Friday, 21 April 2017

New Chairs for Old

Where was that from?

In the Arabian folk-tale, "Aladdin and the Wonderrful Lamp", a poor boy discovers a magic lamp, which brings him riches. A wicked sorcerer steals the lamp, by offering "New Lamps for Old" to Aladdin's servant, a poor bargain since the old one was priceless; hence Kipling's title. Aladdin succeeds in slaying the sorcerer and recovering the lamp, so all ends well for him.

Well, that's the only reference I can find, so I suppose that must be what I was thinking of.

Anyway, I digress, because I actually wanted to show you my chairs.

And I can already hear my son's voice in my head saying "What chairs?"

To which the answer is - Wotcha mate!   ... amid gales of laughter...

Anyway, pick yourself up and look at the picture!

Director's chairs finished

So here they are.  I haven't touched them for over 10 years, always meaning to recover them, but never getting round to it.  I put them into my little sale a couple of weeks ago but no-one was interested, so I thought I MUST recover them and see how it goes.  Now I can probably sell them next time I have a sale.

I think, next time, I will have a Barn Sale at the La Tache house or the Le Dorat apartment - always supposing they haven't sold in the meantime.  So I want to do up some furniture and odds and ends and see how that kind of thing sells. 
Seems to go all right for the presenters on 'Money For Nothing', but they are selling in Loondon at high prices and using professional people to fix and re-purpose things (at a huge cost, usually) whereas here there is just me doing the work, and no rich people to turn up and buy stuff.

Heigh-Ho, let's see how it goes anyway!

I made enough this time to do the work in the garden that I wanted but, unfortunately, I now have a bill to pay for servicing and mending the mower and the car is due for its CT (MOT in the UK) in a couple of months time and needs a thorough service before that.  So, nothing will happen in the garden!

Still, the garden looks pretty good anyway, even without those edging stones...

Garden view

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Missing You

On this day, in 2006 you left me.

I know you didn't want to - you were only 45 - but fate decreed otherwise. A piece of fat that, unknown to you, had been deposited as a lining inside your heart, broke off and bloked your aorta. Not the conventional heart attack, but fatal all the same.

We had 22 years together, happy years, and I still miss you every day.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Lilac Time

April is a lovely month as my favourite flowers are out in the garden.  Yesterday I saw my pink Lily-of-the-Valley was out (but I can't show you that as it's still smothered with weeds 😒 ) and the lilac is spectacular this year...


The roses are all in bud, but the French one in the Blue Bench garden is already in flower...

French rose

The other great thing about THIS year is that all the flowers are lasting. Some years they come out, the weather turns hot and they are all over in about four days.  But now we have had weeks of lovely flowers, as it has not been too hot, but still lovely and sunny.

Last week I got a cat.  Called Cinders.  Her owners are going back to England and didn't think she would adapt to living there, so were looking for a new home for her.  She is very loving and has slept on my bed every night without being the slightest bother. She has got used to the house and garden and been out and about and come back here.  She likes to sleep in the garden if I am out there, but also indoors and especially likes the cool tiled floors when she is hot - she has very thick fur!

Loving the Lavender

She is very playful still (she's 6 years old) and loves this catnip carrot!

Carrot 3

I think I may turn into a mad cat lady!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Summer gets you Gardening

Well, here I am again, and not so sad this time. I think that working in the garden IS therapeutic and obviously it is good to get out in the fresh air, and working on the garden makes me happy, not sad. So gardening is a win/win situation for me - although I am not really an outdoors-y type 😊

The weather was perfect for it today - not too hot, but lovely and sunny, with some light rain yesterday that made the ground more friable so that it was easy to dig or pull out weeds.

So I have done LOADS today :

  • I planted potatoes
Potatoes planted
  • I planted a Chaenomeles bush I have had in a pot for several years.  
Chanomeles Japonic, Cameo, planted
  • I weeded all the pots out in front of the house that, frankly, looked as if I was growing a potted lawn!
Plants in pots at front, weeded
  • I started work on weeding the back border, which is roughly under my hazel hedge.  It has not been looked after and was (most of it still is) full of grass, weeds and brambles and was under a blanket of brown leaves from the oak tree. I 'found' some bluebells (well, white bells) which are just about to flower, so that's good.
Clearing the back border
I sorted out a wooden box ready to plant some spring onions, which you can't buy over here...

Ready to plant Spring Onions
  • I checked all the seeds I planted recently - these are butternut squash -......
Butternut seedlings 4th April

  • Watered some strawberry plants that I put in yesterday

Strawberry one day after planting

  • and planted a Clematis Montana that I bought last week -it will be great in the Blue Bench garden, and flower just before the roses.

So I feel quite pleased with myself, althought there is still work to be done, but I must now concentrate on sorting out my craft stuff and excess yarns etc, as I'm having a little sale here next week, with people coming to the house to buy things.  I had one a few months ago that went well and I hope this one will raise enough money to get someone in to put in edging stones all along that back border and maybe the potager as well. That will help stop the grass spreading into the borders and making them difficult to manage.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Learning to Remember or Learning to Forget?

Tonight I sat and cried, on and off, for nearly an hour.

I was watching a documentary about Rio Ferdinand and how he is dealing with life after his wife's death and being both mum and dad to his three children.

