Exasperation, or the new normal?
Periodically I have an assessment of how much money we waste on irrelevancies, and am horrified (like my little bat friends who had a rude awakening one sunny day) by our family expenses on communications and internet, and how bad the service is for all the money that they receive from us every month. Recently the signal in our house for cellphone reception has been appalling, Gavin suggested that it may be "too many leaves on the trees".
Well, I took a moment after that one to work out whether he was pulling my leg, or being serious, as I have heard of leaves on the line making trains late in the uk..... but then leaves are not supposed to be on railway lines. I am fairly certain, however, that they are meant to be on trees. And if Gavin is in fact correct, then what exactly are Orange doing about it. This exasperation should not be interpreted by them however, as a reason to go chopping down all the trees, but more as....... encouragement, that some signal boosters would be most welcome in our vicinity.
The internet is also incredibly slow and unreliable unless it is used before 8 in the morning or after midnight. Our youngest child had been trying to get in touch with her friends during the holidays to organise sleepovers and the like but was struggling to make skype work properly and was finding it difficult to get her friends to "pick up" as they were not always near their tablets or loaptops, so I introduced her to the fixed line telephone. Now she has used a phone before, don't get me wrong, but it has usually been to answer it to a customer wanting to place an order, or to a telesales person for whom she has no time. So.....I needed to explain that, yes, I had her friends Mums phone number, and that, yes, they would pick up the phone and call her friend for her..... Well!......half an hour later she arrives downstairs and says "wow that was so easy and the signal was so good I could hear her properly and there was no delay". AMAZING!
Our internet signal is in fact so awful that we have 2 options for internet, livebox and satellite, in case it goes off or does not have enough bandwidth to up or download. And we had our internet phone removed as it never worked. It is very difficult to run a business when the phonecall keeps dropping out. And whilst chatting to a friend the other day on the phone she disappeared mid sentence. "What happened there" I said. "O, its just the internet phone dropping out it does it all the time". !!??** I had heard rumours that the telephone companies might try and phase out fixed lines....God forbid that should ever happen. It would be another step backwards for mankind as far as I am concerned. A bit like taking out all those rail tracks in the 1960's.....
And then there is the telly. I am sure many of you have heard me moan about satellite telly which goes off during heavy rain. What exactly was wrong with the television aerial anyway? Seemed to work fine for us in the past. Had to unplug it during a thunder storm just the same as you do the livebox. But always worked during heavy rain and high winds.
Hello there everyone!
Well as some of you know I have been in Holland with very dear friends from Zimbabwe to watch the World championship Sheepdog Trials 2017. It is the first time they have been hosted outside of the British Isles and the first time they have been won by someone outside the British Isles namely Jaran Knive and his dog Gin from Norway.
The photo above is the awards ceremony and it also gives you an idea of how flat the are is. We were in a small town called Hoogwoud and WOW it must have been the cleanest small town I have ever seen. Well actually I think all of the countryside in Holland was scrubbed and polished and swept. Not sure if anyone knows if Amsterdam is the same, (?) but my goodness they are proud of their countryside.
Above pics show a dog putting the shep in a pen. I apologise for my photos this run was taken just with my cheap and cheerful cellphone, but it does give you an idea of how it works if you zoom in, and really, this chap, whose name I forgot to note down, did make it look that easy. As did many other competitors. Just to mention that the sky that morning had the most beautiful cloud formations, but we were looking into what would have been the sunrise, it has come out a little dark.
Here is another of a dog covering, or gathering together its sheep during a shed when they have to separate one sheep off from the flock of 5, in this instance. when it ran past it was going so fast you could hear its paws galloping across the ground. Again a different field incredibly flat countryside, windmills everywhere both modern and ancient.
30 nations, 243 dogs competing! Not to mention the dogs wandering around the grounds, or with standholders. So many doggie pictures not enough space on the blog this week for it all. No fights that I saw, friendly atmosphere. Some nations were louder than others all were very happy to chat, all had one thing in common a love for our doggie companions and a genuine admiration for the ability of Border Collies to work in such connected, subtle fashion with their owners, to move sheep around a field with incredible accuracy. I am not saying that all the runs were successful, that would be ridiculous, but it had as much joy, tension, frustration, disappointment and elation as any Wimbledon.
The winner above Jaran Knive with Gin, 2nd Kevin Evans with Ace, and 3rd Serge Van der Zweep with Gary. And the cutest picture of Gin below left. And to the right below is Karianne Buer with her dog Allie, also from Norway, who won the young handlers competition.
And just to be a little random here are some trained fish that lived in the pond at the house where we stayed. They would come to be fed and stroked!
See you all soon.
Helen's feeling reflective
Well we have had a diverse weather month. Drought and flood, roasted and chilled, blown and stagnated all in the space of a few days. Just in case any of my weather bores are reading we had 112mm from the week of rain and 41 degrees centigrade was our highest temperature.
It has also been a pretty diverse activity few weeks for me as well. The annual round of piano, ballet and theatre performances with number 3 child for a touch of culture, a drinks and aperos evening, a completed dossier for naturalisation for Emily, an attempt to find the administrative zone in the house, the standard everyday fair of running the butchery, a touch of bale rolling for a bit of muscle workout, playing with the new piglets and getting to know our new piggies very kindly given to us by some very dear pig farming friends of ours after 3 of our were stolen earlier in the year, some attic clearance to try and make some space to do a few renovations, and, other than the markets, a few escapades into the countryside for a delivery run or 2.
Often when I am driving through the French countryside I forget that I am at work, surrounded by all the beautiful Chateaux, wooded hills, stream-snaked valleys, delapidated stone built semi-abandoned hamlets and gorgeously renovated houses. Just like ours will be one day :)
We will be having a few visitors over during the summer period, thus far all of whom will arrive from Zimbabwe. I am wondering whether I should add any details to that list Gavin has or whether he might suffer from brain overload and internally combust. We could be in for an interesting day tomorrow with a bit of sheep dosing and paddock moving, which usually includes a touch of hair loss on Gavins part, followed by a little market preparation,........ so I won't mention the list until Friday...
I will be heading to Holland again in a few days to watch the World Championship Sheepdog Trials with Zimbabwe friends, and then to drive the long trip home with Patrick. I seem to have done a lot of driving recently fetching or delivering precious items like cars, children and bacon ;) I know the next few weeks are going to zoom past before I am ready now that the children are on holiday. I have to savour every moment with them these days they are either growing up too fast or have done it already in a blink of an eye....
Note to self: Don't forget to sit and drink that sundowner in the evening when everyone is here.....
See you all soon
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