Archive for September 17th, 2009

The Garden is tidied

September 17, 2009

A few months ago Whale received a letter from  the French  government stating that as he is handicapped he would receive 200 euros worth of  ‘cheques emploi  services’  to employ additional help.

This sounded like wonderful news  but when they arrived they bore no ressemblance to the normal  ‘cheques emploi service’ which are used to pay legally for any work done by someone not employed by a business.

After asking one or two French people if they could make sense of the directions on how to to use them I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t being totally thick and, maybe, the government wanted to put people off using their gift. Which, naturally, made me even more determined to find out how the system worked. 

So I asked at the Mairie  and a very friendly member of the council came round and studied the instructions. She scratched her head, read through the notes again and then decided to phone  for assistance.

After a long conversation she told me that my ’employee’ must sign up with cheques emploi service and  then the ‘borderaux’ (slips which enable you to cash the cheques) woud be sent directly to him or her.

After asking around I found Thierry, who was willing to do 20 hours of gardening in return for this strange method of payment -but he didn’t know what to do either.

He said his aunt had used them so he took all the papers with him last weekend to ask her. It seemed you had to do it online, she said and she wrote down a list of instructions which he brought with him on Tuesday.

Going online resulted in me signing up to fill in the monthly forms by internet – something I’ve resisted doing up till now  but will have to get to grips with it  at last.

When it came to Thierry’s part it clearly stated that he culdn’t sign in without a valid email address. Thierry doesn’t even have a computer so we were back t square one.

“I’ll send the form by post” he finally decided.

I hope we do get this sorted because he’s already done a good few hours and here are the results so far:                                                                          


The vegetable patch has been dug over and sown with mustard seed. Apparently if you dig in the mustard before the Spring it will fertilise the soil and help prevent the weeds from growing. The ‘bush’  in the far corner is horseradish and you may just be able to make out one lone sweetcorn just in front of it. I used two packets of seeds and  of the 3 (yes THREE)  that germinated this is the only one that has survived. I’m thinking of preservng it somehow!

The hedges that our friend planted last year had been sadly neglected but Thierry cleared away the grass and weeds and put cocoa  hedge3shells down to keep it tidy, and hopefully weedfree.

These cocoa shells smell strongly of chocolate and CC and I used them in the bed by the garden shed where the weeds come through from next door.


Yummy, they made our mouths water but there was no chocolate in the house to eat.



There’s a buddleia and two other shrubs planted in the earth and we’ve part buried some boxes to grow herbs . The plastic sheets are meant to stop some of the weeds from invading and the hosepipe takes well-water up to the vegetable garden.

In addition Thierry has weeded the borders by the path and planted some pansies to fill the gaps where the perennials have died.

There isn’t much colour left but here is the last rose of Summer, looking a bit of a sorry sight.

last rose

Next stage is to tackle the front of the house.