flooding the Close

Well we had a bit of unwelcome excitement last night!

We had rain and a storm  which began around 10pm . . . were woken from our slumbers around 11.30pm by a neighbour banging on the door, and the view outside was


Now, we have a little stream which runs along the edge of our land . . . but all this water actually came from further upstream.  It seems that upstream, there were tree trunks and branches which were stopping the normal flow, and with the rain, the stream had swelled up out of its banks.  Water, as always, looking for the shortest route to flow . . . and that route, bringing it directly down the little side road in the Close and towards our house.

Luckily, we have quite a high pavement just in front of the house, so the flow swept off at a right angle and continued on its merry way, flooding neighbour’s terrace and surrounding land, until it eventually made its way back to the stream further down.

Neighbours and husband were all outside in wellies until the early hours, tryng to clear the drainholes of silt and debris the waters brought with them.  And suddenly, after a few hours, the waters subsided.

This morning we woke up to mud everywhere, but the ground was surprisingly dry, considering.

As far as I know, only one family had to be evacuated, with around 30cm of muddy water in their house.  We and close neighbours got off lightly.  Our garage has about 2cm of mud which will need clearing and there was also a minor infiltration in my husband’s workshop area.


But the most urgent job for today was to clear the mud which had settled on pavements and terraces.  The local council were out clearing the “main” road which was under about 5cm of mud and littered with tree trunks and smaller debris.

They’ll also be coming round to assess the damage because, as water flooded down and around, it literally took half the road surface with it.

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Husband even found this amongst the debris


The stream running along our land is actually lower than it usually is at this time of year, but the current is a lot stronger.


The banks are high enough here, that there is no risk.  It’s the part farther upstream we need to worry about.

Another storm and more rain is forecast for tonight.  Fingers crossed the stream doesn’t come visiting again because we haven’t finished cleaning from last night yet. And when we’ve finished cleaning mud, we’ve got a pile of sand to shift too.


That was all deposited there during the night too as the water flooded over the land trying to get back to the stream.  I’m just really glad all our pets were indoors and our hens & veggies patch were not in the flood path.


best layer of the month # May

A big round of applause for our Sussex hen: Miss Plumpton!


There are 31 days in May, and how many eggs did Miss Plumpton lay???  She laid thirty-one!  Yep, didn’t take a single day out to rest!

Mauricette didn’t do too badly, with 21.  However the older gals are slipping.  Miranda laid 8 and Miss Moneypenny . . . well she’s just been keeping the other hens’ eggs warm, and only laid one egg this month!

So grand total of 61 eggs this month.  Tomorrow we’ll be moving the gals to their “summer residence”: the second coop which is under the apple trees in the orchard.  That will give them lots of fresh pecking ground as well as shade.  I’m hoping the change of scenery will make Miss Moneypenny get over her broody phase which has been going on all month.

prepping in the veggie patch

Husband has been keeping himself busy, while I’ve been lounging with my feet up indoors, preparing the veggie patch for the 2018 crops.  For the moment, he’s still in the prepping stage for most things, so the following pics aren’t going to have you drooling . . . it’s much too early in the season for anything exciting.

The hens are currently fenced in on approx 20m2 of pecking ground and, seeing the egg count, they’re happy enough.

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Husband had the rotovator out yesterday, turning soil on a previous coop site.  Hens were on this plot over the winter months, and everything had become hard, compressed mud.  Now that it’s been turned over, it can be sowed with fresh grass seed so it should grass over in time for October.


Very soon, though, we’ll be moving hens to their summer residence in the orchard, where they’ll be able to enjoy the shade of the apple trees.


This little plot is all nicely rotovated, weeded and ready.  Hubby is going to plant flowers on 2 strips, to attract bees and other pollinators, and then a couple of  red pepper, chili and aubergine plants.


Two artichoke plants are already in, and behind, you can see the rather big, bushy, spikey cardoon plant which is thriving.  I’m not a fan of cardoons but that doesn’t mean we can’t grow them.  To the right, husband has prepared 2 strips where I’ll plant green beans. 


A few rows of seedlings will need thinning out soon.  Chard to the left and beetroot to the right.


What looks like a wooden coffin, is the husband’s 2018 trial for potato growing and in those sandy “trenches” . . . he is also trying asparagus this year.  Asparagus won’t be ready to harvest this year, even though the first shoots are popping up.



Raspberry bushes, which were cut right back, are thriving . . . and we re-planted our strawberry patches with new plants in the autumn which are already starting to flower.  We have 4 little patches, with 9 plants each.

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We’re listening to the neighbours tihs year.  They seem quite knowledgeable about the micro-climate we get here, and their advice is to wait until mid-May before any more planting.    While weather has been very hot this past week (27°C) we’ve heard temps could drop dramatically early May.  And since summer tends to last well into October, there will plenty of time to finish plantations in May and enjoy fresh produce as it ripens.


Last photo, an overall view of our veggie garden, which is approx 250m2.  With the portable net fencing for hens, waiting to be moved and set up in the orchard.  No photos of the orchard for now as I can’t hobble that far yet.

best layer of the month #March

I haven’t bothered taking any recent photos of the gals these past few weeks, but they’re all well, and strutting around, enjoying the milder weather.

