I left you last week with several cliff hanging stories and I am sure that all week you have been waiting to find out what happens next!!

Well the sad story is that we have had no sign nor information about our missing cat, Trigger. We have checked all our outbuildings, talked to neighbours and put adverts in the local bar and internet. But no news. We are holding to the belief that he has gone off and is having the time of his life some where local, probably with some local floosy cat and will come home when he is worn out and hungry enough. Archie is enjoying being the centre of attention and getting extra food, sofa time and attention. He does however seem slightly disorientated and is obviously missing his mate.

No problem in resolving the outcome for the French national football and rugby teams. The football team beat Italy on Wednesday and "Les Bleues" beat Argentina last night. What is great is that in France the national team is shown on terrestorial TV, no sell out to the Murdochs of the world. The other great thing about the internationals is the french national anthem, Les Marsellaise must be one of the great stirring anthems and so much better than the UK dirge of fawningness to the monarchy. The french sing of the nation arising to fight against tyranny. The chorus is "To arms citizens, form your battalions, march, march and let impure blood water our fields". Great stuff and just the sort of anthem to sing before sending Mrs Parish into battle with the moles. Mrs Parish armed with rose twigs marched bravely off to the front so that the war could be over before Christmas. It looks as if the bold mole advance across our orchard has been thwarted by a determined counter offensive. I think the mole offensive was based upon the battle of the bulge in WWII, through the ardennes. Of course allied air power was decisive then as now and we could track them from above.

General Mr Parish has been hard at work at strategic HQ planning the next phase of the war. Strategic HQ (our living room) has been enhanced by the lighting of the wood burner this week. We now have a living room warm as toast as befits the war room, the war room also benefits from having ready access to the Calvados. You don't know how hard it is all this thinking. I am still doing a cost benefit analysis on the use of sonic weapons.

The starling has not yet met the sparrowhawk, sadly. It is still sat on the telephone wire going through its medley of bird of prey noises. The cows have been in regular communication with me all week. We frequently meet across the electric fence and exchange pleasantries. Several of the cattle have "panda faces" with brown splodges over each eye. I am geeting used to the cows and they are becoming more than just numbers. They have their own distinctive colours and personalities. Its such a shame that I have not a clue what they are talking about! However when they see me at the fence they come over and crowd round pushing each other to get to the front.

While I am on the subject of animal personalities, I must mention Henny Penny our aged chicken. She is very prim and proper and struts around our grounds during the day, taking herself off to bed before dusk. She is locked in at night and gets very grumpy if I am late to open up to let her out in the morning. She squalks and jumps out of the hen house and looks very displeased. During the afternoon she comes up to our front window to make sure she gets her treats, she likes pasta, mashed potato and tomatoes. On one occasion we forgot her treat and Mrs Parish decided to take some potato into the hen house, when Henny had "gone to bed". The look she got from Henny was extremely disdainful and clearly conveyed that Henny did not eat in the henhouse!! So we are put firmly in our place by the chicken.

Big week this week as we now have all our documents in place to get our french number plates. We at last have french headlights and passed the Control Technique and tomorow we go off the the Under Prefecture at Mayenne to persuade the french bureaucracy that we have all the right documents!! We approach this with some trepidation.

Also looking forward this week to the visit of my work colleague Alan. Alan lives in cider country in Somerset so we have challenged Emile to a Calvados versus Cider brandy drink off next Friday. Al is confident his cider brandy can take on the farm calvados. Should be a great contest. On Friday we visited Emile and Yvette for some "Chateigne" roasted chestnuts. we arrived at Emile's to watch the roatsing using the largest roasting poan I have ever seen over an open fire. The eventual chestnuts were black but once "unwrapped" the result was very good. Of course it helped to be accompanied with freshly produce "cider doux" (sweet cider) and the ineveitable calvados with your coffeee. I have leaned that it is best not to drink too much coffee as Emile will fill up the cup with calvados!! We got home through the fog to fall asleep on the sofa.

So its a hard life here in France, but Mrs Parish and I are determined to struggle on and cope with all the challenges that face us. Any way we will be stirred by the marsellaise and continue to report back on a Sunday night and keep the nail biting excitement at fever pitch from week to week!!

Bon soir