Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A tornado arrived

The new Dutch owners are coming for Christmas. Yes, it is their house, but with their agreement, our home.

Anyway, what with one thing and another - their stock husbandry and gipping to pay bills - we are trying to move before Christmas. This seemed to be an impossibility until the "Tornado" arrived - my daughter Louise. She and her partner arrived yesterday to help us load a van that we borrowed. So much for my not taking any rubbish. Anything that stood still was packed, loaded and taken to the other house. We are not proud people. We "found" a bedside table for OH's side of the bed - an old munition box. This definitely was not going with us. It was missing last night. Possibly last seen on route for St Barbant - courtesy of Louise.

But, bless her, we got two very good loads shifted.

I have tonight attempted the "boot room", found a nest of mice and still stink of mouse pee etc! So much for the 7 cats!

Whilst wrapping and packing, I missed the old days of years old newpapers. Today it is all bubble-wrapped. In theory this should hasten the job - nothing to read. Sadly, I found the test cricket to be more interesting than wrapping and packing! Isn't life sad? Well, it wont be when we go on a winter cricket tour to the West Indies - all that sun and jerk chicken!

So, we're hell bent on being out before christmas. Oh, and we've had our first lamb! Some randy little tup lamb was obviously celebrating christmas early.

Anyway, back to the packing and defrosting. It's clothes, fridges and freezers tomorrow. But we can't move entirely until the TV, satelite and computer are moved (and the bed). Bon nuit.

Monday, 24 November 2008

It's a strange (farming) world

Well, we have now signed the Acte to sell our farm, together with our cows. Some 160 in lamb ewes have also been sold, the last 110 went on the Sunday before we sold the farm, and before they started lambing - we did, in fact, have one of the ewes lamb. But joy of joys I'm not going out to the lambing shed until at least April when those that we have kept should start to lamb.

The day before we signed, the new owner had 147 Shetland ponies arrive from Holland. This has caused something of a stir in our commune as they are only used to cows and sheep. They are quite a tourist attraction. Another 40-odd arrived the week after, leaving another 100 or so still to be delivered!

Unfortunately, due to problems with a "Change of Use" certificate for the barn adjoining our new house, we didn't actually buy it until a week later. Technically, we were homeless (and hopeless) for a week. However, I may have explained before that we can stay at our old farm until Spring 2009 - time to get sorted and builders started.

It has been a race to get some fencing in place so that the sheep could be moved. They have spent 3 weeks on a friends farm, and were fortunately moved over the last weekend. We feel a bit more in control now that they are at their new home. But we still have to make the fences horse - or Didier - proof. He has the nasty habit of jumping out to where the grass is greener - and his body is proof of his ability. They should be moving in the next week or so, but come spring the neighbour will be putting his breeding mares and their foals nearby. I wait with baited breath.

The people that we bought from have left us some "welcome to your new home" gifts - some bantam hens, a pig, a duck, a goose and rather a mess. What with the weather we have had in the last two weeks since we bought the place, I've been a bit pig-sick of the place and wished we'd never seen it. The lake (due to crap drainage) in the yard does nothing to make it any better. To cap it all they took with them the wood-burning stove so we've had to buy another as it's the only form of heat in the place.

Anyway, have today started the "dechetterie dash" - or onwards to the local tip. With a bit of sun and the removal of one or two "features" it looks much better.

Bertrand - the young bull we bought last year - has got his first calf, a daughter, born by caesarian section the week after the new chap took over. At least it was his vet's bill, not ours!
Photo to follow.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Another update

Well, we have had a week in England and Ireland seeing David's family. It was rather hectic, but very enjoyable. We will spend more time in Ireland with his daughter next time. Two nights with the grand-children are sufficient!

We are less than two weeks away from signing away the farm, and signing up for our new life. Both of us are looking forward to it as it does become very stressful - the signing away bit. We negotiated the prices for the cows last week, and OH was convinced they all new what was happening. Bertie has desserted his two heifers and taken on Victor (the senior bull) to see if he can "sort out" the older cows. I hope he has more luck with the young Normand cow - she has had a caesarian, a dead calf (then nicked her aunt's calf) and finally produced a bull last year - which went into the freezer today!

We're still trying to sell 100 in-lamb sheep. So we are taking either 130 or 230 sheep (je ne sais pas) I don't know! We hope to be in our new home by Christmas, with a possible wedding in the grounds next August!

