We have had two solid days of rain here at La Godefrere and it has gone cold. So cold we have had to light the fire. One good thing is having plenty of time to write up the blog. Our visitors arrived on Friday. My son and daughter-in-law, Ian and Emma together with friends Luke and Liam arrived on Friday and were forced to endure the traditional lamb feast. From the leg of lamb that was raised in our paddock last year. So, we stuffed them full of roast lamb with new potatoes, French beans and asparagus. Followed by a range of French cheeses and then of course a gateau framboise from our boulanger/patissiere, 

Judging by the bare bone that was left and the large numbers of empty wine and brandy bottles we clearly had a good time! We had a rather mad evening with games following the meal. Our visitors are staying in the gite and were a little bit quieter on Sunday. It is also raining today and so we cheered ourselves up by visiting the restaurant at La Marjolaine for an excellent meal.

The last week has been interesting and especially on Thursday when I decided to cut the grass. It was dry but very windy and I was wearing my cap to keep the occasional sun off my head. As I was approaching the fence a strong gust of wind took my hat off and sent it flying over the fence into the field with the aggressive bull! Fortunately, the bull and cows were at the other end of the field but I did not want to alert him as he could probably get up to me fairly quickly if annoyed. So, this required Mission Impossible planning. I was able to take down the electric fence wearing a large pair of gardening gloves to avoid giving myself a shock. I then had to climb over the wire and run across the field, grab my cap, sprint back, reclimb the wire and re-hook the electricity before the bull had a chance to even notice me.

Going for a walk around our big hay field I was struck by how much the grass had grown and by the number of buttercups in flower. It was a literal field of gold. It will grow for a couple more months before being cut for hay. We may have a bumper crop this year. While on my tour I managed to pick up the card from the trail camera and was amazed that in two nights we had had visits from a badger; a deer; a hare and a fox. Most surprising was to catch a visit from three wild boars who arrived in the early hours of Friday morning. They came across into our field and then went back across the stream an hour later. I checked and there has been no damage in the field. Hopefully that was a passing visit as there has been no sign since.

our golden hay field

Archie has got into the swing of Spring and can be found in his plant pot or more recently he has been sitting in the planted barrel where he has created a kind of cat/floral display. It is very artistic! On the other hand, Petit and Moggie have become the best of friends. Moggie has reverted to childhood and the two of them are either play fighting, chasing each other around the garden or laid out exhausted. 

The Archie floral display

Worn out after an afternoon's chasing

La Marseillaise is the French National anthem and it is sung by the French at sporting events, political rallies, memorials, and any national days of celebration. Last Wednesday, the 25th of April, it celebrated its 226th birthday. 
It's a call to arms - a rousing war song to rally French troops battling foreign armies after the revolution. It is meant to incite an uprising against tyranny and invasion.

As the French Revolution continued, the monarchies of Europe became concerned that revolutionary fervour would spread to their countries. The War of the First Coalition was an effort to stop the revolution, or at least contain it to France. Initially, the French army did not distinguish itself, and Coalition armies invaded France. On 25 April 1792, baron Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg, requested his guest Rouget de Lisle to compose a song "that will rally our soldiers from all over to defend their homeland that is under threat". That evening, Rouget de Lisle wrote "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine").  It is just as well they changed the name as this was not a very catchy title and La Marseillaise is much better.

The song acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching to the capital. La Marseillaise was a revolutionary song, an anthem to freedom, a patriotic call to mobilize all the citizens and an exhortation to fight against tyranny and foreign invasion. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795. It was banned a few times before becoming formally the national anthem in 1879.

As you can see the lyrics are quite fierce and descriptive but it is a great anthem to sing! There are several more verses, equally bloodthirsty!

So, with the football world cup coming along in June, now is the time to learn the words and sing along to support the French team. France not only has a better anthem than England, they also have a better chance of winning the world cup!

We are now back at La Godefrere after a superb meal at La Marjolaine. I had a chicken mousse to start followed by beautiful fish dish and then of course something with chocolate! I am not sure at the moment whether we have a quiet evening in prospect or an evening of craziness with our visitors. Either way it is probably time for a drink to get prepared. It is still raining!

Bonne santé