Monday, 21 December 2009

I'm still here

Hi everyone, just to let you know I'm still here. Since the 1st November I have been over in the UK and staying with my parents so of course I have had no access to a computer as Richard stayed over in France. He was supposed to be coming back here on the 17th December, but as a surprise he arrived early on the morning of the 13th which was my birthday. A lovely surprise and I really had no idea. I spent a lovely day with Vicki, Bill and the grandchildren, and my oldest friends, Sue and Jim came for the day as well, so all in all, not so bad getting a year older.
Richard and I are now in Penzance staying with Clare and Kenny for Christmas and we have just come back from a lovely walk where we fed the birds, ducks, swans and squirrels. The cheeky squirrels climbed up our legs to get the monkey nuts so it was a lot of fun. Very cold though, but we were wrapped up warm.

I am going to sign off now but will write more another time. It's good to have the puter back again. Everyone have a lovely Christmas, may you all receive the gift you wish for, and for me that is health, peace and happiness, (oh and perhaps a new handbag!!). Gosh, how cheesy does that sound. God bless you and your families.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Richard, me and my mum and dad outside Clare and Kenny's house in Penzance
Millie's "pink" dolly dress
"I love pink Nannie" so did I have a choice of colour, no I don't think so

My mum enjoying the dolly

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friends leave, summer ends

It has really been ages since I have posted and that is because we have been back to the UK to spend time with the family and also we have had visitors here. The first item there, the trip home to the UK was a brilliant trip. It was our grandchildren's 3rd birthday and we took my parents to visit for the day and I'm not sure who had more fun playing with the dolls the girls received, them or my mum!! She absolutely loved them and was jiggling them up and down and making the dolls giggle, then feeding them, hearing them suck, then burping them and helping them go to sleep, cuddling them when they cried. You name it, mum did it and loved every minute as you can see from the photo. With my mum being 89, when you think of the changes she has seen in everything, she must have been thinking about the dolls she played with as a child, no less loved of course, but so different. All for the better?? I'm not so sure.

After that we took mum and dad to stay for the weekend with my youngest daughter Clare and Kenny in Penzance and the weather could not have been better. The sun shone and we managed to get mum and dad down onto the beach and I was clambering on the rocks with Kenny and Clare and worrying my mum. It never changes does it, you always worry about your children, whatever age you or they are. We had a fabulous time with them and it was the first time my mum and dad had ever seen their new house, so a treat for us all.

We spent 2 weeks in the UK and managed to pack a lot in, Richard doing various jobs with dad in the garden. Dad was in one of his "building" moods and has made some lovely trellises for the garden and has worked really hard. It's all looking lovely. We did some shopping and went to Windsor for the day and basically had some good quality time with them. I miss them.

Back to France and we had some friends coming to stay so we had to get certain things ready for them. Di and Brian are really good friends and we see them when we are back home but have never had the need to stay overnight in each others houses so you always wonder how it will go when you are all living under the same room for a week. I needn't have worried, there was never a moments tension and it was a lovely relaxed week. We laughed a lot, chatted a lot, drank a lot, Brian likes Irish whiskey like me and Di and Richard were on the red wine. We did lots of jobs during the day and Di was an absolute star and helped Richard clear the massive pile of wood that needed sawing and stacking. Believe it or not, she enjoyed herself. We also had a clear out of the pond which had become over-run with bull rushes. Thank you both of you. The weather was perfect and we sat outside in the evening having dinner until about 10pm. Really hot during the day. Can you tell we enjoyed their stay. We loved it and feel very sad that they have gone home. Can't wait for them to visit again. Please don't wait another year both of you.

Now it's getting back to normal again, with summer ending and the evenings drawing in and all our friends have been and gone. It has been a wonderful summer, though the lack of rain is still a problem. I can now get back to my sewing and knitting. I am busy making dolls clothes for the girls for Christmas so that's keeping me busy at the moment. I love it though.

For some reason I can't post any photos so I will post this anyway and try and post some photos later on.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Back to sewing - finally

As you can imagine I have been rather "down" since the family went back and I have felt the need to do something for myself. With renovating the house and Richard always busy working on it, I don't feel as though I can go up to the den and sew because I feel guilty at leaving him working on his own. So, all that has been happening is that I have been doing "stuff", not of any importance and feeling thoroughly fed up. We have talked about this and he said he would love it if I went up to the den and did my quilting, he would much rather I was happy. Of course, I knew that's what he would say, but bless him for making me feel better about it. So...... I have started sewing again and I didn't realise just how much I had missed it. Would you believe I've even forgotten how to do a lot of the basics so it's back to the books again. I couldn't even thread my sewing machine without getting the manual out, that's how bad it was. I have been putting together a little lap quilt which has a cat theme as you will hopefully see from the photo, but the main fabric, which I have taken a photo of, doesn't do anything at all, unless I did a lot of "fussy cutting" (to those of you who don't know that term, it means cutting out each individual picture you want) and of course I would waste so much fabric. Sharlene, if you are reading this, what do you think, I think it would be much too busy to put a border of the lovely cat fabric and I'm just thinking of backing the quilt in. Such a shame not to see all those lovely cats on the front though.

We are off to the UK on Tuesday and I will not have access to a computer because we are staying with my mum and dad, but I am taking a lot of sewing with me and mum and I are going to have some fun sewing together, something we haven't done for a while. I'm really looking forward to it. I am even going to go to some fabric shops and quilt shops, those we don't have in France, at least anywhere near to where I live. I really miss them. Not that I need fabric of course, but it's good to see the latest designs and to stroke the odd fat quarter. :-) Oh well, a little might find it's way into my bag. Oops, who said that??

We still haven't had any rain here and it has been hot again today. Most of our trees have lost their leaves now and the pond is almost dry. The cracks in the ground you can get your fist down, so it will be interesting to see how many of the trees manage to recover from this drought.

Well, I can hear my sewing machine calling me again so I think I had better go and see what I can be doing. I won't be on here again for a few weeks so I will catch up with everyone when we get back. Take care one and all and talk to you again soon.