Rio Ferdinand was devastated by the death of his wife Rebecca in 2015

It made me cry - not just for him and his family, but also for me, as I realised that, even after nearly eleven years I have actually never come to terms with my husband's death and that, although I live a 'normal' existence from day to day, I don't see my life as a 'life' any more, since I lost Richard.  I no longer think in terms of the future, except for the immediate future of the next few days.

Rio, in the documentary, talks to many people who are in similar situations and, although I didn't have young children to deal with, I can see that I have never properly spoken to anyone, not even my own family, about the grief that I felt and still feel. Maybe if I had had young children, I would have had some help in dealing with the emotional devastation, along with them.  Because it IS devastation. When Richard died, my life, my future, died with him.  And now, after all this time, I still feel the same.

Richard didn't have cancer or any other diagnosed illness, he simply collapsed on his way back to the car from having a drink with his friends that evening.  In fact, he didn't drink the drink, because he said he had a bit of indigestion and was going to call in at the hospital down the road to see if he could get a doctor's opinion and something to relieve the symptoms.  Perhaps he knew it was a bit more than indigestion.

The coroner (who, bizarrely enough was one of Richard's customers at his garage) said that Richard's heart had a fatty deposit lining it and a piece of this fat had broken off and blocked his aorta causing his death. Not your average heart attack, but with a fatal result all the same.

Richard was 45 years old.

We had been married for 22 years and, although we had no children of our own, Richard was close to my three children from my previous marriage and the younger two of them had lived with us until they grew up and married themselves.

The 19th April 2017 will be the 11th anniversary of Richard's death and I still can't make a new life for myself, despite, or perhaps because of, having moved to France.

Seeing the programme, and writing this, is not cathartic.  It just makes me cry.  I want my life back.  I want Richard back.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


I am sitting on the terrace now, - it's going on for 6 o'clock and the weather is still beautiful. I have been watching a blackbird trying to get worms out of the lawn which I cut this afternoon,

Blackbird looking for worms

...and listening to bees just buzzing about looking for a flower.

One thing I love about living in France is the weather. Maybe there are other problems with things such as the bureaucracy and the officialdom - the forms and bits of language that I am sure I will never be able to understand not even if I live to be 100, but the weather here in the Haute Vienne, well it's been lovely.

I am just putting string onto labels I made a while ago so that I can price up things for the sale I'm having in the second week in April which is the week after next now.  I have advertised it on Facebook and it seems like a loads of people are coming so I just hope they all come and will buy lots of the things that I feel I am not going to use any more and then that will give me loads of space and I will feel relieved that all this 'stuff' that I had is gone and I am surrounded by space that I can use for living in!

Stringing labels

But at the moment I have a room in my house I can't use because it's full of, well, 'stuff'. I call it my craft room but actually it's just a space where I store things I'm in the middle of sometimes and then they usually never get finished!

In fact, this is what that room looks like now...

Craft room 2017

 So I put an advert on Facebook on various groups and it has had a really good response. In fact I'm a bit worried now, that people will arrive en masse here on Monday, 10 April and that there might not even be enough room in the hamlet for them to park and they will be disappointed with the selection of stuff that I have for sale.

Well, I have been crocheting and knitting and sewing and and amassing bits and pieces to use with those crafts for a long time now and in fact I brought a lot of that stuff out France with me when I moved here 10 years ago and to be honest I really haven't used it much, if at all. Sometimes I have even bought more, though I hate to say so.

Anyway I have a lot of bits of yarn and material, beads and sewing things and work boxes (at one time I had 17 work boxes although I have sold some of them now) and I just feel I will never live long enough to use all this stuff up.

There are a lot of crafty ladies - English ladies that is - living out here in France in this rural part.  I suppose they always did crafts but now they have more time to do it and there isn't a lot around this area that you can go out and do and there aren't many shops where you can buy the bits and pieces to do those things that you want to do and anyway whatever shops there are are probably at least half an hour away from nearly everybody, and most of these people are on a very restircted income.

You can see from the pictures I have put up in this post and previous ones, that this is a very rural part of France - shops are few and far between and they shut for two hours at lunchtime anyway,which might be just about the time that you have made the long journey to get there !

 I guess we all like a bargain whether we live in rural France or in an English city or next door to a shop with all the things we really want,  so I guess it's partly that and the idea of spending some time rifling through somebody else's collection of goodies,  which makes the idea of going a fair distance to look at who knows what (but it might be really interesting) attractive. And if we know there's the prospect of a bargain - great!

So I am just waiting for a delivery from Amazon of clear plastic carrier bags (yes, I know they aren't eco-friendly) so I can sort out materials and yarns ready for the sale and bag and price them. I have a good idera of what I have for sale, and, hopefully, I will have everything (well, almost) ready for the week of the sale.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Life's Rich Tapestry

I have just discovered Tapestry Crochet!  I've done intarsia work before on crochet, but never this technique where you work into the Back Loop of the stitch to give a tapestry effect.

So far I have made one little drawstring bag...

Hearts bag finished 1

...and just started a second one...

Second Bag will see that I am quite keen on hearts in my design!

I am using oddments of balls of cotton which are not always exactly the same thickness (although all masquerade as 4ply) and this can make the bag a little bulgy in places.  It is also tricky to ensure that all the thread that is being carried round (you work over the carried thread(s) like in Fair Isle) is covered by the working yarn.

I'm going to try this technique on something that is NOT in the round next, perhaps a little flat bracelet, and see if it works when the work is turned for alternate rows...