Thursday, January 29, 2009

Double take

The coots are still on the marsh which is well flooded at the moment. I haven't seen any sign of the mice. Did they listen to my advice about moving out?

Oh, I almost forgot; I saw a dodo. I was surprised to discover on Wikipedia that the last known stuffed Dodo was discarded in 1755. As you can see, if you follow the link, they are wrong. Perhaps I should write to them....

Strikes, history and colds

Rob and Olivier are on strike today. Olivier went off to school early for history which was the only lesson he had with a non-striking teacher. The buses are on strike most of the day so he hasn’t come back. He’s probably hanging out around town or perhaps he joined in the march. Strikes are tolerated in France – You wouldn’t like us to get the guillotine out again, would you?

We’ve all been ill with colds. This is my first cold for three and a half years. The last one I had was in England on our last visit. No exams this week but I have four mornings next week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed there won’t be another strike next Thursday – I’ve done my share of walking to work in the past. Looking up the dates, I've had a long walk to work and back every two years, perhaps I should start taking bets on next week...

A new housing estate is due to be built in a field on the outskirts of the village. While they were digging and surveying they found remains of a settlement. The dig delayed the start of work by 8 months and now some buyers are backing out because of the economical problems at the moment.

That particular part of the village was inhabited from the 2nd century onwards it seems. There were a lot of bones. Families buried their dead around where they lived in the past. There were traces of buildings and some kind of oven. Sorry, the site is not in English. If you click on the photo the rest will be displayed one by one. It seems that near to that place other remains were found 20 or so years ago but the previous council decided to ignore it and allowed building to carry on. The little port next to the village has always been used even by Romans, Normans and was even visited by the King on one occasion.

I’ve never found anything of interest on the garden, except for fossils and geodes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BlogExplosion Update

As I write the queue for approvals reaches back to before Christmas. Through the forums I’ve made contact with another approver and like me, she does what she can when she can. Some people have paid for credits they’ve never received. If you paid using PayPal you may be able to get a refund, it’s worth a try. Perhaps the owners might wake up if they start losing money.

This evening I can’t get onto BlogExplosion any way. I keep getting an “Address not found” message.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A little update

Time to supervise some more exams. This week kicked off with a computer exam. I’d never done one of those before, we were 6 supervisors looking after 100 students. I couldn’t help wondering what "vibrations" were being given off by 100 laptops in one room. One girl was crying because her laptop was playing up.

Olivier has been off lycée with a nasty cold. He watched the inauguration of president Obama on TV, I watched the swearing in and Aretha Franklin with him. I’ve got a sore throat this evening so I’m drinking a Kir; white wine with cassis (blackcurrant liqueur ) for extra vitamin C. That’s my excuse.

The weather has become ‘warmer’ so now we have rain, lots of rain.

P.S. No sign of the mice...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Of mice and jays

I was expecting my little garage guests to work out that if they ran up the wall and jumped across they could possibly get at the sack of rubbish. They didn’t. I put the un torn sack out yesterday and I don’t think that the magpies were around either.

This morning at breakfast I was rewarded for my tolerance. I sat and ate breakfast while watching the jay in the tree across the road. He/she had caught something to eat (possibly a mouse!) and was in the process of tearing it up. Then another swooped down into the same tree. So now there are two.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I went into the gardening section at the supermarket looking for a new cage trap. Boxes and containers of Souricide (mouse killer) screamed at me from the top shelf. Some even boasted killing rats, mice and voles. The only traps to be had were fatal ones, I’ve got a couple of those. I can’t bring myself to use them.

When we had a colony of voles in Dom’s bedroom Rob borrowed a rat cage trap from the towers. I went into the room one day to see a vole carefully climbing through the holes, having finished off the cheese.

