Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Shopping Together

I grump in Castorama in front of the lighting display.

I've found some lights I like for the cottage and he says: "not bad" when I want him to say: "I love them too". So I then wander round looking for lights that I think he will like and that doesn't work either. And he shows me ones he does like and I'm not sure.

Even after twenty-something years this buying things together doesn't get any easier.

Then, after my grump, I decide that as there are two bedrooms, my lighting can go into one and his lighting can go in the other. So he gets a trolley and points out French cafe-style hanging lights that we both agree will look good for the dining area and he's also spotted some wall fitments that will look interesting on the landing.

We've finally managed to choose seven lights together and wheel our trolley out feeling proud of ourselves. Only another sixteen to go.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Ascension Holiday

No workmen today, so the cottage is silent and I fret about slipping deadlines.

We stir ourselves for a lazy late morning walk with Vita along the wild flower edge of the lake at Tombeboeuf.

And then come back to an afternoon of lawn-mowing and planting of the blowsy French roses with too many petals that I bought yesterday and left out in last night's thunderstorm.

Overcast and humid, the garden is heavy with the smell of cut grass, honeysuckle and old roses.


Meilland Roses

Monday, 18 May 2009


The builders cleared the cottage on Saturday because the underfloor heating is being installed this week.

Suddenly the cottage is no longer just a building site, it's become a place where people will live.

View of lounge / third bedroom to hall

View from lounge / third bedroom, through hall to kitchen

View from kitchen towards hall

First bedroom towards landing

First bedroom looking towards what was chimney wall

Front of cottage

Same blog posted on La Petite Maison

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Kitchen Floor Lunchtime

Two empty orange halves, face downwards, skins zested and juice squeezed. One batted around ‘til it’s wedged down the side of the fridge.

Half an egg-shell, investigated and left in smithereens.

Top of a carrot, partly chewed.

Two fly-blown lamb shank bones, discarded.

Two empty Volvic water bottles, crunched but still fun to chase around because they bounce and make a satisfying noise.

Fragments of well-chewed, soggy wood.

Lumps of fresh mud brought in from the cottage building site. It rained again last night.

Vita is playing, while I’m making carrot cake for this afternoon’s French lesson.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Five Days of Sunshine

Last Sunday, abandoning the hundred and one jobs in the garden and instead walking the Lateral Canal towpath with Vita, under the shade of the plane trees. Then sitting with a glass of wine and watching the Bank Holiday weekenders on their pleasure boats.

Supper on the veranda and not wanting to close the shutters until late.

Hacking at grass grown too long to cut with the lawnmower and then raking up the fallen bundles.

Tuesday afternoon's French lesson in the garden.

A myriad tiny plums on the Reine Claude plum tree.

Yesterday, daring each other to go into the swimming pool as the water temperature had reached 20 degrees. After the first shock it was almost worth it.

Getting a red nose and burnt cheeks from a morning's gardening.

All day and night, the sound of crickets.

Driving the batmobile at night with the hood still down.

The sound of bells from across the valley - the cows are back in their field for summer.

This evening watching the thunder clouds rolling up round the moon as Vita and I play football in the fading light.


The Lateral Canal

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The First of May

Yesterday evening walked with Vita up the chemin rural from our house.

We tend to think of the narrow road as "our drive" because it only comes to us. In fact it's public and the local commune maintains it, which involves a tractor coming down twice a year to cut the verges and the banks of the ditches that border the fields on either side. The tractor came down about two weeks ago but we've had so much rain since the grass and buttercups are shooting back up and the first red field poppies are beginning to unfurl.

I heard the cluck of quail hidden in Monsieur F's field and Vita got muddy paws nosing after their smell in the long grass in the ditch.

We turned left out of "our drive" and walked along the road towards the horse field. It's up above a bank, so while we were on the road we could not see the horses. I thought they might be in their stable for the night, but one was still out, silhouetted against the pale blue of the evening sky, her tail flicking while she fed.

We stood on the bank at the corner of Monsieur F's field. Vita had her tail between her legs at the sight of her first horse and tried to dive into the long grass, but I persuaded her to stay and finally she sat and in the fading light we just watched.

The clear sky and touch of warmth in the air promised fine weather. About time, there have been too many days of cold rain in April.