Monday, 30 April 2012

What a weekend ...

It seems to have poured down with rain all weekend – and most of last week too! The only time it didn’t rain was when we were in and out of shops choosing carpet on Saturday morning.

Sunday was dreadful; the temperatures were low combined with torrential rain and a driving wind. All of this a world away from the beautiful weather we experienced at the end of March. Flooding is forecast for some areas as the rain washes down off the hills and into the rivers. Not even the higher than average rainfall in April can make up for the dry winter, so unless it continues to rain an extension of the water restrictions is predicted.

Tim is away this week so I’m up a bit earlier than normal to be greeted by birds singing and a beautiful blue sky.

I wonder what the day will bring? It's my duty day at school so fingers crossed that it doesn't rain...

Thursday, 26 April 2012


First you see me...

now you don’t!

I hope the insects and spiders were equally as well camouflaged!

A Wheatear (I think) taken after the ploughing, but before the planting - unless you know better...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Battered and bruised ...

Well, I’m back! 

My visit to the Chateau du Broutel at Rue was a roaring success and both the Staff and pupils had a great time. The vast majority of pupils were a delight to spend time with, and my colleague Corrie certainly knows how to organise a fantastic trip. Their parents should be really proud of how they adapted to a week immersed in French culture. They sampled goat’s cheese, snails and frog’s legs combined with an unhealthy dose of sweets and chocolate!  More about the visit in another post.

You are probably wondering where the ‘battered and bruised’ comes from. Partly from bruised toes caused by bashing my right foot against a shower door!

Then yesterday a colleague asked me to do his drive duty at the end of school. I was happy to help until I tripped over a raised curb and crashed to the floor in front of pupils, and a car park of parents! I didn’t see anyone laugh but I’m certain they did. Even Tim had a little titter as I staggered into the house.

My injury list includes bruised palms, aching wrists and arms, bruises to the knee and thigh of my left leg and a cricked neck! In fact only my right leg is unscathed, except, of course, for those bruised toes!

I’ve filed an accident report just in case it’s possible to claim early retirement on the grounds of public humiliation and a cricked neck…

Monday, 16 April 2012

Lucky old me ...

On Sunday I arrived home from France.

On Monday I set out for yet another week in France, accompanied by fifty eight Year 8 pupils!

Lucky old me …

Sunday, 15 April 2012

New beginnings ...

The pampas grass is doing just what Colin and Elizabeth promised it would. The lacerations to my arms and Tim’s nose have nearly healed  

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Je regret ...

We are heading home soon and our clematis is just about to burst into flower. It’s never had so many flower buds so perhaps the ‘le grand froid’ has been good for it!

I was optimistic that it would flower before we left, and perhaps with some sunshine it might have done …

Friday, 13 April 2012

B.O.G.O.F at Angles sur l'Anglin ...

Earlier this week we went to the Brocante at Angles sur l’Anglin and it turned out to be my lucky day! Last year I posted about my quest to add to my collection of knife and fork rests. You can read about it here.
Angles Brocante had a few sets on offer, and our friend Chris found this lovely set of daschunds, which he promptly bought. Just as I was thinking how nice they were and that I’d missed yet another opportunity, he presented them to me as a gift.

Sally and Chris then led us to a stall that they’d seen earlier. There was a set of crystal (although it has to be said, not very good crystal) rests. After some negotiation we got them for nearly half price at 8€. Now you might think that we were ‘done’, but I like them!

So, if you eat chez nous I now have a selection to offer. You might have to remind me to put them on the table though!

Back to my title, perhaps it should be the other way round. G.O.F. then B.O....

Thursday, 12 April 2012

L'Hermitage at Buzançais...

Last night we ate at L'Hermitage in Buzançais with some friends. The meal marked the end of Maureen's week long birthday celebrations - it was a very BIG birthday!! We all chose from the 28€ menu and washed it down with some Reuilly rosé wine.
The meal was delicious, and our friends, who have eaten there a few times, also sing the praises of the lunchtime 16€ menu.
I always find it difficult to describe the taste of a meal, but suffice to say it all tasted as good as it looked! After a smoked fish amuse bouche I chose the saumon fume, followed by pintade and a mountain of profiteroles filled with a duo of chocolate ice-creams. Tim went for the escargot, filet de boeuf and tarte aux pommes. Our friends were all happy with their choices too.
Some foody pics to whet your apetite, but, if you decide to visit, go hungry as the portions are generous!

I forgot to photograph that enormous mountain of profiteroles. I was too busy tucking in!
And finally, the very happy eaters!


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sunset over Le Louroux...

