Wednesday 23 December 2009

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust for you!

To get into the Christmas spirit I thought I would send you a sprinkling of Fairy Dust. I hope it brings you a magical time over the next few days, and that the magic will carry forward into 2010 so that in twelve months time you can say: Wow! That was really some year!

I hope that those of you who have decisions will make will have the courage to go ahead and make them.

I hope that those of you who are loaded down with problems will be able to shed some, if not all, of that load. 
I hope that a smile is always nearby, ready to come upon your lips so often that you will get laughter lines rather than frown lines.  
I hope that you are able to look upwards rather than downwards.
I hope that you can look in the mirror and say: "Well done you, I am proud of you".
I hope that you can remember to count your blessings each day. 
I hope, oh I so hope, that you a Happy Holiday. 
And I hope, really hope, that you have a Happy Year. 

Sending you blessings from me and Hubs at

Tuesday 22 December 2009

And here I am again!

And a bit of tinsel upon the gates is all we have managed this year by way of Christmas decs. Mind you, I have only just found the box of decorations, it having been residing beneath the now redundant tarpaulins. And Yes! The tarps are no longer required to keep our things dry. Because with the help of Jean-Pierre, our stupendous roofer-man, our last bit of furniture has become shifted into the house. 

And I feel a peculiar sadness. Almost an anti-climax. The end of a particular journey. Because now we are moved in. Only our things. Not our bodies. And so why this sadness? Odd. I should be up on the Moon with excitement that we have managed to come this far. But no. I am not. Perhaps because Hubs's work is changing, the office's of his present employment company close this week signalling another step in the demise of the company. He has work for the moment, but 2010 must signal change for him. The roof is done. Just a few tweaks here and there and it is done. 

Wow! So why this curious sense of sadness! Perhaps an anti-climax? After all, it has been a long year. Many decisions. Loads of money going out. Perhaps, therefore, just a little tired from the effort. 

So to combat this general state of gloominess, I talked myself into getting up early and taking a running leap at the day by getting on with the writing. Should be doing the synopsis to my second book, but thought I would chat to you instead. After all, I have been neglecting you over the last few days. What have I been doing? Hibernating, that's what. The weather has turned cold, and we are F..a...r.....eeeeeeeezzzzzzzing! But no snow. Everywhere else seems to have had snow - the rest of France, the Uk, and most of northern Europe, but we haven't. Thanking the Universe for this blessing:  doing a pile of snow would be inconvenient at this time, mostly because I am feeling gloomy. Actually my mood is lifting as I write, so you are cheering me already! 

And......we are on our way to Spring. Winter solstice has just gone by, so the days will start getting lighter by at least 5 to 10 minutes per day. And......our roof is done. 

Re: the dock weed project. (Digging up the weeds from the side field so that the recently planted grass seed can grow). On hold at the moment. Well, it is hibernation time! Try telling that to the dock weeds though. They seem to keep growing when all else is asleep. Including my fingers and toes for much of the time, which are either stone-cold or itching from the blood finding its way back into them. But  a new project has uprisen, and that is crocheting mittens to keep our hands warm. 

Aren't they the sexiest thing! Oh do oblige me and say they are! Well alright then. They aren't! But they are warm and it is an easier task to make these rather going out and digging the dock weeds up. And Hubs has a pair as well, only he seems to keep mislaying them and only remembers to wear them when I remind him to. It is possible, do you think, that he isn't really fussed about wearing them? But I am. And they match my newly crocheted scarf. Oooohhh seeeexxxxy!

Gosh. I feel all cheered up now, and ready to get on with my day. Thanks for listening to my grumps, and hope you have a splendid day as well. God bless.....

Saturday 12 December 2009

Two things

The first thing: On the ongoing subject of the dock weeds growing in great profusion in our newly grassed fields. And my dilemma is this: if the seeds from these plants can be used for grinding into flour, and if the leaves in spring can be used in salads, and if the roots are also of use in cooking and holistic remedies, should I be digging them up with the intent to burn them? What is the distinction between seeing a plant as a weed to be got rid of, or a possible supplement to the kitchen larder?

But the docks are strong growers, threatening to make the fields into dock-pasture rather than grass-pasture. So what to do!

My conclusion is this: Dig up the big docks. Leave the baby docks. Sheep should be on the fields next year and they should be able to keep the young docks in check so they don't become the prime pasture plant. If any of those plants shoot up a flower head which provides seeds, then these I shall harvest. Good plan, don't you think? Now all I have to do is go out and dig those parent plants up and get them sent to heaven.

The second thing: I have started up another blog called The Writing Pathway. It came into my mind that perhaps I could pass on the learning I have acquired in regards to getting a book written and self published so that others might feel encouraged to do the same. It is a long process, fraught with frustration at every turn, but oh what a feeling of achievement when one has one's book in one's hands. No matter that no-one has bought it because the sense of achievement is awesome.

And an update: side field now partially with the fencing wire. Roof almost completed. One thermal vest, two t shirts, two fleeces, one sleeveless fleece, one wrap, two pairs of socks, two pairs of trousers plus thermal 'long johns', but no heating on because I can't be bothered to switch on the fire. This is what I wearing at the moment: obviously it has got colder! Freezing fog is the mode of weather at the moment, which evaporates mid day to give us an afternoon of sunshine. Then I have to unpeel myself from the layers because I get overheated! Ah the joys of living close to the mountains in SW France whereby the temperature can go from very cold to very hot all in a few hours!

Lots of English are going back to the UK now. Not us. We are here to stay. So gathering to myself my fork, my bucket, my two pals Bools and Gus, I am off to try and put my wellies on prior to another parent-dock attack. Bending over to get those wellies on is a task indeed when one has so many clothes cluttering up one's physical movements!

Hoping your day goes well, and is full of interesting moments, saying au revoir pour ce momente.

Friday 11 December 2009

Incoming email from Bruv

(Bruv lives in the UK and sent me this email the other day)

Sodden wet day today, poured all day, but not too cold, mind you we have had the cental heating on (twice a day timer) for weeks now.
We were invited out today, Camilla's cooking group decided to do a buffet lunch for special guests.
We had a great time, lots of fun, laughs, and general mucking about (mainly by me!).
Still sharing some of the cooking duty, its nice to help out, and something to smile about.
I have cut and pasted the text of that poem, sorry it did not occur to me before.
I didn't write it, although I twiddled with it a bit to improve the "beat". It had a note attached to pass it around
I just like the sentiment.