Thomas has gone back to England to work, aided and abetted by his father. More later. Have a spare ticket for Tina, which Louise will probably benefit from.

The weather has been just super. Wall to wall sunshine, a bit frosty some nights, but absolutely glorious. Let's hope it's like this when we are retired and can enjoy it!

Charlie is first in the van now, comes up for a cuddle first thing and lets OH make a fuss too! So he is definitely coming with us.

Am trying to reduce the number of cockerals - but a freezer full of beef might slow that process down.

Anyway, roll on 31/10/08 - after which I may even have time to blog more, and do more photos!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

learning to do photos...!

these are my daughters, Laura and Louise.

Lets hope I can do this when I get home ;)

Sunday, 31 August 2008


Charlie was first spotted on our farm one early morning in February, lurking at the back of the house and buildings close to the lambing shed. He was seen from our "loo with a view". He is a beagle dog of indeterminate age, but has obviously been mistreated by a man.

How do I know that? Because to this day he is very unsure of any man that comes to our place.

We think he was dumped by the Chasse people (hunters). I phoned the Gendarms, Mairies in three communes, spoke to local Chasse people, local farmers and the vet. But no-one new Charlie.

He started off by disappearing during the day, hiding somewhere and only being seen in the evening and morning. Gradually he stayed around a bit in the daytime, I even bought some biscuits as a snack to entice him near. But the circle got wider and wider until I couldn't chuck that far, so the others had the snacks. They didn't mind, of course.

I gave him the name Charlie - it's amazing how quickly these names stick, and even OH starts to refer to him as Charlie. He ran off everytime the van started up, and would run a mile if he was on the road to get away from a vehicle. So we assumed he had been chucked into a van or car boot (we have seen this done) and the lid slammed on him.

During the winter when I got bales of hay he would follow for miles, even when two or three bales were needed he would follow the tractor.

Gradually I got him to come and smell at my hand before dashing off, then he would stay long enough for a quick pat on the head. Now, after 6 months, he will actually let me stroke and pet him, if he is in the mood. OH can also stroke him on occasions.

Until he was threatened with "you wont come when we move if you don't get in the Van", he gave it a wide berth, then one day he got in the back with the others up the road. It was a hot day, and I think he was brassed off with running behind. Since then he has got in when we have been away from the yard, after moving sheep or checking the cows.

But this weekend he has jumped in the van in the yard on his own!! I think we are getting there at last.

So, Charlie will be going with us to our new place along with the other 3 dogs, various cats, chickens, sheep, oh and OH, of course.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

A new Olympic sport?

As the Olympics draw to a close, I wonder if it is good or bad for me. Good - because for the whole time I've done nothing (except put on weight because of doing nothing) but watch the Games. As I set off to do something we have another "Medal moment". So that's another hour or so, because you just have to watch the flag go up (have they got hot air positioned up the flag pole in the Bird's Nest?), feel the lump in the throat and say "aah, wasn't that good?".
Bad - because now I'll have no excuse to get on with some work. I really will have to start sorting out the house in preparation for the move, even though we will not be moving until early 2009. I know what will happen, nothing will be done and then panic will set in and bang goes the orderly and organised packing. I was going to make a start with a visit to the Dechetterie (local recycling place) this afternoon but OH and Thomas, my son, have cleared off in the van - so after this blog looks like it is back to the Olympics one last time.

We have, though, devised our own Olympic sport - Chucking the Coaster at the Chicken as it enters the House! At the moment I think I'm in gold medal position. My sister came recently and put a pile of coasters on the table, OH had a coffee and actually took a coaster for his mug. Sister indignantly told him they were not for use under a coffee cup. However, as they say in the films, no chicken has been hurt in the pursuit of this sport, they just know it is dangerous to enter the house now. I'm definitely in gold medal position for cleaning up most of the hen s..t as they come in looking for crumbs and dead flies.

Perhaps as the sun is shining I'll mow the lawn, and pop in now and then to catch another Medal moment.

Friday, 8 August 2008

We finally finished haymaking on Wednesday. The last field at our new place. Yes, it was a bit late, and yes, it was crap hay as it was left too late, but it will be something for the sheep to eat in winter. Wednesday was, perhaps, the hottest day we have had so far. I forgot to take water with us, the stringing on the baler was crap as the hay was so dry and fine. Tempers were frayed, but we got there.