Oh yes, the other thing is, the swallows. You will see from the photo that they are all gathering, getting ready to migrate. They do this for a few weeks and we were talking with our neighbour, David the other evening and we decided they collected on the telephone wires to "chat" to each other and decide when they were going to leave and what route they were going to take for their hundreds of miles journey. They will gather in their thousands before they set off, an amazing sight.

Monday, 24 August 2009

While Richard has been away I have been picking our produce, plus the goodies our neighbours have given us, and cooking and freezing like there is no tomorrow. The tomatoes have been fantastic and some of them are HUGE as you will see from the photo. When you cut them open, they are so fleshy and so sweet, just yummy. The garden looks dreadful because there
hasn't been rain for ages and we have lost so many trees, especially the fruit ones. The peach trees have lost their fruit and leaves so are standing naked, same with the apple tree, apples still clinging on but not growing at all, the pear has a few pears but they seem to have stopped growing as well. Even our massive lime tree has lost most of it's leaves now, the ones that are left are brown; we are kicking up leaves as we do in the autumn when we walk across the lawn, well I say lawn, there is NO green at all and it is being blown away. How very sad it all looks. The forecast has said we could expect storms tonight, going into tomorrow so perhaps we will get the rain we so desperately need. We just can't water everything because it comes from our mains water and we have a hosepipe ban now so it is a matter of watching everything close down before their time.

Richard is due home on Wednesday about lunchtime and I can't wait. I have to say I don't like being here on my own too much and with being scared stiff of storms, I'm not looking forward to tonight at all. What a whimp I am.

The family have all settled down back in the UK and Bill has completed his bike ride from Edinburgh to London, (525 miles) he arrived back yesterday evening (Sunday). Well done Bill, a real achievement, we are very proud of you.
Well, that will do for now, I seem to be rather boring at the moment so I will try and get some cheer in the next post for you. I will take some photos of Smokey and Sophie playing. They are an absolute delight though Sophie is such a tinker, a bit like a puppy because she chews everything, dives at ANYTHING that moves, especially my bare toes (ouch!) and her teeth are like little needles. Clare has advised me to get a spray bottle of water out and give her a little squirt when she does wrong which is a brilliant idea but I think I may get through a few gallons a day!!!! I will have to do something though because my body looks as though it's been through a war zone I have so many scratches on it. Bye for now, will talk again soon.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Aftermath

I suppose I should be pleased that I can join the blogging world again, but I'm not because it means that I have access to the room where the children have been sleeping for the past 4.5 weeks. How quiet it all is. The beds are taken up and stripped of their bedding, a few toys still scattered across the floor because I haven't the heart to pick them up, books left ready for me to read to them, but they have all gone back today and I am rather sad. Richard has gone back with them to help with the driving and he will be away for a week, so as I look out into the garden and see 3 empty swings gently moving in the air and a child's hammock lying empty I will wallow in my sadness for just a while.

When you read this Vicki, I have loved having you here with the children and only hope that you enjoyed it too, enough to come back again next year, hopefully with Bill being able to stay a while longer. I do realise it was too long for you and the children without him, but thankyou. God bless, I love you all. See you when we come back in September.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The second picture is of the children "helping" Grandpa to clean out the pond. What a dirty smelly mess we all were and what fun we had, so many beasties to find and Mabel the Springer Spaniel they brought with them was in seventh heaven with the smell and mess. A good shower with the hose pipe was lots of fun though.

The time is going so quickly and the children seem to be having a lovely time. We are very lucky to be able to use a friend's swimming pool so we have been going there most days and everyone loves it. We take a picnic lunch and spend most of the day there and Jan (our friend) baked us all cakes yesterday so we are being really spoilt. As Vicki says, what is it about being by the side of a pool in gorgeous weather having tea and cake brought out to you? Just wonderful.

The girls weren't sleeping at all which as you can imagine was very difficult for Vicki, she was so tired, but the last 2 days they have slept right through, so fingers crossed it will happen again for a few night. A bit of bribery is going on, but as long as we sleep, who cares??

We have had our old car out as you can see from the picture and the children think it's great going out in her, they just love it and of course Grampie loves taking them out in her.
I need to go now because the swimming pool is calling and the children are in their costumes ready to go, so I will try and post again another time.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Sun, water melons and paddling pools

I can't believe the family has been here for a week already. Poor Bill went home yesterday after a wonderful, hot week playing with the children in the paddling pool, they have had a whale of a time. Because it is so hot, we play outside during the morning, then come in for lunch and we either play inside or they watch a dvd until it gets a little cooler. They think it's great being able to eat breakfast outside and tea, but not lunch, it's too hot. William quite likes to "chill" with little kitten upstairs and he has taken ownership of her and he is being very responsible.
Today they have gone to visit their cousins and play in the swimming pool though it is a bit cooler today. Not a bad thing, a bit of a relief. I have taken loads and loads of photos but quite honestly most of them are of the children with wonderful little naked dimpled bottoms so not to be put on here, but you can imagine. It is so good to see them running around our garden at long last, and to think we have about 4 more weeks of this. We are enjoying ourselves so much.

A couple of the photos here are of the children enjoying some water melon and us all out on a walk/bike ride with Mabel the dog. I have to say, the dog is being very good which is such a relief because both Richard and I were so worried about having her here, with having no fences and she has no idea where our boundaries are, but so far, no problem apart from her having a fettish about paddling pools...........

We loved one comment that William made, you know the telephone lines are 4 in a row, like music, well there were loads and loads of swallows sitting on there, a classic picture, and William comes and tells us that he has been watching "bird church". Apparently they were all sitting in their pews singing to Jesus. How cute is that. Children's minds are wonderful aren't they?

I will go now and have a quick tidy up while everyone is out now that I have caught up with emails, blogging etc. The trouble is, the computer is in the room that the children are sleeping in so I'm not getting on here very much, so apologies for not commenting. Back to normal in a few weeks. Bye for now, talk again whenever I can sneak in here....

