samedi 2 décembre 2017

The Ark visits a creepy site

  Last Sunday we went to Chez Tante Mabel at Pers to buy a new scented candle ( no, that's not the site I'm referring to) and on the way back we decided to visit the local Lanterne des Morts. These tall towers with a light at the top are present in several regional graveyards and used to have a lantern lit at nights. This was supposed to act as a guide to call restless spirits back to their graves after wandering abroad during the night, to stop them haunting the living during the day. These towers have always given us the heeebie-jeebies , not surprisingly. The light was hoisted up with a rope from a small hatch in the base and burned all night. I don't know what prevents spirits from roaming all day since the lantern has not been lit... Creepy, or what?
   Bye for now, going to ward off evil spirits with a cup of coffee!

dimanche 26 novembre 2017

The Ark was not impressed...

   On Friday, we went to buy a new apricot tree to increase the variety of our orchard. As our predecessors have left us several mature trees, a quince, two figs and lots of wild plums or damsons,and an apple, we felt obliged to plant some new trees. We have already established a pear,two peach trees and a cherry and we felt an apricot would continue the good work. We heard of a local supplier at Chives, and arranged to visit him on Friday afternoon.
  We bought the new bare-root tree and loaded it into the Berlingo by lowering half the rear seat back. The Green Machine is most adaptable to carry unusual loads! On the way, we had seen a sign to the Menhir de Chives, and decided to visit it.  We found a path leading into the woods and having parked the van we walked round the bend and there it was! On the banks of a dried-up stream stood the Menhir in question. A notice board beside it explained that it was perhaps the only example of these standing stones still in its original position . Dating from Neolithic times, it was originally polished  and had a pyramid-shaped top, but the intervening thousands of years had left it a bit moth-eaten..But what immediately struck me, was its very modest size! Barely taller than Mrs Noah, not very impressive to eyes which have gazed at Stonehenge or Avebury Rings or even Carnac. Interesting, perhaps but could do better...

 Bye for now, basking in the heat from our stove keeping the cold away!

jeudi 23 novembre 2017

It's a matter of taste!

  For some time, my weight seems to have slightly diminished and this worries both Mrs Noah and my doctor. A test seems to reveal a certain lack of protein, and my wife felt the doctor was reproaching her for not feeding me properly. She makes me eat Greek style yoghurts, which I quite like as they are sweetened and fruit flavoured. She makes me stir in a spoonful of wheat germ, OK as it has a neutral flavour and doesn't spoil the taste. Her latest suggestion, is to add Brewers yeast to my cornflakes, to help the digestion. The packet reccommended a heaped tablespoon, we compromised on a dessert spoonful. When I tried the resultant mixture, I found it unbelievably foul, quite bitter and unpleasant. Kim told me I was making a fuss about nothing, regard it as a medicine, she said when I complained it was ruining the taste of my cereal. She soon changed her tune, when she tried her own plate, being quite unable to eat it! We will try yeast tablets perhaps, she compromised....

   Bye for now, drinking a coffee to take away the memory.

samedi 18 novembre 2017

Who's a timid toad, then?

    During our recent stay in England, we visited the city of Portsmouth and undertook a tour of the town, which we used to know well. Eventually, we ended up parking well along the beach towards Eastney, and stopped to let the dogs run on the beach. There was a gentle surf breaking on the shingle, which Rufus, the Great Dane, found very alarming. He would run madly along the shingle and swerve towards the sea but would recoil in horror when a wave broke towards him. He seemed to think the water was trying to catch his feet, and would leap back out of reach. As the wave retreated, he followed it up, only to recoil once again as the wave advanced towards his feet once more.
   What a wimp! In spite of his impressive size, he's just a pussy-cat at heart....