We went to the Producer's Market in our local village, but as it was the first attempt (and our village do's are not too well supported) we met some friends and went for a meal at a local restaurant. I know, not the right attitude, but a good night was had by us all.

We had a night of continual storm on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. It knocked out the phone/fax - my ears are attuned so I got up unplugged the computer at the phone and power points, let the dogs in (otherwise they ruin my plants at the windows), and returned to bed. Didn't get a wink of sleep, but had to get up at 7.00a.m. to sort out lambs that were being picked up Thursday morning. The day was wet, the cricket started, so we just lolled about and caught up with sleep. Just practicing for retirement, you know.

Until you have weeks of continual sunshine you never think you will miss the rain. You even sit out in it, pray for it even. It's good when it comes, and good when it stops.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Donna or Donna Kebab?

My sister Mandy has been here for a few days. It's always lovely to see her as we both have a similar sense of humour. My ex-husband could not cope with the pair of us together - he had sense of humour failure. When we talk on the phone we generally find something (mundane) to laugh at, but when mum speaks to Mandy she often thinks she (Mandy) is down.

I did think Mandy may be bored this time as usually we are quite busy with lambing, or I take the opportunity of some help and do some much needed decorating. As we have sold, it is not worth doing anything in the house, and cannot do anything at the new place, we had some time on our hands. I did have to do some baling at the new place, but we pulled in some sightseeing.

We went farm-hunting in Brittany (not for us), and had my first experience of SatNav - they get quite aggressive when you over-ride them. We got to Brittany and the Agent sent a text saying the meeting was not possible that day. Time of the message was 1.30p.m., time of the meeting was 2.00p.m., and we'd had a 6 hour drive! Managed to view a farm though after several phone calls.

We also took her to a village fete on the Saturday evening. You know the ones - food ok, entertainment crap but fireworks not so bad. She seemed to enjoy it, at least she knows what she is in for if she moves here.

As usual a calf was born whilst she was here. Last time one of the Normands gave birth to a heifer, so she was christened Mandy. Well, she would be, wouldn't she? OH and I went to look at the cows, and sure enough the same cow had calved. Now, you have to be pretty smart on the tagging of new born calves, give them a few hours and you can't get near the damn things, especially if they are born outside, as this one was. I nipped back to the house for a tag for the calf and a bucket of food for the cow, and told Mandy to come along to see it. "What it is (sex)?" she asked. "I don't know yet" I replied. This year it is the year of the "D's" - all registered calves names begin with the letter D. I said "Perhaps we should call it Thunder". Thunder and lightening in German is Donna and Blitzen, so Mandy suggested if it was a girl call it Donna. "What if it's a boy? " I asked. "Donna Kebab" she suggested, and we both fell about laughing.
We duly arrived at cow, calf and OH, gave the cow the bucket of food and tagged the calf. Picked up it's leg and saw tits not bits and said to Mandy "Donna". So Donna came into the world during my sister's holiday.

I don't think the French sense of humour would have stretched to Donna Kebab had it been a bull calf.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Not so bad after all

Our friend had got a catcher for the sheep, so when we arrived at 9.15 a.m. to help out it was quite a nice surprise, after driving three-quarters of an hour, to find we were not needed! All that Laura and Thomas said was"at least it got us up!"

I ended up tractor driving for the day, which made Sunday a better day, Laura and Thomas caught up with their sleep in the afternoon.

It's now official - we have sold the farm and are downsizing. I don't say retiring as the number of sheep we are taken keeps rising. From "how many sheep do you want?" it has now gone up to 120. But no heifers. And we still have to find somewhere to go. Am I stressed? No. Something will appear. The purchaser of our farm wants us to stay for a year to help him out, but we cannot put our life on hold if something comes up.

Had some lovely e-mails this week. One from my bridemaid of 22 years ago - she was 5 then, and her mum wanted to find me. One also from a relative-by marriage in New Zeland - could be a holiday on the cards (if he is interested in cricket!). One of the temptations of retirement was the promise of a winter cricket tour while we are still you enough to enjoy it - the Caribean calls!

Anyway, we are now farm hunting and it's quite exciting. We're staying in France, and in the same area (Vienne/Haute Vienne), and have tickets to see Tina Turner in Paris next March. Anyone fancy farm-sitting?

