There’s a definite feel of Autumn in the air…an “autumnal” feel…I love that word!. The blackberries have ripened and the hedgerows are laden, a lovely combination of ripe bright shiny black and ripening rosy red…another painting of nature. Of course this leads to stuffing ones mouth every time we take the mutts for a walk. I’m not too sure how many “noo-noo’s” I’ve eaten…a few bugs, a couple of flies, maybe a dozen other wiggly things…but the berries are delicious, warm from the sun, sweet, “pip-y” (which get stuck in your teeth) and anyone who sees you when you come home know’s from the colour of your hands (and face) knows exactly what you’ve been doing rummaging in the bushes! I tried making jam; we’ve tried them with yogurt, the dear one made a blackberry, and sage sauce to have with duck confit and I’ve just made a pastry cream tart with blackberry coulis to take to friends.
So..altogether, blackberries are amazing, fun to pick (as long as you avoid the thorns) , delicious to eat and very versatile. And yup, the stains do eventually come out of clothing…..
The mutts need only two things for their move to the Cotswolds. They’ve been living in France for more than six months, so no question of quarantine, they were vaccinated for rabies less than a year ago, they’re already micro-chipped, so all they need is to be de-flead and dewormed. Simple.
The french are a little more strict than the world I know. You can’t walk into a pharmacy or “Clicks” and doctor yourself. You HAVE to ask at the pharmacy and they HAVE to advise you. Then they will only give you medication enough for about 10 days. If you want more – you have to go back and repeat the process. Same with the mutts..you can’t just go to your local grocery store and get some Bob Martins or Worm pills. You HAVE to go the Vet shop. We had managed to buy some Frontline for fleas from the local Jardinere (Garden Shop) so I thought maybe, just MAYBE they would have worm pills because I wanted to give them some way before we leave as well (the other ones have to be given two days before and signed off by a Vet.)
Only after we had walked in, did I realise that I had forgotten the now-well-used phrase book behind at home and I had no idea what a worm was in French. I was about to head into the world of feeling like an idiot yet again. But wait! What was that noise and muttered curse! I peeked round the plants to have a look and see if I could help and yup, the shop assistant was on her butt in a pile of rolled and shrink wrapped chicken wire and hessian destined for a shelf but which, thanks to an errant trolley, now lay all over the floor. Yes! She was as accident prone as myself! I jumped at the chance figuring that if she felt like an idiot now, she wouldn’t dream of thinking I was one! Cunning plan! I asked her in french if she was alright and could I help.
“Non” came the answer “Everything’s good.” and a subtle shade of pink flooded her face. I jumped at the chance figuring that if she felt like an idiot now, she wouldn’t dream of thinking I was one! Cunning plan! I asked in French.
“I’m looking for something for the dog…” heck, how DO you describe a worm to someone looking distinctly blank?
The plan hadn’t worked, I now felt a bit of a twit standing there holding my index finger in line with my stomach and wiggling it! The shop assistant packed up laughing, nodded vigorously and told me to go …yup..to the Vet! I then asked her what I needed to say in French and she said it about ten times to make sure I would remember. think she was relieved to see someone else as embarrassed as she had been.
We’ve been trying to figure out how best to get to the UK and cross it to Gloucestershire with the least stress on the mutts. We had come to the conclusion that we needed to go and buy a car (or hire one), put them in their cages for the ferry crossing (obligatory) and then carry on to the far, That means they would be in the same environment all the way. Just as we’d figured this all out we had a proposition. For three paintings and some poles put up in a pasture up the road, we would be given a car. We could then trade it in for a new one in the UK when we felt like it.
Cool Beans!! I had already done 2 paintings which the guy liked and he commissioned a portrait of Mandela ?? which I did and he took away with him. The poles..well, that was a different story! 140 arrived – all too long! All had to have 30 cm hand sawed off them, a “pilot hole” had to be made into soil that was in places lovely and soft and in others, hard enough to ricochet a mallet into totally the opposite direction and send shock waves higher than any Richter scale up your arm! We set to with gusto.
After the first day, and just a small amount of blood, we had made amazing progress and we felt pretty good.
After the second day, we made even more amazing progress and the holes were getting easier, the ground softer, the rhythm more in since and not too much more blood I’m so proud to say.
On the morning of the third day, I woke up with every muscle in my body, and when I mean every, I mean EVERY muscle protesting very loudly. I figured I would never need a gym again, the simple task of putting poles in the ground works every single muscle in your body – calf to butt, stomach to biceps and everything inbetween. Fortunately it was Sunday and I refused to work on a Sunday!
Today it’s raining so the ground will be even softer…but seeing the moving people are coming on Thursday, the poles will have to wait until Friday and we only have another 50 or so to do so we’re more than half way.
Talking of moving…….
To get a really grand price, we agreed with a small moving company – made up totally of girls I might add, they call themselves “Wovan” AND they were the only ones that got back to me!! Woman!! Yayay! So very oranised! – to move our 10 boxes and 2 bikes at the same time that they move another family – BUT, it’s more than two weeks before we leave….on the 12th.
Sad to say, we will once again be reduced to living out of a suitcase with…yes…wait for it …..the travelling pants!! They’re back!!
And this time, it will be even more interesting. The cottage is an old stone one with mullioned windows that needs help. We’ve been told that all supplies will be provided, if we do the work – so for a while we will be redoing the floor, putting in a new kitchen, reskimming the walls, painting and putting in wide skirting. Its all VERY exciting…the down side? We’ve been spoilt with a fully furnished cottage here – cutlery, kettle, pots and pans, washing machine…you name it.
Hope you’re all doing ok, love hearing from you all and love hearing your news too….