I can’t get over how expensive paint is in France. The last time we were in Leroy Merlin I was astonished – an external gloss paint for wood is around €49 per litre! Today I poured a small test foundation for the barn wall. It’s a double-skinned wall which is fortunate, because the two lower courses of bricks on one side of the wall have crumbled into nothingness along the entire length of the wall. The idea is to put a small foundation in before replacing the two lower courses of bricks. Because it’s a very old farmhouse, it’s not a good idea to introduce cement; so I’m doing everything with NHL 3.5 lime. The mixture I used was 1 part lime, 2 parts sand, and 2 parts gravel. Seems to work all right, but need to leave it for a while to set before I can lay bricks on it.

I also progressed sorting out some bits and pieces in the workshop, and filled the remainder of the holes in the pantry walls; these are now ready for lime plaster. Tried some of LSS’s elderflower cordial which she made a couple of days ago and bottled today. Very nice it is too; she may make some more tomorrow. The elderflower champagne which I’ve started brewing has still not started bubbling, so I suspect the temperature in the house is just too cold for the yeast being 20 degrees.

Tomorrow there’s a car boot sale in Lamotte Beuvron which we’ll have a look at.


LSS spent several hours at the aged FIL’s, for the first time meeting the person in charge of a service called SSIAD. This is a sort of domestic medical hygiene service, and LSS has been trying to get their assistance for over a month now. (It’s not right that a daughter should be washing her own father). Not that much washing has taken place thus far though; a quick lather of the legs and upper body has taken place on Saturday afternoons but that’s as far as it went.

The good news is that SSIAD will now take over this service, and not only that, but the aged FIL will now be thoroughly washed Daily (excepting weekends). He will never have been so clean! (Even the physiotherapist who visits three times a week had started commenting that he truly was a smelly old man).

I filled in the hole in the floor in the outbuilding containing the infamous ballon; the hole was dug years ago to insert the pipe leading to the well and was never filled in. We got fed up with falling into it, so today another little job was ticked off the list. We also erected a trellis fence next to the pea plants which have started to sprout – at least the little things will now have something to climb onto!

Today’s Colorado Beetle count: 3.

I have initiated a new sport, Ladybird Relocation. The rules are simple; search the garden for a ladybird (there are plenty). Encourage it to climb onto your finger. Then run like mad to a plant infested with greenfly (namely one of the little peach trees) and encourage the ladybird to climb off your finger onto a greenfly-covered leaf. I successfully transplanted five before getting bored. Knowing the voracious appetites of ladybirds, I’m fully expecting the peach tree to be greenfly-free by tomorrow morning.

Wildlife diary: A roe deer crossing the farm track. We also now have a stuttering cuckoo in the neighbourhood, which sounds very odd indeed. The call is something like: cuckoo, cuck-oo, cuck-cuck-cuck-cuck-cuck-oooooo (the last few syllables in a frenzied crescendo).