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too,

I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin,

When he smiled it dawned on me I’d passed it on to him,

I thought about that smile, then realized its worth,

A single smile, just like mine, could travel right around the Earth,

So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected,

Just start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected.

Cheers for now,
Love willyham

It's me now! Thought I would post this up for you to read. Loved the words, and hope you do to.

Quick update: Roof tiles ongoing. Fence posts now all joined up with strands of fencing wire. Docks still growing.
Sending you blessings for a lovely day.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Hola! Roof, poles & ebooks

This is our side field, now planted with grass. Trouble is that there is almost the same quantity of dock weeds growing in it as well. Looks like there is going to be a war between the two. Tall growing and virulently productive, the docks are the likely winners.

Last year I thought they were a possibility for wild foodying, whereby one harvests from what is growing naturally about the place. So last year, in the back field, I allowed a group of docks to grow, as can be seen above. Oh dear! That was a mistake. Becoming preoccupied with builders, web site re-does, and a stonkingly hot and lovely summer, I neglected to harvest these docks. As I say: Oh dear! Because now we are in danger of only having docks on the fields and nothing else. They are very keen to put up high seed heads, thus parenting a huge population of themselves. And I have kind of gone off that idea of harvesting them because they are now becoming an enemy. And I have most definitely gone off the idea of planting them intentionally just so we can harvest them directly rather than from the wild.

And arriving yesterday was our fence poles for the side field, being the second phase of our plan to have live-stock on, the first being to plough and seed the land with grass. Hubs says sheep. Six.

With dismay we have been observing the race between the grass waking up from its seed pods and the dock seeds doing the same. The docks are winning. Vigorously they are taking command of the field.

Nothing for it. Got to do a bit of weeding. Out I go. Feeling silly at first with my wellies, bucket, fork. It is a big field. I fill the bucket quickly. Go empty it into the wheelbarrow by the field entrance. Can't wheel the wheel barrow on the field because the ground is still too soft from the recent rain. Need to get onto the ground, though, even though very soft (but not squelchy soft just enough to sink the foot by about an inch), because the docks are b******gg**rs to get out. Deep rooted, even though babies, one has to drive down one's fork beneath the baby grass then wiggle out the dock seedling trying not to disturb the grass seedlings. It is a task.

And then there are the parent plants, still in the ground, still growing. They are even tougher b****gg**rs. Great long roots do they have. Nothing for it but to plunge the hands into the soil itself and drag out the root, avoiding any worms which might be living their life in the vicinity as well.

With great relief, the Jean-Pierre turned up again to get going with the other half of the roof. Four weeks he has been away, during which we felt, quite frankly, abandoned. "Not to worry", we kept on saying, meanwhile fretting away inside especially when a wind did blow up and memories of the January tempest flickered back into our minds. Having a gazebo squashed is one thing, but having the roof take flight is another!

Anyway, here he is, back up on the roof and single-handedly getting Labartere properly water-proofed.

Meanwhile, have done final read of first book, and uploaded it to Lulu, the self publishing website. Next project: get it into ebook format. Dwindling away rapidly was my urge to do this myself when confronted by the techno-speak that accompanied the instructions. "Easy" said Lulu. "Who for?" I shouted back, as I felt my head scrambling up into its usual fogginess when confronted by stuff it doesn't have a clue about. Nothing for it: Email > links noted> shipped over to Hubs/Tech Team Guy' PC.

And as I came off the field yesterday, having filled five buckets of docks from my afternoon weeding session, I felt quite, quite, happy. The sun was shining, a warm wind was wafting, my back was aching, my muscles were trembling from the effort of rooting around in the soil for dock roots, my fingers were grimed and mucky, my fork was hoisted over one shoulder, the full bucket was dragging heavily on my other side, on my left was Bools and on my right was Gus, and all of us walked through the softness of the long field in companionable partnership. It was a grand moment.

Things I have learnt today: that being out on the land is a delight. It is good for the soul. It is good for the health. It is good for the heart. It is good for the mind. And that it is better to look back at what one has achieved rather than look at what one has got to do.

It is a big field!

Sunday 29 November 2009

Today I dropped a screw

Oh not from out of my head did the screw drop, although sometimes I do think there are screws lose within the scaffolding of my mind. No, today I dropped a screw which I was endeavouring to fit back into the side of my glasses so that they would have two sides, thus ensuring that the glasses stay on my face and not keep falling off. Glasses with only one arm are, quite frankly, useless. One has to use one of one's hands to keep them up in place on one's face, therefore limiting the tasks that one can do.

The screw which has loosened and fallen out is a tiny little thing, and has to be fitted in the tiniest of holes on the frame of the glasses. It is the most fiddliest of jobs trying to get them joined up again.

Now anyone sensible would probably try to do this fiddley job over a surface which would be condusive to retrieval of the screw should it tumble from one's fingers. I, myself, did it over the keyboard of my computer. The inevitable happened, and into the keyboard itself fell the screw.

So I flipped the keyboard over, gave it a bit of a tap in the hopes that the little screw would fall out. It did. Along with a large amount of other detritus. Such as the head of a fly, with one wing still atached, a few assorted insect legs, bits of cake, fragments of leaves, other more microscopic insects too small to observe with the naked eye, and a couple of mouse droppings. And one tiny screw.

I still haven't fixed my glasses. Probably never will if I keep trying to get the screw into the hole. An idea popped into my head to try some jewellery wire and wire the side arm to the frame so will follow through with that thought.

But I am fascinated with all that stuff that came out of my keyboard. All those bits. LIke the way my head feels sometimes: all full of unconnected bits. And an oddness, because the keyboard is not sticking so much. It seems looser and types the words faster.

Which is perhaps why the words flow out of my mind with great vigour sometimes, and other times I seem to suffer from mental constipation. When all those bits of lose thoughts are floating round my head, and the screws feel lose within in, then that is when I become mentally clogged up. But when the bits have evacuated my head, I seem to become unclogged and the words tumble out.

Obviously the key to getting the words out is to keep a clear head and a detritus-free computer keyboard. The latter is easy. Upend and tap every few days. Can't do that with my head. Might help if I could.

Task of the day: Will try to monitor the detritus of thoughts, those flotsam of extraneous thinkings, that clutter my mental processes up, thus endeavouring to keep those screws nicely tightened, hopefully creating a calm mental space for the words to pour out. Is this likely to happen? Nope. But I can try.

