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