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.