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jeudi 29 octobre 2015



Since the day when I came across Mrs Deer's diary till the phone-call which sounded the death knell of my reading, I had time to increase my knowledge and get pretty good at deciphering illegible writings.
A bit boastful of me, isn't it ? Well, the problem with getting too big for your boots is that, when you realize you are, it is already too late : the process has been sneaking on smoothly, and moving backwards and eating humble pie is no picnic !!

Well, let's say no more about it !

The reason for this last-minute intel is that I am all excited about revealing you my yesterday's discovery !

So, I was picking up walnuts the wind had blown down and the magpies had not seen yet, when a larger dead leaf attracted my attention. There were hoof prints on it !! 
Dear me, sure Mrs Deer had left them on purpose !
I just felt like Champollion when he started deciphering the hieroglyphics, and even if I didn't have the Rosetta Stone, I could get through the hastily scribbled note quite easily.

Mrs Deer's message  blew my socks off ! I can't get over it !!

                        Continued in the next chapter

dimanche 25 octobre 2015



First of all, let me apologize for last week chapter which, according to some of you, was a bit short, and left you somehow unsatisfied. It was not due to a tight schedule or a lack of imagination.Not at all ! Actually, I thought it could do you good to get a breathing space. It would give you some spare time to browse through the previous episodes, and check the vocabulary you weren't quite sure about.Have you done that ? Then, you must have noticed that every two or three chapter I use the same words or phrases.Don't worry about me : I don't ramble yet ( please, don't chuckle to yourself !). It is just one of my favourite "educational' tips.I call it the hammer-driller method ( by the way,now that I live in the countryside, I could call it the woody woodpecker method).I've been using it since I started teaching  (ages ago) and it runs smoothly ! I keep drilling whatever the thickness of the "bark" is, because I know that sooner or later it will split and let a new word in !
Repetition is the mother of teaching,isn't it ?

Well, enough speeches ! Let's come back to " The Undergrowth Chronicles".

Eager to know more about my short warning note to Mrs Deer,aren't you ?
Since last week, some of you have been racking their brains to solve the riddle. I can't help quoting some of your suggestions :

. " Beware of the backhoes".
. " Harmful craftsmen on their way".
. " Tenants who have not paid their rents will be evicted on Monday
     October 19th".
. " East of a den under works". ( There are film buffs among my readers)
. " Better clear off because of clearing".

Well, I must confess that my warning was neither so witty, nor so punchy, but rather factual.I wrote :

" Sorry for being a pain in the neck, dear Mrs Deer, but you'd better fall back to another safe place further in the undergrowth,cause the first half of it will be rather noisy and in the limelight over the next few days.I'll sound the all clear asap".

Next week, more about" wildlife on the rocks" !!

PS : Don't be shy, below each chapter there is some space where you can leave your comments. When you send private messages or messages on Facebook, some of my readers can't see them and feel frustrated. Thanks in advance !

PS 2 : When there are words or phrases you get stuck on, leave me a message and I will give you the translation in the context.

lundi 19 octobre 2015



Since I started copying out "The Undergrowth Chronicles", my readership has soared. I'm plyed with questions about deers, fawns and even foxes ! I receive gorgeous photos of some of Mrs Deer's distant relatives, not to mention one Bambi trailer !! Thanks a million and my deepest apologies for the unanswered questions.

Don't get me wrong ! I'm not getting too big for my boots ! Yet, even if I know "The Undergrowth Chronicles" is far from being a cliffhanger, I guess you are looking forward to reading some more more extracts.

Unfortunately there is a snag ...

A couple of days ago I was engrossed in reading Mrs Deer's diary, ticking the dates something funny or unusual happened to her ( sometimes I feel like a spy in your pay !), when suddenly the phone ring made me startle. I picked up the phone reluctantly. The voice on the line sounded familiar. Fortunately I was sitting, otherwise I would have fallen head over heels ; the boss of the company we had asked ages ago to clear the undergrowth was just telling me he was ready to come on Tuesday( today) if we agreed !
I told him we had been waiting for him eagerly, and that in the meantime we had renamed him " L'Arlésienne".
He is quick on the draw and he replied that that name is quite common among craftsmen ...
Anyway, all things come to those who wait. On Tuesday October 21st at 9 on the dot, works would start.

I was thrilled and was about to share the good piece of news with my husband, when in a split second my blood ran cold !!

Clearing the undergrowth meant frightening Mrs Deer and Dear, sacking their pantry, and perhaps even worse ransacking their den !!

