vendredi 14 avril 2017

The Ark takes a trip to Daneland



    No, the Ark hasn`t sailed off to Norway! We had decided to visit the HQ of Dane Rescue, from where we had obtained our Dane, Rufus, almost a year ago.Sharon had told us that they had rescued  Harlequin Great Dane even bigger than Rufus and we thought it would be great to see this phenomenon. He is slightly taller but much more hefty, although efforts are being made to slim him down. Here is a shot
 of the two dogs, nose to nose so you can judge.


  However, let's put the things in order. Yesterday was a fine, sunny day, we visited our local market to have a coffee and buy fresh vegetables from the stall holders. Then, it was pick up the dogs and head south via Angouleme. We had thought to have lunch there, but the GPS bypassed the town, so we saw no restaurants. We eventually bought supplies at a Boulanger at Marthon. Continuing o, we arrived at the site having passed loads of restos, 'twas ever thus....
  Sharon and Andy made us very welcome at Dane Rescue and introduced us to the new dog, which they have nicknamed Tiny! Both our own dogs were introduced into the fenced pen, where Laika was by far the smallest dog! She behaved very well, avoiding confrontation by Danes sniffing her backside by sitting on it, clever dog!
  We had a fab afternoon playing with the dogs though it was very hot. Reluctantly we took our leave, and started the long drive back home, arriving very tired.
  That's all for now, Blogger is showing signs of acting up...

mercredi 5 avril 2017

Reminisces of Noah--effective medecines?



     I was thinking today, when I was eating my breakfast and taking my pills, of the state of my hips some twenty years ago. We were on the south Cornwall coast on a ' wrinklies walk', a walk along the coastal path with a group of friends, spending the nights in different B and B's along the way. At least, Kim walked, my hips were too painful to go far, and I stayed in the car to meet the group at the finish of each day's march. Arthritis, perhaps, but it was painful, I walked with a stick, don't like to remember those days. Someone suggested cod-liver oil tablets could help. Without much faith, I started to take one a day, and after a few weeks, I was delighted to find my symptoms had gradually disappeared. I have walked freely ever since, and for me at least, the benefits of cod-liver oil need no further proof, I and Kim have been taking them ever since.
   Again, a similar time ago, on claims visit near Truro, I was struck down by an agonising pain in the lower tummy, a kidney stone we later found . Kim had to drive, and I suggested going straight to Treliske hospital, where the diagnosis was made. I had in fact, passed the stone, and the pain diminished over a day or so. It was suggested that cranberry tablets or drink could help, and I was very keen to avoid the pain, so I started to take them. The problem never recurred, so I take them still... Mind you, Kim doesn't do so, she did suffer repeated attacks and now doesn't, so I am less confident in recommending this, however I have never dared stop just in case!
  These are the only two 'food supplements I take, I also take prescription medecines for high blood pressure and the French doctors are keen to prescribe a blood-thinning drug for all the over fifties, but that's a different story. However, I can personally highly recommend Cod-liver oil by results, and just possibly cranberry if you suffer from the stones

  Bye for now, going to enjoy a walk.

samedi 1 avril 2017

The Ark tender returns


  I'm glad to report the green machine has returned from repair. We passed by the garage at Couture yesterday, and were amazed when Laurent said it was finished. In fact, Nadia, his wife and finance director, had left a message on our answerphone during the morning but we hadn't picked it up. On our return to the house, we rang our insurance to retransfer the cover fron the 206, that Laurent had kindly lent us, to the Berlingo. It was timed to change at 11am Saturday morning. This morning, I hustled to fill up the loan car with diesel and get to Garage Bayou at 11. Kim originally wanted to come, but had had such a bad night that she went back to bed, so Laurent passed the van back to me. I returned to Mort Limouzin, amid a most amazing hailstorm, Spring hasn't yet permanently sprung...
  I found the van far easier to drive than the 206, which lacks power steering and therefore manoeuvre facility at low speeds. The clutch was very fierce, too, quite difficult to drive smoothly.
  It is amazing the difference in attitude between French and English garages. Although the bill was considerable, the car was handed over with no payment, Nadia suggesting I should call in in a week or so, as she hadn't prepared the bill yet. There is also no problem to spread the payment over three months. An English garage wouldn't have released the car without cash or a certified cheque being handed over!
   I'm really enjoying driving the Berlingo, I was beginning to doubt my ability to drive safely as the 206 had such heavy steering .

 That's all for now, looking out the window at the green machine!

mercredi 29 mars 2017

New Ark crew member, welcome Blue.

