Pounding hearts

Heart pounding in chest, adrenalin pumping & feeling alive, proactive and well, uh I dunno…..
Hand and foot moaning exhausted, socks pulled up. Life goes on, lets keep it in perspective.

That perspective for me this week is the Jungle that’s a few hundred km up the road in Calais. I’m not a great follower of the news and that works well for me. Someone once said if you want to protect your head don’t watch the news – I know it’s ostrich mentality but I have to say, it works. When we hear story after story that leaves me feeling sad, despairing and very disillusioned by our world I’d rather not know especially when I feel there is nothng I can do.
The Jungle in Calais is different though. This one’s got me. What is going on here? Thousands of people living in hideous conditions just up the road – desperate. I can’t imagine how they feel – cold and frightened at the very least.
I’ve read about holiday makers that have had their summer hols ruined by seeing migrants sleeping on benches and in doorways. We don’t want to see that during our 2 weeks in the sun eh? These are fellow human beings. Luckily for the heap of negative things I’ve been reading there’s something a bit special happening too – a grass roots movement – heart gets thumping again. Mandy and I have discussed jumping in the van and going up – getting stuck in – trying to help. It appears there’s plenty of us feeling the same way and plenty of us going for it. Nice one! Here in Normandy we’ve decided to go with our heads and hold back our hearts. We’re sorting, clearing and gathering ready to make a drop off to our local super hub manned by Ailsa. We’re on standby for sorting and there’s a winter hat making workshop coming together.
This isn’t going to go away, the jungle will grow. The worry is that we will exhaust our motivation and lose interest just as the coldest months of the year roll in.
So, male members of the household – if your jumper pile appears to have shrunk it has. If you want to know where to find them head north east in the direction of Calais.

A good way of burning off all this nervous energy is to take a stroll with a donkey.
‘Come on Stophe lets take Suno for a walk.’ I’ve heard about these woodland walks, man and beast. It sounds like just the thing to clear my head. Hand still in a splint and useless, wearing Stophe’s wellies that are too big and an unfamiliar woodland ahead. Woodland that runs down a beautiful, wild but bloomin steep hill.


I’m tripping and sliding and Suno’s a bit happy and excited by it all. I know to be cautious of potential rear kicks but quite frankly I’ve got bigger things on my mind. He’s 300 kg of muscle and about to be let off his reigns to run free and explore….. me and my mouth, what was I thinking. One hand, boots that are flopping around my feet, unfit and no equestrian knowledge whatsoever and then Stophe says, if he’s heading your way move. Quickly. Ah marvellous. I am such a tit but too proud to do anything other than look like this is something I do every day. And he’s off, thundering past and I’m clumsily jumping out the way. Such an amazing creature, an awesome sight and all we are relying on here is his better nature that he doesn’t trample us down. As Suno and I look into each others eyes I try to look cool – they can sense fear right? Can he hear my heart beating/thumping. Stophe’s gone on ahead, it’s just the 2 of us, I know where my nearest tree to hide behind is….. I needn’t have worried, peeling tree bark is clearly more interesting. It was fine, brilliant and great fun. So folks, if you’re feeling a bit sluggish and want to get the blood flowing take a stroll with an enormous and free beast!

Who’s pooh?

This week ended with a bit of public speaking – talk about take the girl out her comfort zone.
Mandy and I were asked to give a presentation at our smallholders group about, well us!
How could we refuse but as the day drew nearer, my breath quickened and my dreams grew quirkier – public speaking. When I was a student nurse this was my all time dread and it didn’t seem to ever get any easier.
Different times, more carefree or just knowing I would have Mandy at my side I felt a bit stressed but in a good way – bring it on. Come on Suno, lets run through the trees…. go for it.

It went well, we did our thing and nobody threw rotten tomatoes at us – possibly as no smallholder would have such a thing! We left feeling happy and relieved it was over! My only complaint – we could have done better. Perhaps next time we should rehearse and then we wouldn’t have forgotten all those (terrible) jokes we had up our sleeves. That reminds me, what was it almost every school report I had said? Harriet could do better if only she stopped talking…….

Fabulous impromtu supper at Thibois on Saturday evening – slow roasted tomatoes in basil, thyme, olive oil with chunks of bread to soak up the juices. Aubergine, courgette, tomato and mozzeralla tart with potatoes and purple beans and entertainment provided by Christophe and his washing up.

Step 1 – ignore request to wash up for 3 days
Step 2 – try charm
Step 3 – time to crack on with those dishes but not before a pre-soak in the river
sorry guys, you can’t eat that lot
and he’s off….
still washing in the twilight
and into the night!

Have a good week

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