Saturday, 22 December 2007

Is it Really Christmas?

Well that’s the question I was asking myself today as I mowed the lawn stripped down to my t-shirt. It was positively hot by comparison to a week ago. I didn’t cut much grass but ‘hoovered’ up rather a lot of leaves from the area that is euphemistically referred to as my front lawn. Removing the leaves has enabled me to see the lizard orchids that have already started growing even though they won’t flower until May next year.

There are at least a dozen showing at the moment, slightly less than the number of molehills that have appeared over the last month. Still the molehills give me some nice crumbly soil to rake into the multitude of hollows that make up the lawn. The supermarkets and garden centres are full of poisons for everything in the garden including moles but I really don’t want to kill them. I’m trying to discourage them when the tunnel in the direction of the lawn by hitting the ground in front of where they are going, in the hope of heading them in the other direction, into the field where I’m happy to leave them in peace. It seems to work for a while as does raking the molehills flat when they are trying to build them. It’s quite mesmerising to watch the molehill slowly growing and Patches sits for hours watching them too. I think she’s hoping the mole will poke it’s head up and she’ll be able to get it.

I’ve had an electrician round today to prepare a quote to completely rewire the place. As I feared, a lot of the wiring is a DIY bodge but some of it he passed as OK and doesn’t need replacing but I’m saving really hard for what I know will be a very large bill. While showing him round we ventured into the attic space and just caught sight of a cat running and hiding. One of the sad things in France is the number of feral and abandoned cats. The attitude seems to be that they can look after themselves so it doesn’t matter if you just leave them. I was pretty sure I recognised this one though. I call him Mr Tibbs and sure enough when I went back later I saw that it was him. Mr Tibbs introduced himself back in July by meowing under the study window one evening. I thought that if he was brave enough to do that he was probably hungry and sure enough a plate of food disappeared in double quick time.

Snowy & Mr. Tibbs

He called again for a couple of days, disappeared for a week and then came back for another couple of days. The last I saw of him was after he’d had his fill to eat and he walked all the way down the drive to my house. He gave a quick look back when he was halfway down and then disappeared into the field about half a kilometre away.

Having not seen him for so long I thought that he might have been shot by one of the hunters (rumour is that they take pot shots at cats if bored) or eaten a poisoned rat or mouse, so I was rather pleased to see him again. He’s not feral so I guess he’s been thrown out. He’s very wary but will let me sit 3 or 4 feet from him while he eats. The other 4 cats have no problems with him being round so I guess he’s got an invite to stay from all concerned. I call him Mr. because of his swagger but he could be a she; I’m hoping I can get close enough to find out before kitten season starts.

Snowy and Cid with Mr Tibbs this summer

While up in the attic I came across an old pickles crock and am going to have a go at making my own vinegar. Rhonda Jean posted
how she makes it on her down-to-earth blog yesterday and there are lots of other sites on the Internet too. I have some cider on the go at the moment so might start with cider vinegar, or should I use the last glass of red wine that’s in the lounge or open one of the known undrinkable whites I have and use that. Decisions, decisions. Maybe I shold try all three :D

No comments: