Random thoughts of a rapidly ageing Englshman who wishes he was retired and living in Fance

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Its suprising what you can do with a wire brush.

Have you ever wanted a chainsaw? Or a pickaxe?

Its not that I don't enjoy planting the odd bulb or dead-heading the petunias, its just that, well, ummm, I suppose I like to see a difference for my labours. Right now.

Its the same with decorating, not that I'd done much in recent years...till we got the petite maison that is.....

We nipped over for the weekend to do a spot of cleaning up after the builders who'd not only shown up but actually put the new window in the right wall, changed the right window/doors and modifid the main bedroom, laid a new terrace and generally done exactly what we'd asked for. Basil Fawlty would have been beside himself. Not only that but though a fabulous fusion of friendship and landscape gardening, the cleaning was well on its way with the floor washed and the fire lit. Thanks Alex and Nicole.

Can you spot the new window?

Anyway back to the plot. I was a Man on a Mission. Having basked in the success of my efforts with the beams in the salon, every time I sat on the loo I looked up and thought, I must to sort those beams out, and this was my opportunity. Have you ever tried cleaning a couple of hundred years worth of what can best be described as a sort of plaster based french whitewash off ancient beams? I know I have.

Here's an action shot of your's truley wire brushing the beams - you may think its a rubbish photo, but the air really was that thick with dust......
Sooooo satisfying! Even if my glasses steamed up because I had the mask on upside down for the first hour.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Whats wrong with my flies?

Have you ever wondered if perhaps just maybe, despite your best efforts, boundless enthusiasm, months and years of thought, study, reading all the magazines, books and even a couple of lessons, has it ever occured to you that perhaps despite having all the right equipment.....you are just no good at it?

The snow and ice having given way to temperatures in the balmy 10 degree range (52 F) the river running at a sensible level and fairly clear, and after weeks of abstinence I finally made it down to the Derwent with copius amounts of tackle, waders, rods, zillions of flies for every occasion including my unrivaled colection of nymphs none of which I can remember the name of but they are very er..nymphlike. I even bought some of them (the others I tied myself) so they must be the business.

So, I turn up and after a mere 20 minutes or so fighting my way into my waders and tying my new secret weapon - a florocarbon leader with and a highly experimental 2 fly easy tangle set-up, I'm ready to go. I stroll up the bank away from the car and the bridge out of sight of Joe Public, (I hate being watched whilst making a fool of myself) and spot another couple of guys fishing.

With floats, feeders and maggots. Not a fly in sight.

Just to encourage me they proudly show me a photo of the fish they've just put back. They wish me luck with a smile and I stumble off.

Actually I had quite a good day, I caught 3 trees and a small bramble. Not bad for an aftenoons fly fishing. Still the grayling will be there next week and if it was easy it wouldn't be so much fun now, or would it??

Here's a picture of a very big and quite grand Pressigny.The countryside is a bit like Derbyshire, except its nowhere near as busy, populated, etc. At the bottom of the hill is a beautiful river called the Claise that actually does have fish in. I know cos I've seen them. What better place can there be to go and not catch a fish? How stunning is that?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Another day, another sandwich!

Why is it that when you are quietly minding your own business munching through The Wife's Carefully Prepared (and only slightly scary) sandwiches, visitors turn up? What was wrong with 11 o'clock? Why wait till 12:32 and half way through a cold pork and apple sarnie to come and annoy me?

Sometimes I wonder what the world is coming to! I'm sure that sort of thing never happens in France. No decent Frenchman (or to be politically correct person) would dream of disturbing someones sandwich. Come to think of it the problem simply wouldn't arise, no Frenchie worth their Tricolour would dream of eating a sandwich at their desk. So why do we do it?

It seems to me the answer is simple, in France food is not fuel, its a way of life. Many workers get luncheon vouchers (whatever happened to them?) and eat at their local restaurant, where the ritual of a proper lunch and relaxing conversation is dutifully observed. If you hop across the channel (if you're reading this from other than the UK, get an atlas) for your hols, do yourself a favour and do lunch. Watch, listen and learn.

We've been entertained in posh places by tables of businessmen spending 2 hours discussing the local cuisine with their visitors, and in not so posh places by lorry drivers having the exact same conversation. You'll be amazed at the number of local folk turning up for the day's set 3 courses and a carafe of local plonk, a chat with their mates and absolutely no talk about work. Two hours later thy are nourished and relaxed ready for another four hours ranting about nothing. Compare that with your daily routine - beetroot on the keyboard and working the phone with a mouthful of sausage roll.

All of which has absolutely nothing to do with this rather fine picture
I don't know what it is about the French that makes them want to build such fabulous bridges (with a little expert help from us Brits of course), but if you really want to see how to get across a ravine, estuary or whatever....go have a look. And yes the sky really is that colour, why we can't have one like that over here is yet another mystery.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Err....... Now what do I do?

This is coming as a bit of a surprise to me....I never thought I'd make it to the 21st century let alone embrace its charms and foibles........such as blogging.

In fact I can safely say I didn't know what a blog was until recently and in reality, I'm not sure I do now but apparently everyone does it, so here goes. I've been a little ispired by a couple of blogs with wonderful photos and articles diarising their author's such interesting lives. So I though I'd have a go.

Today - Tuesday - I got up and caught the train to work. Did I mention my weetabix? I had sandwiches for lunch which were made by my wife and at the appointed hour....I caught the train home. Then I walked the dog, cooked and ate diner and wrote this.
Tomorrow, I'll probably do the same.

Here's an interesting photo of some flowers on a tree/bush/shrub in the public gardens in Descartes. the interesting thing is I've no idea what it is called

But its very pretty.

Now you're probably thinking this is rubbish, and you'd probably be right, but bear with me and I'll do my best to entertain.

We have a manic standard poodle called Lulu. She's nearly 7 months old and frankly I have to say looking a bit skinny since she had her first Big Girls Haircut yesterday.

She's so very cute and rarely still long enough to capture on the old digital camera. Why do they take so long? You'd think with all this technology and stuff you'd press the button and hey...its done. But no, you have to wait while everything moves and the snazzy camera has a good long think about whether to take the picture...or maybe not. If anybody ever made a digital camera that took the photo when you pressed the button, they'd sell millions.

Anyway I digress. One of Lulu's favourite tricks is playing opposites! Apparently something called "children" like to do this as well. How you play is you let your dog do something - like go out into the garden - and then you command her to do something that you know she knows how to do - like "come here" or "sit". Doggy then does the opposite. You can play this game for ages and even add a bit of chasing and pretending to shout in a gruff voice (this is hard as you'll be having so much fun). For an easy version, wait till doggy does what you are intending asking and then shout the command just before she finishes, e.g. shout "come" just as she arrives at your feet, although 9 times out of 10 this will send her scurrying away......

Phew, I've done it. My first ever blog.

Do I get a badge

or a certificate

or just locked up?