Friday, July 25, 2014

I don’t know about you…

… but the combination of heat, humidity and sheer busyness plays havoc with my thinking processes. It’s been a very hot and sticky week since I last posted and now we have friends coming to stay tomorrow at short notice. In all the rush to get ready for them, my planned blog-post has gone by the board.

Once we have the house to ourselves again I’ll be back, but in the meantime I’d like to share a link DD sent me which I think is one of the loveliest things I've ever heard. However busy I might be, I would have to stop, listen and wonder at their artistry and the exquisite sound they achieve.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A note at bedtime

After a hot day, and with an even hotter one promised for tomorrow, I’m just sitting in the garden as the day cools, enjoying a quiet glass of calvados after supper and watching the sun set and a swarm of little flies dancing with impunity until the bats leave our loft for their nightly hunt. High in the sky a couple of north-bound jets leave glittering contrails in the afterglow, while two talkative birds converse across the whole width of the garden. In the huge poplar by the lane, I can see massive balls of mistletoe which we are legally bound to get rid of in this apple-growing area, but that's a job for another day...

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Proud Grandma moment

I think this may be the first time I've ever posted while there are comments still to be answered on my previous post, but I just can’t wait to tell you my news. Yesterday, after a wonderful extended lunch with friends (6 courses, 4 hours at the table!) followed by yet more conversation, DH and I decided we were just too tired to stay on in town for a concert which didn’t start until 8.30pm.

Thus it was that I was already in bed when the phone rang just after 10pm and DH hurtled down our steep staircase to answer it. A few minutes later he was back with the wonderful news that he’d been talking to Grandson#1, who had just learned that he’d passed his Grade 8 trumpet exam with distinction! Of course I too hurtled downstairs to ring him with my congratulations and he was obviously a very pleased and proud 15 year-old.

What we didn’t know then and have only learned this morning, is that DD had also had the result of her Grade 3 flute exam, which she too has passed with distinction after only 9 months of lessons. This is her third instrument after saxophone and piano, and we’re both delighted for her.

I tell you, I’m so thrilled and proud of them both I could burst! Meanwhile Grandson#1 is toying with the idea of taking up the trombone, just in case he hasn't enough to do with piano, organ and trumpet...

Image via Google

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Who needs a gym?

Not me, at least not when I’ve got a battered French garden to get back into shape. Once last weekend’s rain was over and I’d paid my first visit to my Monday afternoon craft group, this week has passed in a flash. I’ve spent much of each day in the fresh air, wrestling the mower over the mess the cattle have made of our ground. Already I feel fitter and ache less in the mornings, so perhaps I shouldn’t be cross with the beasts for doing what comes naturally.

I’m not referring to the inevitable cowpats, since any gardener knows that a bit of well-rotted manure is not to be sniffed at. It’s the inches-deep holes punched by their hooves which have made life so difficult this week. Some of them are big enough to trap the mower’s front wheels, making progress very stop-and-start and sometimes achingly slow and tiring.

It’s only now that most of the grass has had its first, high cut that I can assess the extent of the damage and I use that word advisedly. Mowing our uneven ground has never been easy, but the current unevenness is off the scale in comparison with previous years. In fact a few areas of the garden – under the trees and in the lee of the house – resemble nothing so much as small-scale buffalo wallows, created when the poor animals huddled in what shelter they could find during the terrible weather we (and they) endured last winter.

In order to stop the unwary visitor (or indeed DH and me) ricking an ankle, I’m busy filling all the holes with grass cuttings, topped off with the fine soil the moles have so kindly provided for me. Elegant it isn’t, but the cuttings will rot down and the grass will eventually grow back through, as I’ve proved in various parts of the garden in previous years. In the meantime, much of what passes for our lawn looks like it’s suffering from a virulent attack of measles or smallpox and certainly won’t win any prizes for best-kept garden in the foreseeable future.
Humps, bumps and aching muscles

On a  more cheerful note, I’ve given my little flower border a jolly good forking-over and weeding and have planted out the new plants I brought with me. To do this I had to dig holes in parts of the border which have never been thoroughly dug, which has resulted in another fine crop of stones being brought to the surface. It appears to be impossible to stick a fork in the ground here without hitting a stone, so my arm muscles  (and my patience) have been having even more exercise.

New rockery anyone?

Progress IS being made

Now it’s time for a well-earned break. Tomorrow we will be out all day, enjoying what will certainly be an extended lunch with old friends, followed by a concert in the evening featuring an a capella women’s choir in the fine church in Saint Hilaire-du-HarcouĂ«t. I shan’t know myself in something other than my gardening clothes.

At the weekend our neighbouring commune up the hill will be celebrating its fĂȘte communale and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this area. Despite a less than promising weather forecast for Saturday at least, DH and I will enjoy joining in with some of the events, though we draw the line at a dance that doesn’t even start until 11.30pm! We know our limits…