Welcome to my Blog. This is my attempt to make sense of Kate and I living in France, the lifestyle,the french, my home and animals and anything else that seems amusing to me. Sorry I have a strange sense of humour!! Please feel free to comment on any of my posts. See below or go to my new facebook page La Godefrere

I plan to update this with weekly news of my adventures and those of my animals at La Godefrere.  You can now look us up on our new facebook page - La Godefrere.

Alas poor Sylvia; IT knock on experiences; culture on the roof; we rebuild Ant City and the World Cup kicks off (Allez les bleus!)

June 18, 2018
Another sad week as we lost the last of our three hens. Poor Sylvia fell victim to the same illness as the other two and after a few days of declining health she passed away during the past week. She passed away in the night and it was not necessary “to go and see Giselle!” La Godefrere seems a little empty now with no hens pecking around the garden. I shall particularly miss little Sylvia who would follow me down to the bird feeder tree every morning chatting away and looking for any spilled seeds.

Sylvia RIP

The cats of course are doing what they can to fill the gap and are much in evidence in the garden. However, they don’t cluck or more importantly lay eggs! We decided that we should now maintain our natural interment arrangements and use the services of Fox Funerals to dispose of the body.

Our thoughts now turn to replacing the hens and we have decided to wait a couple of months. We don’t know what caused the hens to be ill and want to make sure any risks to new hens can be minimised. We have disinfected the hens house and cleaned all feeding and drinking equipment. Hopefully all will be well.

I reported last week that our IT was down after our live box died in an electrical storm. After an abortive visit last Monday when the store was closed Mrs. Parish returned on Tuesday and found the shop was open but there was a huge queue as loads of people had the same problem. Eventually a new livebox was received and duly installed. Of course, life is never simple and we found that while we had excellent wifi reception our old printer would not work under the new regime.

We decided that the best solution would be to buy a brand-new printer as we had had the old one for a number of years. So, off I go to the store in Mayenne and practice my French with a shop assistant to find out the best deal. I buy a printer which says on the box “easy installation in three simple steps”. Perfect, just what we wanted and so off home I went with high expectations. The installation was anything but easy. In fact, it would not work at all and kept saying there was a paper jam when there wasn’t even any paper in the machine. We took some bits out that would then not fit back into the machine.

So, we went back to the store. French customer services have not got a good reputation and often will insist that machines are sent back for repair rather than replace. It looked for some while that this is what would happen, leaving us with no printer. Eventually Mrs. Parish managed to convince them to give us a credit note to replace the printer. We returned home with the new printer and managed to get it started up with no paper jams. However, the printer seemed to have a mind of its own and set itself up as a network and refused to talk to our livebox and computers! I was expecting a disembodied voice to say “I can’t let you do that Dave”. After the computer Hal in the film 2001.

Mrs. Parish was in no mood to be beaten by a printer and locked herself away with the various bits of equipment. When she emerged there was only one winner and all the IT stuff is now behaving itself!

Work continues apace on our new roof. Once the weather improved Mark and his team soon got to work replacing the slates on the roof. One of the interesting things about having workmen on your roof is that when you go upstairs you can overhear their conversations. One day I was somewhat surprised to overhear Mark and his colleague also called Mark having a conversation about Gustav Klimt and Hieronymus Bosch. I know I shouldn’t make judgements but you don’t normally associate roofers with high art.

Mark asserts the importance of Klimt's contribution to the symbolist movement!

I mentioned this to Mark’s wife Jacqui and she reckoned that her Mark probably thought the conversation was about power tools! A little unkind but they were definitely talking about art and the two artists referred to. I think this must be the influence of France where of course everyone is an art expert!

Things are coming together all around our grounds. The roof is near to completion and we have guests coming into the gite on Saturday. The ants have been hard at work rebuilding ant city just up the path from the old nest. I have been down there today and have restored the signage to allow the full effect of the ant experience to be available to our visitors. We have made anew sign to advertise the attraction and I managed to move the plastic giant ants to the new site. I have also tidied up the surrounding grass and brambles so that the ants can be seen in all their activities.

New Ant City getting ready for the summer season

The World Cup has kicked off and on Saturday we assembled with friends at local bar in Oisseau to watch the French play in their first game against Australia. Being in France we had to watch football with food and we enjoyed saucisse et frites with some beer. There was a great atmosphere and everyone was wearing the blue of French colours and we started with a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise. The crowd were suitably noisy when the French scored a penalty. This was followed by depression as Australia equalised. Eventually the French scored the winner and everyone was happy in the bar. My friend Ian and I decided we should also celebrate with a rather large cognac.

Allez les bleus

It is now Monday evening and I am waiting to watch England play their first match, hopefully they will play well and win their first game. Anyway, we now have another three weeks of football and more eating, drinking and watching France. We are back to the bar on Thursday for the next French game.

Time to get properly prepared for the game with some wine to drink and some snacks to get me through the game. Come on England and on Thursday allez les bleus!

Bon jeu


Normality returns; Christabel passes on; orages strike and our IT is down; we have owl and roof news and the Parishs have voted.

