Welcome to Cookie

Cookie_001 Say hello to our latest addition. Cookie is Fleur's new eleven week old puppy.
One of Fleur's friends a the riding school was looking for a home for the puppies and we went to see them Saturday morning.

There were only two left, both girls so we weakened at the knees and she came home with us.

Our neighbours gave us a kennel and we have put her in the barn. We do not intend to let her ram the house and definitely not be allowed in the Pigeonnaire.

The sun says goodnight

IJointing_008 t has been very hot this week with temperatures of 28-32.
Today was broken cloud and quite close and the day ended with a spectacular thunderstorm this evening with hailstones the size of marbles.

Afterwards though the clouds eventually cleared and we were left with this stunning sunset.

The kids have been enjoying a swim at 6.45 am before school. The water temperature is about 23 degrees at the moment so really refreshing.Jointing_002

Tasting the good life

Asparagus_001 There are still not enough hours in the day to fill the vegetable patch with all the produce that we wished for this year. So far we have managed Onions (they are coming on a treat), Garlic Tomatoes and Potatoes.

So far the courgettes seedlings that set themselves have not come through so it looks like we will be without fresh courgette this year.

Asparagus_003 One thing that I have been looking forward to is the Asparagus. Until now we have not cut any spears so that the plants could become established.

Yesterday though I could not resist temptation any longer and cut seven spears. Rushed them straight to the kitchen, boiled them for three and a half minutes in a large pan with just a covering of water and a little salt.

I then took them straight from the pan to the plate (I didn't cool in cold water which is recommended by some. It is supposed to seal in the flavour).

I ate them with some smoked mackerel, a little salad and some crusty French bread.


What has happened to global warming?

Weather Everywhere you turn these days there is a debate on the effects of global warming and worrying statistics on the lack of rainfall. The experts are leading us to believe that a terrifying chain of events, starting years back with the ozone caused by CFC'c hole and now dangerous levels of carbon dioxide which is heating up the globe.

Australia has just suffered one of the driest summers on record and the UK has just encountered one of if not the most prolonged and warmest on record.

But I need some serious convincing that this is not just a blip on a cycle lasting several years or maybe part of a process that is taking several hundred or thousands of years to complete.

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My, have times changed!

Skype_phone I embrace technology on a daily basis and it is really weird how it sits side by side with the 'new life' in France. Actually, it isn't so new any more as we rush up to meet the 3rd anniversary this October.

I am enjoying my job and the freedom it gives me to carry out my tasks and maintain a presence with the building work. With no travel at all I can leave  work and be building within minutes and vice versa.

I have just invested in DORO internet phone and I have to say I am becoming a huge fan of Skype and what it can do. Before it seemed a bit of a chore to put on a headset and really feels so different to holding a real phone in your hand (although hands free is very useful also).

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Last evening was a real Boar!

I am still pumping with the excitement because of what I witnessed yesterday evening!

I had a fairly long day in terms of marketing and construction so I decided to finish off with some therapy jobs.
By therapy I mean the kind that blokes like to do and one of those is sit on the tractor and cut grass.

It was nice yesterday with temperatures in the 80's so the evening cool is a welcome time, although still in the early twenties and twenty seven in the bedroom when we went to bed!! errrm! stop that!

Well I was in veggie mode as I trundled along on my little Kubota with the rotary whizzing behind striking dead all those that dare stand up!

I consider myself pretty vigilant though and I noticed, up on what I call the prairie a dark silhouettes of what I thought to be a black Labrador. Mr Motor or Francis ans he insists we call him has a black dog so I assumed it had  wandered.

Then, all of a sudden, just as I realised the snout was too long for a dog, another eleven, yes eleven of these black shapes came trotting out onto the newly planted sunflowers.

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Is it really near the end of May?

Pool_006 May seems to be passing so fast and whilst it is not as full on as last year the work does seem relentless.
I suppose, part of that is because we are busy which always makes time pass quickly.

Where an earth though did the last year go? We are fast approaching the end of our third year here in France and it seems like yesterday in so many ways.

I am finding it tricky to blog as much as I would like to and it is a habit I ant to slip back into. Because I spend four hours a day working now it means I have to fit in the writing and renovations around it.

Landscape Juice, my other blog is going from strength to strength and I am just about to have it featured as 'website of the month' in a gardening magazine which has an 18,000 readership. Amazing really because I only started it six months ago but I am being contacted regularly by individuals and organisations who would like a review or coverage of a product or their business.

Since the launch of the Complete Gardens Streaming software I have been asked to review two further garden software products. The intention now is to increase the awareness and start selling some advertising space which can contribute, hopefully to our income.

I tend to rise about 6.45am and walk with Henry down the track to meet the College bus. It is funny because it tends to be the time when Henner's is at his most talkative although some mornings he does not want to talk at all!

He had a friend stay over on Saturday and the caravan is perfect for that. They set the Playstation up and when Johanne's father came to collect him the boys revealed that they had both gone to sleep at 7am that morning!

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Boo! yes I am still here

I don't think I have left it so long before blogging before (unless of course I have been away etc).

Sorry about that but it has been manic to say the least. I was on standby on the 2nd May as the Complete Gardens software went live, thankfully everything went really smooth as the button was pushed, so to speak.

There were 4 software sales within the first hour which is encouraging but I am not at liberty to say what has been achieved since.

In the meantime, the plaster board is well behind me and I have started the plastering with the Lutece 2000 (pronounced lutess). Yesterday I spent 3 frantic hours in the afternoon trying to stay ahead of the game and apply, work down and clean up without letting the material get to far ahead.

You do really need a labourer I feel when you attempt plastering to wash out the bucket and clean tools etc whilst you are free to feel and manipulate the surface at the critical stages of the curing.

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It is a busy time

Misc_049 There do not seem to be enough hours in the day at the moment.

Getting up at 6.30 am, picking up emails and checking out visitor stats for our two websites, researching and writing content for my Landscape Juice site, phone calls and general stuff until 11am then I have 4 hours or so of marketing work for the UK company that employs me and I am just about to start a paid blog for them too.

After a late lunch I am into the barn. At present I have just completed attaching about 200 galvanised metal clips which will hold galvanised rails that suspends and holds the plasterboard ceiling. I hope to have the plaster boarding done over the weekend.

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Hector - Update

Hector_returns I am so pleased to report that Hector is back in our family fold.

It has been a long 36 hours without him and to be honest during this afternoon as we worked in the barn to keep occupied there really seemed to be nothing to hope for.

We all thought the worst but hoped for the best.

Donna and I must have travelled 200 miles in the last two days visiting isolated house or farm, vet's and Police and the Mairie in the outside hope that someone had seen him or taken him in.

Today we suffered a cruel twist when travelling into Monflanquin to register our loss with the Police. I saw, across the fields, a black Labrador sitting in front of an old farmhouse.

Immediately, I shouted, there he is!

We turned down a small lane towards Ch√Ęteau Roquefere  and then right into this little lane.

My heart was pounding as I drove towards the dog and I was convinced it was Hector. I walked as close to the nervous dog and I needed to get to 10 feet away to realise cruelly that it was not him. In fact it was a bitch.

When she moved the differences became obvious..

We both felt extremely deflated and it was then that we really felt that we may never see Hector again.

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