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

vendredi 6 janvier 2017

Christmas at Lille


       As was our normal routine, we decided to spend Christmas with our friends Cecile and Patrick at Watignies, close to Lille in northern France. Although my health was a little shaky, we decided to go for it and make the trip. We took two days to cover the distance, spending the night near Charles de Gaule airport at a Formula One hotel at St Witz.
   Cecile and Patrick welcomed us warmly at their home near the centre of Watignies. It is a most luxurious modern house created from Patrick's father's veg garden, approached via a tunnel from the centre of the town,which seems to lead to the rear yard of a cafe. You wriggle your car down this unpromising entry, turn sharp right in front of a small terrace of houses, including the house of P's father, turn sharp left and you find yourself in a sort of oasis-garden in the middle of the town, facing Cecile and Patrick 's large home, which originally had a granny annex for Cecile's mother, sadly deceased a year ago.
  We were given the guest room on the first floor. C and p's daughter and friend were also staying but as Dimitry is allergic to cats, they stayed in the caravan parked in the garden and all cats were prohibited from entering the house, which didn't please them! However the couple proved invaluable in assisting Cecile in cooking meals. However, we were 32 people at dinner on Christmas Day and Eric Sacleux, and Patrick were responsible for preparing and serving the sumptuous repas. Our contribution was five goat's cheeses on leaves much appreciated at Lille. An iced Christmas cake was also baked and taken up with us.
    We took the dogs with us, but our friend Agnes was kind enough to look after the cats, poultry and sheep, as well as keeping an eye on the house. In spite of our qualms before going, we were made so welcome and had such a great time that we returned home very much happier than when we left.
    Bye for now, I'll try to blog more regularly in future.

dimanche 27 novembre 2016

Further progress report from the Ark

   In my last Ark, I told of the death of Indie and the health problems of Hero and Storm. After in-patient treatment by our vet's branch at Brioux, both cats are doing well, looking less bedraggled and eating well. We are keeping a close eye on all our felines to check that they are not coming down with the same poisoning syndrome, but so far all is well. The treatment of the two invalids with vitamin K tablets is continuing, much to the animals displeasure and scratches to the administrators.
    The new toilet is in place and is much appreciated, we sit there with smiles on our faces and can flush away the results with the press of a button rather than by filling a bucket. I must express my thanks to our helpful neighbour Ian, who fitted it and researched the cheapest model at Castorama. The Niort store was most helpful, not only did they have the model in stock at a very low price but they advised us to buy fixing screws and a stop valve and helped us to load the heavy package on the van. I would recommend them most highly.

   Bye for now, breakfast calls.

  PS Kim has a horrid cold so we are not going to Church for fear of infecting the congregation. I shall be looking after her at home.

jeudi 17 novembre 2016

Ark Update



The last Ark told of the death of Indie. At the time, we thought this as due to his condition, the culmination of a lifetime struggle against coryza, together with the trauma of his op. Since then, we have had two other cats go down with the same symptoms, refusing to eat and an increasing lassitude.  On Tuesday, we took Storm and Hero to the vet at Brioux, as the local surgery at Chef had no appointments free. We suspected an infectious epidemic, but the vets checked for poisoning, and found both cats had a substance in their blood. She suspected rat poison and administered an antidote, together with rehydration. The cats were kept in until this morning, when the vet agreed we could collect them as they were much better and showing interest in food again. This afternoon, we installed them in the lounge, tempting them with various treats and I a pleased to report they are showing progress. We checked for poisons in all the out-buildings without success. The vet suggested the victims may have eaten a poisoned rat and I did in fact find a huge rat in the cour, dead with a wound in it's throat.
  We'll keep you posted on their progress. 
  To change the subject, our toilet stopped flushing a couple of days ago, and we asked Ian,our neighbour to check it for us. He bought a new syphon for us but had severe problems fitting it. Our loo is a bit of an antique imported from Britain and the replacement wouldn't fit. Ian advised replacing the whole WC so we're going to Niort tomorrow to buy a unit. In the meantime, its being flushed by buckets of water! My DIY wood suround will have to go, unfortunately.

It's been a problematical few days for the Ark and its crew, but thing can only get better,I hope...bye for now