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Monday, 24 July 2017

Rabies!

All the cats have now had their rabies vaccines, been weighed and given a clear bill of health, but here's the kicker! Do you remember a few weeks ago when I was so worried about Finn's weight? Well, he's the heaviest of them all! Gigi is next heaviest, which is funny as she's almost the smallest (Bambam and Cotton weigh the same, which is tiny).  The dog was the worst for his shots and cried like a girl as he hid behind my legs! Tomorrow it's the turn of BF's dogs, sheesh!

The house drama continues and I can't even talk about it!

Today I packed up the large wool cupboard.  The balls are arranged by colour. Box one is white, blue, purple and pink. Box two, reds, browns, golds and all the rest! You would think that seeing all this wool would give me a sense of perspective, but no! I was thinking about how many lovely wools I should double up on, just in case! I must stay away from the wool shop!

I lost myself tonight in The Handmaid's Tale and Poldark. The first was quite moving and the second a bit too political. Both needed women to give the men a good kicking in the tenders!!!

Tomorrow, I have lots of forms to fill in. They say that moving house is as stressful as divorce. I would argue that case but I'm not sure in which direction! Both induce insanity!!!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Thank you Nigel Slater.

It's been a tough weekend emotionally. I feel a little put through the ringer and although I love this rain and how lush the gardens are, the weather and stress combined have edged me closer to a fibro flare. I'm not too bad, but my shoulders are tightening and threatening to undo me!

I took a couple of hours out and watched Nigel Slater with my BF. I love his style of cooking and presenting his show. So gentle and softly spoken, like a soothing balm.

I'm now cooking his slow roast pork with Asian spices and roast potatoes. A good end to the weekend and something to get me ready to face the phone calls and unpleasant jobs tomorrow.

 I did get pony cuddles from BF's horses, Flash above and Benson below <3

Friday, 21 July 2017

Oh heck! (and that's being polite!)

I've been back less than a week and things seem to have hit a good deal of stumbling blocks. To say that I'm stressed is a huge understatement, but I am. It's the feeling of not being in control that's the worst part.
Six weeks ago, all parties concerned agreed on a date for completion and that date is ten days away. It seems that we're not going to make that date and it's frustrating the hell out of me! Yesterday I was in danger of developing stress related Turettes!!!

Lets look at some photos of the house and calm down before another round of phone calls begins.
We have about 6 apple trees all varying in age and condition. 
We also have two walnut trees and a couple of cherry trees :D

In our favourite town of Guemene, there are at leat three wash houses where traditionally women would gather to do the laundry.
The atmosphere is so hushed and almost waiting for the chatter to resume. I can see myself sitting here to do some sketching when I'm in need of inspiration.
This washhouse had been renovated with a typical Breton roof of tiny tiles.
In the water running from the central wash area there were lots of tiny purple/blue dragonflies. You can just see one on the leaf in the center of this picture.

Back in the main part of Guemene, there are lots of old and empty houses. 
I think I may be painting some of these in time.

Back to my garden, I have my very own standing stone! It's not very big, about the size of a milking stool, but it's a good spot to sit in and sketch. I drew plans for the gardens while I was sitting here.

The main garden is sooo overgrown now, but we can't wait to get stuck into tidying it up and adding our own plants.

However, first on the list of essential items is to put a toilet in the bathroom!!!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hardly suprising!

I have high blood pressure! Well, I think anyone could see that coming!  My family all suffer from blood pressure and heart related issues so I need to watch my diet, stop eating such rich food and cut down on my stress. Hmmm.....  how successful will that be, I wonder. 

I've had a quarter of melon for my breakfast and will have some green tea with mint mid morning, probably with some more fruit.  I don't eat a lot of chocolate or biscuits or snacks, so it must be the lack of portion control that's getting to me. That and the red wine! Hey ho, abstinence, here I come!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Packing....

That's all I seem to be doing at the moment! That and frequent runs to the tip or charity shop. I'm amazed at how little value is placed on books these days! I managed to sell a whole bag full for a measly £5 when I knew full well there were some collectables in there, but I guess it was better than a kick in the teeth!
It's a shame that as a society we care so little about reusing things. I love second hand items. I love the feeling of using a tool that's been repaired and cared for, or reading a book that's clearly been read over and over. I found a lovely crochet blanket in a charity shop once for less than £5 and I had to have it, just for the love and time that went into making it.
Clearing out my home has made me realise that I'll only be keeping the things I really cherish and I'll mourn all the wasted money on items that I wanted for no good reason!

