The problem with films and their unending sequels is that you end up repeating the same plot. It is much the same here as I have just completed my 3rd week all alone and I am beginning to run out of recipes for my evening meals and have started to repeat some of the meals. Mind you 5 years ago before I retired I would have survived (or starved) on ready prepared meals from the freezer. So I am quite pleased with myself that every evening I have actually cooked a meal and managed of course to open a bottle of wine. So I feel properly French dining and drinking with a dash of style.

I am even well organised as far as domestic chores are concerned, although it is probably best not to let Mrs. Parish know. My list system is working a treat and the washing is all done, the ironing is all done and the house is clean and tidy. I have even managed to pack my suitcase ready for my journey to Britain tomorrow, in time for my father in law’s funeral on Tuesday. I do need to be well organised as the ferry leaves Ouistreham at 0830 and I have to be there at least 45 minutes before sailing time. This means I will have to leave the house at 5am!!!!!! I have been testing out the alarm to ensure that it wakes me up. I also have the car packed, with it seems rather a lot of wine for the family (most it would appear is for Pete and Liz, my brother in law and his wife). The car is close to the house so hopefully I can make my getaway before the cats notice and demand some food. 5am is not a time they would expect to get food but that would not stop them trying!

It will be strange being back in England as in the 26 months we have been here I have only been back for my daughter’s graduation and then only for a few days. I will I hope get a chance to meet up with the good friends I used to work with before we return to France next Saturday.

With all the domestic tasks I have had to keep a firm eye on the weather and I have to say that the French meteorological service “Meteo” is pretty amazing. The Meteo website allows you to put in your own commune and to get a 4 day forecast and even a long range forecast for the next week. You can even ask whether it is going to rain within the next hour. So you can imagine that before I put the washing out I always check with the meteo even if there is full on sunshine. They are pretty accurate but as with all weather forecasts not infallible. The first time I had been reassured by the meteo that it would not rain in the following hour I duly ignored the large black cloud that was headed for us. Meteo says no, to rain I thought. Even when the first drops of rain started to fall, I ignored them thinking it would not rain properly. Then the very large black cloud deposited a great quantity of rain on my washing!! So a lesson well learnt is to be guided by the meteo but not to ignore very large black clouds.

It is just as well that the meteo is on line as trying to understand French TV weather women is almost impossible. They speak incredibly fast but then they cover the weather in the whole of France and Corsica and the other French islands in the sun in about 2 minutes. In effect all you can do is try to fathom out the graphics to get an idea of the weather. The other thing about the French weather women is how incredibly smartly dressed they are. It is almost as if they are off out to some chic restaurant or party and therefore have to get the weather done as quickly as possible.

The same is true of the French newsreaders. Although in the week they are always sat behind a desk so you can’t see what they wear over their legs. The woman on France 1 (sort of equivalent to the BBC) is called Chantal and is very smartly dressed and she also does the news at the weekend and after the serious news there is a sort of magazine programme and then she comes out from behind the desk and leans against it to introduce the magazine bit. She is always wearing trousers at this point. Of course the question is does she wear trousers to indicate the fact that the weekend is more relaxed and informal or does she always wear trousers but we never know!

I had a bit of a shock while at the supermarket in the week. I was looking for some wine to take back for Pete and Liz. In our local supermarket, Super U they now have an even bigger wine section so there are lots of wines to look for. The thing about French wine is that around 80% of the shelves are stocked with red wine and rose and white makes up the rest. Very rarely are there any other wines from countries other than France. In our wine store there are always lots of wines from the Loire Valley as this is the nearest wine producing region. French supermarkets are very good at stocking locally sourced products whether it be wine or cider or locally produced foods. So nearly all the sausage and pork products come from the local factory in the town. It is a good thing. Anyway, back to the shock. I was inspecting the white wine shelves and went to select a nice looking label when I realised it was “sans alcool”, alcohol free!! I think Liz would have been very disappointed if I had delivered alcohol free wine from France!!

I have just looked over to the window in our front doors and there is Moggie at the window tapping to come in. It looks as if he is levitating as he is sat at window level. I then realise that I have left the pedal bin outside and he is sat on it! The cats spend a lot of time sat looking in at the window. Doing their impression of the Victorian poor people looking in on the rich landowners. They are working on me to let them in but too early and they spend an hour tormenting me. They come in first thing in the mornings for breakfast and stay in while I try to have my breakfast and as I explained in my last blog we proceed on a game of musical chairs as the cats try to manoeuvre themselves to grab a bit of bread if my guard drops. I have taken to using the cover to keep flies off food to put over the bread. It doesn’t stop them as they can eventually flip it off. It does however slow them down and gives me a chance to remove them before the bread disappears. 

On Tuesday I almost lost the whole table of breakfast as Minou and Archie were fighting under the table and Minou got her claw stuck in the table cloth at the same time as she was getting away from Archie. I looked up to see my breakfast sliding towards oblivion and just grabbed the tablecloth in time.

One of the joys of getting up early is to see the beautiful autumn misty mornings and sunrise. With open farmland all around us it makes for some stunning views. The weather has been really mild this past week with some lovely sunny days and I have even managed amid the domestic chores a few walks round the garden as well as getting out on my bike.

It has been raining but now the sun is out and I must go round and practise my French to let Giselle and Daniel know I will be away next week. Then time to finish the packing and it will I am sure be time for a little aperitif. I don’t think I packed all the wine in the car!

Bon semaine