Sunday, 15 June 2014

A lot can happen in a week...

Having been so dilatory in updating this blog in recent months I thought I'd seize the moment and let you know what we've been up to this week.

And it's been a busy week!  We have had gloriously hot and sunny weather and it's such a pleasure to look out and see the garden alive with colour.  As I hope you can see in this photo, the geraniums in our window boxes are flowering now as are the roses and oleander.

(One of these days, the drive will be clear of excess slabs, stone and trailers full of rubbish!)

And on the subject of flowers in the garden, although one whole section of the back garden still looks more like a building site, the flower bed we created back in the autumn (the one I call my "eye bed" - as it is shaped like an eye!) is flourishing and, I think, makes a nice backdrop for our grey garden chair set.  True, there are a couple of shrubs in the bed that didn't survive their move but I plan to replace them in the autumn.

Danny proved that his knowledge of French is better than he thought this week!  He had to go to the hospital to have a mole removed and I was told (most emphatically, I thought) to wait in the waiting room.  Now normally, as my French is better than his, I'm always on hand to speak for him but he had no trouble at all understanding and responding to the nurses.  I've thought for some time that he could manage; he just needs to build his confidence.
Also this week, we've experienced two instances of French culture that till now we had only read about prior to living here. Firstly, the chimney sweep came round.   He trades under the name of "Le P'tit Ramoneur"  - The Little Chimney Sweep - but this is obviously a very tongue-in-cheek description as he is rather a rotund gentleman, albeit 'little' in stature!  He brought in all his equipment and I naturally offered him a drink (in my best French of course!).  He said he would wait until his work was done and I said "Un café?" His reply? "Non! Une bière!"  Danny and I had to avoid looking at each other, for fear of laughing.  We had often read of the French artisans enjoying a drink or two with you but this was our first personal experience of it!  Sure enough, after he'd finished sweeping the chimney, Danny brought him a glass of cold beer and our little chimney sweep glugged it down as he did the paperwork!
The second thing was our next door neighbour, Jean-Marie, who doesn't speak a word of English, advising me on the growing of my vegetables in the potager.  I already knew that my cherry tomatoes were growing far more bushy than they should and I had been avidly reading how to trim them.  But I couldn't understand how to put it in practice.  But Jean-Marie offered to have a look and show me what to do.  He came round and trimmed them all for me!  He also told me I'd planted my potatoes too close together and showed me how to scrape away the earth to see if they are ready to eat (they are!).  It is very much the French way to give advice and I receive it gratefully and gracefully!
So, here are my cherry tomatoes growing correctly now!  Notice how they use metal 'curly' stakes here rather than tying the plants to canes.  Jean-Marie has lent me these ones with instructions to give them back in the autumn!
And pool news?  Well, the terracing area has now been concreted ready to lay the flagstones as has the pathway from the new kitchen door to the pool area.  (There is a standing joke - between John and Danny - about how much quicker I'll be able to deliver Danny's beer to him while he lounges by the pool - oh yes?)  We also now have edging stones to three sides of the terrace which, as well as being decorative, will have the practical use of containing the banked earth around those sides of the pool.  And we have the steps down into the pool area.  Next week John starts the final task of laying the margelles around the edge of the pool and the flagstones. This will take a while and he is also away for the week after next but we are moving ever closer to the finished article!  This is how it looks today...

I should mention here that Danny has been doing his bit to help.  He has mixed countless quantities of cement for John and now considers himself something of an expert in the art of cement-mixing.  He's even decided that he ought to buy his own cement mixer and co-incidentally, John has a surplus one he's happy to sell to Danny!
We had to take off the cover as it had got dirty from the cement laying!  Plus, we realised the heat pump wasn't working properly as the water hadn't reached the temperature that Danny had set.  We are waiting for a technician to come and look at it but in the meantime, with such hot weather as we have at present, the water should heat up on its own.
I couldn't resist a little paddle.....

and Finn, who thought the pool was just a giant drinking bowl, fell in!  This is what he looked like after that particular escapade...
He doesn't look too happy about it does he?!
And on that note, I'll leave this for now..... à bientôt!

No comments:

Post a Comment