New year at La Godefrere was given a significant boost yesterday. We had a phone call from a nice lady called Kat who reckoned she had seen our lost cat Trigger. She lives on the other side of Couesmes Vauce about a mile across fields and a road from us. She had seen a tabby cat hunting in the field next to her house and from time to time sleeping in an outhouse behind where she lives. It was not until she went into our local bar “Le Chat Noir” and saw one of the wanted posters we had put up that she realised it was a missing cat and so she phoned us.

We went round there straight away but unfortunately there was no sighting of him. Kat had last seen him before Christmas and she had been back to England so he could have other bolt holes locally. Mrs Parish has been round today to visit other houses in the locality and one other person has seen him so we are fairly sure it must be Trigger. We have left posters with all the houses and hopefully there will be some good news to report next week. It’s a big relief as we were worried about his fate. It seems our optimistic theory about some local floozy is right after all. Trigger does have amazing hunting skills and we would often watch him waiting patiently by a mouse hole in the fields for an hour until he was rewarded and hooked out a mouse, which he usually brought back and then proceeded to crunch up and eat! So he is obviously able to look after himself.

I’m not sure our other cat Archie would be so successful at hunting. Archie’s skill is scrounging or alternatively outright theft (cf the sausage incident). Archie would probably sidle up to a house and convince the occupiers that he was starving and needed feeding. Although his size suggests otherwise. According to Dave and Julie(previous owners) he was an expert at conning guests staying in the gite.

Anyway the search party is out looking for Trigger and hopefully he will be home soon. Although what he will make of the kittens is another thing. Might cause him to leave home again. Poor Archie gets little peace when he is in the house and usually has at least one and sometimes two kittens curled up with him. He does, when no one is looking, get to play with their toys. Unfortunately he does not seem to be a good influence and still has not had restored his senior boy status. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for Trigger who could certainly do a useful job in passing on his hunting skills. The kittens are leaving me alone at the moment as they are having much more fun helping Mrs Parish with her knitting. Gosh, I didn’t know Mrs Parish could use such language!!

Over the last few days we have been letting the kittens go outside, under supervision. Although trying to keep up with mad kittens running all over the place and stopping them going across the lane to Giselles is quite difficult and requires at least a one to one supervision ratio (we had 4 on duty when the girls were here). They are obviously extremely inquisitive and Moggie is just a climber. The first time he was up into our hedge and climbed straight to the top, without thinking about how he was going to get down. Falling through the hedge seemed to be the preferred method. Today he climbed up onto a fence post and then jumped into a tree and proceeded to climb to the top. He then decided to see if he could walk along some very thin branches and was only able to get down when I managed to grab hold of the branch and allow Moggie to walk down my arms and sit on my shoulders! I never thought having kittens was so stressful!!

Christmas was a great success and we enjoyed having my two daughters to stay and of course the full works roast dinner on Christmas day prepared by Mrs Parish. Her roast potatoes are the stuff of legends and Amy is really partial to them and consumed no fewer than 8 roasties. I was worried at one point as I had promised Henny Penny, our chicken, one of the potatoes for a treat. She likes to look in through the front door window when she thinks it’s time for her treats. Of course we had to take great care to not let her see what we were eating. I’m not sure she would have approved of roasting a chicken!! I did manage to save her a potato and some carrots which she enjoyed on boxing day.

I have been umming about that last paragraph and whether it’s needed an apostrophe or not. I decided yes but that brought me to thinking about my French lessons and finding out that while French has its(no apostrophe here) own foibles, the one distinct advantage it has is that there is no such thing as an apostrophe. It does have the annoying feature that all nouns are either male or female and thus have le or la in front. There seems to be no logic as to which is which, it’s (apostrophe, yes) just a question of remembering or mumbling. My French is coming along nicely and it is good to be able to practice it while shopping or when we meet up with Emile and Yvette or the neighbours.

The weather has been a great disappointment and there has been little let up in the rain or the strong winds. In fact so strong was the wind yesterday that it blew down our new washing line. It completely bent the metal tube and resulted in our washing being thrown to the ground and me manically rushing around trying to salvage what I could from the disaster. The washing line is a right off. Today it is dry and windy so we have put up washing lines between the trees in the orchard to dry off the clothes. They are well pegged on to avoid the washing blowing away but it does look a bit bizarre.

We are now looking at New Year’s Eve and what to do. It’s called St. Sylvestre’s eve in France and seems to involve local restaurants having special menus and lots of eating and drinking. Mrs Parish and I are very much of the view that when in France do as the French so we are planning a special meal with the best of our wines. French TV on the evening is clearly much worse that even the English is so will have to do without or watch an old movie on the DVD.

So, then it will be 2013 and a whole new year to look forward to. Hopefully we will have Trigger restored and of course I will have the major task of filling my new wine cellar. This will probably involve lots of “degustation”, visiting wine growers and tasting as well as getting some bargains at the supermarket. We are currently drinking some very nice Bordeaux red which was about 14 euros for 6 bottles!!

A prochaine annee