As for my glasses. I will try the wire. As for my head. I will try to make some calm moments. Off out to walk the Bools and Gus now. That should produce an opportunity for calmness albeit a soggy calmness because it is pelting down with rain at the moment.

Sending you blessings for calmness within your day.....

Message to self: Try as best you can, but don't try so hard that you stress yourself out.
Message to self (2): You have already managed to write one book, create one website, done loads of other writing including managing a blog for almost a year, so perhaps your screws are not as loose as you thought.
And self answers back: Yes but I have a list of books I want to write. Mental constipation keeps hitting. And.....
Message to self (3): Oh do shut up and go walk your dogs! xxxxxxx

Friday 27 November 2009

In memory of the Little Washer.

On arrival: The now-bedroom caravan, the rear end of. Parked up by the Pig / Chicken Hut now the Hutto 'office'. In the doorway Hubs's generator. To the fore of that, a petite green stool used for sitting my posterior on. To the left of the stool, water bottles. Centre is a once upon a time wine making container, again being used as a water container. Beside that lies the black plastic thermal shower bags. Two.

And gracing the entire photo is the blue washing machine, the Little Washer. It is a twin tub. You put the clothes in one side, the machine gives them a swirl. You then take the clothes out of that side, putting them into the spin dryer side, not forgetting to put the water outlet pipe into the wine making container so that the outgoing water from the spinner can be recycled back into the washing water, the heat of which has been provided by water from a kettle, and some more water (lukewarm) from the thermal shower bags.

The electricity to run the whole operation came from the generator. It was noisy and coughed up a fairly large quantity of fumes. Not to worry, at least we had electricity. That was before we had mains supply. When we did, the generator was retired from ops and I graduated to an extension lead.

It is surprising how much washing can get done in this way, even though the constant recycling of the washing water as the pile of clothes is worked through turns the colour of the water not far of black.

At the end of the washing, that water is finally emptied out, and fresh water put into the washing machine, carried to the machine by the water containers. This was before we graduated to a hosepipe.

Then the whole procedure of washing starts over again for the rinsing of the clothes, only this time clean water is used to top up the machine as the rinsed clothes are removed and put into the spinner. Hence the stool for my botty. It is a long process. But, heyho, we are camping, and at least we can have clean clothes. And surprisingly enough, the clothes do come out clean.

People visited during one of the washing ops. When the Little Washer was in its second home, which was the gazebo. Down her jaw dropped as she surveyed the machine. Quite frankly she was shocked, herself being only forty and conditioned to automatic washing machines. This twin tub thingy was too primitive for her to comprehend, so she kindly donated her old top loader. Wow! I had become upgraded!

This is the 'before' photo, when the gazebo was pristine. It didn't stay that way for long. One blast of a summer storm made us realise that it was really a 'in-waiting' kite. Thereafter it became covered in big green tarpaulins anchored down with loads of rocks.

Which worked for five months until this happened. A big tempest blew in and squashed it flat. It was either that, or letting it take flight. We said it couldn't do that, so it sank down in a heap instead, helped along in the sinking by an almight blast of the fiercest wind. (The bedroom caravan had now been moved to the other side of the courtyard).

But beneath the tarps the Little Washer was safe, which was just as well because the front loader died a couple of months later, and back into ops the twin tub came. As you can see, I had now graduated to a proper washing basket, proper buckets and bowls, with the electrics running off the main supply but via the kitchen caravan (which replaced the gazebo). Out of view is a hosepipe.

And then a bit of a weeny problem started. "Ouch!" I said. "What happened there!" And "Ouch!" again as I pushed some clothes into the washing water. It felt like pin pricks. Not hurtful pin pricks. Just prods really. But surprising nevertheless.

I was being electrically shocked by the Little Washer.

Hubs came running over to investigate my squeals. Banned me from using the machine ever again. Suggested a new washing machine. But: roof not on. Nowhere to put a new machine. So moi said "No, I will soldier on." In grand manner did I say those words.

In true 'Dunkirk spirit' I did.

However: it all got a bit silly. Over the weeks the machine kept snapping back at me. I started phantasizing about my body being belted through the air in a great curving arc of electric shock. I started to become afraid of my friend, the Little Washer.

It was eventually taking me all day to get the washing done because I had to keep taking the electrical plug from its socket to break the electrical current coming from that, through the washer, and from thence into me. Enough!

Roof partly on. Time up for the Little Washer. I am sure it would never have deceased me, the shocks were only tiny, but it was the fear of what it might do which finished me off with it. That, and the time it was taking to do the washing. I am back in the saddle with my work now, and need to find more time.

So last Saturday Hubs marched me to the shop and here is the new equipment. Whoooopppppeee for Hubs! Whoooooopppppeeeee for the Little Washer! Woweeeeee for the New Washer!

Now all that has to happen is for the water to be connected, which Hubs is having trouble with but I am sure he will fix it, being my Hubs / Head Gardner / super duper IT man / and now DIY fixer.

And so I say in all gratitude to Bruv Bill who donated both the Little Washer and the gazebo: Many thanks, and Hoorahhh to you for having the forethought to donate two such necessary pieces of equipment.

Now: what to do to the Little Washer. A plant pot perhaps?

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Oh now look at this!

And over our heads, just as sunset, came this rainbow yesterday. But we have found our 'pot of gold'. We are living here, in France, being endlessly stretched mentally, physically and emotionally, but we feel stimulated and alive. I think that will be sufficient for our 'pot of gold'.

So sending this rainbow over to you, so that you can hopefully find your own 'pot of gold' at the end of your rainbow.

Friday 13 November 2009

We've moved in!

OK, so I am exaggerating more than somewhat. But you can see by the photo above (Bedroom caravan to left, kitchen caravan to centre, Hutto out of picture to the right) that the piles of stuff are diminishing, the evidence being the tarps lying all about the place, their job now done.

And, joy of joys, I did not become interred beneath the tarps in the tall barn.(Yesterday's blog) Instead, me and Hubs manage to diminish the pile to under half its original size.

Now here is a table. Not any old table. This is a special table, having been used for several family get togethers in the past. It's a bit mildewy, but has survived its internment beneath the tarps. It feels strange. I remember sitting up at it, and wondering if we were ever going to get out of the UK. And here we are. And here it is.

