Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter one and all. Such a shame that Easter Sunday was a miserable cold rainy day here. So many events planned that needed sunshine. Sod's law it was a lovely day again today. We didn't manage to get to Easter eggs but we did manage to eat our way through this magnificent strawberry tart which was delicious.



My job at the moment is putting this gloopy coffee cream stuff in all the joints between the sheets of plasterboard. Never seen it done, only seen the perfect result. No pressure then. Watched Youtube videos and set off.



My previous Youtube instruction was mostly for knitting - long tail cast on and the like. Not going too badly but just our bedroom has taken 15 kgs!!


Hooray the tub was empty and I could get out in the garden. The peaches are still growing. 



 The last of the new asparagus plants has finally shown its head, the asparagus beetles haven't found them yet. The Colorado beetles haven't found the potatoes either.

I bought tomato plants on the market on Saturday and they are all lined up in the garden - with some spares for you too Anne.


I bought them because they were there and I had time to plant them. But it is obviously not the time. Several ladies said beware of frost to Him Outdoors as he carried them down the hill, some sucking of teeth. Afterwards, I noticed that there was not the big rush of old men laden with tomato plants that there would usually be if it was the right time to plant. (And there was me thinking that if the man on the market had them it must be the right time to plant.....)

I bought this moon calendar the other week. The locals all plant by the moon and my only English experience of such a thing is the fact handed down by my parents from their parents, that you have to plant potatoes on Good Friday (which is a festival that is moon related.) My neighbour was very concerned that La Lune Russe was very late this year and there was a real danger that the fruit would be spoiled by frost. Googling told me that she was worried that the next new moon was not until right at the end of April.


So better not put these little beauties out yet then.


Him Outdoors decided that he needed a haircut for Easter. Sure says I. I've been using hair clippers on his head for years with no damage done. Not this time. The bit that guides the clippers to the length you want fell off mid sweep.....................................ooops.



He looks like a spayed cat! Obviously had significant brain surgery.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gardening and memories

I spent some time yesterday sorting out my coldframe.

Lesson 1, throw out the dead snails immediately. If what looks like an empty shell is actually a rotting, maggot ridden carcase, it STINKS.

Lesson 2, if my overwintered geraniums look totally dead, they probably are and won't revive with water and sunshine. And actually are but that makes much more room for other stuff.

Lesson 3, (one I will never learn) stop planting too many of everything. If you have planted 2 seeds per pot in order to throw away the weaker one. Throw it away.

Of course, there should be a picture here of productive coldframe but camera got left at the house.

Domestic day today. Him Outdoors left asking what was it you didn't want me to strim? Can't hold my breath or cross my fingers all day, perhaps the orchids; what I think is a clump of gladiolus Byzantium; the remains of a deer eaten rose and what looks like a clump of Michaelmas daisies will survive. Perhaps.

Sunny, peaceful gardening makes my mind wander. My mother died at the beginning of last year after a decade of increasing dementia. My mother-in-law died in February. Superficially, I find myself thinking 'oh must be time we rang your mum' and being brought up short. Got a moonpig.com reminder for her birthday........... But underlying that it has brought me a real grieving for my mother. Not the dementing one, but the person behind that. When she died the overwhelming feeling was one of relief that she didn't have to do that anymore and that she was settled back with Dad in the beautiful Suffolk churchyard.

What I miss so much suddenly is the only one that really cares about the female things. I am my mother's daughter, she has passed on to me all her domestic loves and hates. She would love the domestic details, the cake that did (or didn't) work, the plants that were special (or eaten by deer), the fact that I am sitting doing this rather than changing the sheets. She would be interested in the details of my French mammogram, the hairdresser, we would share the latest books we have read. I picked up Mrs Dalloway at a friend's house yesterday and dipped in while waiting, she would have read it and shared her opinion.  Her rural Suffolk life has so very many parallels with this rural frenchness. I miss her.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Tourists



It's nearly Easter, school holidays have started and the first tourists are upon us.

Ambling around supermarkets, wandering around in shorts and sandals that no self respecting local would be seen dead in.

The weather is glorious and the countryside is delightful.

Given that the town is alive again, what better time for the local supermarket to shut for its annual holiday. For a month.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Him Outdoors has a new toy

 
Lovely new gadget. Built by moi from Chinese French instructions. It makes lifting the huge sheets of plasterboard much, much easier.
 
 
Finished the last bit of jointing on the landing.

 
Put up a bit of brush fencing between us and the neighbours to stop them looking at us, looking at them, looking at us while they eat. If they ever come. They are the sort of neighbours that only come for some of July and August but just in case they decide to come for Easter .......................

 
And the first sunny lunch on the balcony. Lovely.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Slowly, slowly

More digging. The garden is being designed by purchase of irresistible plants or lack of soil. I sit on my grandmother's bench and plan big plans of sweeping flower beds and then am stumped by the terrain. Ho hum. Still I'm getting there, slowly slowly. Dug another veg bed today probably for tomatoes but maybe not :-)
 
 
Great news, the balcony has returned. After several promises, it arrived with man to help and they proceeded to try to put it back where they got it from. There was a moment where the whole weight was balanced on one stuck out foot!! Eventually it was cut in half and soldered back together - you can't see the join and it's lovely. Sunny every day until after lunch, well, if there was sunshine it would be.

 
We've done a lot of plasterboarding. A concerted effort to get the area around the stairs ready for stairs. Eventually decided that it really wasn't essential to have stairs just so workmen could spoil them and we have put them back a month.
 
 
So Him Outdoors - or more recently Him Indoors - has been tackling the plumbing. Turns out he was really not looking forward to it but as you would guess, once he started it has all proceeded slowly but beautifully. (I'm sure this is a really interesting picture to somebody, just not me.)

 
Tomorrow we have a day off. Well, we are hosting a 10k walk with lunch - in the rain............

Friday, 21 March 2014

This week

What's been happening this week? The electrician has finished the first fix.
 
 
Which means that we can start wrapping the rooms up in brown paper.

 
Or lining them with teddy bears. Your bedroom wall has been pointed.

 
The balustrades have been fitted.
 
 
Him Outdoors has been playing with frames for the plasterboard and lining them with cork.

 
A man came and fitted the only handle that will fit on the tiny space left on the door frame.

 
And spring has arrived (swallows this afternoon.)

 
Peach blossom.

 
And the neighbour's plum tree.

 
Yesterday we had drinks with our Parisian neighbours. We had a form to fill in and they spent ages discussing the exact wording necessary. They couldn't decide whether we were doing a 'renovation totale, or a totale renovation'. If they don't know what hope have the rest of us. There was also huge discussion about what a difference it made if you said 'ce matin, il faisait beau' rather than 'il faisait beau, ce matin'. The most important thing comes first ?????????? Beyond me.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Paris

Oops made the mistake of telling our 75 year old Parisian landlords that we were going to Paris in May. Could be the fact that we have just been given prawn crackers, salami, bread and butter, frankfurters and three large glasses of wine! Now we are committed to dinner at their house and a tour of Paris by night driven by them............. I'm sure it will be lovely.

The nicest part of the day was discovering that the man that owned our house before always planted his potatoes on 19th March -and I just had too. That pleased me no end.