Spring in January.

It was such a glorious day, sunny and warm (19°C/66°F) I decided to take my phone with me and go down to inspect the Caillou, the stream at the bottom of the ‘garden’. We’ve been on flood alert because the Garonne burst its banks in the section from our little town to where the Lot joins it a short distance upstream. I had Finbar with me and holding his lead as well as trying to take pics was not easy.

I managed to get most of the stationary objects despite lead-tug, but impossible to catch the lizards racing over the house walls, and the butterflies.

The grass around the house is full of tiny flowers like Speedwell.

blue flower2

The land slopes down to the stream and has got pretty boggy. The Lords and Ladies don’t seem to mind.

lords and ladies

And the first Kingcups are opening.


This is the point where our land meets the neighbour’s and the Caillou goes under a farm track.


In the far bank there is a large hole. It isn’t manmade so it’s not a drain, and I don’t think it’s a spring because there is no current coming out of it. Whatever made it is a fair size and doesn’t mind swimming.


This is one of the old willows that we hope to have saved.


Many of the poplars along the bank are covered in ivy. Some are dead but the woodpeckers like them so for the moment we’re leaving them alone. This oak would probably appreciate having its ivy trimmed. I thought the deer were supposed to do that.


This is probably about as high as our little stream is going to get. There’s more rain forecast but not enough to make a difference to us.

Caillou High

Spring is already bubbling under. Unfortunately I can’t photograph the thrush’s song. It fills the whole valley.






Copy and paste the above description with your photos and tag me so I see your entry.

Thanks to Willow who nominated me today, Sunday October 29. I haven’t had a phone/camera very long so we’ll see if I can find seven photos on it worth posting.

Today I’m challenging Sue Vincent.


Progress report


Trixie found a baby mouse,

Scared it half to death and watched it quiver,

Hunched over its fear.

Bored, she stretched and let me take it,

Put it on the sill in the quiet sun.

No sport in babies, she said,

Let it grow.

Then we’ll see.


Finbar found a toad,

He’s good at that.

He never sees the pheasants or the hares,

Or any largish prey.

He hunts toads.

At night, they lumber from the ditch

Climb the banks and hunker down

Among the brambles.

Finbar spots them,

Overcomes his fear and pounces,

Perhaps because he is on a lead

And knows we’ll hold him back

So he’ll not take any harm.

Still, he finds toads for us,

Even if we choose to leave them be.


Ninnie hunts cobwebs

And dog biscuit.

She finds lots of both.

Life is good, she says,

When there’s a barn and an attic,

And the dog biscuit tub

doesn’t close properly.




We are removed


Here we are, in the middle of nowhere, installed with all the rubbish we couldn’t get rid of before the removal men came, and the three friends who weren’t consulted about whether the move was all right by them.

Needless to say, the last few days were horrendous, the move was horrendous, and the next day, when the stuff arrived, was also horrendous. As usually happens (to us anyway) we hadn’t finished packing when the men arrived. Things left out until the last minute, were thrown in unmarked boxes and may well never be found again. They were naturally the most important things, important documents, gadgets, indispensable kitchen equipment, and remember the dog nail clippers? Of all the things I never thought I’d need…

We had emptied one room entirely so we could lock the animals in it out of the way, and to stop the cats jumping ship. They didn’t like it at all, and by twelve, things were degenerating badly, so I decided to take Finbar out for a walk. I should have stayed at home. While we were saying goodbye to a group of friends we met, Finbar was set upon by a fighting dog, kindly liberated by its acid head owner to get in a bit of practice. Luckily the vet could deal with him straight away. He really needed stitches for the teeth holes in his back leg, but there was no time, so he was stapled back together instead and dosed up with antibiotics.

He had bled all over the carpet on the landing, but that was really the least of my worries. We had just discovered that our stuff was being delivered the next day, not following us to the house as we had assumed. We ransacked the boxes not yet embarked and retrieved some bed linen, but our clothes has all been loaded, the medical and bathroom stuff, and the food. Even the cat food. Especially the cat food. The cats were not best pleased. Our first night in our new home was not what we had been expecting.


The following morning, the removal men, local boys, turned up as promised, and all was going well until we realised they were expecting to be fed and watered at lunchtime. We hadn’t been fed and watered ourselves, but if we wanted our stuff unloading intact, we didn’t have much choice. Our wine cellar was unearthed and I set to making a meal with the bits and pieces of edibles that gradually came to light. It was a very odd experience as you might imagine. The chef was a wiry middle-aged man with very few teeth, extreme opinions and not afraid to air them. The second in command also middle-aged was tall and gangly and looked very like the cartoon character, Lucky Luke, and about as talkative. The youngest, barely out of school, a man mountain of a lad with the hairiest wrists I’ve ever seen, didn’t drink anything. Not even water. He said he only ever drank milk, and that only occasionally.

