. To me, there is nothing in the world like english beech woods with bluebells and cowslips. Once we had been there, we went for a bit of shopping and some lunch. All this was done in quite a short space of time but oh! so worth it. Thank you Clare, I loved every moment. Tomorrow I am spending time with my oldest friend, we have known each other for 52 years, oh my goodness, that is frightening when I see it in black and white. We used to live next door to each other so really she is more like a sister, so I am looking forward to that; then it is back to my other daughter's and the grandchildren. Sometimes, when I am over in the UK, I wonder where I am and whose bed I am sleeping in but it is all fun. Now it is looking forward to spending time with my beautiful grandchildren again. I hope Bubbs likes the little vest I knitted for his teddy. Well actually, it is Vicki's old teddy and he is very threadbare, hence the vest.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

R and R in abundance

I haven't posted for a while again because I just feel whatever I write is going to be so boring, so I am even more grateful for the award I was given from Deborah of From Here to Eternity. Thank you very much, I feel honoured.

The days are passing very quickly even though they are not jam packed with building, gardening housework etc, except via the telephone with Richard. Bless him, he is doing so well and it sounds as though the room is coming along nicely. The windows are in and the electrics are now going in, so there is going to be such a change when I get back. He will be coming back here to the UK in the first week of May and then I will be going back with him, with our daughter and her husband and I can't wait to show Clare what we have been doing. She has only seen the house once and that was quite a while ago and she was only there for a night, so we are going to have lots of fun during their visit. I can't wait :-) It will be good to hear the sound of the toads and frogs again, and the cuckoo which we don't seem to hear in this part of the UK. I think I have probably missed the tamarisk in bloom but hopefully there will be lots of other shrubs and trees out. We have a couple of acacias, which, when they are in blossom, the perfume fills the garden.

I have nearly finished the book Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil, and it really is a very good read. Very light and I can relate to so much of it, as I'm sure a lot of mums will. I know it has taken me a long time, but I am a slow reader and to be honest, I feel too guilty to sit and read for the whole day. Why, I have no idea but there you go, it's in-built.

It's my sister's birthday tomorrow so I am hoping to go and see her and take her present. As you know I have this brilliant book called 25 bags to knit, well, I have found this lovely book by a different author, called 25 cushions to knit and it has some very attractive cushions in there. Would you believe they are using Rowan wool again, but I will tell my sister that perhaps she should use an alternative. Good advice from aims, I should have listened the first time!! By the way, I did hear back from Rowan and they say their rule is 2-3 knots per ball of wool, and although that doesn't help me with my beading project, I'm pleased they replied. No parcel of wool arriving though!!!!
Well I think it is time I made my children a cup of tea and get my book out. Actually it is Clare's book and she is itching to read it now, so I better get a move on. Talk to you all again soon.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Time on my Hands

I feel very guilty having this time on my hands. It's strange isn't it, it's what we all would like and then when you get it you feel guilty and don't know what to do with it. I have had a wonderful time sitting up in Clare's office while she is working and I have been reading a book. It's called Divas don't Knit and so far, it's a very good read. A few naughty words, but then it's quite difficult to find books without those nowadays.

Also I have been knitting but not getting on as well as I should have done. The trouble is, I bought some very expensive wool that the pattern for my bag asked for, Rowan, and I started the bag with beads. I did the back which was plain and then I started the front. I have never knitted with beads before so after looking at the instructions I threaded the beads onto my yarn and started knitting. How disappointed I was to get 12 rows in and finding a huge knot in the yarn. I am using Rowan Big Wool so there is NO WAY I can push the beads over the knot. What do you do then?? You are completely stuck. I sent an email to Rowan but have received no reply and I went back to the lovely wool shop today and asked if she would give the feedback to Rowan for me. She was brilliant and very helpful, which is more than can be said for Rowan because she said they wouldn't bother replying, they don't even reply to her. How bad is that? The answer they give is, in the UK, it is acceptable in the industry to have 5 knots in a 100g ball of wool. Personally, I think that stinks. I am so discouraged by this because the bag is lovely and it was going to look very good with the beads.

Meanwhile I fiddled about making a little flower. This will be needed for my new bag as you can see in the photo. Clare wanted to try various small projects that can be finished quickly so I tried it out first. It's very quick and can be used as a brooch. While I was knitting Bilbo came up and of course was giving me a helping hand. Cats always like to be in on everything don't they, the thing here is, not to have the wool draping over your leg. Ouch!! After I had made that I sorted out the other wool for another bag, this one is really pretty and let's hope the wool hasn't got too many joins in it. I hope that when I am ready to post again, there may be something nearly finished to show you.
I have spoken to Richard today and he is getting on very well with the house though he wishes I was there to make some of the decisions about where to put electrics and things like that. We did discuss it when I was there, but you know what it's like, and he hates working without me there. I did offer to go back now, but he says no, so Richard, when you read this, I know you will make all the right decisions and I love you for staying there and getting the room ready for our family.