We've moved in. Not literally. Just our stuff. A bit of drying off, washing down, polishing up, and all will look quite pristine, myself included. Because I feel so grubby, that a flannel in the sink wash is not going to work, so I have promised myself a shower on Sunday night. Meanwhile, we were rather surprised, early afternoon, to see a mouse peering down from us from the top wall of the Hutto. Then it skipped along the top of the wall, merrily flicking its tail from side to side as it went, obviously in defiance of our policy of No Furry Animals in the Hutto. It felt like it was letting us know that it was here to stay. We'll see about that!

All quiet down at Sara's, so I guess that the lama is now sorted out. All quiet here, as we continue to endeavour to get control of the jumble beneath the tarps and as we do so, we finally feel like we have finished moving. We came here from the UK June 2008. In November 2009, we finally get all our gear into the house, well most of it apart from what is still in the awning of the kitchen caravan, which is anchoring the awning down in case we have another almighty wind come along to try and take it away with it.

It feels like we have come home. Lots to do yet. Like half of the roof is still not tiled, there are no ceilings downstairs, the walls are a mess, no windows, no doors, no loo, no proper shower. But we've moved in! Yippppeeeeee!!!!! We are still in the caravans for the winter, but hey ho: we are now finished with tarps.

What I have learnt today: that a woman needs a home to make herself feel anchored. Well this one does anyway. I hope you have a home which you love as well, and I hope you are surrounded by people who love you, even if they are living a long way away and you don't get to see them often.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Oh, so anyway....

Actually, what I am supposed to be doing at the moment is excavating our belongings from out of the tarp under which they were put last January after the tempest hit us. It is not a pleasant job. Not that I mind doing mucky jobs. Oh no. It is just that, well, I seem to have spent quite a considerable chunk of my life moving me and my belongings from one place to another.

However: back to the tarp project of today. Having just spent the morning excavating the deep dark corners of the Hutto (the once upon a time pig / chick hut which is now our office) and cleaning up from the foraging of four footed little creatures, slightly bigger four footed *****bag creatures, sundry other carcasses from the rich insect life who inhabit the walls of our Hutto, etc, we are now clean and tidy in that zone. For the moment. But it will not stay as it is unless we block up the quite largish hole in the corner by the door. It is quite large and well able to give entrance to furry creatures: I am not exaggerating.

Lester is out of the Hutto at the moment. He has been summonsed by Sara of the Camels to help remove a deceased lama which is at this moment lying on the floor of her sitting room. Having become sick yesterday, and we all being caught up in a drenching of rain day, she had decided that it be better off inside. In her front room. Down on the floor went copious amounts of hay, and there the lama lay down and eventually breathed its last late evening. Bless. A bit of a struggle down at her place at the moment. The canal beside her house has been quite full, threatening to spill out into her farmyard, and Carla (see Labels for other posts about Carla, pot bellied lady pig) went on the hunt for some acorns yesterday morning which were unfortunately in the field on the other side of the canal, didn't seem to realise that the water was five feet deepish, and she got caught up in the strength of the water flow and ended up being swept away down the canal.

Fortunately her dislike for finding herself in such dire trouble was heard, and all rushed out to see Carla's snout and ears just above the water, jammed against the little bridge which crosses the canal, with airways open sufficiently wide enough for her to squeal her outrage.

In went a young friend of Sara's. Into the water he did dive. To get behind the rump of Carla and hoik her back out of the water. Carla was last seen going to bed in their chicken coop. The young man, none the worse for the dunking, was given a box of Twiglets from Sara to say 'thankyou'.

Anyway, Lester is helping with getting the lama out of the house. I am supposed to be excavating under the big tarp.

And you know when you want to do anything other than what you are supposed to be doing? Well I was struck by just such a moment a while ago. Into my head came an almighty urge to tell you what was happening down here in France, just as I ducked my head into the depths of the pile. So that's what I am doing.

Two hours twenty mins later: Slow going with the tarp project. Have just taken boxes, stuff, etc from one place and dumped it in the other place, which is the house. All in a heap. Had ten minutes slumped comotose over a bedside cabinet by the water tap, all worn out by my efforts, during which Lester made an appearance from Sara's. Lama update: it is now out of the house, but it was decided to build a funeral pyre to dispose of the body. Apparently the cost to have it removed by the authorities was prohibitive. So Project Cook The Lama is now underway.

Oh, so anyway, I did manage to achieve a more pleasant environment in which to work. And if you look at my PC very closely you can see this blog in its creation! The lama is mid-way through its cremation, and Bools and Gus have just had a fight. What was it over? Well, Gus is little. To get over this minor problem, he has taken to perching his bum up high. On the box just removed from the Hutto in this case (the topmost photo). This piddles Bools off no end. So somewhere in the time ahead he will reprimand Gussy and remind him that he is littler than him. Bools usually picks his moment to achieve full effect which is usually right in front of us, and he normally likes to look up mid-way to see if we are noticing his efforts to keep Gussy in his place. Bless.

So I leave you with this thought:

Oh, so that bit fizzled out as 'the thought to leave you with' flipped into my head and then equally as fast flipped back out again! A cup of coffee I think! And then back under that tarp I go for another session. If you never hear from me again, then you know where I can be found!

Waving cheerfully from France, I bid you 'bye for now'.

Monday 9 November 2009

The rains arrive, and so do the words.

The rains arrive and I fetch up with doggies who are not too impressed by the lack of sun. Bools, above, and Gussy below. Having been on a long two hour trek, all they want to do is laze away the day stretched out sunbathing. No chance of that today.

Actually Gus us waiting to have a look-see under the tarps which has been my project of late: cutting the old tarps up ready to burn when the weather permits. The boxes you can see house Hubs's collection of wine bottles for when he decides to uptake his on-off hobby of winemaking. The removal men, when packing up our home in the UK prior to moving us down here, obligingly packed these large glass bottles so they wouldn't break. In newspaper.

Well, you remember that we seem to have a bit of a problem with mice. It would seem that the building blocks for their homes came from the contents of these boxes. The newspaper is all shredded up. Not only that but there is a very neat round hole in the bottom of one of the boxes, suggesting that the mice were using it as their downstairs entrance and exit.

Not wanting to do a raid on their houses, the boxes have been left. They are now soaked.

And this is the state of our courtyard, looking windswept but minus some heaps of stuff which has been filling the space up. In between showers I have been having a go at tidying it up. You wouldn't think so, would you! Ah well.