I’ve put the bag of rubbish for Friday morning on top of a metal box, hopefully they won’t be able to get at it. When I went to the garage earlier I just managed to see a little creature jump down from the wall; the walls are bare breezeblocks so I imagine easy to climb up. I expect he/she was trying to figure our how to get across to the rubbish

Monday, January 12, 2009

Continuing the Mousy Tale

I don’t really want to put any creature out in the cold during weather like this. I was so relieved this morning when I saw that the trap door was still open. Perhaps they’d listened to my request to move out? Then I saw what the problem was. The cheese was gone. The cheese would have been easy to spot as I chose a bright orange piece of Mimolette. The problem is I had so much trouble fixing it to the hook that I must have bent it a bit and when they took the cheese the door did not close. They must think that I’m a very kind human indeed, leaving food out for them. I’m going shopping today so I will look out for a new trap.

Dru’s comment to the last post reminded me of once when I was visiting friends who lived in an old farmhouse. I was sat on the loo when a mouse suddenly appeared, ran around the outside of the bath and disappeared behind the skirting board. Needless to say I didn’t scream, I didn’t want everyone crowding in to see what the problem was at that moment. I held my breath and prayed he didn’t head in my direction.

When I got back into the house there was a gendarme hanging out on the edge of the sink (No not one of those - I should be so lucky – one of these) I put him outside, I hope he had a warm hole to crawl into. Twice recently I’ve put wasps outside, what’s going on? Are the insects evolving? ... Furry wasps?

We had a light sprinkling of snow this morning. It seems to have settled best on the roads and pavemants

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mouse buster

Or could they be voles?

I went into the garage this morning to collect something from the freezer and saw a little body disappearing behind the lawn mower. I knew they were in there because they’ve been nibbling at the rubbish sacks I usually store there. They seem to have a fetish for teabags. When I swept up the mess I could see a nice bed of hay under the lawnmower(dried grass which Rob didn’t clean out last time he mowed), just right for a little family looking for somewhere warm. The last time we had a mouse in the garage I nearly set fire to myself.

I’ve set a trap; it’s a tiny cage with a hook for cheese, this is attached to the door so when the mouse/vole goes in and takes the cheese the door slams shut. I can then pop them down to the marsh and release them, so that they can participate in the food chain. It doesn’t smell mousy in there so I hope it is voles…perhaps I’ll leave them if they are.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No snow

Busy, busy week again. Three mornings supervising exams, I’d forgotten what going out on a cold dark morning felt like. I had another session on my legs. It has worked on some of the newer veins so we are continuing. I’d like to explain that this is not just for vanity, she is dealing with veins which could become a problem later. I haven’t worn a shorter skirt for over 20 years. I did cry once a few years back. I saw a couple of my neighbours go out for a walk wearing short denim skirts and lovely tanned legs….. Other than that I’m a jeansy sort of person and I do like long skirts sometimes.

Dom had to get through snow to take her exams, fortunately she was in plenty of time.

If you look at a snow map of France, our village is just about the only place that hasn’t had snow.

Friday, January 02, 2009

2009, off to a good start.

I feel as if I’ve been overwhelmed by the last couple of weeks. I’ve got behind with everything; all the emails I was going to send out, some Christmas cards, the ironing, postcards, blogging and visiting blogging friends and so on. I’m really sorry.

The year stats with 2 pieces of good news. I expect that if you are from the UK you will have heard about Eleanor’s MBE, so now she’s the youngest person to receive an MBE. Mum told me that she was due to go to Buckingham Palace in February anyway so now she will meet the Queen twice. Our Aunt tells me that Eleanor has remained her sweet self throughout all of this and doesn’t really understand what the fuss is about.

My second good news relates to an event in the summer. I thought I’d written about it but I can’t find it. A little dog (Like this one) went missing just before his owner was due to return home to Paris after her holiday. I kept the photo, in a recipe book because he was so sweet (and now I can’t find it). I saw the wife of the man who was helping to look for the dog this afternoon and asked if they ever found him, they did. He was wondering the roads at the other end of the village trying to find his mistress. We have had dogs and cats disappear around here in the past, supposedly finding their way into certain laboratories, I don’t know how true that is.

I’m now the proud grandma of a bonsai. Dom came home before Christmas on the train juggling her luggage, a bonsai and a glockenspiel. As she has gone away couple of times I’ve been responsible for the watering. Please keep your fingers crossed that I don’t over/under water it.

Yes, I have had a go on the glockenspiel