Sunday, 26 April 2009

More seeds...

I am disproportionately excited by the fact that my pumpkin seeds have sprouted! I am a member of a vegetable farming co-operative - the wonderful Canalside Community Farm (see my favourite websites for a link) and last year we had pumpkins as part of our vegetable share. I kept some of the seeds and dried them and last week I planted them in compost. And they've grown! I know this might seem like a pretty obvious train of events but I'm very new to this gardening business, and it just feels so great to see that little green shoot appearing out of the soil. It makes me feel all green-fingered.
Also, this weekend, I bought a mini-pond (Lidl again...!) and so my tadpoles have a new home! I'm sure I will be keeping you updated with the development of the tadpoles.. At the moment we're at the wiggly tail, no legs stage. Will keep you posted on back leg appearance!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Planting the seeds

I did some gardening today. The weather has been beautiful, so we took the opportunity to plant out some of our seeds in the raised vegetable beds we've had put in. (these are going to be the most expensive carrots known to man...) So I planted leeks, red onions, carrots, beetroot, pumpkins and radishes. We wait with bated breath to see if they come up. They'll probably all get eaten by the birds...
It's nice though, getting your hands in the soil. Makes you feel like you've achieved something in your day.
The kids are still resisting the new back-to-school regime.They consistently and quite happily refuse to do anything I say at the moment. I have been screeching like a fishwife at them and only succeeding in getting myself in a twist. Time to think of a new tactic...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Back to reality..

We're back in the UK. School starts next week. It's back down to earth with a bump. I'm trying to get the kids back into some kind of routine. They are resisting. Having run wild for three and a half weeks, they are not keen on early bedtimes...
We had quite an eventful journey back through France, almost (literally) bumping into a family of wild boar, complete with little piglets. Dear Daughter was screeching, 'Look at the hairy pigs, Mummy!' as they sat in the middle of the road. I was just a bit concerned about how we were going to get past them if they refused to move. Man, they're big! And pretty ugly looking too!
Anyway, they decided to trot along eventually, and we made our way northwards, through the night.
We got the day ferry and arrived back in the UK on Thursday night. Since then it's been a constant round of washing and trying to get back into gear for the new term.
Wish we could be on holiday forever...!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Bonnes Paques!

Happy Easter from South-west France. it's a horrible day here - grey and misty and raining that really fine rain that gets you really wet..! The kids have done their Easter Egg Hunt in the barns; with the mice, woodstore, pots of paint, strimmers, spades, old carts, sets of skis, dusty, empty wine bottles with wicker around them, birds nests and a football table. (amongst other things)
We have taken refuge by the woodburning stove, and are in comfortable and quiet seclusion with some good books, a laptop and our Easter chocolate supply. Bliss!
Back to the UK on Thursday - real life beckons...

Friday, 10 April 2009

Am I getting on a bit??

Today I have been called both 'wise' and 'sensible' by two different friends. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it is flattering to be thought of in this way by one's friends, however sweetly misguided they might be, but on the other hand, it does make me feel...well, a bit old!

I really, really don't feel in the least wise. Most of the time I feel like I'm in a dark room groping around for the light switch. And I don't feel sensible, even if most of the time I'm forced to behave as though I am. The 'me' I am familiar with is at the mercy of her emotions, selfish, stubborn, argumentative and grumpy most of the time. Just as well I try not to share her with the rest of the world...

So, I guess I can work towards 'wise' and 'sensible' - Well one has to live up to one's reputation, after all!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Happy Birthday

I have just realised that I have missed celebrating the first anniversary of this blog by a few days. my first post was written on 4th April 2008, and here we are, a whole year later.

What has changed? The kids are a whole year older and bigger and are needing me less and less (and more and more in some ways) each day. So I have more time for writing now than I did a year ago. And how do I feel about that? Well, happy obviously, but a little ambivalent too. While childrearing duties kept me from my writing, it was easy to dream about it. Now the reality of doing it is here, it's easy to get scared and wonder what I was thinking... But we plod onwards as always.

Monday, 6 April 2009

It's the little things

Now I remember why I come here to this little corner of south-west France.
A wonderfully sunny warm Spring day with a soft breeze. A perfect washing day, so three or four loads of washing gets done and hung on the washing lines strung between the wild plum trees that are all in blossom. The white flowers against the bright blue sky are luscious. I always feel like I've achieved something when I've got washing done and dried!
While waiting for the sheets to dry, I wander off down the field which is all grassy meadow with daisies, clover and dandilions. I can hear the bees buzzing so loudly they sound like mini-airships. I lie down in a patch of daisies and watch an aeroplane going over at very high altitude leaving a trail of vapour across the blue.
We eat lunch outside - a simple, but fantastic, meal of homemade bread, sliced tomatoes, cheese and olives. Food always tastes better when the sun is shining.
What small simple pleasures this day has brought.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Must get on...

Have ensconsed myself in front of the wood burning stove with my laptop. I really have to get on with this assessment that was due in last Friday. I was granted an extension but I want to get it handed in as quickly as possible. However it's difficult to concentrate when the sun is shining outside, and there are 320 terracotta tiles that need seasoning with linseed oil...
Summoning up the energy to finish this OU course is proving a challenge. I've commited myself to a long project that I think I have really lost enthusiasm for. Oh well.
Have just glanced over and noticed that I have brought my writing work to France in a jute bag emblazoned with the words 'Warwickshire Waste Partnership'.
Seems somehow appropriate...

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Hello, Bonjour and Hola!

Well, I've been in three countries in the last week! Started out in the UK last week. Drove to France, and then down to Spain and then back to France, where the flag is aloft as we are in residence.
We went to Spain to ski. To a fab place called Baqueira-Beret. Took the kids and had a great time. Dear Daughter has decided she is an expert skiier requiring no tuition. Bearing in mind this is only her second time on skis, and she is only 4, she has decided to bypass snowplough almost entirely, opting insted for parallel turns and a casual style that is quite incredible. Small Son has chosen the kamikasi approach of bombing downhill with straight skis and falling over to stop... It is quite amazing to see how much they have progressed. They are going to be better than me in no time at all, although that won't really be too hard...
The Spanish are just brilliant with the kids as well - getting them on and off the ski lifts and in the restaurants and shops. They just love kids as a cultural thing, in a way that we so don't in the UK. Although you can go out in Spain, and there won't necessarily be a high chair or a changing table, they are just so welcoming and accomodating and accepting of the children. Dear Daughter and Small Son got totally over-excited, as in a lot of the shops they were giving the kids sweets or lollies!
We're back at the farm in France now. The weather has been lovely today, and my skiing tan is looking like it could spread further if the sun keeps shining. I know, I know, I should look after my skin, but I really NEED this sun! I can feel myself starting to unfurl...!