Pont Noir

Live Life in Creuse

A Long Hot Summer
by Goose • Wed 04 Nov 2009 16:45
A “dry” dog; worry about a seriously ill daughter; lovely summer temperatures; a holiday “break” that turned out to be just that; and so on ....

I’ll start with Willie, our eleven years old Breton spaniel. We had him castrated last December (see my March ’09 feature) which sadly resulted in his becoming incontinent. The testosterone injections didn’t work. We kept them up for a couple or so months but there was no improvement other than on the very rare occasion.

It was suggested to us that we should try him on Propalin so having researched it on the internet we visited our vet to see what he would say. He told us that it was intended for female dogs and he’d never heard of it being used on male dogs but he shrugged and said we could try it. Thank goodness we did, as Willie has been “dry” since May.

He has to have it squirted into his mouth three times a day (refused the food when we tried it on his dinner) and he clearly hates the taste as he puts up a bit of a play struggle though always gives in as we reward him with a little “treat” afterwards. It is a godsend as far as we are concerned. It isn’t expensive and he is so much happier now that he isn’t constantly having “accidents” and we are happy too now that we no longer have to cope with that problem.

In my raised veggie plot I planted potatoes, onions and shallots, tomatoes and courgettes - and we also have a lovely strawberry patch that grows bigger every year. I misjudged the courgettes and planted eight that I had successfully grown from seed. The end result, was that we were glutted-out with courgettes. Terry proudly grew giant multi-headed sunflowers that towered over him and the roses and lupins were magnificent. An additional and unexpected pretty display this year was that suddenly we had pansies growing in the gravel in front the our little cottage. Terry wanted them pulled out as he thought they looked untidy but I held my ground and let them stay, I enjoyed them so much.
We had several crops of raspberries and strawberries and the rhubarb is still growing , despite many desserts and offerings to friends. The black muscat vine on the front of the barn produced an enormous crop of beautifully sweet grapes which we were able to give to friends and neighbours as well as enjoying them ourselves.

We made our annual 10-day UK visit to see family and friends between Kent and Devon and as always, we came home exhausted from all the travelling and visiting. It is so lovely to see everyone but Terry suggests that next year we will apply the mantra - “we have the room, you have the income - come visit us!” (The awful exchange rate has hit us as it has everyone here who has their income originate in sterling). The friends who do come every year are so very, very welcome.

The donkey Fête at Glenic was both amusing and interesting and there were many, many people there to enjoy these beautiful and funny animals. There must have been a hundred or so donkeys of many different breeds.
At the end of June we had the worrying news that my middle daughter was ill in hospital with encephalitis. She had been in Scotland (related to her work) and gone back home not feeling too well, had collapsed and been rushed to hospital. My other two daughters in Kent had been my contact as one of them was able to stay with her sister in the hospital until she was well enough to be sent home in her care. It was a scary time and I learnt a lot about an illness that I had barely heard of before. One of the disadvantages of living so far away from family really hit home at that point. She is now “better” and after over two months of tests etc was allowed back to work but is still being kept an eye on. She came to us for a couple of weeks for some quiet rest and recuperation and it was lovely to have her here though I know she found it very quiet, being “out in the sticks”.

We hadn’t taken part in any car club events during the early part of the year as Terry had spent much of April doing the necessary work in preparation for the Moss’ re-spray. We had collected the paint etc during our UK trip and once back home, Terry had been cloistered in the garage with a mask over his face for quite some time - so at last she was ready. We were then able to attend several events with the club and enjoyed taking part and meeting up with our French friends again.

Terry had joined the Moss Owners’ Club in the UK via their website when we first got the car and this year they invited us to join them in the Ardennes area of Belgium for their annual club holiday in September. We thought that it sounded like a nice relaxing and enjoyable idea and that it would be an inexpensive break (self catering in a restored old water-mill). Little did we know exactly what sort of “break” it would turn out to be.

We decided to take two days to drive to Belgium so we didn’t “push” the old girl too much and we could then enjoy the leisurely drive as well.

Having covered roughly 700 kms we arrived at the water-mill and met everyone. Their Moss cars were very handsome and the folk themselves were a really super gang. We had never met any of them before yet within a very short space of time we felt that we’d all known each other for ages. Most strange yet very comfortable.
After a couple of days of exploring, we were driving round some very winding roads when we heard a bang and felt a big jolt and realised that the car had dropped down on one side. We pulled over immediately and were horrified to see that one of the rear wheels had completely sheared off and the wheel arch was torn where it had dropped down onto the road surface. We had not spotted a huge pot-hole and we were in Belgium on a Saturday afternoon with only three wheels on our car.

We rang Assistance for a depannage lorry and after a long wait (luckily it had happened opposite a bar so we waited outside with refreshments) it arrived with an extremely nice driver. It took four of our chaps plus him with his winch to get our car onto the lorry.

During the next couple of days we had some problems to solve but everyone was so kind and refused to go anywhere without us. One couple had come in an ordinary car so we were able to travel everywhere with the gang and did the velo-rail ride - tremendous fun.

Our main concern however was how to get the Moss and us back to the middle of France. Talking with the Assistance again, they said that they would cover the cost of a hire car to get us back home but as the Moss had been taken to the nearest garage - which was just over the border at Givet in northern France - that was all they could do re the car.

So, we drove back home in the hire car on the Wednesday, (700 kms) slept at home that night, we returned the hire car next morning then hired a car trailer and drove back to Belgium on Thursday with trailer (700 kms again) . We slept over-night at the Mill Thursday night, drove back into France and collected the Moss on Friday morning (took about an hour to get our three-legged car onto the trailer) and we were home by Friday night (another 700 kms). We were shattered but jubilant to be home!

We were very lucky as one of our new friends from the Moss club had been given a half shaft (the main part that we needed) and said that he’d bring it down to us on their way to their holiday home in the south of France in early October. And that’s what they very kindly did. Since then, Terry has put the wheel back on the car and prepared her for yet another re-spray !!

After a lovely summer of eating many meals in the garden, lots of BBQs and dog walks and taking visiting friends to places of interest, we are now all set for the winter months.
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Mar 2005
Re: A Long Hot Summer
by Lynn • Thu 12 Nov 2009 03:57
What a lovely chatty account of your summer, I enjoyed reading it.
Apr 2008
Re: A Long Hot Summer
by Goose • Thu 12 Nov 2009 22:03
Thank you, Lynn. I originally started my Features as a story of why and how we came to live in Creuse and how we coped with everything and what we got up to once here. This is my 25th article - and I would have been surprised when I first started them if I'd been told that I'd write so many just about "our story"!

Nowadays, our way of life must be pretty much the same as many others who have come to live in this beautiful corner of France, so I appreciate that you enjoyed reading it.

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Mar 2005
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