Old friends and new walks

These last few weeks have been hard for Siena. She’s come into season and we’ve had to be careful where (and if) we walk her and always on a lead. So it’s a new walk across the chestnut grove and around a field. Since Siena’s first walk, she’d seen a brown and white horse, sometimes very close up but always on a tight leash (Siena that is, not the horse). touching-00201So to my surprise one morning this last week, the self-same horse and her daughter(?) were in the very field we were walking past. The horse (let’s call her Dobbie) walked over to us obviously recognising me (I thought) but no, Dobbie was more interested in Sienna and bent low to touch noses as she often had on previous walks when Sienna was younger Siena was a bit timid the first time but the next day the same thing happened and she wanted to jump up and had to be restrained firmly. Since that first day Dobbie has come across to touch noses with Siena every morning (except one when the rain was so hard that she and her daughter Dobbie-ette stayed under a tree)

Tourist season has arrived and our third set of visitors the year – a real visit this time for 3 weeks. The first week included us meeting up with them at Giverny to enjoy Monet’s garden together. A rainy day but that was perhaps an advantage because it was possibly less crowded than it might have otherwise been. Unfortunately Monet’s trademark lilies were not yet in bloom and there were too many people for a good shot of the Wysteria bridge but still beautiful throughout. It’s hard to conjure up the peculiarity of the frog chorus at the lily pond (someone leaned in towards me asking if I could see the ducks). In his house the yellow dining room and the blue kitchen with the range of copper saucepans any chef would kill for are the most memorable experiences for me.

Even the main street is a glory of flowers and every garden vies for attention. Our Chambre d’hôte had a garden so glorious that the front gate had to be locked behind us to prevent tourists coming in to view it.

 

 

La Belle Hellene Chambre d Hote

Les Jardins d’Helene – Chambre d’hôte

 

J’ai mal au fesses – My bum hurts!

This time last year we were busy driving all over to get the car re-registered. Now…The car needed a service, so I booked it into a nearby Ford garage. Only 10 minutes away so I thought I’d leave the car and take my first cycle ride of the year. Firstly, it was 10 mins by road but an hour by bike – 10km each way. Secondly, the road and track are not as flat as I’d thought and thirdly I’m not as fit as I should be. One way, and lunchtime to recover but returning I must have looked pretty knackered since, on collecting the car, the first thing the receptionist did was offer me some water! In filling out the forms for the car she asked about the kilometres. “82 thousand” I said “Auhourd’hui?” she said with a laugh having meant how far had I cycled not the car mileage. Anyway, car all done and ready for our 5 hours drive this Tuesday to Giverny – Monet’s garden and to meet Delia’s long time best friend from Sydney, Stephanie and Rob, her husband. And my bum only hurt for the next day.

In the meantime, last week… Having paid our social security on-line for over a year, suddenly the computer says “No” – well it actually says that no declaration is currently outstanding In the UK one would usually say yippee and wait for them to sort things out but in France the next thing will be a letter (Avis Amiable – friendly advice) telling use the penalties we now owe for non-declaration. Anyway a bit of tippex on an old declaration (well, the computer equivalent) and sent off by registered post.. fingers crossed.

Also my income tax is due to be declared before 19th May or we will be fined. I have no communications at all for this, eventually I have found the forms online and am girding my loins in preparation for completing these before the deadline.

 

Foodbread and cheese-1
It being my birthday yesterday I got some presents – one arrived a bit early. It had to be opened because it was fresh cheese in reflective insulated box with an ice pack – very special – from Bill (Delia’s dad) and very tasty too – my favourite being a soft sheep’s cheese “Pérail de Brebis” from Midi-Pyrenees – well my favourite so far!

Also on the subject of food was a table for 10 and delightful meal out at “Le Soleil Couchant” – The Setting Sun ‘ a common English Pub name. This was very English with English signage and menus etc – fish and chips for me was lovely and live music was welcome too. I prefer something a bit more French, not trying so hard to appeal to the ex-pats. I live in France for the Frenchness and not for nostalgic aspects of missing England.

 

le soleil couchant-1

And here is a Delia original I received on a birthday card. I have called it Le Soleil Couchant