2006 Rolls Along a little further
One early October day we had an unkind laugh at the expense of our young neighbours, but we just couldn't help it - really and truly! I suppose it was the sort of hysterical relief that kicks in when you thank your lucky stars that a particular event didn't happened to you - you know how people do that!
A cow-transporter lorry drove past our house as we were standing outside talking to one of our other neighbours. I called our dog over to sit beside us and we stood well-tucked in to our barns to keep out of the way.
The lorry was a double-decker and as it passed our neighbour's car (which was parked just on the gravel in front of their house) a cow on the upper deck decided to relieve itself. I'd never thought about that possibility before but it sprayed its liquid emissions all over their car. For a few seconds we stood with mouths open in horror and amazement, then we just laughed and laughed. Most unkind, I know, and no doubt pay-back time will catch up with us in the end.
However, it certainly made us think twice about overtaking a double-decker cow lorry, especially in our old soft-top (perhaps with the hood down!!!). Doesn't bear thinking about.
On my way back from the shops at Ahun one day, I drove over the Roman Bridge at Moutier D'Ahun and saw a couple (our sort of age) down at the river and their old MGB (UK registered) was parked just off the road. Being long in the habit of flashing (the car lights, not me!!) at MG owners, I pulled over (I wasn't in our MG though, just my bonky old Peugeot) and stopped to talk to them. I told them about our own MG and as our home was just three minutes away they followed me up and they had a good old chat about MGs with Terry and about living in France whilst we offered refreshments to them, then they went on their way. It's so nice to feel able to chat to almost anyone (mind you, as one gets older it's easy anyway, as a "mature lady" can't appear to be much of a threat!).
On 1st October it was Willie's 8th birthday (our dog) so for his treat we took him and a picnic to Lake Vassiviere. We were surprised to see that the lake had been drained. Not totally, of course, but the water was very much lower than normal. (We know that local lakes are drained regularly but we just hadn't realised that this huge lake would be too). We sat on one of the pontoons (normally floating) to eat our picnic whilst Willie ran round, snuffling about in the undergrowth, then we had a good traipse round. It was a glorious October day.
On 8th October it was the twice yearly horse faire at Chénérailles and we met up with several friends to have a mooch about. There is always a huge market at these events as well and it's interesting to people-watch as everyone tries to catch a glimpse of what's on sale. You almost have to keep on the move though, as it is always very busy and the whole crowd sort of pushes you along. We decided to partake of liquid refreshment whilst we sat in the sunshine and furthered our people-watching skills.
The horsey part of the whole day is very depressing though. We saw perhaps twenty horses all crammed together in a very small holding pen that was so small, when one horse reared up it couldn't help but come down onto its neighbour and the chap standing by the pen just whacked it hard and frequently with a stick. Some of the others became fractious too and they all tried to move round but couldn't so that meant more whacks with the stick. It looked so cruel we had to move on. I realise it's a way of life here but we didn't have to watch it.
By mid-October Terry was busy pointing the end wall of the barns to make them weather-proof. He borrowed a friend's scaffold tower and was at it for several days and had aching shoulders by the time he'd finished. It did look much better - almost professional! I helped relieve his aching shoulders by massaging in arnica gel during the evenings (team-work).
15th October was the date of the Pumpkin fète at St Laurent. (we love the way there are so many fètes in honour of so many different vegetables and fruits in France). We never miss these though they are pretty much the same each year. It is the ambiance that we enjoy so much. The sheer quantity of pumpkins and the size of some of them is quite amazing, as is the amazing variety in the gourd family. A member from our car club won the prize for growing the heaviest pumpkin that year.
We'd gone with a couple of friends, so we had our look around the fète and tasted the requisite refreshments then we drove on to the forest at Guéret to walk our dogs (run, really - they run, we walk) . The temperatures over that weekend were 24C and 26C and my diary states that on Friday, 27 October it was 32C and I did my ironing out on the patio wearing a sunvest and shorts to top-up my suntan!! . October can be a lovely month.
At the start of November a couple of friends came over from Kent for their annual visit. Ken always insists that he give Terry a hand doing something or other and this was really helpful as our trees over the other side of the road had been leaning precariously over the telephone wires and we had been worried that a branch might break off causing us a lot of expense (one is responsible for any damage one's falling trees might cause). Terry had already decided to cut them down, so Ken got into his work clothes (brought with him so that we had no doubt that he genuinely intended to help) and the two chaps set to work with winch, hatchet, saw and chain-saw cutting down branches and a couple of the trees.
We held another book-swap that month and thoroughly enjoyed it. Met some "new" people as well as our "regulars".
We got stuck in to some serious gardening to prepare it for the winter months. One afternoon we had a fright when we were bending down over the flower beds. There was a very loud "BANG" from the other side of the shrubs and as we looked up we could see what appeared to be smoke rising from the grass. Willie had leapt up and was spinning round in confusion. We ran round to investigate only to find that the wheel-barrow's front tyre had blown up! It had carried some very heavy weights during its life-time and it was now in shreds over the grass. We stood there and laughed and laughed 'til we hurt, then we collapsed onto the grass so that Willie could join in the fun with us.
The next big job that Terry got stuck into was digging the stones up that formed the uneven floor of the small barn next to the house so that he could turn it into a utility room. This was immediately underneath our new bathroom and spare bedroom extension. He had thought that they'd be manageable "stones" but that was a big mistake ...