Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bird watching

We ordered some binoculars and they arrived a while ago, together with a little book of photos and descriptions of common garden birds.

So far, I have identified the the majority of the most frequent visitors, but a couple of them have me completely confused. I have to order a better book about the birds of Europe...

We also put a couple of fat and seed balls hanging from the window shutters in the kitchen. The number of customers has been increasing steadily.

These are photos from the internet, as I don't have a decent enough camera to attempt taking my own pictures.

The magpies building their nest have sparked our interest in bird watching. We can't see into the nest at all, but we assume there are young birds there, judging by the movements of the parents. Now we have to wait and try to catch a glimpse of the fledglings leaving the nest.

Male and female house sparrows
House sparrows are very common and the females like the seeds we have on offer. They perch on the telephone wire just outside the window, and "piu" quite loudly before coming to the ledge to feed.

The ballet
We observed a daily continuous ballet in the distance. These birds form fairly large flocks and fly round and round, disappearing behind the trees, then re-emerging where you least expect them. I couldn't tell what they were, even with binoculars. The other day we went to Uzerche, visited the garden centre, then went to a nice bar on the church square for a couple of drinks (TW, CC and IG will remember it). We noticed the same ballet around the church. They were near enough and would land on the roof of the church every now and then, so we finally identified them. Apart from the ballet, there's nothing spectacular about feral pigeons...

Feral pigeon

Some cousins of the above are far more interesting and look more attractive:

Collared dove
The collared dove is much smaller than the feral pigeon, with a pinkish tinge to its feathers.

Male blackbird

Female blackbird
Blackbirds are terribly common, but it's nice to observe their behaviour. The females seem to spend long periods on the ground looking for grubs in Monsieur Soup's garden. The males like to use the drums Mr Soup uses to collect rainwater for long baths and a good drink.

Carrion crow
I'm not very keen on these. The name alone puts me off.


These finches are lovely and colourful. I was very proud of myself when I managed to identify them. It took me a while to learn to notice markings like bibs and wingbars.

Great tit
Identifying the great tit correctly was another achievement. From a distance, it's easy to take them for blue tits, but I did notice the black head, white cheeks and broad black stripe on the chest.

The blue tits are our most frequent customers and we're absolutely in love with these cheeky little birds (so is Pirouette).

We hope to see some of the more exotic species as summer approaches and they migrate from Africa. Last year I saw a hoopoe and that was quite a sight!


Bird watching is great fun and for people like us, who used to think "a bird is a bird," being able to tell them apart is very gratifying. Seasoned birdwatchers may laugh at us, but you have to start somewhere...

Monday, 29 April 2013

One man's treasure...

Once upon a time, there was a very rich kingdom where the food was famously bland. They had gold and precious stones, but the food was terrible.

A farmer heard about this kingdom and had a clever idea. He filled his largest cart with onions and set off for the rich kingdom of bland food.

The king was puzzled by these strange bulbs, but when the farmer prepared a dish using the wonder ingredient and served it to the king and his advisers, they were delighted. The king wanted all the onions and ordered the farmer's cart to be filled with gold.

The farmer went away very happy and on his way back to his farm, he had already devised a plan to get even richer. He harvested all his garlic, filled the cart again and returned to the rich kingdom of not so bland food.

Once there, he prepared a dish using this new ingredient and served it to the king and his advisers. Their reaction was of pure joy! They told the farmer he would be rewarded and retired to another room to discuss it. The onions were worth a cart full of gold, but the garlic was worth even more!

They told the farmer so, and informed him that his cart was now loaded with their most valuable possessions. The farmer headed to his cart, dreaming of diamonds and precious stones, wishing he had a larger cart.

When he arrived at the king's yard, he found his cart full of onions...

Saturday, 27 April 2013

O sleep! O gentle sleep!

I'm having trouble going to sleep. One leg jumps, my nose makes an annoying fiiin-fonn noise, I have to get up to pee, random hard-to-scratch places itch, you name it. So I decided to laugh about it...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Give us a job - Now with transcript

The conversation below is very funny, but the language is quite colourful and you'll need to listen to it a few times, as he Scottish accent is almost impenetrable.

I was in two minds about posting it because of the language, but Peter talked me into it... He said you all like a good laugh and a challenge!

Here's the transcript. It's not word perfect, but it should make it easier to follow the dialogue:

- Good morning, this is Manpower, Carol speaking, how can I help you?

- Alright doll, I'm looking for a job.

- Okey dokey, what kind of job you're looking for?

- Anything, really, just something to f***g keep the wolves from the door.

- (laugh) You have wolves at your door?

- Aye.

- Ah love... what's you name?

­- Bob.

- Bob?

- Bob Clapperton.

- Bob... sorry I missed that.

- Clapperton.

- Clapperton?

- Aye.

- Cla-per-ton. What's your telephone number?

- I'm not telling you, you'll phone us back.

- Well, if you want a job, then I need it.

- I can no hand my phone number to just f***g anybody, like. I just want a job, not a f***g relationship or nothing, ken*?

- I know, I'm not asking you to enter that kind of area of a personal relationship with me, but you know, it would be really helpful.

- Can I no just get a job from ya?

- What? You just phone up and get a job?

- Aye.

- No. It kinda doesn't work like that.

- What do I need to do to get a job?