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I have been counting eggs as usual though, as I collect them on a daily basis, and this month there have been quite a few days when I’ve found four eggs, all snuggled up together in the straw. 

Miss Plumpton, however, is our best layer of March.  She only took a rest for 2 days this month, and laid a total of 29 eggs.  Her shells are very pale, compared to the other gals, so very easy to recognise.  Other gals all laid very well too, including the older hens. 

22 laid by Mauricette, 19 by Miranda, and 18 by Miss Moneypenny, so a grand total of 88 eggs in March.  And, yes, neighbours have been enjoying fresh eggs aplenty this month.

a bit of this and a bit of that

A non-crafting post today, to chat about a bit of this and a bit of that . . . punctuated with a few black & white pics.  But first, some colour.


Spring has sprung – yay!  With little clumps of primroses growing in lots of nooks and crannies.


Daffodils which are my favourite flower, also popping up in places we’d forgotten they grew.

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Gibbs, striking a lovely pose for me just seconds before he got distracted by . . .

Gibbs and Moka

his best buddy, Moka, who is a chocolate lab, just 6 weeks older than Gibbs.  Moka (still not wearing his brand new collar, Lynn) has come round to the back gate to ask if Gibbs is allowed out to play.  Their favourite games being: to charge around in the orchard doing some dog-wrestling or to go splashing in the stream.

Other pics . . .


I was quite upset the other day to find this on the floor in our bedroom.  A cat tooth (that dark bit is the root) . . . and on inspecting Merlin’s mouth (Merlin being our oldest cat) discovered that Merlin is now completely toothless.  Even as a young cat he had bad teeth, and had to have a couple pulled when he was about 6 years old.  He’s now 12, and officially toothless . . . which explains why he’s been such a messy eater of late!  Now I realise he’s all gums and no teeth, I’ve bought some special wetfood in for him, completely smooth, no chunks of meat and he is tucking in with gusto.

Now for the black & white pics, and two snippets of news: one good and one not so good.


The not-so-good first . . . my feet.  Long story short:  According to the orthopedic surgeon I’ve got abnormal feet, with the metatarse being too long which, with age, is causing foot pain, one hammer toe and others heading in the same direction.  So, before things get worse, I’m booked in for surgery on my right foot on 13th April.   Right foot first, and probably back again next year to get the left foot sorted.

I’ll be in and out of  hospital on the same day, but I’m then in for 3 days of complete bed-rest, drugged up to the eyeballs with painkillers and with a week of blood thinner injections to prevent embolism.  Then 3 weeks where I’ll be allowed to put weight on my foot (wearing a special support shoe) but will need to keep foot up as often as possible and stay indoors.  Then 3 months where (still wearing the support shoe) I should be able to walk short distances.

By late summer, early autumn I should be good to hop on a plane and visit family in England because . . .

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N and Second Son are expecting their first baby in August.  And we’re all wondering whether the baby will inherit its Dad’s lovely head of hair.


Which would be fun, but unlikely.  Anyway . . . I’ve decided that once baby is here, I’ll need to think up a blog name and seeing father’s hair . . . have decided that from now on I’ll be referring to Second Son as Daddy Viking, N will be Mummy Viking and (how original) baby will be referred to as Little Viking.

So that’s all for today . . . my crochet hook is waiting for me.  Photos very soon of what I’ve been up to there.

best layer of the month # January

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It’s 31st January already . . . time to tot up the egg count and see who wins the award for “best layer of the month”!

As you can see from the above photo, hens are all in fine fettle.  Miranda has finished her moult and grown all her lovely red feathers back.  Combs are all bright red . . . and hens are currently enjoying having 100m2 to roam around in.  Since the new gals joined the flock, they’ve all been playing at Houdini, escaping from the net enclosure on a daily basis.  So we decided rather than trying to fence them IN it was easier simply to fence them OUT of the areas we don’t want them scratching (ie strawberry, raspberry & potato patch).

Anyway, egg count this month is as follows.  Miranda – 5;  Miss Moneypenny – 6; Mauricette – 26 and . . . Miss Plumpton – 28.

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By my calculations, that makes Miss Plumpton the winner, and a total of 65 eggs for January. 

winter vitamins

We are very lucky to have a well-established kiwi vine in our back garden . . . so even during the cold winter months, we can fill up on vitamin C just by reaching up and  harvesting a handful of fruit.

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In previous years we did the harvest all in the one go, and ended up with way too much fruit to store.  This year we’ve just been harvesting as we need, and neighbours have all had permission to come kiwi picking too.  No way can we eat all that yummy fruit, so it makes sense to share.

Blue skies and sunshine today,


which has made a lovely change from the recent rain.  You probably heard that certain areas of Paris are under water . . . well in our part of France, flooding has been quite serious too.   One area of our village was flooded earlier in the week, with the river Ain flooding out of its banks.  Several families had to be evacuated.

And our little stream, which looked like this in June

1806man and dog

Looks like this today

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If Gibbs had been in the second photo, his entire body would be immersed and hubby would have water in his wellies lol.

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Luckily, there’s no risk of our little stream flooding out of its banks, but the current is very impressive, as it flows to join the river Ain.