Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Egyptian Princess Cat

Isn't she lovely? Even Stevie Wonder thinks so... but that was his baby!
Isn't she lovely, Isn't she wonderfull, Isn't she precious, Less than one minute old, I never thought through love we'd be, Making one as lovely as she, But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty, Truly the angel's best, Boy, I'm so happy, We have been heaven blessed, I can't believe what God has done, through us he's given life to one, But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she lovely, Life and love are the same, Life is Aisha, The meaning of her name, Londie, it could have not been done, Without you who conceived the one, That's so very lovely made from love

Big Feet is our baby and we love her......She sometimes looks quite Egyptian and is certainly a princess because she can feel the pea under the many cushions and duvet covers that she likes to sleep upon! Fussy is the word when it comes to finding a suitable sleeping place! She is very special because she's a polydactyl cat. She has 5 toes on her hind paws and 4 toes on her mitten paws plus a thumb that consists of two toes. This is because she has inherited the gene that causes this abnormality.
She is a superior cat and wants nothing to do with the farm moggies that mostly now keep a distance from our land. She's getting on and is about as old as us if you multiply her age by 7! She's been an adventurous cat, an explorer cat, a hunter cat. When we lived by the river in England she used to leave the house and back garden, climb the six foot high wall, descend and trot through the alley to the busy road, listen and look to left and right, then run across the road once there was a gap in the traffic, walk speedily across the pedestrian path of the bridge to avoid any possible oncoming dog handlers, then on the other side she would recross the road, check for people and dog traffic, crouching under parked vehicles if necessary. When all was safe she would walk quickly on the footpath and pass under the gate to the common where she would hunt rabbits. Often she would return with large specimens to finish consuming! We also discovered that a property owner on the other side of the river loved her as she killed his moles. She was named 'the mutant killer'. This alias is sadly true as she has even caught French long grey eared bats, much to our dismay! Her dexterity does not appear to diminish. These days she still hunts but prefers her indoor creature comforts. But she loves to spend time with us: if we work in the garden she comes to join us, if we work indoors she's quietly purring stretched out as if she is the Queen of the Domain. She has been known to accompany us on quite lengthy walks but of late she will not come so far!

For younger readers and older readers who feel young:

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Egyptian Rainbow Cat

It's not perfect but for my second project at pottery I am very happy to display this totem in my garden!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Wendy Ann 2

These are just a few photos of Wendy Ann 2 and her surroundings, taken when I visited England in early March. It still amazes me that Seb and Bee have managed to repair this vessel with new steel as well as recycled materials. The tug now has to be renovated on the inside to make it habitable. Are there any sponsors?
Please go to Wendy Ann 2 to read all about the ups and downs of this marvellous achievement.

I'd like one of these old flint stone wharves to renovate and live in! It would do me nicely!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A Slideshow of Chenonceau

Captain Sensible has made a slideshow of his January 2010 birthday Magical Mystery Tour to Chenonceau chateau. I think it is really beautiful.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Hot air balloons near Chatellerault- One up, One down

We were driving home last Sunday evening when we espied in the sky two hot air balloons one higher than the other. As we approached, we veered off route to witness the excitement of an unexpected landing.

But the second one didn't need to make this emergency landing and continued its flight.
"Nobody can be uncheered by a balloon" said Winnie the Pooh. It brought back memories of my hot air balloon flight which took us across the nave of a cathedral. I must find the photographs taken before the digital camera age. We were on course to land either on the beach or a marshy field but fortunately a dryish field between the two was chosen...being lightweight I had the better basket landing. What fun and laughter completed the adrenalin rush especially when the champagne breakfast was served. I can still hear the gas jets and the smooth silence in the sky.

When I was a teacher I loved to tell the story about the Montgolfier brothers and the duck, chicken and goat which were transported upwards in a basket below the balloon. Animal rights welfare protagonists would have something to say about that! I now realise that history is not always accurate and we should not always believe what we read.

