May 2006

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lunch in the sun
Ah, la vie en rosé!

l'ane bleu
Perry doing his Toulouse Lautrec impression

haircut for per
"Anything for the weekend, Sir? "

Caroline's outdoor hair salon opens for the season

cherry picker legs
Peter joins Cherry Pickers Anonymous

eatons on tour
The Eaton family on tour

p&m tools
"Will you two stop that?!!"

bat in sink
The thing that crept out of the plug hole...

peter boudestein
Peter Boudestein surprised us with a visit. His friend José surprised him by turning up a few days later.

504 et al
"How much?" Peter ponders on purchasing Perry's Peugeot

101 things you can do with a bowl of cherries.
Caroline, Peter, Marianne and our friend Marina come up with
a few more uses. Amazing what two glasses of rosé can do.

Eating out
May's weather was just too good to be true. In fact, too hot, too dry and too soon. The cherries, blossom and drought were a month early. We ate outside nearly three times a day all month. We hardly spent time in the house, apart from the renovations. It was a solid effort from us both to get the vegetable garden weeded and watered, ploughed and planted. Towards the end of the month, the rain finally arrived and relieved us of at least an hour's work each morning and evening, keeping the small shoots and seeds moist.

Playing away
Perry had to be honest and own up to Caroline that he had been seeing another woman. In fact twelve women and one of them was nude. He had joined an art course at a gallery in Marciac, which included making your own Indian Ink and life drawing classes. Each session included an extensive lunch, where everyone contributed. Caroline would see Perry return in the evening with a happy smile and an armful of sketches and paintings. A great escape from the dust and work schedule.

Putting down roots
Caroline's therapy came in the way of a patch of earth, eight by fourteen metres square. Ploughed out of the meadow grass, continually weeded and raked. Planted with her own seeds, cuttings and nurtured shoots. Her hard work is now reaping enormous benefits as her crops of fresh vegetables land on the table each day. Bravo!! Perry is extremely proud of her.

With more than an acre (half a hectare) in front of the house, we need to keep the grass and weeds at bay. The April and May rains created an explosion of growth that was impossible to keep back. Our friendly grass cutting service turned up several times with their sit-on tractor, but we still had to trim the borders, the drive and give room for many of our young trees and plants.

While the cat's away
Caroline flew to Holland for a reunion of her junior school in Abcoude, near Amsterdam. She had a great time catching up after 30 years and also won the jeu de boules competition that had been arranged for the evening (that's my girl!). Two days later she jumped in the back seat and joined her parents, Peter and Marianne, who were coming to stay with us for a few weeks. In the meantime, Perry went to play golf with the Dutch neighbours. Considering he hadn't swung a club for several years, he was happy that it didn't turn out to be 18 holes of gardening. He also slipped in a boozy, but effective evening with Dicky, an Englishman who lives near Marciac. He is writing a wonderful book of anecdotes and has asked Perry to illustrate and design the book. It will be published towards the end of the year, so watch this space!

Picking, stoning and jammin'
No sooner had Peter, Marianne and Caroline returned and they were in full swing. "Where's the DIY list (klusjeslijst)?" Asked Peter. We had been adding to it for months, so he had his two weeks fully planned. Typically, Peter not only finished the list, but managed to come up with at least half a dozen more projects. But first on the list was 'Pick cherries and make jam'. Tough job, but we all had fun up the ladders and stoning them all. Not as many May cherries as last year, but the jam was delicious, if a little runny...

The Eatons on tour
When Caroline lived in Hong Kong she met Pam and Scott Eaton, whilst walking their respective dogs. They had a daughter, Sawyer. Now, eight years later, they visited us with three additions. Holden, Kieran and Connor. What a delightful handful! They stayed at the local chambres d'hôtes and ate with us al fresco. It's great to see old friends in our new world. Caroline is brilliant at keeping in contact and the rewards are moments like this.

Chop that tree, dig that hole...
For a pair of 'old age pensioners', Peter and Marianne must have Duracell batteries. They go on all day. Admittedly Marianne loves to slip away and read her book under a tree whenever possible, but their efforts each time they are here, give us the extra momentum to achieve so much more than when we are alone. Your energy, encouragement and ideas are gold. Thank you.

Going batty
One morning, Caroline was busy brushing her teeth. One has to be aware that having electricians, plumbers and builders in the house most days, our morning routine is often in their company. This makes for some uneasy moments when they are up a ladder just in front of the loo door and the coffee kicks in!

Anyway, Caroline was brushing her teeth and suddenly something pushed up the metal lid to the plug hole. At first she thought it was a spider. Then the claws seemed to be thicker, so she thought it was a crab! (a crab?!) Calling the electrician, who was just next door, they both watched a bedraggled, toothpaste covered bat climb up into the sink! It must flown into the annex and climbed into the hole to get away from the daylight. Perry picked it up with some kitchen roll and brought it to the barn where it crawled into a dark corner to recover.

Surprise guests
Perry's old mate, Peter Boudestein, called to say that he fancied a few days out from Holland and wanted to come and visit. Two days later, his car pulled up at the front door (found us without a problem, thanks to his TomTom GPS). We installed him at our friends Peter and Janneke's chambres d'hôtes in the village. Perry and Peter did some catching up and took a day out, driving around the Gers, lunching and dining at little cafés along the way. Peter soon saw why we love it so much here. A few days later, José, a girlfriend of Peter, flew down to join him.

Their visit to the Pyrenees ended with a broken radiator hose and them being stuck high up a mountain pass. A few calls and they were picked up, car and all. The next day Peter asked if Perry was willing to sell his old Peugeot. The plan being to resell it in Holland and come out cheaper than a return flight to Amsterdam. Rather taken aback, Perry agreed. He started her up and took Peter for a tour. Peter was sold. Shame that after half an hour the Peugeot kept cutting out. Something with the fuel line and starter motor. We finally gave up on the idea and Perry called the garage to pick it up. It turned out that José had missed her flight too, so they had to buy two tickets! But it was worth seeing Peter after all this time. Oh, and the Peugeot is now running like a dream and is FOR SALE!


Until next month,

A bientôt.


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© 2006 Perry Taylor and La Baguette Magique, France.