Our friends Sandy and Kathy have arrived and so there is much eating and drinking going on and a certain amount of disruption to the strict timescales we work to here at La Godefrere. Sandy has been a leading light in efforts to tidy up my whisky, while bringing in full bottles to be prepared for future tidying. It is important to maintain a balance and cyclical approach or run the risk of running out of whisky. So far, we have managed to tidy up 3 bottles which have now to be smuggled out to the recycling bank along with rather a large number of wine bottles which Kathy and Mrs. Parish have assisted with. 

The timetable for producing the blog has been a casualty and we have just arrived home from a long walk and the others have gone to sit in the garden and enjoy the lovely sunny day. I have stayed indoors to finish the blog and then to make preparations for dinner. It is my turn to be duty chef so the pressure is on. I am going to prepare a Chilli Con Carne. A key component will be selecting the wine to have with the meal. We will certainly have some fizzy wine to start with as we have much to celebrate.

Good news, the ants have been found! I had reported previously that the ants had deserted their nest in the corner of the big field. At the beginning of Spring there were a few ants around the nest but they suddenly all disappeared and we thought that they had upped sticks and left La Godefrere. There has been no sign of them for several weeks and we thought that maybe it was an industrial dispute over terms and conditions. The main worry was that our major tourist attraction - the Ant Experience would look a little tame with no actual real ants.

The non ant experience

There seemed to be one or two ants milling about the nest and so I decided to follow an ant and after a while I discovered several more ants crossing our nature trail near the experience which is in the corner of the hay field. After getting down on my hands and knees I spotted just on the other side of the fence a whole legion of ants making a new nest about 10 yards away from the old nest. It would seem likely that the old nest had become too shady with bushes and trees branches growing up around it. The new location is certainly more open to the sun and ants can regulate the nest temperature if they get too hot (they make air holes to let cool air into the nest).

It may well have to do with the price and quality of land and the ants may know something I don’t. Technically speaking the new nest site is just the other side of the fence. They might have appropriated land with a higher value. The ants may be speculating on a rapid rise in the price of land!

The new ant experience

So, now I have some work to do to redirect visitors from the old ant city to the new one and what to do with the old site which has its own path leading to it as well as large plastic ants to emphasise the Ant Experience. With the tourist season fast approaching action must be taken and quickly!

Things have changed in the sheep paddocks. Patrique came a few days ago to take the sheep away for shearing. He returned yesterday with more sheep who were decidedly thinner now that they have been shorn but he brought back a total of 8 sheep. Three ewes and 5 lambs. It is only the ewes that have been shorn but the paddocks look quite full with that number of sheep. With the wet and warm weather, the grass has kept growing and so there is plenty for the sheep to eat. With 5 lambs, of course, there are additional legs for me to consider!

Then there were 8 but 10 lamb legs to choose from!

The fine weather has allowed us to eat out on the terrace in the evening and to enjoy the sunshine and the garden which is coming into bloom. The pergola on the terrace has booth a clematis and a wisteria which Mrs. Parish planted to grow up and to provide some shade. They have grown considerably and at this time of year the flowers are a delight.

Mrs. Parish and the pergola

The hens on the other hand are a bit of a worry as they have stopped laying eggs. They have been moulting and this usually disrupts the egg laying but at the moment there are no eggs at all. I have had a strong word with the hens and explained that their job is to lay eggs and that in the absence of eggs other more drastic solutions involving recipes for chicken casserole may be considered! Mrs. Parish is of the view that threatening the hens may be counter productive and has gone for the option of buying chicken tonic to give them a boost. Well, lets give that a go but in the mean time I am sharpening the knives!

Anyway, I have to finish off the blog as I have cooking duties to perform and stuff to start preparing. My preparation tends to take twice as long as the recipe recommends but I always take the view that it is not a race and that it is probably better to take my time and have all the ingredients in the meal than suddenly realise something vital is missing!
Tomorrow we are out to lunch at La Marjolaine as a treat to end our visitors stay. They go home on Thursday and so we have only 2 more nights to engage in some more whisky tidying. At the moment there seems to be plenty of tidying left to do.

A la prochaine