Easter Morning – Treasure, Lambs (Chocolate) And Seeds

I was up at the crack of dawn – well, OK, 7 o’clock but it felt like the crack of dawn – laying out the clues for the Ruadhri’s Easter Egg treasure hunt and Caiti’s Easter geocache trail. It’s our Easter tradition to make the kids work for their chocolate.

One of Ruadhri's clues

A cuckoo was calling and I caught a glimpse of it flying between trees.

A geocache for Caiti

There were some deer in Dog Leg Field which I saw and the cats saw, but Nessie the dog didn’t!

Unobservant dog in foreground, deer in background

Dog Leg is a huge field, currently with cereals in but we’re thinking of grassing it for next year.

Wendy and Voltaire tagged along too in case food was involved somewhere. They went on strike part of the way round.

Can has rest pliz? (I'm speaking Lolcat here btw)

Rors was soon up and completed his trail successfully, without any help at all. He demanded harder clues for next year! They weren’t that easy, but I learnt not to be too cryptic with our Benj. He’d get into such a sulk if he couldn’t work out a clue. So, Rors got his reward – possibly the only lamb we will see today. No. 27 is still holding out but her belly is practically dragging along the ground so surely it can’t be much longer now!

Easter chocolate lamb

I did Easter boxes for everyone this year, including Chris. He got a garden gnome for the polytunnel and coriander seeds in his.

Talking of seeds, we’ve found a good way to get seeds germinating. One lot of tomatoes and my anis (aniseed) and pepper seeds were staying soundly asleep, so we sprinkled some more onto damp tissue which we rolled up and put in a plastic bag in a warm spot – on top of the fridge just above the heat displacement thingy. Lo and behold, they’ve sprung into life.

Sprouting anis seeds

I’ve also been making some recycled seed pots out of toilet roll inners. Very easy. Cut five slits  a couple of cms long at roughly even intervals around one end and then tuck those in and you have a little pot. They tend to be a bit wobbly so you’ll need to put them in a container of some sort or tie them together with string for stability in the greenhouse. But once the seedling is growing well, dig a hole and shove them out as they are into the garden. The cardboard will soon rot away and you’re left with your healthy plant.

That's my homemade egg rack in the background, courtesy of Rors and Chris

And don’t forget to enter the Expat Blog Hop on 23 April. No catches, just fun! Sign up on this page.

All that remains is to say is Happy Easter!

Rors and his Easter box of surprises





Happy Easter

You’ll be too busy eating chocolate to have much time for blogging, so a quick one today.

First up a photo of Ruadhri’s Easter Garden. He was in a rotten mood when he started it on Saturday afternoon, but he ended up enjoying the project, despite himself!

The main reason for his grumpiness was that the great bunch of guests who’d been in our gite for a week had gone home that morning. Ruadhri had made friends with the three boys, Alfie, Charlie and Freddie, and they’d been playing together most of the week. He really misses them, especially Alfie. They got on like a house on fire (99% of the time!).

Another contributing factor to the bad mood was that Rors reckoned his dad had cheated during a match of Beybladez. Unlikely, since neither Chris nor I have been able to fathom out the rules, at least as told to us by our youngest son!

Alfie and Ruadhri had a brilliant time together

Here are some seasonal bunny and egg related jokes to make your smile, or probably groan, on Easter Day. (The daily snippets about today’s saint, famous people and French word are at the end of this post – you’ll just have to read the jokes first!)

Have a great day. Joyeuses Pâques !

What is the difference between a crazy bunny and a counterfeit banknote? One is bad money and the other is a mad bunny!

Why did the other rabbits say that the Easter Bunny was self-centered? Because he was eggo-centric!

What do you get when you cross a bunny with an onion? A bunion.

What did the bunny want to do when he grew up? Join the Hare Force.

What do you get when you pour hot water down a rabbit hole? A hot cross bunny.

How do you post a bunny? Hare mail.

What happened to the egg when he was tickled too much? He cracked up.

What does a bunny use when it goes fishing? A hare-net.

What did the rabbit say to the carrot? It’s been nice gnawing ya.

What do you call a rabbit with fleas? Bugs Bunny.

What kind of book does a rabbit like at bedtime? One with a hoppy ending.

Why are people always tired in April? Because they’ve just finished a March.

How can you tell which rabbits are the oldest in a group? Just look for the grey hares.

What do you call ten rabbits marching backwards? A receding hareline.

What do you call a sleeping egg? Egg-zosted!