Following the tragic death of our beloved  Storm we felt the need to replace a grey cat, or at least Kim did. We didn't want a kitten , as it is likely to outlive us, so we visited the SPA at Mornac and chose a large and apparently friendly grey male. As he needed to be castrated, we had to return a week later to pick him up, sign papers and pay a contribution towards his medical expenses. We returned home with the new cat.
  We knew we'd have to keep him in for ten days or so, to habituate him to his new home, so shut him in the sitting room with all the facilities. However, the next day we thought he'd escaped, as he was nowhere to be seen. After a prolonged search , we discovered him squeezed away in a minute niche obviously afraid of coming out. He hid in a different place each day, and eventually, to be able to lay hands apon him, we had to entice him into a cage within the room. This worked ok, and we could haul him out and install him on our knees  where he gradually became quite tame, purring and rolling on his back. Just as we thought we had cracked it, after nine or ten days, disaster struck! Coming down for the loo during the night, I found the sitting room door ajar, obviously I hadn't closed the bolt firmly enough the evening before, the cat had shaken it loose and had legged it through the cat-flap into the garden. We called and called but there was no sign. However, later in the day Kim saw him sitting on a high beam in the open barn but he slunk off. Two days later, there was a doubtful sighting on a neighbour's barn. We were just feeling dubious we could ever recover him, when Kim saw him in the flower bed and he let himself be picked up and put back in the front room. Since then, he has been in and out of the room, sitting on knees and being a friendly cat. We hope we have succeeded in having him join the family
  Bye for now, going to stroke Blue...


mardi 21 mars 2017

Ark catch-up, and a car problem



     I see that I haven't blogged since going to the UK in February. It's not that nothing has happened in the meantime but I seem to lack enthusiasm, somehow... Still, people will be asking if the Ark has sunk so here goes.
   My recovery is proceeding steadily, though no as fast as I'd like, helped by twice weekly sessions of physio at Melle. There is a new chap there, Raoul, of Spanish extraction, I believe, though he speaks good French, who has helped me a lot.
  We lost our grey cat, Storm, while we were away. She never really recovered from her poisoning from eating a poisoned rat, despite our best efforts, and those of the vet, our neighbour , Ian, found her dead in his outbuilding and kindly gave her a decent burial in the orchard, under the quince tree, where so many of the Arks crew lie at rest...
   We have recently started to go to a local sewing club at the Loubille Salle des Fetes. At least, Kim sews, I just do my drawing, as I used to in former times. It helps a lot to share laughs and gossip with our neighbors. We also have also started to attend a gym class at the same venue, which I find unexpectedly pleasant, despite its being  Just after my Kine session, I'm knackered afterwards.
  There was an unpleasant shock awaiting us this morning--the car was making a funny noise yesterday and on checking the fluid levels this morning, I found oil in the radiator water. A trip to the local garage at Couture confirmed my fears that there was a problem with the head gasket, and the clutch thrust bearing was jammed. The repair will be costly, I fear, but the reserves will stand it, and Laurent lets us pay in several instalments.  Heighho, all part of life's rich pattern, it would have been worse when we were an  empovrished family rearing kids. We can't be without transport living here.
  Well, that's all for now, coffee calls.

dimanche 26 février 2017

The Ark sails the sea, despite Doris

  On Thursday 23rd of February, we left Mort Limouzin to drive to St Brieux, to stay in the Formule 1 as is our habit. We don't feel comfortable driving all the way to Roscoff in one day,so booked an overnight stay. The weather was drizzly right up to the Loire crossing at Nantes but then, as often happens, it changed and I took over the driving from Kim and completed the drive in sunlight. We had heard of the ravages caused by storm Doris, and had feared not being able to sail, but the Brittany Ferries site assured us that sailings were normal even on Thurs, so we were reassured.
   After a peaceful night at the hotel, we continued on to the ferry port and booked in without much problem, apart from the usual hunt for Rufus' chip with the BF detector. We had a coffee in the ferry port's bar, and booked a sandwich for later, then drove to Roscoff town to run the dogs on the beach. Rufus adored running on the sand, and tore madly about, chasing seagulls. We then returned to the port, boarding the ferry Armorique which sailed on time at three o'clock.
   The crossing wasn't unusually bouncy just a bit dull. We whiled away the time by having a meal, fish and chips plus a delicious dessert.the trip took six hours as usual, so we arrived in Plymouth at eight. Al was pleased to see us but we had to take care not to wake Mimi, who was spending the night with her. The next morning, we had the pleasure of our great-granddaughter's company, a great delight to Kim, who has really missed her, although a video link via Facebook has helped her stay in contact.

mardi 17 janvier 2017

Goodbye, Phyllis, sad death of our doyenne cat



About two years ago, we agreed to accept two elderly cats from John and Barbara , who were returning o the UK but couldn't take the cats, as they were going into sheltered accommodation. Although they were very fond of the cats, who were eighteen years old at the time, they couldn't find a host family, ad had asked the vet to put them down rather than send them to a home. You can imagine their relief hen we saw their appeal  and volunteered to offer them a home. They were hugely grateful and showered us with equipment for the elderly cats , even offering to pay for vet bills. We collected the cats and shut them in the lounge until they were used to their new address. Attoo passed on after about a year but Phyllis lasted up to yesterday , eating well and being an affectionate lap-cat pulling herself onto our laps by her front paws as her back feet were too weak. She plodded about like an old lady and we suspected that she had the feline equivalent of Alzheimer's. She purred when stroked, came when called, what more could be asked?
  She was almost twenty years old when her luck ran out. She was not keen on her food one day, and this morning when I put out her food she just looked at it. She felt cold when I lifted her up and fell on her side in her box. I realised she had passed on. It was scarcely unexpected, but sad nevertheless...
  We wrapped her in a pillow case and asked our gardening ladies to dig her a grave. One even shed a tear on hearing the news.
   She will be sadly missed, been a part of our life for a couple of years.....

   Bye for now, got to go to Niort for a MRI