The biggest event of the year (without doubt) has to be the arrival of Monty (Montague-Macbeth Magnon), including his subsequent encounter with the Processionary Caterpillar. He has now, unquestionably, changed our lives for the better; and we can no longer imagine life without him.
Of course, he's no longer the little cutie, above, that we brought home from Miss Tadpole's Rescue Centre. He's now one year old and weighs-in at about 40 kilos (and still growing).
In August we also returned to chicken keeping, with the purchase of 3 point-of-lay 'turken' hens; Edwina, Richard, and Richard (don't ask). Even at Christmas they are still producing a couple of eggs a day; wonderful.
2011 saw Lady Magnon and myself finish our infamous 'tower'. To illustrate my enduring memory of this crazy building project, I've selected this picture of the 'charpente' wood, just as we brought it home from the sawmill... (panic!). I then had to work-out how to saw, hammer and nail it all together to make something that resembled roof timbers; and us, ageing rank amateurs.
Anyway, it all went up OK. We learnt as we went, and ended up with a pretty good job. This is what it looks like now (I really must thank Lady Magnon for all her hard work and patience).
We also began another unnecessary project with the acquisition of an old Tobacco barn and some land, just behind the house. We've already handed in our planning application for the construction of a simple apartment, and we await their decision (fingers crossed).
As you can probably see, all the bare-bones are there. All it now needs is time, a little money, and effort; a nice project for 2012 (providing we get the go-ahead)....... and (amazingly) it's just arrived... Le Permit de Construire est Accordé!
The other great event of the year was the wonderful August Cèpe harvest; the first decent crop for several years. For those who find it odd that I should continually harp-on about wild mushrooms, it should be noted that they constitute a major element of our local gastronomy.
Omelets were consumed, the freezer stocked, and several boxes of dried mushrooms put away for winter Risottos.
2011 was also the year of the new kitchen. We have finally dragged ourselves into the 21st Century, with a non-leaking sink, a thermostatically controlled cooker, and an actual dish washer. It's heaven.
So, we end the year's hard labour with our wounds healed, our splinters removed, and our mouths (mine mostly) duly washed out with carbolic. For the moment we're roughly OK, and we trust that you are too.
May 2012 be drama free, and let's all hope that the predicted world financial crisis doesn't materialise.
We send our very best wishes to all our friends and family throughout the world. HAPPY NEW YEAR.
p.s. Monty's friend Bok, is now officially ours. His previous owner knew he would be happier here, and it was she who suggested his 500 metre move. Welcome Bok Magnon.