Friday, September 28, 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I'm doing the filming, my friend, Anne, is showing my grandson Sam how to use his fingers! -- about 4 years ago. Apologies for the background noise... Galen is the little boy on her lap.

Sometimes in life it's just all 'go'! It looks as though after much talking about it and nothing happening, my grandson, Sam, aged 11 almost 12 will be coming to live with us for a time. My daughter-in-law is from South Korea and for the past three years the family has been living in that country.

The transition for my two youngest grandsons, Galen, almost 9 and Louis, 5,  has not been difficult. Both boys are now fluent in Korean and Galen is also mastering Chinese. The biggest problem, however, is that Sam has been quietly suffering in silence while being bullied in school.

To be honest, I don't know how well he will fare in an English school. When his father first came to England he had problems with taunts from the village kids and he found the cultural differences difficult. Part of it is to do with the age. When I was Sam's age we moved from a small town in Vermont to a much larger town in Connecticut. It took me a long time to establish friendships and to stop aching for the familiar.

So the plan is that he will come, with his mother, in about two weeks time! We are hoping his mother will be able to visit for about a month before she returns to Korea. It will be the first trip to Europe for both of them.

And while we hustle and bustle around trying to organize everything for them, my stepson will, a few days before Sam arrives, be flying off to Afghanistan for a third tour of duty with the Territorial Army. In the meantime, our youngest son has flown the nest and is now in Vancouver, BC looking for work as well as adventure!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Cat's Meow (Part 2)

Continuing the Story...

It was mid-afternoon, the day after our very interrupted night's sleep when we once again heard cries coming from the roof overlooking the terrace -- every bit as loud as the night before. "Meow, Meow" ad infinitum it seemed to us.

"There it is!", exclaimed The Man from his vantage point between the pine trees.

"Meow, MEOW" whined the kitty-cat from the top-most part of the rooftop.

Suddenly, Dee Ready's cat, Dulcy, took over my psyche. (I was in the midst of her book at the time)
 "Meow, Meow" I answered her cries. Joining The Man at his vantage point, I could for the first time see the little mite. Since we never did discover kitty-cat's gender for sure, I am going out on a limb and dubbing 'him' a chappy -- he had that 'little lost boy' look about him that is almost impossible to resist. I've named him Percy because he was so persistent ...

Anyway, I 'meowed, meowed' back and forth with little Percy and he would step forward from the top of the roof half way down and then back away again. So I guess I was sort of convincing. Anyway, at some point or another I spied my phone and started to film him and his meowing-meowing. While I did this The Man went out on the little balcony and tried to entice him with a small bowl of milk. We knew the little mite had to be hungry because Mama was refusing to feed him in order to lure him down to the ground as his sibling had done before him. Anyway as soon as Percy saw The Man with his offering he scampered back up to the farthest point on the top of the roof.

Then after a further 'nudge' from my feline controlled psyche, I started to play back the bits of video I had shot complete with the sound of Percy's meowing.  A Ha! I had not been able to convince him with my own meowing, but he knew authentic 'meowing' when he heard it. I held the phone/camera up toward the roof and he came right down the the edge. He was looking and looking -- scampering from one end of the roof to the other. Peeping over to the balcony looking for the source of his fellow creature.

You can see from the picture that at the edge of the roof line there is an overgrown honeysuckle bush reaching for the sky. I held the phone up into the bush and after several minutes hesitating he courageously jumped! I didn't get everything on the little video, but here is the gist of what happened:

And so The Man took him across the garden the the area around the haystack and set him down -- in the hope that Mama would come and fetch him -- before a hawk or some other bird of prey ...

But I was not happy watching Percy over there meowing away. And I was worried he might wander into the clutches of the hunting dogs at the bottom of the garden -- that didn't bear thinking about!!!! So over I went and the timid little creature just played 'cat and mouse' with me... So out came the trusty phone and on went the luring video. Quick as a flash the cute little mite was bounding after me and across the garden back to the patio -- and as far as I was concerned, relative safety! And he wandered around -- keeping a good distance from me.

The Man and I could tell the poor thing was hungry, but he was not interested in milk -- no way! So I had a little think -- wishing I had some uncooked fish -- Then I remembered that The Man had some smoked salmon lurking in the fridge! I took a few small thin slices and broke then up into little bites and put them into a little dish. Then I took a cracker and broke it up and sprinkled the bits around the dish. 

In the meantime Percy had been investigating the neighbour's garden which borders the back of the house around the corner from the terrace. When his nose once again came into view, I do believe he got a whiff of smoked salmon -- I didn't stand too close, but closer than I had been previously -- it didn't take him long. Tentatively, he tasted a cracker -- he like that and had some more -- inching ever closer to the little bowl of fish! How I wish I'd videoed the little chap savouring the delights of smoked salmon.
Later I tried to entice him with a bit of sausage that had been cut up, but he wasn't interested. He found a place between the honeysuckle bush and the wall of the house and took a nap.

And that was the last we ever saw of Percy... We assume that during the night Mama came and got him. All the sausage was gone and so was the milk. No doubt she probably watched the day's activities from some hidden place. We kept an eye out for the little fella for the rest of our stay, but sad to say he'd disappeared. We saw Mama several times, and the last time it looked like she was due another litter...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Waxing Lyrical (maybe!)

One of the best things here in the Lot, among many other 'bests' is that the clear nights mean brilliant starlight skies. There is nothing more ethereal, more wonderful, than lying back on a sunlounger and letting the universe fall upon you.

This part of France has very little, if any, light pollution. So when the weather is fine we are treated to heavenly sights no longer experienced in Southport, UK ... In fact I would dare to say there ate few places left in western Europe where starlight is a regular occurence.

I am up and down two or three times most nights and as the weather has been exceptionally fine and the temperature balmy, it has become habitual for me to wander out to the patio, gazing upward.

In the hours of darkness we can see ourselves travelling, rotating, spiralling: the dust of stars in the magical perilousness of life...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Come September

On the 31st of August the first hint of autumnal weather was upon us. And with the change out came the duvets and i n came the fire wood -- all nicely chain-sawed up by The Man himself! On September first the wind was in the right direction and as there was HUGE pile of grass cuttings and prunings to be burnt the fire was lit and The Man stood by,hose in hand to keep it all under control -- a feat which has so far been successfully accomplished!
It always amazes me how quickly the seasonal change happens ... At least here and where I grew up in New England. No sooner did we get back to school -- two days after Labor Day (the first Monday in Setember) but the thermometer dropped, summer clothes were forgotten and Fall clothes were to the front of the closet, with winter coats at the ready!
Well, this is southern France I'm happy to say and the process is not quite so quick -- some lovely warm days are forecast for the coming days, even though the signs are here that summer is getting ready for bed... last night we lit the first fire since I've been here and went to sleep under the duvet. Tonight will be the same.
For those of you who may be wondering about Part 2 of 'The Cat's Meow'... I'm planning to finish it off when back in the UK with my laptop and a decent broadband connection so that I can post a l
short video of the little critter. This would be impossible using the cell phone. We leave for England on September 13th and will arrive home on the 15th. Our two sons are now at the house and will be there for about a week. One will then be off for a romantic adventure in Vancouver, Canada and the other returning home to Italy. Around the same time my stepson will be heading of with the Territorial Army for Afganistan, while my third son remains in Korea.
It all makes me feel a bit 'ho' and a bit 'hum'! Not only that, but any day now somebody will start reminding us of how many shopping days it is until (scream, scream, scream)!!!

Please forgive any typos and editorial faux pas ... Using a cell phone touch pad is somewhat challenging!