the day of the buzzard…

Today, 28th december 2013, from now on will always be known as ‘the day of the buzzard.’

Such a wet and miserable day – a day for knitting by the fire or baking cakes, writing snail mail letters or phoning friends – that sort of day, indeed, but there was a parcel to post and a bill to pay – in rural France we still write cheques and post them!

I drove the four km to the village, and after all the pleasantries in the Post Office, walked back to the car, stopping at the boulangerie for a fresh loaf .The  saturday market in  the little square was doing its best to be cheerful with Christmas music and some fresh fruit and vegetables. It seems to be getting smaller every year…but thats another story.

On the way back up the hill a buzzard flew low down out of the bushes on the side of the road and although I wasn’t going quickly and I braked sharply –  I still hit it. When I got out of the car I could see it was still alive. On its back in the road, perfectly still, except for its chest moving.

Wrapping it carefully in a cloth I put the poor creature in the car. It made no attempt to move. I felt dreadful – such a beautiful specimen and I had probably killed it.

Back at the cottage we left it in a box and closed it in the empty garage, out of the rain and safe from all the feral cats that rule the farmyard at the bottom of the lane. 

Just over an hour later, and having found a phone number for a society dealing with injured birds, we were surprised and inordinately happy when we opened the door and it flew away.

Perhaps it was just concussed, a bit bruised and battered maybe, and I am so glad I just didn’t leave it there in the road thinking I had killed it.

So, I can hear it now, in a few years time ‘was that he Christmas you hit the buzzard?’ or equally:

‘Don’t you remember?  That was the year you hit the buzzard –  when would that have been? 2013 maybe?’





what could be better?

We have logs a plenty under the front porch,Image

home grown vegetables, fresh and frozen, and oh yes..a few bottles of wine…




I have seen my grandchildren enjoying their Christmas in the UK with the wonder that is modern technology, the wind is howling outside and we are warm and cosy inside

from Maya Angelou’s interview with Oprah

I like to read this regularly as I find it inspirational, and today, Christmas Day 2013 I thought I’d share it with you:

Last year, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday.
  Maya is a real marvel who has led quite an interesting and exciting life.
  Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.
  And, there on television, she said it was “exciting.” Regarding body
changes, she said there were many, occurring everyday…like her breasts.
  They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.
  The audience laughed so hard they cried.
  She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words.
  She said:
    “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

  I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she
handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights.

  I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your
   parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

  I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a

  I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you second chance.

  I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with catcher’s mitt on
both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

  “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I
usually make the right decision.

  I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

  I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.
  People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

  I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

  I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget
what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “

technology eh?

Well I think it is absolutely wonderful.

Wow! This morning I  have read again about snow on a farm in New Hampshire, been moved by watching a motivational video, been blown away by someone’s wonderful illustrations, and was given, without asking, some good ideas for trying to write and practice my craft  – and all this from the comfort of my loft den in our cottage. This is truly amazing.

So this is what blogging is all about. In some ways, perhaps, I am glad I have discovered it later in life – I may never have done any housework and have been late for work every morning! But then by now… who knows what I would have written!

The first house we lived in had no electricity, the water tap was outside, the toilet was a primitive affair down the garden and in consequence we had a chamber pot with roses round it – and this was all quite ordinary.

And now I can tallk to my children and grandchildren and SEE them – however far away they are…

How some things have changed…in the space of 60 odd years.

terrace after italian holiday resized

The front terrace in June – just to remind me – it will get warmer!

having children can damage your health

In the days before mobile phones, when children seemed to stay children for longer,  how having children could damage your health!

I am a happy and contented granny now and can take pleasure in not having the responsibility of bringing up baby. But when I see my lovely adult children I am reminded of  the worries that came with the love!

Take, for example,  the first time you let them go to the local shop on their own, for instance. It won’t matter whether it’s the only shop in a tiny Yorkshire hamlet or the ‘Eight till Late’ supermarket next to the chip shop on a sprawling suburban housing complex. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing -the cries of ‘but everyone else goes on their own all the time’ or Adam’s\ Wayne’s\Justin’s mum let’s them go even when it’s dark! And I’ve been with the baby-sitter and it’s not fair – why can’t I go? Well, when can I then?’

All these and many more will eventually grind you down, and then with a:  ‘don’t talk to anyone and I mean anyone,’ ‘be careful,’ and ‘come straight home’ – your offspring will be running, leaping over the wall or climbing the gate. And you?

