The blog is a few days late. My apologies but I have been faced with technological problems. The Microsoft Word that I use to type in the blog suddenly decided to be difficult. I had a message come up telling me there was an error which meant that word would have to close down. The message then helpfully offered to repair the problem. All I had to was click on an icon which said “repair.”

So, I optimistically clicked on the repair icon and I could access my word document. However, after typing a couple of sentences the document with my typing just disappeared. Vanished into the computer void to join a million other victim documents lost to poor innocent typists. After several attempts at the so-called repair and more lost typing I tried option 2 which was to contact Microsoft to see if they could solve the problem.

With some trepidation I logged in to Microsoft Support (I find that the term support is often anything but supportive!). I typed in my problem and I was directed to the “virtual assistant”. This does not bode well, I thought but I gave it a go. I typed again the nature of my problem. My virtual assistant ignored my plea for help and gave me a list of problems and asked me to choose one. None of the items on the list appeared to bear any relationship to my description of my problem.

I repeated my description and asked the virtual assistant to read what I had written. A message came back indicating that maybe I had misunderstood and that I should have another look at the list and CHOOSE ONE! In the circumstances I managed to retain my composure and to indicate that maybe the virtual assistant had misunderstood. I received a rather petulant reply indicating with a trace of sadness that as I was incapable of benefitting from the help of the virtual assistant that maybe I should speak to a real person!

I was beginning to think that real people no longer existed in computer land. But I was excited too soon as apparently someone phoning me was a service not available to me and I was referred instead to the “Microsoft Community”. This it turned out is a chatroom full of geeks who inhabit some dark world where they answer questions all day and night from non-geeks like me. I duly posed my question and waited for geek world to snap into action. The geeks were clearly poised and ready as I had an almost instant response with some helpful advice. As a result, I somehow managed to resolve the problem, well hopefully but to be on the safe side I keep saving my work!

Anyway, on with the blog. We have finally had some weather that is not rain! A couple of days when the sun came out and we had a chance to get out and do some work outside. The temperature warmed up and it seemed that Spring had arrived. With the sunny weather our first swallow arrived looking a bit tanned as it had spent an extra week in the South of France waiting for the weather to improve here. Today we had a couple sitting on the telephone wire outside the house. They are about 1 week late compared to previous years. We now await the sound of the hoopoe and they should be here by the end of April.

We have had quite a lot of bird activity with many prospecting for nest sites. The little owls are at their nest and making a lot of noise when a cat goes by. We have even had birds come to the window boxes outside the house. We were alerted to a tapping noise and looked up to see a blue tit flying up at the window. It seems it was catching small insects both on the window and on the flowers in the window boxes.

Blue tit at the window

A few moments later we heard another tap on the window and looked up to see which bird was now at the window. It turned out to be one of the chickens trying to emulate the blue tit. The hen was Emmeline the so called flying chicken who spent last summer escaping from the garden. Now she had got up to the window box but could not work out how to get down. She seemed to have forgotten how to fly so I had to go and recue her by picking her up from the window box and throwing her out into the courtyard. She flapped her wings to ensure a soft landing so her flying skills are still there!

Emmeline at the window

The fine weather enabled us to cut the grass both in the garden and orchard and around the nature trail, although parts of it near the stream are still very wet. The garden is looking nice and there are daffodils and primroses on the banks and many of the trees have buds. Soon we will have the full splendour of Spring blossoms on the fruit trees. The ants nest is a bit sorry at the moment as the cold weather put paid to early nest rebuilding efforts. They all disappeared but no doubt will return when it gets a bit warmer.

La Godefrere in Spring

French class this week was a bit of a riot as Sarah our long-suffering teacher decided to extend our learning of French body parts. We have been building up our vocabulary so that we could if necessary deal with emergencies and describe what injuries or illness someone had. All had been well as we learned about the head, the arms and feet. This week Sarah decided we needed to know the French for some of the more personal body parts as this might come up in some situations. She thought we ought to know the slang words so we could recognise these words in conversation. Needless to say, there was a lot of giggling and I did say did we need letters from our parents or a responsible adult before we started on the rude bits!

It seems that the French have a lot of words for the penis. The most surprising is “Le petit Jesus” which seems a bit bizarre. Sarah was very sensible and wrote rude words in red on the whiteboard and cautioned us to be careful about where we used some of the slang words. Following Sarah’s advice, I am censoring the blog to omit any red words! Of interest is the way French is used and how careful you need to be in pronunciation.

The French word for the neck is “le cou” pronounced “koo”. The French word for the ass is “Le cul”. This for no apparent good reason has a silent l and is pronounced “ku”. So if you ae not careful a pain in the neck becomes a pain in the ass.

This week poor Petit has been to the vets to be neutered. He was soon back on his feet after a minor op to remove his testicles. However Petit could now be described using slang French as “sans noixettes” (without nuts) or more interestingly “sans bonbons” (without sweets) or more poetically “sans les bijoux de famille” (without the family jewels, there of course being no crown jewels in post-revolutionary France). There are ruder versions but these are all on the red list!

So, now I have finished a belated blog. It seems odd to be finishing the blog on a Wednesday. I think after all the excitement from virtual assistants through to the family jewels, I have earned a drink before letting the cats in. 

Bon courage