Friday, July 12, 2024

RAIN, RAIN....please come NOW - we need you, all creation needs you.

 Oh, YES!!! t

Today was another day it did not rain...and it looks as though tomorrow will be the same as today....There is a childhood song that is currently haunting my begins something like....'Rain, rain, go away, come back another day...' But there seems to be no opposite version that I can think of...

And, yes, the grass is as high as an elephant's eye....pollen still floats up from the grass and down from trees to annoy hay fever sufferers (me) everywhere.  

Our grass is now actually beginning to droop as if with heat exhaustian.  The plums on the wild plum tree are not swelling - the fruits on the cultivated trees are small and scabbed....cherries barely cover their pits with flesh....some leaves are wondering whether to just drop off now - or to wait for a little gust of wind to decide for them..

The flat temperature frog stuck to the terrace door...the outside of the terrace door ...only just manages to get to 20 C.....the real frogs who normally infest the valley pond have gone to look for water elsewhere.The valley pond is formed by drainage water from the road above gradually oozing through the clay of our sloping fields.. There will be no frogspawn for passing herons this summer - but herons may get advance knowledge and go another way..

The only sacrifice I can think of making - in hopes that rain will come - is to leave my heaviest, newly washed bath towels, on the grass to dry.   We shall see in the morning - but hope to hear from rain in the night.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Diplomacy in a Dordogne cafe - or 'why the French are so civilised'

 There I was in my habitual cafe in St Astier...newspapers on the table, glass of best white wine and a large glass for the sparkling water...The cafe was only moderately crowded, everybody very polite....I do like the way that smokers apologise to non-smokers when about to light up..Today a man with one of those 'vape' things actually leaned over to ask me, to make sure I had seen what he was waving...Of course I said 'do go ahead'..

My reasoning is simple:  smoke keeps away flies, mosquitos, wasps and other flying nuisances.  Often I mention this reasoning to the smoker...smiles all round, everybody friendly.

Today there was an extra dimension to this civility.. I had ordered myself a second large glass of best dry white....and then worried...after all I did have to drive back...The pub does not offer crisps or any other alcohol related nibbles....

Someone kindly offered to look after my things whilst I popped across the road to a general store...which was very kind.   Only, unfortunately, I have a historical dispute with the owner of that store, so mostly avoid going in there and said so....Today I was feeling particularly rancorous as I remembered my grievance...

A short tubby man on the next table tut-tutted - queried 'plain crisps?' I said yes he went across the road and came back with a packet of crisps for me.   I proffered a fiver to pay for them, he gave me change.

I don't thnk we exchanged more than 20 words in the whole procedure..

Monday, June 24, 2024

Mice time in the Dordogne...

Just as I was bending over to get something out of the fridge a mouse slid out from underneath - and I mean 'slid'....her* claws did not scrabble on the floor, her progress was very slow.

A sigh from me as I retrieved the dustpan and brush, caught the mouse in the pan, kept it down with the brush and went for the front door....You try opening a stiff front door with the wrong hand and the other hand with brush trying very hard not to let the mouse go...Anyway, I succeeded and got my burdens as far as the gate into the woods - which I kicked open with my slippered feet...yes, ouch...

Then I disposed of the mouse in a clump of nettles,brambles,ferns and other odd woodland plants.  It was far from being the first mouse I had disposed of this fact probably the fifth...

Yes, I had put mouse poison in the kitchen drawers - empty kitchen drawers I will emphasise..and, yes, I had seen some dead mice in the woodshed...

But I was wondering:   do mice not communicate with each other?  Communication as birds are supposed to do in their songs...Surely some must have lived to see that 99.9 pct of the stuff in my kitchen cupboards and drawers was either in tins or glass bottles with lids...No dying squeaks - ''keep out of there, it's dangerous'..

If there is no further mouse invasion in the coming week I shall assume all have gone elsewhere - perhaps staying in the woods and living off old nuts, not quite composed greens and peelings...

After that time lapse, duly protected by hygienic throw away gloves...(yes, I know - plastic but...washing fabric ones in a machine would not be good either ) we shall have to clean out the wooden drawers, probably with bleach...and wash any polishing or washing up cloths that had survived the invasion..

* why did I assume it was a female?  Anyway I did not check...

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Orchid joy!!

 Oh the joy!!   Stephanie and I found another orchid at La Chaise!  This one is pretty rare, unscented (obvs!) and not long for life...It is called the 'Bee Orchid'....for obvious reasons.  The question is:  will many bees be sufficiently conned into 'fertilising' this flower?  And why did whoever/whatever.. make life and its continuation so complicated?

Monday, June 10, 2024

Time for 'food from the wild.'

Would you believe it?   There is an upside to the pollen reminds you to go and search for your 'Food from the Wild' cookery book which has a terrible winter habit of hiding...I have had to buy the Ian Burrows copy again...

No it has not been borrowed by my cleaning lady - she only reads French (reasonable as she is French and we are in France) and disapproves strongly of anything that has not grown under control of green fingers...

My two favourites from the book are the recipes for rosehip syrup - which has more vitamin C than orange juice - which I had to give up drinking because it gave me the shakes worse than real coffee - and elder flower cordial - which is a very pleasant, light drink and (I am told but have not tested) is a very pleasant addition to a G&T..

Of corse there are downsides...for the rosehip syrup the 'hips' have to come from wild roses, those on your garden prize winners will not do. They are hard to find and harder to pick - leather gloves and pocket secateurs are recommended.  

The downside of the elder flower is its pollen, plenteous and easily blown on the wind.  A nose covering mask is recommended for those with pollen allergy problems.

Extracting the essence from the hips will take time, patience and good straining clothes, a wide copper jam making pan would be good for the elder flowers..

The rest you will have to look up for yourselves....but don't forget to sterlise your re-used jam jars and their new (!) lids.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The usefulness of forgetfulness

As I was wandering around the house, looking for something, I suddenly had a brainwave!!  It stopped me right in my tracks, halfway up the stairs - a very dangerous place to stop and think.

Wanting what I have forgotten to bring to my desk makes me get OUT of my chair!!  Then I have to think where this item might actually be - which means crossing several rooms -  sometimes even going upstairs.

Forgetfulness in the aged is nature's way of compelling them to take exercise!!  The thought of 'going for a walk' is usually confined to fine weather days and often done reluctantly. But searching for something you think you need at that moment makes you forget to think of the wandering as exercise!  And yet - there you are, moving, standing, sometimes even stretching to look over, or under - whatever, a chair, a table...

A slight downside...if you pass through the kitchen in your wanderings perhaps you should discipline yourself NOT to STOP for another cup of coffee or tea - and certainly not for a glass of something...

Spring things - a little late..

 What I would really like to write about is the wonderful actions of the baby deer that has decided to live in the woods.....right next to the swimming pool. No, don't jump to conclusions - it has NOT jumped into the pool - it just jumps onto the pool cover to cross the pool.  However endearing the sight, you can well imagine my worries - suppose it shits - or pees - on the pool cover, a cover which is already laden with wet leaves - ach,  stop right there!

More encouragingly the cherries are beginning to ripen.  They are very small - despite all the rain we had recently they do not seem to swell.  If I remember correctly they are 'morello' cherries and morellos are not for eating but for cooking - actually turning into cherry liqueur.  Yes, I have done this - some years ago - but do not propose to repeat for reasons I do not need to spell...So the lucky birds will have them all.

And here they are - still yellow, not yet covered in birdshit - but there is much agressive bird noise when I get anywhere near the trees...