Saturday, 24 April 2010

Fouines, belettes and blood sucking cats.

The busyness continues as Hubs endeavours to get the Sheep Project up on its feet. Mr T is helping him, but can only spare the evenings because he is busy planting his many hectares of fields with maize and haricot. I leave them to it. Get on with the background work of keeping this ship afloat and doing those sundry tasks which seem to go on and on and on. Like weeding, cooking, supplying endless cups of tea, mopping Hubs's brow when he gets into a panic about how much money is being spent. 

So: in bed last night. Dozing. Hubs clambers over me (the bed has only one way in and that is on my side, the other three sides being the walls of the caravan), flops down, and then goes on a mission to offload his woes. I try to keep on dozing. Couldn't. The alert button has been pressed, the phrase "......and Mr T says that there are blood sucking cats who attack at night" was the awakener. That, added to the other general worries which also  decided to bubble themselves to the surface, and which I had been successfully squashing down until the 'blood sucking cat' conversation, all combined to a not very good night's sleep. 

Not to worry. Got Mr T to write down the name of these 'cats' (gennettes) when next I saw him, and he also wrote down other dire creatures which are 'killers' as well: fouines and belettes. "Oh dear", I thought, this all sounds a bit worrying, especially since a humungous  flying creature had ejected itself from the walls of the office (once the home of pigs and chickens) last night, presumably after having laid dormant in one of the holes of which there are still several despite my best efforts to fill all the empty spaces between the stones. It was huge. The size of my thumb. Oh all right then: three quarters the size of my thumb. But it was still huge and made the most loudest of whirring noises. Man oh man but it gave me a fright. It seemed to launch itself at me in a frenzy, although in hindsight it probably was not going to eat me. But Hubs / Family Protector to the rescue, and I became saved. So was the creature. Out came the fly swot, but used as a scoop upon which it was put out into the night. 

An Internet search for these other dire creatures: 



None of these look like they 'suck blood', do they! Apparently the Fourine is a Stone Martin, lives in close proximity to humans, and eats mice, fruit and eggs.The Genet is carnivorous, doesn't approach homes, and attacks farmyard animals rarely. It is a protected species, lives in Spain, SW France, and Italy, and is was hunted for its fur in the past. 

So: Mr T's 'blood sucking cat' does not seem to be one of these! But I couldn't find 'Belette'  but that could be a Weasel. The mystery continues. But I am starting to think that it could be one of those folk-lore type animals, like the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, or the Yeti of the Himalayas. But smaller. 

Meanwhile work continues on with the tall barn. On close inspection yesterday we realised that the width of the support walls between the double door openings is variable. Not to worry. It all adds to the quirkiness of Labartere. 

I think that the best way to bring a home together is not to plan in advance and then stick to that plan, but to let the space tell you what it wants, and let the plans become altered along the way to accommodate the space's wishes. Obviously the tall barn told Danny (our French builder) to build the walls like this, because it did not want to be regimented in appearance. Danny listened, and thus the four support walls are all different in width. Not to worry, though, because the wall does look easy on the eye. 

Re: The Sheep Project: The other Mr T came by yesterday, with the news that he is delivering the sheep tomorrow. 

Project for today: Recyle the tarpaulins to use as a temporary roof on the Sheep House in the Paddock. Fix up some temporary gates to the Paddock. Try not to panic.

Things I have learnt: When sitting on the loo: if the toilet roll escapes one's hands and bounces over the floor, unravelling as it does so, it is better to riseth up from the loo and retrieve the body of the escapee. It is not a good idea to reach for the tail end of the paper trail with the intent to reel it in, like reeling in a fish at the end of the fishing line. Because it doesn't work. All that happens is that the toilet roll will stay where it is,  and one ends up with a pile of unravelled loo paper on one's lap, far too much to mop up with. 
So even if one is sitting on a porta-potti, which is not the most comfortable of loos because of its minimal height, one must haul oneself up and go get that roll. This I have learnt. And such wisdom I pass on to you....


Roz said...

What a great post!! Love the picture of the Genet which would look very cute were it not carniverous and I also love the wall. What a palace it will be xx

French Fancy said...

Oh Vera, you sound like you have so much going on. I don't think I would be coping as well as you - I am a bit of a moaner if I'm honest.

How soon do you think you will be out of the caravan?

Barry said...

The term "blood sucking cats" does tend to grab one's attention.

And I will heed the toilet paper lesson as well.

DUTA said...

Even when living in an urban area, one gets to bump into some weird creatures; so I can imagine the ones you encounter in rural places.

Thanks for the advice of how "to bring a home together" (sounds logical) and the wise tip with the toilet roll paper.

Ken Devine said...

Hi Vera
It's coming on really well. A defining moment.

Are those cat things found all over France or just in your region?

I'm looking forward to seeing the sheep. I know you are under pressure, but I bet you are excited too. It'll be another defining moment.

Good luck with the arrivals.

Vera said...

Roz:) I agree with you about the Genet. It does look cute. Wouldn't like to meet it face to face though. Especially on a dark night. Any rain yet to fill your pool?

FF:) Not sure when we will evacuate the bedroom caravan and move completely over to the house. Will seem strange not having Hubs clamber over me on his way to and fro the loo during the night though, so best enjoy the experience while its still on offer!

Barry;) Hi, and how are you? All your blogging friends are waiting for those results, me included. Glad to have passed on the loo-roll wisdom. Might come in useful for you in the future should you find yourself in a similar plight.

Duta:) Glad to have added to the wealth of wisdom you already have! (re: loo-roll)

Ken:) Those cats are only found in the SW of France, Spain and Italy, so I think you are OK as your place is further north I think. Hope you have had some good painting moments today and looking forward to seeing the end result on your blog.