mercredi 11 avril 2018

Knife crime in the UK

   There seems to be a spate of murders in London at present, figures suggest the death toll is worse than New York ! The remedy is to remove all knives from people, and in England, as in France, anyone caught in possession of a bladed weapon is instantly arrested and charged by the police. I feel that the remedy is not in the possession of a knife, but in the changing of the attitude of persons, especially the younger generation. When I was a teenager, admittedly in the dim and distant past as I am now 76 it was a stage of growing up to get your first penknife at about 12 years of age. All small boys had one in their pocket, admittedly not very sharp. The only person in danger of being cut was the owner and this was carefully concealed from our parents in case the implement was withdrawn. We used our ne knives to peel sticks, carve wood and slash vegetation threatening to block the paths we took on our rambles... The thought of stabbing someone never occurred to us. British kids just didn't DO that, it was the Spanish  and Italians that sank to these depths.... Yet I don't remember any cases of knife crime from my teenage years, though the term teenager was not invented til the sixties.
   Incidentally, the ' weapon' shown in my header pic was issued to Mediteranean army units to be the most unwarlike tool imaginable, incapable of stabbing anyone, perhaps these could be authorised by the Authorities..
   In my own case, I would be lost without my Swiss Army knife and continue to carry it guiltily. I would starve to death without its scissors and short blades as my left hand is no too weak to tear open food wrappings!

vendredi 30 mars 2018

Another death in the village

   We have recently heard that Blanche, Phillipe's mother, died in hospital . It must have been very sudden, as she had asked to return home a couple of days earlier, though the hospital hadn't allowed this. Very tragic for Phillipe and all his family to lose both in such a short time and sad for all at La Mort Limouzin.

mercredi 7 mars 2018

Quite a week for the Ark

Earlier in the week, Mrs Noah decided to replace the grey cat, Blue, who disappeared weeks ago. I was not so sure but when she located an abandoned female cat who had been wandering for weeks, already chipped and sterilised we were touched by her plight. She had been traced to her former owner by a refuge but far from cries of joy, the hard hearted owner refused to accept her back! She had passed a period of mourning , she said and had replaced the cat... Kim agreed to accept the cat called Habby and to pick it up on Tuesday. The refuge turned out to be in the Bay of Arcachon, a three hour drive away! The weather was a bit chance, very cold with snow a distinct possibility . Fortune favoured us, for the day was uniformly bright , though freezing cold with a bitter wind. The Satnav took us to the town and we found the refuge by asking at the Tourist Office who kindly supplied a map. The volunteer in charge introduced us to Habby, somewhat shy as was only natural. With some difficulty, we stuffed her into our cat box picked up the paperwork for the change of chip details and set off home, arriving just before dusk. The cat is currently confined to the lounge and we are slowly making friends.
  The very next day, it snowed heavily the journey would have been very different if we had gone then!
    We had noted a back and white collie/ spaniel cross hanging round the village. We tried to approach it but it was very shy, not hungry as it didn't eat a stale bread thrown to it. On Thursday morning, I went out to feed the animals and found one sheep dead and the other bitten in the neck! They had been attacked, most probably by this dog, as there were traces in the snow of rather small pads. We arranged a vets appointment that afternoon for the survivor, who we confined to the closed cour. Mr Marty sewed up the wound and injected antibiotics and pain relief, leaving two syringes wit us to inject on the Sunday. We got Phillipe to help with these, as they had to be done in the inner thigh, which he kindly did..
    Not a week we can recall with pleasure!

