Monday, 26 November 2007

Stuck in a time warp!

After finishing work the other night, and before "my" programme (Strictly c.d. - it takes two), David was flicking through the channels and came to an old Dr. Who. Bear in mind we never watch Dr. Who.

"Who's that girl?" he asks
"Billy Piper" I said
"But she must be in her 60's" he says
"That's Billie Whitelaw" I reply!

Sorry, Babe (OH) it was just too good not to share!

Again, Strictly c.d. (it takes two) - Henry Winkler was on tonight (Fonze from Happy Days). He's grey and ageing.

"It makes you feel human" says OH! who was an avid fan of Happy Days.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

World Cup Fever/Shop till we drop - 2nd attempt

I know that by now it is over and done with - the Rugby World Cup, but our trip to Paris for the Final is worth noting.

David, Laura and I went up to Paris for the match - to watch it on the big screen at the Eiffel Tower. What a great night it was, even though we lost. The day England played France in the semi-final we were doing our maize silage, and it was a gritty day to say the least. We all worked hard, and I said to Laura that if England we would go to Paris next week! I've said so many times "wish we'd been there" and so many times through work have let the kids down, that this time I thought "sod it, we'll go". And go we did.

David said "we''ll take a picnic and some wine and champagne, and something to sit on". Bags duly packed off we went. It's a 4 hour drive from where we live, and we arrived about 5 p.m., parked at the Parc de Princes and set off towards the Eiffel Tower with our bags! By the time we arrived there I was like Quasi Modo - Laura got fed up carrying her bag, so I applied the 2-bucket theory - you're balanced with 2 bags/buckets. Nevermind, they should be lighter on the way back - food eaten, wine and champagne consumed!

It was a cold afternoon, but thinking ahead (as you might say) I picked up Thomas's (my son) Leicester Tigers jester's hat (the one with bells on!). I was glad I did, not only because it was warm but we met some fellow Tiger's supporters from Liecestershire, and watched from their park bench. Sadly the match is history - but watching England tackle Chabal on the big screen was something else. We all decided not to let the champagne go to waste - the others had some too, and we produced our plastic champage flutes from one of the bags - never let it be said we were unprepared! So there we all were drinking our champagne from plastic flutes and sharing the picnic until the early hours.

As the crowds dispersed - there was absolutely no trouble from the thousands and thousands of fans - all you could see was a carpet of rubbish - beer bottles and tins etc., but the Parisian authorities soon had their roadsweepers on the job and I'll be by morning most of it would be cleared up.

The following weekend - half term week for us - Laura and I went to England. Me for my yearly shopping trip and Laura to take her driving test. She had passed the theory in the summer. I picked her up from school at lunchtime and at 11.30 that night we were at my mum's in Leicestershire. Not bad going with only LD (Laura Dora) as my satnav.

The week was spent eating, drinking, shopping and driving - not necessarily in that order. I'm not sure what it is about going back to shop - we can buy clothes and pressies in France - but you always find more in England. As usual the car was loaded up nearly to the roof - and we were pulled into Customs at Dover. I just asked the Customs man to be ready to catch when I opened the boot, nothing did fall out but he could see it was tightly packed - no room for any illegals in there! - and so let us through.

Unfortunately Laura failed her driving test, but will take it again in February, and the chaps we met in Paris the week before were also away on holiday - or so they said they would be.

Anyway, memories recorded (will have to master the photo lark on my blogs) and christmas pressies stashed away for Pere Noel (isn't my husband a lucky man - more knickers and socks and CD's that have been bought on his card?). I will have to feign surprise at my pressies too, though by then I'll have forgotten what I actually did buy.

Friday, 5 October 2007

An expensive lunch!

We went to the bull sale last week. It was organized by our "groupement" - the co-operative that we sell our lambs and calves through. As usual we were the only English there, which is no bad thing really as there is then no-one to congregate with. However, by not going the other English farmers do miss out on a bit of rural France.

The animal sales here are not like those in England. Even in our neck of the woods in England - Cumbria - when we went to sales we had to listen to get the gist of the accents, we were near to Lancashire and Yorkshire and the rural Cumbrians took some understanding. Here it is a different thing altogether. All the animals have a base price which is decided by the Groupement beforehand, and this is written up on the animal's details above him or her. We were listening to the "auctioneer" who said something and then there was a ripple of applause. Ah, thought I, that one has been sold. Oh no, just then hands went up and pieces of paper were passed around. Presumably the person who got the round of applause was just opening the bidding!