There has recently been an empty space in my head where the words for these blogs should have been. Unlike some people I know, who can think up a subject then wrap text round that thought, I can't. If the words come into my head I can write them down. If they aren't there then I can't. For the blogs this isn't so bad, but when writing my books this is a problem. I sit at my PC with an empty head. Then from out of the emptyness comes the words. Sometimes. Sometimes not. Where do these words come from! Not out of thought. If I plan what to write then the words come out stiff and dull. But if the words arrive in my head, to be written down immediately or else they are gone for good, they carry a fluidity which I cannot own. And yet they come from me. But from where inside this head of mine.

The inside of my head is like the photo of the courtyard. All higgley-piggley most of the time, despite my best efforts to get it straightened up.

The rains have arrived. The river Adour is busy rearranging the efforts of the men with the diggers who took our river beach over to the other side of the river. Gus is minus his plastic collar, and is starting to find confidence with living here despite being batted around like ball beneath the eight feet of two huge alsations into whose garden he thought it a lark to wander into this morning, Bools is continuing to try and discipline him into behaving but is most times OK with him, Hubs is up on some scaffolding in the halfbarn at the moment filling in the holes in the wall. Hopefully the bats who we have just realised live in those walls, would have vacated said holes in the wall. Last night, upon squirting some water into a hole in preparation to filling it, Hubs was surprised to receive a sharp string of expletives from the inhabitant. He filled the hole anyway. I have not checked to see if a hole was remade signalling the safe withdrawal of its occupant.

No bats tonight. They are either avoiding the cold weather, or decided to evacuate our halfbarn. And as I write this, (10 pm) I can hear, up in the starry coldness above my head, the geese. Flying south. Towards warmer climes. Yesterday another great flock of other birds passed by overhead. For ten, fifteen minutes, that is the time it took the flock to fly past. I wished them well. I love that I am on a migration flight path. I love that those little creatures are making that most magnificent of efforts to follow a need to be somewhere else.

So wet doggies were towelled off, and given a lovely roast infront of the fire. That, I think, was almost as good as a dollop of sunshine to them.

And a thought: It is good to have a head which wants to do things, wants to explore things, wants to say things because it keeps a freshness in one's life which the years cannot diminish.
Au revoir mes amis.

Ps. I don't think that it was Gus who upset the wild boar who swam across the river and ran across Claudine's garden and then Bruno's field with Fleur in full chase behind it. I don't think it was. Even though the direction from whence it came was the very same direction in which we had been dog walking that very hour.

Friday 30 October 2009

The fosse was delivered and then it wasn't

It has been a wonderfully quiet few days, full of sunshine and earnest endeavour: Lester working at programming on his PC for a company in the UK, and me working hard at redesigning and rewriting my web site, which has been a task which seems to have gone on, and on, and on.

And then there became an urgency to get the work done on it as Hubs/Tech Team Guy decided to transfer the site to another service provider which, he says, will give him more scope to fiddle about with it. Since I am the one who has designed and written the site, I am not quite sure to what measure his 'fiddling about' will go to. And I foresee some discussion, possibly even some heated debate, to come in the future in regards to the topic of what the site should do and how it should look. Meanwhile I carry on with sorting it out. At nearly two hundred pages with loads of links, it is quite a task.

On the subject of mice: they seem to be looking for new residences for the winter. One walked down the wall of the Hutto (hut/office) again last night, and then tried without success to walk back up it. Traps laid. This morning: one sprung, but empty. Hubs/Tech Team Guy just phoning his boss in the UK, but expletives were emitted instead. One mouse by foot under desk, probably not quite right after its rumble with the mouse trap. Mallet grabbed. (The mallet used to open and close the Hutto door) One mouse: deceased. Removed for recycling to the compost heap.

Meanwhile, a lorry was heard. Builders not been here this week as on holiday. So has been quiet: apart from the noise of the diggers finishing off the killing of our bank in the river, although it is only temporarily killed according to our neighbour who said not to worry as the first heavy flood of winter will give us the bank back which is good news don't you think, and apart from the noise of a farmer ploughing the field by our side field and who drives over a corner of our field to get to his field because he can't be bothered to go the other way round and enter the field by its proper entrance which is nowhere near our field at all but not to worry because I kept an eye on him to make sure he didn't take a drive over our field which is carrying sproutlings of baby grass which would make Hubs/Tech Team Guy/ Head Gardener very very cross indeed. Apart from this, all has been quiet.

And then the lorry arrives. And it has a fosse on board. Wow! One step closer the retirement of the porta potties. By the way, a fosse is a big concrete container which is part of the treatment process for our loo and waste water. No mains sewerage system here. All of what we produce and use is recycled back into the land. I quite like the thought of that. Sort of being responsible for what comes out of our rear-ends, instead of flushing the loo and disregarding what happens to our contributions as they head off into the sewerage systems.

The fosse is put down off the lorry's back. Meanwhile: I feed Gussy and Boolie after their two hour walk and swim. They are full. They settle down in the sunshine. I settle down on the PC. More work on website. Hubs is steaming away on his PC.

'Hellloooo' is heard. Bruno. 'You 'ave my fosse' he says in his sexy French accent. Oh. Not to worry. Back onto the lorry the fosse will go this afternoon, and over to his place it will be taken. Bruno is having his fosse done, but by DIY methods. It costs half the price of ours, which is being done by our builder. It remains to be seen which of the two fosses will be the most efficient.

Meanwhile, I make a return to the Hutto to listen out for any calls coming in from the UK for Hubs, while he, and Bruno, and Bools, and Gus all go and investigate the fosse. Well, Hubs, Bruno and Bools did. Gussy did a raid. To the compost heap he went.

Ah well, not to worry. I am sure the mouse will go through Gussy's entrails with reasonable speed, together with his breakfast of tinned dog food and dog biscuits.

I, meanwhile, continue on with getting my web site sorted. My eyes are all squrly from watching a scrolling screen, and my head feels equally squrled from too much concentration. Hubs is the same. Bools is snoring. Gus is sitting on his new perch which is the garden seat, sunning himself while his full tum sorts itself out. It is quiet here. There is a feel of spring in the air, of promise of the growth to come. Precious days, these are precious days, to keep within our hearts when the winter chills come upon us. Forever after I will view autumn in a different light. Living in caravans and spending a lot of time outside, we are starting to become in touch with the flow of the seasons, and autumn has a calm richness which is quite, quite beautiful.

