Getting busy with Madame Motobineuse

We had a new arrival yesterday – a four-strawberry Rotavator, courtesy of Castorama. We’ve been keeping our eye out for ages and Le Bon Coin was only coughing out ancient machines that were just as expensive as a brand-new cheap one. What was worse was that Brico Leclerc had a sale on rotavators a couple of weeks ago and we’d got our eyes on one that was half price, at only 99€. However, it was not to be. I saw the last one on sale the day before the sale was supposed to start, didn’t have the cash on me and left it, thinking we could pick it up the next day, that they’d have more in stock and that the sale price wouldn’t start until the day of the sale.

Steve leading the chickens in the super-fast worm sushi buffet

Not to be. I waited in a queue of people asking about the same motobineuse. It was not to be. The assistant looked beleaguered and it was only 10:00.

Then we saw one on the Castorama website. I like the way that French people add ‘arama’ to stuff. It’s so… 1950s! The one I saw was six strawberries. I should explain. Whilst looking on Le Bon Coin, Steve regularly uses Google Translate (unlike Jake, who uses me and who says ‘what does this say?’ on his xbox live games, then clicks on so fast I can barely read it, and my French – once Baudelaire and Rimbaud French, and now Brico Depot French, isn’t yet Call of Duty Black Ops French. Still so much to learn!) and Google Translate decides that ‘fraises’ – as it should be in some circumstances – is strawberries, instead of blades. So we call the blades the strawberries, to our own sad amusement. So… six strawberries for 250€. Not bad. Reduced from 350€.

New veg patch just beginning

I dropped The Aged P off with my brother at the airport on Friday and headed straight to Limoges.

Spring violets

Limoges scares me. I realised I’ve become phobic of city driving. I hate the roundabouts with lanes that go off when you least expect it, and bus lanes that cut across roundabouts. I hate the traffic lights and the way the directions are right on the junction you’re supposed to take. I hate the amount of traffic and the way people don’t give you permission in cities to make errors. I hate the way you sometimes have a complicated turn to make when you’re in the wrong lane. I felt like a hick. Sometimes, now, I find La Rochefoucauld too busy and congested, and it only has 2,000 inhabitants.

Anyway, I located said motobineuse. It was 279€. Not 249€. Bummer. I only had 250€. I was determined I wasn’t going home without a rotavator. My name would be mud. I asked if it was a special offer, or if the price was wrong. No. So I had to buy a four strawberry one after all. However, it is a sturdy looking thing.

Steve was super-impressed. He and Jake spent the night assembling it and he nearly leapt out of bed this morning. Well, I say ‘leapt’ – he was up at 10:00 on a Saturday and raring to go.

Today, he has finished off the polytunnel, which is now breeze-free and chicken-proof at the top end. It got so hot in there today that I had to leave the door open, the chickens went in and dismantled my lovely rows of baby tomato seedlings. You would have thought they’d have had enough, following Steve about as he delivered super-speedy worm sushi.

So… poly-tunnel looking fine, hundreds more seeds planted, heated propagator doing marvellous work, rotavator saving my poorly sprained ankle from the ravages of digging… hens fat on new worms… it’s all systems go… until the weather turns again!!

Still, it’s very weird without Saffy and Basil.The front room seems bigger and quite empty without Madame Saff and her basket. There’s no barking. I miss how she used to go outside and bark the moment the door was open because she was so excited to be out there. I miss her in the kitchen when I’m cooking. There’s a huge dog-shaped hole in my life, and a smaller cat-shaped hole in my bedroom. I miss Basil curling up next to me and although Fox and Birdie follow us round the garden, I miss Basil. Fox miaows a little in greeting, but he doesn’t talk like Basil did. Both do such similar cat things when you stroke them, but it never turns violent. I haven’t got a single scratch. I miss his huge yet delicate ego. Birdie is sitting on the windowsill as I write, but he’s just not quite got the same whimsy. They’re lovely boys, but I regret to say they are not violent or whimsical enough, and they lick me where as Basil would bite or scratch me. It’s sad that I should miss the violence, but The Basil was a very contrary creature.

It’s still sad. Thankfully, Mother Nature has given me good weather and my parents have given me everything else I need to look forward to getting up in the morning, sprained ankle aside, just to get busy outside!


4 thoughts on “Getting busy with Madame Motobineuse

  1. It’s a good thing you did a translation…I was really confused about that strawberry thing! We call “rotovators” rototillers here…last year, my landlord turned our soil with a tractor-drawn tiller, which worked a lot better than the hand-operated one we rented the previous year!

    I picked up my seeds on Thursday…getting excited to plant the inside stuff…


  2. There is a big Basil shaped hole here too. Yesterday the cat from no4 was sat in his spot on the front. It made my heart leap when I came up the street, for a second I thought it was Basil.

    1. Basil’s nemesis. Can’t say he missed her. It was really weird at first not seeing him on the windowsill at night – Fox and Bird sit on there now and for a while when we didn’t have them, the light would fall on the window funny and I’d think it was Basil 😦
      He had a good retirement though. And Fox and Bird are just adorable. They fill a bit of the hole!

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