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dimanche 27 mars 2016





Now I guess you are getting used to it, every two or three chapters, I like asking you a question. An occupational hazard ? No, I don't think so. It's just that getting some feedback is always pleasant and all the more rewarding as most of you make an effort to answer or comment in English !
You are really praiseworthy readers !

So, here is the question of the week :

Do you have a bucket list ?

You know, the list of things you want to do before you die, or not before you die, but just for fun !
Sure, you do have one ! All of us have wishes and expectations, but unfortunately no magic wand to make them come true in a wink !
My bucket list is my dream incubator. I know, sooner or later something great will come out of it !

Well, as my first question was a yes-or-no question, let me go further and be a bit nosier. It's my turn, for once !!

What tops your bucket list ?

Bungee jumping ? Volunteer work ? Travelling round the world ? Becoming a first-rate odd-jobber ? Running for the presidency ?

I am looking forward to your answers !

In the meantime, let me tell you what is number one on my own bucket list. Maybe nothing big for some of you, but for me a real challenge :

               Becoming a master-gardener !

There is a long way to go ...Since we settled down here, no matter how hard I have fought against devilish weeds and defeated them, I am still a budding gardener. I have not been upgraded yet !!

But this year, after spending winter browsing through seed catalogs, reading thoroughly '' Vegetable gardening for dummies '', I thought it was high time to achieve my dream.
" When there is a will, there is a way '' would be my mantra !

What kept up coming in all the magazines I had leafed through was :

             Think big, start small !

Ok, an herb garden would be a good test !
Chives, mint, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme were planted without further delay !
Every morning I used to pace up and down my fragrant rows !

After all, it was not that difficult.
Why not go a bit further ?
And that's when everything went wrong ...

Next to our garden we have a fallow land, and I thought I could try a vegetable garden there ! A few rows of potatoes would clean up the soil
and remove the countless weedy patches !

You know I get gung-ho easily, and my naive side sometimes plays tricks on me !

Half a day digging left me sore all over, and what's worse the plot was none the cleaner !

When I told a neighbour about my miserable baby steps as a master-gardener to be, he offered to lend a hand and turn the soil with his tractor.He is a retired farmer, and idleness doesn't suit him as much as expected.
When, to make me at ease, he added ,'' You know, I miss ploughing and furrows ", it should have tipped me off !
Instead, I answered , " It's a deal ! ".

Two days later, he was standing at the door, beaming with joy !

" Ready, Dany ? Put on your boots and take your seed bag with you ! ".

First, I thought he wanted to show me how to drive his tractor, and I felt embarrassed. You remember, the only four-wheeled vehicle I can drive is a shopping trolley !

Short-lasting uneasiness !!

The fallow land had left place to an endless plowed field, big enough to launch a potato business !
My neighbour had not done things by halves.
Had I forgotten to tell him I was a budding gardener, not  a graduate one, let alone a farmer to be ??

Well, have you ever been offered a present and had to pretend you were thrilled to bits  ( while thinking you would shelf it for ever at the top of a cupboard) ?
Then, you know how I was feeling !!

Anyway, I had to put up a good show !

I managed to take a deep breath and exclaimed :

" Great ! You have thought big, haven't you ? "

" Don't worry ! ", he replied," if you want I can dig some more
furrows ".

I could feel shivers all along my spine ...

" Thanks ", I muttered, " I'll let you know, but in-between I think I 'll go on a field trip ".

After a nightmarish night spent ,either falling into furrows as deep as trenches or struggling not to be  buried under grinning potatoes  , I took my bucket list and erased number 1 to concentrate on number 2 !
After all, maybe potaotes are my pet-hate ! You remember chapter
" Flying potatoes ", don't you ?

So, what is number 2 on my bucket list ? Have a guess !!