- Oh, first of all, I need to take your number, then I need to pass it on to the recruitment consultant that would be able to look into what kind of work you're looking for, then he's gonna phone you, then gets you here, then register you, then we get you a job.

- Do I need to go for interviews and all (?) that's a pain in the arse as it is, I just want a job.

- Oh, I know you just want a job, but you really need to come for an interview with us first.

- F**k, s**t, you (?) another company just to get a job? That's a waste of f***g time, no?

- Well, it's entirely up to yourself.

- Well, do you have any jobs or no, that's all I'm asking you.

- Yes, we have jobs.

- Can I get it?

- No, you can't get one over the phone.

- Why the f**k no?

- Because it just doesn't work that way.

- Jesus Christ! Oh f**k, it's a job getting a job in itself, is it no?

- Kinda is like that nowadays.

- Now, hold on, I just want one. For f**k's sake, I'm not greedy.

- Oh, I know you're not greedy, and to get one or to get ten, you still have to come out to the office and register with us.

- I'd rather not do that.

- You don't know whether you'd do that?

- No, I'd rather no do that.

- Then we'd rather not give you the job, because then we can no give jobs to people we haven't met, haven't vetted, haven't referenced.

- Do you do criminal records checks or no?

- No.

- That's alright then, I'd been f***d if you've done that. (laugh)

- (laugh) Now, are you coming to see us or no? Are you going to give me your number or no?

- I can no give you my number 'cause you'll phone us back, that's what I say, I just want a f***g job.

- We can no give you a job without a number.

- F**k. I'll just carry on signing on then.

- (laugh) Just give me your number, ah, oh, honest to God I'll no phone you back till we get... tell you what, I'll book you in so you can come up and register and that's it, but I still need a number.

- We'll you can make an appointment for us, but make sure it's in the afternoon because I like to sleep all morning.

-Well, then, I'm no sure we'll be able to find you a job.

- I can do the night shift, though.

- I got night shift, bloody hell, I'm crying out for night shift!

- Well, I'll do that then.

-Then you need to give me your number.

- I can no give you my number, though, because I can no f***g remember it.

- That's just not on.

- What about I phone you back. I find out the number and I'll phone you back.

- You phone back, then, but the person you need to speak to, his name is Alan.

- Alan?

- Alan, ask for Alan.

- Alright. What's your name?

- Carol.

- I'm going to report you because you've been cheeky to me, so.

- I have no been cheeky to you! (laugh)

- Ok, I'll phone back and speak to Alan later on, but I'm no giving him my number either, so.

- You no give him your number?

- No.

- Then he'll no give you a job.

- So, all I need to do is give a phone number and you give me a job? It's as easy as that?

- No, I just explained. You need to phone up, you need to speak to Alan, he'll take your number, then he'll get you booked in, then you meet Alan, then he'll give you an interview and run over what kind of work you've done before and then he'll give you a job, as long as we get clean references for you and not before that time.

- You'll get no references. I've been self-employed on the night shift all my life.

- What have you been doing?

- Burgling.

- Burgling? Then, then, then, really, obviously we can no get a reference for that, no really, you have no chance of you getting a job.

- So I'm f***d then, That's what you're saying?

- I'm not saying you're f***d exactly, but if you don't give that information, do you know?

- Aah... ah, f**k it, I'll just carry on burgling. Cheers for your help anyway.

- No bother at all. Bye. (laugh)

[*Ken is used in Scotland to mean "understand."]

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Time for some jokes

It's been a while since we had jokes. These are short and sweet:

A barber, a bald man and an absent minded professor take a journey together. They have to camp overnight, so decide to take turns watching the luggage. When it's the barber's turn, he gets restless, so amuses himself by shaving the head of the professor. When the professor is woken up for his shift, he feels his head, and says "How stupid is that barber? He's woken up the bald man instead of me."


In biology class, the teacher draws a cucumber on the blackboard: "Children, could someone tell me what is this?"

Little Johnny raises his hand: "It's a dick, Miss Jones!" 

The teacher bursts into tears and runs out.

In a minute the principal rushes in: "All right, what did you do now? Which one of you brought Miss Jones to tears? And who the hell drew that dick on the blackboard?"


Q: What's red and invisible?
A: No tomatoes.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gardening fever

We seem to be very enthusiastic about gardening lately... Just imagine watering all these pots!

Container gardening in Cordoba, Spain

This afternoon we're going to a large garden centre to buy some flowers for our pots on the steps and also to have a look around for seed potatoes and cherry tomato plants. I suppose that planting potatoes in containers will be less back breaking than the traditional method (not to mention that we don't have space to plant them in the soil!).

Happy gardening, everybody!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


I think frogs are quite amusing. People have found many different ways to depict them:


Monday, 22 April 2013

Amy's sweet peas

I had these pictures in an open thread on the old blog. I really like them and hope Amy will send us more photos of her flowers as they bloom...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Name these girls - Bonus round - The results

Mrsgunka matched all 5 photos, followed by Amy, who got MrsG wrong, naming her as Molly.

Well done!






Saturday, 20 April 2013

Peace and beauty

After the disturbing events of the past few days, I think we all deserve a trip to somewhere peaceful to enjoy the beautiful flowers and the simplicity of a laid back lifestyle.

We're going to Provence.

Happy birthday, GrannyJ!