Sunday, 31 October 2010

Lovely Sunday

Had a really lovely day today.
The morning was spent dealing with 4 kilos of apples given to me. Half were choppped and frozen for crumbles and the other half I made into apple and chilli jelly with the peel, cores etc cooking slowly to make apple butter.
Then I made a double flapjack - 500g of oats. I had hoped this would last all week but half of it has already been eaten - two hungry men!!
Today was roast chicken dinner with stuffing and all the trimmings.
Which we ate outside.
The weather was gorgeous this afternoon. We ate lunch in the sun - even had to use sun cream - MOH had half a bottle of wine. The three of us sat and talked, then MOH and my son - 16 - went for a drive round the garden, He is going to start taking proper lessons soon.
Then MOH and I sat in the sun with a cup of tea and had a little siesta.

I hope your day was as nice as mine.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Thank You

I would like to say Thank You to all the people that wished me well in my search for fuel so that we could get over to the UK.


Just a quick update.
We did not get to the UK this week. On Monday, when we were due to fly, I could not find any diesel in the morning, however by mid afternoon there seemed to be fuel in loads of stations. If we had been flying on the Tuesday there would not have been a problem!!
So my week has been a mixture of trying to catch up on work, cleaning the house, cooking etc.

I also have decided the change the format of my blog. I have set up 3 new tabs, one to post my menus each week, the second to record my daily doings - just in one or two sentences and the third one is to talk about things I have done that I think are 'frugal'.

In two weeks time, I will have to change it again as I will have reached the big 50, but I will try for the next couple of weeks and see how it works.

I look forward to any comments - good or bad

Friday, 22 October 2010

Fuel update

Still no diesel!!

This is exactly a week since we went to fill up and there was no diesel left in our nearest town.

For the last two days we have been working from home.

We have just a quarter of a tank left.

I have been checking the websites to see where the deliveries are, then calling the garages to see if there is any diesel left, but no luck so far. When I asked if they knew when the next delivery would be I was told that they ask for a delivery every day but do not know if there will be one!

Still don't know if we can get the plane on Monday. I think we will have to make a final decision on Sunday whether we can go or not.

I think we may have to deal with a very unhappy teenager next week and my mum will be very disappointed too.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Massacre at Piggies Heaven

On Monday evening we came home from work as usual, I started to get tea ready and MOH went to feed and water the pigs.

Then I heard a loud shout, ran out - thought MOH had hurt himself - but he was shouting at our neighbours dog. The next thing I see is one of our young black chickens scuttling into the porcherie at speed and MOH chasing the dog away.

As we walked around the garden I found piles of feathers scattered all around.

She had killed my 3 of my two year old hens, including the mother of the two black ones born this year, and also the young black coq. So altogether we have lost 3 hens and the young coq.

I was really upset. I rang our neighbours and explained what had happened then I put the phone down.

I spent the next two hours looking to see if any of the chickens had survived and to see if I could find the black one that had escaped.

Our neighbour called round and we talked about it and we are still friends.

I now have to try and find some new chickens and a coq. They will rembourse me.

Nahla, the dog in question is a golden labrador, who they have had for nearly 5 years since they moved here. She spends a lot of time round at our house and as we have no fencing she just walks across the field to get here, the same as our dog goes over there to say hello. She has taken our animals before, she has had geese and chickens over the years, but for the last year she has been very calm and not been interested in them at all.

I don't know what happened on Monday to make her do what she did.

What would you do in our situation??


It was cold this morning.

When I took my son to the bus at 7 o'clock it was -3°

This is the sunrise this morning

I think we can safely say that Winter is on it's way..

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Chilli Heaven

This weekend we had to pull up all the Chilli Plants - all 96 of them!

You can probably just about see on the left of the picture some invaders......

The geese have taken a liking to chillis, they eat them like sweets!!!

I am now making batches of chilli jam and looking for other recipes to use up the chillis

An Afternoon Walk

This afternoon was lovely and sunny, but cold.
MOH suggested that we go for a walk.
Here are some of the pictures

This is just a small strip of wild flowers left after the field had been ploughed

In the distance you can see the maize just starting to be cut today.

Hope you enjoyed the walk with us

Monday, 18 October 2010

Fuel Shortage

We are down to just half a tank of diesel between us!!

As you probably know France is on strike due to the reforms for the statutory retirement age going to 62 years old.

We went to 3 of our local garages on Friday afternoon and there was no diesel left anywhere. I have just looked on a forum and it appears that there is no diesel in our region and the petrol is running low too.

The government keep saying 'there is no panic', but there is also no fuel. However next week is the Toussaint holiday and the French do like to take their holidays, so who knows it may get sorted this week.

We are due to fly to the UK at the weekend but that is in doubt because we don't have any fuel to get to and from the airport.

