Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hello again...

A woman's work is never done! Not that I'm the world's busiest woman, but blogging has been on the back-burner for quite a while.

Monty, our 9 month old Lab, has demanded most of my recent attention. He's an adolescent, and needs a lot of walks, TLC, and surveillance. Now that's he's had the snip, I'm hoping he'll calm down and not wander off so much.

Then we've had the new kitchen to contend with. Planning, finding the right man for the job, choosing colours, choosing appliances; it's surprising how much effort has gone into something so simple.

Then all the brouhaha surrounding the purchase of the tobacco drying barn behind the house. It turned out to be much more complicated than we could have imagined with a tenant on the land who surprised us by  suddenly claiming the right to continue his tenancy. With the help of a lawyer we came to a mutual agreement, and he will now stay on until the end of the year. We're also busy drawing up plans for the conversion of the barn into a big loft-style apartment.

And of course the most time consuming task of all; trying to keep Cro out of trouble. 

I'd really like to just sit outside for an hour or two in the sunshine, read some trashy novel, and watch the cows go by. But I'm off to Blighty this afternoon, so I must leave for the airport. I have a eye appointment, some baby-sitting, and catching-up with friends to do. Cro will have to hold the fort in my absence (I sense danger!).

Thursday, 31 March 2011

My life has been taken-over....

At just 3 months old, Monty has become an unruly youth. His energy is boundless, his naughtiness unstoppable, and his appetite unbelieveable.

So, it's 5 or 6 walks a day, a strict check on his diet, and constant surveillance; otherwise he would be a nightmare. But at least he's 'house-trained', and sleeps through the night without disturbing us.

Of course he's also an absolute delight, and we now wonder what on earth we ever did without him.

This isn't actually Monty, but if we had a dishwasher no doubt he'd be doing this as well!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

More on Monty.

Life continues to be circled around the arrival of our new puppy Monty. His relationship with Freddie (our cat) continues to improve, but the difference in both size and exuberance makes any closer friendship difficult. A plate glass door between them is, for the moment, preferable.

Monty still has that puppy flexibility. He manages to find the most uncomfortable looking sleeping poses, and makes it look as if he's in heaven. There's something about him that reminds me of Lord Magnon!
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Monday, 28 February 2011

Kate and Sidney Pud'.

Lord Magnon is the cook of the family, and as he's pretty good at it I just let him get on with things. But there are certain recipes that he'll never attempt; amongst these is anything that involves PASTRY.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a sudden desire for either a Kate and Sidney pie, or pudding. I put it to the vote, and we both plumped for pudding. I used a Guinness and wine mix for the liquid, and added some mushrooms; otherwise a standard recipe.

About 10 minutes after I took the 'finished' picture, there wasn't a lot left... It was delicious. I wonder when we'll eat another one?
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Saturday, 19 February 2011

The fan club.

When Lord Magnon first got his dog, Hamlet, people told us that it was the very best way to meet people; and they were right. The young, the old, and every age in between, would stop, bend down to stroke him, and instantly start a conversation. Without the pup with us, they would simply have walked on by.

The same is already happening with Monty, and I think the three children above are about to start his official fan club; they visit every afternoon.

Actually, they've only just got their own puppy; a mostly black Border Collie. But for some reason they've decided that they prefer to play with Monty; I'm sure they'll change their minds before too long, their little dog is a sweetie too. I'd hate to think that they'd redirect their affections.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Monty, aged 8 Weeks.... Sleeping.

This is one of my favourite sleeping positions; lying down with feet outstretched, pretending that I'm actually standing up.

My second favourite position is the 'Hang Dog'; I keep most of me in a box and let my head hang over the side. You should try it!

Thirdly, my absolute fave position; I call it the 'Amateur Contortionist'. I'm still working on this one! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

And they call it puppy love....

We do seem to be surrounded by dogs at the moment. We're looking after one (Oscar), for a friend, and as a result another half dozen turn up regularly for 'walkies'.

However, we still don't have a dog of our own. 40 years ago (when we first moved to France) Lord Magnon had a scruffy black and tan Mutt named Hamlet, and when he died he was simply never replaced. But I've recently seen some Lab' pups, and I've reserved one.

I'm not sure if ours is one of the pair above, but that's the mother and she has 6 puppies in all. I think it'll probably be a question of selecting one on the day, when we turn up to collect; they all look the same anyway. The one on the left would do just fine!

Less than 2 weeks to go; then chaos!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Kitchen.

For many years our cottage was a 'Play House'; it's where we had fun, enjoyed ourselves, and lived the simple life.

Now, as we grow older, our priorities are beginning to change, and we are slowly re-organising everything to cope with a different type of existence (grandchildren, animals, Lord M's unpredictable behaviour, etc).

We've recently installed new dark brown, double glazed, aluminium doors, that not only keep out draughts, but also let in masses of light (they look wonderful). We're in the process of building the 'tower'. And now it's the turn of the kitchen.

Actually we love our ramshackle kitchen, but it's no longer practical. It's been there for nearly 40 years and it's time to change.

I have 'a man' coming in this morning to have a look. I don't really want an 'off-the-shelf' Ikea style kitchen, but I do need more space.

Decisions, decisions. More of this anon!
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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Guinness Cake.

It's been cold, wet, and miserable recently, and Lord Magnon's been kept busy keeping the home fires burning. Both our sitting room wood-fired-burner, and the kitchen wood-fired-stove, have been going non-stop for weeks.

Not only does this mean that I have a lovely warm house, it also offers the opportunity to make slow cooked casseroles, and attempt to do some baking.

Cro loves fruit cake. So, as it seems to turn out OK every time, I always follow the same recipe; the old faithful 'Guinness Cake'. Maybe mine wouldn't win first prize at a WI cake making competition, but nothing ever goes to waste. My only waver from the original recipe is that Lord 'high-n-mighty' Magnon INSISTS that I take out all the green bits (angelica) from the mixed peel. Anything for a quiet life!
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Thursday, 6 January 2011

That's it for another year!

I've enjoyed a few Christmassy days since my return. No fairy topped tree; Cro couldn't be bothered with just him and the cat. But he did decorate the cottage quite nicely, and we did do the whole Turkey/Christmas Pud'/Champagne thing for the New Year.

The decorations are now all packed away, and calm has returned. Rain has replaced snow, and we have almost started thinking of Spring. Daytime fires are still de rigeur, and at nights we continue to cook on 'George'; our wood fired kitchen stove... For the moment we no longer need to scrape morning frost from the car's windscreen; I just hope that continues.

Our next big job is to finish the interior/exterior work on the tower, after which I can amuse myself with the inside furnishings. Cro wants 'primitive'; I want 'chic'. No doubt we will have to compromise on some form of 'primitive chic'. The best bit will be looking for small pieces of rustic antique furniture. As we're 'starting from scratch', the canvas is as yet bare.

Home again.

I've had a pretty traumatic Christmas. I was caught up in Gatwick's snow-bound flight delays for 10 days, and instead of returning to France on Dec' 18th, I didn't get back until the 28th. This meant that Lord Magnon spent Christmas by himself in France (I didn't hear him complain), and I, unexpectedly, spent it with both family and friends back in England.

Anyway, all is now back to normal, and I'm just so happy to look out on this beautiful landscape once again. When I'm not here I miss it so much.

2010 ended with my oldest son having just started a new job in North London, my daughter surrounded by flood water in Queensland, and my youngest son having recently passed some important exams.

I may be a little late with my wishes, but let's hope that 2011 proves to be angst-free, creative, and full of pleasant surprises.
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