Thursday, 10 December 2020

Taking a lot of thought

24 June 2020
This was published as a draft but 6 months later I return to look at the BLOG as I wonder what I've been doing all year!   I feel as if I have not stopped. I know I haven't completed most of the January 2020 intentions.

This is the edited version in retrospect!

KANGOO TEMPORARY CONVERSION for camping.

It has taken a lot of consideration, research, help, support, ideas and discussion between and from most valued friends on how to get this done!!!!!

A smart interior of a smart looking Kangoo for my dream 'to do temporary van life' was purchased in November 2019, but the ability to drive this vehicle wasn't complete until the first week of January 2020 when there was an unexpected fee! I had to pay a lot of money for the car registration number to be transferred to my name. It was impossible to do online so one must pay a garage!!! They make a profit for little work!

Actually after enormous anxiety at learning to drive a LH vehicle, larger, wider than my Clio a RH drive aged 19 years, I am beginning to feel more confident  and dare I say excited for the dream plan.

I hoped a carpenter I know was going to maek me small wedges 10cm max long x 1cm max wide at widest end... or near enough...and post asap but as I found a few, he never did make more for me.  

The foil in the windows is staying up on its own at the moment...so a friend didn'y  need to sew bias binding around the shapes.  We were agreed on that.  I might not need the magnets to hold onto the metal where there is metal BUT.. will get them anyway. I didn't realise how small they are! often 10mm x 10mm x 2mm recommended but I am about to phone again and discuss. I can't see how they would be strong enough through the silver foil and would have to be about 100 times or more ??? stronger than a fridge magnet which i know are not neomydiam.  

After the planning the correct siza and weight of magnest arrived and were sewn into sealed pockets and sewn onto the silver foil  at stratgic places by my friend's machine. My eyes cannot see to sew neatly.

She sewed blue silky blackout cotton-weight about 500g or a bit heavier to hang behind the drivers and passenger seats... the pole is in situ now... she helped me saw it to length.    This meant I could take it down whilst travelling.  It was a very good idea as I could lift up at night and peer out the windscreen from my bed.

I found in my limited fabric stash a 1m x 1.50m white blackout fabric to use across he rear window rather than silver foil... but I made both.
The rear window also needed to have blackout curtain removed quickly if I have to drive off from danger!   Have learned one should always park facing direction of a GET AWAY! 
At first I  decided nothing for the driver and passenger side windows so, that if necessary,  I can crawl into driver's seat without opening side sliding doors for quick get away.   BUT eventually I did make them but they do need magnets or suction cups. 

I'm really impressed that the radiator foil is such a brilliant purchase. Highly recommended.

The most difficult window has been the windscreen which is 80cm x 150cm apx but I found an inexpensive one in the auto shop  but it's not quite large enough.   On holiday in July I discovered that really I need both as this falls with the weight away from the windscreen which is at a sloping angle.
I shall buy suction cups for this.

The one from the Clio has also been useful.It was useful yesterday when the parked Kangoo became a greenhouse..now the ceiling windows are foiled. December 2020, I shall make them double layered to keep the cold out! 

At first I thought I would prefer cotton fabric on the inside of the silver foil but I think it will affect performance. the rear side window shapes fit snug without supports. Fabric would be cosmetic.  Practicality is more important!   In fact I rather liked the silver foil affect.. and of course people know someone is sleeping in the Kangoo!


My friend sewed a very old heavy poly duvet used in the past as an under-duvet into a kind of futon mattress. It's folded into three layers 70cm x 180cm when the sleeping length in the van is 170cm.
We covered it with an EMMAUS old ECRU cotton sheet which cost about 15 euros a few years ago but it is too rough to sleep in so this became the mattress cover.  I didn't have to cover it with a ny pther fab ric although I think I should so that it is hygienic to wash. I have a nice old blue duvet cover, gingham  one side and stripes on the other.
I also spent a lot of money 155 euros on a  b/w but it was very darg green and white futon mattress from BAOBAB.  This was a saga to order online.  The systen refused my cards. I gave up twice , then several days later I called  and the nice lady did the transaction by hand.   I like some comfort... Each can be rolled up.

There is not a lot of space in the van.   

The next task is to gather all I need to take for max of a two or 4 week trek and arrange the stuff  lidded stacking boxes according to available space for travelling and stacking in a different place whilst I sleep!!!!!     H'm.... camping gear, kitchen and food things - 3 boxes... clothing - one box. 

