14 May 2024


Nick returned from a scheduled visit to our UK house a little while ago.  While he was there he did a lot of gardening, replaced and repainted some damaged fence panels and replumbed the downstairs toilet.  He was kept very busy and the weather was mostly very good.

While he was away the weather here in France was mostly miserable!

While he was away I tackled some of these little blighters.  We had noticed that one of the bushes in our hedge had developed loops of webbing full of clusters of small green caterpillars.  Within days there were virtually no leaves left on the bush and the critters were spreading to the next one along of the same variety of plant.  In a rare interval between rain showers I hacked away all the affected branches, which was not a pleasant job, but too late to save the bushes I fear.

Our journeys to and from Limoges airport used to always be entirely uneventful but lately there have been numerous incidents.  I wrote last year about the wild boar that wandered into the road in front of us, which was after the journey where the tree fell into the road and before the (suspected) ambush.  This year has been just as exciting.  So far we have had the incident with the three cows in the road as we rounded a bend hotly followed by the one with the farmer attempting to recover three huge round bales of hay that had clearly fallen off his trailer minutes before.  This trip, when I went to fetch Nick from the airport, there was a car in the ditch and people all over the road looking at it.  It was, amazingly, the right way up and facing in the right direction, which is not normally how it turns out.  It looked for all the world as if someone had parked it there - usually they end up in the ditch upside down and pointing the wrong way!

Then, when I got to the airport, there was a thunder storm of biblical proportions.  As I pulled into the car park the heavens opened and unleashed a huge amount of rain, hail, thunder and lightning.  There was an enormous thunderclap and flash right overhead and I stayed in the car for a while, hoping the storm would end.  It didn't.  Well, not for a long time anyway.  I finally decided to make a run for it, arriving in "arrivals" like a drowned rat.  I found Nick (Limoges airport is not really big enough to actually lose anyone) and we stayed in the café for a while until the rain eased off.  The lightning had taken out the traffic lights and presumably everything else in the village.  

As we drove through Le Blanc on the way home the river was just inches below the level of the road.

Since Nick's return we have been preoccupied with completing our very first French tax return.  I shall write more about it later but believe me, it's a mammoth task.  We had guidance from a lady who does this kind of work for numerous bemused expats faced with the mountain of forms and without her help we would have been completely lost.  Apparently the very first tax return has to be on paper but subsequent ones online.  Something to look forward to!  This exercise has so far cost us about 50€ in printer ink!!

Frustratingly, the day we spent filling in and signing over and over the vast pile of forms, the weather was very pleasant.  With our paperwork finished and lulled into a false sense of security, we headed for the picnic shelter and finally got round to putting up our new fairly lights.

It was nice to be able to sit out until after dusk, to watch the swallows performing their merry dance followed by the bat formation team.  But it was not to last and after a couple of days the miserable, damp and grey weather has returned once again.  We headed off to Loches n the rain this morning to hand in our tax return at the tax office only to be met with a long queue of people waiting to be seen.  We gave up and shoved the well stuffed envelope in the letter box instead, denied the satisfaction of handing the weighty fruits of our labour to an actual person.

Not to be defeated by the miserable weather, this afternoon we headed north away from the rain showers and went for a walk along the "voie verte".  This is a converted railway track that runs from Descartes to Tournon and is well used by cyclists and walkers.  We frequently do bits of it with Hugo as in wet weather at least we don't all come home covered in mud.  Today we did the bit just north of Abilly but wherever you start along the track there are interesting features.

We passed the site of the old chocolate factory in Abilly, which burned down in 1927.

I'm always amazed at how many decent looking properties seem to be unused all over the region.
This one may of course be a holiday home and buzzing with life later in the year.

Flowering plants were enjoying the strange spring weather, even if we weren't.

Every few hundred metres along the voie verte there are old railway buildings, stations or signal houses that have been converted into homes.

The horrid clusters of green caterpillars were also at work.

 And these things are cropping up in every village.

We dodged the rain and got back home just in time.

The weather has been decidedly iffy for us but clearly our garden is loving it.

You can't beat a bit of colour in the garden to brighten any dull and rainy day.

And to round the evening off, we spent some time watching a HUGE wild boar, all by itself, foraging in the field behind the house.  We have never seen one so close before and it's hard to grasp how enormous they are.  About the size of one of our sofas I reckon!


  1. I think I'd be terrified of a wild boar so close to home!

  2. "I'm always amazed at how many decent looking properties seem to be unused all over the region.
    This one may of course be a holiday home and buzzing with life later in the year."
    Yes.... used for four weeks and then mothballed until the next year!!
    Fortunately Covid has caused a fair few to become permanent homes, to the benifit of our local shops....
    more often than not they would arrive with enough food for the month and just buy perishables whilst here.
    And, when you were in the middle of Abilly, by the Pizza Machine, you were 500 metres from Pauline... just the other side of the Chateau!!
    Today, you wouldn't... she was here with me and we were sorting out clothes to take in!!

    1. I'm happy to say that we never brought our own food when we only came on holiday. Shopping locally is one of the joys of being here.
      Although.......we are guilty of bringing a few teabags and some breakfast cereals. I can't do with Liptons tea or chocolate puffs for breakfast!

    2. I meant to say that it's so good to hear that Pauline is doing well.

  3. I am very glad that Mr FD takes it on himself to complete the tax returns. I did one, 20 years ago, when he was still living in London, but since then he's done them. Although he has suggested I should do next year's as I'm "the one who causes the problems" (though he didn't explain what those problems are!!) If I am to do it, I may avail myself of the "useful lady" who helps!!

    1. We would never had worked out in a month of Sundays which boxes to fill in and which to leave without some help!
      Hopefully next year will be easier!