This purchase, however, I bought for a very good reason! I really, really wanted it ;) The ebay seller contacted me and simply said 'make an offer', so I made a silly offer and it was mine! I stressed so much that I'd probably bought something nasty and full of poopy bits, but no! Barely a handful of waste was in the fleece.
 It was dirty, but plain old dirt, that's all. The fibers were long and crinkly and I had to wash it right away.
 My son commented on the wool people enjoying the sun, haha!
 And look at how soft and fluffy it is now. I can't wait to spin it, but it's been packed with the rest and will be on it's way to France next week!
 A very rare picture of me and my lovely BF <3
 I had Walley for the day again on Sunday and he and Manchee had a great time in the woods, running everywhere really quickly!
Tomorrow we're off to Brittany. We'll be taking a few things to store and will spend some time at our house. I can't wait :D

Monday, 3 July 2017

Where did the morning go?

After a fairly tiring weekend I tried to have a lie in this morning! The dog was having none of it and fidgeted, huffed and scratched until I gave in and staggered to the kitchen for a cuppa.  Now he's asleep on the sofa and I've somehow managed to waste the morning on my laptop! The thought of buying a fairly cheap ice cream maker is however spurring me to get moving!

My lovely BF created another recipe for our 'book' and it was divine, all my favourite things on a plate. It's a warm version of a salad nicoise with cooked mackeral fillets and a caper butter dressing.

 Sunday I had Walley for most of the day as he needed another haircut and Echo wouldn't let me do it without sticking her face in the clippers! Walley was an angel while I clipped him and Manchee just watched from a safe distance  He was clipped last week and didn't enjoy it one bit!
We then went for a cool walk in the woods and they came back and crashed out on the sofa ( I joined them and we all had a nap, haha).



Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Cathedral quiet.

Monday, I took the dog for another walk in the woods near our house. Sometimes we go there too often and I forget to stop and enjoy the feel of the trees breathing.
 We reached a point where the trees towered above us, stately and silent. The feeling of stillness, of waiting and reverence was like no church ever built. Here is where I find my God, my Gaia, where the Earth touches the sky. I remembered to stop, be still and just be present in the moment. I didn't take pictures of the trees, knowing that my camera couldn't do justice to the feeling of the moment.

The dog found good things to sniff while I photographed the foxgloves.

 I found some wild raspberries and ate a few for second breakfast. They were very good too :D


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Boxtropolis.

We found a new, shady path to walk along on Friday. Sadly it wasn't a very  long path, but the views back to Butser Hill and our home on the other side were stunning.
 It was a cloud heavy day, but still no rain. Biting insects were in swarms and we were glad to get back to the car and shut the windows!
 Manchee crashed out with Gigi. She loves to snuggle up with him, but he's not normally so sure, she can be a bit prickly at times!!! Can you see my laptop charging? This is where I often sit and write in the afternoons or evenings, surrounded by my animals <3
 Meanwhile, the rest of the house is becoming Boxtropolis! These boxes are filled with art books and cushions and blankets! I tried filling one to the top with books and nearly had an injury trying to move it!
 It's chaos here, but I have set myself a time target and hope to be mostly packed by the end of this week! We're going back to France in two weeks to hopefully seed our field and take some of the boxes to store.
 Aaaah, a nice calming image of my breakfast. Fresh raspberries straight from the garden. I added shop bought strawberries and a banana. I WILL be healthy :D

Friday, 23 June 2017

A bit quiet.

It's been a bit quiet here lately while we try very hard not to be overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Clearing out can be so stressful! I hope I've found a solution, I'm only focusing on what I really want with me!
The heat this week has been incredible, with temperatures reaching 30C on Wednesday. Poor Manchee has not coped at all well with it, so I bought him a cooling mat. After a while he got used to it and it helped so much. I was really starting to worry about him.
Yesterday we were due to have a storm, but it just didn't show and I was really disappointed. I felt the need to clear the air and was looking forward to walking in the rain. We did manage a visit to the river though :D

Today I'm visiting my Reiki master and sharing some of my things that won't be coming with us on the move. Last week I gave her my cowboy boots and it was fun to see her happy dancing! Who knew a pair of boots could have such power?
I have time for one more cuppa and then I'll dig up some raspberry plants to take with me.

Have a good day all.x

Monday, 12 June 2017

Another mouse!

