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Old Letters:

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January 10 Letterwinter
Hi, We got frosts and snows, then a lot of rain, then back to cold, now back to rain. The days are short. All in all it does not help Harry to work on the house. He does keep on every day but the pace has slowed a lot, as it did last winter. (see house).
We have both had colds over the holidays and they just would not completely go away until well into Jan. Otherwise we have been in good health.
No New Year Resolutions this year!
At the end of Nov, my aunt Doris Barmby died at 92 - she was a nice lady.our street
The photo is of a cold morning.
Janet     
February 10 Letter
Hi, What a winter. We have been able to do very little on the house. The only part of the snow and frost that is nice to think about is that we are not as bad off as many people we know in the UK and across the Atlantic. It will soon be spring.
Harry finally has his permanent French driving licence.
our lot
We hope to have a few visitors this spring and summer and we are really looking forward to them.
I noticed that Google had finally put up a high-res version of our village and, surprise, there was also a street view of our biulding lot and house. It was taken in the summer and hasn't got the snow we have now. (see pictures).
All the best.
Janet   
March 10 Letter
Hi, I thought we had had the worst of the winter when I did the Feb letter but I was wrong. We still haven't had a smell of spring. It is apparently the hardest winter here in over 20 years.
after wind
In the time since the last letter we had the tail of the Atlantic storm Xynthia come through and it moved the roof on the house. Again, must 'think lucky', 50 people were killed along the coast. After a week of thinking, measuring, pushing and pulling, Harry has in back in perfect position. (see house)
I am just finished a once a year bout of house cleaning, repairing, tidying and so on. It must be done in short spurts or my body refuses to move. The intention was to include the yard as well but it is covered in snow most the time.
It is also time for our car's first inspection for a road worthiness cert. We have replaced the cracked windshield and a local garage looked it over and said it should past.
The photo is yet another tent that has been taken down by wind - Xynthia's aftermath.
Janet
April 10 Letter
Hi,
After the storm we had a spell of lovely weather and then a spell of rain before and during Ciara's visit at the end of March. All the spring flowers came out during and after the visit and it is warming up.crjj
The house is progressing between rainy spells. Another two upper walls are in place. One Harry raised alone but the other was raised with Ryan and Jamie's help.
We had two great visits this month (see visits). Claudio overnighted and it was great to see him after so long. We got to know his partner Nicola. Ciara and Ryan came with friends, Jamie and Jamie, for a 6 day visit. (photo below) It was wonderful. Now we are looking forward to Sasha.
As to the dog - it made a little fuss about Claudio & Nicola but did the usual bark and growl at Ryan and Jamie with suspicious friendliness to Ciara and Jamie. It was a little better than last time but not much. But... after the four left, Ginger spent to next two days rushing to the door whenever that was a noise on the street and barking to have a look outside. She would look down the street, be disappointed and come back in. She missed the company, what do you know?!
It is tax form time again. It is so silly, I have six forms to fill in and no taxes to pay. We have too little income to actually pay much although we get a bit refunded that was deduced during the year. But three governments and two pension systems and a medical system are interested in our meager finances.
Janet
May 10 Letter
Hi, Between ash problems for flights, Sasha got across the Atlantic and so we will be able to see him. We are really looking forward to that. Below is a little song about the volcano.
hawthornWe had a period of nice weather (now returned to cold and rain) and Harry got a lot of work in during the sun. See house page. He is (very weird) slating a roof from the inside.
There is going to be another Wight reunion on 4-6 June at High River Alberta. I will not be able to go but hope it is a success. I am sure Sylvia has notified everyone who is interested. Hello to all.
May is the month I associate with my mother - her name, her birthday, her death and funeral, Mother's Day. I'm thinking of her more than usual.
For one of the first times I was not caught out by a French holiday. I remembered about May Day and we got in extra food. But I didn't get any lilies-of-the-valley.
Important milestones are here for the Thoughts on Thoughts blog. It is 2 years old on June 1 and on May 15th it has had 100,000 visits in its life time so far. It is currently getting around just under 9,000 hits a month.
The photo is hawthorn in blossom in the new yard.
Janet
June 10 Letter
We have had some very good weather and also a lot of rainy days. The little roof was slated during the nice weather which was interesting because it was done from underneath. (see house)
dogsAll of a sudden early this month the grass started to grow and we have to run to keep up. The cutter bar hay type mower was repaired for the building site and we bought a little electric lawn mower for the back yard. Harry's doing the site and me the yard.
Ginger now has a doggy friend to chase and be chased by. (see photo). He belongs to the neighbours one over from the building plot and they run around in the lot between. Both have secret holes in their respective fences to get into the vacant lot.
Sasha's visit should begin in a couple of days.
We had our annual checkup. It is by invitation at the Pulbic Health & Stats place in Bourges. Harry is fine but I need some correction if I want to avoid diabetes for some more years.
We have the smell of lavender again - lovely.
Bye for now. Janet

