I was beginning to worry about this week’s blog. No technological problems but we were invited round to Giselle and Daniel’s house for a coffee. Being invited for a coffee by the French can be a bit of a lottery as you cannot be sure what you will get. It is also an invitation that cannot be refused unless there is a death in the family! Anyway, we duly arrived to be welcomed with kisses as usual and then the wine glasses appeared, so not a quick coffee!

A bottle of a sweet white wine appeared at the same time as a large apple tart, cut into very big slices. Just having had dinner is not a reason to refuse a slice of tart. So, we had wine (a couple of large glasses) with the tart which had been home made by Giselle using her own apples. It was very nice. After this coffee did arrive but in France coffee seldom comes alone and a bottle of Calva appeared on the table and was duly poured in with the coffee.

We went for a coffee at 2pm and left at 4pm having spent 2 hours in conversation, eating and drinking. A good French après midi although we did manage to escape before Daniel got out his home-made liquors as that would have finished me off and delayed the writing of the blog.

Here at La Godefrere Spring is now arriving at a pace. Last week we had the first swallow arrive, but still only one so not a summer yet! Today we heard the hoopoe for the first time this year. Its distinctive call of oop-oop-oop came from the direction of Giselle’s garden and then from across the fields where the cows are. In previous years the hoopoes have arrived at about the same time only to be met by a change in the weather which has turned cold and wet. This year it looks like it will stay clear and sunny at least for the next week.

Last year it turned cold and we never saw the hoopoes again as they obviously took fright and moved further south. They did nest here about 3 years ago and we are hoping that with the warmer weather they will stick around. When they nested previously we had good views of them all summer which was lovely.

The blue tit is still coming to the window to catch little flies. This is of course causing a great affront to the cats when they are indoors as they can see the tits and don’t realise that there is a window pane between them. All three of the cats have tried to catch the tit and have been thwarted by the window. They clearly don’t learn very quickly as they keep leaping up and end up very disappointed.

Petit eyes up the blue tit on the other side of the glass

During the week, Patrique arrived with this year’s lambs and their mothers. We now have three lambs about 1 month old with 2 mothers. They have quickly settled in and are enjoying the lush grass we have after all the rain. I am afraid that the mothers are no prettier this year as the breed “Rouge de l’ouest” is a particularly ugly breed. Luckily the lambs are very cute and are doing a lot of running and skipping at the moment. We keep an eye on them and make sure they have enough water. I take an early opportunity to eye the likely leg of lamb that will be coming our way!

Mum and twin lambs in our paddock

I have at last finished renovating the garden furniture. It has been a long old job as I have had to sand down the garden table and 4 chairs plus a bench. That has taken some time and is a dusty task and involves wearing a face mask and ear defenders. The sanding got rid of the old wood stain and all the accumulated dirt. Once finished the furniture needed several coats of oil with a teak colouring and then finally a last coat of special clear oil that hardens to provide good protection against the sun and rain. The table and chairs are now back on the patio and Mrs. Parish and I have tested them out with a glass or two of wine. There are still 4 more chairs to work on and these will get done over the next month or two.

Well oiled in more senses than one!

The patio is now ready for our first gite guests of the season. A French lady and her two young children. They are from Paris and were delighted to arrive at the peace and tranquillity of La Godefrere and the children, who are 6 and 8 love the garden space and the cats, lambs and chickens. They are here until Friday.

For the next couple of months, we have not let the gite as we are having some major works done here. Last week our builder Mark was here replacing all the wooden panels in our lean to shed next to the house. He has done a great job and it is looking really smart. He will be back next week to replace all the shed roof slates and guttering. Then after that he will be replacing the house roof which is a major and expensive task. So, while all this work is going on it would be unfair to have paying guests in the gite. We are well booked for July and August and also September after the work is complete.

Mrs. Parish and I never win draw prizes. At least nothing significant. The occasional £25 on the premium bonds but not much else. So it was with some trepidation that Mrs. Parish decided to enter a competition at our local supermarket back in March. It was one of those where you fill in a card with contact details and your name goes into a draw. Mrs Parish was hoping to win a money off voucher to spend at the store as the first prize was a TV set. It was all part of a promotion for the world cup.

The monster TV, with football!!

A few weeks later we were most surprised to receive an email saying we had won the TV. I suggested that Mrs. Parish must have mistranslated as we never win. No, she assured me that she had translated correctly and that the TV would be delivered in a couple of weeks. I still had my doubts until a large parcel arrived with a monster TV. The screen is 55inches or 130 centimetres. It is huge.

Of course, the first problem is where to put it and on what, as it was far too big for our existing TV cupboard. Mrs. Parish reckoned it was far to big and that we would need to sit out in the courtyard to see it properly. I was thinking about how good the football would be on a huge screen with ultra HD. In the end we decided to move the sofa’s back further from the TV and to visit IKEA at Rennes to get a large TV cupboard. This of course, comes flat packed and has to be put together. These days there is no written explanation, only pictures which are far from clear. After a couple of hours of swearing we end up with one bit which may or may not be the wrong way around, several screws and bolts left over and a piece of board which we decide we don’t need. The task is now completed and now we are fully operational and bring on the world cup!

I seem to have completed the blog in rapid time with no technical problems and no interference from cats who are investigating the gite children to see if they have food. They have been warned. It is clearly the afterglow effect of the wine and calva. I think another small glass of wine would be in order and then I can nod off in front of the monster TV!

Bonne semaine