Monday, 13 July 2009

Just Boosting our Batteries

I don't know where the time has gone since I last posted, but wherever it went, it was good while it lasted. We had our very dear friends Sue and Jim here for a week and it was lovely to just chill with them and catch up with what has been going on in our respective lives. I hate to say how many years I have known Sue, but if I say it is over 50 will that suffice??

I thought I would let you know how little kitten is getting on. Her name is Sophie, a little french don't you think? We obviously have her for all time now because there is no way that Richard is going to let her go. We did ask around at the beginning if anyone wanted a kitten, but it's too late now, she is ours. Smokey is so good with her, though he bats her every now and then just to keep her in line, but all in all, they are doing great together, beginning to play as you will see from one of the photos. The other photo I have put there is of Smokey's eyes, aren't they the most beautiful blue?
As it says in the heading, Richard and I are now filling our reserves, boosting our batteries, ready for Vicki, Bill and the 3 grandchildren to arrive this Sunday. We can't wait, but we know we are going to be absolutely knackered at the end of the month. One of the problems we may have is the fact that it is so hot during the day, so what on earth do we do with them, they certainly can't be outside all the time. I am getting crayons, books, glue and anything else I can think of ready to play with. A friend also gave me a recipe for home made play doh. I won't make it until the children are ready to help.........I wonder if that is a good idea? Yes, I'm sure it is. I only wish they were old enough for other crafts like sewing and knitting but William will think it's a bit girlie I'm sure and the twin girls are only 2, well 3 in September so a bit young yet. Never mind, we'll think of something.

Hopefully I will be able to post while they are here and I know Vicki will want to as well so we should have some lovely photos later on. Till then, time to take deep breaths, relax and panic getting the house ready. It's funny because until you know you are having small children to stay and you look around, you don't realise what an unsafe environment we live in. Richard has various tools, saws, knives, chain saw!!! hammers etc. which I'm sure William will love, but not quite the toys he should be playing with. Bye, talk again soon.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Cute or What

Just a couple of lovely photos of Little Kitten. Smokey is being so good and doesn't bother her at all, hopefully I will be able to get a photo of them together soon. I missed my opportunity today when they were both playing with the same piece of string, I didn't have my camera with me. You will notice that the photos are with the "big stern man who isn't soft at all"....... Yeah right!!
The first one is of Little Kitten and one of the Pirates of Penzance!!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Just some lovely pictures

I am going to let the photos speak for themselves. They are, and not in the right order I expect, Smokey stopping me from finishing a "taggy" I had made for one of Clare's friend's baby. They are such a lot of money to buy, but great fun to make. The babies love playing with all the little tags and buttons. A rose that a friend gave us for our Ruby Wedding anniversary in March, it is called "Ruby Wedding". A wild kitten (Hissing Sid at the moment) that we found in the garden, very, very hungry but wouldn't come near us a few days ago. Today, he came close enough to eat a little meal off a saucer, so fingers crossed. A hibiscus which I bought from the market today, fantastic colour and looks so good in the anniversary present my sister gave to us. I just love the idea of the big cup and saucer and what a colour that flower is, look at the stamens close up. Perfect.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Back again

Well, here we are back in France after our visit to the UK for 2 weeks. The reason we went mainly was to help our youngest daughter and her husband settle in to their new house in Penzance. Firstly though we stayed with Vicki, Bill and the children for a few days and of course that was wonderful seeing them all again. Luckily we see them fairly often so now they just run straight up to us, I would hate it if they were a little shy at first. Mind you, having 3 children running full pelt at you can be rather disturbing, you have to brace yourself so they don't knock you flying!! Also while we were staying there, we all went to my mum and dads for a day and they are in good health. The children were really good and the weather was marvelous, so much so that we hooked the hose pipe onto the washing line and the children had great fun running through it. Mum and dad love having them there and it was a really good day.

Richard had a list of jobs to do at Clare and Kenny's so it was a matter of putting them in order of urgency. The kitchen was first and he set to cutting, chopping and changing cupboard doors around so they could fit their cooker and fridge in. This was done and it will be down to them now to do the decorating, but it is a nice size kitchen with lots of potential. Richard then did a lot in their bedroom and various other jobs. Clare and I did a fair bit of shopping but really, I couldn't do an awful lot and I felt a bit useless, but there will be other times no doubt. We walked into Penzance which is only about 15 minutes walk and it is a very pretty town and the views of the sea of course are wonderful. I have to say they have chosen well, it is a very practical house for them and close to all amenities and I hope and pray they are very happy there. At least when I talk to Clare on the phone now I can imagine where she is, it always helps doesn't it? They have a walled garden and a friend of theirs who lives close by and loves gardening, has great plans, so I think they are going to have lots of fun doing that. That is something I can at least help with when I next go down.

Now we are back it is getting the wretched garden back to how it was, the lawn and weeds have just gone mad because it has been very warm and wet. That is the only trouble with leaving it at this time of year, we just don't know where to start on our return. We have our oldest friends coming to stay on the 1st July for a week and I can't wait. Jim has been before in a "working" capacity and always when it has been freezing cold, and Sue hasn't been at all, so I am really looking forward to having them here so we can just chill out and enjoy each other's company. First though we have to get a room ready for them so I had better go and do some more work.

Take care everyone, God bless and talk again soon.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Bumper Harvest

Just a quickie, but I thought I would show you some of our cherries, they look so good, shiney and waiting to be eaten and sitting in my hand made basket. I would never have thought in a million years that I would be picking my cherries, off my tree and putting them in my homemade basket!!! What fun. Sad though we are heading back to UK tomorrow and there are hundreds of cherries waiting to be picked so we have told all the neighbours to help themselves; we can't let them go to waste.

I can't wait to see my family, take care and I'll chat on my return.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

A Sad Day

A very sad day for me today because we have got rid of our beautiful ducks. Poor Poppy went off looking for somewhere else to make a nest and she just chose the wrong garden by going into a neighbours, and this neighbour wasn't very happy about it, and told us so!! We were told to fence in all our garden which we can't possibly afford to do, put them in a pen, or someone will end up killing the ducks. As you can imagine, I don't want them in a pen, I can't see the point, the whole enjoyment we have had is watching them dibbling about in the garden. They have given us hours of pleasure but no more. We called the friends who had given them to us in the first place and they said they would have them back, no problem, so now we are duckless and very sad. At the end of the day, we don't want to cause any unpleasantness because we have got on very well with everyone and we don't want this to change, I just hope she realises how many tears were shed this morning.