Friday, 20 June 2008

A devil for punishment

Not satisfied with the shearing of our own 330 sheep, I have now volunteered Laura, Thomas and myself to help a friend with her 300 tomorrow.

She came to see us the other night after dropping her two kids off for a "do" at school. She lives about an hour away from us, but the kids are at school near to us - another complicated story.

I was asking what was happening about her hay this year and had she clipped the sheep. The hay, she explained, would be none existant as the sheep were still on the fields. The sheep, she said, were being clipped next week, and did I know of anyone who would like to catch for her! Now this is a job normally to be avoided, especially if you know the sheep are going to be fairly big and fairly wild. She has three shearers coming, 300 sheep and only herself and the two kids to do it. Now none of them are terribly big or strong, so I offered our services, with the proviso that if the weather is good I'll be tractor driving doing our hay.

I asked Laura if she was willing, and to ask Thomas if he would also help. Both decided that we really couldn't get out of it, and I daren't tell them I might not be able to go! However, David said that he would do the hay as far as he could, but that we would probably have to finish it on Sunday. Oh joy! Catching damn sheep one day and boring tractor driving the next. Roll on Monday.

In an effort to persuade Laura I said they were young and fit - the shearers, not the sheep. Thomas has to be persuaded by cash. Hopefully the sheep will be not too big, quiet and not too weighty.

At least when the lamb-man came today he marked 26 of our lambs to go Wednesday, that will be something to look forward to, until I get some more in, and some fat bulls are going on Monday. It will be like a practice run at retirement with almost nothing to feed for a few days.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

They baa-red all!

We had quite a heavy weekend recently - the shearing of 330 sheep.

We arranged for the French shearer to come on the Friday, and a friend "volunteered" his son to catch the sheep him. In case of rain we got 150-ish sheep in on the Thursday - this made sure that at least they would get clipped, and we would be half-way there.

The shearer arrived 8.00 a.m. Friday morning - minus the catcher. Now David on shearing days is conspicuous by his absence. He always seems to have a "very-important-job" (vij). That meant that yours truly had to get the sheep in the pen, catch them and then put the wool in the sack. With only one shearer that wasn't too bad, except the sheep seemed to get bigger and bigger with each one I caught and lifted. Not only that, these people expect lunch! So he got apologies and a cold salad/sandwich lunch.

Sadly for David he managed to get his vij done in the morning, so was somewhat encouraged to help me in the afternoon. By the time 6.00 p.m. arrived we both felt as if our arms and fingers were being pulled from our bodies. Not only that, it had started to rain at lunchtime, and somehow the shearer had managed to fit into the shed both of the flocks so that he could continue with dry sheep on the Saturday.

Having arranged for her dad to collect her from Poitiers, we picked Laura up from his and went for a well-earned meal at the local restaurant. My bones just sank into my body.

Saturday arrived, Laura wanted to go out with her mates, but I persuaded her to get some dog food for the dogs and draw some money out for the shearer. However, the heavens opened and that put off her day out (thank goodness). So she and I did the sheep, whilst David returned a topper he had borrowed from some friends.

The poor sheep went out, minus fleeces, into the cold and wet!

The topper had been borrowed from some friends who are naturists. He phoned them up to arrange to go and get it, and on arrival at their place they were all starkers! He had some quite garish tales (tails?) to tell, and I couldn't do a thing with him for the rest of the day.

One of his comments was "no wonder they have good suntans". But as he said, he didn't know where to look!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Water, water everywhere..........

But not in the tap to drink, washup with, shower in, flush the loos with, use the washing machine or dishwasher with, water the cows and calves and sheep and lambs with - we had a disaster of the water-pump kind.

We have only a well water source, pumped up into the tank and electrically fed to the barns and the house. Only, the calves decided to wash the byre by dislodging the water bowls for their mums, and we didn't find it until too late. The 2 year old pump was burnt out. At 600 euros a time, plus fitting etc. it comes a bit expensive.

We have fitted a counter for the town (communal) water, but with the land being so wet (haha), the trench would be soon flooded before we put the pipe in, and it has to come up the drive which is about a kilometer long.

The plumber, bless him, decided it would be best to put the pump in the well, which meant pumping out gallons of (much needed) water. We caught as much as we could so we were able to water the animals, but it was like watching wine run away. I have to say I did think "thank god Laura is not here". When I told her about no water, she also thought the same.