After lunch, and a lot of wine down the hatch, they went like a dream, putting the wardrobes back together, reassembling beds and making lavish presents of cardboard wardrobes for the attic, and a long strap ‘to tie that bloody dog up with’. The chef was afraid of dogs.

Attached as we were getting to our friends, we were still glad to see the back of them and begin the monumental task of unpacking. We’re still surrounded by boxes, but we’ve opened enough to find the essentials like clothes and cat food, so there’s no rush. All the utilities are functioning and the weather is glorious. The cats love it, especially the barn and the attic. Finbar finished his antibiotics yesterday and had already pulled out the staples all by himself saving us the trouble of finding a vet to do it, then he promptly went and had another accident.

Last night he went out for a pee rather later than usual and ran into a couple of foxes just outside the door. He went after one of them and disappeared for ages. I was frantic. We went out with flashlights, calling for him but there was nothing to be seen, and no sound. Utter silence and darkness. Eventually he came trotting back up the road, his legs and face bleeding. A fox was barking, with uncontrollable laughter I expect, in the copse at the top of the neighbour’s field. He’s out of action today, limping, with his pads ripped to shreds and a hole in his muzzle.

The children are coming over on Sunday to help us settle in and drink a bit more champagne. I hope the weather holds. We haven’t got any heating sorted yet. We’re on a very steep learning curve, but we’ll get there. I might even remember how to drive. Eventually.


All wrapped up

We can’t move for boxes now. I’ve packed up most of the kitchen utensils so I don’t know how we’re going to eat over the next few days. Still washing clothes, towels and bad linen and hoping it will all be dry enough to pack.

Trixie does not like having that little cat so close…
The little cat’s favourite perch.
Finbar obviously thinks it’s his turn for the bubble wrap treatment.

Black cats


This critter is our Little Cat. She’s the one with problems. We found her in the street outside when she was tiny, had hardly any fur, was full of worms, with a ruptured bowel, and suffering from acute malnutrition that affected her motricity and sense of balance. She had two operations on her bowel, which seem to have been more or less successful except for a bit of incontinence. The eczema is chronic and periodically, her fur still drops out. All of it, right up to her shoulders.

As you can see from the weird position of that back leg, she has difficulty managing four limbs. Her legs don’t bend in the right places so she plods, flat-footed and very noisily and extremely un-cat like. Because she has lost her sense of balance, she falls out of windows, off walls and out of trees. For the first couple of years we had her, she wasn’t allowed outside because we were afraid she would fall into the neighbour’s garden and be eaten by the German Shepherd. So we kept her indoors and she fell out of the second floor windows instead.

I thought I’d post a pic of her while her fur, if not luxuriant, is at least present and covers most of her. Her expression baffles me. It’s a world-weary, leave me alone-type of expression, which I don’t think is intentional. She’s a sweet-natured little thing, absolutely fearless (which we can probably put down to some kind of brain damage), and terribly destructive.

Her name is officially Nina, sometimes Ninja, after her habit of rolling off window ledges, Ploddy or Scabby, for obvious reasons. She doesn’t respond to any name, so I’m guessing we haven’t discovered it yet.

The one below is Trixie. The Boss. Nuff said.



May 8 Victory in Europe Day

(Crédit photo : Eric FEFERBERG / AFP)


Well, Le Pen was well and truly trounced in Bordeaux with a whopping 86% for Emmanuel Macron. There were no spontaneous celebrations, unlike when François Hollande was elected, but civic duty had been done to block the unpalatable FN. Bordeaux is typical of one of the many French Paradoxes. It has a reputation for being snooty and bourgeois, it has some very snooty neighbourhoods and a lot of ‘old’ money whispering around. Yet it votes left in all the elections, and just to be contrary, votes without fail for a right-wing mayor.

Whatever you think of the liberal policies Macron will no doubt try to introduce, he actually does have an idea of economics and has more than the simplistic ‘It’s the fault of the immigrants’ reply to every question. But nothing is less certain that, just because the French voted for Macron as president, they will vote his way in the legislative elections next month. Some call it keeping a balance. Others call it utter chaos. This is France, so don’t imagine that the FN will roll over and die. And expect Jean-Luc Mélenchon to get back in the saddle and bring the young people out on the streets behind his far left party. The fun isn’t over yet.