Anyway, enough of that, Richard and I were taken for a walk in the mountains, our first real walk up in them and oh my goodness the views were amazing. The first walk we couldn't do because it was closed due to risk of avalanches so we went for another one. Unfortunately this was a lot harder than the first one our friends had planned and Richard and I both found it very hard. The good thing about going now is that the snow is melting and the waterfalls were out of this world. Also, all the wild flowers are coming out and how on earth do they grow out of rock. You will see from the single flower picture that it has no earth at all, just this beautiful violet. You will also see from the next photo that my poor hubby was very tired, as was I but you can't see that because I was taking the photo :-) We had a lovely picnic and a really good day but oh did we sleep well that night.

I may not be posting again for a couple of weeks because we are back in the UK next week because our youngest daughter and her husband are moving to Penzance so dad needs to do a bit of DIY. Keep well everyone and I will chat with you all on my return.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Warm weather and flowers

The weather here has been glorious for the past few days and when we walk out of the door into the garden, firstly there is the wonderful smell of the philadelphus (orange blossom), and then you are aware of the quite loud buzzing and you realise it is all the bees in the acacia trees because the blossom has just come out on those and again, they smell pretty good. Everything in the garden is really coming on, the roses, all the trees are out and the fruits are appearing on the trees, in fact, there are some cherries that will soon be ready for picking. Very strange, I never thought I would ever be able to talk about picking my own fruit etc. yet here I am planning my chutneys and jams for this year. Also Vicki and the grandchildren are coming out and hopefully they will be able to pick the figs, peaches etc to eat straight off the trees. Poppy has given up on her nest so we think this year we won't be duckling grandparents. Should she lay again, we may take the eggs away and incubate them ourselves. We'll see. She is very young yet, not a year old until July so there is time. It's probably for the best, but still a shame I was really looking forward to having little babies.

On my last post I said I would post a picture of my socks. There hangs a tail....or not... I wish I had taken a photo of them now because when I took them to our little sewing group to get advice on how to graft the toe (you see I had got quite a long way) there was something that was not quite right so we had to unpick a few rows, then a few more, then a few more, and wouldn't you know it, the WHOLE DAMN LOT was unpicked and I was left sockless. I was absolutely gutted as I really don't know what I had done wrong. So Hilary (dear, dear sister who I love loads and who sent me the wool, pattern and needles) I am really sorry to have let you down. Helen has now taken them home and she is going to knit them for me, BUT, I have another ball of wool and I have started again on another pair, I'm not going to be beaten. I will go as far as turning the heel, then sit with Helen and she can see exactly what I am doing. I am determined to have a pair of socks that I have knitted myself. I have actually taken a photo of the ones I'm doing now so I may post it next time. It is so hard knitting with so many flaming needles but I suppose I will get used to it. If Hilary and Mum and are reading this they are probably having a little giggle by now.

I have copied out the next celtic design onto my block so I will soon be starting that. I can't wait, I don't seem to have done quilting for quite a time and I do miss it. I need now to cut out the bias and get that all prepared ready to stitch on, I have chosen the fabrics so it should be all systems go.
Well, it's time for our hot milk and honey (with a little whiskey) and off to bed for a read of our books. Market day tomorrow so we will be up quite early, something we have got out of the habit of...He! He! Talk again soon.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Good to have you back Dad

As the picture shows, Smokey was very pleased to have us back, although we did have a friend staying in the house a lot of the time so he was very well looked after. In fact, Geoff was saying what good company Smokey is, more like a dog than a cat because he follows you everywhere.

The ducks are still OK although the first nest which had at least 7 eggs in, they were all eaten, so she made another nest in a very exposed place, and they were eaten. Now, since we have been back, she has made another nest somewhere else, I won't tell you where because it's a secret!! and so far we have 5 eggs in there, so we will wait and see what happens. If you remember we had 2 drakes and one female so we had to get rid of one male, and would you believe the original pair, Thomas and Poppy's mum and dad, the owners called today to say that their male has been taken by a buzzard!! Their mum is sitting on eggs at the moment and if she abandons her eggs, they will bring her over to us so we will be back to 3 again but this time the ratio will be right. I hope you kept up with all that and that it made sense, I did ramble a bit didn't I? I knew what I was saying.

We had a lovely 18 days in the UK with the family. First off we stayed with Vicki, Bill and the children and they were all fit and well and in very good form. Oh how I miss them, the girls are doing so much now and chatter all the time. Just delightful. William is getting to be a proper little boy and went on his first "grown up" cycle ride with his daddy and managed to do 8 miles. Amazing. Just a photo to show you the children and their daddy. After that we went to my parents and stayed with them for the rest of the holiday, which of course they really enjoyed. Dad is slowly improving with his back but he is still having these injections in his eyes, so until all that is over which should be about June/July there is a lot of back and forth to the hospital. I went with him last Saturday and they did say there was an improvement so that's the main thing. While staying with my mum we spent time with Clare and Kenny because they live close and they are getting themselves ready for the move to Penzance. No moving date as yet, but shouldn't be long. We will then be going back to the UK stay with them and see where they are going to settle down, also I think "Dad" has a few jobs lined up like putting up shelves etc. Not to worry though because he loves it and we enjoy staying with them.

The day before we came back to France we went to London to have lunch with Richard's eldest sister for her 70th birthday. We had a lovely day with them and also Richard's cousin and her husband so all in all, a wonderful family day and so good to see them because we don't see Susan very often.

Well I suppose it is back out into the garden tomorrow to try and tame the foot high weeds and grass. We can't believe how much everything has grown in just the couple of weeks we have been away. The pond has over flowed because they have had so much rain, but in between it has been warm, perfect weather for growing!! Next post, I will show you how I am getting on (or not) with my socks.....or should I say sock. In this last picture it shows how quickly a man can get back into the swing of things. He! He! Three men here, I think they call themselves the Musketeers, putting the world to rights over a beer or two, or three, or four!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Guess What??

