Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Bertie lies on a blanket ...

... in front of the calor gas fire in the hall which is boosting the warmth in the cottage.  If he gets any closer he'll scorch his fur.

The "Beast from the East" - it's Siberian winds much tamed this far south - is sending snow flurries across the garden and the under floor heating is struggling. 

Yesterday, with even colder temperatures and in brilliant sunshine, I mowed one of  our grassy banks. Huffing and puffing backwards and forwards I was tempted to remove (but resisted) one of my many layers. Today, however, a leaden grey sky keeps us firmly indoors.

Watching the snow begin to settle I decide a Leclerc's shopping trip is required. Better now, while I can still get the merc up the chemin rural behind us. The supermarket car park is virtually empty and the few of us who've braved the weather scuttle in and out of the automatic doors, shoulders hunched and faces lowered against the sting of the driving snow.

Before I set out, Tod tells me that tomorrow is due to be worse in the UK according to the meteorologists and he asks me gloomily if I've checked our forecast.  I'm somewhat surprised to read our temperature here by late morning will be fourteen degrees celsius. With sunshine.

Much encouraged, I find myself standing in front of the seeds display in Leclerc's and buying packets of cosmos, lavatera and California poppies .  Maybe this summer, during the weeks when the roses sulk, I will manage to fill our borders with a riot of colour to delight our guests. Now there's a heart-warming thought on this dank cold day.

Thursday, 1 February 2018


My father's parents came to live with us when I was eight.

Nana was small and brittle, always busy. Not comfortable with children, she used to buy our good behaviour with spoonfuls of honey. She wore an apron with a pocket in the front and it was here she carried her false teeth, only to be put in her mouth when visitors came to the door.

In her early twenties Mum had all her teeth taken out and was fitted with dentures.  She told me she had chalky teeth and was tired of going to the dentist on her own since early childhood. She had no mother and none of her many older siblings could be bothered to look after her.  So among the memories of my mother is one of a small pink plastic pot into which her dentures were popped at night.

This was the image I carried with me as I discussed with Dr M my brand new partial dentures which he had just placed in my mouth.  What did I do with them at night? He told me opinion is divided. In England, dentists suggest taking them out.  In France, dentists suggest to women that they always wear their dentures, so that their husbands are blissfully unaware their spouses are toothless.  Apparently there is no evidence either way as to which is better.

My mouth feels like it has an entire cutlery drawer in it.  I am assured things will improve.  In the meantime, I might just get myself an apron with a front pocket.