Monday, July 28, 2014

Hot weather

Rob was on holiday last week so it was a busy one. On Wednesday we went with Olivier to Saumur to help him clean up his apartment and bring the rest of his belongings home. Not an easy task as it was very hot and humid. He bought us lunch at Mcdonald’s and I tried a chicken burger with avocado sauce – delicious, needless to say I ate a salad with it. We finished the cleaning in time to go for a drink before the inventory.

Rob and I spent a very pleasant hour waiting for him to finish in the park at the top of his road. We found a shady spot to sit and listen to water running – bliss on a hot day.

I love trees

I had a walk around the park and discovered a charming alley. Eventually the arches will be covered in roses.

On Friday we went to visit one of Rob’s colleagues who is working at Georges Clemenceau’s holiday home in Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard, Vendée. There is an excellent gift shop, I bought a rose scented drawer sachet and some rose scented sweets in a pretty tin. We also bought presents for up and coming family birthdays. Again, it was a very hot day, the sea looked very tempting.

On the way home we drove through storms, the temperature dropped by 15°C within an hour. There was a lot of rain once we arrived home. It disappeared very quickly and by Saturday you wouldn’t guess it had rained at all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thanks to LinkedIn

I found a missing blogger.

Green stuff...

A couple of weeks ago one of my students asked me to help her write a letter to a company in the UK. She wanted to buy a specially adapted mouse for her husband’s computer as he has Parkinson’s disease.

A week later the letter had come back as the company was not at the address. I tried phoning the number which appeared on the website and a nurse on a stroke ward somewhere in the UK answered. She was very nice but couldn’t help our quest.

The following Saturday I decided to see what I could find out and came across the French website of a company that sells the same adapted mouse . I contacted my student who emailed back a few minutes later to say that a mouse was on its way! When she came for her lesson last Thursday she came bearing a plant as way of thanking me for my help. Her husband is very happy now that he can use his computer with ease.

This is an excellent year for hollyhocks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them grow so tall. One in our garden is more than twice my height! I dragged Rob out to take a photo so that you could see it. I’m 1 meter 67 (around 5’ 6”)

To finish off; I received a message from Dom at the weekend. They live in the Boivre valley which is a protected site of natural interest. They discovered a deer at the fence at the back of the garden, eating their plants.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Weird and Wonderful

Exceptional sites this weekend:

We live next to the ‘Mairie’, town hall and if there is a wedding on a Saturday afternoon we usually hear and see some of it.

This Saturday was different. I heard the sound of bagpipes coming up the road. Fortunately I was in my office which is upstairs and when I looked out of the window I saw this little band coming towards the house.

They are a traditional Breton band of musicians so the bagpipes are in fact cornemuses. Isn’t it interesting that one of the men is wearing what looks very like a kilt? Must be the Celtic blood.

Afterwards they went into the town hall garden and played to the newlyweds and guests.

Last night I was closing the shutters upstairs before going to bed just before 11.30 and saw a row of lights. At first I thought that they were cinders from a fire floating through the sky. I ran downstairs to get my phone and was lucky enough to take some pictures. My phone is just a humble Samsung with no smart bits.

I was facing the East and the lights were moving from North to South. They were a reddish colour and seemed to flicker like flames. Very beautiful and I didn’t feel threatened of frightened by them. In the picture they are just above the streetlight. I didn’t count them, but there must have been around ten of them. I’ve always wanted to see a UFO so I feel very privileged.

The sun sets at around 10 o’clock here so I wondered if perhaps it could be the reflection of the sunset on a flock of swans flying over. A bit late for that perhaps. Do swans fly at night?

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Pretty Purple Poppies

Last night I managed to get some pictures I wanted before it was too late.

These poppies are grown to provide morphine and other pain killers. They are also very beautiful, but only last a short while, the petals fall very quickly.

As we finished our walk at the end of a hot day, it started to rain. No surprise as the sky had begun to look very moody.

Then there was a rainbow – as always they look better in real life

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Introducing Holly the Cat

... and that's all you get

Already a week has gone by since Dom, J-M and their cat Holly came to stay. Needless to say the weather was bad, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. Dom brought a bottle of champagne with her. She’s had another paper accepted. She’s hoping to become Doctor before her 26th birthday in November. She’s also got a job next year at the university in Poitiers for a year. After that they will travel and work abroad.