Where has the time gone since I last posted? I haven't a clue though we have been very busy getting ready for an old school friend of mine coming to visit. They were only here for a couple of days on their way through on holiday but it was lovely to see them. They haven't been here before so there was so much for them to see and good that they will get the before and after in a lot of the rooms. We are leaving for the UK tomorrow morning (Thursday) so that has kept us pretty busy as well, closing the house down and arranging for the looking after of Smokey and the ducks. Mostly though, our time is taken up looking at the ducks, they are so amusing and make us laugh a lot and guess what???........
By the time we get back from the UK, I could be a grandma to ducklings.... how cool is that? All the neighbours are on "duck watch" while we are away because while Poppy is sitting on her nest, Thomas stands guard on the wrong side of the hedge so he is in the road!!! We have tried herding him back but he just goes back there. I can't bear it, these children are such a worry aren't they? Surely he won't stand there during the night will he, can anyone answer that question for me? Deborah perhaps you will know. I just hope and pray he will stay on the pond during the night. Poppy has chosen a good place and is hidden, you just wouldn't know she was there unless you knew, she is amongst brambles.

Last week my sister sent me a "present" which came through the post. How lovely it is to get something unexpected in squishy jiffy bags. I opened it and it is 1 ball of wool, with 4 needles, double ended I have to say and a pattern. Now according to the pattern this ball of wool makes one pair of socks and a lovely little gift pouch to put them in. Oh how I could do with aims here because I have started these wretched socks quite a few times now and pulled them off the needles. I have NEVER knitted with more than 2 needles and never attempted socks or anything like that. and every time I got to the second "round" I had all the stitiches on one needle, how on earth do you join them up to make a round? It's beyond me I'm afraid. By the way, did you know that when you throw knitting wool out of the window in anger and frustration it doesn't make a noise :-) I will take it back to the UK and get some back up from there. They look beautiful but when I read the pattern and it talks about "grafting" the toe to finish off, I sort of go cold. I bet Hilary, my sister, is laughing her head off reading this, she found it quite easy so be ready for when I come back Hilary, I need you.

I will probably be quiet over the next couple of weeks though I will be reading everyone's blogs, you kind of get addicted don't you. Take care all of you and I will chat when I get back. I can't wait to see the family again, my mum and dad, my daughters and their husbands and of course the grandchildren, not forgetting my sister and her family, knitting needles at the ready. I will come back totally tired, knackered and happy with batteries re-charged. Happy Easter everyone, God bless.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The lure of a female in Spring

Yesterday morning, from about 4.45am, our darling little duck!!! Poppy was calling and calling and calling and calling until I almost got up and made some orange sauce. We were quite expecting the neighbours to come and hammer on the door to make us stop the noise....... When we got up, Richard shouted, "they're back", and yes, we looked out and there were THREE ducks in the garden. Poppy obviously knew what she was doing when she was making so much noise, and it worked. I'm not sure if you can see from the first photo, but one of the drakes was always being chased away so we had to do something. We called the friends who had given us the ducks and they said they would call round in the afternoon and we would try and catch the drake and he would have to be re-homed. Bless him, it seemed such a shame but we knew it had to be done, they do say that a good ratio is 5 ducks to 1 drake. Out comes the big fishing net again and it was time to catch a duck; in actual fact it was very quick so he was popped into the cat carrier and later taken away to our friends house to find another home. So...... harmony reigns at the moment with a very content pair of ducks, one of whom has been clipped (Poppy) and I have to say there is a lot of "activity" if you know what I mean, so perhaps there will be some nest making soon. Once Thomas has settled we will catch and clip him as well, but we will let him just enjoy himself at the moment. (Lucky little duck I hear you say) He! he!

The weather here has been fantastic, shorts and t-shirts in fact, but today it has changed for the worse. We have been preparing the vegetable patches and we have planted 6 raspberry canes, a redcurrant and blackcurrant bush, plus a rhubarb; again the first time for us, so fingers crossed. We are harvesting the leeks so it's quite exciting. At the market on Monday, we are going to buy some lettuce and more herbs so slowly we are building up the food we can pick from our garden.

One of my oldest friends, (Vicki's godmother in fact) is coming to visit with her husband just before Easter. They are in a camper van and travelling through some of France and asked if they could come and see us and we can't wait to see them. They haven't been here, they just saw the photos when we were buying the house. Vanessa did make me laugh when she asked if we had finished the house.....they will soon find out that we haven't.

Vicki has her in-laws to stay for a couple of weeks as from tomorrow and I hope they all have a wonderful time. They haven't seen the girls and William only when he was 2 so they are in for a very busy, fun time. Enjoy your grandchildren Bill and Cindy.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

What a weekend .........

Words cannot even begin to explain the joy of having our daughters here with us for the weekend, but I will try. It started on Friday morning when we picked them up from the airport at Toulouse at 10.30am, so it gave us most of the day. Clare had asked if there was a particular shop in Toulouse, so we looked it up and there was so off we went. Richard and I have never been into the city so it was an adventure for all of us. What a wonderful surprise, it is beautiful with a lot of very quaint streets. Where are the pictures I hear you ask, would you believe we were so taken with having a good time with the girls that we didn't take photos. We found this amazing square with lots of cafes and the weather was so warm everyone was spilling out onto the pavements, so of course, it was lunchtime and people watching time. What a start to the weekend, superb. After we got home, the girls were shown their room, which they loved and they oohed and aahed in all the right places when they saw the bathroom and the shower curtain :-) The next morning was absolute bliss when we could go into their room after Richard had made us all tea and just sit on their beds and chat. Vicki was in seventh heaven, not having to get up with the children, though of course, being a mum, had to call to make sure everything was OK. It was. We chilled during the morning and some friends came to bring us a surprise for our anniversary, which was a song and a beautiful plaited willow tree. A lot of fun with them and of course the kind of gift you cannot buy. We had the girls' cousins for a BBQ in the evening, well not them you understand, and again, the weather had been so hot we ate outside even after dark. We put the fairy lights on and lit candles and it was very magical.