jeudi 16 novembre 2017

Return from Plymouth

     The Ark has been spending a fortnight in Plymouth , staying with our daughter, Alyson. We like to take the dogs with us and as they worry Al's cat and tend to leave hair on Al's immaculate house, the live in the back of the car. People might feel this is cruel to the dogs but they seem to like it and feel more at home in 'their' van than in a strange house. When we finally arrived home and were unloading the van, they kept trying to get back in...
  Brittany Ferries took us from Roscoff in Finisterre direct to Plymouth but the return journey was via Portsmouth to St Malo, as the Roscoff route closes during the winter. We had gone to attend a surprise fiftieth birthday party for our middle daughter, Kerry. Unfortunately, her husband, Darren, had a major heart attack only shortly before, so it was by no means certain that it would still be a surprise or even take place at all! Nevertheless, we decided to go anyway, as all the arrangements had been made for Kim and Al to stay in a local hotel. I had decided to stay in Plymouth to look after the dogs, rather than put them into kennels, which would have distressed them. Besides, I am forbidden to drink, due to my medication , and it's very boring to be the only sober person at a party where everyone else is increasingly merry....
  I the event, Kerry was very surprised at the party, and the guests, who had come long distances to share in the event. Kim and Al drove all the way to Coventry and returned the next day, so they were really exhausted.
  We had arranged to spend a fortnight in Plymouth , seeing our new grandchildren and our local friends and ex neighbours. We were due to return on Wednesday, but someone suggested that the date was, in fact, the Tuesday. We had already packed up ready to leave for the drive to Portsmouth on the Tuesday morning, when I thought to check the ferry ticket. It was for the Wednesday night! We had already stripped the beds and said our goodbyes, so decided to go up anyway, and try to rearrange the crossing, or stay in a hotel if this wasn't possible. Unfortunately, there wasn't a St Malo crossing that night, so we spent the night in a very nice hotel and had a tour of Portsmouth the next day. We had both spent several years in Portsmouth and Gosport many years ago but the city had changed out of all recognition and we had difficulty in recognising any of it. We did drive along the seafront towards Eastney and the beach was much as it was but the city itself was strange to our eyes...
   We checked in to the ferry terminal with no more than the usual difficulty in finding the dogs' chips. Then followed the usual interminable wait for boarding. Brittany Ferries would be lost on the Calais crossing! We had a quick meal, then settled down in our cabin. Luckily, the crossing was smooth and we slept quite well. The French arrival checks were much easier than the English procedure. Then, it was just a question of a five hour drive back to Loubille... Tonight, we are quite tired and looking forward to an early night
  Bye for now, going to enjoy watching our own TV.

lundi 6 novembre 2017

The Ark has trouble with fireworks

   The Ark is currently parked in front of Aly's house in Goosewell. The dogs, Rufus and Laika are living in the Green Machine, which they normally take in their stride.This time,however, there is a snag--both are terrified of fireworks!  Every family in this fairly densely populated area seems to have been having a firework party in their garden, and both dogs need comfort and reassurance . Normally , a dog guard separates their domain from the rest of the van, but the dogs attacked it to escape into the interior smashing it almost beyond has been necessary for one of us to sit with them and cuddle both dogs, a somewhat chilly sojourn, needing much dressing up! They also have to be fed early, while it is still light, otherwise they are too upset to eat. Hopefully, the party now seems to be over, perhaps the Ark can now return to normal. I shall try to repair the dog guard tomorrow...

Bye for now the dogs have settled and I'm in for a warm and a meal.

Recording of Songs of Praise

  On Friday we attended Hope Baptist Church, ou Plymouth home church,  to assist at the Christmas recording of Songs of Praise. As there was only one camera we had to sing each verse up to four times, keeping the same expression on our faces! The various takes could then be amalgamated. For the purpose of the recording, it was deemed to be the eighth of December, so we ate mince pies afterwards, Yummm. I suppose the recording will be joined to other churches, and something which took us over an hour to make will last only a few seconds... Still it was interesting to attend.
 Our Pasteur, Andrew, made a most moving testimony about his cancer, his faith is a great example to us all.

   Bye for now, see you later on Songs of Praise!