dimanche 20 mars 2016




Some time ago a long-standing reader (and a long-standing friend, as well) pointed out that since I started this blog, Canaille, the English Springer Spaniel, has often been mentionned, but not a single word about Ulysse, the Coton of Tulear, and even more puzzling my husband seems to be off the face of the earth !!
Well, I must admit that keen observer is quite right ! So, as he keeps insisting on that , I guess I owe you some explanations.
Don't get me wrong, nosy readers ! If you are expecting some "spicy details " about my hubby and me, you're entirely mistaken. Mum's the word ! Case closed !
Anyway, don't feel disappointed, our couple has never hit the headlines of the tabloids ( or gutter press, as you like).
Now, let's come to Ulysse. Has this sweet little doggy demanded no intrusion into his privacy ? Not at all !
So what ? How come Canaille is often ont the front cover whereas Ulysse has to do with a supporting role ?
Come on, how dare you ask such a question !
We are animal-lovers, so we give both of them equal amounts of love and care. No favoritism !
But,whereas Canaille (8 years old) still happens to be nutty (mad circuits round the garden), Ulysse strives to prove " the older the wiser" is a true saying. He is also the living proof that dogs are man's best friends
And yet, some years ago he could have thought that men were not dogs' best friends !
In those days my mother-in-law was still alive , and she used to ride around with Ulysse everywhere. As soon as she opened the car rear door, Ulysse would jump in. He enjoyed lying on the parcel-shelf !
Unfortunately, one day his leash got caught in the door, but my mother-in-law didn't notice it. She started the car and off she went !
After a while,wondering why car drivers were flashing their headlights to her, she parked on the side of the road, got out and found poor Ulysse panting and his paws covered in blood !!
The poor little guy had been dragged out behind the car and the skin of his paws were ripped off !!
The vet had him on antibiotics and pain medication. He told my mother-in-law to clean the wounds once a day and to make sure to keep the dressings dry.
That was another kettle of fish ...
It was the rainy season in Brittany(no smirk, please !), but Ulysse could not wait for sunny spells to do his business ! That meant changing the dressings four or five times a day. My mother-in-law was remorse-ridden, but despite the sweet treats she spoiled Ulysse with, he hardly let her touch his paws ! So, you can easily imagine how miserable " the nurse and the patient " felt after each outing !
When my mother-in-law told my husband about her trouble on the phone, he suggested her jokingly to try protecting the dressings with condoms !!
Actually, it seems they would meet all her requirements ( I'll skip the details, no need to draw a picture !).
Well, my mother-in-law took that suggestion seriously,but didn't dare to go to the chemist's ( no vending machines around at the time) :
An elderly lady buying condoms for .....her dog ! My foot !
The rumour would have spread like wildfire !!
Fortunately, her young cleaning lady agreed to do her that favour and bought  the " protections " !
And it worked !!
Ulysse kept them all day long, and could go out whenever necessary. They were taken off only once a day when the dressings had to be changed !
Three weeks later the brave little dog had recovered, and didnt even bear a grudge to his mum !!
So, don't forget : safety first !!

dimanche 13 mars 2016





First of all let me tell you that writing this week's chapter was far from being as easy as pie. Indeed, it was just as if I was back to square one. My smoothly-running method to build a story ? Gone with the wind ! I was feeling adrift and anchorless, and even worse, I was battening down the hatches !
Don't get me wrong ! Nothing to do with the writer's block ! I was not running dry of ideas ! Quite the contrary ! But, once more, the snag was what to start with.
Then, two days ago, as the countdown was coming close to zero, I decided to pull myself together and take it easy ! Come what may !
So, first, let me thank you for playing the game and cramming my inmail box with your witty, funny, shy and sometimes weird answers. You've been absolutely fabulous ! Thanks a million !
OK, done ! You see, that's just the kind of beginning I wanted to avoid ! It seems a bit mawkish, but, after reading your comments, I desperately wanted to pay a tribute to our efforts and loyalty !
So, forgive the lack of style in my thank-you words.
After all, to be honest, I didn't want to go overtop, otherwise you might get too big for your boots !
Anyway, regarding your answers to the question in chapter 55 " A story that has some teeth ", I have noticed that among you there are backpackers who are real thrill seekers. The spooky places they told me about gave me goosebumps !
Fortunately, to my great relief, others confessed their fear of the dental or doctor surgery, whereas for one more outgoing reader, the scariest experience was going to a sports club for the first time ( you know, feeling awkward, as stiff as a poker, and bulging out of a brand-new gym outfit !).
Well, I guess whatever our fears are, we should strive to get over them.
But, between you and me, don't we enjoy playing with fire from time to time ? As far as I am concerned, I do ! Let me give you an example.
Some years ago, I used to live in a village in the middle of nowhere. My nextdoor neighbour was friendly, but as deaf as a post. I mean, I knew I couldn't rely on him if I shouted for help. Fortunatelty the case had never arisen.
One night, my husband was on a business trip and I was alone at home. As there was nothing much on telly (as usual), I decided to go to bed to read the thriller I had just bought. The bookseller had told me it was a fast pace, tightly written novel that would keep me reading long into the night.
He was quite right. Not only was the story riveting, but the unexpected plot twists kept me turning the pages !
Unfortunately, a glance at the alarm-clock warned me that, if I didn't want to wake up with puffy eyes ( I had a busy morning ahead of me), it was high time to switch off the light.
After rolling and tossing a while ( I was still in the thriller), sleep was about to come, when suddenly I heard a weird noise, and a kind of muffled conversation !!
I tiptoed downstairs and found the dog up in his basket, growling and shaking with fear ( at the time he was just a puppy, not a watch-dog yet ..). I could still hear the voices !
Sure, there were burglars in the living-room. I slowly crept across the hall to the kitchen to fetch something to defend myself. As I was about to open the knife drawer, I got knocked on the nape of the neck !!
My heart dropped to the pitch of my stomach, but the blow was not that strong and I didn't faint.
Yet, I was petrified and unable to turn back to face my attacker.
The conversation was still going on in the living-room,so it meant the man behind me had at least two accomplices !!
Well, if I was about to die, why not die bravely ?
I screwed up my courage and turned back slowly ...
In a split second, my 'serial killer' was lying on the floor ! I heaved a sigh of relief !!
Before going to bed I had swept the floor and forgot to put the broom away.When entering the kitchen, I had stepped on the brush, and it had made the stick tilt and knock my head !!

