mercredi 16 avril 2014

Geriatric Cats

I know, I know, we had resolved to accept no further additions to the crew of the Ark. However, Kim saw on Facebook that our friends John and Barbara were desperately seeking a home for their two aged cats, Atoo and Phyllis as they were leaving France permanently to return to the UK. The two cats are both nearly nineteen years old and have always lived with J and B at Potonnier. They were really despairing of finding somewhere for them and had even considered euthanasia as the only remaining option, rather than putting two such old ladies in a cats` home. A sign of real desperation as they really loved these two aged cats, the sole survivors of a more numerous troupeau.
   We were welcomed like angels from Heaven, when we called to volunteer a home, made us feel really good...We arranged to have the cats from 20th of March which gave us time to prepare. We knew there might be problems in accustoming these cats to a new home and new fellow crew-members. They were not even used to dogs. We changed the salon door for a homemade wire frame door so they could be confined but could see the rest of the household and naturally took up the rug as accidents were likely.
  They were a bit subdued at first as is only natural, but I am happy to report that they are settling down well, and go out into the cour without showing any sign of running off. Atoo in particular is becoming a very affectionate cat.  Obviously they won't be with us for very long but at least they will have a peaceful retirement here and John and Barbara could leave for the UK with their minds at rest. A very satisfactory outcome

  Bye for now, got to run the dogs!

mardi 15 avril 2014

Satnavs Pros and Cons

   Once before I have posted to extoll the advantages of a Satnav or GPS as they are known in France and I confess I would not like to be without one. Yet now and then they do have their Achille's heel as I shall now relate.
  We were returning from Lille to home yesterday and had just finished the ticklish task of navigating around Paris, a task for which the Satnav is almost essential. It gives advance notice of left and right turns,  which enables you to slide across to the correct lane well before the junction suddenly arrives, necessitating a dirty dive across several lanes in heavy traffic. We had thus arrived at the first Aire after the transit of Paris and stopped to run the dogs and visit the facilities ourselves and buy a cuppa.
   We had a yen to have a Macdonalds for dinner and turned to the faithful Navman to find the nearest. Scrolling down the list of restaurants, it offered a Macdo at 4 kilometers distance, ideal, we thought, and set it to navigate towards it.
  Back onto the motorway it led us, then 12 kilometers to an exit where we paid 1.60 Europe to leave the toll road, across a bridge and back onto the motorway again, a similar charge being taken. Then 12 k  back to the Aire we had just left but on the other side of the carriage way then we could start to cover the 4 kilometers to the Macdo! We won't be caught like that again!
  Never mind, we enjoyed our meal when it came, especially after working so hard to reach it!

 Bye for now, going to finish my cup of tea!

dimanche 13 avril 2014

Life in the Cite

  I told you in my last Ark, how we are staying with our friends Cecile and Patrick to be at the marriage of their niece Camille. Their house is an interesting one, as it is constructed in a sort of enclave off the busy streets of Watignies.  A little street of shops and cafés has a covered tunnel, which looks as if it leads to a rear courtyard where the dustbins are kept. But no, you follow a narrow alley, turn a tight corner at the bottom, find a short street of houses, take another tight bend to find yourself in their large garden, facing an impressive modern house in the northern French style. This assortment of houses is known as the Cite Marceau, Cite with an acute accent on the E which I can't yet do on this keyboard. The word doesn't mean the same as city, but a small, enclosed district. The large garden is completely enclosed, a sort of island universe, which is very attractive, the countryside enclosed by the town
   We shall be leaving tomorrow to find our own wider country scene but will be sorry to leave our friends and this tranquill oasis!

 Bye for now, got to feed the dogs!

vendredi 11 avril 2014

The Ark, chez les ch'tis

  If you have a mental image of TheArk moored as usual near Chef Boutonne in Deux Sevres, you will not be correct today. in fact the Ark has sailed some 650 kilometers to the north east and is currently located  near Lille near the Belgian border of France. this is to enable us to attend the wedding of Camille, the niece of our friends Cecile and Patrick Porez.
  The journey was a little long but luckily the Berlingo is comfortable and easy to drive so we were able to do the trip in one day without undue strain, sharing the driving and stopping every two hours. As we had the dogs aboard, too they need a comfort stop as well! Don't worry about the welfare of the remainder of the Ark's crew, our new friend, Sue will be feeding them and Ian, with his two large dogs will be providing security cover.
   We will be back home on Monday evening and I will tell you how we got on.

  Bye for now, from the traveling Ark

mercredi 9 avril 2014

Drama in the Pulpit

   Last Sunday, a shocking event happened in our little church at Matha. Yves, our Pasteur, was in the middle of his sermon when he suddenly stopped speaking. After a moment he apologized and continued, I thought perhaps he was stifling a burp! He continued for a couple of sentences, then stopped for good, and it was evident he was not well. Several people helped him to sit down and one of our congregation, Catherine, who is a nurse called the emergency services. A rapid response car arrive in moments, then the red emergency ambulance, which bizarrely is run by the fire service in France they were not happy with Yve's condition and called in a helicopter to evacuate him to La Rochelle, they don't stint here! As you can imagine it was an emotional moment for the congregation, we prayed for Yves of course and tried to continue the service, singing several hymns

  I am happy to report that our prayers were answered and Yves has returned home after tests which have not revealed any cause for his malaise. All hope it will never recur.

 Bye for now, battery low!

mardi 8 avril 2014

It's the Ark's Anniversary!

   It was in March 2011 that the very first Overloaded Ark saw the light. Since then 228 articles have been published and 16533 pages have been viewed by readers all over the world. It's not an extensive readership by blog standards but it does make you think how information and opinions can spread, for good or ill in the computer world of today... I shall have to be careful that the facts and opinions I publish are as correct as possible!

  Just one new fact for today--yesterday I saw the first swallow of the year. I know the proverb advises against celebrating the arrival of summer but still it's a hopeful sign!

 Bye for now, coffee calls.

lundi 7 avril 2014

The floating Ark

 For a few days the Ark has been in trouble due to an unexpected problem in picture loading. When I tried to upload photos, instead of the normal arrival of the picture I got several lines of machine gobbledegook and no photo. True the shot did appear if I tried to publish, but in odd places and it was not possible to have an aperçu at all.  I even tried to rename theArk as a new blog without making any difference.
  However, I am happy to say that timely advice from Jacqui Brown provided the clue to solving the problem and making blogging a pleasure again. Somehow I had altered the setting from 'compose' to HTML thus making a grave difference in the display method. Now all is well again and I hope this will spur me on again to be more regular in my blogging!

    Bye for now tea-time calls!