Wednesday, September 28, 2011

August Updates below

Munson @ Chenonceau

I’ve got a new computer up and running, and have started filling in the details of our August adventures. There’s quite a few posts to come, but as per usual, they’ll be posted as diary entries on the date they happened. So if you’re not subscribed through RSS or email, please scroll down a little to see the “new” posts appearing.

There’s quite a lot to come: August was a busy busy month and I foresee at least twenty more posts to get to the end of it. So you don’t have to wait for the very last day to see Munson at the Château de Chenonceau, I’ve posted a little preview above.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pond life

drying pond
On warmer days when I feel restless and need some outdoor exertions, I generally turn to the pond aka Lac Woebegone next to the house to do further clean-up work. This long drought has been tough on it and it’s lost about a third of its surface area. The loss in aesthetics is my gain in being able to dredge many of the fallen trees slowly sinking into the ooze of clay and rotting leaves.

Pond, coypu holesThe dry bed is a bit deceptive – only the top crust has dried and when you step on it, you quickly sink to your knees or further in the ooze. I can crawl around the edges in my wellies, and pull out dead branches, beer bottles, baby nappies and all the other thoughtless crap in this watery midden.

The coypu damage to the edges is extensive: they’ve hollowed out stretches of bank so there’s a shelf of half a metre or more that provides hiding for their burrow openings into the water. The weakened banks are now crumbling as they dry out, and every few days continued coypu tunnelling is dropping some of the dying trees into the pond.

I spent nearly 4 hours crawling around the pond-bed backfilling the undermined banks; fantastic exercise for me but sometimes gross as the methane comes bubbling out, and then lots of scrub down in the shower afterwards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charlie’s aviary

3 Chicks

The big barn is home to three chicks being tended by one of the hens. With their plumage in three different colours, they look like a small animatronic diorama, ready to cheep “It’s a small world”. I was surprised to see the chicks taking advantage of mother hen by riding on her back, singly or in pairs.

They've got a chicken to ride, but they don't care

Monday, September 12, 2011

Normal service will be resumed

During my travels internet service was very unreliable and I didn't have time at the end of each day to write, process photos and find somewhere to upload. Indeed for many days on the English/Welsh border I didn't even have mobile phone signal. Very little has changed in that respect since I began travelling in rural Britain in 2005. No phone operator offers service across the country so unless you're willing to swap sim cards between Orange, Vodafone, O2 etc every few miles then you may as well be in the pre-mobile era. Quite astounding for one of the world's technological leaders in a densely populated corner of a small island.

We got home to the farm in France at the end of August to find my desktop computer had died, and my laptop is running so slowly I can't finish or upload posts without it overheating and switching off. I'm chasing the matter with Dell but my original query just keeps getting answered by new staff without any of them progressing the issue.

Buying a new computer with English language software and keyboard layout from France is not straightforward! Neither Dell France nor HP France inspire any confidence, and their UK subsidiaries are not permitted to ship outside of the UK. Welcome to the village idiot aspect of globalisation....

I'm posting this from the new Blogger app on my iPhone. It's limited in functionality but at least I can get this message up, and with some perseverance begin to trickle out the remaining posts of our UK adventures.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September swim

Munson & Gustav 
September is shaping up to be a very warm month. The lake is our refuge and reward during the heat.

Mike & Munson  Mike
Lupiac bathing area - 5 'no dogs' signs in one placeDuring our absence, the sand-covered bathing area at Lupiac has had some rather excessive signage added. Is there a point to having 5 identical warnings placed in a single view? – and there are more to the left and right if you turn your head.

The lake is about 3km around, so we have no need to take Munson to the 100m of sandy beach. If we’re planning to make an afternoon of it, then we go to a grassy area away from the occasional crowds.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Legend grows

Munson & Legend 16-June-2011  Munson & Legend 05-September-2011

Remember little Legend? Back in June he could still easily walk under Munson’s belly. Now he’s stretching towards looking Munson eye to eye.
Munson enjoys being on his own turf again