Sunday morning was our anniversary and we went into their room again, drank tea and opened all our cards and presents. Again, words cannot express how wonderful that was, just chatting, drinking tea and not having to get dressed straight away. Then it was time to go to my sister-in-laws for a family lunch. Fabulous. The weather wasn't as warm as it had been but still wonderful. The girls caught up with that side of the family and we generally enjoyed ourselves. We called in to some friends on the way home, had a drink with them and a game of skittles, then it was home for them to pack and an early night. Would you believe we had to set the alarm for 3.30am to get the girls to the airport.

I believe I told you we caught Poppy and I have now clipped her wings and today we let her out of her enclosure and she is on the pond. Oh how good to see her there, dibbling and eating all the green slimy stuff and tucking into the frog spawn. I just hope and pray she will still be there in the morning. Watch this space. She makes a lot of noise in the mornings and we are hoping that her "boys" will hear her and she will bring them in. Well, we live in hope, what other options do we have, we certainly can't catch the other two, little tinkers. I would hate to think she has to stay on this pond on her own though. Smokey keeps stalking her, but so far, she has been smart and heads for the pond. Keep doing that I say Poppy. I will let you know what happens during the night. Fingers crossed now.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Up, up and away....oops

In the comments on my last post you will see Vicki made mention of the "pond incident" and I was asked what it was, well............. Yesterday, Smokey (bless him) brought me in a lovely present of a pidgeon and plonked it at my feet. I thought it was dead but, as cats do, he started playing with it and I realised it was still alive. Smokey was very good and let me take it from him and I took it outside. I held it for a while and stroked it and talked to it trying to bring it around. It was trying to flap its wings and the only damage I could see was a weepy eye, so when the cat wasn't watching, I put the pidgeon where he would be able to fly away if he was able. Minutes later, off he went flying into the air and I felt very pleased with myself for saving him,then.... you can imagine my horror as he dive-bombed straight into the pond. There I was racing indoors to get the net (this was worse than trying to catch the wretched ducks) but by the time I got there he was obviously dead. I hooked him out, only to have Smokey pounce on it again, so this time I let him have it. Just as I was going out later, he had brought it into the house again, plucked it for me all over the floor, bless him, and buried it in a dust sheet!! He was very proud of himself I have to say.

I have been making the beds up for the girls coming this weekend and you should be able to see Smokey has made himself comfy, just to check it out you understand. The weather today was glorious and we took a walk over to the ducks again and would you believe we caught Poppy, so now we have the female, we are hoping, if she calls, the boys will come looking for her. We live in hope. This is beginning to be a really long saga isn't it, sorry about that. Well, that's it for another day, one more day before our girls come, (not that I'm excited you understand). At least when I talk to the girls they are really looking forward to it as well, we haven't been together like this, just the four of us, for a very long time because of course, there is family always around, so this is going to be very special. Weather forecast looks good so far.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A wonderful gift for us

Just to let you know that we had a wonderful surprise yesterday. The couple who gave us the ducks, (you know the ones that flew away!!) they came around to our house to deliver this most beautiful lemon tree for our wedding anniversary. It is something I have wanted for a long time but never had the nerve to get one because we do get heavy frosts here, so it's knowing when to bring it in etc. To make the gift more special was the fact that we really don't know these new friends very well, only for a couple of weeks in fact, so a truly wonderful thought. You should be able to see that one of the lemons is ready to pick, so when our two girls come to visit on Friday, we will be able to go and pick our very own lemon to go with our gin and tonic, how cool is that?

The ducks are still on their "new" pond and we go over to feed them. The little tinkers come so close sometimes, but I just make a move and they are off, so do I just give up now? It would save a lot of heartache. You can be sure that if we get any more, their wings will be clipped and we will get them as ducklings. Life is just one big learning curve isn't it?

Richard and I are very busy getting The Den ready for the girls visit. Almost there, and I know it doesn't matter if it's not all finished, but I do so want it to be nice for them. Our eldest daughter hasn't seen the house since we bought it, so hopefully she should see a bit of a difference. We are now keeping our fingers crossed for the weather to be kind to us, if only for the weekend. Talk again soon.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Getting ready for our girls

Time seems to be running away from us as we gather up speed trying to get things ready for our girls coming to visit. This time next week they will be with us and we can't wait. At the moment, Richard is tiling the bathroom, well he has finished tiling, and now grouting, then once that is all cleaned off I can get in there and do some tidying and prettying up. Not that we have much to go in there yet, but I am rather pleased with myself as I made a shower curtain and used some new gadgets, the rings that go through the rod. I didn't know you could buy them, but that is because I HATE making curtains, in fact, I don't do it. There is something about having all that fabric and making a mess of it. I know I quilt but that is fun, making curtains to me is just scarey, it has something to do with getting the fabric straight. Anyway, these rings turned out to be really easy and I am very grateful to my friend for recommending them to me. I personally hate shower curtains, but needs must. It may be replaced down the line by a glass door, we will see.

The ducks are still on their new pond, not ours, and they can be seen from our bedroom window, so you can imagine what it's like having them so close. We go over to see them every day and take a very large fishing net with us so they get used to seeing it, but don't ever think ducks are stupid. You can almost hear them laughing at us as we try and tempt them close. No chance.

Well I need to get back upstairs to my chores, so I will talk to you all later on.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Yes, you've guessed it!!

It has taken me a while to post because I have been rather upset because the ducks have flown away. We have been driving around the village and walking to all the nearby ponds, (of which there are hundreds) trying to find them. As you can imagine, the french neighbours have been wetting themselves, because they can't understand the "strange english" looking for their "pet ducks" who can fly away if they find them!!! When I see it in black and white it is rather funny, but we have found them. They are on a pond, all three still together, just over the field that is attached to our garden, so we can almost see them from where we are. Any ideas on how we can get them back! At the moment, we are going over there every day, with some food and a net, so they get used to seeing both, and we will try and get them in a few days. If it doesn't work, we know we have tried, and should it work, they will have their wings clipped straight away. Keep your fingers crossed that I can get Thomas, Poppy and Duck safely and soon. Having said that, they have found the most wonderful pond, HUGE. Why would they want to come back to ours, apart from the love we can give them?