June 12, 2018
After the excitement of a guest blogger the La Godefrere blog returns to normal this week. Or at least what passes for normality here. Anyway, first, a big thank you to Jacqui for looking after our animals and minding the house and grounds while Mrs. Parish and I went on holiday. And also, a big thank you for writing last week’s blog, a gripping tale of life’s struggle in rural France, with cat and hen dramas. And of course, the evidence that by the end of the week Jacqui was so overwhelm...

Continue reading...

The Guest Blog, written by our official artist in residence, Jacqui Jessop (with bonus photos) : La Godefrère – 26th May to 2nd June 2018

June 4, 2018
Due to the absence of Mr and Mrs Parish, who have been taking a well-deserved break on the West coast of Brittany, I have been given the almighty but welcome responsibility of writing this week’s blog. I have been staying in the gîte at La Godefrère for a week – for free! – in exchange for looking after the cats and chickens. 

I have known the Parishes for a number of years, living as we do only 10 km or so away, in rural France. Initially, I met Graham and Kate when they became studen...

Continue reading...

RIP Emmeline; is there a rose wine shortage; there is a sandwich incident; we go on holiday and get in a resident artist and karma is established

May 29, 2018
I'm on holiday this week and sadly the wifi in our gite runs very slowly so I can't upload photos. You can however see the pictures on my facebook page "La Godefrere". Sorry!

It has been a sad week here at La Godefrere as we mourn the loss of one of our hens. Poor Emmeline the most bolshie of our three suffragette hens has gone to the great hen house in the sky. She had been ill for the past week, off her food and tottering around the garden and for lengthy periods just sitting and doing nothi...

Continue reading...

We meet goblins and fairies at Mortain; Oz comes to stay; we establish an animal hospital and make hay while the sun shines.

May 21, 2018
Our friends Sandy and Kathy have returned to England after a week with us. As I reported last week we have a tradition of tidying up half empty whisky bottles (whisky bottles are always half empty and never half full!). We had a good week of tidying and the week was full of sunny weather so we managed to get out and do some sight-seeing. For the first time we visited the town of Mortain in Normandy, about half an hour away from us.

Sandy and Kathy with Mrs, Parish in our garden

We had been attr...

Continue reading...

Whisky is tidied; the Ants have been found; more sheep but less wool; we go al fresco and the hens stop laying

May 15, 2018

Our friends Sandy and Kathy have arrived and so there is much eating and drinking going on and a certain amount of disruption to the strict timescales we work to here at La Godefrere. Sandy has been a leading light in efforts to tidy up my whisky, while bringing in full bottles to be prepared for future tidying. It is important to maintain a balance and cyclical approach or run the risk of running out of whisky. So far, we have managed to tidy up 3 bottles which have now to be smuggled out to...

Continue reading...

Sunny days arrive but the Ice Saints cometh; Ant exodus; the Buzzard has landed; May Day 50 years on;

May 7, 2018

What a week! After a cold and wet week sunny days and soaring temperatures have arrived. La Godefrere is looking lovely as all the trees are coming out and the flowers are looking very colourful. It has been so warm that we have reverted to shorts and have been eating and drinking outside on the terrace. Being outside and enjoying a drink in the evening sun at 8pm is a delight.

But, the ice saints are coming this weekend!  In France les Saints de Glace have a special status. St Pancras, perhap...

Continue reading...

We have another lamb feast; my hat blows into the bull’s field; the boys are back in town; we have a field of gold and La Marseillaise has a birthday

April 30, 2018
We have had two solid days of rain here at La Godefrere and it has gone cold. So cold we have had to light the fire. One good thing is having plenty of time to write up the blog. Our visitors arrived on Friday. My son and daughter-in-law, Ian and Emma together with friends Luke and Liam arrived on Friday and were forced to endure the traditional lamb feast. From the leg of lamb that was raised in our paddock last year. So, we stuffed them full of roast lamb with new potatoes, French beans and...

Continue reading...

There is a near catastrophe; we have a “mechant taureau”; I tell Daniel my French joke; and we discover a chicken on the roof!

April 23, 2018

It has been a fantastic week of lovely clear skies, full on sunshine and really warm temperatures. It has almost been like summer. We were worried that only one swallow had been seen so it could not be summer properly. But by the end of the week two more swallows had arrived. Anyway, we were even able to get our shorts on (for me never before May but it was so hot it had to be done).

We were able to sit out in the garden, although it got so hot we had to find some shade. The good weather meant...

Continue reading...

More signs of Spring as we hear the Hoopoe; lambs arrive in our paddock; the garden furniture is oiled and we win a giant TV!

April 16, 2018
I was beginning to worry about this week’s blog. No technological problems but we were invited round to Giselle and Daniel’s house for a coffee. Being invited for a coffee by the French can be a bit of a lottery as you cannot be sure what you will get. It is also an invitation that cannot be refused unless there is a death in the family! Anyway, we duly arrived to be welcomed with kisses as usual and then the wine glasses appeared, so not a quick coffee!

A bottle of a sweet white wine appe...

Continue reading...

About Me

Graham Parish Graham Parish is a former UNISON Trade Union official who retired to France with Kate (a previous self employed gardener and now resident gardener here) to start a new life of wine, cheese, french bread and a vegetable garden on a large rural french farm with holiday gite, and associated animals.


blog comments powered by Disqus