Archive for November, 2018

My Autumn Harvest.

November 23, 2018

Oh My God.  The Puppy has just done a wee in the garden.  This is a First after two weeks.  Meanwhile the house is awash.  Sorry, I just had to let you all know.  The Blurb, which I now wish I hadn’t read, at least got that bit right.  Dachshunds don’t understand the purpose of gardens.   They think it’s for chasing the cat.

My Harvest, mostly from neighbours. I only managed half a dozen poxy Tomatoes and one half decent Quince.  The Squash Plants died.

Thirteen Marrows.  There is a limit to what one can do with Marrows.  You can’t give them away because everybody has got too many already.  You can’t dump them in the communal bin because the neighbour who so kindly have them to you might see them.  And I can’t be arsed to stuff them.

A big bag of Peaches, some of which were gratefully received by my friend.   Thank you for helping out.  But she didn’t want a Marrow.  Not even one.

Three large, round Courgettes.  They haven’t gone off yet.

About five kilos of Italian Tomatoes, so five jars of excellent Tomato Sauce.  They simmer down quite a lot, but at least that was fun.

Two Butternut Squashes, both hardened off.  They will keep for a bit while I think about it.

Three kilos of very large Chestnuts.  Very expensive to buy when in fact they are lying around on the ground for the taking here.  I have this theory that Brittany survived on Chestnuts during The War.  You can even make flour with them.  I bet you all didn’t know that.  Not that I am intending to try.  But loads of Chestnut Stuffing at Noel.  They will be used.

About three kilos of Walnuts, ditto expensive.  I am allergic to them to some considerable  distress digestively.  I even hoped I might die one dark night.  But Robin Dominic eats them, and they will keep for a while.

Apples.  Don’t even think about Apples.  Unless you know how to make Eau de Vie, which I don’t.  And the Travelling Still doesn’t come around anymore.  Those were interesting days, seeing  old coggers, often women, wheeling large containers of Cider to the Still when it parked up.  60% alcohol, and that was on a bad day.  Terrible stuff, but marginally more drinkable if you soak Prunes in it first, and if you are desperate for a drink.  Always carried around in plastic bags because it is illegal to sell it on.  But everyone knows what it is and who’s got any.  Sons are no longer allowed to inherit Daddy’s Licence to distill , so it is becoming scarce.  A bit sad really.  It was a way of life once upon a time.

The Still itself was a hoot a minute.  A beaten up wreck of a trailer, held together with bits of old rope and wire, and belching smoke.  I sometimes wondered how it didn’t actually blow up.

However, I do suspect that there are a few illegal Stills kicking around in the odd old barn.

All in all, a good harvest again, given with generosity and not much effort from me.

I do so love this place.


November 12, 2018

O’Connor.  That’s his name.  I was going to call him Oslo, but I am not unhappy with the name he was registered with, so decided not to change it.

O’Conner is a good Irish name for a half Irish owner of a German Sausage Dog.

He is a nine week old, short haired Dachshund.  Sort of Black, Brown and Grey.  Really pretty.

He wants to play with Charlotte, the blind, demented Pug.  Charlotte isn’t overly keen but she is a tolerant little soul.  The Cat left home, briefly, but came back for Dinner.

The soft toy I gave him is not looking good.  Nor is the door mat or the sofa blanket, and that’s just in twelve hours.  But he is just a baby.

All of the puppies were still there, he was the only unclaimed one.  But I would have chosen him anyway, so there’s a funny thing.

The Breeder, a very nice lady, was upset in the parting of, but I know that one only too well, which is why I eventually stopped breeding Shar Pei Puppies, and kept Romulus.  You can never be sure of what will happen to them.  You can only hope.  And the money isn’t as good as it sounds when you consider how much it costs to raise a litter of puppies.  By Law they have to be Chipped and Vaccinated if you are selling them.  Not everyone does this, of course.  But if they are found wandering and haven’t been chipped then they will be Sterilised by The SPA.  For which you will be overcharged if you want the dog back.  And The Breeder will be Fined.

For those who don’t know, It is the year of The “O” again in France.  All Dog Names start with “O”this year.

I suspect that he will be called Connor.  I shall save O’Connor for when he is being naughty, which could be quite often from all I’ve heard.  But he is very sweet.

Mais, En Y Var.


November 11, 2018

Tekel is French for Dachshund and I am getting The Puppy today.  I hope.  Or do I.

The owner is selling him to me for a slightly reduced price because he is the last one.  But he has been vaccinated and micro chipped, which doesn’t come cheap.

Anyway, I was awake at 4am this morning for some odd reason, so I did a bit more Googling.  I might wish I hadn’t.

