samedi 1 octobre 2016

Back to France on the overnight Ferry

Late Friday evening, we boarded the Brittany Ferries Armorique, to come back to France. First the two dogs had to be scanned, which was done outside the check-in kiosk, a scary task for the Dane, Rufus, as his chip failed to register at first. At last all the formalities were completed and we could board the vessel, parking on the car deck and taking the lift to our cabin. Luckily we are fairly slick at settling in, and we settled down for a night's sleep.
   In the morning, we awoke to the irritating musical chime of the alarm and performed our morning routine to abandon our cabin. We waited on deck 6 until we were called to descend to the car deck, where we found the dogs waiting impatiently for our arrival. We cleared customs with considerably less fuss than at the UK exit point then drove to the Gare Maritime to have breakfast coffee and a croissant.Then it was a case of heading South for Nantes, where we are at present, having eaten a good meal at the Courte Paille. Dog walking and feeding, and so to bed.

Bye for now, going to get my  head down...

samedi 24 septembre 2016

Disaster strikes new hospitalisation

 It happened on Thursday morning. I had taken the dogs to Radford lake for their morning walk, leaving Kim in bed. I had climbed the field, when Laika's lead became entangled in my legs . Next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with a lady bending over me. I had no recollection of the events previously. She told me I had fallen and hit my head and was to stay still until the ambulance arrived. I took out my mobile phone and phoned Kim, who was very surprised to hear a strange lady saying she was with Richard.
   The ambulance arrived and the two attendants bent over me. The dogs were regarding me, as I lay on the ground . I realised that my left arm and hand were weak as they had been after my stroke last October but my legs were normal, apart from a slight groin strain. The ambulance staff pulled me to my feet and led me to the ambulance, which was waiting outside the park. The ladies offered to drive the car back home with the dogs.
   The ambulance took me to Derriford Hospital, where I was admitted to the emergency department, later to the Stroke unit, where I was put in isolation, as I had spent some time in a French hospital, I had rectal swabs to check for infection! Now it's all to do again, physio on my arm, regaining the use of my hand etc... Hey ho at least the leg is normal.
   I have been discharged from hospital last night back to Goosewell Terrace, in the care of Kim and Alyson. Can't drive, of course, so Kim has to take over the driving for the moment . At the moment she is walking the dogs with Katie and Daniel, we are going back to France on Friday night.

  Bye for now, going to drink a cup of coffee Alyson has made me.

mardi 20 septembre 2016

Where's the tank gone?

     Driving up to Roscoff yesterday, to take the ferry to Plymouth, we were disappointed to find our last route marker had disappeared. Ever since we have been coming to France, this American WW Two tank has been standing outside a war museum on the outskirts of Roscoff. True, the museum has long since closed and the tank has been attacked by scrap thieves, losing its tracks and various detachable parts. Now it has gone altogether, this is a photo I took a few years ago, even then it was in a sad state. I do hope it's gone to a good home, not to the scrapyard. We shall miss its presence at the side of the road as we arrive in, or leave Roscoff. The old order changeth......
  Bye for now, resting after the long trip.

samedi 27 août 2016

A walk in the woods- a bit alarming !

  It hasn't rained for more than a month and the daytime temperatures have been high this last week, real canicule or heatwave conditions. We have had to adapt  our lifestyle to the conditions, closing down doors and windows once the morning cool has passed. Luckily, our double glazed doors and windows serve very well to keep out the heat, so we are relatively cool and comfortable inside. As it is too hot to walk the dogs during the day, I take them out first thing at about 7.30 just after sunrise. It's not a problem for me to do, as I like getting up early but Kim is not in any condition to come at that time! It's cool and pleasant to walk up the wooded track just at the end of our road and, as I shared in my last blog, Laika is so much easier to walk with the training collar attached.
  I usually walk ' the square ' a distance of about three kilometres. This morning, as I was half way through,traversing a thickly wooded section, Rufus galloped on ahead, obviously in chase of something, possibly a deer. However, a large creature rushed out of the woods on the right of the track,and dived into the left hand woods. It was the size of a large Labrador but lower on its legs and ran nose down,unlike a dog. With some horror I recognised a wild sanglier or pig. Both dogs set off in chase and for the first time, Laika ignored the recall on her collar. I called both dogs as loudly as l could and after a minute Rufus pushed his way out of the trees. I praised him and leaded him up then took the left hand track at the junction in the direction of the chase. I was pleased and relieved when Laika too came out of the forest, neither dog was hurt, thank Goodness. It's the first time I've seen a wild boar in our woods, though I've seen traces of their digging sometimes.
   I was very pleased to get back home,safe and sound with no damage to the dogs! Phew!
    Bye for now, going to close up the house to keep cool!