July 10 Letter
Hello,
Sasha came for 6 days and we had a great visit with him. (see visits). And house progress continues through some nice weather. (see house).
Nice little story about the Isner-Mahut tennis match. I was watching while waiting for Harry and Sasha to get
sashaback from Bourges. When Harry came in, I told him it was the longest match (two sets each and 34 to 34 games in the tie breaker) and we watched until Sasha arrived on his new bike and had a shower. We left for a meal at the local restaurant. We were joking on the way back that the game might still be going on and it was at 54-53. We watched and soon they called it a day at 59-59. Next day (the third day), without us watching, it finished at 68-70. It broke all the records - longest match at over 10 hours, most games in a match, most aces, not just for Wimbleton but all of professional tennis ever anywhere.
I finally decided to try Twitter but haven't done much yet. Current webstats are below on this page.
Somehow we missed the nice spring we usually have. From rain and cold we have gone straight into sun and HEAT. We missed the sunny mild days between. There were a couple and I managed to mow the back yard during them. we have had servings of cherries and we are looking forward to some pears and lots of plums. This is the first year that the plums have produced. In the fields around, the wheat, barley and rape are being harvested, the sunflowers have just started to bloom and the corn is getting high.

Janet
August 10 Letter
Hello,
The last day of July was a Saturday and it was called Black Saturday. The French tradition was for people to take holidays in August and the nation sort of shut down for the month. Now it seems half take off July and half August so the nation does not completely stop. Because the last day of July was a Saturday, the traffic was terrible. Half the nation was driving to the sea and half were driving back from the sea. The Rhone Valley corridor was one big traffic jam. The surrounds of Paris were chaotic. Our little backwater was fine - not many people going between Bourges and Nevers.
Our computer phone (the one we use for long distance calls) stopped working and it turned out to be a fault in our fancy internet/phone/TV router we have from the phone company so they replaced it. We had fun and games getting the fault diagnosed and the new livebox configured as the phone company only does things by phone and only has Windows instructions in their booklet - no exceptions for anyone who finds that difficult. Harry drove to Bourges when the livebox stopped working but they turned him away from the Orange office and instructed him to go home and phone them. Thankfully, Ubuntu turns out to be very livebox friendly.
I have started walking at noon again with the dog.
This site now has a user sitemap - take a look. The link to it is on the home page. When I found that I was having trouble finding some old things that I knew were in the site, I decided that it must be impossible for anyone else and it
neighbours was worth the time and effort to have a list of all articles, all in the same place.
The photo is of a house that neighbours are building, also wooden but prefab from a very high class Bourges company. The picture was taken when the house reached the same level of completion as ours. It took them a whole 3 weeks from starting the foundation to having the shell done. It is extremely high quality, but also extremely expensive. For our own, slower progress follow the house link.  
Janet