We will have to work from home from Wednesday and offer telephone lessons instead of face to face lessons!!

Will keep you posted

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Just a quick post today as I am leaving work soon to wait for the France Telecom man, who will hopefully repair my telephone line and internet

I would like to share with you some photos that my youngest son has taken. I hope you like them as much as we do.

This is Fluffy, our foster cat. He looks like a young kitten here but he is quite an old boy. He lives outside and keeps everywhere mouse free. Every morning he waits on the windowsill to be fed and have his milk and he always greets me with a headbutt.

I love this picture, it is the wallpaper on my pc. It was taken in our garden of our new blackberry plant.

here is a link to his site if you would like to see more of his photos


The France Telecom men have just gone. We have a phone line and internet restored but it was a good job MOH was with them. We have a hole in the garden where the phone cable is linked to the house and a couple of years ago some workman bodged the job and left us with a very tight join which comes apart regularly. We knew this was the problem but could not touch it. So MOH showed them the problem and the FT man decided it was too difficult (fiddly) for him, so he pushed the bit of wire back up the hole. Luckily MOH saw him and asked what he was doing, he said that he could not connect it and needed to order a digger to open up the ground. MOH said that was rubbish, disappeared and came back with a spade, dug a hole and said there you go you can do it now. Within a couple of minutes everything was working, but they sat in the hole for a good 30 minutes just talking. I think they were just trying to prove they had done a good job and it had lasted an hour!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Saturday Night

We went to a party on Saturday night.
It is so long since we have done that I can't remember the last time!

The party was for our friends' 50th and 60th birthdays.
The party was in their house and the garden where they had a large marquee. The weather had been beautiful all day - mid 20s, so the evening was lovely and warm. In fact we were outside until gone 2 o'clock in the morning without coats.

The theme of the party was red, white and blue. Guess why?? Both J & J have lived in France for a long time and are bilingual so they have a mix of French and English speaking friends.
When we arrived we picked out a badge with our names on it, with either a picture of big ben or the eiffel tower and if your name was in red that meant you spoke both languages. Great ice breaker.

Some of the outfits were a bit wild and wonderful, JHusband was dressed in a toga type garment, made of the two flags, with that he wore one red and one blue sock and sandals. There was also a union jack mini skirt and lots of flags draped around people.
There was live music with guitars and singers as well as music to dance to later on.

JHusband had wanted to do a hog roast as the main meal but JWife preferred a paella. As the hog roast was fraught with all sorts of problems, they decided on the paella.
In our local markets at the weekend there is a man who makes a huge paella and roast chickens to sell. He was the one that came on Saturday to make the paella. He had a huge paella pan, it must have been a metre across, and he cooked it from scratch in the garden, while we were eating the apperitifs.
It was delicious. Except for MOH who hates seafood of any kind, but he did manage some of the rice and chicken.

After the paella came two huge cakes with pictures transfered onto the icing of J&J.

Then we started dancing.

I have not danced danced for a good few years but it's a bit like riding a bike - you don't forget!!

We must have danced for at least 2 hours solid, even MOH joined in and we had a wonderful time practising for Strictly come Dancing.

We got home and to bed about 3.30. Very late for two old timers.

Needless to say Sunday was a total non event. We couldn't find the energy to do anything.

I am really sorry but I forgot to take my new camera so no pics, but if I can get any I will post them later.

Last two songs

Here are my last two songs- I do have a lot more but I don't want to bore you all.

Sister Sledge - We are Family

This never failed or fails to get me on the dance floor. I always asked for this record when I was out with my friends and work colleagues
Realeased in 1979

My second song is bit different.

Eye to Eye Contact - Edwin Starr

Released in 1979.

I saw Edwin Starr live in the early 80s in an hotel which was also one of the local discos. Thursday night, I think, was locally know as Grab a Granny night. Anyone remember the Plantation Hotel in Chester?
I was in my early 20s then. If I went now, I would be one of the grannies!!!!
When Edwin Starr came to play live, the place was packed. If you remember Saturday night Fever with the coloured squared dance floor, this was what they had but quite tiny, so there we all were squashed up to the small raised area where he was singing, and boy was it good. We sang and danced and screamed. He really worked the audience.
So every time I hear this song it reminds me of that night.

Monday, 11 October 2010

More Prezzies

I had a very nice week last week with two lovely surprises.

The first arrived on Tuesday afternoon, I was working from home and heard a toot toot. It was the postman with a parcel for me. I couldn't remember ordering anything and had to double check the box to be sure it was for me.

Got it in the house and tore open the packaging and guess what it was .....

a new camera, an Olympus T-100 and it was free.