It's late. I really want to be in bed, but once again we have a mouse causing havoc in the house. This time the dog is joining in with gusto. Furniture is actually being moved and there's just no respect for my knitting bag!
The problem is, I had the mouse within grasp several times and the slippery sucker leapt almost into the jaws of death on so many occassions. I could give up and go to bed, but I know that come 4am, I'll be up and trying to save it or scraping it off the carpet!
Only a week ago I was in a similar postion and saved the mouse, only to find it or another, squashed flat and decomposing under my bed! The smell was memorable!!!
If only I hadn't drunk all the gin!!!

Eeek!

I've had several quotes for moving the inside of my house and the prices are scary! We're almost tempted to hire a van and do it ourselves, however I feel that's a quick route to a big old row, so I'm gathering as many quotes as I can.

Today, I'll be mostly visiting the charity shops and tip to clear out what we really don't need with us.

 Gigi and I did a little pottering in the garden.

Not much walking took place this weekend as we lost our oldest dog, and we all dealt with it in our way, mostly quietly reflecting.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Helloooo :D

A big hello to you lovely new blogging friends :D  It's good to get messages from new people and read about our similar journeys through an often turbulent world.

The need to get away and grow a few herbs or veggies is very strong in many people these days. I think it has a lot to do with taking control of a small part of your life. Growing herbs for health, vegetables and flowers for well-being. It's not a new trend, it comes in and out of fashion on TV, but here in blogland it's possible to see that it means a great deal to so many people that it can encourage huge lifestyle changes.

It's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and when I was at school I dearly wanted to go to Agricultural college, but wasn't allowed, for various reasons! The ambition never left me though and after collecting an Ark of animals over the years, I realised that I needed a much bigger place to live with them.  Now I have my dear BF beside me, our dreams have merged and so off we go to France. Yes, it's scary and nerve-wracking, but it's more scary to sit still and simply talk about it.

Finn is back from the vet and I've been told to stop worrying! He's most likely stressed by all the people in and out of  the house and the frequent visits from the new Tomcat in the village (AKA Spicy nuts!!!). I mainly wanted Finn's thyroid checked as my old cat had hyperthyroidism and became very thin over a short space of time. However, all seems to be well but we'll be popping back in a few weeks for a follow up.

ps. Spicy nuts got his name as I was watching him lurking in the garden while Moomin read out a recipe title. We got our wires a little crossed but the name has stuck :D

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Oh!

The clearout at BF's went well until I stepped backwards, heavily laden with old and torn horse rugs and stepped into a stand of stinging nettles! Lets just say I've been stung where no womand should be!!!  Thank goodness for dock leaves!

Finn with Bambam

My darling Finn is off to the vet's tomorrow. He's been losing weight despite me feeding him every tasty morsel I can think of. I've wormed him and cooked food especially for him. He seems happy in himself, but is getting sooo thin. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Moving date.

The days are speeding up towards our end goal and I'm still struggling with clearing out the garage. My sweet BF has helped me with some house repairs and so tomorrow I'll help him clear out his horse equipment. Apparently there are lots of saddles and rugs, that sounds like heaven to me, but the reality will probably involve a lot of spiders and a few mice!

Talking of mice, I'm wide awake at silly oclock because the rain drove another mouse inside (or did Bambam bring it?)! However it got there, I woke to sounds of a burglery in progress! The dog didn't react, so I knew it wasn't the postman crashing around inside so my second guess was cats!
I was nearly swept off my feet as I crept out of my bedroom fumbling for a light! The upstairs hall light died a couple of nights ago, so I nearly stepped on the furry bodies gathering for a slaughter! A little squeek let me know the mouse was fighting back and I managed to trap it in the bathroom inside a toilet roll and a t-shirt! I carried him to safety while the cats thoroughly checked out the bathroom.

So now I'm wide awake having cleaned the kitchen and disposed of last nights disastrous supper. I'm clearing out the freezer, but somehow it just never gets empty! All those containers of left overs are heartily rejected by Moomin and her brother and BF has made his opinion clear on frozen food other than basic ingredients like chicken or fish (or sometimes chips!).  So the supper started out bad and I should have just given it to the chickens (veg stew of some kind) but no, I had a curry in mind. But there comes a time when you have to stop throwing good food at bad and hoping for an average result. It wasn't even that! I now have heartburn which is better than feeling very sick which I did before the mouse adventure!

I have to be up in three hours, but as I already am I'm left with a conundrum!!!

The fleece is nearly dry and Fae is doing her best job as quality control expert. She confirms that it's warm and fluffy <3

Not the Golden Fleece!