September 10 Letter
Greetings,
We continue to be well and happy.
The photo is a crazy old building in Bourges taken from the door of our bank. Apparently in this part of France, the steeper the roof, the older the building.
building by bank5
This year the pears were few and not very juicy, the grapes were a little on the small and sour side but the plums were magnifcent. I don't think we had many previous years but this year the two little trees just hung with lovely fruit. Autumn is definitely in the air.
Harry is working on the electrics in the house. He has to learn a new CODE. (see house) Harry has had fun and games with a bobcat. We hired one and it didn't work right, mechanic came and fixed but it broke again. The company ordered parts and we waited for it to be repaired. Harry was driving pass the place and noticed that the machine was on the lot again. The man who does the renting was surpprised that it was back from the repair and made some phone calls. Yes it was good and they delivered it the next morning. It would not work so they came and picked it up again. Harry said something about it not having the new gear box yet after all but the driver said it was a different Bobcat from another depot. So there was a replacement machine rather than a repaired one for hire and the wrong one was put in the yard. I don't know when we are going to get the earth moving done.
I have recently put my first posts on a site called Research Blogging and feel good to be in that crowd. Also I have obtained a book on the early Krewson family and looking forward to studying it.
The French government is not very popular right now: corruption scandal, stikes over pension reforms, criticism of expulsion of Roma gypsies. I look at Le Monde's site every day in machine translation and there has recently been more interesting/entertaining things to read. (Reading machine translation itself is somewhat entertaining.) We have also started getting a English language newspaper for Expats living in France.
Till next month, Janet

October 10 Letter
Hello, This month makes me 71. I should be old enough to know better. I don't use brand new software; I wait for other people to find the bu
mushroomgs. And I hate upgrades so I do them only when I have to. But I clicked an innocent button that has been appearing every morning for months, asking me if I wanted a new version of the operating system. What possessed me! The upgrade itself failed, many error messages, couldn't go back, had to clean my disk and reinstall an older version. Fortunately, pretty well everything was backed up and easy to get back in place. But, big problem, the backup of the family tree would not reinstall and so I spend any spare time re-entering the data. I was still 70 when I clicked on the button so there is hope that I won't be as dumb at 71.
Autumn has come. The photo is of a mushroom. They were quite common where we were picking up walnuts at the very back of our plot. Our dog also enjoys the walnuts - she graws on them for hours.
Work on the house is slow right now because there are many things to work out. (see house).
We expect to see Ciara and Merrilee in Nov., but not Ryan or Aiden. Separately Bob is also due in Nov.
Here is a link to friend Michelle's pictures. Many of them are just so 'saskatchewan' . http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahashu/
Janet
November 10 Letter
Hi, It turns out that the cranes have followed Harry. At White City, when he was working on that house he become interested in the Sand Hill cranes. They have particular flight paths and our place was right under one. When we moved to France there could be no Sand Hill cranes (the Sand Hills are on the northern border of Saskatchewan). But a different crane has a flight path over the French building site. The cranes came over a couple of weeks back and Harry was so happy.
My blog's popularity has taken a step up in late Oct. (bottom of this page) My computer acted up at the start of Nov. and I had to re-build my whole system - it was a lot of work of a type I hate. But I did have good backups which made a big difference. The previous computer failure was supposed to have backups but the familytree backup was faulty and I have had to re-enter all the data.  I still haven't finished which is why the familytree site has not been updated for so long.
fall
It has been very rainy, day after day. The lows are lined up in the Atlantic to bring a new storm as soon as the last one leaves. We have also had strikes  this fall in France although they have not affected us. Harry got some work done on the house before the rain. (see house)
The photo was something that brought me out to look as I could just see the very top of the trees from inside. It had been raining and everything was wet, then it cleared some with a low setting sun hitting the top of the trees in the neighbour's yard. Very autumn.
Ciara and Merrilee arrive in a couple of days and we are very excited about that. bob comes a little later and then Zena in early Dec.
Janet
December 10 Letter
Hi, Well, here it is coming to Christmas. Seasons Greetings to everyone.rose in snow
We have had visits from Ciara and Merrilee, Bob, and, Zena and Mark. Great visits that we enjoyed a lot. By the time Zena left, Ginger was being quite good with guests and even seemed to miss have more people around. (see visits)
The weather has been terrible - rain, rain, snow, snow, rain and always cold. I know others have had it worst but that does not make me any happier.
We have hired someone to slate the roof (much to Ciara's relief and mine, Harry will not be attempting it).  The work on the house has been almost at a stand still because of how cold and wet it has been and because we have been enjoying visits. (see house for the tiny progress)
Photo is the very last rose of summer meeting the first snow of winter.
Xmas letter is below. Janet