OMG ! There was only one thing I could do : take the diary back to the undergrowth with a short warning note, and that's what I did.

In next chapter I'll tell you what I wrote and what happened next...

PS : get any clues about the warning note ??

mercredi 14 octobre 2015



Last week I had told you I would copy out some more extracts from " The
Undergrowth Chronicles " by Mrs Deer,so promises are made to be kept !
But first of all, let me apologize for the " delay in delivery ". Deciphering Mrs Deer's diary was no picnic. More often than not, her hoof prints were illegible and translating them into English ( Mrs Deer is Breton) was sometimes a real headache ! 
All over the last few days I have strived because I didn't want, first your curiosity to lose its appeal, and secondly the " diary affair " to come to an 
abrupt end ! Fortunately I had some hooks and all things come to those who wait, so enough small talk, here are some other passages.


May 24th,2015 

My fawn is born ! I've named it Dear.Doesn't it sound lovely ? Dear Deer !
I'm already crazy for him, and , even if his so-called sugar daddy has shirked his responsabilities, sure his doting mother will stand by him for long !

June 15th, 2015

After nursing Dear ( he loved my fat milk and wags his tail to thank me for the meal ), I went shopping. My housemate has planted fig trees, rosebushes and hazel trees, and now the garden looks like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Has she done it on purpose ? No one knows ..Anyway, while
I was tasting some rose buds, she came out to watch me with her binoculars. Cheeky of her, isn't it ? I pretended not to see her because I didn't want to treat her to a good meal. Enough is enough ! Sharing the garden is one thing, giving her a part of my harvest is a different story !!

June 18th,2015

Today is a red-letter day. I've introduced Dear to my housemate. It was not a snap decision. I had weighed the pros and cons,but the day when she laid some salt licks at the edge of the undergrowth, I knew she was harmless. You know, salt licks are deers' guilty pleasure !
So, today after grooming Dear, I led him into the garden and let him 
frolic. My housemate was on the terrace and I guess she enjoyed the show ! She looked over the moon and ,as for me, I was as happy as 
Larry. However, I will keep an eye on Dear who is the stuff hams are made of .. ( haven't you heard of a distant cousin of mine whose name was Bambi ? )
So, now we'll stay in the undergrowth for a while.
Dear me, today's outing has worn me out !
So, as humans say : Good night, sleep tight !

lundi 5 octobre 2015



Did my last week discovery tickle your curiosity ? I hope so, because, even though curiosity killed the cat, getting a better understanding of wildlife
is praiseworthy,isn't it ?

So, not to keep you waiting any longer, here are two extracts from " The
Undergrowth Chronicles" by Mrs Deer.


January 5th 2015 :

Phew !! At last I'm all settled ! If for humans, house-hunting can turn into a nightmarish obstacle course, for roedeers getting a suitable den is no picnic,either !
First I had fixed my choice on a nearby wooded area where beds of
vegetation are really thick,soft and king-sized. Unfortunately, a few days later while looking for a snack ( I was a bit peckish), I came across three
used cartridges. That immediately rang a bell. Cartridges mean guns,
hunters and , of course, packs of dogs ! The place was not safe at all,especially for a mother-to-be ! Yes, I'm pregnant and I'll give birth to my fawn next May ! So, I broke the camp, and after wandering a bit, I reached a garden with an undergrowth ! The garden itself was not spick and span, but anyway not bushy enough , compared to its undergrowth.
A network of brambles and fern, a plush bed of ivy and bindweed, and a
fifty- green-shaded canopy ! I set my heart on it immediately, and there I am in my piece of heaven. Yes, my future delivery-room is just Heaven on Earth !

February 3rd 2015 :

An old friend of mine visited me some days ago. She had heard about my good fortune and she was eager to see by herself.Yes, roedeers are shy and demure, but nevertheless a bit "nosy". It was just dawn,so I thought I could show her round safely. In spite of the cold dew on our hooves, we were having a good time tasting leaves and blades of grass when suddenly the sound of a door opening made us choke ! We stopped dead.
A lady was staring at us ! Our hearts were pounding ! To flee or not to flee that was the question ! As the lady stayed still, not to lose face, we moved slowly back to the undergrowth.
Well, I must confess I am a bit puzzled !
Shall I have to share the place with a housemate ? It's quite trendy , but till May I would prefer to be on my own.
Wait and see ...


Next week I 'll give you some more extracts , but for the moment I am really too engrossed in my reading to deliver the sequel.

Have a nice week and thanks in advance for all your comments or questions.