Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck
Roosting on the gate

2011 - My second year of blogging in Brittany

I felt I would like to share some of the photographs I have taken so far this year and some from other years. I live in a beautiful part of Brittany and just love being here. It's a lovely place to photograph and enjoy being in through all the seasons and hopefully this blog will show you where I live my life.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Septic tanks, stray goat and dreadful weather

Easter Sunday fell last weekend and my daughter bought a mould for Easter eggs and made my grandson's egg herself this year.  Here he is enjoying it.

Yesterday Le Vidangeur Breton arrived to empty my fosse – septic tank.  The huge red vehicle he came in wouldn’t fit to go round the corner into my garden by the conventional route, so he finally agreed to go down the – strangely smaller but easier to negotiate – far drive to the other end of the garden.

He was a little surprised when lifting the lid to find that the aromatic contents were only inches from the top – it had been seven years all but three months since it was installed and this was the first emptying.  He suggested that next time should be in five years and I have noted it in the part of this year’s diary which gets transferred to the following year.  He was lucky that some English neighbours with a holiday home here were in residence and they collared him to have their fosse emptied at the same time, so a profitable morning for him.  He was a charming, young chap and I would recommend him.

The weather continues to be very cold.  Yesterday I awoke to a white world which disappeared fairly quickly once the rain washed the snow away.  This morning it is making a pathetic attempt at snowing but not getting very far with the business of settling as it’s so wet underfoot.

On Tuesday morning when I went to the field to do the animals a goat stuck his head in the feed bucket.  This may not seem unusual but my goats do not like to come near me and this one was very friendly.  I suddenly realised that he was not Basil.  Basil has only one horn after too much head butting with a ram a couple of years ago and this intruder had two large horns.  Photo quality not good I'm afraid.

Within moments he was not only in the barn but in Betsy.  Now, I had Basil neutered, partly to stop the smell of an entire goat which is something that has to be experienced to be believed, but also to stop more kids arriving.  I am not happy that now there is every chance that Betsy is pregnant and would be due to kid at the very end of August.  I called the local farmer who has 7 or 8 goats but it was not one of his.  He told me to call the vet.  I did, but the vet can apparently do nothing if the goat doesn’t have ear tags and this one doesn’t.  The vet told me to call the Mairie – town hall – so I did.  They said they would send someone round.  The someone they sent was the other farmer in my hamlet who couldn’t identify the goat and assumed, as I had, that someone who had a goat they didn’t want drove past, saw mine and thought – ah they like goats I’ll pop mine over the fence.  The perimeter fence is secure and too high for a goat to climb over without human help.  So I am, for the moment, stuck with this goat which is a real pain.  It has also affected the hens who tend to be in the barn in this awful weather.  Hens hate change of any sort and this extra goat has, unfortunately, diminished the egg laying from the hens who use the barn.

I succumbed to some plants for the garden yesterday while in the supermarket - two osteospermum.  They are very small at the moment but will soon take off when they are planted and the good weather arrives.

These plants used to be called dimorpotheca and I sometimes still forget the change of name.  I had a health visitor years ago who used to call them osteomyelitis and when the name change came she referred to them as dihydrostreptomycin - mad eh?  I really like any daisy-shaped flower and have missed having these in my garden here.

I also bought an entrecote steak - I cut it in half and saved half for tomorrow.  I cooked it rare and had it with chips, mushrooms and salad.  I rarely cook chips at home and really enjoyed my lunch today.

My worker has just been round and loaded me up with logs for the woodburner to take me through the weekend.   It looks as if I have almost a whole tree ready here - but at least I definitely won't be cold.

Three things I like:

1.   Being warm in my house when it's such horrible weather outside.
2.   Hearing from an old friend who I hadn't been in touch with for ages.
3.   Sitting down with a box of chocolate cherry liqueurs.     

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fire in the kitchen, poorly cat and clocks going forward

It snowed all Friday but it was so wet on the ground that nothing settled thank goodness.  It's been very cold at night and frost in the morning but during the day quite pleasant.  In fact today, Easter Sunday, has been really sunny and lovely. 

I had trouble with Claude, my white kitten yesterday morning. When I came downstairs first thing in the morning he was very lethargic with tongue protruding, dribbling, not moving etc.  I took him to the vet and on the way he perked up and started clawing madly to get out of the basket and crying loudly. I turned round and came back home and kept an eye on him. He was hot and very quiet again when we got home, wouldn’t be touched and no purring, wouldn’t eat.  By the evening, he was back to normal and ate for the first time. He was playing with red shield bugs on Friday, which had come in on the logs, and I think he may have eaten one or two. My friend, Mandy, says her cat was salivating badly after eating one, so maybe they are slightly poisonous. Anyway, all’s well that ends well.  The photo is of him at 11.00am, not very well at all.

Then, this afternoon I had a fire in the kitchen – my own fault. I put a frying pan with oil on the hob and then heard my neighbour and I needed to speak to her about something. I went out and she wandered down the garden with me, didn’t think a thing about the pan. Came back in to thick black smoke and then the smoke alarm started – a bit late for that – flames licking the cupboards each side of the hob and had melted the extractor fan onto the hob surface and the fluorescent lights above! 

Managed to damp a couple of t-towels and put them over the flames and carry pan out to the garden still alight but no problem. All the cobwebs in the downstairs, up the stairs and on the landing are standing out with carbon black on them. The ceiling will need repainting - it was only done last year - and lots of cleaning up to do and electric stuff to replace - but it could have been a lot worse.  I dread to think what it would have been like if I had been a few minutes longer. Took me a while to stop choking from the smoke and I used up a lot of Ventolin!   Luckily the cats had followed me out into the garden so they weren't in the building.  Today my worker came round and cleaned up as best he could, removed the remains of the melted extractor fan and replaced the fluorescent tubes so I can see when I cook.  We'll have to take out all the grout and replace it which is a pain in the butt - let's hope there are not too many of these senior moments!

Here is Claude today - I had told him to go out as he'd pissed on the floor.  He's thinking that he is hiding really well under the tassles of the throw and that I can't see him.  A bit like when a child covers their eyes with their hands because if they can't see you surely you can't see them.

The clocks went forward to European Summertime at 02.00hrs this morning.  Although you wouldn't have thought we were entering summertime with the ice on the fish barrel on the terrace.  Every clock in the house has been adjusted except for the temporary cooker I have in my kitchen and I'm damned if I can work out how to change it and I can't find the manual.  I shall just have to put up with being an hour slow in the culinary department.

I'm just hoping that the third thing which should happen, whatever that is, doesn't.

Friends turned up unexpectedly this afternoon to check I was surviving after my fire which was kind of them and it's always good to catch up with news etc.  

I had a scintigraphie this week - a radio active isotope scan - on my parathyroid glands.  I had one right one removed with its tumour in June 2011 and apparently I am to be symmetrical again and need to have a left one removed with its tumour sometime.  There's no rush and it's highly unlikely that it is malignant just because they aren't usually, so no real worry.

Let's hope after this week, which is forecast to be cold, it will start to be more like summer so I can get my veggies started.  Roll on wall to wall sunshine.  I want to be able to complain that we aren't having enough rain!

Three things I like:

1.   The little chocolate cakes I made yesterday - first baking I've done for ages.
2.   The Jacquie Lawson Easter cards I've received - I love her cards .
3.   The lighter evenings we are having from today onwards.