A couple of months ago we set up a new bank account for my son, when he turned 16 he was eligible for an account with a debit card. This was all duly done. A couple of weeks later I was in the bank and saw that they had a promotion - if you recommend someone to open an account with the bank they would give you a gift. So, not one to miss out on a freebie, asked if I would be eligible for this. The lady said she would check and what would I like if it was possible?

I never heard anymore about this until last week when the parcel arrived and there was my new camera.
So no excuses of bad photos from now on.

My second surprise was even nicer.

In France we don't have PAYE. You complete your tax form in April, then then you are told how much you owe and you have to pay by a certain date. This can be quite difficult to pay in one go if you are not organised enough to put the money away each month. I asked to pay by DD a couple of years ago, which I did over the last 10 months to pay for my 2009 tax bill. If you overpay they refund you and if it's not enough you pay the difference.
Anyway, this week I checked my bank statement, something that I do 3 or 4 times a week now, and discovered I had had a tax refund.

Very nice - this will go to pay for the repair of my car which has been sat in the office carpark for the last month, waiting for me to pluck up courage to have it towed off to the garage.
This happened this morning so now I have to wait to find out what the problem is and how much it will cost!!

Just had a call from the garage telling me it was the diesel pump that needs to be replaced along with the filter etc etc...
Bringing the cost to a whopping 650€

Good job I had that windfall last week wasn't it?

Next Song

Here is my next song choice

Baker Street - Jerry Rafferty

This was released in 1978, the year before I left for the big city - well it was big for me and I moved from Wales to England.

It reminds me of hanging around in the local pubs and playing pool. I only ever played well when I had had a few drinks, even then it was not that good.

I think of all the songs I have chosen this is my all time favourite.

Hope you enjoy it too

Friday, 8 October 2010

2 for the price of 1

As I have no internet or telephone at home for the next few days, I thought I would give you 2 songs today

Rock your baby - George McCrae

This was released in 1974 and brings back memories of hanging around the fair that used to come to Llandudno every summer, loitering around the big wheel and the waltzers.
Anyone else remember that? Well maybe not in Llandudno, but at another fair somewhere.
We thought we were so grown-up at 13/14 didn't we?

Next one:

Hotel California - The Eagles

This was released in 1977 and reminds me of my mis-spent youth in Llandudno, in the Old Hall. A disco (as it was then) that we used to go to. I think this was one of the first songs that I learnt all the words to. Isn't funny how once you start to think about things, the little things you remember -
a bottle of Pils (used to think that was so sophisticated and boy was it strong), the clothes and shoes we used to wear, how did I walk in those shoes! and last but not least the music and the dancing. I used to come off the dance floor sopping wet having danced my heart out - sometimes round a pile of handbags.
Don't the memories just come flooding back. I would love to hear yours.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

More Soul

Sorry, I have had an an internet crash at home and been away from the office for a few days, so no post. Anyway here is my next song:

Everlasting Love - love affair

This version is by Love affair and was released in 1968. I don't think I remember it from then but I do have memories of a lodger we had living with us who was very into soul music and she gave me a cassette with a range of different songs on it and I think this song was one of them along with Love Unlimited - Walking in the rain with the one I love. This started my love of soul music. She also gave me an orange plastic cassette player to listen to the music on. I must have been just a teenager then I think.
Hope you enjoy the song and I have another one planned for tomorrow.

Diane, thank you for your advice, as you can see - it works.

Monday, 4 October 2010


I have just posted and as you can see the video is taking over the page, can anyone tell me how to do it properly please

Down Music Memory Lane ..........

Following on from Diane at

this week I would like to share some of my musical memories with you from the 70s and early 80s.

As I said on Diane's blog - the first record I bought was:

Floy joy - the supremes

It was released in 1972, so I must have been 11 !!!!!!

Apparently it was written by Smokey Robinson

Don't forget to sing along.

Menu Planning Monday

Monday: Pea & ham soup with homemade Soda Bread.
Made yesterday, using leftover ham from Bob (our pig) that was salted for 4 days, then soaked for 2 days, then boiled & finally roasted with mustard and sugar

Tuesday: Slow cooker - chicken thighs with spicy sauce
(don't know what it will be yet, maybe curry powder and peach yoghurt) - leftovers to be frozen for next week and some for lunches.

Wednesday: Vegetable Lasagne - requested by my son!!
leftovers for lunch.

Thursday: Chicken curry - a weekly must have. see recipe from last week's post. leftovers for lunch - cold chicken curry and rice --yummy.

Friday: Slow cooker - pork steaks with spicy tomato sauce and rice.

Saturday: Going out to a 50th & 60th party. Will post the photos at the weekend

Sunday: Roast Chicken Dinner, veg, stuffing, roast potatoes.

Next week will be a chicken week.