I am now counting down to when our two daughters come to visit us. They arrive here on the 13th and leave very early on the 16th, so not long, but oh how I'm looking forward to it. What a way to celebrate our 40 years married. We will make sure we enjoy every moment.

Hello to all my family and friends in the UK, especially to my sister Hilary who is an angel in disguise. She is doing so much for my mum and dad, and even though I know I shouldn't, I do feel guilty that I'm not there. We are going back again and staying with them in April, so not long to go. Dad is feeling a little better with his back, but still has various tests to go through, so he is feeling a bit low. Talk to you all again soon, I will keep you posted on the duck front.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

It's going to be a long night

Just a quick post to let you know that we have now released our ducks and they have been exploring their new home. Not getting on the pond much and now it is dark and we have tried to get them in again, but no luck. We are having to leave them out all night and hope and pray they are still here in the morning, I can't stand the thought of losing them before we get to know them. Smokey of course looked at me and said Oooh mummy, new toys!! We have been assured that they will find their way onto the pond and stay there during the night. Oh well, we are in for a long night I think, listening while we are sleeping, if we get to sleep that is. I will be going to bed thinking.......clip their wings or not clip them. I will be letting you know if they are still there in the morning. Goodnight Thomas, Poppy and Duck.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

"D" Day has arrived

Well the day has arrived and today we went to pick up our 3 call ducks. We thought it would be very difficult to catch them, but in fact it only took us about 20 minutes. You have to realise that their wings haven't been clipped so they could have just flown off. Bless them they didn't, so we now have Thomas, Poppy and Duck installed in their enclosure for the next 3 days so they can get adjusted and know that this is their new home. They are so pretty, we just know we are going to spend a lot of time just looking at them. My son-in-law and a very good friend of ours, Brian is going to look at this photo and cringe because they would know how to take the photo without having the wire netting showing. I don't know how to do it so sorry guys, I will learn from you later. My 3 grandchildren, who named the ducks, I'm sorry I can't tell you which is which from this photo, but once they are outside I will try and do better. We will soon get to know them hopefully.

Apart from getting ducks ready, I have been busy making tulips. We have been invited to a birthday party and it is a friend who lives in the next village. We have never bought each other presents before and not even cards, and I didn't want to go without anything at all, so I thought I would make her a little bunch of tulips. Here they are, and they are such fun to do, I hope you like them. In fact I took them along to the sewing group I go to and they loved them so we will have a little workshop making them.
Smokey's leg is now completely dried up and the fur is beginning to grow, but we think he is going to be a high maintenance cat as he is always getting into scraps. Does it make us love him less, not on your life.
Now for the really BIG news. In my last blog I said that I was getting rather depressed about our Ruby wedding anniversary which is on the 15th March. We just didn't know what to do to celebrate, it just wouldn't be the same without my family. Well...... my girls are coming over for the weekend, they arrive on the Friday and go back early Monday morning. You should have seen us when we got the phone call, both weeping, great big softies. Now that I have written this I am wondering if I told you this in my last post, if so, sorry, I'm just so excited :-)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

"D" Day is coming ... Ducks

Since I last posted, Spring has come, gone, come back again and is now teetering on the edge somewhere. The day after I mentioned SNOWdrops this is what happened. Everything looked beautiful of course, including this wonderful iris, bless it and it is still going strong. The trouble is the ground is now so waterlogged we can't do anything. I stood on the lawn and you can see what happened, I thought I was going to sink, my poor wellies were going deeper and deeper. Having said that, it is beginning to get better, sun is warm though there is a biting wind which chills you through, the answer is to stay in the sunshine.

Richard has been busy getting ready for the three ducks a friend is giving us. For people who know about these things, they are call ducks and are so cute, I can't wait. I asked my 3 grandchildren to name them, we have 2 males and 1 female, which I realise might prove a problem but we will cross that bridge when we get there; anyway, Vicki called this morning and said the children had the names ready, wait for it........ Thomas, Poppy and Duck. You have to remember that the twin girls are only 2 so they chose Poppy and Duck. I love the names and wouldn't change them for anything. You can see the floating raft that Richard has built for them, this way they can get away from predators. It's brilliant and is attached on both sides of the pond so we can reach it whenever the need arises. We have made a feeding station for them and they will be shut in there for about 3 days so they know where they live and who is feeding them. This is all so new to us, to please keep your fingers crossed for us. Later on in the summer when the pond has considerably gone down, Richard is going to sink 4 posts in it and build a house with a ladder, keep them nice and snuggly.
Over the last couple of days I have been busy making some tulips, I know this sounds strange, but it's all to do with quilting and craft etc. Cut flowers in France are really a No No because they are so expensive, it is one thing that I really miss, I always had fresh flowers in the house in the UK. Anyway, they are nearly finished and I will take a photo of them and post them later on in the week. I hope you like them.
We are both wondering what to do in March because it is our 40th (Ruby) wedding anniversary and we feel we should celebrate it in some way. The problem is, I don't really want to do anything without my family around me. I could get quite depressed about it. I think we shall just wait and have a party when we go back to the UK. If only I could win the lottery, I would fly them all out so we could celebrate in style. Ho Hum ..... dream on. Perhaps I should buy a ticket first.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Spring is here - oh no, it's gone

We had a few lovely days, warm enough for us to eat a snack lunch outside and I have a couple of snowdrops out and a lot of crocus and even a miniature iris. They just make you feel so good don't they? Having said that, the sun didn't last long and we now have high winds again and sleety rain coming down in stair rods!! Great!

