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13th May

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Edited by Cathy Winsor, Thursday, 17 May 2012, 07:47

The last week has been spent gardening from dawn to dusk, with interludes sitting at my sewing machine making bunting for The Wedding. So far I have made 250 pennants which equates to just 60 metres of bunting, so given that son and fiancée anticipate 500m there is still a lot more sewing to do. I do enjoy it, especially when I see the pile of pennants growing steadily higher.

I am having to garden discretely, which is not easy when our neighbour Etienne regularly drives down the lane past our house on his tractor. The reason is that I should not be planting seedlings out before the name days of the saints du Glace have past, St Mamert, St Pancrace, St Servais on 11th, 12th and 13th. Both Etienne and Fatima have warned me of not just the danger of late frosts but also planting around a full moon. There is always some truth behind traditions but instead I have put my faith in the long term weather forecast and now have several hundred seedlings planted out, by tomorrow all danger will be past. The biggest hazard at the moment is the cats, for who the freshly turned loose soil is a magnet for a loo. The deer are a problem too; they have demolished a gooseberry bush and stripped the bark off the remaining stump to the ground so there is no hope of it regenerating. The moles are busy in the orchard, but so far haven’t crossed the drive. It would be unfortunate if wedding guests were tripping over mole hills. Meanwhile TOH has been hard at work tiling the conservatory. We have moved the furniture onto the tiled half and he is now most of the way through the other section. All the furniture will need moving again when it comes to grouting between the tiles. It would have been finished by now had there not been the diversion of an ebay purchase. He put in a rather reckless bid for a large blue painted wooden chest. It was advertised as an old Basque dowry chest. We had to drive for hours beyond Toulouse to collect it. At first sight it looked like yet another ebay mistake but we handed over 100 euros with a smile and heaved it into the back of the van. Once back home TOH devoted three days to stripping it and revealing the wood and ornate carving underneath. It is quite beautiful, but we have yet to think of a place to put it. We seem to have accumulated so many wooden chests over the years.

One thing that has ground to a halt is the studying. I will get my books out now. The art section I think is the most interesting, especially as we are looking at things short listed for the Turner prizes over the years. Perhaps I'll discover why Tracy Emin's bed is seen as an artwork. Tomorrow we are off to the mountains again, we were unlucky last week, what should have been an easy ascent up Pic Peguere had the path blocked by snow at a crucial point where there was a huge drop on one side, so we had to turn back. After the hot weather we have had over the last few days the snowline must be well above 2000m.

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