Several hours later: in creative midflow I was stopped as Hubs's temper lifted off and he chased me out of the Hutto. I raged back at him and war was declared. In massive huff I at least fed him, delivering his food by slamming it down on his desk with great vigour, followed by the slamming of the Hutto's door which didn't quite deliver the effect I was seeking because Gussy was following on behind me as I made my Grand Exit and his big plastic collar made the door do a rebound when plastic met wood. Unfazed, Gussy followed on. I was, after all, heading for the kitchen caravan and that meant food. 'Well not today, Gusso, you already have a full tum ' I thought to myself. Bools had heard the raised voices and was keeping safely out of the way underneath the bedroom caravan, which is his sanctuary for when there is war.

Off for a sulk in the bedroom caravan I went. And as I lay upon my bed I thought of the uselessness of war. I thought of those people who I have come to know through their blogs, the ones who are unwell, very unwell actually, but who still manage to speak to me through their words. Of those who take time to write words of encouragement. Of those who are stumbling along at the moment, trying to find their way.

And so when Hubs came and found me a while later, offering the white flag of truce, in the form of a cup of tea, I did not continue my huff as we women are inclined to do, but instead let peace come swiftly between us. You see, I don't want to waste time in warring. In my mind are my fellow bloggers, all living their lives, all doing their best.

The fosse was delivered today, but then it wasn't. Soon it will be delivered again. Our beach is gone, but soon it will come again. Summer is over, autumn is saying that winter is on its way but that soon spring will come again. Hubs and me might have minor skirmishes mostly as a result of mental fatigue, but soon all will be well between us. No mice here at the moment, but soon one, or two, or even more, will come again. And so life goes on.

It is peaceful here at Labartere. When all the comings and goings are resting, the feeling of peacefulness drops down like quietly falling snowflakes. And I hope your days will be blessed with peace, of comings and goings, but yet with an overlaying sense of peacefulness. That is what I wish for you this day.

Sending love and best wishes to you. x

Friday 23 October 2009

The beach is killed and Gussy has a lie in

Oh now look what they have done to our beach. It is killed. Dead. No more. Sliced a great big chunk of it away from our land, taking some of our wood with as well, these machines did. Cut a deep new river bed beside our bank, took the stones and earth over to the other bank they did, to try and convince the river that it didn't need to flow over that side and that it could have a more fab time over on our bank.

I heard the roar of the machine's voices while I was battling with cooking lunch. A mouse had just ran over my foot and a wasp was busy trying to make friends, or otherwise, with me. Feeling flustered I became inattentive to the lid on the liquidiser such that a wondrous spurt of hot soup flew out of the gap betwixt lid and jug, arching tracefully to land on Hub's side of the table. All the while the roar of those machines was carrying on. Mopping up, but not very well because Hubs fetched up with a damp botty and had to roast himself, his three layers of clothes and his bare skin in front of the electric fire to dry himself off, I made a dash to the source of the noise.

And there they were. Two huge machines eating up our beach. The very same beach on which I had fond summer memories with my daughter and grandsons. The very same beach on which we had been woodying with Bruno. The very same beach I frequently enjoyed paddling from. Outrage flew through me at great knots of speed, shouldering aside my tinge of guilt about reliquishing Gussy into the hands of the vet earlier on for his op - I had felt quite a shift in my heart when I left him.

Meanwhile, the roofers were busy, in the rain as well, trying to get our roof finished. The back roof is almost done:

...and they are putting the lining on the front roof. I should have been pleased. Excited. House dry after all these months. But no. That outrage shouldered aside my relief at having a dry house. It felt like we had gained something and lost something. Strange that. As if scales needed to be in balance, that we had gained a dry house but lost the beach. "You can't have it all." That is what the Universe seemed to be saying to me.

Needing to take action, I went under the pile of tarps infront of the caravans, and dug out my freezer. Gave it a wash down from the slug trails and other nonsense festooning the once white surface, and charmed Hubs and Jean Louis into carrying it into the house, to there become a convenient place for workman-like activities including the time-for-tea equipment of cups and a plate full of biscuits or cake, which Bools was on his way to raiding, an activity he is most keen to keep repeating if given half the chance.

And then it was time to collect Gussy. Bless him. He had to wear a plastic collar which irritated him no end, and made Bools really cross at him so that we were constantly having to tell Bools off for being a bully. Gussy meanwhile kept colliding with everything including my legs. That plastic collar actually packs quite a punch when rammed into one's calf muscles.

So this morning Gussy had a lie in.

It was one of those mornings when one's bod didn't seem to want to get going. Even Bools got up and sank back into a slumberland, and all this at nine am which normally sees us halfway round a two hour walk. But Gussy was the most reluctant of us all. Since he was post-op we decided to leave him be. In his bed. Not ours. You can see by his guilty expression that he knows he shouldn't be up on our bed!

But Gussy did eventually get going, and took a gallop round our field with plastic collar gaily jiggling along to the rhythm of his stride.

So Gussy is well. He is now de-balled so no babies for him. No babies for Bools either. Fleur was last seen carrying on with a horrid black scrappy looking dog from down the lane so if she is preggers then she will not be allowed to have the pups, which was what happened last time she was in season.

My beach has died. The French monsieurs decided that the river ought not to be given its own way so have decided to tame her down. She must flow that-away not this-away. It remains to be seen whether the river will comply.

Things I have learnt: Not to take things for granted and not to let upsets spoil the blessings that I actually do have, and feeling a tad miserable with myself for not counting those blessings more earnestly.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Oh...., and my aching back.

Mmmm. Well. Gussy booked in for The Op. October 22nd. There. Done it! Got back from Plaisance to find a worried and irate Hubs. "Gus has gone missing again. So has Fleur. We (Bruno and Hubs) think that she has taken him off. I'm so sorry" he said, "Only I know I promised to keep an eye on him and I did and when the builders went off for lunch I blocked up the back entrance as usual, went into the office to do some work, went back out again ten minutes later and no Gus." Apparently he had pushed open the two old doors put across the entrance and had gone.

Hubs was oh so worried, but I wasn't. I seemed to have become quite fatalistic of late, and as far as Gus is concerned: we are doing our best for him and that is that. If he is meant to return to us he will. If he isn't then he won't.

Half an hour later: message from Bruno. Fleur back and with Gus. Hubs gets the lead to go fetch him. Bools goes too. Part of the team, he doesn't like being left out.

