A brief blog update this week as Christmas festivities descend upon La Godefrere. Hopefully will be back to the full report next week.

So it is now 22ndDecember and officially winter started yesterday. Coincidentally the cold weather has disappeared and we now have rain, lots of it. So the cruel frost of last week has gone and I have managed to complete my poor man gathering winter fuel routine. All the wood is safely gathered in and stored away either in the wood shed or around the grounds, now with covers over them.

We can now look forward to Christmas and the good news is that our daughter Jo arrived last night and so we can officially start Christmas which means I can now access the sausage rolls and open the Christmas biscuit tin. The sausage rolls have to be got out under armed guard as there are predatory cats circling round ready to pounce should we relax our guard for a moment. Minou managed to get a lick at the cottage pie yesterday before it went in the oven. Mrs. Parish is off in the morning to get the Christmas bird and this will probably require a 24 hour round the clock safeguarding system. We may have to work in shifts to keep the bird safe. Christmas in France of course brings the annual “desguisements” in many of the shops. There seems to be a need to put on a fancy dress for New Year and this year the usual tatty and cheap disguises and in the shops. Pirate costumes seem to be in favour this year as well as one shop selling “sexy suits” including skimpy nurse’s outfits and sexy Santa suits. Mrs. Parish felt we had enough excitement and we could probably get through New Year without a desguisement of any sort!

Jo and I have spent the afternoon in the games room and played out an exciting game of darts (we played killer) which she narrowly won on the last number scoring 5 14s to pass my score with the final dart of the game. I gained my revenge at pool. We are now set up for a Christmas of eating, drinking and playing games.  

We have had a bit of excitement this week as Moggie was the latest of our cats to go missing. On Thursday morning I got up as usual to let the cats in for their breakfast. Usually I am knocked over in the rush of three cats trying to be first in. On Thursday there were only two cats. Moggie was missing. I went outside and called several times as well as banging their food bowls and shaking the cat biscuits. All measures which bring the cats running in. Not on Thursday. No sign at all of Moggie. After a couple of hours with regular calls and once we had breakfast and cleared up Mrs. Parish went for a tour round the grounds calling Moggie. By this time we were quite worried as Moggie does not miss meal times!! Eventually Mrs. Parish went up the lane and then saw Moggie come out of our neighbour’s yard, limping quite badly. We inspected him and found his paw very swollen and what looked like a bite.

We decided that we needed to take him to the vets and got an appointment for 2pm. Our next problem was that we had lent our cat basket to some friends and so had to find something to carry Moggie in that he couldn’t break out of. We came to the idea that taking him in the large picnic coolbag would be the best bet as it had a zip. So we get Moggie into the bag and into the car. We have a cat with its head stuck out of a cool bag as we arrive in Ambrieres at the vets. So we are sat with a cool bag with a cat’s head stuck out waiting for the vet, who is late. Mrs. Parish announces that the cat has relieved himself and that she now has a damp leg. At this point the receptionist tells us that the vet has been delayed due to an emergency and so we have to come home and return an hour later. So poor Moggie has to go home in the bag and then come back all the time he is wriggling and trying to get out of the bag. The vet eventually gets back and confirms that Moggie has been bitten and gives antibiotics and anti inflammatory injections and we come back home again.

If that trauma wasn’t enough we decide that we had better keep Moggie inside for a couple of nights. The first night he was still a bit in pain and slept most of the night although he was up at scratching at our door by 6-30am. The second night he is feeling much better and arrives at our door at 4am!! We decide that last night he is better and can go out with the other two. Today has been so foul that all three cats have spent most of the day curled up on the sofa.

The moles have seen reason and have not made any attempt to breech the exclusion zone. Despite worries that mole hill activity in the big field might be a prelude to a winter offensive it seems that all is quiet on the western front and that the Christmas day football match may be on after all.

So apart from the wind whistling outside and the sound of rain on the windows all is calm, all is quiet at La Godefrere as we await Santa’s visit in a couple of days. It is time for an aperitif and maybe a sausage roll as a little appetiser. The cats are asleep, so if we open the fridge very quietly we may be alright, no, no fooling Moggie whose nose is twitching already. The armed guard will be needed!

Joyeaux noel et bonne fin de l’annee