Saturday, 10 May 2008

Sue’s Week

And what a week it’s been. Lots of late nights, a lot of work, a few bottles have been drunk and lots of chatting; it’s been really good to catch up on news and put the world to rights. The week has passed really quickly and despite saying that I should have noted what we did each day, I didn’t so the following is what I think we did each day! Oh to have a memory that works as it used to, the ‘craft’ memory is appearing far too often for my liking these days.

Sunday - We had a gentle start to the day and then made our way over to Issigeac market. This Sunday market is held in the narrow streeted medieval town a little way from Bergerac. This week, there was an addition to the market, a flower section and the square by the church was a riot of colour with garden and bedding plants everywhere. Needless to say I forgot to take my camera. While we were there, we purchased a few supplies for our next destination that day, a general bbq/picnic at Ann’s to discuss what fundraising events would we be willing to help with to raise money to cover the sterilisation/neutering of stray cats in the area.

Monday - While Sunday had been just that, a day of sun, Monday couldn’t have been more different; it rained and rained. There were 25 mm of rain over night and another 24.5 mm during the day. I braved the rain to see how the draining ditch at the top of the new vegetable area was coping. In short it wasn’t and this was the view of the top of the field that greeted me.

It wasn’t much better at the bottom of the field either. The trench at the top of the field was overflowing and the only option was to dig channels to the ditches to drain the water at the bottom of the field. I thought the pump house had come off without problem, between them, the ditch at the top and the furrows left by the plough had diverted the torrent that usually lapped against he back wall but when I looked inside the water was half way up the pump, it was being flooded by the water table so I will have to have a think how to fix that, as currently the pump cannot be raised any higher off the ground.

My coat was soaked through after about 20 minutes so in the end I did without it and just got wet. The main ditch at the bottom of the alpaca field was just about up to capacity too while water poured off my neighbour’s field creating mini ravines. He had only the day before been out there spreading the fertiliser so how much went into the soil had how much washed straight into the ditch is anyone’s guess, It’s turning into a tough year for farmers here.

The rest of the day we spent making bread and a cake, nice, dry indoor things. We were joined by Mr Tibbs who decided to make a claim for Sue’s lap much to the disgust of Snowy.

Tuesday we set off for Villeréal, a bastide town here in Aquitaine and set off on the town walk. In the back streets we found this wonderful doorway, the old lepers house. From there we headed off to see fellow bloggers Debs and Bob from the Lehners in France for a delightful afternoon chatting, meeting the menagerie and sampling the lovely apricot and walnut brioche Debs made for us. I’m now looking forward to a return visit from them.

Wednesday was designated tree day, I fitted the trailer to the ride-on mower and we loaded up with trees, tree guards, spades and most importantly, flasks of tea and set off for the top of the tree field. It’s not that far really but there were a lot of trees in 4l pots. It was a really productive day and when I counted the empty pots at the end we had done the 25 truffle trees plus 65 ordinary trees. It was really beginning to look like a wood in waiting.

Thursday was another day out and we set off for the Prune Museum that I like at Granges-sur-Lot to get some of their wonderful plum/prune based chocolates – I just adore their plum eau du vie filled chocolates. We decided to keep with the food theme and then headed for Monflanquin, which is another bastide town and was hosting a wine and cheese fete; Thursday was a bank holiday, WWII Victory Day. There we treated ourselves to a couple of bottles of wine and some one-year Comte cheese followed by a trip to a tearoom for a cuppa and a slice of carrot cake. Thus fortified we headed home and after dealing with the alpacas we planted another 30 trees before sunset. We’d just got the mower and trailer back through the alpaca enclosure when it stalled and refused to start again. A project for next week.

Friday - As we were just about at the end of Sue’s stay we had a trip to the supermarket in Bergerac and then back to plant some more trees. Sue was determined that they would all be planted before she went. With no mower and trailer to help it took a bit of time but eventually the last 38 trees were all carried up to the new wood and planted, a total of 155 trees over the week. And somehow we still managed to fit in a trip out to a local restaurant for a duck supper before collapsing in bed after a very busy week.

As you will guess, I’m really grateful to Sue for all her help this week; the trees would have taken at least another week or two without her and somewhere in the week we also planted a couple of kilograms of potatoes too.

Saturday was down as a nothing day, the timing of Sue’s flight meant that there wouldn’t be time to do anything before we set off for the airport, however, we did get a bit of excitement. Someone left a piece of baggage in the departures café at the airport and managed not to hear the three or four increasingly urgent messages over the tanoy to go and reclaim it. Eventually we were all evacuated from the building for half an hour or so. We had arrived early and checked in straight away so as soon as they had tracked the guy down and we were allowed back into the terminal, Sue was able to head off to her plane.


softinthehead said...

WOW that is a lot digging for that many trees, well done!

Georgina said...

Hi Deborah, it sounds like you had a very busy week. I've still got to finish my post about your visit, will do ASAP. Looks like we have a storm coming! Debs x

dND said...


I couldn't have done it without Sue's help, it would have taken ages.

Hi Debs,

As your post came through the heavens opened here so will now have to cower indoors until the downpour stops. Pity as it was brilliant sunshine and 27 degrees 10 minutes ago. Just had time to get the washing off the line.

aims said...

I guess I could look it up - but what is a bastide town?

Sue sounds like an angel! A very hard-working angel! I'm amazed at what you accomplished during the week!