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.

A day out; masking tape mishaps; talking to animals is smart; the moles go too far; shooting stars and falling apples – so it begins

August 15, 2018

I’m sorry but the blog is a bit delayed this week. There is always something to do here at the moment and we have been busy getting hot, clearing up the gite, decorating, ironing and grass cutting. Often when I get to sit in front of the computer I am so tired I tend to fall asleep. Probably the wine has something to do with it! It is tough here in rural France!

Today it has been a public holiday and we have spent the day at the nearby village of St. Fraimbault where they have an annual fair with of course a full on repas as well as demonstrations of rural work through the ages. They also have vintage cars and loads of craft stalls. It is a really good day out.

The meal is an incredible affair with catering for at least 500 people during the day and more into the evening. There was a huge queue and a menu with choices for starter of tomatoes or melon. The main course was either sausage, pork chop or lamb served with chips. There was cheese to follow and dessert of fruit, yoghurt, rice or chocolate or vanilla blancmange and then coffee. The logistics were quite impressive with a queuing system with a plastic tray to carry everything before paying at one of a number of tills. There was seating provided under cover in large marquees.

The menu for the repas at St. Fraimbaullt

The food was all cooked on site by a legion of volunteers with numerous barbecues. There was lots of smoke but the food was all cooked well and tasted very good. Of course, washed down with some very nice red wine.

A good meal and a good day out. This has resulted in me not having to work today and so I can concentrate on getting the blog completed.

The queue and barbecue smoke!

I mentioned last week that we were decorating the stairs and landing and had some problems with the masking tape curling up and falling off in the heat. This was very annoying and created extra work. Our second attempt at masking also ran into problems as despite it getting cooler we still had a few loose ends on the tape. This would have been OK as we could have easily restuck the ends. But a young cat intervened. Petit decided that it would be fun to grab the loose ends with his claws and pull the tape off the wall.

Petit attacking the TV instead of the masking tape!

We managed to distract him from this game and the tape eventually stayed in position for the duration of the painting. When we came to take off the masking tape, it was so well stuck on it resisted our attempts to remove it. It kept tearing and leaving little bits behind. The newly painted walls and stairs do look very nice, so it was worth the effort.

We discovered this week that talking to your pets and other animals is not a sign of madness. In fact, research done at the University of Chicago suggests that talking to animals is a sign of intelligence
It's known as anthropomorphizing, which means giving human minds and names to non-humans, including objects. According to Nicholas Epley, behavioural science professor at the University of Chicago, historically, anthropomorphizing has been treated as a sign of childishness or stupidity, but it's actually a natural by-product of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet. No other species has this tendency. So, you are not a crazy cat lady, after all!

I have regular conversations with the cats, although this is more in the way of negotiations surrounding the allocation and timing of food as well as the allowance for sofa time indoors. I also talk to the cattle next door and we have quite sophisticated discussions. However, I do tend to keep them in place by not allocating names to them but using their allocated numbers. At the fair today I had quite a nice chat with some very young calves. 

Who could fail to talk to these cute calves

The sheep are a bit more reluctant to get into a debate and so talking to them can be a bit one-sided. But, I keep trying. I find there is little point in talking to the moles as they don’t even listen so I am reduced to singing at them. Now I know of the research I think I will use the word anthropomorphising more often and thankfully it is the same word in French.

In fact, following the premise of this research, I talk to so many animals that I must be very smart!

While mentioning the moles, you should know that they are in deep trouble. Last week their incursions took them into Mrs. Parish’s potager and we had mole hills amongst the tomatoes and in the French beans. Mrs. Parish is not happy and that is not good. The moles may be in for a severe act of retaliation. One thing is for certain – it won’t be pretty. An angry Mrs. Parish is a force to be reckoned with and they may well prefer my signing to her wrath!

It was a calmer Mrs. Parish who sat out with me to watch the night sky on Sunday. There is little light pollution here in rural France and on clear nights we get a magnificent view of the night sky. We are now at the time of year when we can see shooting stars. The meteors are called Perseids because they appear from the Perseus constellation. They can reach speeds of up to 132,000 miles an hour and show up as a white streak across the dark sky. 

We were able to use our sun loungers to lie back and watch the sky. We managed to see a few shooting stars before the sky clouded over. Of course, sitting out in the garden in the dark was a great game for the cats who came out and jumped all over us.