Two animals went through that had been born in November 2006 - "they're doing it it order of birth" we whispered to each other - then one went through that had been born in August, which totally blew our theory.

One little chap went by, rather reluctantly being pulled and pushed by his handlers. He's nice, I said. Again the above proceedure, so we thought he had been sold. I must add at this point that we had only gone for a day out and the lunch, not to buy a bull. That would be next year.

At the end of the sale we went to have a look at the little one that caught our eye - he was the smallest as he weas only 9 months old, but perfectly formed. "Do you like him?" asked our Technician, who does speak English. "Yes, he's quite nice. Was he sold?" "No" replied Pascal - mistake. I said to my husband "we don't need another bull until next year, and can't really afford one now", "but he will be grown by next year, and we'll have to pay more for an older one" said David. "But where will we put him, he can't be inside from now until next year." "He's used to electric fencing" said Pascal.

Again we turned away. No, we couldn't really afford him just now, don't know where to put him and don't need him for another year. "If we put some electric fencing at the back and brought the old girl up to calve with him", said I. At which point we turned back and said yes!

He even has a name - Bertrand. Our present stock bull is called Victor, because he came to us during May a few years ago around Victory in Europe week - well, it's obvious isn't it?

So Bertrand arrived at our farm. Still reluctant we pushed and pulled him off the lorry. Thank goodness we had a good driver deliver him and not the horrible one, but once again that's another post.

Bon chance Bertrand!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Life since 4/9/07

What has been going on since the last blog? Where does one begin?

Laura is better at lycee, though we have had one headache experience when, once again, she ended up in hospital for two hours. Better than the week she had there in May with suspected meningitus. She has had her eyes tested so now has to wear glasses. I hope this does the trick as the next thing is a brain scan. I bet her father gipped at the 445 euros for the glasses for her. We daren't tell him he owes me 66 euros for the doctors and opticians appointments. He gets it back through his Social Security.

At least she like her course this year, so apart from the boarding we are halfway there.

No news from her sister or her brother, so I don't know how the apprenticeship is going.
Will probably see Thomas at the weekend when I go and beg for my 66 euros!

My husband was just finishing ploughing on the Wednesday 6th, when the tractor caught fire!
It's now a burnt out shell on the field, and we're waiting to see what the insurance will give us. As it was 27 years old I am not holding my breath for the cost of a new John Deere! It was quite an emotional experience as the tractor was part of my divorce settlement! He is a really nice man, my ex! Even Laura was a bit upset as shee remembers sleeping in the footwell whilst I was baling or wrapping bales in Cumbria. As I said, like my marriage, the tractor went up in flames!

The weather has been good, no rain for 4 weeks so in theory we should be well up in the ploughing and field prep. stakes. However, with no tractor we are, as usual, late with everything.

David went on a Chambre d'Agriculture day yesterday. It was lovely, once I had moved the neighbours sheep off our field, to have a bit of p&q on my own. He caused a stir by telling everyone I was left cutting wood for the winter though. We'll need it now it has suddenly gone a bit cold.

Today I was given 2 hours to clean the house before some people came to look round. I really need at least a day (or two), but it was presentable, and after being told off for not helping David kept them outside until I went to greet them! If nothing else happens, at least the house will be clean for a bit.

On Friday we are going to a bull sale and staying there for lunch. I wonder which poor French farmers will draw the short straw and sit next to us?

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

La rentree (back to school)

My youngest daughter, Laura, went back to Lycee today. What a weekend we have had. Ups and downs of emotions. To start with she hates school, but hates having to board during the week even more. It was decided that she would ask her sister, who lives in the same town as Laura's Lycee, to let her stay in the flat she shares with her boyfriend. He is in the army and so is not there during the week, so there would only be the two sisters. In theory, not something too difficult. However, Louise, the sister, has a friend staying while she flat-hunts. So that would mean three of them - during the week - in a one-bedroomed flat. Suffice to say Louise gipped at having her sister share as well.

Laura then said, tearfully, she would not go to Poitiers to Lycee but would go to another one only 20 minutes from home and get the bus each day. This would mean doing another course that she would be doing grudgingly, as there is not a course linked to Child nursing locally.

Fortunately, or so I thought, she has decided she will board at Poitiers but we are going flat-hunting for her. She also has to find a flatmate as her dad has said no to being on her own (but what happens if the flatmate leaves?). So we have to negotiate the French system to see how much financial help the Social will cough up. Is anything easy?

At least she has only been on the phone once today so far. I daren't tell I sat in the car crying when I left her. It was far easier to leave them at school at 5 knowing you would see them in a few hours. But to leave a tearful 18 year old and say "Chin up, see you next week" is emotionally draining.