Anyway, it is still raining, we have water in the byres and the house, but I'm still catching rain-water for the sheep. I think of it as one of my bits for the environment.

When we eventually sell, one of the questions is "Is there communal water?"

Water, water everywhere..........

Sunday, 6 April 2008

What's in your pocket?

After emptying the pocket of my fleecy - it was well due for a wash - I thought "what do normal people have in their pockets?". Tissues, for themselves or for the kids, keys - car or door keys. Tickets - bus or Parking Tickets? Favourite lipsticks or essential make-up? Shopping lists.

Mine - baler twine of the sting or blue plastic variety. A necessity when lambing if it is a difficult birth. Pen knife - you never know when you might need it. You know mine because of the elastic band around the knife bit (due to lack of finger nails I couldn't get the knife bit out, so put a laggy-band around to stop it going in too far). Tissue - but you wouldn't want to use it as you don't know who has used it, or for what! Perhaps cleaning the penknife or a lambs mouth. Share and share alike. Sheep marker. Always carry a sheep marker. If you have to lamb a ewe and the lamb is dead you need to know which one the mother is, for future reference. Pen and paper - similar to the sheep marker, but if the lamb is alive you need to know date of birth, sex and mother's number - again for future reference. I even carried the tooth of one my horses around. (He lost it, I didn't take it out!)

When the kids were small I never had tissues, now I collect serviettes. McDonald's to posh Christmas ones are in my bag, you never know when you might need them.

I remember one night I got up and could hear the cows out, went to investigate in my dressing gown and wellies and couldn't find any string to tie the gate up with. After relating the story to a neighbour he said"Don't tell me you don't carry string in your dressing gown pocket." I replied "No, but I tied the gate with my dressing gown belt!"

What's in your pocket?

What's in your pocket?

Friday, 28 March 2008

Where do I begin - again

Thank you to all who made a comment on "Happiness is a quiet lambing shed".

The weather in February was fantastic - springlike to say the least. March came in, as usual, snow in the first week and got worse. fortunately Easter passes us by, so it was just another crap weekend. I asked Laura if she had any Easter eggs (she was with her dad for easter) and she said yes, 1, where was mine? I apologised for being a crap mum, and said there wasn't one!

Lambing is not too bad, I think. The 2nd flock are lambing outside - not ideal but a necessity. They chase the grass every year. But, we have had 30-odd lambs go, which will improve the bank balance a bit.

I think I saw a swallow last week, but with the weather turning horrible again it might have gone to warmer climates.

Why, when I'm tractor driving or feeding the sheep, can I think of great, witty stories, but then faced with the computer and a screen it comes out crap - three times I've said that word?

Will have to get back into blogging again.

Wwhere do I begin - again

Wwhere do I begin - again

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Happiness is a quiet lambing shed!

If you have never heard the sound of sheep waiting for their breakfast, or dinner, or tea, and you are invited to do so - believe me it is an offer you can refuse! They are absolutely awful. They jump up you when putting their food out, they knock the troughs over trying to get at it, they even tread on their lambs in the rush to get to the food - you would think they hadn't been fed for weeks - let alone 12 hours before.

Feeding sheep is not rocket science. Technique is the important thing - keep the bucket close to the trough and your knees together. If the bucket is up in the air, the sheep end up wearing the food. If your knees are not together they end up wearing you! It's a "life in front of the eyes" moment when a ewe gets her head between your legs to get to food - especially if it's outside and going downhill! And I'm sure it's inbred into lambs to jump across the trough just as you are pouring (expensive) sheep meal into it - it goes everywhere!

Having a good command of the English - or French - language doesn't matter. Three words are enough "you f.......g things" is a phrase frequently aimed at sheep.

You also get hard when it comes to bottle feeding lambs. If it's a do or die situation you have no choice. Better to feed than let them die. But you can be too soft, with dire consequences. They look at you as their mother, and every time they hear your voice they start!! At the moment Mary is the worst one (Mary? she was born on Christmas day). She has the most painfull piercing bleat you can imagine. As they get older they jump up and mug you knocking the bucket over in the process. Oh yes, believe me they are no angels.

On my lambing notepad Laura has written "don't you just love lambing?" to which I have written "no!".

Anyway, good news is the time has come to wean some of them, no one sleeps at weaning time. This is to make room in the shed for the next 180 to lamb!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Kir and Chocolates

A reply from Tina to my last blog made me think that I should come clean.

