Just when we thought that we were settling into some sort of routine and normality, madness has descended upon us. We were just sitting around and thinking about poor old Trigger who still has not returned and whether we should find another cat as a friend for Archie. How this idea for finding a cat was transformed into let’s get these two kittens who have just been rescued and the family who found them are desperate to rehome them. Those who know Mrs Parish will be aware that she is quite strong willed and when set upon a course of action woe betide anyone who stands in the way. So when she said I’ve just found this advert on the local AngloInfo website, shall I contact them, all became blurred and within 24 hours we were off to nearby Lassay to pick them up.


They are a brother and sister combo who were abandoned in a storm drain near to the school and are only 10 weeks old. They had obviously been looked after and left where someone would find them.  Anyone familiar with 10 week old kittens will appreciate the sheer chaos that is now our house, with two kittens moving between constant action and falling asleep usually in ways which pin you to the sofa. I was not quite prepared for how lively, inquisitive and fast kittens can be. For those of you familiar with the Cat in the Hat stories it’s like having Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the house. This is where the cardboard box and dried walnuts come in. It’s amazing how much fun kittens can have leaping in and out of boxes and chasing walnuts around the room. We now have at least 4 stuck under the TV stand

The idea behind this was to find a friend for Archie our existing cat who is about 7 years old. He has been quite bemused by the whirring balls of fur that have been running riot about him. He started off by trying to keep out of their way. I did explain to Archie that he was now promoted to Senior Boy and had a responsibility for setting a good example to the kittens. I thought this would be a good opportunity for character building. I’m not sure that Archie has quite grasped the concept as so far he seems to be passing on his bad habits, jumping onto the table or worktop to try to steal leftovers, sleeping in the beds getting into cupboards. He has also tried to join in the games and as he loves a cardboard box he gets himself in the box with two kittens leaping on it from outside. Archie is such a great lump of a cat that he makes the tiny kittens look even smaller. But he is very tolerant even when they try to pinch his dinner.

Our aim ultimately is for the kittens to become outside cats when they get bigger and join Archie outside. This may be a problem as Archie is constantly trying to tell us that there has been a terrible mistake and that he really is an inside cat mistakenly labelled as an outside one. He may be trying to enlist the support of the kittens! Anyway if you want to see the kittens and how cute they are just look on the “les animaux” bit of the website. Sod’s law will now operate and Trigger will probably return!


The arrival of the kittens has somewhat taken over our lives and the war against the moles has taken a bit of a backseat. I keep saying to Mrs Parish that we are losing the initiative created by Etienne the Moleslayer’s visit last week. The mole trap we set has not been successful but more molehills have appeared. A new offensive is clearly needed so we have purchased some more mole traps and are now set upon a course of total war against the moles. Map charts of the garden are being created so we can track the mole positions and plan our attack. I may even have to make flags so we can pin them onto the maps, maybe even different coloured ones showing molehills; mole traps etc.


Last week I reported that we had sent off all the required paperwork to the Prefect’s office in Laval to get our papers for the car so we can be registered in France and get French plates. We confidently awaited a response and on Wednesday a letter from the Prefect duly arrived. Unfortunately we had not taken into account the full measure of French bureaucracy. We had supplied all the required paperwork but they decided that we needed a certificate that showed that VAT was not due to be paid in France for the car. In order to get such a certificate we had to send all our paperwork to the Department of Public Finance. At least with this they don’t require a fee!! I suspect they will devise some further form of torture for us.


The French seem to be attempting to outdo the rest of Europe when it comes to Christmas tat. We discovered a store called Gifi which has the most amazing Christmas tat, including opportunities to create a crib scene and most of Bethlehem together with an amazing range of animals and people (many of whom seem to have modern dress). There are singing penguins, Pere Noel and sexy Mere Noel outfits as well as plastic Pere Noels on rope ladders. Terrific stuff. We went to a market at St Hilaire (about 40 minutes away) and they had pere noels who were horseback on reindeers which moved and jumped about and one that climbed up and down a rope to the sound of dreadful Christmas music. The most bizarre so far was at the Christmas market in Mayenne where they were setting up a woolly mammoth and putting white cloth around to create a snow scene. Turns out they were selling stuff made from fossils. The worse thing is that all the stores and markets have dreadful Christmas music that is all English!! What have we done, destroyed hundreds of years of French culture!

The St Hilaire market is however really good with about 10 stalls selling fruit and vegetables of superb quality as well as cheese stalls and those selling meat and other produce. A proper French market and we bought some really nice stuff there.

Bit of a sad day tomorrow as the Sheep lady is coming to take the sheep off to the abattoir. I shall miss my morning encounters with the sheep. Once they stopped trying to confuse me we came to some sort of understanding I thought. While I will miss them, I am looking forward to receipt of a rather nice leg of lamb as my fee for looking after them! Life has its compensations (although obviously not for the sheep!).


The lull that descended while the kittens were asleep has now ended and they seem intent on coming over to help me with my work on the computer. So it’s probably time to go and pour myself a nice glass of wine. The big advantage of madness in France is that the wine remedy is not only top quality but also very cheap!

A bientot