Yesterday afternoon we set out for Leroy Merlin at Chambray-les-Tours. We needed to buy the necessary bits to change a central heating radiator that was damaged during the big freeze. Our plan was to have a walk around the lake at Le Louroux on our way home.
We hit the store at 17.20 and left at 19.45 about 200€ lighter, but hopefully with everything we (Tim!) needs. There wasn’t even time to go to the building materials section to select new stone for our terrace renovations.

By the time we got back to Le Louroux the sun was setting, so our walk will happen on another day!

P.S. Tim beginning the job, only to open the packets to realise that things are not always what they seem ...

Friday, 6 April 2012

From a different perspective ..

I’m not religious but was brought up going to chapel/church and I have great respect for friends who are true believers. Sometimes I want to believe that life as we know it is more than just coincidence and evolution, but the scientist in me holds me back.
Yesterday fellow blogger Broad did a beautiful post about her ‘sacred place’. You can read about it here. This set me to thinking about where my spiritual place would be. I didn’t have to consider for too long as I knew exactly where that place would be.
It would be the summit of a mountain. When my time comes to an end I would like someone who loves me to do for me, what, because of circumstances, I didn’t do for my father. It’s a long story, and not really one for this post, but Dad wanted to be scattered over the Brecon Beacons.

Courtesy of The National Trust

His sister wouldn’t attend a cremation, so he was buried in the churchyard a couple of hundred metres from my house. She still wouldn't attend the burial because it wasn’t in Wales! The decision was the right one because when Mam died less than a year later she was buried in the same plot. So, there is a little corner of a Staffordshire churchyard that will be forever Wales!
Anyway this is my place and one where I have felt great peace.

From the summit of the Dent d’Oche the view one way is of Lac Leman and from the other is this spectacular view of the Dents du Midi.

This is not a morbid post, but is for me uplifting. I have no doubt that in one way or another I will climb to the summit of that mountain again…


Thursday, 5 April 2012

View from a desk ...

I never like to think that Tim is quicker thinking than I am, but he was when he bagged first pick of the desks in our office! Tim’s looks on to the window and garden beyond, whereas my view is of a bookcase and … Tim! He doesn’t have a glare problem with his laptop screen but I do. Come to think of it he also has a proper office chair while I’m making do with an old director’s chair with a cushion.
His work yesterday included …

Green woodpecker

He did leave his desk to walk up the hill to photograph the mist rising over Le Petit-Pressigny. It didn't quite live up to Tim's expectations, but I like it.

I believe we should swap desks so that Tim can better concentrate on his day job. So, all I need to do now is work out exactly what to say to convince Tim! Any ideas?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Our first bluebells of 2012...

Always a magnificent sight! These bluebells, which I’m told are the Spanish variety, were found along the bief at the bottom of the garden.
I can feel a woodland walk beckoning.
Watch this space …

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Two posts in one day, but ...

I don’t usually manage two posts in one day. Apologies for the mix of metaphors but something is on my mind and I need to get it off my chest - immediately!
Why does time pass more quickly when I’m at Le Pre Vert?
Ever the scientist I have been searching for a factual explanation rather than one related to my joy at being in France. I recall an interesting factoid about the space missions which found that astronauts are younger after a space mission than if they had remained on terra firma. At a constant angular velocity, the relative speed of Le Pre Vert is greater than that of the Old School due to  Le Pre Vert being at a lower latitude because it is further from the Earth's axis of rotation. This faster surface velocity means that time passes more quickly.

So to take this to the extreme time will pass very quickly at the equator and not at all at the poles. Perhaps this is why there is a proliferation of Health Spas springing up all over the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

I gather there is now a vacancy at Cern to lead the team looking for the Higgs boson particle. Do you think I should apply? 

Dead or Alive?

When we arrive at Le Pre Vert one of the first things we do is take a turn around the garden. Today we were keen to see the work which had been done at the bief of the Aigronne which runs along the bottom of the garden. In January we were told that work was to be carried out to cut down some of the larger trees and clear the banks. None of our trees were affected by the cull, although some plots adjoining ours have had some very large trees cut down and stacks of cut wood are in evidence.

On one of the plots a lorry was being loaded with the larger trunks. I’m sure that as we walk the area we shall see more evidence of this work.
The ‘big freeze’ seems to have taken its toll on our garden. We’ve lost a number shrubs and trees. Perhaps you can confirm our diagnosis? 


Tea on the sunny terrace…

Some things never change; Tim at work on his computer, but, if you look carefully, you can see that as a concession to being on holiday he is wearing his shorts...

We both slept better last night ( after a night at the Premiere Classe in Boulogne, who wouldn’t?)  and are looking forward to a delicious lunch with our friends John and Maureen at Le Breuil. I wonder whether  we’ll get a sneak preview of the preparations for the BIG party …