Piroplasmosis, ponts and potagers.

The return of the Geometre

Before we signed the compromis, we had asked for clarification of the boundaries of the land on the lakeside as we would want to fence it for the sheep etc. MD and the estate agent were bemused about why we would be so pedantic, but we persisted, so the Geometre were called in (at our cost!).  In France, along rivers and around lakes, the public have right of access to 3m in on the banks. As part of our land-to-be had clearly been used as an extended access track along the lakeside, we wanted to be very clear about exactly where we could fence.  The last thing we wanted was, at some stage in the future, to have confrontations with angry French fishermen claiming that we had blocked their access.  This was to be our community and we didn’t want to upset people inadvertently.  The Geometre are the official land registry and all boundaries are registered with them.  So, they came out. Along with them were R and I,  MD, the farmer using the land and our estate agent. Also spotted on the lakeside were representatives of the Commune du Lac and of the fishermen who had come to check proceedings.  It was quite a gathering.  And it got quite heated. However, the markers (bornes), set in the ground to mark boundaries, had disappeared – covered or ploughed in over time.  The fishermen (very fiery, left wing, trade union, old school, tub thumping, jabbing finger in the chest types – you can tell that I warmed to them!) wanted new ones set in their favour (given their way they’d have been up in the courtyard!) and were very vocal, but the Geometre boys were not swayed under pressure.  They decided they had to go back to the archives to find the original paperwork.  So, we had to wait for a return visit.  That happened this week.

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Using GPS to pinpoint the original bornes, it identified the exact boundary lines.  We chose to pay extra to have the new bornes set into the ground as some of their locations were unexpected and potentially controversial. And to get them officially registered for the purchase.

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So, the land is now adorned with luminous pink posts and orange marker flags.  Dispute that!!!!!!!

 

 

The president of the commune du lac was again present, and wanted to enter into negotiations with MD – which would have delayed the purchase by several months.  So, we decided to go ahead with the purchase with the current boundaries, and then we could negotiate with the commune (or them with us) at our leisure.  It transpires that the current fence line and hedge is not the actual boundary.  It cuts in on “our” field for about 4m x 50m along the boundary (ie we lose that).

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It then extends beyond it to the lakeside (our gain) for a triangular wedge which blocks the vehicular access for about 50m for the fishermen. Hence their interest.

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Our French must be improving because for nearly 3 hours we followed most of the conversations and got the general gist.  It’s surprising how exhausting it is.  One real bonus that came out of it for us is that the boundary allowed us access to a small triangle of land with a copse on it.  One thing 4C doesn’t have is trees, which in summer, would give much needed shade for animals.  MD agreed that we could have the small copse included in the sale.  Result!

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We will have our very own dingly dell.

 

 

Ponts and potagers.

We have spent most of the last few weeks shovelling – moss and weeds off the courtyard, and the slurry runs in the barns.  Looking on the positive side, the latter will provide us with compost for the veg patch (potager), but the rest needed taking to the tip.  I think we have shifted about 30 dustbins full of stuff – and they are heavy.  I certainly don’t need to do pilates any more for my core or biceps and triceps! However, the courtyard is now looking much tidier and less like a derelict farm.

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And guess what the farmer is planting in the field beyond for next year! Our view will be full of …….SUNFLOWERS.

 

 

Imagine our surprise when this turned up in our courtyard this week!

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The farmer who has been cultivating our land will continue to farm the fields beyond us.  At the moment the access is through our courtyard and over a bridge over the field ditch into the next field.  So, he was going to go over the bridge, demolish it, and create a new bridge (pont) access from the road for him to use.  Now, we had been thinking about having a new access into our field from the road – and here was a man with a very big digger……. After a quick chat and negotiation, we agreed terms and he put a new access in for us whilst he did his.  (Forget about planning permission….)

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Our attempts at re-enforcing the pipe! (or, how to while away an afternoon….)

 

 

A bit like Winnie the Pooh with the balloon in the honey jar, Rod drove in, and back, and in again, and back out, and in………

We also made the acquaintance of another man with a digger this week.  He is a local horticulturist (small world – he and his wife come from Northallerton!) We were bemoaning how difficult it was to plant daffodils (I’d bought 4 bags of them) as we couldn’t get the spade more than 2” into the ground. Even after rain, it was like concrete, and we had only managed to plant 20m in one afternoon.  The chances of digging over a veg patch were obviously pie in the sky – not a chance!  And I’m desperate to get some raspberries in so that we can have some produce next year. However, for very reasonable terms, he said that he could do it in an hour with his little digger.  Silly not to really!  So I’m really excited to see the veg patch created – especially if I don’t have to break my back doing it!  This is what it looks like now – I’m hoping for a transformation!

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The DYI dyslexic

Rod is renowned in our family for his DIY inability.  This is a man who can hang a picture – and the wall needs replastering. (Oooh, Betty…… – if you remember that you’re aging yourself!)  So, the amount of work that we have to do ourselves in the name of saving money may prove to be a false economy.  However, with a helper (supervisor) who triple measures everything and also has buckets of common sense, how could we go wrong!  We have cleared the small barn so that our stuff can be stored, but it needed to be made safe.  That meant making shutters for the open windows, moving locks so that they snecked, and putting bolts on everything so that they could be padlocked.  I’ll let pictures tell their own story!

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In the end, not bad at all!  Beats sitting at a desk! Now to make two 6’ doors to secure the dairy!

We have also been getting quotes for the work to be done – and amending our aspirations accordingly.  One quote for the rewiring of the house was so eye-wateringly high that the swimming pool might be downgraded to a paddling pool!  We have also started getting deliveries – and my much anticipated woodburner arrived for the kitchen. As I had only seen it on line, fortunately it was every bit as nice as I’d hoped.

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Tick fever – Piroplasmosis

We have had a bit of a scare with Dippy – who, I will quickly add, in now recovering well!  One morning last week we got up and she didn’t even get up to say good morning.  She was listless, and her tail was tucked under her belly.  Even breakfast didn’t rouse her – when a Labrador is off it’s food you know something is seriously amiss.  So we got an appointment at the vets in Eymet for that afternoon.  The vet took her temperature, and Dips had a high fever.  She then took a blood sample, put it under the microscope, and diagnosed tick fever.  The rbc’s were full of Piriplasmodium parasites, injected by one of the ticks that we had removed from her.  The treatment injection was nasty, but the vet was kindly and gave Dips a painkilling injection first, but Dippy still didn’t like it – poor girl.  She also had an anti-vomiting jab to stop the ensuing wretching. However, the treatment certainly was effective, as the piriplasmocide had killed the parasites 24 hours later, but the vet said that it was lucky we had brought her so quickly.  Monty was given the first of the vaccination jabs, but Dippy has to have medicine for a week, then wait a month for her first jab for immunity.  She has been very poorly, but has slowly improved, and this is a picture of her taken today.

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She has been lucky, because the vet told us that it is often fatal in English dogs as they have no natural immunity to the disease.

 

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Judith Jenkins

I have just given up teaching to move to France and run a smallholding. I taught Biology and Environmental Studies at a private school in North Yorkshire. We lived just outside Thirsk, which, at last count, was house number 10. My husband, Rod, was initially in the military, so we have moved around quite a bit, spending 5 years in Germany. Ironically, we never lived in France! We have 3 sons, the youngest left home this summer and has gone out to Australia to join our middle son there. The eldest is a teacher in Buckinghamshire. We have had a number of animals – sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and pets – horses, cats and dogs. (Not all were for the freezer! )

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