January 11 Letter
Hi, I hate to be one to complain (with the floods happening in Austalia, Sri Lanka and Brazil, but I am really getting sick of rain. Even sicker of mud. It was snow, snow, snow before Christmas and rain, rain, rain in the new year. It was fairly cold in Dec and first part of Jan too. Still the roof was done on a handful of days around the holidays when it managed to not snow or rain; we love the way it looks.  Also the fields are now all beautiful green because the winter grain and the root crops are all about 3-4 inches high. I look some pictures of that green - Harry says that only someone from Sask could get that excited about green fields. (click to enlarge)
landscape landscape landscape landscape
Jan 3 was the 40th aniversity of the first OU broadcast - very early in the morning of course. I was among the first intake of 25,000 students. The intake now is 250,000 a year, ten times more.
The number of web visits has taken another jump as it did this time last year. (graph below)
We are still well and happy. Janet

February 11 Letter
Hi, We had lovely weather for a few weeks but now it has started raining again. Oh well. It will soon be sprincatkinsg - the bulbs have started coming up, especially the bluebells which have leaves around 3 inches high now. The hazel tree in the back yard has just opened its male catkins but most of the tiny female flowers are still closed - on Valentines Day. (see photo)
Harry has been back to siding the house during the good weather but he will be back inside now that it is raining. (see house)
Ginger caught another rabbit; Harry took it away and put it high on the hedge; after a few days Ginger found it; Harry took it way again and burnt it in a bonfire; Ginger just about burnt herself trying to get near and ate the burnt remains the next day. I wish she was not so good at catching things. I wonder if she had to fend for herself for a while before she ended up in the pound. Regards, Janet

March 11 Letter
Hello, We have some new neighbours along our road and they too are building a wooden house. That makes three wooden housenew neighbourss - ours, neighbours below us and ones a couple of places up from us.  (Photo below of first day on the new house)
Harry has another wall just about covered with siding. (see house)
The forms are filled in filed so that we can now vote in some elections here, the Mayor /Counsel of the village and the European Parliament. But not for anything in between like the current Canton elections or the French Parliament/President. Now we have to learn about the political groups here!
It is tax time again and I have just started. Each year it is easier as I get used to the forms.
Harry bought a reclining chair and he is in it all the time he is not eating or working. Although he does go to bed, much of his sleep is also in the new chair.
March has come in like a lamb (nice after the end of Feb) and the little lambs are lovely to see in the field at the back. Bluebells are out in the front and a wild daffolid is in the road ditch at the back. The neighbour's almond tree is in magnificent bloom. Janet

April 11 Letter
Hi, We are only a week away from a visit from Ciara and Ryan and can hardly wait. pear tree
Earlier in April there was a few days when the blooms were out of the world: pear, plum and cherry blossoms coincided, some coming and some going, with added lilacs flowering. The smell was great. The photo is of the pear tree in our backyard.
Harry is just finishing the highest work on the house - I am very happy that there is no longer work on high scaffolding (see house).
It is always nice when someone you know writes a book. I just finished 'Tom Fleck', written by Harry Nicholson. Some relatives may know of him as he did the Barmby family tree research for Uncle Walter and Aunt Marjorie. The book is the story of a young man's adventures in the Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland of the 1500s. (There is a taster below on this page.)
Have a nice Easter holiday everyone. Janet