I hope the friend gets a nice flat - NOT.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Wedding anniversary blues - or greens!

August 21st 2000 - the day we got married. Today we celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary - tea or champagne in bed, a day of lovey dovey? Not a bit of it. HE forgot! We had arranged lunch with some friends who have a cottage near us, they came to our wedding. I told them "don't say anything to David - see if he remembers." Usually when I remind of something like an anniversary or birthday he says "I did remember, but didn't say anything because I thought you had forgotten!" HE wasn't quick enough this time. Though I have to say, our life is such that it is difficult to remember what day it is let alone what the date is. there, I'm standing up for HIM. Anyway, we had a lovely lunch - all of 12 euros each (less than a tenner!) and our friends paid. So here I am with a glass of Kir Royale (creme de cassis and a sparkling white) doing my blog.

The greens? I'm trying to decorate the rooms we had renovated last year, this time it's the dining room. I have inherited loads of Magnolia (part of the divorce settlement) so decided to do most of it in that. I wanted it red but with us being for sale thought something more neutral might be better. To add some (interest) colour David has chosen Vert Provence behind the stairs. We have to have it mixed at the local DIY shop (Mr Bricolage or Britolage as it is called) and when the assistant showed me the colour it was definitely green! I tried to explain in my (crap) french that as my husband had chosen it, it doesn't matter if it is awful!

Kir Royale has finished, HE is watching the cricket, time for something on toast!?

Wedding anniversary blues - or greens!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Domestic goddess time

I'm suppossed to be cleaning up this afternoon - my sister is coming tomorrow. I have though decorated two bathrooms in the last fortnight. The trouble is I'm getting hooked on this blog-lark. I only came on the computer to order a new tag for 0422 who has lost one of hers, looked at WFTN, and others, then felt it was time to create another one for me.

I have a rendezvous with my son and ex-husband at 5.00 in an attempt to get Thomas (son) on an apprenticship with a local agricultural mechanic. Thomas doesn't want to do it, ex-husband doesn't want to pay for more education and I don't want Thomas to go back to England. Hopefully this way it will buy Thomas time, give him some money and a qualification after it.

Plus - he might be able to keep our ageing tractors going a bit longer with the knowledge he gains - well, he will need some practical experience! I think he could do quite well at the Ag. Mech. as he will be able to help with all the english farmers that have come over. Who knows - he may end up in a translation job.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Found it!

Well I managed to find my blog again - after quite a few attempts - and I received a comment. Thank you Pig-in-the-kitchen. I then thought it was time to do another one. More problems, but we got there.

How is it that when I'm sitting on the tractor mindlessly baling or moving the wretched bales that I can think on masses to say and communicate to others, and yet when faced with the computer and keyboard my mind goes blank?

You think about all sorts of things when driving the tractor - what we are going to do when we retire, what would I do if my husband popped his clogs before we retire - he's not likely to I hasten to say as he is in good health and a young 65 year old - but these things spring to mind as we are 2nd time around marrieds. He has two grown up kids and I have my three, so whoever goes first things will be a bit difficult for the surviving partner. I also ponder on other peoples problems, and what I would do in their shoes. But then I think "what would I really do?" As they have/are doing or what I think they should do. I also have imaginary conversations - in english and french. My french is perfect in these conversations, but when faced with the situation it goes to pot. I would really love to communicate properly in french and not blather on as I normally do with the only words I know. I have imaginary arguments with my husband - these usually involve his or my kids. It's not easy being a step-parent. I have awarded myself the title of Queen of the step-daughters from hell! That's for another time as we done't have broadband in this neck of France and I'm clocking up the hours typing this. Thanks for listening tractor!

Found it!

Monday, 23 July 2007

What a terryfying experience

Well I hope I have just created a blog! People say it is so easy - I don't think so! You need a title - do you make one up or do you give your real name? You need an address - the same applies. You have to open an "account" - how much does this cost? The main thing is will I ever find it again to carry on or look at the comments - if anyone else can find it.

I came upon the title "Flockette" as that is what we call our female lambs that will go into the flock - one of them walked past the window as I was wondering what to put. At the moment I have four "Flockettes" - all black and white, piebald I suppose you might say. If anyone remembers Sue in Sooty and Weep one of the flockettes looks just like her with big black eyes. Another one is called Ashley after the footballer Ashley Cole - that's another story.

Anyway, will sign off now and hope to find my blog again with far more interesting thoughts when I know it works.