It is Easter and we have a full house and gite, so this will be a shorter than usual blog. My daughter and her partner Nicky are here staying at the house for the weekend. In the gite we have my son Ian and his fiancée Emma together with their two friends Dave and Sarah and in addition of course is Tommo the three legged dog. They are staying for 10 days. Emma and Sarah are both mental health nurses and so of course are totally mad themselves. Ian and Dave being in relations with mental nurses have also been certified mad! So we are having a weekend which involves much eating and drinking, mayhem and general merriment.

I have just taken one car boot full of recycling to the local green bins in the village. I went on Sunday morning on the basis that other than going under cover of darkness this was the best time to go and avoid meeting anyone who might know me! There were rather a lot of wine and beer .bottles. There is now in the afternoon a bit of a lull and all the young people seem to be quietly resting and building up for the Mrs. Parish roast dinner extravaganza this evening. A roast turkey for Easter with loads of roast potatoes, veg etc. Of course this will require a visit to the wine cave to select appropriate drinks for the evening. Followed by the sampling of various whiskies and of course some of Emile’s Calvados. We will I think forego the French tradition of having tripe for breakfast after a heavy night of celebrating!

Dave has brought with him his bow and arrows and has set up an archery range in the garden. Of course this gives me the idea that we should attempt to recreate the battle of Agincourt which was the Henry V, “once more into the breach dear friends” defeat of the French in 1415. Having our own long bowman to fire arrows into an advancing French cavalry seemed like an interesting experiment. We tried to persuade Loic’s cows to fulfil the role of the French cavalry but they seemed reluctant to charge headlong into a hail of arrows. So in the end we did not get very far and had to revert to being Robin Hood or Robin des bois as he is known in France.

Dave the yeoman of England

We try to persuade the cows to play the French cavalry

It has been good to get the cows back in the field next to us. Loic has been cutting down trees for firewood and has had the cows confined to the next field over from us. This has meant that until this weekend I have not had cows over the fence to talk to. They have now returned and so we have had quite a bit to catch up with. My latest discovery of the colony of ants does not really produce any prospect of a conversation. Ants are always so busy and never have time to stop and chat. 

The sheep are still entertaining. On Wednesday Patrick came over to worm the lambs. First of course we had to catch them. Patrick came with his trailer and his tactics were to capture the mums and thus the lambs would then follow them on to the trailer. Easier said than done and this involved much chasing sheep round the field, shouting at them, trying to behave like sheep dogs. In the end bribery worked. Patrick gave them some food and them tied a rope around the ewes and dragged them to the trailer. This produced much merriment as the ewes decided to sit down and not move. Eventually we got all eight sheep into the trailer. Patrick then had to catch each lamb and weigh them. He had brought some bathroom scales and weighed himself with each lamb. He then decided on the amount of worming solution needed.  Sheep are not so bright and when we dropped the back of the trailer the sheep did not want to get out, so needed some persuading. 

It is not sundown now until after 9pm. The cats have their supper at 9 and so as it is still light I have been going out for a wander around the orchard. The bats are just coming out and quite often there is a fox crossing Loic’s field and also from time to time a couple of hares. Of course the cats all decide that following me around the orchard at dusk is great fun. They can chase around the orchard, climb trees and jump into the long grass. So I walk around the orchard with three cats in tow. On Tuesday I was coming back up our lane and noticed our neighbour Peter out in his garden in his slippers. I inquired what he was doing and he said he was doing his regular mole patrol to check for mole activity. I had to comment that we were not maybe the best advert for Britain. On one side of the fence one crazy Englishman taking his cats for a walk and on the other side another mad Englishman looking for moles in his slippers in the dark!!

As for moles in our orchard, they seem to be keeping away since Mrs. Parish’s punitive mission followed up with my heavy artillery support with my tractor and singing.  There have been no sightings of mole activity for the past month.

The cats have arrived and are demanding food. Children are arriving and demanding alcohol so I’m afraid domestic duties are calling me away and the blog will  be slightly shorter than usual. 

Bon appétit