Kir (a drop of creme de cassis in a glass of white wine, or champagne) is like pop. It goes down extremely well after a hard day at whatever. However, new "users" beware - it is so alcoholic! So what you might ask. Well, drinking it like pop (it is so moreish) you end up p....d as a rat very quickly, especially on an empty stomach.

I won a year's subscription to an English magazine last year when a reader asked for ideas on how to use up a bottle of Creme de Cassis, but they didn't publish my warnings. Sorry to everyone who tried it, and paid the price.

Laura and I have a chocolate cupboard. We hide it away. We're not mean or anything, but if it's out David will eat the lot. So we hide it and have some when we feel the need. It's far less alcoholic than Kir, but with probably the same calories.

I had need to attack the chocolate cupboard last week, though I can't remember why now. I did confess to Laura though. When she goes back to England next week she will bring back slabs of Dairy Milk and replenish the stocks!

Monday, 28 January 2008

A belated Happy New Year

Yes, I know it is nearly February. But with one thing and another - lambing, collecting Mother for Xmas, Xmas and New Year, illness etc., A Happy New Year to one and all.

We started December with Laura and I going to Paris Christmas shopping with a trip from our commune. It was advertised at "leaving a 6.00 a.m.", when you booked they told you it was actually 5.00 a.m. - at least I got away without all the feeding etc!!! We had a great day - found W.H. Smiths in Paris, sadly they didn't stock Farmer's Weekly so I couldn't take one home gloating "got it in Paris". Took some great photo's on my all singing and dancing new mobile phone. The funniest was at Galleries Lafayette - fantastic shops. They had young boys dressed in white - even down to the winkle pickers - and white wings. Laura said "they've had too much Red Bull!" Apparently it gives you wings! When I say young boys I mean teenage 19/20 young boys! She couldn't resist taking a photo.

Before going to Paris I warned the sheep not to start lambing before 2nd Dec. After that they could do what they wanted, within reason. For once they obliged, and started the week after our trip to Paris. The weekend of the 8/9th was awful - raining cats and dogs (Louise, my eldest, was 21 on the 7th). The sheep HAD to come in regardless of whether we were ready or not. We sorted them out on the Sunday (9th) into iminents and another couple of weeks. The iminents stayed in (and have since finished lambing), the another couple of weeks are still out - with 6 newborn additions!

Mother came into Limoges on the 17th Dec. in time to stress me out and get me organised for Christmas. Because of the burnt out tractor we are late with getting in our cereals (they are still not in), David was going on about me following him with the seed drill to do the fields - this was with a party (HE decided we should have one) and Christmas looming, no windows in my tractor and a gale force wind blowing. Well, it was like a red rag to a bull for my mother! Fortunately, or not, it rained in time so saved me hours on a draughty tractor, and grief from Ma. The day of the party arrived, 22nd Dec., at 4.00 p.m. no Christmas tree up, no table for the food (we had caterers to the food) and no David! But we knew where he was. So a quick phone call later and everyone knew I was stressed! As the first guests arrived (EARLY) I was just coming in from feeding pet lambs. It improved as it went on - especially when most of the guests wanted to watch the finals of Strictly - they only came on condition it was on.

Christmas came and went - I'm not a great lover of Christmas as we have always had to work, even when we were young and in a pub - hopefully next year we will be retired and be able to do Christmas properly, or at least without rushing about. As usual the turkey lost his legs prematurely, as he wouldn't fit into the cooker with them. The work was all done for the day before we had our dinner, present opening was done around lunchtime after the morning feeding up session, lunch consisted of Kir and chocolates!

Louise, the eldest, got engaged and proudly showed off her ring on Boxing Day. Hopefully, they will wait a bit before getting married - she has been told to look after her father so he is around to pay for it! Yes, I am a bitch, but that is for another post.

Thomas introduced us to his girlfriend, a very nice French girl whose parents keep the bar/restaurant in the next village.

So that really brings us to the New Year - Mum went back 7th Jan, kids are back at work/school,
we're back to getting up to a great feeding operation. At least the last weekend has been lovely weather. I even ditched the hat, coat and waterproofs on Sunday. If I hadn't my lower legs - were they are double wrapped with waterproofs and wellies - would have been like matchsticks!

So, it's now time to bid farewell and go and feed Matt and Alicia and Mary and their (bottlefed) friends. To the next post.