13 July 2008

blasted mosquitoes indeed !

I’ve spent all this time ranting about the mosquitoes from last night
and sitting outside are some bits of a pale yellowy/salmon oleander, to
try and strike some cuttings from – probably not the best time to take
them, but you do it when you can – and some bulblets of Belle de Nuit
(Mirabilis jalapa)

blasted mosquitoes !

Blasted mosquitoes kept me awake last night !

For once I managed an early night – light off by 23.15. A few minutes later : high pitched humming (what noise do they make ?) of another mosquito. Switch light on quickly. Can’t see it and then can’t hear it. Switch the light off. More humming getting close to my ear. Same thing : switch light on, look around, humming stops but this time I’ve seen you on the wall above the light. ZAP ! Light off. Little while later : humming ... Switch light on, can see the blighter but it’s beyond my
reach and I really don’t feel like getting up. Lie in wait for it to come closer ... at 04.00 I wake up with the light on and the electric fly & mosquito zapper tennis bat across my chest.

Blog Image

(An earlier version of this bat only had one set of wires – that receive the charge from the two AA batteries. One visitor put it close to his nose and pressed the button ... many expletives and a very sore nose tip for a good few days, not to mention acute embarrassment ! This version has another set of wires on either side which stop direct contact with nose tips.)

Decide to go to the loo and coming back into the room take a swipe at anything that looks like a mosquito. Get back into bed. Wide awake by now and thinking of all the possibilities of blogging. More humming. Light on. Can’t see anything but humming is constant, not fading in and out of earshot. Switch the light off. Hummmmmm. Light on. Nothing. Decide that I’m obviously hearing things, which tends to happen when you’ve had a night like this. Light off. Must try and get to sleep. Mind working on overdrive. Perhaps I should get up now and write a damned blog and then perhaps I can get some sleep ?! No, need to rest / sleep. Watch as it starts getting light and dawn chorus starts at 05.30 (almost on the dot !). Must try and think of things that will make me sleep.

Start thinking about the diseases borne by these pesky creatures. One of them is here
in this part of France and spreading north : Leishmaniasis. I was looking at a poster in the vets on Thursday morning (and then again yesterday afternoon) warning of the dangers of Leishmaniose to animals,especially dogs. Last year, at some enormous expense I bought the special white plastic collar impregnated with something that would keep mosquitoes away. I think LB wore it for a few weeks and it’s still hanging on the handle of the door cupboard. Don’t remember why I took it off nor why I never put it back on him. I suppose it’s one of the risks you take. It certainly does exist – Pudding, Phillippa’s darling departed French pointer, got infected but it was diagnosed quickly by her vet and Pudding went on almost unscathed for some years. Then, what about the horrid ticks that the damp weather also encouraged to breed so rampantly ? And then the other day I was reading about Chiggers, I’m sure something like that has been biting me round the ankles when I’m out in the garden. Interesting that a few weeks ago I looked like a battleground of bites – all over : how do they get you on your bottom ? Thinking about it, haven't had any bites from the blasted mosquitoes in the last few days. Am I so full of insect spit that I’m toxic to them ? .....

Alarm goes off at 07.00. Switch it off – at least I’m pretty sure I did. Next thing I know it’s 08.15 and I’ve overslept and will be late for work. Not a problem, but leaves me feeling grumpy as I start my day. smiley
Doesn’t last long as I set off to my gardening jobs in Olive, the 2CV. The sky a deep blue, the cicadas chirping ...

12 July 2008

happy cakes ? !

Saw this ad for the first time last night for Mr Kipling Happy Cakes.

It caught my eye because of the cakes being portrayed as flowers and the whole feel of the ad is reminiscent of my childhood – “It’s a hap hap happy day, toodle oodle oodle oodle oodle ay” ...Volkswagen camper van... oh yes ! Vague memories of a family holiday in the early ’60s. We drove to Camber Sands in the VW; parked one side of the dunes and went to find the sea. The tide was out and whilst we were paddling the heavens opened, it poured with rain and because the tide was out it seemed to take forever to get back to the van. We were soaked and so was all our bedding which Mummy had left in the open to air ! On the same holiday we were camping next to a miniature railway, which I seem
to think was in Littlehampton. Mummy threw her emerald ring out with the washing-up water. She never found it.

Fondant fancies; coconut flaky pastry cakes with sweetened shreds of coconut, that fall off and get picked out of the white paper bag; battenburg cake by the length ... can’t remember any others at the moment – from the ABC bakery on the Kings Road, opposite Peter Jones.

It’s harder and harder these days to come up with an ad campaign – some are just totally
cringe-making and I’m sure they’re not meant to be ! So McCann Erickson : in my view, with the nostalgia element I believe you will appeal to a very wide audience – not just children– and I think you might just have managed to successfully change the 30 year-old strapline of “Mr Kipling – exceedingly good cakes” to “Mr Kipling – exceedingly happy cakes” !

I shall certainly enjoy the ad (for a while) even if I don’t enjoy the cakes – too sweet for me !

11 July 2008

& finally ...!

I’ve finally got round to planting out the tomatoes I bought on 17 May. (They languished for three weeks in their pots, so not planted nearly as late as this post) They were surplus to requirements from a local organic market gardener maraîcher, whose fields we visited earlier in the year. I ordered 12 tomato plants & two aubergine plants for the princely sum of 9 euros :

The tomatoes – totally different to the ones I thought I was buying, but all organic (& mostly heirloom I believe) and hopefully having deciphered the writing on the brown parcel tape that was stuck to the side of the pot are as follows :

Cornu des Andes

Coeur de Boeuf

Cocktail Clémentine Orange – planted in a topsy turvy planter

Steack (hybrid ?)

Reine de Ste Marthe

Rio Grande

San Marzano – apparently good for drying

St Pierre

& two unnamed plants

The two aubergines or egg plants :
Ronde de Valence

Violette de Florence

I had been hoping to have got more of the garden organised (hah – hope on …) so decided to put them in the ground at the back – between the pathway around the house (I can’t grow anything up the house unless it’s in a pot) and the Pyracantha hedge. It’s an area over the septic tank – now I’m thinking about it, is that a good idea ?

With these, as a ‘gift’, was a Morelle de Balbis (Solanum sisymbrifolium) – not a true tomato but nicknamed the european Litchi. On this site (which is in French, sorry) they say not to plant it near aubergines or potatoes. Yikes ! I've planted my aubergines next to my tomatoes !

It looks very similar to a tomato and is yet to be planted in a place where I can watch its progression. It is bursting out of its tiny black plastic pot but producing large white flowers tinged lilac/blue, atop a rather viciously spiked stem !

And the other FINALLY ... is I’ve got round to making a blog, having planned – in my head – for many, many months. I lost the first effort of posting this, but luckily I had already written it elsewhere ! So,
here goes ... press ‘Submit’ ......

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