I bought a tailgate tent... for a stand up wash in privacy! That should arrive apx July 4.  This wasn't tried in situ until September but clearly it is not the right size for my Kangoo.  My friend will have to do a sewing job on it once I decide definitely how to do it.   I think she may not be very keen!

After July, I thought of how to use a flat slatted pine board as a bed with space underneath for the boxes. It would easily be removed.   In December I found someone who is currently making it. 

My dream for an adventure is sort of coming true... 

In June two female frtiends and I spent lots of time in discussion, weighing up what to do and how to do it and buying the correct materials.  The best decisions were the blackout fabric from a local shop, far superior to online stuff... and he magnet company.
I watched videos of PAM the van ... Francesca is lovely. Her dog sadly died May 2019.
I watched other ideas on PINTEREST and YOU TUBE.

Just after my birthday in July it was GO GO GO.. and stop faffing around.  I started to pack carefully but the last bits were thrown in in haste.   I took the vision diagnosis to my doctor , travelling in the wrong direction and when I returned I would not allow myself to stop.

I had about 12 days I think it was travelling south to LES ALPILLES to see lavender harvested and  on the way there and back visiting les plus beaux villages de France.
I found mostly free almost empty van sites... not camping sites!

I only came home fot the osteopath aND THEN TO MY HORROR, i discovered the eye clinic needed me.
I was about to have two very bad cataracts operated on!!!!!!!!!! 
Oh is that why I couldn't see very well to drive?????????

Will try to write more as now we are in DECEMBER .. end of the year!!!!!! 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

PHASE 3 : DAY 1 IN FRANCE

Monday 22 June
Midsummer has passed and now days draw in!!!!!!!

I've been so busy that posting for my little blog fell off the priority list...

I will update and postdate at some point, not that there is much to tell... mainly food and flowers!

Today has been hothothot after what colder weather with intermittent rain in the last two weeks spoiling opportunity to control the garden.  The wind or breeze brought flies, maggots, cherries,    adventure, social interaction, learning and exhaustion into the days when even the woodburner had to be lit.

I hope to keep on track on various projects, those not being done need energy,  motivation,  will,  and time.  A number of PRIORITY ISSUES MUST get solved or at least progressed to next stage.

I have really enjoyed the lockdown.   I am happy.

I have systems in place  in the car, house, baskets and bags with various masks, soapy water sprays,  towels, as well as,  identity attestations in case we have to use them again.

I was getting a bit lax on sunny days, leaving the house without a mask, then having to retreat for it as there were people in the village streets!!!!!!  Quel horreur!!!!!!!!!    So must get more disciplined...
I don't care what anyone thinks.  I shall wear masks despite some inconvenience.  I rather like the mystery of it all!!!!!!  Though colours, fabrics, head / ear elastic could be better!!!!!!!
Pleated Masks seem to be the better ones.






Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Phase 2 Week 1 Day 1 : 2 June 2020

Yesterday it took three hours to mow the grass behind my house.
Today it took 2h 45 to mow the other land  help clear edges, prune roadside untidiness, scrape moss from concrete in the front area, reveal the hidden waterboard access cover,  collect deadwood that the gardener had cut from shrubs after he had strimmed edges.  He did two hours work.
It all looks neat and tidy!  
I am convinced that I heard humming under the in-flower lime tree... it could be bees ... I hope not Asian hornets as the vast nest is still hanging high at the top, hidden by leaves from human eyes.  It is true that the landscape gardener for the village said it was too late in January to destroy it and the wind would but I think the latter will take some while!!!!! Hornets are excellent builders.

Watering the garden with the hose pumped from the rain stored in a cistern beneath part of my property,  it never touches more than wetting the surface of the soil, which when I dig up two dying brussels sprout plantlings, it isn't surprising that they have been struggling from thirst and sunstroke! !!!!!  They are now in smaller pots with their feet in some water overnight and a partial shelter over them... Let's see if they can survive!!!!!!

We all have to do our best to survive . We owe it to ourselves whatever we have to agree to for Peace in our Lives.  BLESS US ALL.

Monday, 1 June 2020

DAY 77 / 22: Eleven weeks of counted days.

Eleven weeks ago we entered uncertainty.
Today the inevitability of Life's uncertainty continues, but mostly, I feel more at Peace with Gratitude for Life, Gratitude even for Dreams Unfulfilled. Gratitude for being here.

