As much as I love my children and I do unquestionably, I was very happy when they called time on this years ballet commitments. I thought that I had been tired for the previous 2 weekends but a little lack of sleep comes nowhere near being backstage for 6 hours on Saturday and 7 hours on Sunday monitoring/entertaining/escorting 20 girls between 5 and 9 up and down the stairs and corridors of the cinema in Montpon trying to remember their cues for entry and exit to the stage, getting their props and costumes ready and of course remembering which little blonde belonged to which name and whether they were in the group entering stage right or stage left, which if you are not in the know are in fact "cours" and "jardin" in French......or is it the other way round. Ho hum maybe I will remember in 2015. In fact as usual the ballet was fabulous, that which I saw from the wings, and both the girls and their teachers gave a wonderful performance.
Gavin and Patrick had a very successful market in Brantôme and thoroughly enjoyed the whole social event. Having had their holiday, they are now psyching themselves up for shearing and have even got the combs out and started checking over the equipment.
This weekend heralds my last school commitment for the year in the form of Number 3's end of year school spectacle.
For the weekend we will be attending in our tourist capacity, the Félibrée in Verteillac which is the annual celebration of the occitane language of the Perigord region with folklore, music, traditions, arts and crafts being demonstrated during the 3 day event. Emily (latterly Number 2) has been commandeered to help a friend with a stand. I have been reliably informed that it is well worth a visit, if anyone is sitting at home twiddling their thumbs this weekend.
See you all soon
Here is a picture of our latest arrivals and in the best tradition of Franklin Farm original names they are called Blackie 1-7. The children said it was a rubbish idea but hillariously Mummy's name has stuck and we now take great delight in refering to each Blackie as if we all know who we are talking about. In fact you can see in the photo Blackie 4 is missing, she refused to stay in photo shot range. Many thanks to our kind neighbours for their donations.
We have not had chickens for about 6 months when the foxes helped themselves to our remaining 4. Then the local hunt dealt with 6 foxes within 50m of our house and suggested we should do some pertinent tree clearing close to the house so there were fewer hidey holes. It transpired of course that tree clearing was to become essential as we lost all of our telly channels bar channel 5 when all the oaks finished coming into leaf. It is amazing how much the trees have grown in 10 years and the line of sight for the dish had become a line of leaf. The up side is that for the first time in 10 years we might have all our winter wood orgainsed before the fire season actually begins. I can hear all you wood fire users cringing at the thought of us using only one year old seasoned wood for our fire.
Anyhow back to the chickens. I like chickens they are always busy doing something, cleaning up the garden, bossing each other about or keeping themselves clean in the flower beds. I use the term flower beds loosely as we have a patch where we had flowers and vegetables which the goats and lambs kept eating so it is now more of a weedbed. I am looking forward to having eggs from home again I am mortified by how tasteless bought eggs are.
Other news from home is that I have completed my second epic Saturday with a slightly shorter 19 hour day spent at the market, then at ballet rehersals for numbers 2 and 3, then a little prep for Number 2's Birthday (she might get promoted to name status next week) for Sunday then at Number 3's music concert. Patrick has completed his end of year exams and obligatory 2 day hangover and Gavin and Number 3 will be going to scrape him up off the floor later on this morning.
Have a fab week in the sun if you are near us and in the freezing weather if you are in South Africa.
See you soon
Look at what Gavin stumbled upon in the wood behind the barn. He took a photo of our new baby whilst Mum was screaming at the top of the tree and then left it well alone. We have no idea what it is and we have loads of birds of prey here so any suggestions welcome. But isn't it the cutest fluff ball. I hope Mum turned up soon as we are also surrounded by foxes lets hope the little cutey made it.
More baby pictures. Twins again this week. Quite a fragile pair these two we will see how they do.
It has been a very busy hot weekend with a very spectacular lightning show on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The end of year concerts for children and their activities have begun so we spend a lot of time runing between A and B fitting it all in and discussing the organisational capabilities of each particular association and how much better it would be if we were in charge. Which of course as we all know ain't never gonna happen.
Number 2 had her last day at school for the school year and has retired to her bedroom to recover from her exhausting life or to prepare herself for the hectic weeend she has planned socialising and partying. Oh the life of a teen I remember it well. Although on the party front I can't say that we middle-aged fogies have been doing badly. Last Saturday I managed a 20 and a half hour day which included a market a baking session a music concert and a birthday party, starting again on Sunday at 8.30am with our automatic alarm clock which goes something like this "ring ring, ring ring, the sheep are out again the b******s see you later click" we have selected the voice as the nice friendly neighbour voice option so that one doesn't get too grumpy first thing. So that was followed by evacuating more sheep from the shed then lunch and then another party. OMG was it warm and airless on Sunday afternoon.
Thank goodnes the orange alert for stormy weather came to nothing in our area as our newly released children would have had an uncomfortable time in their new environment.
For those who are not aware and live in this area there is a British Weekend in Brantome over the 21st and 22nd June where there will be typically English activities and also a market selling British products Gavin and Patrick will be manning the stand on the Sunday from 9am as I am otherwise concerned with girls and ballet for that weekend. Talking of Number One he has exams all this week which will be interesting/boring/tedious/hot/brain-taxing for him. Break a leg.
Anyway hope to see some of you soon at one of our venues.
Our first twin black lambs. Aren't they cute. I will be surprised if they ever leave Franklin Farm. Mummy and babies are doing well . You can see in the background that Patrick arrived home this week. He tells us he is revising but I suspect he ran out of money and needed to eat as that is all he has done since he returned. I have had to go shopping twice this week. Number 2 and 3 have both been and 3 still is, ill. Gavin has been given the clear to go by the Physiotherapist unless of course he has any pain in the future then he should return. Funny he said that considering Gavins work there was nothing more that he could do for his bicep, but that he should make sure he keeps using it. Sorry Gavin looks like that extended vacation we had planned is off the cards now. Doctors orders!
Our first free meal (I wonder if it will be the first of many?) from the new mayor and his committee It was a fun evening that followed the official tree planting ceremony, and we actually got to chat properly with lots of people from the commune. We often just drive past, waving madly as we dash around from A to B feeding sheep, making sausages, moving fences and collecting children. Who else identifies people by the car they drive? It was quite weird putting faces to the cars.
Here is a first for 2014, Gavin and Helen sitting down, together but not at home. I know we are not at home because we are both awake.
The rest of the table insisted that if they had to be photographed then so did we. In our defence for the full bottle of wine next to us and the half empty bottle of water Gavin had to leave, driving, about half an hour later to go and finish sheep farming, and I had to drive home.
See you all soon. It promises to be quite a warm weekend of markets.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area