Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I bet you were wondering if we'd been blown away in the storm!

No, nothing quite so exciting. I've been doing my Nurse Nightingale impression, since the whole household has gone down with various versions of the dreaded lurgy. DD was sent home from school with a cough and a temperature. DH has been up all night coughing and with a sore throat, therefore sleeping all day, now the eldest DS is going down fast, but is still at school (for now). It's like living in a TB ward! I'm supposed to be working from home myself, but there's no time for that! Will post again, when all this madness is over.

By the way, apart from a couple of hours without electricity, the storm passed us by this time - the last one - ten years ago - left us without electricity for three weeks!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

I could have been rich!

I woke up yesterday morning with a best selling novel in my head. Unfortunately, by the time I'd got the kids to school and done my morning routine, I'd forgotten every last detail! I thought it might pop back into my head again as I was going to sleep last night, but no luck. I can only remember that it was a murder mystery and the detective was called Caroline something Italian. If only I could remember, I could be rich by this time next year!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Stranger in the house

One night last week, we had a visit from a stranger He was a bloke around 60 years old, very scruffy and smelly and just walked into the house, totally confused and incoherent - quite unnerving really. It turned out he was homeless and looking for EmmaĆ¼s, the charity who look after homeless people. They're about 5 miles from here. The following morning, I heard on the radio that two homeless people had been found dead in the street from the cold in La Rochelle. Apparently, there's a freephone number that you can ring to get help for these people and they are entitled to a bed for the night and a meal, but many of them refuse to accept help and can't be forced. Makes you grateful (or even slightly ashamed) for your warm, cosy, too big, centrally heated house.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Blogger's been on strike!

I tried to post earlier, but I couldn't get past the log in page.

I heard on the radio that SNCF, (French railway), went on strike overnight on the line from Bordeaux to Paris. Apparently, over a thousand passengers had to either kip on the station, or take a hotel room last night. Some friends of ours went to Disneyland, Paris for the weekend, I bet anything you like they were affected! Poor Katie might not see her friend Lucie today after all!

On top of that, Sarkozy is visiting a primary school in Britanny this afternoon and as a protest against all the reforms he's bringing into the education system, the school is on strike and nobody will be there to meet him. It fair makes you chuckle. You'd think that all the locals would turn up just to get their faces on telly.

That's why when I couldn't get on blogger, thought they must have gone all French on me!

More later, have a nice day!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Come to South West France and FREEZE! It's been minus 7 degrees for nearly a week now and it's not going down too well. I guess we're just not used to it! I thought you might like to see this piccie of the frozen fountain in our fish pond. I think the fish are all in hibernation. They've got more sense than us. We had to buy the plastic heron to frighten the real heron that was after the fish. 37 euros, and it falls over in the slightest breeze. Think they saw us coming! The real heron was fooled for a bit, but now it's so cold, he's taking his chances again and getting ever closer.

Have you ever wished the ground would open up and swallow you? I'm sure you have. I had the most embarrassing incident for a long time on Wednesday lunchtime (and let's face it, I have embarrassing incidents on a daily basis with such things as getting the language all mixed up but I've got used to that). Let me tell you more...

We have had a group of six 20-odd year old girls staying together in a gite. They were on a course were staying originally every Monday night and every Thursday night, with an occasional Wednesday night thrown in for some of them. Got it so far?

Wednesday morning, DH was perturbed (to say the least) that there was a car parked outside the gite. He chuntered to himself constantly about "people taking liberties" and how we were being taken for fools as they clearly expected to stay free of charge, whenever it suited them, and the cost of the heating, not to mention the fact that he wanted to turn the water off to try and avoid burst pipes (I've already mentioned how cold it's gone). I, for my part, was convinced that all they'd done was shared one car, and left one parked outside the gite. Finally, after one too many interruptions, I lost my cool.

"Right", I said, "let's go up there and sort this out!" I marched him up there, gone midday and hammered on every door and window of the gite, yelling at the top of my voice, in French, "is there anybody in there?" . So utterly convinced was I that there was nobody in the gite, that I even kicked the door. Silence. We waited. I then began screeching at DH that he was just causing trouble, and didn't he have anything better to do? when the upstairs bedroom window opened just a crack and this white faced, heavy eyed, beauty of about 23 years old, with just got out of bed hair muttered something to me. I think I frightened her to death!

I was speechless. But only for about half a second. I told her that there was a problem, and could she come down and speak to us. She asked if it was OK for her to get dressed first. You betcha! Five minutes in a gale force wind later, she appeared, terrified, and I left DH to explain the reason for the disturbance, partly because I was frozen through by then, but mainly because of embarrassment and mortification. She went out in her car not long after! DH and I weren't speaking for all of five minutes, and I haven't been able to think about the incident without blushing to the roots of my hair ever since! That'll teach me! Customer relations - pah!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

A cross between a dustbin truck idling and a plane taking off

That's DH's latest snore. That's also what got me up before daylight this morning which isn't saying much, since it's always dark at this time of the year. We've just heard that we may get the Digibox on Monday but I won't hold my breath!

We're having some French friends round for a meal tonight; how does this sound? Hot, fresh prawns cooked in cognac with a bit of cream, foie gras on toast and various vol au vents for starters. Main course of pork and apple pie with flaky pastry, cooked by your's truly, together with various vegetables and of course Oxo gravy, cheese course (already done), galette de roi (a sort of cake with almond pastry in the middle, traditional here for the New Year), choccy log left over from Christmas, coffee and cognac, if they have any room.

Gotta go mince the pork, more later, I hope.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Who'd have thought it?

Don't worry, I'll explain these photos at the end!

When the French people who are staying in the gites at the moment contacted me and asked if it was OK to bring a dog, I said yes. I didn't recognise the breed they mentioned, but they're very fond of lapdogs here so I expected them to bring at the biggest a French poodle, or something small and fluffy that you can't tell which end is the front until you spot the ribbon. After all, who'd bring two kids and a Saint Bernard across France in a Renault Clio? I should have realised, because that's exactly what they did! Poor Woody can't believe I could be so disloyal as to invite another dog to stay on "his patch" and one much bigger than him at that!

What puzzles me is how on earth 7 of them and this dog are staying in that three bedroomed house. Good job it's only for a few days. Laugh? I almost split my sides when I saw it.
I shall miss little incidents like this, if ever get a buyer for the gites. That's probably all I'll miss though!

PS: When I downloaded the photos, I discovered that I apparently have a passion for taking photos of cobwebs with frost on, who'd have thunk it? Is this a sign of some deep psychological unbalance?