27 April 2024


An awful lot of water has gone under the bridge, literally, since my last post which was, incredibly, six weeks ago, the longest gap ever between posts I think.
So much has happened that I hardly know where to start, so I will start at the beginning!

There was so much rain over the Easter weekend that several of the local rivers flooded.
Friends of ours live in the house right in the middle of this picture.
They were rescued by the pompiers in a small inflatable boat.
The water went back down just as quickly as it came up, leaving huge devastation behind in many of the surrounding villages.

An English couple opened an art gallery in an old garage building in Le Grand-Pressigny last year.
A few weeks ago they held an exhibition of his own sculptures, made from old metal, bones, stones and otherwise unwanted objects, creating fantastic pieces of art.
This was my favourite piece.

I was surprised to learn that the frilly "collar" is literally called a ruff.
It's the base of a deer's antler.

Yvonne is now fully settled in chez nous*.  She is a delightful, feisty and friendly cat and the doubt we had at first about being able to keep her is now gone.  The doubt was because we felt that she and Hugo would never get on well enough to enable us to take her on the long journey back the the UK if we wanted (or needed) to spend more time there.  They now get along perfectly fine.  She mostly ignores him and he is the perfect gentleman around her.  

So we thought the time had come to get her a passport.  An appointment was made with the vet but when we tried to put her in her cage she absolutely refused to go in.  This was odd because she has been carried in her cage several times before but on this occasion she was not having it.  It was war!!

She fought, hissed, growled, scratched and spat.  We almost got her in but she bashed the door open and burst out.  We finally caught up with her when she was hiding under the sofa.  We tipped it backwards and I pinned her to the floor but she had shed her collar so I thought "now what am I going to do?"  

We were all very distressed so I humbly phoned the vet to explain that we wouldn't make it that day.

Other cat owners suggested how we might overcome this problem and we started by getting a bigger cage so that it was not so easy for her to block the doorway by plumping herself up and putting the anchors down.  I left it in the bedroom with the top door open and the front door off and tempted her inside with something special.  A little dish of tuna - and not the cheap stuff either!

The idea was to make the cage the only place where she gets to eat this special treat and it worked.  She gingerly went in the first time, then shot out again onto the bed where she had a look on her face which said "if you think I'm falling for that one.........."!!

However, it worked.  After a few more tins of tuna we took her to the vet's where the young female vet skillfully coaxed her out of the cage, wrapped her in a fluffy blanket and injected her in the bottom before any of us knew it had happened.  She now has her own passport and we can take her with us to the UK.  How on earth the twelve hour drive will pan out is a worry for another day!

The weather has been quite bizarre.  The winter seems to have been endless, grey, cold, wet and miserable for weeks on end.  There has been an occasional day when the sun came out and we could sit outside for a while thinking spring had arrived.  Then the wintry weather returned.

On 14th April at the brocante at Azay-le Ferron it was so hot and sunny that I got sunburned!  We had a lovely lazy barbecue mid afternoon but after three days of glorious sunshine, winter returned again!

Brocantes tend to be held on the same weekend every year in each village and I remembered that at last year's event in Azay it was perishing cold!

The sunshine brought lots of people out and some of them in their lovely old cars.

We had been looking for some old fashioned lights for the kitchen and found these.
We got two for 6€ and after a good clean and rewiring they should do the job.

I definitely don't need any more cake stands but for 2€ I couldn't resist this one.
The serving dish was also 2€.

Since my last post I have made two trips back to the UK.

The first one was planned as one of us needs to go back to the UK house every so often to comply with our insurance and to keep an eye on the place.  While I was there I went to see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist.

Back in January I woke up one morning with a thumping headache, a snuffly cold and awful tinnitus.  Nothing I have tried will shift it and the GP referred me to a specialist which in France is called an ONG (oreille, nez et gorge).  The soonest I could get an appointment was in six months time.  I looked online and could get an appointment with one privately (at huge expense) in Sheffield the next week.  As I was flying back to the UK anyway I decided to go for it in the hope of getting some relief but came away with more questions than answers.  A huge number of blood tests later I am still no clearer about what the cause of the problem is and I still have all the symptoms after twelve weeks.

Answers on a postcard, please.

We usually take Hugo with us to the airport and for a walk around the lake at Neuilly.

The second trip back to the UK was completely unplanned.  A broken tooth.
This tooth has broken twice before over the last five years - the first time on a prawn sandwich and the second on a fish finger sandwich.  Each time the dentist said it was fine, if it's causing no problem we can leave it.  This time the culprit was a piece of battered fish and with three of the four cusps of a back molar now gone I knew it was time to get serious.

As it happens, a friend had broken a tooth the week before and despite spending two days making phone calls and knocking on dentists' doors she was completely unable to get an appointment in France.  She had to go back to the UK to see her own usual dentist.  I already knew that finding a dentist in France is just as impossible as in the UK unless you are already registered with one so I decided not to waste time trying.  Thank goodness for Ryanair!

I have to wonder how people in France cope if they need a dentist urgently and can't find one.  Another friend said one of the Ukrainians that have settled locally after being displaced by the war had to go back to Ukraine to get dental treatment.  That really is desperate.

I left home at 5.30am to get my flight and at 3.00pm I came out of the dentist's surgery feeling pretty wobbly.  I'll spare you the gory details.

On the way home I called for some groceries and something easy to eat for dinner.  I spotted some tins of HP baked beans.  They came in packs of four at less than 50p a tin and with a sore and numb mouth were ideal for my supper.

I hadn't seen HP baked beans for decades although I do remember eating them as a child and teenager.  I had no idea that HP still made them.  It turns out that they are just as good as Heinz (IMHO).  So I decided to pack the three unopened tins to bring back with me.  I also spotted some tins of mushy peas in the cupboard so decided to pack those as well.  I also packed a small bag of rhubarb from the garden.  Cramming it all into my little bag took ages.

I had travelled with the minimum baggage - just one small bag that has to be tucked under the seat in front on the plane.  My bag met the stringent Ryaniar size requirements but was well stuffed.  As I got through the security lane I saw the tray containing my shoes and coat, and the second one containing my iPad and phone come towards me.  Then the third containing my well stuffed bag was directed to the other conveyor for inspection.  Drat!

When it came to my turn the lady with the explosives detector asked me to open my bag and I thought it must be because of the rhubarb.  "It's the rhubarb, isn't it?" I said weakly and she gave me one of those withering looks reserved for very daft people.

It turns out it was the beans.  To see someone wiping your tins of beans with an explosive detection wipe which then has to be disposed of carefully and correctly is an interesting experience.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and as she pushed the overflowing tray of stuff towards me I had the intense desire to become invisible.  As I walked away, wondering how I was going to get all this stuff back into my bag, the man next in the queue for inspection said "you got away with the rhubarb then!"  That was the moment I was reminded of the expression "just because you can doesn't mean you should"!

*As I wrote the last two paragraphs of this post Yvonne was sitting on the mouse mat with one paw across my wrist.  Numerous typos have had to be corrected.