Thursday 29 May 2008

A Bonus Day

No, there’s not been an extra day added to the week but I didn’t get the rain and thunder forecast for today. Instead it’s been sunshine the whole day (and it was dry yesterday too), so I abandoned the rainy day stuff I had planned for today and got on with scything down the 1.5 metre high grass along the ditch on the other side of the new vegetable area. That with animal feeding and washing just about sums up today. It doesn’t sound a lot but it has taken the day.

The cats have loved the warm weather, cue cute picture of Cid giving Hazel a quick wash.

Still it gives me plenty of time to cover yesterday and Tuesday.

The fencing posts for the alpaca paddocks have arrived – hurrah; hopefully the person who’s going to put them in will be round soon. I’ve no idea who it is as it’s being arranged by Regis.

The main news from Tuesday was the arrival of two new alpacas so let me introduce you to Dior and Dartagnan. Dior, on the left is a female while Dartagnan on the right is a male. They have both settled in really well although I think Dartagnan is missing some of his previous herd mates and hums a lot. No such problems with Dior who I think will eventually give Silver a run for her money and not be bullied.

Wednesday’ main event for me was a trip to the dentist, yes, the 3 weeks wait was finally up and the appointment was at 3:30. I found the place without any hassle and went into the waiting room. It was quite a different experience from my dentist in the UK.

In the UK I was with a modern practice, all shiny, new, lots of receptionists and lots of people waiting usually over half an hour their allotted appointment time. Here I was the only person. Granted I did have to wait but not very long. The next difference was that there was only one dentist and a receptionist who worked in a room off the surgery and not in the reception area. It turned out they knew of me; the receptionist is a friend of my neighbour and I’m easily identifiable as the Brit with the alpacas. The dentist himself only lives about a kilometre away too.

I’d gone prepared with a drawing of my teeth and a list of relevant words with their French translation. I explained that I had one tooth with a big hole in it but it was the tooth next to it that was actually giving the pain.

Both teeth were worked on by my dentist in the UK. I had to go onto a private dental insurance due to a lack of NHS dentists in the area and I had more done to my teeth after going onto the plan than I had before going on to it and that included all the remedial work that had to be done before they would let you join the dental insurance plan. In this case, a deep filling had to be done, while the dentist pulled my tooth around to the point I thought he was trying to extract it he managed to dislodge a filling out of the side of the adjoining tooth, something neither of us noticed until later when I had to go back because I was having a problem with it. He drilled out the hole and put in a new filling…that lasted about a week. Back again and he drilled out a bit more and put in another filling. That lasted about a month; just long enough until I had arrived here and of course cancelled my insurance.

But it was the adjoining tooth that he’d worked on that was causing the problem now and oh I heard on the grapevine that he didn’t last very long at the dental practice.

The dentist here looked at the hole and decided to check that it wasn’t that causing the problem. Did he poke and prod, not at all, he used a cold spray which caused no reaction from me so he was then happy that it was the other tooth. Another thing that was nice was there was no dental assistant dragging open one side of my mouth while a dentist worked on the other, it was far more gentle I didn’t feel so assaulted and I was actually able to talk to the dentist.

He removed the filling from the other tooth and saw that 2 of the roots had been killed but the previous dentist had left/missed the third when he did the previous work. It’s this root that is now part dead and decaying that is giving the pain. I’ve now got a temporary filling while the gunk that’s been put inside the root is hopefully killing it and I have to go back in 3 weeks for the next bit of work.

Another difference to the UK was the lack of anaesthetic injection. They were almost standard at my last practice and often resulted in very sore gums for a day or two where the 2 or 3 (for some reason one injection point never seemed to work on my gums) needles had been inserted. I was really impressed as I felt no pain what so ever. I flinched a tiny bit when he very gently poked the live root which then confirmed that it was the problem, but really it was nothing.

Wednesday evening I realised that it had been dry and warm enough to dry the alpine strawberry plants and on closer inspection they had been ripening despite the lack of sunshine. As rain was on the cards for today, I wasted no time and got picking. While I picked, the mosquitoes feasted. I think I managed to kill about as many as bites I received – I have about 20 – they were biting through my leggings and tights as well as my arms, talk about voracious. Still it was worth it, I got two baskets of berries that are destined to become Alpine Strawberry Preserve. Scones anyone?

Update on Super Mouse; he may have had his chips. The trap was sprung this morning and there was a much smaller mouse in there than last time. I think it might have been Super Mouse but the trap is back down and I’ll see if I catch any more. I might bait the humane trap again as well, if Super Mouse still lives he’ll get the bait from there with no problem and I’ll know he’s still about.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Catch-up Time Yet Again

I didn’t post yesterday for a couple of reasons. The first being that it would have be a rewrite of Sunday’s post on the rain. It wasn’t quite as bad but again the field was flooded. The second reason was much nicer; it was ‘Ladies Night’, when a group of us get together for a meal at one of our houses. Last night’s meal was one that really gelled and we didn’t leave until after midnight.