vendredi 19 août 2016

The conversion of Ste Laika.

     I have spoken before of the entirely false air of innocence on the face of this deceptive hound. Though very lovable and affectionate, she is strong-willed and disobedient while being walked. Her chief delight is in hunting, she sets up a desperate howling and will chase anything that runs over the horizon. She will then depart on its trail and not return for hours, causing great worry. To avoid the anxiety of the wait, plus the questions over what she might be up to in the interim, we had the custom of only walking her on a long lead.
  We had thought of buying a remote-control training device, but they are quite expensive. However, while at the Hope shop at Lezay, we saw one on sale for a fiver or so, so we snapped it up. This consists of a collar with a couple of electrical contacts to strap on the dog's neck, plus the remote unit to be carried. This allows you to choose between an electric shock, a buzzer or a bleep and has a range of about 200 yards. The idea is that if  Laika bolts and fails to respond to a recall shout, she can be given a reminder of the appropriate intensity.
  However, we had a pleasant surprise, when we got around to trying it out. As soon as the collar was buckled on, Laika's behaviour changed miraculously for the better! She walked quietly to heel, came back instantly when called and in fact behaved so perfectly that I had very little opportunity of trying out our hi-tech purchase. We can only suppose that this is not her first experience of a training collar. Be that as it may, I can now take her out without the bulky long lead reel with confidence in retaining control. It's far less stressful and I think even Laika can enjoy her sniff about, without being tied by the neck. At worst, a bleep on the collar brings her trotting straight back. A most worth-while purchase!

    Bye for now, feeding time for the animals...

jeudi 11 août 2016

Have you got the bottle for it?

   For some time now we have been considering reroofing one of our row of outbuildings on the far side of our courtyard. This building was described as the sheep shed on its meticulously labelled keys, when we bought the house and did contain a manger and two stalls. The roof was insulated by the ingenious method of an extra layer of planks,the gap between filled with straw. However, this held any leaks, and rot has established itself in the beams, causing partial collapse.
  We asked our neighbour, Ian, to help us with the roof, but he was understandably reluctant until the bottles were removed. Shelves had been added by previous owners and filled with an assortment of wine and champagne bottles! its not that they were great drinkers, you understand, but they did collect the grapes from the vine growing along the building and ferment and bottle their own wine, and a few hundred bottles might come in handy... the bottles were empty, or they would never have been left behind after the house sale, of course!
   We have already taken a trailer-load of empties to the tip, but I have half filled the trailer again and there are plenty left, as you can see. Never mind, they will be shifted, bit by bit.

 Bye for now, going to load some bottles...

lundi 8 août 2016

Chase the Wind

  Yesterday, we decided to visit the Wind Fair near Villefagnan. We had done so several years ago and enjoyed it. It celebrates the restored windmill, which is set going for the day, you can take a tour of the tower and see grain being ground and sieved ready to bake bread.
  Besides the usual stalls, there was a
 demonstration of horse-pulled ploughing,several single and double teams pulling the old-fashioned ploughshares, besides the horses there was a pair of Poitou donkeys, though these seemed to be living up to their reputation for obstinacy.
  It was extremely hot in the sun and after a look round, we bought a couple of cans of drink and sat in the marquee, watching the world going round enjoying the fun. Thre was a smartly-dressed man on high stilts and he and his ground-based friend were showing off their juggling skills. Once we had cooled off, we were glad to return home to a cool, thick-walled house for the evening. Still, it was an interesting and entertaining day.
    Bye for now, nearly time to feed the animals.