Books glorious books, 24th March 2018

Ok, well the shopping ban on books didn’t last long! 1 week to be precise! But it’s not a complete overturn on the ban, it’s a modification. I’ve decided that a complete ban on books just isn’t going to work, I read way too much. So it’s a 1 book a month allowance. Which means I will still be reading through my backlog of books that I have purchased and either haven’t read or haven’t finished reading.

We have had a fun week this week, Tuesday night Pat and I headed off to one of our local quizzes and were team with two guys – and we won! Yah, very happy about that. So a bottle of wine is in the wine rack for some occasion.

Last Saturday I went with a friend off to a local garden centre, which was good I’ve bought some new plants which I am hoping to get in the ground soon. I’ve bought some heather which immediately I decided to put somewhere different from my original plan. I’ve also bought a few other flowering shrubs and one plant that has red thin leaves to bring some interest into the garden. Unfortunately I was informed that it needs to come inside in winter – not a good plant for me so it has been put in a pot and I shall find a place for it on the patio. I did also get some pruning done last weekend, but it was not a lot. Maybe this weekend I will get some of my seedlings started? We shall see.

Yesterday I and another friend headed off to St Junien to a lovely shop there which has an assortment of things, from vintage clothes to furniture and little bits and bobs. I was looking for storage but came across a cabinet that I think could work in the bathroom. Will most likely take Pat back this weekend to have a look and see if it would work for what we would like to do.

I also finished a painting this Friday at art class. It was a small painting which will be going into a small photo frame that I have, I’m now painting a companion piece for it as I do have more than one of these frames. It was a painting of someone else’s painting – I found it on the web but unfortunately can’t find the original at the moment, if I do I will add the info.


I’ve finally also progressed on some of my drawing work, this has been a struggle due to the fact that I have been somewhat uninspired by the choices I’ve had for this assignment. But I’ve nearly completed one picture another is half way through so at least progress is being made, maybe 2 pictures will be finished by the end of this weekend?

Until next week, à bientôt – Delia

Weight loss 3.3 kilos
CM’s loss (off waist) 5.5 cm
Officially moved from an obese BMI into an overweight BMI


Spring is sprung! Well for this week (give or take). At least 4 days of blue skies and sunshine, albeit with copious rain in between. Delia’s eyes have turned towards the garden and is off to a “garden centre”.  Garden centres aren’t quite the same as the UK or perhaps Aus – they are a bit  less commercial (not cheaper though!). Anyway, she’s off with a friend just now and I’m writing this.

As for me? I think I will fill in the exploratory hole I dug last summer to find a leak in our drainage system. That corner of the house has had a damp patch  on the outside wall since shortly after we moved in and despite having found a couple of leaks, the damp persists. Its not causing any particular problems, except when we came to repoint that bit it was more crumbly than the rest. A friend pointed out that the top of the patch coincides with a rainwater recuperation diverter I put in. So thats gone now with the aid of two joiners and a stretch of pipe. However I am hoping that the washing machine overflow problem we solved a few weeks back was the cause. Unbeknownst to us the washing machine drain had been blocked and much water had been flowing down the inside back wall and going somewhere. Not sure how long that had been going on for, there was a solid slug of fat in its u-bend so perhaps its always drained like that (or since we moved in and started using the sink regularly (as opposed to like in a holiday home).  These old houses are odd though, no damp course, just very thick (albeit double) stone walls with the gap filled with rubble. I do know that in the cave (basement) the back wall is below ground level and was certainly prone to damp (now skimmed with waterproof concrete so I do wonder what’s going on in the kitchen (which has no basement) as far as I know it seems to be bedrock underneath.

Anyway, the return of Spring (though snow is forecast for tomorrow!) certainly makes the walks with Siena nicer. Especially now that Delia has a new regime of brisk walking for at least 30 mins after lunch. She is using an app on her new smart phone – the first such phone in our household and now I read how the smart watch is already superceding it.  Then I used to have a really cool digital calculator watch 40 years ago so whats new?  At least I thought it was cool.