TOMORROW  2 June 2020
In France we will continue to have, with regard to the coronavirus infection, not only advisory, but mandatory  / compulsory / obligatory rules although some have changed.  For all of that,  I am glad.

Mandatory - to command.
Compulsory - to compel.
Obligatory - to oblige.


They all can mean “required by a law or a rule".

My change of 6 euros was disinfected and i was advised to spray hands after touching money. The ice-cream in a plastic cup with a plastic "theatre or cinema" spoon was a scoop of caramel and a scoop of chocolate,  because I could. It was a dream whilst I sat in the square alone at almost 5h30.  There was traffic and people going home. Swallows swooping. Sounds to hear, unlike the peace of my garden. No tables or chairs in La Place.  No one else. Just me!  I can be me. 



Sunday, 31 May 2020

Day 71/16 to day 76/21- End of Phase 1 of Lockdown

..... but the coronavirus has not gone away........................

Tuesday 26 May to Saturday 30 May

This week I struggled to write with clarity and brevity financial letters of complaint and request to DARTY on issues that have developed partly as a result of my own misunderstanding .... like not reading the small print in French.  I didn't know there was a renewal fee for a credit card that I have never activated and now interest growing on it because I cancelled their automatic DD after they had taken the money.   The bank refunded me. because as far as I am concerned i have not authorised that. I don't do credit!  It is a longish story but in December 2018 when I bought a fridge freezer urgently as my lovely Bosch 14 year old larder fridge died,  and the French noisy freezer was 14 years old , I purchased a combi.  That's what I planned for in the kitchen, so that's what I bought. They spread the payments over three months by auggesting I have this stupid card which I didn't pay extra on!

PLUS 13 months after Purchasing the SAMSUNG appliance, the gas leaked and so it has now been in the DARTY repair shop for almost 4 weeks.  The freezer was not freezing properly. The technician said the fridge was not working properly either!  So ....where is my fridge / freezer?????? !!!!!!!!  I am told it will be July instead of two weeks which was the initial story.

PLUS they bought a clean but 'stinkynside' fridge which they changed two weeks later when they lent a bigger appliance ... which was able to be aired and cleaned to be passable .. all foods are in sealed containers.

Now I wait to see what they say after receiving the letter... That in itself was a Saga,...  because the shop had only just opened in deconfinement  this last week. ... and my friend offered to come with me... NOPE we have to phone ....so home we go ... where we are told to send email.... NOPE when I called the next day they said a letter!!!!!and send an attestation to say I have destroyed the card... I cut through it. It's still stuck to the original letter.  Let it all be cancelled then I can burn the lot of the admin!!

That letter was finished Friday late afternoon!

The Darty problem took my focus off the TAX problem ..... a very BIG problem for me where I have had to force myself to do clear thinking and edit and edit and edit my waffle .......
but with a big push on Friday evening and Saturday, by 4pm I was ready to drive it to its destination!
All the forms, letters and documentation in numbered order and I have copies.
They will not like me!!!!!!
Thank goodness they gave a months extension as i declare on paper and refuse to do so online. I shall not tell the story here because it is boring for everyone... but the tax experts basically cannot be trusted and after 15 years there is inconsistency and lack of clarity.  I need it sorted before the Brexit happens completely.. Lets tidy the mess !!!!!!!!

Now I can move onto the next financial nightmares to occupy my time !!!!!!!

Sunday 31 May
Since about 23 May the Village has been drenched with quite a few tourists.

Today the last day of May, I walked down to the river at about 5h30, after a day of gardening, cleaning and clearing the place called the atelier. I was out & about for apx 40 minutes not loitering anywhere.  I was amazed at how easily in sun drenched weather I forgot to take my mask when I encountered loads of people without them ...so I returned for mine!
I've decided it will probably be hell to go camping anywhere ... the camping car air was awash with at least 30 or more huge vans parked on the grass and car park where cars had parked in the space for vans. I have never seen so many but also I suppose I never used to go walking in that direction.
I felt very uncomfortable with people not keeping social dista ncing and all behaving as if there IS NOT and wasn't a problem ... The next village has had 27 deaths in the care home... which is 9 per month!!!!!!I am told that a carrier infected the care home and another 15 were infected but did not die.

