Just when I think that things have finally achieved some degree of normality, the obscure and bizarre seem to occur. Last night Mrs. Parish persuaded me that it would be a good idea to lie out on our garden chairs in the pitch dark at midnight and stare at the sky. Apparently if we do this we might see some percies flying across the night sky. Mrs. Parish explains slowly once again that the thing we are trying to see is a perseid meteor shower which appears as shooting stars in the sky and that last night and tonight are good times to see this. I am afraid I now have flying percies in my mind and am giggling and making faces with my torchlight. Finally I am convinced by a swift kick to be serious and settle back with a glass of calva to enjoy the night sky and see shooting stars. It starts off a bit cloudy but once the sky clears there is a magnificent night sky full of stars. The Milky Way can clearly be seen and we also see the international space station fly over. This is regularly orbiting the earth and appears as a bright light moving in a straight line across the sky moving quite fast (not flashing like an aeroplane). Eventually we see some shooting stars but not many. I am told that midnight is too early and we should wait till later. So tonight it will be the wee small hours lying in the orchard watching the night sky. Just as well the neighbours can’t see us as this would add to their image of us as eccentric English people.

I think Mrs. Parish thought I needed some excitement after a quiet day when boredom set in and I decided to sort out our spice bottles. This was not putting them in alphabetical order but putting three bottles of ground cumin all partially used into one bottle (and repeating this with several other bottles) and making sure the bottles on the spice rack were full. A useful task I thought and despite Mrs. Parish’s concerns a lot more exciting than organising my sock drawer which was the other option. I do also like to use spare time to empty my spam folder on the computer. All sorts of weird and wonderful things arrive there, including a remarkable number of people who think I am entitled to compensation for injury at work or for being miss sold life assurance. Nice of them to be concerned for my welfare.

I also seem to have lots of emails from UKIP (the mad UK anti European political party). At least I assume that that it must be them writing to me with concerns about enlargement of the European Union. I have never actually bothered to read them but they are all headed “enlargement”. That is the nice thing about the spam folder, you don’t need to bother reading them and they can all be deleted with one key action leading to great satisfaction, which interestingly some of the other emails promise me!

This weekend was a change over in the gite. For the past 2 weeks we have had two couples and 2 children staying with us. So of course all the beds had to be changed and after a mad amount of washing with groaning from the washing machines (plus a few sympathetic grumbles from the fridge) we ended up with a mountain of ironing. It was at this point that my failure to advance from level 1 ironing had its disadvantage. I have an agreement with Mrs. Parish that as I can’t work out how to iron shirts that I would do all the square things, like pillows, sheets and duvets. So today I have been engaged in a massive ironathon and thus have acquired ironman status. One advantage is that I can watch old movies and other DVDs while I iron. Today I watched “the Raven” with Vincent Price and Boris Karloff, great film. Anyway the ironing basket is empty for the moment.

I sometimes think that my struggles with the animal kingdom are never ending. This week I was sat outside our front door on our wooden bench, minding my own business, when I was scolded by a very irate tree sparrow who wanted to get to its nest. The tree sparrows are nesting in our roof in a hole that is right above the bench. I was sat in the way and therefore got a right ear bashing from the sparrow. So I had to find somewhere else to go a drink my cup of tea. This led me to thinking about the variety of animals. They all seem to create such difficulties. Birds moan if you get in the way of their nests and despite feeding them they regularly deposit pooh on the washing. Insects are either trying to get into your food cupboard or nest in the roof or trying to bite or sting. Flies either buzz around you or settle annoyingly on you. Hornets with their heavy buzzing routine create a real sense of menace.

Moles are constantly testing my patience. Their latest ploy is to randomly create just one molehill at random points around the garden and then disappear for days on end. The cats are a constant challenge. When we were laid out watching the night sky, in the pitch black, all of a sudden a cat would leap up on to my lap from nowhere. Yesterday the twp kittens were fighting either side of an upturned paddling pool and fighting through the plastic. That is probably now full of leaks, not to mention them stealing a hardboiled egg and licking the chocolate cakes (and very nearly another sausage incident). The sheep try to hide when I go to check on them. You would think that moths are pretty inoffensive but no they dive bomb you and just after you have turned off the light one of them lands on your head. Butterflies seem OK as they don’t do much apart from fluttering about. They don’t bite or sting or dive bomb you, they just flutter and look pretty. They can be annoying by flying too fast and not landing anywhere so you can identify them or landing too quickly and folding their wings, again making identification difficult. But these are minor matters and generally I have to award butterflies with the award for being least problematic of the animal kingdom. Unless of course you are into chaos theory in which case the butterfly may be causing hurricanes elsewhere in the world!

Enough of this rambling. I think I may be suffering from sleep deprivation after last night and need to prepare for another vigil tonight, although it is cloudy at the moment and so I may be spared.

Next week will be the anniversary of our purchase of the house and our move to France. Be prepared for a bumper blog with exciting features and free gifts.

Bon nuit