Don’t look surprised

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by the powerful vocal chords of Miss Alison Moyet with All Cried Out because we could all do with a bit of a power blast this last working week before Christmas, I am sure.

I must admit – I’m kind of flagging and I’m hanging on to the weekend. A case of burning the candle from both ends and getting a lighter out just to help it burn faster, I think. This birthday and Christmas malarky can be hard going and I’m no spring chicken any more. A couple more Christmas lunches and apéros to go and I think that’ll be me done for the year.

It was my 41st birthday yesterday and it was just lovely. From the dogs letting me have a lie-in to the chocolate cake at dinner, it was the best kind of birthday. I even turned up at Madame V’s for a birthday breakfast, alarmed to find there was actually a breakfast to be eaten because I’d managed to eat a Turkish Delight before 9am. Turkish Delight is something only ever seen in occasional English shops over here in France. It is, of course, Turkish Delight jelly covered with chocolate. I don’t even know if you can buy it elsewhere in the world, but I am partial to a bit of a pink sugar rush from time to time.

My first unwrapping was a present from Miss Rachel – and given her taste, I was a little worried about what it might be. In fact, even when I opened it, I thought there might be body parts rather than Christmas baubles.

IMG_0266I don’t know about you, but I find these men slightly alarming. One of them looks rather sheepish, like he’s just been caught googling inappropriate things by his mother, and the other looks like he’s watching his friend google inappropriate things and is finding it rather amusing that his friend has been caught out by his mother.

I am massively looking forward to spending a little time knitting some of the baubles though. Hand-knitted baubles. Nearly as good as the hand-knitted bra that Miss Rachel received in the Secret Santa (the secret is out now although as soon as she opened it, everybody said ‘That’s from Emma!’)

My second opening needs me to take a very good photo of them – they’re glass icicles made by a very talented artist out this way and they are just stunning.

From there, it was a rummage through a box of stuff my mum sent over a couple of weeks ago. I had left it unopened as I am very well behaved and would not dream of opening things before I’m allowed. I have been having issues with static which I am sure will not be remedied by the amount of woollen goods in the box. So many socks and jumpers that I nearly did not find the Toffee Crisps and Turkish Delights secreted away. Then skype calls and phone calls to my Mum and my Nana before a feeding at Madame V’s. Even the water for the tea was ready when I arrived. I’m a lucky lady.

I picked up an early Christmas present too, chez Sylvie, this wonderful gnomey tea towel.

1476581_550027431741378_1662186994_nI’m obviously of the quirky gift type.

Even my birthday walk was different from the usual type. Miss Tilly, who has never been of the chase variety of spaniel, has definitely woken up her inner cocker urges. On Saturday, she flushed out her first pheasant and was so excited she would possibly have taken off after it when it flew away. She chased around the bushes searching for it for a good ten minutes after it had gone. It’s the first time in three years that she has done such a thing. And even though Heston likes to chase crows and swallows, and brought me a bemused but intact duck once, he has never once been bothered by grouse or woodcock or pheasant. Deer or wild boar… that’s different.

Anyway, hot off her Saturday flushing triumph, she got exactly the same yesterday – running in and out of a hedge, trying to get into a better position. Whatever it was had obviously got itself into a spot she couldn’t and it was driving her mental. She tried to get at it for a good five minutes. I put her back on the lead to drag her off, and only seconds after I did so, a huge male and a tiny female pheasant came running out of the bush, right into Heston’s path. He ignored them as they flew off but Tilly would not stop pulling in the direction they’d gone and I firmly believe she’d have run through fields to get to them.

If only I’d had a gun…

Joking, of course.

Heston did manage to flush a hunter out of a bush though. So, a triumph all round. That’s three pheasants in two days for Tilly. Definitely a cocker girl!

After this, it was tea at my dad’s house and he’s bought me a kindle fire for my birthday. It took me about twenty minutes to switch it on as I have become a techno-imbecile in France. I did manage to connect it to my wifi after about four attempts, so I am pretty pleased with myself.

Looking back on it, my 40th year has been a great year – entirely due to friends and family, my animals and this wonderful place I live. I am a lucky girl. How many people have a job they love doing, a place they love living in and are surrounded by love? Not as many as there should be, I suspect.



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