Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Puppy News

I though you might like an update on Max.

He is now 10,5 weeks old. I took him to the vet last week for his vaccinations and we came home with worming treatment and stuff to clean inside his ears, which are filthy.

Apart from that he was very good and well behaved but he did bark at the vet!!

It is just like having a young child in the house. He follows me everywhere - I did not realise how many times I go from the kitchen to the store-room every day, I do now because he is always with me and I have to pay attention!
I wouldn't have believed how much poo a tiny little dog can produce. It seems never ending, although I think I am getting the hang of when to take him outside.

He has learnt to sit but not stay yet and comes back when he is called - most of the time!

He lookings after me and protects me when our neighbour's dog comes round, (the one that killed the chickens). He stands in front of me and barks like mad at Nala, and if she goes round the back of me, he does too. She is huge compared to him but he stands up for himself.

He walks to heel - most of the time, and when he thinks he has walked far enough, and I am not paying attention, he nips my trouser leg to tell me to stop.


If this is all too boring please tell me to stop.

Last night for the second night, Miss allowed him in her basket to sleep. If he sits quietly and does not make a fuss she will let him stay.

He loves the fire.

He almost sits in it.

Here are a couple of pictures. Please ignore the dirty fireplace. I did not realise just how dirty it was until I saw these pictures. If anyone has any ideas how to clean the stone, I would be very grateful

This is his basket where he sleeps. He does have a proper wicker basket but it is too big for him and he keeps chewing the wicker. So this is where he goes to sleep.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Snowy Sunday

Well it finally arrived.

The snow had been threatening to fall all week and today we had some really huge flakes of snow

Unless it freezes tonight all the snow will have disappeared.

It is melting very fast at the moment.

My son is really hoping that get gets colder tonight then he won't be able to get to school, the bus won't run if it is icy, so he can't get to school.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Look who has come to live with us ...............

This is Max.

He is a 9 week old cross Westie and American cocker spaniel.
His mother is a Westie and his father the Cocker.
Both his parents are breeding dogs who decided to break the mold, so the breeder gave the puppies away, I just had to pay the vet's fees for the injections and puce.

I am not sure what he will look like when he is bigger. He has the cocker ears and wrinkled brow but I think he will be the size of the westie.

I went to see him on Friday afternoon with D, my son and we took him home with us.

He has been very good - so far. He sleeps in the kitchen in his basket.
He has been out for quite few walks and is learning to do his his business outside. He is already good at walking on the lead and doesn't pull too much.

My other dog, Miss, is quite tolerant of him as long as he doesn't annoy her. She won't let him in her basket - yet.

I have to go to work tomorrow, so he will be on his own for quite a while, so I hope he will be OK.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Thank you

I forgot to say in my last post,

Thank you to all the people who wished me Happy Birthday last week

I hope you like my new picture -- this is where I would like to be.

Well the birthday came and went, as birthday's do.

Mine was very quiet this year, just the three of us.

I had lots of cards but as the 11th is a bank holiday here, some were a bit late - not that that mattered one bit. So we were off work the from the Thursday to Monday, a lovely long weekend.

The weather was absolutely foul, so we had a fire going all day.

We had planned to go down to Toulouse to see our son who is in university there, but as my back had flared up, I could not sit in the car for 5 hours, so we cancelled the trip.

We each chose our main meal and MOH cooked them.

MOH had entrecote steak, 2nd son had fillet steak and I had smoked haddock.
I had made some Delia gooey chocolate puddings for dessert.

I also spent quite a long time watching You Tube videos to learn how to crochet. I started well but kept making mistakes, so much more practise needed!!

On Friday MOH had a dental appt in Tours, so we went out for the afternoon. Once again the weather wasn't very nice, but we had a nice walk around, looked in lots of shop windows, especially the boulangers. One caught my eye - they had large chocolate chip cookies about the size of a small coffee cup saucer, they were 1€60. I kept thinking 'they would make good Christmas prezzies' There were also lots of lovely shops with their christmas windows - some were white and silver, others multicoloured. I wish I had taken my camera with me to show you. I will do that before christmas and post them for you to see.

After that the weekend was just very quiet. We moved Mrs P, our large white sow, inside for a couple of months. MOH had planned the move very carefully, so we were ready for anything that she might do, but she went into the Porcherie straight away , inspected her new quarters and promptly started shouting for food. When I scratched her snout and ears, she was soon quiet. She is settling in well and seems OK inside. We need to contact the pig man this week to organise a date for him to kill a couple of the pigs. We have a male who was not castrated and he needs to be taken care of very soon. Apparently if you don't have the males castrated and you don't kill them before 6 months, the meat can taste more gamey.

I went to the doctor's on Monday and she gave me some anti inflammatory pills, and she said they should work within 24 hours. So hopefully that should all be Ok soon.

I think that's all for now but I will post next time about the changes we have made to our lifestyle since September.

Hope you all have a good day

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lunch today

I was very lucky today to be given my lunch by one of our students

With the ladies, food is always a subject that is universal and it is really interesting to talk about cultural differences.

The student in question is French but of Tunisian origin, so lots of different mixes with the food. Last week she had been talking about her chicken Tagine and very kindly brought some in for S and me to try.

