This week's throwback Thursday takes us back ten years, with a post from 21 October 2007.
Quite a good week. Carin arrived on Sunday with Alex and the children and they all seemed to have a good time whilst they were here. They spent one day exploring the area on their own and we all went to Clermont-Ferrand (departmental and [until this year] regional capital) for a day of hitting the shops. It was such a nice day that Clare and I went in the MX-5 with the top off. I wanted to see if the new cable set I had bought for the SatNav in the car would work. It didn’t – no power was getting through which meant I couldn’t use it. I’ve also noticed that when I plug the SatNav in to the PC, it gets power but it is no longer recognised by the PC. I fear it may have some internal troubles. I hope not, as I don’t really want to make any major journeys without it!
The potagers are looking good. I have been much encouraged by the way the plants in bed one, some raised from seed and some that were started in pots, are performing. Here is the bed as at yesterday:
We now need to worry about weather damage. The past few nights have been chilly and we have woken to frost. Friday night was quite cold and some of the more tender plants are suffering. We shall need to give them some protection before too long. I’m a bit worried about our young fig tree as well. It has started looking a bit limp. The trouble is that we are new to this gardening game and are very much learning as we are going along. The really nice and clever people at the Grapevine and at Downsizing Abroad are giving us a lot of help. I expect they think we are idiots – and maybe they are right – but they are being very helpful and supportive.
We are hopeful of producing a good amount of fruit and vegetables next year, and need to find a way of extending their availability past the harvesting dates. Freezing is an option, but we would then end up starting up the big chest freezer and being dependent on a reliable electricity supply (there is, we are told, a history of outages lasting for some days during particularly heavy winters) and our ability to pay for it. Canning/bottling is also an option that we might investigate, but one of the ways we are considering is drying. That gives us two options
- buy an electric dehydrator. These cost from about £35 to hundreds and incur a cost to run, or
- construct a solar dehydrator.
No prizes are being offered for correctly guessing our preferred option. I have ordered through Amazon UK a book all about it. I tend to use Amazon UK more than the French branch for two reasons – the UK price plus postage to France is often less than the French price with free postage, and the UK outfit often dispatches within one working day whereas the French branch, in my experience, dispatches after two weeks! [All that changed within a couple of years – I now use Amazon France almost exclusively]
The book costs £9.99 + postage from Amazon or, through Amazon Marketplace, brand new from an affiliated dealer delivered to the door for less than eight quid! Bargain! Sold to the man with no brain.
Once it arrives, I can put together a list of what we shall need to build it and cost it all out. It looks like being an interesting project. Speaking of projects, the current list on my study wall is:
- Balustrades around the front garden to replace the metal rails and fencing √
- Repaint the crépi on the front and side of the house √
- Point the stonework at the back and side of the house and the outbuildings [not yet]
- Additional compost bins for the top of the garden √
- Cold frame (part completed – more materials needed) √
- Deturf and prepare another eight beds in the bottom potager √
- Clear and remove the inner fence at the bottom of the garden √
- Fence and gate at the top of the garden access ramp √
- Solar dehydrator [we settled for an electric one in the end]
- West facing Velux® window in the study (a job for Rik) [not done]
That should keep me busy for a while, although some of these are not one-person jobs. Clare also has a list, but I’m afraid to look at that in case it effectively adds to mine!
I know I’ve said this before, but we do get some fabulous sunsets. It is very easy to become blasé about these things, and it sometimes takes a visitor’s excitement to rekindle the flame. Thus, when Carin went gaga about the setting sun, I got my camera out. Here is the result.
Whilst we are at it, I haven’t offered you a recent photograph of our feathered friends for a while. Here is a bluetit on the fat ball.
They will be preparing for winter soon, too. Interestingly, it looks as though a family of wrens has found a good sheltered spot under the edge of the decking that they may use over the cold season. We shall keep an eye out for them.
Quite a sporting weekend this. Pity about the rugby. At risk of upsetting a whole lot of people, it isn’t something that is important to me. At risk of upsetting a different group of people, I do want to see Lewis Hamilton lift the Formula One World Championship. I should be disappointed, and probably bored to distraction (if not to destruction), if Kimi Raikonnen gets it. I shall be decidedly unhappy if the Spanish whinger gets it again! [I was bored, but survived it. Lewis to win again this year (2017)!]