Last week I was full of excitement about the arrival of Spring, the prospect of swallows and how lovely La Godefrere was looking. I had thought to go out with my camera and take lots of pictures to grace this week’s blog. It turns out to have been a thoroughly miserable week. It has got a lot colder and we have also had lots of rain. So, no chance to get out with the camera.

The swallows must have taken fright and stayed in the warm South of France. The bramblings I thought had gone are back at the bird feeders and have been joined by several siskins. The first time we have seen siskins in the garden in the five years we have been here. The hens have spent most of the week huddling behind the hedge and looking thoroughly miserable.

So, Spring has been delayed and this has meant a week of indoor activity. For me I have spent the week renovating the garden furniture. I have sanded down the table and so far, 4 of the 8 chairs to get back to the base wood. I have then applied some teak oil to restore the wood and to make them look like new. I have taken over the games room as my workroom and there is chaos everywhere. However, the furniture looks great. I just have to put on a coat of oil to give some protection against the sun and rain and then we can put it out onto the patio and await the sun!

This week I have been mostly oiling

The cats have been a bit crazy all week. Petit has clearly now settled and content as he spends a lot of time playing. Usually play fighting with Moggie. Moggie seems to have reverted to being a kitten and is joining in enthusiastically. Petit creeps up on Moggie and then leaps all four feet off the ground on Moggies back and they roll around play fighting. Then it is Moggies turn to biff Petit with a great right paw on the head. Even Archie has remembered his kitten days and while he does not join in the play fighting and Petit has learned that leaping on Archie’s back is not a good idea. Archie does occasionally join in a chase but more often likes to chase balls around the lounge.

Moggie and Petit in play fight

If Moggie wont play then Petit just chases his tail. The cats have also been upset by one or more of the local wandering cats. We had to give Moggie his anti-stress medicine to stop him licking away his fur. Archie, however has taken to marking his territory all around the courtyard but more annoyingly indoors as well. When he comes in for breakfast I have to follow him around with a disinfectant spray. Last week there was almost a disaster as Archie sprayed against the bookcase and I looked on aghast as he sprayed over the books we have from the local library in Ambrieres.

I immediately thought about how I would explain to the librarian why her books had the smell of cat wee and how to do this in French! The air was filled with swear words as I threw a towel at Archie and cursed him. I rushed over with cloth and disinfectant and found to my relief that there was not much wee and only on the cover. So, I quickly cleared it off and was pleased to find there was no residual smell! I could hold up my head in the library still!

Mrs. Parish and I only recently joined the local library. It is a very nice little library and well stocked with books CDs and DVDs. It is a useful resource and good for me to get some books aimed at children, so the level of French is understandable and a good way to help improve my French vocabulary.

Today has been a wet dismal Easter bank holiday Monday and all afternoon it has been raining. It was an afternoon to stay indoors. But, were we daunted? Certainly not, Mrs. Parish had the inspirational idea of sorting and organising our wood screws. These were in all sorts of containers and scattered across the workbench. It is surprising just how much fun you can have sorting out screws. 

We brought them all into the warm and dry kitchen and proceeded to sort them all into nice piles. There are brass ones and zinc ones. We also sorted on size, from the very big to the very small. We did not go quite so far as to measure and label each size of screw. We now have an organised our screws and are ready for any DIY job!

We know how to have a good time!

So, Mrs Parish and I are now relaxing after such excitement and have indulged in a most needed drink.

Finally, I should mention my ongoing battle with the idiosyncrasies of the French language. This week I have discovered that there is one word which has two plurals! The word for garlic in French is “ail”. When used to refer the plant garlic the plural would be the normal “ails”. However, when referring to the application of garlic to cooking the plural, for no clear reason, becomes “aulx”. It is enough to give one a headache.

 I think that this is good enough reason to have another drink. As this is the result of too much French I may have to get myself a Calvados. The blog is a bit shorter this week partly due to the weather but mostly due to the excitement of screw sorting. I am sure next week Spring and the swallows will arrive.

Bonne semaine