Well, let me see now. You’ll more than likely be left sitting on the bottom step of the stairs thinking ‘what have I done?’ Or your heart will be pounding after running up the stairs to see how far you can keep the child in sight through the window – and ‘what’s that car doing at the end of the road? Haven’t seen that one round here before – what if it’s a …. Oh no – not the one time the only time I let him go……. ‘

Obviously you shouldn’t follow even at a safe distance, of course he’s old enough and sensible enough, of course that strange car is only someone perfectly harmless, of course he’ll be back any minute. Of course you should get on and do something. So you walk aimlessly in and out of the kitchen and back to the window. Five minutes! Is that all? The clock must have stopped. He’s been gone longer than that! Yes, having children damages your health!

With that sort of stress and the burst of adrenaline through your body, your imagination, which has possibly lain dormant after few years of Playschool and Teletubbies  is running wild – you’ve aged 10 years! Well it feels like it!

He walks back in quite nonchalantly and it’s out with the comic – in with the sweets and on with the TV.

And where are you?

Taking deep breaths in the kitchen, muttering ‘Thank you, oh, thank you!’

In no time at all going to the shop on his own, even going into the city centre on the bus to meet friends, pales into total insignificance when the question of the first real party is mentioned.

‘But everyone will be staying for the whole night, you can’t possibly come and collect me at midnight! No not even 1 o’clock!

‘No you can’t pick John\James\Shayne up at the same time. I’ll look totally stupid. I won’t go then, that’s it. There’s absolutely no point in going if I can’t stay all night. I’ll have no social life, nothing to talk about at school – I’ll be an outcast!’

Realising the last thing you want is an offspring lacking in self esteem and the confidence to deal with any situation that life may throw up at him, you relent to such music to your ears as ‘Oh, you’re the best Mum in the world.’ And perhaps the not so immediately welcome ‘I must have that Levi\ Adidas shirt now and not for birthday/Christmas.’

£40 seems cheap enough on the road to bringing your offspring up socially acceptable, popular with his peers and able to deal with real life situations! Or so you try and convince yourself.

All is well – until that is –you find out that the parents you thought were going to be in the house are not going to be in the vicinity of this party and everyone is taking bottles of cider or Red Bull.

What happens if he gets really drunk, falls over and cracks his skull on the fireplace? Or gets really drunk, passes out and chokes on his own vomit? You immediately see a hundred scenarios like films in front of you. Who’ll be there to save him, to even notice anything amiss if they are all as drunk as lords? You’ve heard terrible stories of parties where Ecstasy is doled out like Polo mints and where definitely your son and heir will dehydrate and dance himself to death. You’ve heard also of parties in the vicinity where those little pieces of paper with the nightmare combination of Mickey Mouse and LSD printed on them are rife. By the time you’ve spoken to Tony’s\Gazza’s\Dogga’s mum who points out that one of the boys going to this party was suspended from school for having too long hair and wearing army boots you have a permanent headache, a depressing knot in the pit of your stomach and fifty more wrinkles on your brow!

As you lie awake for most of the night of the party – having driven past the house once or twice -you find yourself thinking all sorts of strange things. Mainly about teenage pregnancy, cannabis, smack heads and other such words that never came into your vocabulary until a few months ago.


You know worrying the night away never did anyone any good and you suddenly realise how old you’ve got and how young he is. Driving round the neighbourhood didn’t help because short of creeping up and peering through the letter box, you couldn’t see a thing and only heard the loud thumping music!

The long night drags on and then its 11 am the next  morning and Gazza’s mum is dropping him off. ‘Thanks for the lift. See you Monday Gaz’.

‘Hi Mum, any breakfast? I’m starving\

 Having children stimulates your imagination, gives you sleepless nights and definitely can damage your health!



french song of doom…

Ok –  so I know french radio is not renowned for being all that brilliant… and perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I don’t speak or understand the language very well,  but this morning on the way to the supermarket the song on the radio was a list of deceased pop stars. I kid you not – a list –  just a list –  set to music, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin – they were all there, oh yes and Otis Reading  – but no french names. Very strange indeed.

Maybe this is the way forward – a list of my dead ancestors set to music?

December 19th 2013

and the old site Loire Lore is now no more so let’s see how we get on with this one! Image

This is the hoopoe, and I chose this for the title of my blog because I wanted something with happy in…because I am… and because very occasionally in late spring we see this brightly coloured and very shy bird while we are walking the dog on the small lanes, ‘les petits chemins,’ of this part of rural France. And that IS exciting!

That is just the sort of excitement I like. So now you know this is not going to be the most dramatic blog site that ever was. Erhmm what did you expect from an expat knitting grannie in rural France? Well I won’t be picking on my neighbours like a certain author in Provence that’s for sure, as my neighbours are delightful, friendly and kind.

Oh yes the other title I had in mind was the contented cow… because the fields round here are full of charolais cattle.