Friday, 17 February 2012


The good news is that he is found. The not knowing had been horrible.

BUT the poor cat has been in the wars. The sweet man who brought him back said that his injuries were due to a trap. Totally illegal but used by some (I hesitate to call them people) to protect their hen houses.

After another trip to the vet where she operated he has had to have one back leg amputated and lost a toe from the other back leg. The vet says he'll be fine on three if he survives the infection in the other which he seems to be fighting well.

We have also had a visit from the countryside police - I can't remember the long french name - who were also appalled and strode off to locate the nearest hen houses.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

And now the cat's disappeared

As we struggled to get the car out on Saturday morning, Arthur the cat shot out from underneath and disappeared into the wild blue yonder. He had just returned from too long away and then got a big shock. And we haven't seen him since.

What an empty house this seems.

The good side of this is that we went around the neighbourhood asking if anyone had seen him and met the nearest neighbours. And they were all delightful. The farmer's wife up the hill cleans for a friend of ours and had already popped in to say that her doors were wide open if we needed anything. Seems like she cleans for everybody around and knows everyone. Their house is a..may..zing, ancient and full of huge old furniture and the most wonderful french grandfather clock big enough to hide in. The view is breathtaking. Opposite us is a campsite and we were warmly welcomed into the kitchen by a couple and their son. Full of helpfulness and trying out their few words of english - were sure we would know one of their regulars who came from England and rushed off to find their address.

No luck with Arthur but lovely people.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Poor old Sweety. Our lovely old rescue dog had to be put down this morning. She was a real Sweety. Very lovely to everyone (except small children and chickens).

She had had a tumour in her neck diagnosed at the beginning of December but up until yesterday she hadn't paid any attention to it at all. On Thursday she had a lovely two hour run in the snow, galloping along like a two year old and then gulping down her supper. But yesterday something changed and she didn't want to go out, couldn't get comfortable and then didn't want to eat either. Her head seemed too heavy to hold up.

We went to the vet (an event in itself with the snow) and she was put to sleep peacefully in the sunshine. The house seems very empty without her.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Walk in the Snow

Lovely walk this morning in the snow. I wish the snow would go but it sure is pretty and everywhere is so quiet.

Our new little house is nearly at the top of a hill out of a medieval village which used to be a port on the river with chateau overlooking. All extremely beautiful. Only cars with chains or snow tyres can get up past our house and it's not on the way to anywhere so very little traffic passes.

This morning we walked around the top of the hills surrounding the village with fantastic views over the valleys and into the village through one of the ancient gates. I love it in the winter. There are loads of summer houses that are all shut up and the only people about are local french or the odd all year rounder like us. We slithered our way through the silent village down to the bar at the bottom of the hill.

Couple of guys downing a quick apero before going home to lunch. Fancied a nibble of something on the tourist snack menu but impossible apparently in this weather. Chatted a bit to the bar woman who (when she discovered that we lived there) offered us a taste of something she was planning for her summer menu. Walnut gateau with white chocolate icing served with caramel sauce and (in the summer) with some nougat icecream. To be honest it was a bit dried up but we made all the appropriate noises and it certainly hit the spot after our walk and sustained us up the hill home again. We met an oil delivery man who was asking if the roads were clear to the next village along the river. We thought yes (we had seen a snow plough) and he went off but we met him a bit further on coming back. J'ai capitule. Lot of chat about how it was much clearer on the Lot and what were they playing at here.

Trudged our way onwards up the hill and home to soup. Makes sitting doing nothing for the rest of the afternoon seem like a reward for something.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I may be gone some time

I'm tired of cold now. We are stuck on the top of our hill. There hasn't been any more snow since the first fall of 4 inches but it has been below freezing since (and sometimes way below, -14C this morning). Him Outdoors went off to battle the elements yesterday afternoon. All equipped with shovel, rope, backpack, walking boots he disappeared down the hill in the car.

Phoned from the supermarket to say that all was well and he had got there safely. Phoned again from the car park at the bottom of the hill (base camp) to say that he had got there but no further.

Eventually appeared with backpack of groceries. Yay.

Monday, 6 February 2012


We have had some dealings with Orange whilst moving from one house to the other and every single thing we have been told as fact is rubbish.

If you use a 3G cle (dongle) attached to your computer in the UK it will incur no extra charges. (It incurs vast roaming charges.)

If you wish to cancel your telephone/internet on your old line write to an address in Lille. (You need to write one letter to an address in Lille to cancel your internet and a separate letter to the address on your bill to cancel your telephone line. It was only Elder Son ringing the old number and getting my answer machine message that alerted us to the fact that they haven't cancelled it.)

You cannot cancel your new account for 12 months. (Yes you can, if you are moving to a place that Orange doesn't cover.)

Oh and if you do send a letter, make sure it is recorded delivery or they won't acknowledge that it exists.


Yesterday we woke to snow and by the end of the morning we had about 4 inches. This morning it is lovely bright sunshine on sparkly white snow. Absolutely beautiful but very very cold.

Dear little house is all electric. (Well it shouldn't be, there is an open fire but you have to leave a window/door open to provide enough draught to get the smoke to go up the chimney which kind of defeats the object of the exercise.) Oh and the cooker is bottled gas.

In the last house Him Outdoors could have walked to the nearest shop to get emergency supplies, so the difference in our situation here hadn't really occurred to me. It's 7km to the nearest shop. Looking at the stores we have available for what looks like a week of snow is interesting to say the least.

Years ago we went on a sailing holiday for a week. We had spent a couple of weeks visiting friends and touring around before we got there so I decided to spend the money to get a box of supplies delivered to the boat for the week. On our arrival, there were two cardboard boxes on the table with all we would need. My first reaction was relief that this had worked and just ticking a box on a booking form had resulted in all this carefully chosen food.

BUT there was no indication at all of what someone had planned to do with all this food. No idea of the meals that this was supposed to make. By the end of the week the meals were getting more and more interesting!