We are back in France after a visit to England for the wedding party of my son Ian to Emma. We arrived in England a week last Friday and immediately noticed that the weather was rubbish and that there was traffic everywhere. We did however have a great time but missed the quiet and peacefulness of France.

The autumn is now with us and the weather is turning a bit colder. Mrs. Parish and I have been out and about in the garden trying to get everything tidy and sorted for the winter. On returning from our trip to the UK we noticed the fact that it was now a degree or two colder and that we needed to start up the wood burner in the afternoon. This of course immediately resulted in a dispute with the cats who arrived at the window claiming winter terms and conditions which involves increased indoor time. We explained that it was still autumn and that anyway they now had a new fully furnished barn to sleep in. I think this is a dispute that will continue particularly if the weather turns even colder as we get into December.

The garden is looking really nice and we can see the effect of the new tractor mower on the grass which is looking very green and tidy. The leaves have mostly fallen but some of the flowers are still blooming. We are in the process of closing down the gardens and hoping everything will stop growing now.

Autumn at La Godefrere

The boars have invaded the big field and it looks a bit like the Somme where they have come into our hay field and dug great big pits to get at the roots of plants.  We have not yet seen any boars but we can see where they have come in from the plantation, across the stream and up into our field. I can only conclude that they have formed an aggressive alliance with the moles. We have seen that up until now the moles have stayed in the big field but now under cover of the boar offensive they have made a flanking attack up the lane towards the orchard.

Our forward lookout point at the ant’s nest down in the corner of the big field has suffered from the attack and it seems clear that a boar has come through the brambles and walked across the nest causing collateral damage. The ants have disappeared into the nest and are basically saying that it is my problem and could I sort it out by the spring.

We are in a bit of a dilemma and it may be that the only answer is to call in the local hunt to chase the boars away from the plantation and to relocate to another area. This will require a visit to the mayor on Monday.

Mind you the mayor, Madame Baglin owes us a favour. A few weeks ago we were invited to the annual dinner of the “Cheveux blancs”. The “white hairs” is the name for the elderly of the local Commune and each year the local Council lay on a meal for the old folks. Madame Baglin was keen to invite us and our friends, John and Sandra to the meal which was to be held at the local village hall. We had been given our tickets and were all ready when one day last week the mayor came knocking on our door at just after 9am in the morning and was extremely sorry to tell us that we could not go to the lunch, she was very apologetic and it turned out that in order to go to the meal one of us had to be 65. We were too young!! We can go next year as I will be 65 in March. 

So Mrs.Parish and I are rejoicing in our new state of youthfulness, It did of course release us to be able to go to the repas at Brece with Emile and Yvette. This is run by the Fete Committee and is a meal at lunchtime but accompanied by an “après midi recreatif”, an afternoon of entertainment. So today we have been at Brece and enjoyed the meal. In typical French style we were served with an aperitif of a Kir (white wine with crème de cassis) followed by the meal which was ham cooked in cider. We bought some red wine to go with the meal but after had cheese and apple tart followed by coffee and of course the served calvados with the coffee. Homemade calvados of course.

Brece zombie line dancing

The entertainment was provided by a man playing an accordion and singing. This was the sign for lots of dancing. The French village affairs seem to involve lots of dancing usually including bits of spinning around and for some reason lots of line dancing. I have remarked upon this before and the line dancing is a very serious affair and appears like a load of zombies dancing.

One of the nice bits of village commune entertainment is that there is a tremendously friendly atmosphere and all through the lunch and entertainment there would be local people who would come up to our table and say hello. This of course accompanied by handshakes and kisses on the cheek. Most of the time I had no idea who they were, but they were very pleased to meet us.

After the meal we of course had to go back to Emile and Yvette’s for a further coffee and this includes another calvados. Fortunately Mrs. Parish is today’s designated driver so I was able to indulge. I am now writing up the blog in a bit of an alcohol fuelled haze. So if the blog is a little disjointed, I hope you will forgive me. The cats were a bit annoyed as we were an hour late back for their tea.

Mrs. Parish and I are just beginning to get back into the routine after our break in England and the evening party for our son Ian and our new daughter in law Emma. We had a great party in Ilchester in Somerset and had a reunion with all the lovely hens who came over to us with Emma in September. They of course gave us a rendition of “They built Ant City on rock and roll” in tribute to our ant nest. It was a lovely evening and good to see them all again.

Now autumn is here we have started up the wood burner and this evening fuelled by a lovely day we are curled up in front of the wood burner. The cats are sat like poor peasants at the window. But all is well at La Godefrere.

It has been a difficult time here in France after the horrors of Friday night in Paris. However one thing that comes through is the French determination to maintain their belief in humanity and to maintain their way of life despite the threats. The repas this afternoon, in a small village in rural France, went ahead as we all got together in friendship and solidarity to carry on and not give in to terrorism.

Vive la France