Sunday, 24 January 2010

Spring is just around the corner.

It seems only days since the snow melted and the weather got a tiny bit better. The mornings are still dark at eight o'clock and the mist lasts until around eleven.
Then talking to the neighbour yesterday, he told me that already the lambs were starting to be born.
Being a true townie, I imagined that lambs were born in the springtime when the sun shone bright and the grass was new and green, not just after Christmas when everything is still asleep from the winter hibernation.
Take a look, the lambs don't seem to mind the cold.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Le premier ├ętage.

Today saw the first few joists go into the first floor.
As you look at the fruits of our labour, the untrained eye misses just what a difficult and time consuming job this is. Each joist weighs a ton and needs to be lifted up into the ceiling.
I watched.
I found the tools.
I provided tea and support...and felt totally useless and full of admiration as Marcus just got on with it.

The start of our first floor

This is Marcus who just knows how things are done.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Aha, Aho, Tracks in the snow.

Whilst running the risk of sounding samey, this another post about the snow.
Yesterday, after a day of the snow falling all day, the ground was again a fresh white blanket, unblemished and pristine...or that's what I thought until I ventured around to the front of the gites where we're staying at the moment.

The snow was awash with different animal tracks. There were the usual cat and dog tracks, then I spotted what could only be a rabbit. It surprised me as I've never seen rabbits in these parts. This one was searching under all the apple trees for fallen fruit.
The other track was what looked like a blackbird, something with quite big feet and wings that brushed the snow as it hopped. Not unusual at all except where the tracks stopped and the bird took flight, both wings left what looked like hand prints in the snow.

I find it exciting-as a townie and someone who is not used to the snow, that the garden comes alive at night and the snow allows you to feel like some kind of tracker.
Now I know where these animals come into the garden, where they go and where they leave.
I also know that Alison's potagere is not breached, even though the rabbit does a nightly check on the gate!!
The only prints I found around my house were of what looked like dog paws, with long claws but enormous in size. Gladly whatever it was had long gone.

This is the tracks of the bunny prints looking for fruit under the trees.

And this bunny footprint.

* having just popped outside for a few minutes , I noticed that the bunny prints were in one path, the cat and dog prints made other paths and even my own were only in particular places, I realised then that we are all creatures of habit in our own ways.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

This morning when we got up, it was lovely to see the brand new snowfall. Doesn't everywhere look beautiful after one of Mother Nature's make overs?
The best thing about it is that it's school!

So we took the sledge for it's first outing in the snow, the lanes were perfect being deserted and hilly.

Daddy was very obliging in pulling the sledge uphill with a little girl in it, a task which was made easier when Libby stopped applying the brakes.

Next are a few photos of the lanes around our house.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

First day at the new school

Finding a school for our two all happened rather quickly, after turning up on speck at the local primary school, they were invited to start the following day.Not too much time to stand back after lighting the blue touchpaper, which suits me as I think the thought of these things is always worse than the reality.

The girls were in school before 8.30am which is no mean feat given that in our old life we lived in the same street as the school. The two mile journey isn't bad, there's no traffic to speak of.
Two ashen little faces were welcomed into the fold, everyone eager to find out all about the new recruits. They were so nervous, bless them, but they went and gave it their best.

The school is very small, with only 150 pupils, they work four days a week, having Wednesdays off and tomorrow we are going shopping for the A4 list of essentials like pens, exercise books etc.

For the first couple of weeks we will take the girls and pick them up at lunch time until they feel ready to join the others for lunch in the canteen and even catch the school bus in the morning. French school dinners are apparently three course lavish affairs, must say, I'm rather envious.

I don't think we needed to have worried, they both came out with a big smile and a list of new friends who were waiting for them at the end of lunchtime.

This is me just back from bringing the washing in from the line.
Had to peel the clothes away from the washing line. Grandma's wisdom stated that even though on days like these, the clothes don't dry, it's still worth pegging them out.
The frost helps keep your whites white and kills any microbes living in your linens.
Tune in again tomorrow for more washing talk.

Monday, 4 January 2010

The start of something new

Well, we did it.
We got here safely on Jan 2nd despite the blizzard at sea. I've never seen snow fall on the sea before, and being on the ferry surrounded by big plate glass windows was like being inside a kids snowstorm toy. Surreal.

There was no snow in the village this time, we unpacked the car into the gite next door which is to be our home for the next couple of months while we make the most fab shed in the garden. When the shed is fully insulated and the stove installed, we will live there until the house is ready. I can't imagine that the house will ever be as warm as the shed will be.
I'm obsessed with warmth and keeping/staying/getting warm at the moment.
This morning when we got up, I discovered that Jack Frost had paid us a visit and the windows were adorned with the most beautiful foxtail like patterns. I'd forgotten all about Jack Frost since living in our centrally heated town house in Coventry for eighteen years.

This afternoon we are going to go and make an appointment to look around the local school.
We saw the mayor this morning and confirmed that we would not need permission to build our shed...although we omitted to mention the mezzanine floor.
Going to put my name down for the village bingo session on 16th Jan. Hate bingo and have not played the infernal game during all my adult life, but this is an opportunity to meet more of the local people. Also, the prizes are rather good.