For example, although various references have been made that the Montgolfier brothers came from Ch√Ętellerault, our nearest very large town, I cannot find any references to prove this. It appears true he had a nephew who was associated with the town. It is also said the Ch√Ętellerault is the capital of the Montgilfieres, and yet the last National Championship of Montgolfieres (people who enjoy the sport of hot air ballooning) was in 2002 so I believe. I will have to go to the local library and see what I can discover.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Lucarnes et Clochers en haut

This exhibition of photographs about lucarne windows and doors and bells and belltowers was just as interesting and informative as when we previously saw it at Vicq-sur-Gartempe last year.
The details of the opening times are a little confusing but this is because the Mairie and the Bibliotheque are in the same building. The exhibition is open every afternoon from 2pm.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Woolly Jumper 3 years on and not looking a day older

Number 5041, the Woolly Jumper is the sheep that jumped our fences. The story was written in August and December 2007.
I was very surprised to see her number! Three years later she is still alive and a mother yet again. She seemed to recognise us when we looked in the open barn to see the lambkins. There were 7 a few days ago but two twins from a different mother were struggling to stay alive. They didn't make it! They have now been released from their pen into the field in front of our house and gamboling lambs make us laugh! oh the joys of spring!

We claim the First Cuckoo of Spring and the Nightingale 2010 9h10m

I have just put my head out of the window to take the above photo as the owners of the land have cut up the fallen tree, kept the large logs, bundled the twigs, taken them away and are having a bonfire today.
And I am so EXCITED ... VOILA ...
The Cuckoo is calling from the Paradise de Chevres over to the right! I was only thinking yesterday that I MUST listen out but this is earlier than I anticipated. Oh welcome Spring!
Last Spring we had this view of trees to the North but the tree on the left has taken a fall in springtime.
The log pile is more visible and our view of life at Village de Vaux has obviously altered.

AND I if I am not mistaken there is also the Nightingale ... but she has just moved on as the sound of the chainsaw has just started up! I MUST RETURN to my work away from the computer!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The vernal equinox - Spring has arrived

I should feel full of the joys of Spring but a virus contracted on my UK visit waylaid me with acute pharyngitis. I have been so tired, so exhausted, that the pharmaceutical medicines contributed to my day and night time sleepy times. I have struggled to help with domestic duties. Toplexil is the best cough medicine I have ever tasted .. just like caramelised toffee ice cream sauce!!! ... then there is the Rhinofluimicil solution for pulverisation nasale which nicely gets rid of the phlegm, then the 200mg Flanid - an anti inflammatory ... and just for good measure 500mg Dafalgan paracetemol plus Magnesium B6.
I have only wanted to eat ice cream but now fish, fruit and raw vegeatables are very enticing. On one of the warmest days of this week I could have been found sleeping in the hammock, bundled in my coat, two blankets and a hot water bottle with the sun shine warming my face and Big Feet warming my tummy.
I have also been out of commission with the traumatic voyage to UK...I must remember this the next time I have an urge to return. We were three generations exhausted!
Little Francesca was ill for her 2nd birthday and the following week so we never went to the zoo, zoo, zoo! Mummy was worn out with trying to appease the child and Gran'maman was not flavour of the month as she was also attempting to solve various issues with regard to the NEW PROJECT!

Normally, I don't mind driving alone but the return journey took me longer than normal on account of stopping to sleep!

Apart from seeing immediate family members which had its lows and highs, during the 12 days of which 4 were travel days, as mentioned previously, I managed to pull heavy telegraph pole sections into their locations for fencing. I saw my second cousin once removed and her daughter and we all enjoyed pizza, garlic bread and raspberry fool ... (the two little ones enjoyed reading together)
On a different day I struggled to help some friends with raking their lawn!
Three lame codgers were we
one had an operated-on knee
one with ankle tendonitis
one to suffer pharyngitis
Three old codgers were we.

In addition I was glad to reach Littlehampton to witness Wendy Ann 2 moored in water and moored in mud as the tide fell. She is phenomenal. How on earth my son and his woman have ever managed to reach this part of the project I do not know. It has taken 6 years, incurred a few, just a few, episodes of rage and ravishment; the toll has been enormous but I can see that if only they could get sufficient income to repay the debts and to furbish the inside for habitation (even basic would do) then the dream would neara reality. Plans to see my mother and at least one other friend were all scuppered.