Tekels are definitely Diggers.  Shit.  Although the thought had vaguely crossed my mind, so we have already rearmoured the gate.  I shall have to do a bit more underground work on that one.  A Trench with big boulders is one option.  And perhaps a couple of land mines.  Whoops, No, that won’t do, unless I want to turn him into a very expensive sausage.  Sausage Dog?  No, you are right.  Not funny.  So leave it at the boulders.

The Good News is that if they can’t escape then they only dig up the garden.

They love 10 kilometre hikes.  No chance of that.  I have trouble walking one kilometre these days.

They are prone to obesity, basically because they are greedy pigs, but I’ve already got that one cracked with Charlotte.  And if I feed then at the same time they will both be too busy to nick each other’s food.  Although I would back Charlotte on winning this race.

Difficult to house train because they don’t like getting wet.  Ditto Charlotte.  Fortunately I have a tiled floor and no carpets.  I moved the mats years ago.  So not much chance of a disaster there.  And no point in getting upset about nothing.

They bark a lot and sound like Rottweilers.  This could be a good thing, except for the fact that no one breaks into anywhere around here.  But you never know.

They are mind bogglingly sweet with great soulful eyes that look on you with adoration.  This could be a first.  And who knows, he might just behave.  All of the others always did.  We shall have to wait and see.

My Father.

November 5, 2018

My Dad, or Daddy, as I later resorted to calling him.  Probably from some inherent snobbery, although I don’t know where that came from.  There was nothing even remotely upper class about my family.  Perhaps I was just taking the piss.

I didn’t see much of him during the first seven years of my life.  He was a Chindit who blindly followed Orde Wingate into Burma, into the heart land of The Japs.  Not a frightfully good idea as it turned out.  In fact a bit of a disaster.  They had to cut the throats of the Mules to eat.  They couldn’t shoot them because The Japs would have heard.  I never found out if my father was an animal lover.  Probably not.  He was The Camp Cook.

But it does have to be said that Orde Wingate always led from up front.  Mad, and brave as well.  They all loved him to bits.  Or so they say.

But then they had to get out across The Irrawaddy in Flood, and Daddy couldn’t swim.  Christ knows how he managed that.  Only one third of these men actually survived.  Self preservation, no doubt.

Daddy never told me any of this.  I had to read the books.  He never talked about The War.

But he did tell me one interesting thing.  Having been sent to India after the debacle, he was once sent to arrest Ghandi.  God knows where in India.  It was a big place in those days.  But they did have Dhobi Wallers.  That is almost certainly on Google, so look it up.

Daddy said, “Get in the truck, Mate.”  To which Ghandi replied, “Allah be with you, my son.”  Daddy said,  “Allah be with you too, Mate, get in the truck.”  All verbatim, I swear.  I was riveted and got Daddy to repeat this endlessly.  I ever was a Ghandi fan.  Although I don’t think Daddy was.

A strange man, was my father.  He looked the spiting image of a Ghurka.  Something to do with the Irish Romany mayhap.

It took me so long to spot the major flaw in his story.  Which most of you have already spotted, probably.

Ghandi was a Hindu.

So ends a lovely tale of what little I know of my Father and The War, and even that is almost certainly not true.

But he was a Chindit.

The Wood Burner.

November 1, 2018

Fired up The Wood Burner this morning. It’s getting a bit chilly here. So for the first time in twenty five years I shall be warm this Winter. God knows why people think that Brittany is warm. In Winter it isn’t. My Lavatory Cistern has a nasty habit of freezing, but it is a bit close to the back door. And it is something to be done with the washing up water when the flush fails.

It wasn’t a great problem because I have always been a More Clothes sort of person, especially if money is bit tight, which on my Pension it always is. It’s a way of life to me. Albeit ever a good one.

This second hand Wood Burner was acquired by my dear boy late last Winter, due entirely to his efforts working in someone’s garden, along with the rather large amount of wood he also acquired. Brits don’t actually understand Fire Wood. I do because I have watched The Bretons for many years. Acquire it as cheap as possible. Stack it and let it get wet. Then cover it. And then get it into the Wood Shed. It takes about two years for it to be fit to burn.

Many years ago, and on a whim, I bought some rather expensive cast iron cooking pots, which I so rarely used. I didn’t really need them you see.
Well, now they have just come into their own. There is Pie Meat cooking on the stove.

Recently, I allowed myself the odd ridiculous splurge which occasionally overcomes me, and spent 76 Euros on a cast iron Tea Kettle. Such a pretty thing. But my son won’t use the water to make tea because it’s got rust in it. I tend to see this as a daily dose of Iron for free, but Dom’s not having it.

I made a mistake you see. I removed the little basket that is meant for Tea Bags, or Leaf Tea, it doesn’t matter which. If I had left it in then Dom wouldn’t have known there was rust in in it because it would have been brown anyway. However, the hot water comes in handy for washing up, and the odd hot water bottle. So he and I agree to differ now and again.
In fact it’s a miracle that we get on so well. I wouldn’t want to live with me.