May 11 Letter
Hi, Day before Ciara came was a bit of a mad house on our road. Electricity company put lines under ground in our front yard. Across the street the roof was being replaced. Harry put up some siding. On the new wooden house the wife was working on the walls. The people in the new house below us were landscaping their yard. Dust and noise everywhere and the dogs barking disapproval. Photo is of the concrete being cut in our yard and in the background the roofers across the street.
In the evening when work was over - the nightingale was back and singing.
busy day
All was quiet when Ciara and Ryan arrived in early morning, although the roofers entertained us later with their idea of 'health and safety'. (See visits for Ciara and Ryan's time here).
There was progress on the house especially while Ryan was here. (see house). And the utility supplies are nearer.
The snooker world championship was this time of year and so lots of it on TV. Thankfully even on the day of the Royal wedding - what luck.
I notice that Zena has been present in a big way on the Globe and Mail website (screen capture below). Her picture and name 5 times but Obama and the Pope once each. Following the Canadian election was bitter-sweet and very surprising. In France, our neighbour was elected in the Canton elections - she is quite left-wing. The French are starting to gear up for the presidental election. English had an election also with surprises. The AV (alternative vote) NO campaign ads were a scandal, but it seems they worked. YES was defected soundly either because the LibDems were being punished or because of the NO campaign tactics.
Melvin (my stepfather, he is 97) found that he could not stand and his neighbour, Heather, took him to hospital. He has now moved into a nursing home in Weyburn with a small two room and bathroom suite. The house in Lang is being closed up. He is extremely deaf but still has a clear mind and he is quite healthy for his age except for this recent weakness. The nursing home is called Croccus Plains Villa, 1135 Park Ave, Weyburn - if you are near Weyburn or passing through, think about giving him a visit. Heather and Al seems to have looked after most everything perfectly, notified Kaye and me, and Mel's occasional visitors, Marcia, Dalelene and Laura. I sent news to Liv Berit.
The false acacia is blooming (too late for Ciara is see) and the whole area smells like sweet pea. Janet

June 11 Letter
Hi, I had another fall, the first for quite a while. So I'm bruised and sore but not seriously hurt. It is very hard to get up if I cannot use bocherriesth legs and my good arm to the full. Harry is planning to make a little 'machine' to help me. I have not been poisoned by my huge salads - touch wood.
I know that some of you are having too much rain, but here in Europe there has been a drought. It is the driest spring in Northern Europe for between 50 and 100 years depending on the area. I heard that locally it was the driest May ever recorded even though on May 31st we did hav
e a proper rain and just enough since then. The big rivers like the Danube and Rhone are very low. Farmers, water suppliers, industry, power stations, river shipping etc. are all very worried.
Our TV decoder blew up so we have had the fun of putting in a new one and having to set everything up again. We have managed to find a station that we lost last fall - but cannot find one that is a bit of the favourite. Oh well, next time in UK we will get a decoder that can give us more stations.
The statistics on my websites are below on this page.
The heavy outside work is pretty well done on the house - now the inside work is starting up (see house).
The cherries are the first fruit of the year. Photo is Harry and Ginger getting some from the empty lot next door.  Now our own are ripe and we have some every day.
Mel Quale had a fall and broke his hip. He has had an operation but is only doing so-so. The probability is that he will be moved to the Weyburn hospital for physio before going back to the home. All the best, Janet

July 11 Letterpears
Hi, Greetings to Canadians, Americans and French celebrating their national days in early July.
We had a little more than three weeks of cherries from our trees and the vacant neighbouring lot. It was great. Some the pears in the back yard will be ready. (photo) The weather is now hot when it is not raining and it has rained enough that we are not in a drought.
All is well with us. Harry's chest bothers him less. The various workgroups that came through changing the electric supply to an underground one have finished their work and the street is much quieter. We have had thunder storms since and NO brown outs.
Harry is working mostly on the inside of the house on the electrics and soon to start drywalling. (see house) Have a good summer. Janet

August 11 Letter
Greetings, We are fine and enjoying the summer. Earlier this summer, while walking the dog, I saw a pair of pheasants in the newly harv
enamelested field above the village, not more than an eighth of a mile from our house. I didn't have my camera and they were probably to distant for my lens anyway.
My web statistics are at the bottom of the page and I have had nice growth lately.
The house is just starting the stage of mixed wiring, plumbing, insulating and drywalling - getting there, slowly but surely.
August is holiday month in France so everything is a bit different: more events, more relaxed.
I have started something new on the 'views' page called Gallery - every month there will be a visual image that I particularly like. To mark the start there is the first picture here instead of a photo. It is an enamel on copper by Harry Nicholson.
Also this month I did some re-arrangement of pages that had become too long and still carried last years identification. They are now divided into last and this year pages.
sask
Mel's cousins in Norway were not affected by the tragedy there. Also our friends near Nottingham are fine - in fact far away from the riots. Janet
September 11 Letter
Greetings, Harry has been working away on a combination of wiring, drywalling and insulating. (see house
). He did have a fall but is recovering from the aches and does not seem to have any permanent damage.
This has not been a very productive month of me. I had a painful hip and it dispirited me. When I came to put this update together I found that I had not accumulated very much material, so this month is a bit thin. The hip is now improving and so is my attitude. Because I wasn't walking the dog, I missed the blackberry season.
It seems Sask has a new informal motto and I find it very funny (see below). A read a piece from someone who found it hard to understand why Sask people took to it - and they never mentioned that it was a nice, friendly joke.
I think Mel intends to sell his house as he will not be able to live alone now. Janet