J-M’s pupils are preparing for the baccalaureate in June so he’s almost at his first year’s end as a philosophy teacher. He doesn't know just yet where he will be sent next year – hopefully not too far from Poitiers.

Holly the cat? She’s gorgeous and very well behaved. Didn’t jump up anywhere she wasn’t supposed to. When we went into town for a look around the shops we left her with Rob. She spent quite a lot of time sat on the windowsill by my desk studying the hens in the farmyard below. Rob and I missed the patter of tiny paws on the stairs after they’d gone home.

On the Sunday morning we went to 4 Brocantes (sort of boot sales)in the villages around here. None of us found anything interesting enough to buy. Unfortunately, there are so many during the spring and early summer months now that real treasures are hard to find. Dom made Aubergine (eggplant) Korma when we arrived home for lunch. It was wonderful. There was enough for me to have the next day for lunch so I was very happy.

Just over a week ago Olivier had an interview with a bank and then dashed to the University in Rennes to attend some speed interviews with even more banks. He needs to find work for his month on month off university course. At the moment he’s waiting to hear so everything is crossed for him.

Stop Press One of the banks have contacted him today for an interview!
Stop stop Press He has a skype interview next week!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A little bit of family history.

For my last birthday my mum gave me a copy of a local history book of the village where I grew up. It was in the main fascinating and also sad when I learnt that some people I grew up with are no longer alive.

We were talking about the book when I phoned to wish mum a happy Easter and she told me the following story:

The maternal side of my family comes from Great Barr in Birmingham (UK), or thereabouts. The village I grew up in is about 40 miles away which was a long journey in the past. My parents arrived there in the mid-fifties and as far as I know settled in well considering they were outsiders. At first we lived in the village and then moved to farm cottages outside the village.

We have a tradition of finding graveyards fascinating in our family and of course mum did a tour of the church-yard to see if there were any interesting grave stones to read. She came across one that bore the name of her Grandmother’s family – Foden. Yes, this man turned out to have been a distant cousin who had also worked in the village on a farm. When my great-granny (née Foden) visited the cottage after we moved there, she remembered it. Not only had the distant cousin worked on the same farm, he had lived in the same cottage!

What are the chances of that happening?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A lot can happen in a month

Still battling away with the postcards. We’re using changing the images to review our descriptions and information which has changed a lot in the last 8 years. Every cloud has a silver lining.

In the last month I've had a new crown on a tooth which has been uncomfortable for years. I learnt that gold and metal crowns aren't supposed to go together but as I've been coping with gold and steel crowns side by side for nearly 30 years it was worth the risk of putting another steel crown in. no problems. There can be a risk of ‘electric’ shocks and discomfort as well as a metallic taste.

We voted for a new mayor. Went to the meetings and made some new friends. Our old mayor has retired – he has a farm to run.

Dom stayed for a couple of nights as she had a course to attend in La Rochelle. We hadn't seen her or J-M for quite a while. We exchanged Christmas presents on 25th March!

The Doctor that looks after the veins on my legs retired on April 1st (no joke!). I would never have believed she was old enough to retire. I saw the new Doctor a couple of days ago. She’s very nice – her technique is different so it will be interesting to see the results after a few sessions.

Our Doctor will be retiring in July, not sure that a village as small as ours will find a replacement. Again, I didn't think that he was old enough to retire…

By the end of this year Dom will be Doctor Dom!

We've had the most gorgeous weather over the past few days. Lots of daisies popping up and flowers and blossom… blue skies.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

This post will appear on more than one of my blogs.

For quite a long time now we framed the scans of our postcards sold on ebay.  It made them stand out and we thought, looked more professional.  We were told that we would have to stop doing this about a year ago; so we stopped.  Now we have to take the remaining frame from cards online.  Several thousand need to be changed before ‘the spring’.  I’m going as fast as I can (re-scanning about 30 a day) but I won’t get them all.  I know that ebay can ‘disappear’ announcements. 

There is a service provided that can make the changes for you, but we can’t afford it. 

So for a while I won’t be blogging or visiting or surfing much.

From this:

To this:
Which do you prefer?

Sunday, March 02, 2014

2004 revisited

Looking back on my blog 10 years ago (I do it because I can), I came across a post referring to a blogger who had written  about a letter written by the Smithsonian institute to someone who had discovered a Barbie skull in their backyard.  

I looked the letter up again using Google and discovered that there are now a couple of footnotes to the story….  If you never got round to reading the letter it is a must!