Dawn on the morning dog walk

Time to Start, 10th March 2018

Spring feels like it is here – unlike parts of the UK which have had more snow this week. My daffodils have started to flower (those that weren’t destroyed by next-door’s roofers) and the weather is definitely warming up – we’re into double figures and next-door has started their veggie planting (peas always seems to be the first thing in). So I guess it is time for me to begin on the garden, but my gardening will always be weather dependent – it has to be dry weather – I can deal with cold weather but not the rain.

I will need to get some potting mix soon and get some of my pots started – planning some pots out the front for herbs and tomatoes. I’ve decided I’m doing a much smaller veggie garden this year as I found that it was too much work last year; just the tomatoes in pots, courgettes, some salad greens and I’m thinking about potatoes. I might attempt capsicums and aubergines again, but not sure. Pat would like some raspberries, but they really need to be planted now and in a well prepared soil. So that might not happen this year. I do also need to get out and do some hedge and wisteria pruning and weeding the raised bed veggie patch.

If you remember my last blog, I mentioned about the amount I had spent on buying books – both electronic and paper. I’ve decided it’s time for a shopping ban on books for 6 months. I need to read the one’s I’ve bought and perhaps even re-read some of my books. Perhaps a good time to also go through my kindle and do some editing?

I also mentioned the CSIRO diet book which I bought; we are now on the diet, partly to loose the weight we both put on during November, December last year, but also to get ourselves back to some good eating habits. I’m also trying to improve my fitness, by doing more walking (at a quicker pace) and putting in some resistance training. It’s working well. So each fortnight I will have my weight loss and cm’s lost down the bottom of the blog. This week has been the first difficult week and yesterday wasn’t the best day, but today is a new day.

And finally I am leaving you with a painting I finished last week. I love it – it is a painting of another painting by (I think) J Fabian-Mastroy. And while my painting isn’t perfect – I really do like the feel of the painting (Mine is the one on the end).

Until next week, à bientôt – Delia

Weight loss 2.6 kilos
CM’s loss (off waist) 3cm

Beast from the East

I guess the weather has dominated this week for most of northern Europe. We escaped the ridiculous amount of snow the UK seemed to have, instead we had a blast of very cold dry air after the brief snow snap. So we had sunny skies but, for the first time since I’ve lived here, I needed to wrap my face with a scarf plus the hat and gloves. -9°C at night and still around -5°C during the day; with the wind too thermal underwear was a must for the morning dog walk. Even Siena had her coat on (though she seems more energetic the colder it gets so I doubt it is really needed).

As the week progressed, it warmed rapidly and by Wednesday it was in the teens (above zero that is). Northern Europe got a lot of rain but we were fairly lucky, though last night was a deluge and my morning walk was ankle deep in mud.

Today feels like Spring and I’ve restarted the DIY and finally replaced the panels in the kitchen wall cupboard. They had sort of yellow pseudo-leaded glass panel inserts which Delia hated. She had an idea to use wire mesh, a sort of rustic look (personally I think it looked like a rabbit cage). She didn’t like it either. So we started looking for panels perforated in an attractive way (not just pinboard) afer much hunting, local and further afield then finally on-line from a UK supplier. Took a lot of doing, only in 0.5m² pieces and no-one would deliver to France, so we ended up getting it delivered to Mike and Sandra in Nottingham who then brought it over when they came on their SW Europe road trip.

Watching the UK news coverage dominated by “the beast from the east” (as they describe the cold airmass coming from Siberia) reminds me of previous UK winters with snow blocking railway lines, getting stuck behind a snow plough and spending the night in a snowbound leisure centre. Albeit over more than a decade time span, but still reminding me that despite the brief cold snap here, it is better here weather-wise.


Don’t forget Delia’s next week!