The Weather and my Garden
I am loving the weather warm /  hot with a cooling breeze nay wind!
Today 14C at 8h and 35C in sunshine but falling rapidly at 8pm.
I am loving the garden, keeping plants weed free which I wasn't able to do for a few years.
It gives me joy when the rouge queue noir chatter to me as they fly up from the tall daisied lawn that the mower needs to attack.  (redstarts).
Loads of. birds everywhere in the unmown daisy lawn!!!!!!!! and I am surrounded by tall grasses on all property.. Love it!  NO yappy dogs.   Long live having no neighbours.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Days 70/15: Déconfinement Logging

Posting in Retrospect:

It's been a hard week when BRAIN had to engage motivation, intelligence, clear thinking and BIFF editing skills and  BODY had to beef up!  Never mind the pain....make muscles work!!!!!!!

Monday 25th May the gardener and I spent several hours logging.  
He with the chainsaw.  Me picking up, grading, bagging, boxing, stacking, storing the small to medium logs as kindling or flame starters for the woodburner.  A few logs have been moved to the pile to be split later!   All the piles of very old, very dry as if cut straight from the trees wood has been cut into woodburner sizes.  Some pieces were more than a metre long and up to about 20 /25cm thick, some were short / thin enough to be chopped or sawn for kindling.
The wood was gifted and moved here. It has cost about 12 hours total my labour and two bottles of wine to the men and 5 hrs gardener costs.   So it was not free!!!!!  BUT I am so very very happy to have it for next winter.

I shall need more kindling and there is a cubic metre to saw into short pieces.  A good workawayer in the Autumn could get this done with a circular saw which tool has been left here and is now mine ... but the jig table was taken to the decheterie.... bit short sighted of me ,but at that stage I just wanted to get rid of junk!   I have enough wood to make another table,

There is other "kept as useful wood" but a man with knowledge could decide what to keep and what to saw up.
This barn opposite my garden was full to the double door on the left,  so much so, they evidently could not really enter!!!!!!  Much of the wood and the items inbetween went to the decheterie

And was moved to here and elsewhere for several weeks until I had the idea and energy to move it off the grass.

Good ... the old broken aluminium ladder did not go to the decheterie so I broke it some more,
to create a upport so the dry wood did not get wet from rainwater.
Under the table and  piled 130cm apx high
CLEARED
Work in progress ... almost done

Most of the smaller 30cm ish long logs bagged and stacked and more in boxes and bags to the left as kindling.
This many 40 or 50cm logs
This many wonky shaped ones... not to mention about this amount  that didn't need splitting burned in April
The ones for the logsplitter.
Such a relief to have that done before the winter!   Lovely dry lightweight logs to provide flames quickly when the air does not draw enough.






Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Day 71/16: Dèconfinement .- Morning Hymn

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Related to birds, recent poems and wonderful recent sunshine with warm breezes ......

I am reminded of the Hymn I love.
Words by Eleanor Farjeon
I love this Hymn and it was also I think a favourite of my Aunty Ivy.
She definitely always liked "All Things Bright & Beautiful"
Cat Stevens sang this:


Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise ev'ry morning
God's recreation of the new day
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

and that is how we should Celebrate each day... as if it is the first and the last... 
It has taken me three score years and ten to begin to understand the Beauty of Life and Living ... 
the Appreciation of cutting myself off and others cutting me off, of social and cultural confinement and lockdown from family and friends when it is not my fault, of me being RestlessinFrance as well as Restful and of enjoying it more often than not these days.

Praise with elation. 


Monday, 25 May 2020

Day.70/15 :Déconfinement - Bird

Monday 25 May 2020
Related to Saturday


Little bird unlocked
copyright  RestlessinFrance
Not to be published printed or copied without permission
May 2020


After the first cutting of grass in the year
on newly mown grass an image did appear.
Imagination found as I looked around 
a little green bird shape lying on the ground.

I wouldn’t call it lawn 
as in an English garden.
Daisies most proliferate 
show their heads in sunshine.

Along comes the mower to cut off their heads
which feels rather dismal, cruel, but instead
bright eyed daisies return happily, 
and daily they always look upwards at me, 
challenging admiration readily.

Little green bird shape was formed with no sound.
Yet…
Whilst I held it in my hands and lifted it from the ground,
it cheeped at me, 
spoke the possibility 
that I could use creativity.
Imagination thought excitedly.

A little while after and later in the week
a small birds nest was spied as I peeked 
into wintry-bare-thorny-rose-branches by the wall,
just as I was about to prune them all.

