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I have been told off!  Not once, but twice and on successive days!  What can I say but sorry, and I will try to do better!!

First came the email from a weaving friend in the US – “Have you dropped off the face of the earth, or did you actually move to France?  What is going on over there?  Are you in internet contact?  I must assume not, or we would have heard from you by now – wouldn’t we???? ”

Then from a non-weaving friend from the UK – “Well, I know you moved because you emailed to tell me you had landed almost safely.  So that means you have email connection. So what’s happened to your blog?  Has it not moved with you?”

So to these friends and you, my lovely, faithful followers, I extend a heart-felt and guilt-ridden apology!!  It’s no good my excusing myself by saying I am working on my website (true) or painting guest bedrooms (also true) or creating my studio space and teaching area (complete) or even sorting out the mess that is still my office because I did say before we moved that I would keep people updated with our French adventure and I have completely crashed out of that!!

So, because you wouldn’t want a reallllllllly long post telling you everything up to now, let me start by giving you a few tasters of what we have been up to.  I promise to post more regularly and include other tales from the woods in future posts.

Not only is today the first day of Spring, it is also the day that I am registered for my business!  Most people would not be happy that they have just signed up for paying taxes and the famous French social charges, but it means I am here!!  I can officially sign up for the doctor once my SIRET number comes through, and, once my website goes live, I can start taking bookings for my weaving courses.  Yippee doo!!

We have beautiful wildlife here – red squirrels, deer, woodpeckers, tree creepers, lizards being among the most frequent – but our resident red squirrels came in for a horrible shock last week.  They like to build their nests in between the shutters (volets) and windows on the top floor which is not currently used much except for storage.  It’s nice and quiet – usually!

However, we decided we wanted to air the attic and ensure that no bees or wasps decided to use the space for building their nests, wonderful constructions though they are.  So Graham vigorously threw the existing nest out of the second storey window onto the tiled terrace two floors down.

Unfortunately, and unbeknown to us, there were two squirrels in residence when he did this!  Zut alors!!  They came tumbling out and straight into the clutches of our two killing machines – aka the kittens!!  Merde!!

One was caught by Merlin and taken round to the back garden.  The other was initially caught by Coriander, but escaped (she is not such a killing machine) and scrambled up the wall behind one of the kitchen shutters.

Meanwhile, I was happily playing (sorry – working!) in the studio, setting up the baby jacquard looms, and came rushing out to find out what all the kerfuffle was about.  Rescue-mode ensued.  Cats were caught and imprisoned inside the house.  The nest was re-sited back to its original elevated position.  Now to catch the poor squirrels and re-house them.

One squirrel was sitting out in the open on the back lawn, so I figured that one was the one most in need of capture and recuperation.  It was in shock and I didn’t know how badly Merlin had hurt it, so I found a shoe box and tiptoed up to try to catch it.  It bounded away towards the house, at least allowing me to see that it was moving well so hadn’t been externally hurt seriously.  It then buried its head in a hole in the wall, leaving its posterior visible, so I was able to catch it and put it in the shoe box and return it to its nest.

Squirrel #2 was much easier to capture and return to the nest so we left them there, hoping they would be alright.  We still don’t know whether they were teenagers or adults.  (It turns out that Graham has as big an aversion to catching squirrels as for eradicating rats, and he left it all to me!!)

Two days later we watched the two squirrels cavorting around the trees around the house as if nothing had happened!  Huge relief.

Lesson learnt.  We will not disturb the nest again!

So you will have gathered that we have acquired two gorgeous kittens, now nearly grown into full-sized cats.

IMG_7976Merlin is almost completely white with a few tabby splodges and a grey and black striped tail.  Coriander (Corrie) is a tri-tone tabby with big splodges of all the colours and much smaller than her brother.  Looking back at the first photos, Merlin was so much smaller than Corrie.  Now he is roughly a third larger!!  They are earning their keep and getting extra food by reducing the mouse population, but they also rather like to torture the local lizards – something we are not keen on but powerless to prevent!  But they are hilarious and love to play and sleep together and are a total joy to have around!

Last week a local Frenchman turned up on the doorstep to invite us to the local frisbee night on Mondays in Nérac.  So last night, we went.  Wow!  Baptism of fire!!  Having not done sport for a very long time, we had a two hour session of frisbee in an amazing sports hall.  We were really impressed with what the social charges pay for – a proper athletics track, gym, a martial arts Dojo, a swimming pool, a large indoor sports hall, outdoor sports fields and stadium, and hard courts with spotlights!  And this is just a relatively small town, roughly the size of Uttoxeter.

It was a great evening, apart from me hitting the deck twice as my feet didn’t go quite as fast as my body (or my centre of gravity not being where it should be these days……!) and once having very strong contact with another player’s body on my nose!!  I took myself off after that as the headache wasn’t to be ignored!  However, Graham managed to score two goals although he has butterfingers when catching the frisbee.  I won’t be able to attend regularly once my courses start, but it might be fun for Graham – and he did get to meet a guy who works with craft brewers!!

Next time – a sneak preview of the workshop……

In the meantime, happy weaving!!