news views family info
2010: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2011: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
January 10 Letter
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).
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
No New Year Resolutions this year!
At the end of Nov, my aunt Doris Barmby died at 92 - she was a nice lady.
The photo is of a cold morning.
February 10 Letter
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.
We hope to have a few visitors this spring and summer and we are really looking forward to them.
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.
March 10 Letter
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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?!
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
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.
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.
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
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)
All 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.
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
Sasha's visit should begin in a couple of days.
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
came for 6 days and we had a great visit with him. (see visits). And
house progress continues through some nice weather. (see house).
little story about the Isner-Mahut tennis match. I was watching while
waiting for Harry and Sasha to get back 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.
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
August 10 Letter
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.
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 was worth the time and effort to have
a list of all articles, all in the same place.
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.
September 10 Letter
We continue to be well and happy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 bugs. 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/
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.
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.
December 10 Letter
Hi, Well, here it is coming to Christmas. Seasons Greetings to everyone.
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
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
Photo is the very last rose of summer meeting the first snow of winter.
Xmas letter is below. Janet
January 11 Letter
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)
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 spring - 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
have some new neighbours along our road and they too are building a
wooden house. That makes three wooden houses - 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.
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
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.
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
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
both 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 have 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 Letter
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.
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 harvested 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
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
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.
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,
I think Mel intends to sell his house as he will not be able to live alone now. Janet
October 11 Letter
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.
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 have 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
The photo is a brand new spider web, not there two days before, and
practically invisible. There was an extremely fine rain and I thought 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
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.
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
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
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