My skirmishing with the sheep continues. They have adopted a new tactic in their bid to confuse my counting. Previously the sheep have always been together in the field. A sort of sheep solidarity in the face of my morning visits. Not this week. They have cunningly detached one of the sheep to another part of the field. Down I go each morning around 8am to count the sheep. On Monday I get to 2 and then stop. Where is the other sheep, has she escaped, fallen or become ill. The sheep succeed in inducing a minor panic, but then I spot the third sheep feeding quietly in another corner. Fiendishly cunning these sheep. But not so tough when taken on. Two of the three sheep have horns, the other has a black face. I assume this means they are different breeds, but it could just be a disguise. One of the horned sheep when staring at me has the habit on nodding her head, to show off the horns in a slightly menacing way. A message I think which is trying to say "Come inside that fence and I'll have you." Unfortunately for the sheep, its all front, if I go inside the fence it just runs away. Could of course be a strategic withdrawal, you can never tell with sheep.

I have opened hostilities against the moles. After another week of daily mountainous mole hills in the orchard, I have decided to strike back. The local "Pointe Vert" store (a sort of garden centre come builders yard) has the most amazing array of things to kill pests. You name the pest and there is a means of inflicting death or destruction. However my sensitive nature means I just want to expel them from my garden ( a sort of ethnic cleansing I suppose). So the first strike has been using chemical warfare. (So far using natural agents). The stuff is called Decamp Repulsif, so you kind of get the message of what its trying to do! We have to find the latest molehill, remove the earth and put the granules down the hole, place a large pebble to block the hole and put the earth back. The theory is that the poor little moles hate the smell but cant reopen the hole so they go somewhere else. After 2 days no new molehills so it could be working. However they could of course be forming an underground resistance!! There are more powerful weapons if this is not successful including the rather excellent sounding sonic blasters. There could be an arms race here.

We have also discovered that we have a Fire Salamander in the manhole where our water meter sits. Bit of a shock the first time you read the meter. But they are "mostly harmless". they have toxic spots on skin so its not a good idea to touch them without gloves. There is a picture on the wildlife section of website. They are obviously put there by the water company to guard the meter.

Talking of chemical weapons and toxins I had my first taste of home made calvados this week. Emile, who is the farmer to cuts our field for hay invited us round for a coffee. Emile is a retired farmer who keeps a few chickens and cattle. We were invited round last thursday afternoon. Apparently we couldn't go in the morning as his wife Yvette was "stretching the necks" of her chickens for market!! Arriving for coffee we had first to try his homemade cider which was very nice. Then coffee at which point he got out his bottle of home distilled calvados and poured some into my coffee. Tres fort says I, soixante neuf pour cent says Emile!!! Fortunately Kate was driving as walking suddenly became difficult. I might just try it on the moles if all else fails.

Our house has velux windows so we can lie in bed and literally look at the stars overhead through the window. On clear nights the sky is full of stars. What was a little more unexpected was that on Wednesday night as we were watching the stars, across the window flew the barn owl and came to sit on the roof. Birdwatching while lying in your bed!! Amazing stuff.

Apparently, our removal company have now got off their rear ends and kindly have given us a date for delivery on 15th October!! Almost 3 months after we gave them notice of our completion date. Unfortunately they have all our furniture and effects in their store and have us "over a barrel" otherwise I would be very rude to them. Of course they also insist upon payment in full before they deliver so I cant even refuse to pay them. I may threaten to sue after they have delivered.

Off for dinner now - Poulet au cidre avec pomme de terre puree, et aussi un tres bien touraine sauvignon. You see 5 weeks after moving in and I am already half french!!

A bientot