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!