Saturday, 18 November 2017

A new gadget....

Lester is out hunting, but not for something which is of flesh and blood, oh no.
 
 
A big day in our household this morning.... our first mobile phone thingy arrived.
Never had one before, never wanted one, never interested.
However, Lester needs it for work, something to do with being able to download things relevant to the 'virtual office' in which he is working. Something to do with 'cloud' stuff. Dunno. Not got a clue.
 
Anyway, after days and days spent in researching phones, one was finally ordered.
It is a weird thing..... flat and thin.... an iphone. You all probably have one, and now we do too!
 
So it being the end of the working week, Lester has had time to have a look at it.
The words 'Boys Toys' springs to mind as I watch him explore the ins and outs of it. I am reminded of Christmas Day mornings and the magic of opening a box of Lego.
 
Meanwhile I carry on with writing music on the computer using Noteworthy. It is not music I have composed, but copies of certain Christmas carols sent to me from a friend via email. I am supposed to be playing these carols for a small choir, and apparently also conducting the little choir at the same time, a fearsome task even when one can actually read the music, which I can't because the print on these copies is too faint. This music is separate to the other choir I am rehearsing with. That one is going quite well, although the singers are now drowning out the sound of my keyboard even though I have the volume maxed out, so I am going to take an amplifier with me in future.
I am thinking that I need a roady.
 
The music I am working on at the moment is for another choir, one which has been created quickly, the intention being to sing carols for the elderly folk in three local Maison de retraites (care homes).
I will mention that the music is easy enough to write, but most of the words are in French, (which is not a surprise seeing as how we are living in France), and fitting those words into the rhythm of an English carol is fiddly, but interesting, and takes a lot of time up.
 
So why is Lester out hunting?
He is hunting for a phone signal because the signal is too weak where we live, he says, so he has taken himself out in the car to see if he can find one. Bless him.
 
It is an English phone we have bought because we thought it would be easier to understand how to use it because the instructions would be in English, and this was so up until the purchase of something called a 'sim card' which then made the phone go into French working mode.
.....
 
And he has tracked down a signal!
And I have had my first phone call from him away out in the world,
while I sit and chat with you.
Actually, he is only just down the road, in Plaisance. If we had been in the UK I would have instructed him to bring some chips back from a chip shop. I've been having a fancy for a plate of chips (plus vinegar, egg, tomato ketchup) for the last hour.
Something with being on the computer too long I think.
 
Off to switch the electric blanket on in our bed, and on the way I shall raid the kitchen. Meanwhile Lester continues to discover all that there is to be discovered on the iphone, and promises to train me in the use of it soon. I feel a fierce reluctance to get involved with that phone though. I don't want it to seduce me into messing about on it when I could be sitting and watching the flowers grow.
 
 
Bye for now,
 
Vx
 
 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A frosty morning scything....

So, if you were me, what would you do when the frost is laying heavily on the ground but the sun is shining hot enough to melt it.  You would get outside and start scything as quick as you can while  the vegetation is still stiff with frosty coldness which makes it easier to cut with the scythe, that is what you do........boots on, fingerless gloves found and put on, big thick scarf draped round my neck, dogs collected up, and off out I go.
 
------
 
11am: what a glorious way to spent a couple hours of my life, that is what I thought as I dragged a couple of branches from the recently fallen oak tree from where it lay half way along the river path towards the far field. They were only the smaller branches. The heavier ones Lester will have to sort out at the weekend. He is not available to do farm work during the week (office hours 9 - 5.30) because he is working on his computer. Don't ask me what he does, he did tell me but it is beyond my comprehension. Not to worry, he still has time to look after the animals, and there is not much else to do on the farm during the cooler months except tidy up the place.
 
I want to continue cutting the front hedge down, which has been ongoing since we got here ten  years ago. I mentioned to Lester that I could do with an electric chainsaw for ladies which would make the job quicker and easier. He has his own chainsaw but it is a very hefty and fierce machine, entirely not suitable for a lady to use.
He said that we do have an electric chainsaw but he didn't know where it was.
Ah ha, I thought, a 'search and rescue' mission on the way to find it, meanwhile visions of chainsawing my way through that hedge and the oak coppice which is starting to grow in a corner of the front garden, floated across my mind.
But of course this all depends on whether or not I can actually lift the chainsaw when it is found, which will be a lot heavier that my wooden handled scythe. I shall try, though.
 
Two trips I made to the fallen oak, and four branches I dragged back.
On the last trip I started fantasizing about having a cup of milky coffee and a piece of cake.
Oh ho! Time to stop.
 
Earlier on, scything went well, and I scooped up the cut grass / vegetation and gave it to the chickens, putting it in a heap so they could have the pleasure of rummaging through it.
They were not impressed with my offering though, and didn't know what to do with it. Not to worry, they will soon learn. It is a new chicken flock so are still on their own learning curve.
Lester has been looking after the chickens so they know his ways. They don't know mine.
Last night Lester had a conference call so I was the one to round them up. I am now training them to respond to me calling out 'chook, chook, chook' while tapping their food container.
As I say, they are on a learning curve. They need to know that when I call and tap their bowl they should to come towards me and not rush off in the opposite direction.
It might take a while.

Off into the hours of my day now,
which will hopefully include a portion of time spent knitting outside in the sun,
so bye for now,
Vx
 
 


Friday, 10 November 2017

Cosy indoors....

The Rayburn is lit and burning hot enough for me to use the hob to cook on...
 
 
...just a simple meal of hot potato salad, with slices of pork fried with onions and green peppers, which are all home grown. The sweetcorn is from a tin.
 
And decorating the Rayburn are some items of washing needing to be dried, even on the Lazy Susan.
 
 
Bread is cooling on the table. It is a 'no knead' bread so is not lofty, but it will have an open, non chewy, texture which we like. It is also quick to make providing I remember to start it the night before.
 
 
We haven't opened the shutters on the window today...
 
... so with no daylight, and only half the lights on the ceiling working (something to do with the flow of electricity when the computers are on), the kitchen is quite dark, but it adds to the feeling of being tucked up in a cosy den, with food cooking, bread on the table, washing drying, and the world kept away by the closed shutters.  
 
When we lived in the UK we had a house which had lots of big windows in every room, which was alright when the weather was bright and cheerful, but not so good on days when the weather is mucky which only made me feel colder even if the house was warm.
Here we have smaller windows, which we prefer.
 
And the reason why we are all cozied up and not outside doing farm jobs...
.... it's wet!
 
 
But even though we are coming up to the middle of November, the leaves have not as yet fallen from the trees, which makes us feel that winter has not quite arrived.
 
 
 
 

And in the Half Barn...... here is the supply of wood for today, brought in from the wood pile just beyond the Courtyard gates and sharing the tarpaulin with the recent harvest of butternut squash.
You can see by the photo that there is more light in the Half Barn, and this is because of the velux windows in the ceiling, but it still has a cosy feeling because of the exposed stone walls.
 

The last of the pepper harvest, brought in just before we had the first frost of the year. It was a huge crop this year. ......and the last of the courgettes now in storage, and some of the spaghetti squash, the rest of the squash are in the back kitchen.
 

The carrying case of my piano keyboard waiting for its next trip out, which is on Sunday, which is Remembrance Day. Along with the hymns, (played with the organ setting on my keyboard), I shall be playing The Last Post using the trumpet tone on the keyboard. It echoes wonderfully well in the silence of the church. Any wrong notes will be quite clearly heard.....


 
 
..... and Maz, sitting on her mat infront of the computer desks and beside the stored courgettes, waiting for me to stop messing about with the camera, which I am now going to do...
 
So bye for now,
Vx