It went downhill after that though and I then spent a further 2+ hours trying to sort out my AVG virus upgrade. I’ve been a fan of AVG for years now and in the last month or so there has been a pop-up announcing that they would be withdrawing support for the old version at the end of this month and therefore everyone needed to upgrade to the new version. So upgrade I did.

In the words of the Italian captain from ‘Allo, ‘Allo, “What-a Mistake-to a Make-a!”

Having read through a lot of web chatter today on the upgrade it seems that the pop-up isn’t telling the truth and Grisoft (AVG) will support the old version until December. The consensus is that the new version is slow, overcomplicated and bug ridden and is really only a very bad Beta version that users, such as myself, are supposed to test.

I am very definitely not amused, I now have a virus scanner that slows my system, continually shows an icon telling me my system is not protected, will not let me repair it, will not let me re-install it and will not let me un-install it and worst of all will not let me update the virus database. In a word, useless.

So today’s project was to install another virus programme; AVG have lost my loyalty and I am now running avast

Last night’s late night means I’m feeling far to tired to sort out the photos for today’s post so that will all have to wait until tomorrow when I have news of two new arrivals at the farm and oh it seems that my posting of the demise of Super Mouse might have been a bit premature. As I said I’ve been setting the trap as there is always more than one mouse and couldn’t believe it when going back to check it and found that the bait is being removed from the spike and the trap not triggered. This has now happened twice and I’ve set the trap to be as sensitive as possible. This time I’ve tried Gouda cheese as I can get that to stick onto the spike. It won’t surprise me though if it is gone tomorrow and the trap not sprung.

Monday 26 May 2008

The End of Super Mouse

It’s with mixed feelings I’m reporting the demise of Super Mouse. I’ve spent nearly 3 weeks trying to catch him in a humane mousetrap but he was far too quick. I tried larger and larger pieces of cheese rind up to the point of the cheese being too heavy to set the trap. I tried tipping the trap slightly so that the door was only just balanced open but to no avail, each time he managed to get the cheese and get out before the door captured him.

Today I spent the morning with S and P who are just making the final arrangements before being here permanently. They had bought a job lot of mousetraps to protect their house when they’ve been away and they gave me one.

Two hours after getting home and baiting the trap I heard the snap.

The trap is now re-baited, since where there is one mouse there are likely to be more. Much as I don’t like killing them, mice are not something I want running round my kitchen, but I still feel sad and have to admire Super Mouse’s agility to beat the humane trap.

Sunday 25 May 2008

Rain – Again

It started raining around midday and hasn’t stopped and we’ve already had 30 mm of rain. Still I should count myself lucky as in the south of Aquitaine there has been a hailstorm that left up to 30 cm of hailstones. It’s totally annihilated some of the vineyards in the area and washed out fields of maize.

Today’s rain has come after yesterdays 14 mm that saturated the ground so sadly my new vegetable area has been inundated again.

The ditch can’t cope so has overflowed.

And the field is flooded.

The bottom of the field.

A picture for ‘G’, your hard work last year is holding up well, the ditch is full but it’s still not flooding over the top as last year.

And this says it all; this was taken at the bottom of the new wood field, thank goodness both skin and the plastic clogs are waterproof.

A’s Week

I’ve been a trifle sad today, I always am when I’ve had to take my children back to the airport but I’ve had a wonderful week catching up with 'A' again. He shares my love of the news and information and being a student has more time than me to read around. I also love having my children here because it brings me up to date with what they think is important in this world.

So we’ve had late nights talking about his year in Singapore and what he hopes to be taking next year and watching videos and the days have been filled with bits and pieces. Going out a few times and pottering round the farm the rest.

We spent a morning going to see the baler and hay turner and OK’ing them.

We spent a day mowing lawns and planting some stuff then 'A' clipped the hedge for me. It’s the first time it’s been fully clipped in well over a year. I tried back last year but it was just too much for me so I’m really grateful that he’s done it.

We’ve had the first of the alpine strawberries that are now fruiting prolifically; the coin is a one-euro coin.

We’ve also built and hung some of the wall units.

Now there is only the corner unit and it’s 2 adjoining ones to go. They would have been done but once the corner unit was built it was obvious that it can’t be fitted round the new electrics and I will have to buy some battens this week and fix it to the wall on those. 'A' has then spent time loading the finished cupboards and generally clearing spaces.

The rest of the time has been spent just ‘hanging out’ or whatever the current phrase may be. I count myself so lucky not only having wonderful children but also being able to spend time with them in what is a very restful situation.