Walking the wife

Each evening, I’ve been walking the wife. Delia hasn’t been able to join Siena and me on our longer lunchtime walks (she’s never been awake enough for the morning one). She continues to get stronger after her operation but needs to be careful. So each evening we’ve been taking a stroll around the hamlet. I hold Siena’s lead and we go at Delia’s speed.  Early evening is a nice time to do this, its cooler and the views are better in that lower light. There is a particular spot with a view we love, I’ve never been able to do it justice with a photo… it’s a vista without a major focal point.


Earlier this year, there’d be a chorus of frogs coming up from the small lake or pond below.  Even now there’s a chance of seeing a couple of deer or perhaps a fox in the field leading down to the pond. Currently the foreground field is pasture, a few weeks ago it had been mown for hay and one of the hay bales had rolled into the pond. The view extends across two or three wooded ridges. On the most distant one we can see the top half of the aerial on La Grande Puyconnieux (from where we tried to watch the New Year day sunrise). The trees on the ridge in front of it block the view of the base (and hence when we stand at that base, we can’t see our hamlet either).

I especially like the glimpses we can get of patches of pasture with isolated trees in their middle. Pasture and woodland are the default land uses around here (rotating with different grains for cattle feed). Limousin beef being the main product (and wood for wood burners I guess), trees in the middle of pasture make for good shade for the cows in the heat of the day.  I showed a picture last February but I’ll try again this evening and add here if I can. Here it is.

There is a house upslope from where we always pause… we sometimes talk about how we could ruin their view by building a place just in front to take advantage of their vista ourselves. I think, though, if a million€ ever came our way we’d probably not waste it on building a house 200 metres away from our current one, it’s just talk anyway. After our 5 minute pause for the view we continue on past the bio-smallholding; more of a rural Steptoe with various old cars in use as greenhouses, some actually inside large poly-tunnels.  Piles of roof tiles and various building items for recycling (I guess). He sells his produce at local farmers’ markets and seems to make a living. His yard is a testimony to the 3 “r”s of reduce, recycle, reuse (not sure about reduce though). Heading home, we pass Siena’s favourite place if she is off lead – strangely enough – the vet’s house. She loves it because they are often sitting outside with an open gate and she loves to visit. So she is usually on lead. She loves everybody but it is not everyone loves her. 

As for other stuff… the car might start to be repaired this coming week, though the assessor has to follow the repairs so there is a delay waiting for his pre-repair inspection (though he must have done this when he valued it – on reflection however, since he got the model wrong then, perhaps “inspection” is too strong a word!). Then there’s the “during” inspection followed by the final one. In the meantime we continue driving the weeble of a Ka with its peeling roof, bits that come off inside and the stick to hold the boot open. We’ve stopped half filling the tank because its return could have been imminent.

The sub-floor of the living room is done. We now await plastering, so we can paint and finally lay the laminate (which having been in the sales was ordered early and is now sitting in a pile in the middle of the room being ‘conditioned’).

Delia’s fine!

After 30 mins of early morning small talk, Delia in her hospital gown and me… well, not, Delia was wheeled off on her hitherto bed to be prepared for her Thyroid operation. That was 7.15am and it wasn’t until 11.30am that she was wheeled back looking the worse for wear. Very pale and wan but smiling. She was pretty nauseous for an hour or so, and, though she’d been proud of the French she had managed during the lead up, the previous evening and the morning, she was not in much of a condition to switch into foreign language mode, so I came in quite handy. She slept on and off for the next few hours and waved me off at about 3pm with a promise to call me if she wanted me to come back in sooner than tomorrow after lunch.

They had said that they would carry out some tests and microscopy whilst she was still on the operating table. Still some more but I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, below is my recent vision of a very happy Delia at the “vernissage” on Friday.


Chateau, Motocross and Locale

I have had a couple of outings this last fortnight, motocross at the Sunday before last where some impressive riding produced some interesting photos.


A visit to Chateau Coussac Bonneval, where as well as having a guide with a lovely Irish brogue we were greeted by the Marquis and his Brazilian Marquise. Apart from a slip from childless Marquis to cousin in 1700 or so, this chateau had been in the same family since 12th century. We couldn’t take photos inside, so I have limited photos.


One sunny morning this week I walked out on one of the several routes I take for Siena’s morning walks. Down our little side road to the “main” road – where I might see one car during the 10 minutes I walk along it. The road winds along, flanked by shady chestnut groves. To my left I can catch a glimpse of the trees reflected in the lake and to my right and behind, the fields through which I will walk at the end of my circuit.


Continuing, I come to, what we refer to as, the muddy track (because in winter it takes only a little rain to turn it into a welly-boot-only-walk). The field on the left of the track here is now devoted to sweetcorn, but only this spring it had been fallow and a place Siena where as well as disturbubg clouds of crickets on warmer days, she would love to chase the occasional deer that she never even go close to catching. Sometimes they hardly bothered to run. All the land around here is farmed one way or another, to my right had been a dense copse of trees but is now being cleared and harvested for firewood. I wonder what crop will replace it.

Up a steepish bit at the end of the track I come to a T in the path. In the winter would turn left into the woods and eventually over a stream past a small usually overflowing pond and out of the woods to then cut across through a grove of chestnut saplings. But in summer the saplings are surrounded by shoulder high bracken; so it’s a right turn, pausing to enjoy the view across the pasture to a young oak and the hills in the distance beyond.

Following along the edge of the woods and to my left is another pasture (I am using pasture where I have not seen the field in any other use but I am sure it can change). Anyway at the moment are young bullocks or steers, I guess. They often line up and face Siena who is a bit daunted by them, neither they nor Siena know how neither could harm the other (though I suppose Siena could get trampled).



With dense trees to my right and left I arrive at a sharp turn in the track. Here I duck under a sometimes electrified fence to look out across pasture to a lake beyond and the first of two houses (this we call upper Garenne, since the other is calle La Garenne – which means rabbit warren). Siena often races around the other side of the house to see if there’s some unsuspecting workman she can greet effusively. Its not often occupied, though being a holiday house, I will put Siena back on lead if I see a car. Not everybody is as forgiving of a jumping dog as the workmen here who usually know her. As I duck under another fence to return to a metalled track, I get a little shock through my shirt. I used to unhook this but once, when the wire was slack Siena got tangled up in it. She took months to forget that. Anyway, on down the track and to the second house, La Garenne. Here someone is continuing the renovation and we exchange greetings as I retrieve Siena from their kitchen – perhaps on lead tomorrow? As I continue down the track, to my left is a wheat field and to my right fallow (last year it was wheat and before that sweetcorn). For now that field is a haven for Siena to chase the swallows that swoop and tease her in her total inability to catch them. In the distance is Beaulieu and I head home.

It’s Saturday and Delia’s recovering from a hangover (and me waking at 5am) after her “vernissage”. Not her, being varnished that is, it’s a term to describe the opening of an art exhibition. Delia’s teacher puts on annual exhibitions of her students’ work – all very impressive work.
For those who have been following our sagas, my foot is now mostly better. The car claim continues as a catalogue of non-returned calls and ignored emails, unanswered and wrongly answered questions! As to the living room, the beams are now being used for the process of sub-floor laying. This Monday Delia goes into hospital for her thyroid op on Tuesday, I will try to contact people directly but I will post an “extraordinary” update here on Wednesday.