Feathers found for tail and flight, a daisy for the eye,
string from natural fibre so that it could not fly, 
held it on its metal perch, whilst baby tulip bulbs 
represented hungry chicks,  until disassembled. 

I took a photograph against ‘Stone Wall’ where ‘Birds Nest’ was found.
But when I tried to add the wing the nest came tumbling down,
out threw the little chicks who tumbled to the ground.

So it seemed to be 
the creation survived momentarily
The birds have flown their nest. 
The sculptor did her best. 

Whilst the Sun Shines On Our Earth 
Birds Sing their Song of Joy 
Life gives birth; it takes as death:
we all hope to survive a pandemic crisis. 

I’ve heard nearly every day 
the nightingales in May
with their woeful, joyful, melodies fey.


RestlessinFrance
25 May 2020
Copyright

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Day 69/14: Déconfinement - Fish

Sunday 24 May 2020
Related to yesterday

Fish Unlocked 
May 2020

Fish told me he was Fish when I saw him and he saw me 
when found in a gifted pile of tree debris
from a barn being emptied opposite me. 

Saved from ashes to be burned in a fire, 
Saved to be art as garden sculpture,
Saved to create a natural character.

Yet...
without buttercups and daisies, a poppy head new, 
without grasses and a rainbow over a river blue, 
Fish lives in Imagination. It is true. 


Copyright by Restless in France
May 2020 
No one is authorised to copy or reproduce. Please respect my wish.


Saturday, 23 May 2020

Day 68/13: Déconfinement - Poetry is Unpublished

Saturday 23 May 2020



The Organiser of the Amity Group gave us a challenge not long after Lockdown which was to make a character out of natural found material.  The deadline date was last Thursday.

Today I had to dig myself out of a deep depressing downward decline so decided to motivate creativity for a few hours this afternoon after I had tried to sleep. I thought I had slept for several hours but it was only about 30 minutes. I was deep down healing from physical and mental pain.

1.
The above is called  "FISH UNLOCKED FROM LOCKDOWN". It was a piece of salvaged wood that was as it is... I put flowers in the holes.  There is a poem to go with it.

2.
Below is "BIRD UNLOCKED FROM LOCKDOWN".

Ages ago after the first cut of the year, I found a grass cutting moulded into the shape of a bird, so I lifted and stored it carefully to make this idea.
After that, I found an empty nest in the rose climbers before leaves burst forth in Spring.
The found metal square on a walk one day,  served as a perch.
I tried to tie onto it with string:
a) a twig,
b) the bird with its found feathers and daisy eye,
c) the nest with tulip baby bulbs as chicks
and  hazelnut? natural structures which stick together in a ball (had them for ages.. never seen them out on my walks since!)
As I suspended it and added a bark wing to the bird the 'baby chicks' fell out!!!!!
The birds had flown the nest!

Between being created and the photo taken the fragile bird form had its feathers ruffled and became quite dishevelled !!!!   Use your imagination.
I took the pic against the stone wall of roses as this was where the nest was found!

There is a poem for this one too.

It was just a little mad creativity and took about two or three hours but what else is life for?




Poetry unpublished.





Friday, 22 May 2020

Day 67/12: Déconfinement - Morning to Evening

Friday 22 May 2020

Early Morning Meditation naming what I see.  I arrive at the site of the Nightingale coppice. Stand and listen to pure sound and laugh at Nature's gift of birdsong, trees and my life landed here. I am not stuck in that sense.

Found a strange triangular stemmed, leafed, young tree structure.
Maybe Field Maple.
I picked one stem.
On the return road journey, I was fascinated by the cluster of bright, shiny olive-green leaves,  but more by the structure  - three leaves at the top of a stem where below were three other leaves and below that at a turn three more etc...but NOT on a triangular stem.




A bit later I was tempted to pick three field poppies to position inbetween  three leaves of the stem.

and a bit later three of a seemingly different variety of poppy which at first I thought were more orange coloured but that was a trick of the light!

Lunch finger food was of fresh branched celery from the village shop with new carrots, cherry tomatoes, the last radishes, sweaty cheese with balsamic dressing and nectarine for dessert.

\


Evening meal was a risotto of olive oil, sunflower oil, celery leaved branches, garlic, shallots, fresh ginger, carrot, tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet peppers and chilli peppers from a jar, lots of dried basil from last year, cheese, pine-nuts, chives and thyme, inside of an old lime, water, port, salt and pepper.   A case of stand in the back kitchen and see what is there to use that must be used and how not to have meat or fish this evening.
There was no wine!!!!! so it was Gin & Tonic with lime juice which worked well with the heat of the risotto and evening.