A while later, back they all come. "Bools has just been on top of Fleur" Hubs says.
"What, properly on top?"
"Yes, all the way in."
"Oh." Taking a minute to digest this info, I turn to Bools, "Oh well done you," I say to my brave Springer "It's been a long time coming!".
And I think of the hundreds of times that Fleur has flirted and flaunted with Boolie and then sat down on her rump so he ends up with a scrambled head. And I am so glad that he managed to have a go. He is deserving.

Oh. So Gussy. Obviously he has been wanting to get over to Bruno's because Fleur is in season. So we can't really get cross at Gus because he is doing what comes naturally, and that is following his instincts to procreate. But the problem is that he picked up Fleur's availability before Bools did, which means that he is more likely to pick up any other female dog's availability as well and be off. We can't have that. So: October 22nd it is.

And so? Possiblement uno problemo. Is Fleur now pregnant? If so by which of our two boys? Or both? And if so, should we assume responsible ownership of our boys and help out with any vet bills? Is it our fault? But then Bruno comes trotting over here with Fleur following. And she has been such a tease, particularly with Bools. Not so much with Gus. Mostly she has snapped at him in temper. But with Bools, well .........

Taking a moment to give you a roof update. Half tiled!

re: 'My aching back': Actually it isn't aching now but it was for a couple of days. The reason was that in an attempt to wear Gussy out and stop him from roaming over to see Fleur, I have been walking the boys for at least two hours every morning. This is the fifth morning. We have found some splendid new paths to explore, but oh how my body has been complaining.

Leg aches: which I counteract by walking for twenty steps with the right leg leading and taking my weight, and the left one then being able to rest, and then twenty steps with the left leg leading and right one resting. Works perfectly. Counting the steps is good for relaxing my mind, and my tendency towards excrutiating leg pains has diminished. Back ache: Crikey but for two days my back was sore, but I kept on walking finding that swinging my arms as if jogging made me loosen up my waist movement. Et Voila! Today: no back pain. Wet feet because the grass was so wet, but no pain!

And marvel of marvels! I seem to be able to keep going during the day without feeling as if I am wading through treacle for some of the time. My head feels clearer, and I feel generally more chilled out both mentally and physically.

Things I have learnt: That it is not clever to say to oneself 'I haven't got time to take a long walk because I have this to do or that to do.' What nonsense! Because I have found that taking a two hour walk makes me more active during the day, therefore I can actually do more.

Things I have learnt: That walking to a rythm clears the mind, reduces stress, and has a feel good factor so high that it is almost addictive. Take this morning, for instance. Wasn't going to be out for long as had to go into Plaisance. Fifteen minutes down the lane, then out into the maize fields, then on into the woods and I was hooked. Two hours later we were done.

Things I have learnt: That making the effort to take exercise can be tiring on the body at first, but when one has a little doggy called Gus who one is trying to keep occupied so he stays home, then one has to make the effort to do the two hour's worth of walking. And that that little doggy called Gussy has become quite a blessing. Most of the time. But October 22nd still stays.

I suppose Fleur, Bools and Gus all had a good day one way or another. I will keep you posted as to whether there is the patter of tiny feet.

If you greet the day with a smile, then the day will smile back at you.x

One tile, two tiles, three tiles up, & Sara's snake

You have been spared yet another photo of our roof because my new camera eats batteries like a hungry shark, so: the back roof is now having its tiles put on. And really the only feeling I have at this time is of disbelief. As if my life is galloping onwards and I am several steps behind. Catch-up time, I think, when the builders have gone, and we have got all the boxes, furniture and other assorted paraphanalia which seemed vital to our UK lifestyle but which we haven't needed at all since we arrived here sixteen months ago, from out beneath the tarpaulins and into the dry space of the house. And that will be satisfying enough. Meanwhile we will carry on living in the caravans for the winter. We've done one winter already, so are more prepared than what we were last year. And if the winter storms hit us too badly, well we can always move into our house temporarily.

Sara down the road came by yesterday with the news that her friend had been almost attacked by a hissing python of a snake. OK. A bit of exaggeration, but it was very long snake of over a metre long, and had taken up residence beneath his car. Didn't like being disturbed, so had had a hissy-fit at him. He hastily retreated, meanwhile the snake took it upon itself to climb at the nearest tree and continue its hissy-fits.

Now this is disturbing. Walking around the local woods and fields have reassured me that there is not too much wild life around that is likely to either attack or eat me. This time last year there was lots of hunting going on, with guns going off nearly every day and quite close by as well. This year there is silence. So either the local huntsmen are giving this area a rest, or there is nothing else to shoot.

But: snakes. Sara prodded the snake up the tree, her intent being to make it come down so she could somehow box it up. What she was going to do with it then she seems to be fairly vague about, but I suppose she felt she had to take some action. It stayed put. Became more hissy, so all retreated. An Internet search fetched up the info that it wasn't a poisonous snake but could make a hefty bite if it felt so inclined, and that it killed by wrapping its coils around its prey. Ooooohhhh dear!

Not to worry. We are aways up the lane, but Sara isn't. The snake is in residence at Sara's house along with the camels, the lamas, the goats, the pigs and the chickens. It is not likely to want to leave either, because she has loads of young chickens which are snack food for it, and the bare-knecked chickens lay their eggs all over the place which provide it with nibbles. I said the only thing was to make loads of noise when they were moving round the farm. Bang drums. Stomp feet. That sort of thing. Then it could either clear out of the way, or have a hissy fit so you would know where it was. Don't know what else you can do about it. Neither do I like the thought that it can climb trees. I thought only jungle snakes did that.

Naughty Gussy. Musing over whether to have him de-balled or not, I was veering toward not. I have tried running the legs off him each morning by two hour walks, thinking that would wear him out so he would feel less inclined to go trotting over to Fleur. (The lady dog across the road) Hasn't worked. Not only that, but he will not let himself be easily caught when I go and fetch him. War is now on. On lead for his walk this morning. No glorious hunts and gallops through the maize and woods today, and de-balling it is. He has pushed me into the decision himself.

I am not sure if Fleur is in season, but I don't think so because Boolie doesn't seem to be excessively interested in her. Which means that Gus is going to be one of those male dogs who will sniff the wind and then follow any scents of lady dogs wafting about. This will not do. Because he will then wait for an opportune moment and be off. And another thing: why is he howling? For some reason he has taken to sitting in the middle of the courtyard and howling, which starts Bools off too. They have been fed. Walked. Lovied up. So why the howling? Is it some sort of doggy phone-system? By his howling, is he saying 'Wait for me, oh you wonderful lady doggy, and I will come and play and do all sorts of things with you if you only but wait for me'? Is this his way of answering the doggy lady scents he has captured on the wind?

