Sunday, 18 August 2019

Mrs Pins.

Mrs Pins is my daughter Tenpin's bear. She has two baby bears (one bottom left), and as tradition insists; just one eye. She was a present from my mother. 

Of my three children's own personal bears (Bryn, Harry, and Mrs Pins) she has to be my favourite. I've not painted either Bryn or Harry, but Harry does have his own passport (below)

I like bears. They are usually a child's first real possession, and as such are treasured.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Danger looming.

Someone once said 'it's not the name of your political party that counts, but what is right for your country'; and I couldn't agree more.

With most UK political parties in turmoil, our allegiances need to be towards policy rather than the colour of rosette we used to (or still do) wear.

I have always been a 'middle-of-the-road' Conservative voter; neither blindly agreeing with every Tory policy, nor rejecting sensible ideas from the otherwise crazy left. Of course I've always actually voted Conservative, but that was more from fear of the loony alternatives; I'm no luddite; we've all seen what damage they can do.

So, with UK politics (or more the political system) in such a mess, it's difficult to know what one would do in the face of a sudden General Election. Luckily (?) I no longer qualify for a postal vote, but I think I would have abstained anyway.

Dear Caroline (greenie) Lucas has suggested that the country be run by an all female cabinet made up of inter-party MP's; but she was always crazy. One of the more radical of Corbyn's Marxist comrades has suggested going to see The Queen and demanding that The Socialists take over; start building those barricades lads. The schoolgirl leader of the Lib-Dims wants another referendum. And Boris has promised to lock-up more criminals, and ban the use of drugs in prison. Yup; everything is reasonably normal for 'The Silly Season'.

Personally I'd like to sack the whole bloody lot of them, and start again from scratch.

Meanwhile Brexit still looms.

Friday, 16 August 2019

The Holiday Business.


From what I've seen, most people in the UK who move from town to country, are looking for a property with 'letting potential'. They not only want a home, but an easy stay-at-home income as well.

Many years ago I was at a party when a total stranger asked me 'when do your lets begin?'. When I realised what he meant, I explained to him that I wasn't in the house-letting business. He seemed amazed that any Brit' living in France didn't augment their income by letting holiday accommodation. He obviously needed the money.

Very few would turn down a little extra income, but when you move to the countryside for peace and quiet, only to import tourists, it rather defeats the purpose. When you find that your surrounding neighbours are doing the same, it becomes worrying.

The S W of France has been popular with British holidaymakers for the past 40 years or so, but this year with Brexit looming I've noticed a distinct lack of GB registered cars on the roads. I fear that many of the Brit' owned cash-cow Gites will soon remain empty; unless they specifically aim for the Dutch market, and are prepared to fork-out for 'expensive management services'.

When we moved to our tiny hamlet, we had just two very quiet neighbours. They were 'cultured' people who loved the peace, quiet, and cleanliness of their surroundings as much as we did, and we got on extremely well. These days things are very different and next summer, if the shipping container 'holiday village' is up and running, there could be about 35 holidaymakers, and roughly the same amount of residents all crammed into our tiny settlement. For someone who really treasured his solitude, it could prove to be a bit over-populated. I'm already encountering strangers in unusual places.

I know it's an old chestnut, but 'the good old days' definitely were 'good old days'. What was once a lovely quiet spot has now become rather over-crowded, and not knowing anything about who all these temporary summer visitors might be, I fear we may all have to start locking things away!

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Billy again.

This is how Billy arrived in mid-January, a tiny mess of black and white fur in a straw-lined box. As you might imagine, I was rather taken aback. I hadn't anticipated having another dog after the death of Bok.

This is Billy today, nearing his final size; he's not a big dog, not all Border Collies are. He has a beautiful soft coat, endless energy, and a great sense of fun. I recently went out mushrooming whilst he was absent up at the barn, but 30 minutes later he managed to find me in the thick of the woods. My first dog 'Hamlet' used to do the same; 'find daddy' became his favourite game.

He still has a few 'faults'. He jumps up on us and play bites, he barks at strangers (but I don't mind this), and he has selective hearing when being called.

When we had our beautiful Labrador, Monty, it seemed as if every advertisement for dog food, sofas, or house insurance, featured a Monty doppelganger; now it seems as if Border Collies have replaced Labs, and suddenly they are everywhere.

We have six boys, from two to thirteen, in the house for a while; I'm hoping he rounds them up, and keeps them under control.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Bastards!

I'd thought that the buzzing was coming from Bees on a flowering shrub just outside the Pump House door, but I was mistaken; they were inside.

Having 'hoovered' the bottom of the pool, I was just flushing away all the dirt from the filter (backwashing), when I saw a largish swarm of Wasps above the door. They were looking at me with menace in their eyes.

Two of them stung me. One just above my left knee, and the second much higher up on my right leg (ahem). I was of course wearing shorts.

So I taught the little blighters a lesson, and sprayed the nest with Wasp-U-Hate. It seems to have done the job.

As I say almost every other day; "If it ain't one thing it's another!"

And, yes, the stings bloody hurt.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Yesterday I met my 6th grandson for the very first time. Some time back I'd described him as a 'tousle-haired cherub'; and that's exactly what he is.

He instantly made friends with Billy, and the two now seem inseparable.

Two more grandsons will arrive today, and another two tomorrow. With my three children, and six grandsons around; life is bound to be fun.

Whilst en route from Oz to France, my daughter Tenpin took this beautiful photo. Brighton really is a fabulous city.

Monday, 12 August 2019

RIP Izzy.


When you live in the countryside, certain animals become as important to you as their human minders; dear Izzy (right above) was one such.

She was a really gentle soul, and Bok (left above) soon noted her charms. They became very good friends, and would spend long relaxed times together.

Not so long ago, Izzy went missing; but almost miraculously after a week away, she was found still within the village bounds. Due to her epilepsy, she had simply forgotten where she lived.

We'll really miss dear Izzy. I've said before on this page that there are some dogs that I far preferred to certain humans. She never behaved badly, was always friendly, and certainly never threatened harm to anyone. Not something I can say about some humans I know.

Izzy died in her sleep two days ago. So, farewell dear girl, I hope that in dog-world there is some place where you all meet up again. I know that both Monty and Bok would love to see you. What larks you'll have.

Our sincere condolences to her family. Adieu.

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