I deserved it after having to harness energy. to vac and clean all 7 rooms... but only half of the large Salon!   PLUS topped up the black compost bin with rotting grass cuttings and put some by each of the butternut seedlings planted two days ago. Another mow will soon be due not to mention the other land!  The roses begin to need dead heading.  The lavender is nearly in bloom!









Thursday, 21 May 2020

Day 66/11: Déconfinement - Lunch with Friends

Ascension Day
21 05 2020

Invited out for lunch....
after 66 days in lockdown it was exciting but disturbing to be going to a friend's house where there are links to the coronavirus in Paris.
They served the Champagne I had NewYear gifted them for helping me before Christmas... such lovely reciprocal friends... everything that goes round comes around... and then there was another bottle of white wine from the wineries of Beaumont near Marignay-Brizay.

Goodness knows what the temperature was, in the heat of the day,  as it was 28C in my courtyard after 19h ...

After lunch their cyclist friends unexpectedly turned up on their half way circuit   and I am convinced they must have been there for at least 3 hours just in time for coffee after the meal ... very French, though I didn't have any, nor tea, not hot water, so that was a mistake. because i didn't realise how hot it was until my arms felt as if they had caught the sun!!!!!!, not did I had my summer chapeau!   When I got home I was very tired,  so went to bed early, not wishing  to eat a morsel nor drink more other than cold water.

The lunch was excellent.
We start with aperos,, the Champagne, nuts and radishes from my garden...
Then delicious salmon croissants with excellent cous-cous. Following that my lettuce with goats cheese followed. by apricot tart and ice cream.

We didn't tackle translation of income tax guidelines and rules.  Just as well on a French Feria Day on a beautiful day as such it was.




It was a wonderful day of listening to French as well as speaking English for my French hosts.
It was uncannily stressful to get into the Kangoo and drive as I had bit done so for two weeks and then not far or for long.  I think the unnerving factor was being in the boulangerie where all the locals wore masks but the "apparent" visitors with velos on their cars were not .. and I became disturbed by the unreality of what is reality.
May is a most wonderful month and it is a pity I cannot get to the lavender fields.















Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Day 65/10 : Déconfinement - Meals Garden Work

20 05 20 20. - that's the date!

Lettuce is not my favourite food but I have to admit that popping to the plot every day for just enough leaves for lunch is a pleasant experience to twist off the roots and wash and dry the leaves.
The flat leaved lettuce is called ROMAINE BALLON but me thinks it has to develop a heart.
Everyone needs a heart. The crinkly leaved one is Batavia.

Breakfast was two slices of holey chia bread with apricot jam and tea, Later was little coffee and one square chocolate.

Lunch was salad with lettuce, radish, cherry tomatoes, olive with almond, pickled garlic, unsalted pistachios, conference pear,  cheese, vinaigrette followed by cherry and yoghurt pancake. It was  delicious.





I was trying to keep warm this morning despite the sun coming round to the courtyard.

Two hours of active listening is hard work PLUS a very hard day sitting at the computer screen, translating English to French, editing out repeats, ensuring grammar is OK as i have a weird thing of dyslexia where phrases get muddled.   The letter is about my need for explanation of calculations from the Tax Office but because of various events in tbe last year ir broaches their errors. I want clarity as I am tired spending so much time every year in stress and anxiety about it.  I had a face to face meeting in February but the chap insisted a different contentious issue where I knew I was not wrong!  I need trust and confidence in these experts but in the last ten years i have too many examples of errors!

Gorgeous it was to spend time in the garden tying up tomato plants - giving tiny sweetpeas a cane each! -  planting out butternut squash seedlings, which I hope grow as they have become a bit stunted -  and  weeding.   The redstarts kept fluttering at me!

The evening meal was tuna cooked this morning as i have no fridge and it had thawed overnight. Served  on a bed of pasta sauce (from a jar), with sautéed steamed blette with sweet potato in its jacket baked yesterday and reheated-all cooked in one pan with lid.  Delicious.


It has been a glorious afternoon with temperatures  between 10 and 28C.  I was up and about earlier than normal - keen to fulfil my tasks.  Good night!



Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Day 64/9: Déconfinement - Meals, Company, Work

Tuesday 19 May 2020
Lunch was a rush of leftover mashed parsnip and sweet potato with a fried egg.
It skipped the photo shoot but actually was worthy.........
LOVE most of my meals and dining alone!!!!!!!
Eating what is in the house!
Fine evening meal dining was faux filet from the freezer with bio blette, shallots, fried whole garlic clove, sauteed cherry tomatoes and raw avocado half cos I ate the other half at 6 with a gin & tonic after my hard physical of almost four hours work.


As I stood in my kitchen with an empty white plate for photo shoot,
 I saw through my open kitchen door all that I love.  well .... not quite all...........

Such an amazingly warm day giving cherry coloured cheeks... must get Vitamin D...

BUT ... those cherries bought reduced on Sunday were cooked gently in sugar last night including their stones as they were due to rot....
 I did think of converting them to a clafoutis, but, they will be for brekkers tomorrow.

This morning's breakfast was the other half of yesterday cooked frozen myrtilles which had been soaking with yoghurt, oats, hemp and linseed overnight!!!!!

Then with morning coffee the second brioche ladled with butter and apricot jam!!!! mmmmmmmmm and then the one square of chocolate.

Today the gardener and I spent two hours, him with chainsaw, cutting dry old tree sticks of various thicknesses and other old wood  for the woodburner including two old parasols but one I saved AGAIN. It is 17 years old .... I  rescued it for the back garden as I still had the old cover which is rather worse for wear and last summer was a grass blanket! 
It needs some inventiveness to make it stay on and is very faded but I dont wish to use my new parasols just for me as I dont wish to risk the wind blowing them adrift. 
I have also saved the pole of the other parasol  and not for pole dancing! 

The rest of the wood was cut, bagged and boxed. The chicken coop shed was swept and several boxes and bags were stacked with the bags of old paper documents ready for the winter. 
Next week we continue with the rest of the free wood I acquired... 
The gardener is great and more than a handyman so I am lucky that he can work flexibly. 
I plan, prep & clearing as skivvy labour. 
I can physically work alongside him again and the muscles don't complain as much,  
I loved my bath to wash off the dust and dirt, to celebrate better fitness which is good for the mind and reason to live,  then with a G&T and BK streaming I had a wonderful evening  speaking to a friend and family
....
but there is that nightmare of a tax letter to finish in English and French... 
Hark ... the cuckoo! 
I am in love with France and yet I have not stepped out for two days! ; 


Monday, 18 May 2020

Dy 63/8: Déconfinement - Musk Rose

Monday 18 May 2020

Can't keep up with the amount of work I have to do AND  blog so got the dates muddled whilst enjoying fine food!
Trying to avoid talking; yet people want to talk and sometimes I wish to find out about them.
Mostly I want to get on, have to have small diversions but I am pleased that concentration span and workability is increasing if I stay in my own business.

Evening meal much the same as yesterday.

The Garden 
This is the best year ever for the Peter Beales PAUL's Himalayan Musk Rose that needs a Himalayan forest jungle  to grow wild in.   John the gardener and I curse it as we tame it every Spring/Autumn / Winter ... the scent is divine.  The small fantasy pink and white tiny fairy roses and buds are magic from heaven, covering an arched metal trellis.  I had no idea it would be so BIG........
You may have cuttings to pierce into the earth as deep as you can and I am sure it will root...
Mark you,  it is vicious if caught in the hair but by keeping it well trimmed its ok.  I started to train it over to the chicken coop.  Sadly it only flowers once in the year and sadly only lasts between one week and a month!  I love it!

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Day 62/7: Déconfinement: First weekend - Infux of noise in the village!

Sunday 17 May 2020
Better sleep patterns have occurred though still variable.
Dashed to the shop for veg and fruit before midday closure after a mug of Earl Grey tea, 1/2 apricot croissant, tiny cup of coffee and one square of bitter chocolate.

The world was in the village on the first weekend of freedom from total lockdown. I am not the only one to express,  "Je regrette le déconfinement"

Oh my....  the artist is back from Paris, oysters were for sale,  tourists wandering about with serious walkiug sticks and no one keeping distance,  looking as if lockdown had not happened, several without masks buying picnic food from the shop as restaurants and bars are still closed.

The noise in the street was quite something all day with ancient vehicles in small convoys of up to 5 at a time... motorbikes the same !!!!!  Good atmosphere.  People walking past then turning back to the town when they think there is nothing else to see.  They miss important architecture on the outskirts of the village though agreed it doesn't look medieval.

