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.