But yet, in the other room the intruders were still taking it easy ...

I grabbed a carving knife, burst into the living-room, switched on the light soul around ! Just a light on the radio !

Jeez ! When switching it off with the remote control, I had pressed the wrong function ! Instead of turning it off, I had turned it down !

Phew !! The thriller recommended by my bookseller had really set my imagination to a fever ! I should have chosen a fairy tale !
The sleeping Beauty, for example ...

dimanche 6 mars 2016




While I was maping out the plot of this new chapter, I suddenly realized that, even though I don't really know most of you, actually most of you know me !
I mean, if you were asked " What is Perky Busy Bee like ?", you wouldn't get flustered, would you ?
The comments you make either on the blog or in my inmail box show that you are lenient readers and keen observers,as well. Let me quote some remarks that keep up coming :
" Hi, Perky, you see everything through rose-coloured glasses,don't you ?"
Well, at least I try to look on the bright side. Of course, I know it is not always wine and roses, but, anyway, life would be rather dull if it were plain sailing !
" Hello Mrs PBB, I think your main character trait is to be chirpy,isn't it ?".
Quite right ! Even when alone, I often happen to hum. It could explain the heavy downpours and very few lulls since early January !
" Sorry for being nosy,Mrs Bee, but being such an animal lover, are you vegan ? "
Don't apologize ! It is not an indiscreet question at all ! After being scared stiff of dogs, cats and any pets, it is true that now I dote on them. I have often thought of going vegan, but never made the decision. Time will tell ...
Oops, I was about to forget the best comment !!
After reading chapter " All cats are grey in the dark" and chapter "Add a pinch of humour and Bob's your uncle ", you've awarded me :
" The most scatterbrained blogger prize " !
Then, as overindulgent as usual, you have added that maybe it was the symptom of a hectic life !!
Come on, stop buttering me up ! I live " far from the madding crowd " (a good book by Thomas Hardy) and the only stress I can get is to bore you !
Anyway, I agree with you. I am scatterbrained. I have always been. It has often played tricks on me, but as I am optimistic, I just remember the times that shortcoming has worked in my favour. Let me give you an example :
Some months ago, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves with a very good meal. We had already indulged ourselves in delicious but fattening foods, but we thought it would be the last time before going on a drastic diet ( for the umpteenth time ...).
Breton cuisine is rich and varied, and treating our tastebuds was as easy as pie !
What a wonderful meal ! It still makes my mouth water ! Stuffed spider crab, lobster with a fabulous creamy sauce, not to mention the dessert !
The next morning I had to go downtown, and as rain was forecast, I put on my raincoat.
Jeez ! I started feeling the side effects of our food binge.
Not only was I feeling bloated and overly full, but even worse, I could hardly button up my raincoat ! A glance at myself in the mirror before leaving shattered me down ! I looked like a tied roast ! That was the full monty !!
It was high time to fast, or at least to go easy on food !
I took off my raincoat, put on a loose windbreaker, and rushed to the greengrocer's to raid his crates.
The next two days I gulped down lots of veggies, and swallowed litres of lemon water.
Then, on the third day, as I was boiling some fish for lunch, the phone rang. It was a blocked number, and I answered rather abruptly. Cold calls get on my nerves !!
The lady on the other end of the line said :
" Sorry for being a nuisance, but some days ago we had dinner in the same restaurant, and I thin you left with my raincoat instead of yours.
The restaurant manager kindly accepted to give me the guests' phone-numbers, and since then I have been repeating on and on the story of my raincoat-napping ( a new word similar to kid-napping). You are my last hope !".
" Oh,good, well that's a load off ! I thought my raincoat had shrunk due to last month heavy downpours ! ", I answered mischievously ( no need to give further details...).
We made an appointment to swap our precious garments !
Moral of my story ( just for fun) :
If I had not been scatterbrained, I would not have taken the wrong raincoat, and I would not have gone on a diet !!