Wondering how to plan the day, I knuckled down to finishing an important letter whilst working in 27C sunshine just inside my French doors. Started the next on a subject that has dogged my procrastination and comprehension for weeks.  My poor brain cells!  At last the end is nigh and it will be off my back until the Tax Payment Request is announced at the end of August.

ARTY FOODY amusement.

1. These are  purchases of the morning: 13.50 euros!
mmmm cherries, blette bio, brioche, bananas, pears, avocado, potatoes, courgette, tomatoes/ 
2.  This is the last quarter f pizza extracted from the freezer and prepped for  evening meal ....
and all the fresh foods i have left in store.. Bread, sweet potatoes,
5 lemons and two old limes, a few shallots, garlic cloves, ginger root,the last of the packet of  defrozen cooked myrtilles.


 'L'appareil pour preter' is smelly!
The borrowed fridge freezer is disgustingly smelly though clean inside! I refuse to use it for fear of contamination.

This works with the lid on for the yoghurts.
 Butter and Cheese are in the cheese safe.

3.This was finger food lunch... yum.. smelly expensive cheese, garden lettuce, radishes, shop tomatoes, mushrooms, almond olives with dessert cherries......


4.  This was evening meal.  No snacking during the day or evening. Ate healthy!
Had to finish the home made with supermarket pizza pastry anchovy topped with beetroot pizza......


4. This the first Oriental Poppy


Saturday, 16 May 2020

Day 61/6 Déconfinement - Lettuce make Lunch

Saturday 16 May 2020

Food from the garden: radishes and the first lettuce.   I have to thin out both.

But back to lunch and evening meal..... Food glorious food.
The fridge/ freezer has gone for repair.   Fortunately, I didn't have much in it when DARTY took it on Wednesday. and left me a smelly but clean one that even when the doors were left open for 18 hrs one day and again the next day after cleaning with vinegar, is UNsuitable for storing food.  Smelly!

Deciding on what to eat for lunch I planned ahead to eat the last of the white naff bread rolls. Imagine a flower shaped loaf with 5 or 6 rolls attached to an inner one.  The shape was what attracted me!
I tried a different boulangerie last Saturday.   Their patisseries are to die for,  but their bread is naff.   I must eat the last one from the freezer even though the white flour isn't good for my digestive system.  Warmed for a few seconds in the microwave,  ladled with butter before adding beetroot to one half and half a tin of salmon pate from Lidl (small sized cans ideal for picnics) on the other half and folded together.  Eaten with a lettuce of about 7 leaves and radishes from the garden it was FINE FARE indeed with a cup of girly grey black tea.  Excellent lunch!

Then the daisy 'lawn' took 2.5 hrs to mow, walking back and forth, collecting cuttings. Normally these go onto the roses and lavender stretch,  BUT I must weed this 25 x 1.5 m bed to plant butternut and pumpkins in the gaps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   So it's piled onto plastic until I decide what to do with it!!!!!!







For the evening meal I planned ahead & took from the freezer the last half of chicken breast bought at the meat van about ten days ago.  Cost 2.50 euros perhalf of one breast.. but better value than the discounted ones i found at Super U where four small ones equated to this.

I mashed steamed in water white sweet potato and parsnip which was cooked yesterday and not eaten,  added butter, sage and thyme whilst reheating it, then added sautéed and steamed rescued parts of a large tomato which did not like being out of the fridge.  
A red pepper was sliced and cooked on the griddle pan. for the charred look / chicken garlic and shallot were cooked in the iron frying pan. 
Assemble.

Silly me made a mistake and opened one of my three Gratien & Meyer Saumur Champigny 2017 bottles that I bought from the chateau when I attended a seminar there!   VERY, VERY NICE!!!!!!!!

What can be finer in a continued sort of LOCKDOWN than dining out al fresco in my courtyard for lunch and evening meal in temperatures about 20C....

Fine dining indeed!!!!! That wall could do with a scrub! 






I am told Poitiers shops are open..... & evidently this village has tourists ... thank goodness they don't come up here as yet!
However, I noted this early afternoon that 6 motor bikes in one cavalcade passed by and 4 in another where one guy waved to me!  I lile to occasionally stand by my gate ...'cos that's what old ladies can do!
We shall soon be back to normal I guess with French residents from within 100km distance wondering where to go to ...  and deciding here would be rather nice. IT IS!!!!!!