Archive for October, 2010

The first coq au vin.

October 27, 2010

Lulu arrived at 2:15 armed with a small but very sharp knife. She had come to kill the ‘prisoner’.

First she asked me to heat up some water and have a bucket at the ready and then we went up the garden.

She waited outside the run while I went to fetch the condemned cock but he was very suspicious and wouldn’t come out.

I’m too big to get inside the enclosure and he wasn’t taken in by my invitations to come out.

Lulu entered the fray and banged with a stick on the side of the cage.

“Don’t stand too near the door” she said but that meant that when he did come out I wasn’t quick enough to catch him. Off he ran among his friends and we soon lost sight of which one he was.

We waited to see if a fight broke out but it didn’t.

“Oh well, should we go for whichever one we can catch?” sighed  Lulu.

There was general confusion among the birds but I managed to grab one eventually.

We carried him out of the run and took him behind the greenhouse.

There, Lulu asked me to hold on to his wings firmly while she dispatched him.

I have to admit I closed my eyes but didn’t feel any struggling or hear any noise. However, when we got the bucket of hot water to dip him in to make plucking easier he did appear to struggle. I’m hoping Lulu was right when she said he didn’t feel anything but that was the worst part of it as far as I was concerned.

By the time we had plucked him (and it was easy with the hot water method)  I had got used to the idea of eating one of our own birds.

Then it was a lesson in cleaning a chicken. Lulu did it all very deftly as she used to run a chicken farm in Alsace. She told me the chickens were too well fed as there was a lot of fat inside and also that the meat wouldn’t be very tender as they had been ‘running about too much’. And to add insult to injury this bird that had appeared enormous had become a small scrawny object now that he had lost his fluff and feathers.

So that puts paid to my hopes of home grown roast chicken for Christmas. We’re  going to be having an awful lot of coq au vin if the remaining cockerels are to be killed off before winter sets in.




October 26, 2010

Things are not going smoothly with the kitchen makeover.

We have run out of tiles.

The shop didn’t have any more so we’ve ordered some and they should be in by the middle of November.

Meanwhile, the valiant Guy has moved upstairs to tackle CC’s shower. Thathas  turned out to be worse than we’d thought because he has found a leaky pipe behind the shower which was well hidden by Bear’s efforts at ‘lagging’.

The floorboards have rotted and there’s damp up the wall. It’s going to be a major undertaking.

Guy has started to dismantle the shower and take out the washbasin so that he can assess the damage under the floor.

Something tells me this is going to be a long job. It may not even be finished by the time the kitchen tiles arrive so how much longer will we have to live with a dining table piled high with ‘stuff’?


A Waste of time at the Hospital

October 19, 2010

Following Whale’s couple of weeks in hospital recently he was given  three follow-up appointments with a urologist, neurologist and finally an out-patient visit to ‘rhumatologie’ where he had stayed.

The urologist’s appointment was last week and so off we went in the ambulance arriving in good time for  five 0’clock. The system has changed since I was last there and now you have to take a ‘queue ticket’ and wait for your number to  come up so that you can report to the secretary. She takes all the details from the Carte Vitale and gives you a piece ot paper to ‘put in the box above the table in the corridor.’

I did just that and we waited in the area for beds and wheelchairs. Meanwhile six or seven other patients went to the secretary and were directed to another waiting room.

We waited . . . . . . .and waited. Another lady started getting stroppy and I asked her what time her appointment was.

“Ten past five”,  was her reply so I told her our’s was for five o’clock.

Six o’clock came and went and then this lady was called in. Now, I don’t mind waiting if the doctor is running late (after all, we were pretty used to that in England) but I do object to ‘queue jumping’ so I went to find the nurse.

Going through the other waiting room I noticed that there were only two people left!

I complained to the nurse.

“It’s not my fault”, she said, “I can only go by the list the secretary gave me. But you are next.”

Finally we went into a consulting room. It was twenty past six.

The specialist didn’t come through for another ten minutes or so.

“And what brings you here?” he said.

I explained that the doctors at  Rhumatologie had made the appointment when Whale came out of hospital but it was clear that this doctor knew nothing about it.

He scratched his head, glanced at the notes and looked up.

Whale mentioned the undiagnosed prostate cancer from years ago.

“Ah, do you have trouble weeing?” he asked.

“No, he has a catheter.”


So I had to explain that there had been a  secondary cancer on his spine that had partially paralysed him.

He asked what medication he was taking and then dismissed us with,

“Just carry on as you are.”

What a complete waste of time!


Update for the last month

October 16, 2010

Goodness me, nearly a month has passed and I’ve written nothing.

It amazes me how people like Z and LOM can lead far busier lives than I do and yet still  post regularly.

Well my first ‘excuse’ is that I got the job teaching English on Mondays but it takes quite a bit longer to prepare for the classes –  all at different levels.  However, my students, mostly retired teachers, are really pleasant and friendly.

At the end of September one of my ‘new sisters’, Daphne, came to stay for a few days with her partner, Johnny. The last time they came we went to a little bar on Belgium where Johnny took a fancy to the beer glass they served his Guinness in.  It was shaped like a thistle. We asked the lady if she would sell it to us but she refused and said they were on sale at the little supermarket in the town. Unfortunately  it was closed and when we went back on the following Monday we found that, like many shops in this area, they were closed for the day.

So we went back to the same Belgian town and looked in vain for the glass Johnny wanted. The supermarket had a wide range of beer glasses but not the one we wanted. We went back to the bar and asked again if they would sell us  the glass. The younger lady said if it was up to her there wouldn’t be a problem but – ‘Maman . . . . .’ with a glance in the direction of the miserable looking woman behind the bar.

“That’s OK,” I said, “We understand” and off we went.

We hadn’t got more than a few yards when she ran after us, stuffed the glass in my hands, saying “Shhhh” and then she scuttled back to the bar before we could thank her properly.

Johnny thought, at first, that I’d knicked it, and was quite embarrassed but when I explained, he was over the moon. We have decided that we will take her a little present next time we go that way.

The kitchen makeover gound to a halt at the end of August and Pascal hasn’t been near nor by since then. However, we have found another neighbour who has made a start on the tiling. He seems much more efficient than Pascal and certanly makes a lot less mess so I think we’ve found a little treasure in Guy. CC chose tiles ‘a l’ancienne’ which are not straight edged. They look really lovely but are not so easy to put up. Guy’s word was ‘chiant’ (shitty) but he is tackling the job without complaining.