Smokey is certainly feeling better, his leg is healing nicely and we are just waiting for his fur to grow, then he will look normal again. He is into such mischief and is a joy to have around, we were so very lucky to have him walk into the garden and say "Would you take care of me and love me?" No! Really, he did, I heard it :-)

My new year's resolution is to make more time for my quilting so there may be a few pictures later on down the line. I have decided which celtic knot block to do next, I just need to draw it out on the fabric and get going. The sewing room is rather cold, so once it is drawn out, at least I can then bring it downstairs to do in the evenings. I was asked in my comments by Jacky about quilt shows and shops in the Gers. Don't hold your breath Jacky, I haven't found a fabric shop yet that I would say sold "quilting fabrics". That is one thing I really miss. Thank goodness for internet shopping!! As for quilt shows, NOTHING at all in this area. Should you be in our area though, we would certainly make you most welcome for a cup of tea and a chat about quilting. I tried to look you up by clicking on your name, but assume you don't have a blog?? If you leave me another comment, there must be some way we can get in touch without putting personal information on here.

My dad is still on the road to recovery and I am so grateful that my wonderful sister lives close by to them because she does so much for them. Thanks sis. I love you. I hope Ron is feeling better, did he get to the dentist?

I promise I will try and take some photos and make this more interesting, but for now I will say cheerio. Take care one and all, much love to my girls, their husbands and of course my beautiful grandchildren.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Smokey - Little Tinker

I thought I would update you on Smokey. After our trip to the vet we were keeping him in until his wound started to heal and dry over. For those of you who have asked, we have no idea what bit him, but he loves putting his paw down holes, just to see what is there, so it could have been anything. Very nasty bite though. The first 5 days of keeping him in weren't too bad, but then that evening, oh my goodness he just went mad. He was running all through the house, jumping up on every bit of furniture, every time we walked past him he would jump out at us and cling to our legs. Luckily he doesn't play with his claws out!! We had out every toy we could find and tried to keep him amused. We managed to keep him in for that night and then the next morning it all started again and to finish it off he really disgraced himself because, when Richard was sitting on the sofa talking to his sister who had come to visit, Smokey jumped up beside him and tiddled on the sofa. How bad was that??? Needless to say, he went outside. He survived out there but we didn't see him until about 8.30 in the evening and I was beginning to panic. He came back and his leg was fine, so we have let him out again today. Now waiting for him to come home, again. I half expect this little figure to come down the road with a stick over his shoulder and a red and white spotted hankie carrying all his worldly goods. He is very loveable but also terribly independant. Just adorable really.

Outside and in the surrounding area at the moment you are greeted with the smell of bonfires and the sound of chain saws. Everyone is clearing up after the storm. So much damage and all the trees that were lost. Such a shame. My dad should be here at the moment because he loves a bonfire. What is it with men and bonfires, the bigger the better as far as they are concerned.

I will soon get into the swing of things and get some photos taken but in the meantime, it is just getting into the habit of posting again and enjoying everyone elses tales. Still haven't caught up with everyone yet, but I'll get there. Take care all of you, talk again soon.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Christmas? What Christmas?

First of all may I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I can't believe it is nearly the end of January but I will try and let you know what has been happening. As you know we had to leave France early to take my dad back because he was so unwell. It was a very long....... long drive home because dad was so uncomfortable bless him. We made it and managed to get him to the doctors next day and basically, he has been through all the various tests, x-rays, consultancy with a back surgeon, physio etc. firstly, with him not getting any better. Since he has been home, he couldn't even go to bed in a bed, luckily we had a special chair which flattened out and he has slept in there until 2 weeks ago which isn't the best thing is it? After a couple of weeks with the physio, we realised that exercises weren't doing any good at all so we went down the route of acupuncture. What a difference, he is obviously one of the lucky ones who responds well to it and he is now walking without a stick and as I say, he is able to lie down in a bed. Fingers crossed he will continue because he is desperate to come back out here again.

Christmas was very difficult, poor dad was in absolute agony and I did think of calling an ambulance at one stage. Every time he moved it brought tears to his eyes, so instead of going to my youngest daughters, Clare and Kenny came round to mum and dads and cooked the most delicious meal for us all. Not the most exciting day for them but needs must. They were both wonderful and we just had to make the most of it. Very strange because Vicki and the grandchildren were away for Christmas in Guernsey, but as it happened, it was all for the best because it would have been impossible with the children and very boring for them and even more difficult for my dad.

On top of all this, .... yes, there's more...... I had the most awful cough and I just coughed day and night so wasn't sleeping at all. It would go for a day, then a cold, then back again. Three trips to the doctors later and a course of antibiotics and staying at Vicki's with the poor grandchildren wondering why Nannie was shut in Williams room, I thought I was getting better. I called my mum and asked if I could go back there as I wasn't infectious any more and they jumped at the chance of having us back. When I got there, my bed was made up with a water bottle in it, a bowl of grapes on the side table and she fed me with lemon and honey, and milk, honey and whiskey to go to bed on. Mums are wonderful aren't they, but I think I have the best. I have just got rid of the bad throat and cough and it has taken 9 weeks!!!!

We finally got back to France on the 20th January and as you can imagine, with being away for so long, the house was very cold and rather damp. The beds were horrid so we had to wait for quite a while before we could go to bed, giving the blankets time to warm it through. The fires were lit the next morning and we found out we have something wrong with the chimney in the kitchen, so back to one log fire in the lounge. This hasn't been out since we got back.

There's more.......As you may have heard, we had a tempest / hurricane come through here and we were pretty lucky with no damage to the house. Trees down all over the place, part of the roof off the church in the village, and majority of houses have lost a certain amount of tiles. The outcome of the storm was, no electricity for nearly 4 days and no telephone or internet for 7 days. We are now slowly trying to catch up. Reading this post, you have to laugh it's so awful, but needless to say we are glad to be back and are now getting into some routine. Oh by the way, did I mention we had a puncture which needed a new tyre. Oh and the cat has been bitten and we had a trip to the vet. What else.............................

I think I had better stop there just in case I think of anything else but again I would like to wish all of you a very happy new year and I look forward to catching up with everyone's blogs. It is going to take me ages but I will make it in the end. Hopefully I will be blogging on a regular basis again. Oh by the way, I found my first two snowdrops and some crocus yesterday.