Saturday, September 3, 2011

Warthog or Collared Dove? That is the Question.

This weeks quiz question - what is this? Answer at end of post*
Sunday 28th.
Cold this morning but sunny weather is forecast. After coffee Gill and I explore the route over the crags that Dan and Amelia have been working so hard on. It looks good. So far an old lady can manage it but we didn't go right down the other side, after admiring the view we retraced our steps.
Gill and Brian are leaving after lunch. We are going to Le Poterie du Don with Dan and Amelia.
Le Poterie du Don - back view
At the poterie we claim the plate that we bought previously and are pleased to note that there is a lot of new stuff including these delightful raku animals:

and these figures:

We were tempted to buy this Collared Dove - part of the exhibition we saw last time, made from paper porcelain clay.

But in the end we took a fancy to this sweet Warthog who now reposes on the harmonium. Well, wouldn't you have done the same? Perhaps we will get the Dove next time although we really ought to stay away from there - it's getting rather expensive to visit. 
Dan and Amelia were given a view of the pottery workshop and we got some clay as they would like ago at some raku themselves.

Walter the Warthog
A good afternoon out - we went via the Valley of the Lot and came back through Montsalvy, Junac and Cassaniouze. We took the back road down into the village and found Piers and Hazel at home. They offered us tea despite the fact that they were working hard to install a shower before their visitors turned up at the end of the week.

Monday morning – no telephone, no broadband. We haven’t had a storm and Jim checked the wiring for mouse toothmarks – nothing. I walked up the rough road to Peter’s Place to get a signal on the iphone. I think I sent an email asking for an engineer. After lunch I dashed into Maurs to log on at Le Parisienne to pick up any email and to send another message to UKTelecom. Then I paid the salaries and also printed out the bank statements so that I could do the accounts for the month's end. No engineer arrived.
Jim, Daniel and Amelia did some pottery.

We have now learned that the whole commune is without phone connection so I went into Maurs again to see if I had any urgent emails. I am expecting one from Malek (French visitor from last year) to let me know when they are arriving. It is on Wednesday. Good time to get the bed linen ironed.

There is progress on the terrace extension and Dan and Amelia cut down some shrubbery by the river. It now needs a fence there.

Busy day on Wednesday. Cleaned the gite aided by Amelia in preparation for Malek and some of his family. Then prepared the house and a meal for a visit this evening by Piers and Hazel.

Storms were forecast and we had just sat down to eat when one began. Very soon the lights went out and Jim dashed outside to replace the fusible while I got candles lit. Then it started to rain very hard with thunder and lightening. I unplugged the Neufbox as a precaution and the lights went out again. Jim delayed going out a second time as it was raining so hard. Then 'crack!, crack!' like gun shot. This was large hail stones hitting the polycarbonate roof of the serre. Although puddles formed on the floor the roof seemed undamaged. We finished eating by candlelight.
Later we received an email from Malek indicating that he would be delayed so when we retired for the night we left lights on for him and also for Dan and Amelia who set off for their tent in the River field. Just as well as a few minutes later they returned having found the tent rather damp. They slept in the little bedroom instead.

Next morning the only depredation we found was a swathe of mud, stones and debris across the 'lawn' which had been washed down from the bank.
Path of the water across the grass

Stones washed down the bank

Rufus inspecting the damage
We went into Maurs for the market and met Den and Caro who reported that they had lost their peach tree in the deluge.

I did nothing for the rest of the day although Jim put the pottery into the bin to fire and Dan and Amelia finished their fencing project.
Fired works of art
The Mayor and another fellow came and inspected the fencing over the bridge. They told Jim and Amelia that the commune's plan was to replace the rusty wire fencing with a decent railing - probably next year sometime.

Met Malek's sister, Yasmina. They gave us some lovely cakes, honey and fresh milk. They are generous people.

On Friday I finished the books and banking. Jim, Dan and Amelia finished odd projects around the domaine. Here is Amelia in charge of the tractor:

I went in to Figeac to get myself an outfit for the wedding next week. It is brown cotton and has all the fashionable pockets, plackets, ties and crumpledness necessary. You might get a picture later.

On Saturday we made another trip to Belcastle using the new GPS system I have bought. It keeps getting the lefts and rights mixed up! We got there and back but by a circuitous route. What a joker!
A nice meal again in Chez Anna.

In the evening we invited Malek and his sister Yasmina down for aperitif's. Amelia got to practise her French with them although the subject matter was largely about fosse septiques and plans d'eau. Malek and his sister had spent some time fishing for crayfish in the millpond and Dan and Amelia went up to the gite to look at them - there were quite a number and they were large and American of course. They will be eaten.

*The picture at the top of the post is an Octopus Stinkhorn Mushroom (Clathrus archeri). It is indigenous to Australia and Tasmania and an introduced species in Europe and North America. The young fungus erupts from a suberumpent egg by forming into four to seven elongated slender arms initially erect and attached at the top. The arms then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interior covered with a dark-olive spore-containing gleba. In maturity it smells of putrid flesh.
Dan and Amelia spotted it along the nature trail - it would seem to be the only example. I joked that perhaps Bart (from Tasmania) had brought it to France on his boots!


  1. Interesting fungus and the tractor - almost the same colour - looks clean for once. Maybe the rain.
    Perhaps the lawn could be canalised either by a ditch around the perimeter or a buried drain. How do you know the crayfish are American? Still lots going on chez vous.

  2. In most of Europe, including the UK, waterways have become populated by American crayfish which are decimating the indigenous crayfish population. They are distinguished by having the right claw larger than the left.
    For further info Google 'American crayfish'.