When she said Tagine I expected a casserole type dish cooked in a tagine. Show you what I know. That is the Moroccan version! The Tunisian version is much more like a Spanish Tortilla.

It tasted lovely and when it was warm I'm sure it would be even nicer.

here is her recipe if anyone wants to have a go

Besma's Tunisian Tagine

Cooked Chicken (chopped small)
Cooked potatoes (chopped small)
10 - 12 eggs
Black pepper & salt
saffron (a little)
harissa (optional)

1. Fry the potatoes and chicken.
2. Fry the parsley in a little oil and salt & pepper
3. Mix all the ingredients
4. Put in an ovenproof dish
5. Cook in a medium oven - 180° or gas mark 4
6. Pierce regularly until cooked through

Eat with salad, or cold

I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Fudge Recipe

I would like to make some fudge for christmas this year.

Does anyone have a tried and tested recipe that they can share please.

Thank you

A Sunday of Contrasts

Today has been a really busy day.

Yesterday, for the first time, I made yoghurt in the slow cooker, so this morning I couldn't wait to see if it had worked and it had. It tastes much softer than shop bought yoghurt and as my son said -'it's silky'. I used 2 litres of milk, so I had 2 litres of yoghurt. This will last all week - I hope!
Here is the link to the website I followed


I also started my Christmas cake yesterday. I put all the dried fruit with whiskey (didn't have any brandy) to soak overnight.

This morning I made the cake. I use Delia's recipe as this is MOH's favourite.
Here is the recipe -


Then this morning and this afternoon I helped MOH cement some concrete fencing posts into place. We have decided to put a permanent fence around the potager to try and keep out the rabbits out, as well as making it easier to move the pigs around to do their digging work on the empty beds.
MOH had dug all the holes and put the posts in place, then we placed them, checked they were straight and put concrete into the holes.
I have discovered over the years that my ability to line things up and ensure things are straight is completely nil. This meant that I decided it was easier and safer (stopped me getting shouted at for moving the post) for me to wield the spade and put the concrete in the holes rather than check that the post was straight and level.
While we were working outside this morning we had a visit from one of the chasseurs. He came past with his dog and we had a chat. You know when you recognise someone but you are not sure where from - that was exactly what happened - then he told me that he was the butcher in our local supermarket. He has always been very friendly and helpful to me and I never knew that he lived in the next village!!

This afternoon it was very cold and started to rain - then we had hail!! Yes, hail stones and boy was that cold. We managed to finish the 8 posts we had planned to do today but we were soaked.

Back in for a cup of tea and a couple of hours work - invoices and hours worked for September.

For tea, I had taken a 'baby loin' out of the freezer from our last pig. I then made some stuffing, cooked bacon, onion and garlic mixed with breadcrumbs, rosemary and a good spoonful of the apple butter that I made last week. I used this to stuff the loin, scored the skin and cooked it for 1h30. We had lovely crackling and the stuffing was delicious.

Tomorrow we will have a shoulder from the baby pig which MOH has brined. I will cook it in the slow cooker with apple juice.

A busy day but very enjoyable.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Feeling Down

I normally don't talk about how I am feeling.

I grew up "just getting on with things" and all my married life has been like that.

These last two weeks I have felt very out of sorts, I could cry at the drop of a hat, in fact I had a complete wobbly last week and sobbed and sobbed.

I am letting everything get on top of me. Things that I would normally just work through - make my lists and get them done.

This week is difficult.

I am sat here, in the office, listening to music - that is helping, but I have tears in my eyes -- WHY???

I am healthy, I am happy, I have a husband who loves me, I have a good job and I DO love my life.

I would like to lose some weight but that's about it.

I am assuming that it must be my hormones - age - the big 50 next week.

Anyone got any pick up tricks to help me shake off this general grump?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cost of Food

I have just been talking with one of our teachers, N, about the cost of food both here in France and in the UK.
It seems as though the prices seem to be climbing higher and higher.

I do my weekly shop in Lidl and Leader Price with the odd thing being bought from one of the big supermarkets.
Last week I was looking for a cauliflower to make Jamie Olivier's Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.


The week before I had bought one in Lidl for 1€20. When I shopped around last week the cheapest I found was 1€50 and that was small. I even went to the market to check the price. I found a lovely one, asked the price and was told 2€80 !!!!!!!!!
In the end I bought a kilo of frozen cauliflower for 1€19.
I think the prices of things have gone up a lot lately, especially the fruit and veg. Another reason for planting more and earlier next year.

When I look at the adverts for the supermarkets in the UK the fruit and veg always looks cheap but maybe that's because of the special offers they have. We do not get any of the special offers on fruit and veg, sometimes there are bogoffs but not on many of the things you would use every week, more on treats.

Our cheapest plain flour is 27c, if you try and buy self raising it is way over a euro, so I use the raising agent with plain flour now when I need self raising flour.
The cheapest butter is over 2€for 500g.
Milk is about 57c a litre - that's not fresh milk, that is about double the price.
I am not moaning about the prices just asking if anyone else has noticed the increases.

I am also waiting to see what happens to the price of fuel. It is a lot higher than before the strikes and now there seems to be fuel in all the service stations, so it will be interesting to see if it goes back down in price or whether it stays at the higher rate??