A ploughman’s and a promenade

We’ve just wrapped up a very pleasant and productive day with our evening meal and then a walk.

We had what I suppose you’d call a ploughman’s lunch this evening.

Some part-cooked petits pains finished off in the oven, some Pilgrim’s Choice Extra Mature Cheddar,  lettuce, tomato, Branston Pickle, home-pickled shallots and some crisps all combined to make a simple but satisfying, delicious and very English meal. We washed it down with cheap rose.

We then took the cats for a walk.

This has become a regular, usually twice daily, ritual. The two cats come either separately or together for a walk down the lane which runs past our neighbours’ garden – complete with beehives – and out into a huge field:

 

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Oscar came ahead of Django who must have been busy killing voles – something he’s done a lot of lately.

Here’s Oscar catching up with us:

 

It was very hot today, but there’s a definite autumnal ‘twang’ in the air this evening…

Dragonflies, swallows and kir petillant

And still France continues to share its wild life secrets…

A few hours ago, we were sitting outside – taking a smoke and drinks break before yet another stage of the fucking interminable process of putting together an Ikea Hemnes wardrobe – when Mrs Shark exclaimed that she’d just seen the biggest hornet ever.

Closer examination of the ‘hornet’ revealed that it was, in fact, this:

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It’s a Broad-bodied Chaser – or so Google has reliably informed me – a female.

Never seen one of those before.

Amazing wings – almost like Tiffany glass…

Whilst I was typing the first part of this blog entry – sitting in the dining room with a JPS 100 and another (sic) nice glass of kir petillant – there was a great commotion when a swallow flew in through the doors and Oscar caught it.

As far as we know, this is the first bird that he’s ever actually managed to get between his jaws.

I managed to get it off him and – fortunately – it seemed remarkably unphased and uninjured and flew off out of my hands when I took it outside.

My god, but it was beautiful…

I feel doubly blessed now – and, after my fourth glass of kir – very full of honhomie.

Just call me Mr Congeniality…

…better had, or I’ll twat you one…

Footnote: the photo was taken by me with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 compact camera.

Fussy eaters…

…always awkward buggers and especially when they’re your own bloody cats.

Since we had Django and Oscar as kittens, and up until we moved to France, they’ve both eaten the same food.

Django ate Felix Choice Cuts pouches – fish only – and some dried Royal Canin Maine Coon food:

 

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Oscar on the other hand ate nothing apart from the Royal Canin food. In fact, he still doesn’t eat anything else. Each bowl is attacked with equal relish and as if it was filet steak, foie gras or caviar…

 

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Fortunately, we’ve managed to wean Django onto Whiskas which is often on special offer here and he’ll now eat the pouched poultry varieties as well as the fish.

However, supplying Oscar with what he likes has become rather less easy. Last year, we ordered 30kg of the Royal Canin food from a company in the UK. It cost us about £140 with free delivery and arrived less than 48 hours after I placed the order – fabulous service and a great price.

Here, in France, it’s amazingly expensive, about 50% more, which is bad enough, but when you think that Royal Canin is a French company, it’s fucking ridiculous.

And that’s the main problem relocating to France – some things are stupidly expensive, although we reckon it just about evens out when you take into account the fact that some aspects of the household budget are cheaper.

However, after discovering that the company we ordered from last year no longer delivers here, we found another UK pet suppliers that will deliver to us and, although more expensive, 20kg delivered here will still work out about 33% cheaper than buying it in France.

The moral is, I suppose, to shop clever whenever possible. So, we keep our eyes peeled for special offers – although the BOGOF culture hasn’t really reached here yet – and then stock up:

  • Pork leg joints at €2.50 a kilo? Grab half a dozen and slap ‘em in the freezer!

  • Twin pack of Palmolive washing up liquid at just over the price of a single bottle? Get 3 packs for the store cupboard!
  • Cheap tomatoes? Make a vat of pasta sauce and freeze it!

Also, French value brands seem to be better than their UK counterparts, with Super U’s Bien Vu dark roast coffee offering amazing value, for example.

However, it’s clear that what was once a cheap country, compared to the UK at least, is no longer cheap.

So, it’s by no means all biere et boules here.

On the other hand, I haven’t seen a single chav since I was over in the UK last December and that counts for a lot…

Oscar

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Oscar falling asleep.

A tail of woe

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Oscar – Maine Coon #2 – was a little off-colour yesterday.

He was just lying around looking wistful and didn’t seem to want to play with his feathery stick or thug up birds in the garden.

We gave him the once-over and found a lump just beneath the root of his tail.

I looked at it and found some bitemarks.

‘Ah ha…an abscess,’ I thought.

So, sure enough, this morning after a quick phonecall and a trip over to our excellent vet, Oscar got his abscess drained, a thermometer up his arse, a painkiller injection, a shot of Amoxycillin and some pills to take for the next five days.

He seems brighter, which is good news.

Phase 5 of the plan

Pet passports collected today.

Here’s Oscar celebrating amongst the bluebells in the garden.

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Oscar

Purring like mad.
Image posted by MobyPicture.com
– Posted using MobyPicture.com

Phase 4 of the plan

The cats are booked in next Tuesday for a blood test to see if their rabies shots have been effective.

If so, then we can take them across to France but if we want to bring them back inside 6 months then they’ll have to be tested.

However, if we stay here in the UK for 6 months and then get a second clear blood test then we can come and go as we please.

So, that’s what we’re doing.

Next phase is to think about selling this place and decide on an area of France we want to move to…

So far Brittany, Normandy, Pays de Loire and Poitou-Charentes seem favourites.

We shall see…

Another gratuitous cat photo

What the heck…

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Django is in the foreground, with Oscar behind him.

Cute, or what?

A lookee-likee?

Here’s Totoro:

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And here’s our kitten Oscar:

Uncanny, isn’t it?