It’s been a week beset by awful weather. At the beginning of the week we had really cold weather, with freezing rain and a low hanging mist. Since then it has got milder but rain and windy. The freezing rain left a thin layer of ice on the roads. We now discovered a drawback from living in rural France in that the roads don’t get gritted! This left us with a short but scary drive to Ambrieres for our French class. The French are not the best of drivers at the best of times and they make little concession to the road conditions or width! Mrs Parish and I proceeded very carefully in third gear most of the way only to see French cars speeding along as if it were a summer’s day!!


I am discovering how difficult it is to type with only one hand and that the wrong one. As ever as soon as I sit down a kitten appears on my lap. This time it is Minou who is sleeping on my right hand so I am having to type left-handed which is incredibly slow. It also makes it difficult to stretch over to get my wine glass, with a nice aperitif. The kittens are driving me nuts. Last Sunday evening I sat down to watch match of the day 2, to see the Manchester derby. About this time of night the cats are usually active, chasing each other and play fighting. Just as the football was getting underway the kittens came zooming across the lounge, up over the sofa and the disappeared around behind the TV, moments later the picture disappeared as did all signs of life from the TV and the digibox. After swearing rather loudly at the cats (oh bugger, Moggie has just arrived and is now sitting on the keyboard. There will be a short delay in the blog as long as I can get to the save key!) Now back, 30 minutes later! Managed to get to the save key in time but first had to try to correct the change to format that Moggie had somehow input by a judicious paw plonked on the key board. The kittens are now asleep on the sofa giving me a chance to get this finished.


Where was I, oh yes I was swearing at the kittens and after moving the TV out and inspecting the mass of wires  behind discovered that they had stepped on the switch on the gang plug thus turning off all power to the TV and digiboxes etc!! After sorting this found I had missed the first 2 goals!!


This of course leads directly on to the “sausage incident”. Those of you familiar with my likes and dislikes will know that I am partial to a good sausage. Indeed many of my friends worried for me about the availability of good sausages in France. It has turned out that France produces exceptionally good sausages and that this is a good area for sausages, there is even a factory in nearby Gorron that produces “Gorronaise sausages”. Our neighbour Daniel works for them. Also there are some good butchers in Ambrieres who make and sell excellent and rather large sausages ( a good combination I think). Anyway Mrs Parish and I sat down to roasted sausage and vegetables that I had cooked. Exceptionally there was half a sausage left that I could not squeeze in (see large butchers sausage). I left it to cool on the worktop, thinking that might be nice for supper or in a sandwich. What I hadn’t factored in was that Archie had a similar thought and decided to make it his supper!! Archie is the most enormous cat and yet he is able to jump up onto the worktop without making the slightest sound. It’s like something out of Assassins Creed. One minute Archie is sleeping upstairs, the next my sausage has disappeared down his throat without any sound whatsoever.


So Archie is in bad odour at the moment and his status as senior boy has been temporarily suspended until he is able to demonstrate a more responsible approach and ability to set a good example to the kittens. Moggie seems to hero worship Archie and is usually found curled up asleep with him, I’m not so sure that this is a good idea.


In other key news this week, La Godefrere saw its Christmas lights go up and in an exciting opening ceremony, Mrs Parish was invited to turn on the lights, put together in an assembly of branches next to the workshop earlier in the day by Mrs Parish. This week also saw the Christmas decorations go up in the house. All strategically placed to be just out of the reach of the kittens. We also purchased the “Sapin Noel” a Christmas tree although we are in some trepidation about where to put it. The thought of two kittens eating the fairy on top the tree is the stuff of nightmares. I did contemplate the creation of our very own Nativity Scene using animals in or near La Godefrere. I thought one of the kittens could play Jesus, but keeping them in the manger might be a challenge. We have plenty of cows to use and our very own stable, just need to move the unbiblical pool table, although it could remain to make a contemporary statement (no). Unfortunately we are about to eat the remains of the sheep and I can’t remember if there any moles in the nativity. Mrs Parish and I could play the lead roles and swap between Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. Emile and Yvette could play two of the three kings and bring Calvados instead of Myrrh. I think it might work, the lady who runs the bar in Couesmes has a donkey.


Talking of Emile we had a visit earlier in the week with a bottle of “Cidre Doux”, literally sweet cider which is made from the first pressings of the apples we saw last week. It was very nice but the problem with Cidre Doux is that it is still fermenting and was supplied in a plastic bottle with a warning from Yvette that we should open the bottle regularly to let off the gases built up through fermentation. I left this dangerous operation to Mrs Parish and yesterday was sat on the sofa (with the obligatory kittens) when there was a very loud bang from the kitchen end where Mrs Parish had waited too long before opening the bottle and the cap was blown across the room.


The week has been made more interesting by the arrival of Frank, our electrician to fit our new electric oven. This has of course opened the door to “baking” and cakes, mince pies, cheese straws etc. Mrs Parish makes exceedingly good cakes, so good news all round. I may also have to step up to the plate and start making bread again. The oven is also more conducive to a good old English roast dinner and we have just finished off  a rather lovely roti de veaux and I am now typing the blog accompanied by some nice coffee and a rather nice Scottish whisky. The French can make great calvados but there is only one country that can make really good whisky. Have just noticed that my glass is empty, that will never do. Mmmm that’s better. I was just thinking that I can finish the blog before the kittens descend upon me as they were distracted by Mrs Parish’s knitting. Oh no, here they come. It’s uncanny how they can find the keys that turn off wifi or set a new format. It takes me ages to find them.


I think I should stop now before the kittens take over the blog. Who knows where that would end.


A prochaine