Sunday, 20 May 2018

Exploding Prawns

Paul said he would join Rick and me on our afternoon walk.  I put my walking boots on and put Rick in his harness while Paul went downstairs to the buanderie to get some prawns out of the freezer for dinner.  Ten minutes later Rick and I are still waiting for Paul to appear so we went in search; the doorway to the buanderie is low and I thought maybe he had knocked himself out.  He was still upright and conscious but struggling with a broken bag of prawns that apparently had exploded and fired prawns in all directions.

Twenty minutes later Paul finally joined us for our walk. Rick was excited and impatient to get going. It was very warm so we were both wearing t-shirts and shorts.  We had just gone through the gap in the laurel hedge when there was an enormous clap of thunder directly overhead. Paul and I looked at each other and decided to go back to the house, much to Rick’s disgust.  Not a moment too soon because suddenly the heavens opened and down came the rain.

a newly formed stream running by our ferns

If the prawns hadn’t exploded we would have been a long way from home when the storm broke so I guess we were lucky.  Not sure what we’re having for dinner tonight though.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Monsieur Blaireau

Sue's Folly

The sunshine returned today and suddenly everything seems brighter in the world. 

I took Rick out for his walk this afternoon.  It was very pleasant walking in the sunshine listening to the crickets, they were extraordinarily noisy.  The wheat is growing fast in the fields and there are orchids and white daisies growing along the verges.  I walked through the woods and then followed the pathway that Paul had cut earlier with his ride on mower.  The local farmers have not got round to cutting the grass this year yet and the footpaths are very overgrown.

Paul was chatting to Philippe in his garden when I got back. Philippe is very proud of his potager, he retired last year and spends hours now weeding and hoeing and planting in very straight lines.  Paul came back shaking his head and I asked him if everything was okay with Philippe.

“No, he is very upset.”
“Oh, no, is someone ill in his family?”
“No, worse.  A blaireau got into his potager last night and ate the strawberries.”

A blaireau is a badger.  I know badgers eat worms and insects but I didn’t realise they eat fruit too. Philippe needs to secure the fencing around his plot to make sure he doesn’t return.  I've put Rick on badger watch to make sure my strawberries are safe.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Simple and Rustic

It’s amazing how much clutter a dog can accumulate.  Rick has several different harnesses and leads and our porch was looking very untidy.  We decided that a couple of hooks to hang his stuff were called for.  We looked around the local Bricomarche but all the hooks were plastic and brightly coloured, totally unsuitable for our rustic home.  In the end Paul fashioned a couple of simple wooden pegs from a piece of chestnut and the problem was solved.  Simple and rustic.

A simple and rustic lunch today.  I used up some cheese and red pepper (capsicum) and made a quiche.  It didn’t look very pretty but it was delicious.

Monday, 14 May 2018

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Paul braving the rain to fetch kindling

There is a reason why this part of south west France is green and verdant, I think it’s probably something to do with the rain.  Yes, it’s raining again today and quite cold.  Rick cannot understand why he is not allowed to go outside and play.  After breakfast I wallowed (images of a hippopotamus come to mind) in a hot and very bubbly bath for half an hour while Paul busied himself in the kitchen making tomato and lentil soup.  Afterwards I baked. I like baking when it's cold and wet outside, enjoying the warmth of the kitchen and the smell of cinnamon from the buns. 

Paul has been grooming the dog. Rick absolutely adores being groomed, his eyes glaze over and he goes all sleepy and stupid.  We have to groom him nearly every day because of his long coat.  At this time of year the sheep and deer ticks are a nightmare and we have to try and avoid the long grass.  He has treatment that kills the ticks as soon as they attach themselves to him but they can still cause irritation. 

Rick enjoying his grooming

The countryside may look like a paradise for dogs but there are hidden dangers.  Earlier in spring the processionary caterpillars that come from the pine trees are extremely toxic to dogs. The long trails of caterpillars crawling along the road are eye catching and attract playful or curious dogs.

Grass seeds are another menace.  Shaped like tiny arrows they can enter their ear canal or get trapped between their toes; Rick suffered from an infected paw last summer due to a grass seed. It’s dangerous (and wet) out there!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Wet Saturday

After yesterday’s beautiful sunny day we awoke to grey skies and rain this morning.  The Saturday market was a rather glum, damp affair but we stocked up with wine, eggs and bread from the boulangerie. There was a new stall in the market square selling oysters. They looked lovely but I will not be tempted; the last time I ate oysters I was very, very ill afterwards.

When we got home I braved the rain and picked a few ripe strawberries, I didn’t want the slugs to get to them first.  The rain stopped for a while later in the morning so I spent some time clearing out some dead, woody bits and re-planted some ice plant and Sempervivum.  Paul has been busy cutting back rosemary and cotton lavender but is hampered by the fact that his favourite secateurs have gone missing.  We have several pairs of secateurs but only one pair that are really decent.  I expect they are hiding under a pile of cuttings or on a wall somewhere in the garden.  Or perhaps Rick has buried them.

I think I drank too much red wine because I fell asleep on the sofa after lunch.  It was still raining when I woke up and Rick was demanding his afternoon walk.  I did a deal with Paul, I would take Rick out if he lit the log fire, had a cup of tea waiting for me when I got back and made dinner tonight.  Rick and I got very wet but I think I got the best part of that deal.  Eau de Wet Dog is permeating the house as I write this.