mardi 30 janvier 2018

Funeral of Georges Touchard

   Yesterday at three o'clock , we went to Loubille Catholic Church to take part in our friend's funeral. We have attended several ceremonies in France over  the years and were somewhat prepared. We dressed very warmly, expecting the church to be cold but in the event, it was quite warm. People in France dress less formally than in England many of the congregation were wearing jeans...
  We all waited outside for the arrival of the funeral car, a very shiny grey machine with the coffin and loads of wreaths. The funeral director took immediate charge, the coffin was unloaded and wheeled in on a trolley, the family, who were formally dressed, were marshalled in first, followed by the other worshippers and we were ushered into our seats. The order of service was printed on small leaflets, with various hymns. The church was quite full, Georges was well-known locally.
  The singing was a bit pitiful to ears accustomed to the lustier singing of the non-conformist
churches... Typical of Catholic Churches though the people won't sing if they are not sure of the tune. Actually, most of the people are not regular churchgoers, only attending for Christenings, weddings and funerals! Two ladies were in charge of the ceremony, there didn't seem to be an officiating Priest.
  After a normal Catholic Mass, the family first, then the other worshippers were invited to file past the coffin to take their final farewell to Georges and to sprinkle the coffin with holy water with a bunch of herbs. Then everyone filed out and stood almost blocking the road until the coffin was carried out by four bearers from the funeral director's. It was loaded onto the vehicle which drove slowly off , followed by the family and the congregation in a slow procession, to the cemetery, where Georges will be interred in the family plot. The coffin was installed over the pre-dug grave. After a short service, everyone filed past the coffin to take a final farewell.
   Everyone then left the graveyard and assembled outside to greet friends and have a good gossip. We went into the cafe to enjoy a much needed coffee with several friends .
  Bye for now, it's next morning, I've lit the stove and will start to feed the flock.

lundi 29 janvier 2018

Noah's progress--latest

  I have to report a set-back to my recovery-- yesterday I was trying to load a large log into the log-burner when I lost my balance and fell forward into the hearth, hitting my ribs a painful blow against the stove, as I was unable to save myself as the stove was hot.. I thought at first that I'd broken a rib, luckily I hadn't but the pain was agonising . The soreness prevented me from excercising my poorly arm and I went to bed early with a hot-water-bottle applied to the sore part. This morning it was a bit better and continued to improve throughout the day but Kim had to drive herself to Zumba, at Sauze Vaussais . I did succeed in driving the car this afternoon but found walking the dogs painful, and cold really affected the ribs. I'm hoping a further nights sleep with a bottle and a paracetamol may do the trick . One step forward, two back...

  Bye for now, going to sort some tea

dimanche 28 janvier 2018

End of an Era Death of Georges Touchard

  On Friday, Claudie, Phillipe's wife came down to tell us of the sad news of Georges death. He passed away on Thurs afternoon at his home, after a long illness. His health recently has been poor, he suffered agonies from a back destroyed by a lifetime of literally back-breaking work on his farm. When we first arrived in Mort Limouzin , we often saw him and his wife, Blanche milking his herd of 80 goats in his little veg patch opposite the farmhouse or carrying the pails of milk into the dairy to put in the cooler. We would take down our bottle to have it filled with the still warm, frothiy goats milk, delicious on cereal or in a rice pudding. No comparison with the pasteurised and strong-flavoured goats-milk sold in the shops. Sometimes we would meet him, leading his herd to eat grass or shrubs along the local foot-paths or digging in his veg garden beside the road. Memories of a vanished time...another village inhabitant gone not many of us left now. Lately, Phillipe or Claudie had to call at the farm to help him undress etc and he did have a home-help daily I believe. Once, I was called in to help Claudie, when he fell out of bed and couldn't get up. Most undignified , a sad come-down for a self-reliant farmer... I'm sure he was ready to go. Still, a shock for his family, but at least he died at home.
     RIP Georges, it's been nice knowing you.
  Bye for now.

samedi 20 janvier 2018

It's a cow!


   It's pouring down this morning and has been unusually wet for days . There's a risk of floods as the rivers overflow and the sheep field's like a marsh, together with the duck enclosure. The ducks seem to be able to bear it although one of my previous bosses retorted to one of my section's repeated comment that it was good weather for ducks that ducks don't actually like rain. We are thinking of moving them into the hens' enclosure though that's scarcely any drier. At least there is a dryish area that is protected from the rain.
  On the brighter side, the log burner is burning well, the wind seems to be in the right quarter to draw it up. So we're warm inside at least.
  There was a choir practice at Matha this morning, but we didn't go, too far in these conditions. Besides, with the fall in value of the Pound due to this pernicious Brexit vote, we are struggling to afford the expense of the transits. The French President emphasised that to gain access to the market, we would have to agree to all the conditions of belonging, so why the hell are we leaving? We seem to be agreeing one by one to each condition. The E U is demanding to continue access to our territorial waters over which we are reserving for our own fishing fleet, what's left of it. Are we going to protect our trawlers with gun-boats if we have any left? Have they forgotten the Cod- War against Iceland a much more feeble military power than France...Madness, and we want to sell most of the catch in the E U anyway!
  End of rant, going to have breakfast!