Archive for the ‘living in France’ Category

Dolly , a very happy Warren henToday whilst aimlessly browsing the internet I came across a snippet of information that shocked me.

Looking up Warren hens initially I inevitably ended up looking up rescue hens and felt guilty that when in France our language skills were not up to acquiring Factory birds.

It’s a lot easier in the market to buy, as they are there to sell, and its obvious you are there to buy, yes; the international language of money.

Now the fact that shocked on this website was a warning not to give a perch to rescue birds as the jump down from a perch of just a foot high can sometimes break legs as one poor owner discovered. Turns out poor diet in these factory farms gives some of the old bird’s osteoporosis.

It makes me so angry, that we allow creatures to be treated that way, but it also made me angry with my self.

You see a few years back some animal activist’s stole a woman’s dead body, there was a great deal made of it in the press, and I thought something at the time that I never said

In a nut shell it was this, cruelty to animals is offensive to me, it sickens me, angers me,

And I put more value in a living animal than a dead human being. I would like to think most people would agree with me.

What these activists attempted however, was to make peoples beliefs clash almost in a display of performance art.

How naive!

They said by this act ‘if you ignore my most profound beliefs, we will ignore yours’

But what a strange set of beliefs people seem to have, these days.

The papers are up in arms if little dead Johnny comes home from hospital with an organ missing, but does society believe we must go to the grave whole to be ready for resurrection.

Some do have this belief I am sure but not the majority, so who is the media being indignant for.

I think the answer lies in the fact that papers are just advertising space for hire at the end of the day, and the company they keep are all about telling you how special you are.

Yes YOU go on treat yourself, after all your special and it doesn’t stop when you’re dead.

So stop sucking up newspapers and remind us what we believe in just once and a while.

Just to be clear, I am quite prepared to put my dead carcase to good use.

I sometimes joke with my wife that a shallow grave will do in the back garden, but leave my bum sticking out the top so visitors have got somewhere to park their bikes.

Perhaps a little plaque that simply states

Arnold the end.


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Its a pissy day in the Limousin, sorry to get all meteorological with you but there it is.

That and my bad back have conspired to put me in a bad mood. If I cannot leap up and do physical tasks at a whim I get all melancholic then positively gloomy.

Even my collection of unread books have no appeal. I once heard a description of someones book collection; which was obviously just collected to make the owner appear erudite, as

‘Wall to wall fitted Sartre’ .

The unread part of my collection; I hasten to add is to make me feel protected from too much Frenchness.

Yes! I had better keep hastening now I have said that.

Its like this; I can reach out my hand and fully grasp the words in my English language books when I am feeling: not so much home-sick as isolated I suppose. There is no obligation to stick with the book for better or worse, in fact the potential in them to communicate with me is usually enough to calm my nerves.

I have always liked books you see.

I have no standards however; and if you offer me a book on ‘Practical Widget Polishing’ cheap enough I will snatch it from you and run home chortling and feeling like I have got one over on you.

After all if widgets need polishing round your house your going to feel a right ninny.

She who must be obeyed is upstairs polishing her CV as we are returning to the UK soon to earn some well needed cash.

She worries about exaggerating her experience and skills on the CV, and I have reminded her that exaggeration is the norm these days; and as long as she just falls short of actually claiming to have ascended to a higher plain of existence the tone will  be about right.

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I am starting to wonder if one or more of my ancestors were hanged from tree’s as cattle rustlers, as the combination of tree and rope seems to be very dangerous for me.


Last year Martin and I set about chopping down a rotten fruit tree in the garden. All was well till I tied a rope round a branch that needed to fall in a particular direction.

As soon as I turned my back to pull the rope the branch, which was only a third sawn through, fell. The impact on my head was so hard it knocked me to my knees.


The curse is not finished with me yet however.

Yesterday was a good day in the Limousin for cutting wood. Sunshine no wind to speak of and fairly dry under foot. An excellent day to tackle the cutting of dead coppice for the fire. It was just for experimental purposes; to see if the standing dead wood can be burnt on the stove straight away, without storing it for the usual length of time.

The plot is only about a quarter of an acre but it is good coppice and densely planted; producing long straight tree trunks. The dead wood left standing is probably because deer have chewed on the bark of the young shoots and killed the odd trunk here and there.


So there I am in the woods with my chainsaw.

I am already scared because I read a book called The Ax last year and am aware how many things can go wrong when cutting tree’s.


Unfortunately I have to cut the wood to fall into the other tree’s as I have no clearing before my neighbours  land. I know this is going to make the fall of the tree slightly unpredictable. When you have cut through the trunk and the tree start’s to fall you put down the chainsaw and walk away; which in itself is tricky;  because of the dense growth.


What I saw after my first cut was spectacular. The tree trunk released from its base by my cut started to spin, lifted in the air, and sat back down 6 feet away. It stood perfectly upright, held in place by the slender top branches of the other trees.


Five minutes later I am back from my car with a rope, which I tied on to the base.

I heaved on the rope for a good while, not realising that my rope had a knot in it that suddenly released. This was at the point where my tugging was at its most reckless.

I flew backwards and landed flat on my back with a fallen tree trunk just at the base of my spine.

I am laid up now on the settee and furious; nowhere in that book did it say Warning you may be an unobservant silly old git, or check for family curses.

In these days of rampant Health and Safety warnings, where chainsaw’s come with scary labels such as;  




 Where was the label on the rope?

I think I shall buy one of those label gun thingy’s and start producing my own warning stickers.


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Well so much for 2007.

I could kick my self for all the un-finished tasks I will carry over to 2008 , but I would probably miss.


On reflection I do think life’s about the journey however.


In that spirit I have had a good year and have added to my CV, with a few jobs I have never done before.


1)      Public survey, “Excuse me! Would you mind answering a few questions” “No Sod Off”

2)      Spying on taxi drivers till 4 in the morning.

3)      Learnt to drive tractor. (yes you are not worthy )

4)      Dry walling and plumbing.

5)      Eating a meal with 8 courses.(yes it was hard but someone had to do it)


‘I am rather proud of my job list since leaving school to be honest’,




Meter reader

Clothing designer

Fork lift truck driver

Warehouse supervisor

IT network engineer

Work in dry cleaners

Head wear designer


I actually feel sorry for those people who stay in the same job year after year.

You do get to see more of life I think, by moving around from trade to trade.

Although it is not a recipe for financial success it does teach a person about society and people. That is what life should be about as far as I am concerned.

Learning about the world we really live in doesn’t just mean wildlife on the telly.


In conclusion it was a good year and hope this year will be interesting for us.

Good luck with yours.


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any ideas anyone what it is?, it has an impression of a walking stick on the back with 3 lines through it.

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DIY in France can be bad for your health. Well maybe just mine. Yesterday I managed to hit my pinky so hard with the lump hammer it split open. Then banged my head on the steel girder in the cellar.Every time I started to sweat small insects descend from were ever they lurk to drink and perhaps snack on  some of my fast flowing blood. Which  serves me right as I will go round advertising the stuff.

The Gods of sanitation smiled upon my enterprise however and I now own sinks and a washing machine which empty into the fosse-septique without the intervention of bowls and buckets.

My boots fit me again,I stand astride my completed task ,hands on hips like a goliath of DIY and stride away for perhaps two paces before I see another DIY task,and my boots feel rather large again. A voice from the house fills the air. No not a deep one saying ‘Were’s me feckin boots’ but that other overseer enquiring  politely of her first husband what his plans are for the rest of the day, and she will keep asking till I get it right.

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Tasha 1993-2007


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