October 11 Letter
Greetings, Harry has some medicine now that is helping his chest discomfort and little cough.  We think it is probably a hiatus hernia. The house is progressing and Harry is under some pressure to get the wiring done and inspected.  EDF wants to hook up the premanent supply and take away the temporary one - soon! (see house)
We have a lot of walnuts this year after practically none last year.
France had its senate electon. It happens every 3 years and elects only a third of the seat at each election. The left wing parties now h
spider webave a majority in the senate, for the first time in the fifith republic, that is since 1958. There was no big campaign because it is an indirect vote - it is the towns, coummunes and departments governments that have the vote. But there sure is a campaign going on in the primaries for the Presidental election.
The photo is a brand new spider web, not there two days before, and practically invisible. There was an extremely fine rain and I tho
ught I saw falling water through the window from nowhere to nowhere. When I went out to investigate, it turned out to be a spider's web that was beaded with water from the gentle fair sprinkle. It was waving slightly in the breeze and moving in a wave in and out of the light. It looked like running water. By the time I got the camera, there was full sunshine and it was reflecting upward off the wet concrete to illuminate the web from below. It looked entirely different from what I had seen a minute before. The little spider sat in the center. Ain't nature wonderbar.
I have been having a problem with my blog. No one could get to it including me and my blog was not alone; many other have the problem. I really hope I do not have to change companies because until this month I have like the service and the price. (webstats below are prior to problem). The problem was solved yesterday but I still have my fingers crossed that it is really gone.
The neighbouring house has been sold so we may have new neightbours soon.
We are awaiting Bob M's visit in a couple of days. Ciara and Ryan follow in early Nov.
I hope my Canadian friends have had a great Thanksgiving. Janet


November 11 Letter
Greetings,
fabonacci Winter is coming - after lovely weather in early Oct, the end of Oct and the start of Nov were cold and wet but it improved. It is also getting dark so early especially after the time change. It is hard to work on the house when it is cold and wet, but work goes on. (see house) I intended to do some of the drywall 'mudding' - Harry said he will believe it when he saw it. He has seen me start with covering screws, a nice easy start.
We have a working mower again and so the grass is short. Maybe it will stay that way until spring. We are in a little warm spell and so there are new buds on the roses.
We had a nice visit from Bob. (see visits) While he was here we had a geometric cauliflower - here is a photo and there is an explanation below. Bob was not all that impressed. And Ciara and Ryan came for a few days on the way to Sweden. It was so good to see them. (see visits)
We now have an uninterupted power supply for our computers which has been working great when little blicks in the power happen.
Hope American friends have a good Thanksgiving. Janet


December 11 Letter
Hi,
I have not managed to get a Xmas letter out this year. I apologize; I was just disorganized.
Ginger has the honour of a picture this month - a friend had it on facebook. My photo is some leaves in a very sheltered corner amongst the ivy. After heavy winds all the trees are bare so these are rare leaves.
leaves
The phone lines have been put underground and so soon we should have no overhead lines left and it looks great.
Harry is still sruggling with wiring and plumbing. A neighbour who does electrical work had a look at what Harry had done and told him all the things (we hope it's all) that the inspector would want changed. The French code is so different. The days are short, cold and wet so it is hard for Harry to keep enthused. (see house)
I lost 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds or .4 stone) in the past year -very slow but at least I am not gaining or likely to rebound.
The lastest webstats are below. I expect to go through a total of a half million visitors about Dec. 18.

Have a lovely holiday, Great Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and
Good wishes for any other important holidays (and birthdays). Janet

cartoon