What a relief to get to Normandy, to see the large skies and to feel the space between people and vehicles. The sun, the clear blue skies and the aeolien turbines were welcoming sites as I headed south. The price of petrol was however not welcoming at all!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Horse riding lessons and stabling at 'The Yard' near Epsom uk

The Yard opened in July 2009 and has gone from strength to strength. The horses are extremely well looked after and the clients are very very happy.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Posts of timber and posts of blog

There is hardly time to think, let alone to write indulgently, but I'm grabbing some time to do so because it helps me to feel relaxed.
Tuesday travelling allowed me to see the first brown butterfly... I retraced the two steps that it had taken me to register this springtime herald but she'd fluttered by!
I left behind the warmer weather and Captain Sensible. 13 hours after waking I arrive at my destination. The following day I spend 6 hours lifting impossibly heavy telegraph poles, cut to the required lengths, for my son and almost daughter-in-law. Two of us dragged 33 of these across a tussocky field on a wheelbarrow, then we used a better trolley barrow to bring them to their fenced positions.

The above railed fences were completed last month and the sandschool for "THE YARD" was opened. More of these fences are being built so that the horses can be rotated on the grassy fields. My son and his busy bee lady have opened a livery for 12 horses.
Fun .... and I surprisingly didn't ache today!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Just a little thing to worry about when taking responsibility

This is just a little more about my inner workings, to tempt anyone who may be reading to wait and see what all the fuss is about!

I know that there are many people who do not suffer from the trials and tribulations of occasional and repeated acute anxiety but mine seems to have increased of late for there is good reason. I didn't take action a few weeks ago and now I have paid in more ways than one but at least today's actions may have protected me from increased apprehension, worry, stress, tension and angst.

So do I doubt myself? Yes I do and it manifests itself in nail-biting indecision, panic and scary feelings all arising from my lack of confidence. However, I know that fear and trepidation are just part of the pressures that arrive when there are problems to solve. I tell myself it is normal to be vexatious when there is a heavy burden of responsibility. At my age I think it is borne out of excess baggage.
There is a lovely children's story called THE HUGE BAG OF WORRIES by Virginia Ironside, where all the little girl's worries follow her in the big blue bag until one day the monsters are released. ( I think ) Must find it to read it again as my self help therapy!! It's rather like the "put the worries in a box, tie it with a red ribbon and put it on a shelf" theory. Fine in theory, but action is still required!

I am learning that a cure for the anxiety IS FUNNILY ENOUGH to make a decision!!!!! Ha, I hear myself say, therein is the root of my anxieties. They occur because I have been unable to make a decision. So, is it? or it is a bit like the chicken and the egg conundrum!

I am trying to learn (at my age!) about worldly human emotional experiences and I am wondering what advice would I give my grand daughter if she were to be in such a dilemma. What would I have said to my class of children at school?
Hmm.... more concrete thinking is required! I have not been a philosopher!

How to induce calm, reassurance, composure, peace and tranquility? That's the next thing to worry about!

I have friends and techniques to help myself but it doesn't stop it from happening.

What's tomorrow's worry?

What a wind that was... Xynthia 27-02-2010

She arrived with a lot of speed, noise and strength.

At 4 am Sunday morning, I decided that as sleep was not an option I would venture to the verandah to look at the worrying wind. The woodburner needed fuel so I nipped just outside the door for some logs only to be almost blown away with the roaring, rage of moving air.
A plastic chair had been dislodged on the porch, then when I looked again it had been pulled from the porch and blown down the drive and only stopped in it's tracks by the garden gates! Two sheets of corrugated iron which cover logs were blown a long way into the next field. A plum tree, with unbelievably insufficient roots to have stood in the ground any length of time was completely uprooted and now lies straddled across the garden. The Washing Line was attached to this the largest of the plum trees and so a new place to hang the linen will have to be found. The garden won't feel the same and although there is a very large space before us which makes for a better view of the sheep in the field, it also means that the future prevailing winds will blow even harder towards us! However, we have to count our chickens as well as our blessings. We are lucky that the house is intact. We have read that at least 50 people have lost their lives as a result of this storm on the coast of France, let alone other chaos and disaster in Portugal and Spain as well as other parts of France. Terrible.

When the wind died down we went to the ball (folk dancing) the next day!