After spending Sunday night looking up I sadly had to cast my eye downward on Monday before cutting the grass to notice that the apples had started to fall from the trees in the orchard. I now face a regular back breaking task of picking them all up as they keep falling for the next 6 weeks or so, until we can properly harvest the apples for cider. It is at this time of year that I curse Sir Isaac Newton and blame him for gravity!

And now I have managed to finish the blog for this week. Mrs. Parish and I are away on holiday next week. We are visiting the bay of the Somme river and taking in some bird watching as well as visiting the First World War battlefields. There will not be a blog next week but I am sure there will be plenty to report back on the following week. To celebrate completing the blog, I think a little drink is required and I can also drink to the public holiday which is for Assumption a key date in the Catholic calendar. They go to church while I get a day off and a few drinks. We are all winners I think! It turns out the 15th August is also Independence Day in India, so I will drink to them as well.

Bonnes fetes


Il fait chaud; marauding moles and Monsieur l'homme au tambourin; harvest time for the wheat

August 7, 2018

Il fait chaud. It is hot, very hot. After a week of baking sunshine today it is cloudy but hot and muggy. We are sat waiting for a predicted thunder storm with high winds and hail stones. Hopefully this storm, if it arrives, will break the weather and we will get some desperately needed rain. The garden is parched and the grass has turned brown. 

The one good thing is that the grass is not growing and so I don’t need to cut it. What a difference from April when the grass was lush green but n...

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Welsh wizard in Tour de France triumph; I encounter Korky the killer cockatoo; crazy cats chill out

July 31, 2018

The Tour de France came to an end in Paris yesterday with the traditional finish at the Arc de Triumphe. Three weeks of hard racing concluded with a great victory for Welshman Geraint Thomas. The only thing for the French to cheer about was that Alaphillipe won the King of the Mountain polka dot jersey. During the race points are awarded on mountain stages for the rider who reaches certain check points first. Frenchman Alaphillipe was the highest scorer and thus won the jersey.

So, the Tour is...

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A riverside stroll to lunch, Alan and Debi go home; it gets really hot and we move on to Le Tour de France

July 24, 2018
So, last week we left you with a trip to la Marjolaine in prospect. On a lovely sunny day, we parked and walked alongside the river Mayenne to lunch at La Marjolaine. It is a lovely walk along the river with trees and green fields across the river and on the path side a series of steep hills up from the path. Quiet and peaceful, just enough to hone the appetite. We were able to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the sun. The food was as ever fantastic and I was pleased to see that sea bass,...

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We go mob handed to the bar and watch France win the World Cup, with alcohol and a little helping hand!

July 18, 2018
This week there has been further disruption to the smooth writing of the blog, from the World cup. On Tuesday we were all set up to watch England play their semi-final and earn the chance to play France is the final. Sadly, it was not to be and England lost to Croatia 2-1 after extra-time. After our disappointment had worn off a little we came to realise that it may have been a good thing. Having spent the past month in the bar at Oisseau supporting the French and getting in with the French s...

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Lazy, hazy days of summer; Football World Cup; the Marquis de Sade and road signs; cats ín charge!

July 11, 2018
These are lazy, hazy days of summer. Mix this with the World Cup and now the start of the Tour de France cycling and any sort of routine or scheduling has gone out of the window and melted. It is now Tuesday and I am just starting the blog. Usually, it would be published by now. But this is France and things happen in their own time. The relaxed French approach suits me fine and the blog will get completed but I’m not sure when. 
After a long day in the sun working in the garden, I am now d...

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The sorry tale of Mother-in-law’s foot; Allez les bleus, speed limits and the strimmer man arrives

July 3, 2018
Sorry for the delay with the blog. Mother in law and football problems intervened!!

It is Tuesday evening and I am enjoying the peace and calm that has at last descended on La Godefrere. Mother-in-law has left the building and is on the road to the ferry port for her return home to Exeter. She has been here for a week although it seems a lot longer and Mrs. Parish is bearing the burden of driving her home and staying for a few days.

My mother-in-law (MiL) is 87 and enjoys her visits here in Fra...

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A new roof; I’m in charge; the problem with plants – the under-gardener’s tale; we go native for football and Petit’s big question

June 25, 2018

A big week here at La Godefrere and we have a new roof. Mark and his gang of symbolist roofers completed the job and put the final slates with artistic skill into position on Wednesday. It looks very nice now we should not suffer the problem of slates becoming dislodged. Now the scaffolding is all down we can get back to some sort of normality. Although we will miss our roofers’ artistic debates and Archie will miss his sandwich van.

The new look La Godefrere

The second big factor is that Mrs...

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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 spi...

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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...

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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.


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