Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Days are Getting Longer

I love it when the evenings start to draw out: more daylight for busy smallholders. The 21st didn’t herald the end of the world (apparently never actually predicted by the Mayans ) but it was the winter solstice and, just 5 days later, I honestly do feel the evenings are slightly longer. It wasn’t the light that forced me in to the comfort of a warm wood stove and a cuppa this evening but that it’s blowing a hoolie outside. Appropriate, perhaps, as I was in our nascent forest garden preparing to plant a windbreak … but it was too windy!
For Christmas, I’ve bought Gabrielle a taster day at a horse driving school and as an extra surprise, I asked friend and local farmer Laurent, if he would take us out for a ride round the fields in an open carriage drawn by his lovely 3 year old filly called “Alouette”, a big, beautiful Breton cheval de trait.

“Another century”, Laurent shouted, as he drove Gabrielle, her daughter Christina and fiancé Bob past camera-holding me, so I’ve tinkered with the photo to give it a feel of days gone by. Not as convenient or efficient as our ageing Peugeot but what a delicious way of getting about.
As it’s the season for crap cracker jokes and inspired by being pulled around a field by a horse, here’s one of my favourite funnies:

the horse's arse
The Queen is riding in a horse drawn carriage, accompanied the King of Tonga. One of the horses farts loudly. Somewhat embarrassed, the Queen thought she should say something, so she turns towards the King of Tonga and says, “I’m terribly sorry,” to which the King replies, “You should not have worried, your majesty, I thought it was the horse”.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Projectile vomiting

It is deeply impressive how far a small child can project vomit: the length of our stairs, splattering walls and balusters. Having given up blogging, then restarted, I haven’t done much since, despite many newsworthy events but details of yesterday evening’s disagreeable disgorgement need sharing.

Gabrielle has one daughter, Christina, who turns 26 next Wednesday. I don’t have children but think I understand the basic concept: they’re like grown-ups, just smaller and slightly less developed. Less developed, for example in that, feeling bile rising , young children are less inclined to raise a hand to their mouth and remove themselves rapidly to a bathroom; spontaneous expression is more their game.

We thought we’d give our friends Mélanie and Bruno some precious time off running up to Christmas, and take their delightful children out for the afternoon. The plan was to have a look at the lights and decorations around town, help them buy presents for their parents and have afternoon ‘tea’ (goûter). 

We walked around cold streets, went into warm shops, drank hot chocolate and ate sticky cakes. We mixed that all together on a merry-go-round, drove them home, excited but tired and sat them in front of our warm wood stove.

Dad came to take them home, elevated Jeanne onto the crook of his arm, giving her extra potential for parabolic projection and then, with absolutely no warning … bluuaaaagh ! I feel that it just added to the afternoon a realistic authenticity to the pleasure of having children.

Other-news-wise, we’ve had gold-star* volunteer Andrew here and, with his help, the new gite now has stairs, front door and window in and the building site is now closed until after the festivities. During these works, I had a nasty encounter with an angle grinder, which involved a dash to casualty and a visit to theatre, with my arm anaesthetised, for a deep clean and stitch-up. The latest of our pigs have gone to slaughter and we’ve made and ‘canned’ pâté for the first time as another way of storing meat outside of the freezer. Details of these and other happenings very soon.

(* To qualify as a ‘gold-star’ volunteer, you should work as hard as a Roman galley slave flogged with freshly-picked nettles, smiling throughout and keep coming back for more. Click for details of volunteering opportunities.)