Otherwise, all is well, down here in South West France. The temperatures have dropped fast the last three nights, so into thermal vest and thermal long-johns. Not very elegant, but hey ho! Caravan homes and country living dictate the necessity for these items. And layers. This morning I have on: 1 vest, two t-shirts, 1 body warmer, 1 hand knitted cardi, 1 pair long johns, 1 pair of trousers. BUT I don't have any heating on. The reason for this is because I can't be bothered to switch the gas fire on. This not only helps my carbon footprint, but also the bill for the gas cylinder refill and my sinuses which get clogged up whenever heating of any description gets switched on. So with halo shining brightly, and hoping my rather slender reserves of patience will carry me through another day with Gussy-boy, I say cheerio for now.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Take the positives from your yesterdays and forget the rest. Today is the start of all your tomorrows. x

Tuesday 13 October 2009

It's been a long time coming

The kitchen after the roof came off, but with old beams still in

The old chimney in the kitchen, which eventually fell down.

The kitchen when we arrived.

The ceiling of the kitchen after the roof was taken off.

....and the kitchen is finally waterproofed as the roof felt is put on today over her brand new roof beams.

And so our house has got a dry space inside: the first time in many a long year. And if felt like a house when we went inside to get a feel for being inside it with a roof almost on.

And the boys, Bools and Gus, did a celebratory howl to the moon tonight. Gus started it. Lifted his nose up to the sky just as the moon came out and did a howl. Bools then joined in. Not quite sure why they did that, perhaps for the sheer joy of living? Or to tell Fleur across the way that they were thinking of her? More likely that actually. Bruno came across on his motor bike this aftenoon to inspect the roof, followed by Fleur. Had Bools and Gus falling over themselves with joy, although Fleur didn't seem to think too much of Gus's efforts to get her attention and she had a fight with him after he tried to spraddle her, followed by Bools having a go at him for even trying.

Otherwise, we are OK. Was cold at six this morning, so knew we would have a warm sunny day. Which we did. If it had been warmer it would have signalled rain. But winter is approaching, and the feeling of autumn is now in the air. Still, the summer has been a long one, and I feel like I have got my money's worth out of the sun this year.

But today, part of our house is going to stay dry when next it rains, and that is a really good feeling to have.

Sunday 11 October 2009

The bones of the lid

Et voila! The bones of the lid of our house are now in place. All the wood is up where is should be, and being cemented into place. The birds which have been living in the house since it became a ruin, which has been for many years, are pleased that they now have loads of places on which to pirch. Before, all they had was a fally down roof, then no roof and only walls, and now they have brand new pirches all over the place to sit on. No wonder they are chirruping!

There is even a bird in residence in the half barn, which flies up and down when the lights are switched on. Seems a shame to give it notice of acquittal just now. No sign of someone to make and fit the doors at the moment to make the space inhabitable for us, so we will leave the little bird alone to take shelter since we can't live in there for the moment. I might even leave some food to help it through the winter ahead. After all, it is not nice to let guests go hungry!

And here is a close up view of the top landing roof. It is not quite the same shape as the original, but we like what Jean-Pierre has done. We left it up to him, figuring that he knows what these roofs should look like and how they need to be made. I also like the way in which everything is not quite symmetrical: the house lost so much character when it was cleared out, so now the non-symmetricality puts some of the character back!

So here is the roof beams all on. I find it hard to believe that we have got this far. I have worked so hard at being content living in caravans, that I am having difficulty in adjusting to the thought that come next spring we will be in the side barn.

Next week, providing the weather holds reasonably dry, they will keep on cementing the wood onto the walls, then next the membrane, and then we are dry. Tiles on next.

Gussy Update: Have almost given up with Gus of late, bless him. He has developed a passion for Fleur, Bruno's seductress of a dog, and takes any opportunity to race across the road to go play. We don't let Bools do that, both for his own safety and the safety of any occupants to the cars which could land up in the ditch trying to avoid the dogs. And I know boy dogs will be boy dogs, but what with the builders and everything else going on here, our heads are full of so much stuff at the minute that trying to find the patience to deal with the little renegade is, quite frankly, too much.

So last night I had had enough. To the dog rescue centre he was going. He was on his way there when we took him in, so I reckoned we were a temporary parking up place for him. Also, we are not sure if he is reliable in terms of temperament.

Oh dear! Looked at the web site for the dog rescue centre and I was done in! Saw all those little doggy faces so desperately needing homes, that I really, really, really, couldn't leave Gus there. Plus if I had taken him there, it is more than likely that I would have come back with at least one homeless mutt. So I need to steer clear of that place, and Gus does to. We are going to keep him. The Universe has brought him to us, and with him comes a fresh challenge to add to the many other challenges we have at the moment. The Universe certainly wants to keep us busy!

I think he is a troubled little dog. After all, he has had three other owners who for various reasons passed him on. We want to do good by him and we don't want to let him down. So off to the vet next week for de-balling, then lots of fussies for him, and lots of lovings. No doubt he will pinch a blog space to tell you all about his woes shortly!

Self sufficiency update: well, there isn't any! Update I mean! Because it has been raining, and we have been busy with work. No excuse I know! But nothing happening on the food growing front. Unless: Farmer Michel called round for his money (he ploughed and grassed two of our fields last weeked) and arranged to keep an eye on the fields to see if they needed any particular sort of attention.

Also, Lester went off with Bruno last Thursday to meet a man who had a vineyard and who was digging up loads of vines together with their supporting poles. Bruno came back with sixty, and Lester was keen to go get some yesterday, but was too tired to do so. Instead, Bruno and Lester went onto our river beach and cut into logs the trees we rescued from the bridge a couple of weeks ago. Good that they did, as the river is starting to rise and soon the logs will be either back on the bridge parapet again or off down the river to somewhere else. So I guess I can give you a vague update about self sufficiency. Oh and plus we are still using our potatoes and I haven't had to buy any for three and a half months. And we have just finished our onions. Felt quite mortified when I had to buy some the other day. So feel a tinge of guilt about our lack of recent efforts at producing our own food, but there is always next year.....

Signing off for now, and hoping that your week ahead runs as smoothly as it possibly can.

Sending you blessings from Labartere.....