Anyone remember those lovely adventure films like Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts? I loved them to bits especially the way the dull old fleece suddenly bloomed golden and lustrous. I've had real fleeces that have behaved in much the same way, started out dowdy and dull and then after one wash become a thing of beauty. Not so with the hecking Polwarth! Yes I could swear I'm that fed up with it!  I think that leaving it in the grease in it's bag for a year hasn't helped as some of it has started to mat and felt all by itself! I cleaned and processed so much last year though that I thought I'd give it one last chance.
 Two washes in the Unicorn Power Scour and some of it is still soft and pliable.
 Some I have hope for and some will just make lovely soft (and expensive) shoe insoles!
It looks like some kind of art installation in my garden! I wonder what the neighbours are thinking? They should be used to me by now ;)

It's funny, I've been packing and clearing out for the move and one of the first things packed and ready are my bags of clean fleeces!!!  I guess that tells the whole story right there :D

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A bit of a geek!

If you haven't already guessed it, I'll admit to being a bit of a geek! I suppose I'm infulenced a lot by my children and the programs they love, but I've always had a love/hate relationship with Zombies!!!  So of course, the Walking Dead has always been a huge favourite with us all.
After the tragic episodes of season 7, Moomin and I decided to go back to the beginning and start all over again. We're now on season 4 and what am I obsessing with? Sasha's gorgeous jumper. I've scoured the internet and various knitting sites and cannot find anything close to this fairisle pattern. The colours match a lot of wool I just happen to have (!!!) and I really want to have a go, so if anyone can suggest something suitable please, please leave a comment or better still a link :D
Back in the real world, my beans are now planted and protected from slugs by little circles cut from lemonade bottles! I won't use slug pellets ever again after watching a vet program in which a little puppy nearly died from ingesting the pellets :(
In my lovely galvanised buckets, the salads are shooting up, yay :D
I can't finish this post without a picture of our comfort supper of fish pie with petite pois and asparagus, yum!
And finally, Cotton looking funny :D She's always laid out like this since a kitten. She copies the dog, haha :D
Edited to add: I've just been informed by my lovely children that I'm actually a nerd, not technically a geek!!! Well, glad that's cleared up then ;)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Hairy dogs and suppers.

Walley really suffers in the summer with his long and luxuriously thick coat. I've seriously considered it for spinning, but I've heard that it's hard to get rid of the doggy smell!
We treated him to a set of clippers and after a good deal of dog wrangling in the kitchen, he was mostly clipped.
I took so much off, but it doesn't look too drastic, although his ears look a bit girly!
It's so hard to get a decent picture of him, especially in my garden as they both love to run around like crazies :D
There's always so much to sniff at in my garden and Walley is always on the look out for cats. He's fascinated and scared in equal measures!
I made dough for a Lebanese spiced flatbread but unfortunately dropped two sachets of yeast into the mix and had to double up on everything else! The small dough ball is for the flatbreads and the big piece was just bread. I used half chapati flour and half plain and it made a perfect flatbread but a really heavy loaf. It was excellect with bacon and eggs though!
Sorry for the blurry picture, I was in a hurry to eat it ;) Spicey meat topped with yogurt and rocket.
This was lunch the following day and it was just as good cold.
Monday the weather was wet and stormy, so I decided to go for comfort food. I've been making a sort of mediterranean fish stew for years but decided to use a recipe from the Rick Stein cookbook my lovely BF got for my birthday. It was a surprise to find how similar it was to my usual one, only Rick's is made in a big old stewpot and mine goes in the oven.
Lots of chopped veg go into the pan for 10 minutes or so, then followed by tomatoes and garlic.
When it's all beginning to soften add a big glug of pastis (I'll use it up eventually!) and a mug of stock.
Now this is where my version takes over. I layer potatoes on the top, dot with butter and bake in the oven for an hour or so, until the potatoes are soft. Then I sprinkle handfuls of cheese over and leave to brown and bubble. This version gives me time to clear up the kitchen or take the dogs out while dinner cooks itself. I don't like standing guard over a stove, waiting for something to cook, unless I'm in the mood for rissotto when I use the time for mindful contemplation, so not very often!
Served with more rocket, as it's my favourite leaf at the moment, and relax in front of a good movie, or in our case, a slightly mediocre movie!
You may have noticed all of my mismatched plates. We only have a few decent plates left after the dishwater took bites out of all of them and I'm not buying any new ones until after we move. That's one less thing to pack :D