Why did the rabbit cross the road? Because the chicken had his Easter eggs.

Why did the egg cross the road? Because it wasn’t a chicken yet!

What do you call a dumb bunny? A hare brain.


Daily snippets

Today’s Saint: St Fidelis of Sigmaringen (where Benj and Caits have been on an exchange visit with lycée) – a counter-reformist martyred by the Calvinists

Famous French person born this day: in 1952, Jean-Paul Gaultier, fashion designer

Famous French person who died this day: in 1939, Louis Trousselier, cyclist

Today’s French word: une blague – joke

Today’s French expression – avoir le cafard (to have the cockroach, be down in the dumps). Example: Ruadhri a le cafard parce que son ami Alfie est parti.


I had a computer crisis during the week. Thunderbird, my email program, suddenly stopped working. Chris patiently spent an afternoon sorting the problem out, and in the end installed a new program, Opera, instead. Opera happily uploaded the 30,000 emails in my archives. 30,000?!? I couldn’t believe it. Now, there do appear to be two copies of every email there, ones I’ve sent as well as those I’ve received, but that’s still a heck of a lot of emails. A ridiculous amount.

So I’m getting e-organised. I have unsubscribed from a lot of newsletters that I simply didn’t look at any more, but was too lazy to do anything about. Which was pathetic, since it takes about thirty seconds to go through the unsubscribe procedure, if that. I’ve also permanently deleted a lot of old emails. I actually thought I’d got rid of them, but they’d been sat in cyber limbo somewhere, waiting to be either summoned into existence again, or debyted or devirtualised or whatever the term for obliterating an email is. They’ve gone for good now.

I’ve also lost one of my email addresses altogether, but that’s done me a huge favour as it’s the one I tended to use to sign up to things with overzealous enthusiasm, such as Google Alerts. I had totally overdone those so will restart, possibly, in a much more civilised fashion. I’ll wait a few days first to see if I can live without them.

My e-organisation doesn’t stop there. I’ve accumulated 162 posts on this blog now, and they’re starting to add up on Books Are Cool too. I was getting to the point of not being sure if I’d written about something before. True, there’s the A-Z index, but I couldn’t remember exactly what I’d covered in the less precisely named posts such as ‘Wired’ or ‘End of a Revolution’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Nodes and Nudes’, for example. So, my inner indexer emerging again, I’ve compiled a cross-referenced record of all my posts and what they’re about. I used a small répertoire – address book – to do it, and a couple of highlighters, and I’m very proud of the end results. It’ll help me stay on track and not repeat myself too often, all being well.

Vendredi Saint – Good Friday – today. Caitlin, the Chef in Wellies, is rustling up some hot-cross buns as I write. Those are essential Easter eating in our household. As is chocolate, of course. I have quite a stash waiting for Sunday. And our last 2010 turkey, in the freezer. (This year’s batch arrive next week. I’ve gone for three whites, three blacks and three bronzes (grises).) So there’ll be turkey gobbling to add to the other animal noises at the farm in the very near future.

Daily snippets for 22 April

Today’s saint: St Alexandre, martyred by crucifixion in 178 at Lyons.

Famous French person born this day: in 1766, Madame de Staël, writer

Famous French person who died this day: Antoine de Jussieu in 1758, naturalist

Today’s words: une dinde – turkey; un dindonneau – turkey poult (young turkey): un dindon – male turkey


April Sayings and Easter Traditions

Here are some old country sayings for April, taken from the 1932 and 1933 editions of La Prosperité à la Campagne.

Avril froid donne pain et vin – April doux est le pire de tous.

A cold April gives bread and wine – Mild April is the curse of all.

Si St Marc n’est pas beau, Pas de fruits à noyaux.

If St Mark’s day (25th) isn’t nice, there will be no stone fruits (i.e. fruit with stones in e.g. plums, peaches etc).

S’il pleut en avril, il pleut sans arrêt en mai.

If it rains at all in April, it will rain non-stop in May.

En avril nuée – en mai rosée.

Cloudy in April, dewy in May.

Vent qui souffle aux Rameaux – Ne change pas de sitôt.

The wind that blows on Palm Sunday, won’t change any time soon.

I can vouch for that last one. Palm Sunday (Rameaux) was freezing here in Creuse. My son’s school had organised a Chasse d’Oeufs (Easter egg hunt) and we all got soaked and frozen. And we’re still getting soaked and frozen three days later!

Ruadhri's poissons d'avril - some look quite fierce!

There are a busy few days ahead. The first of April is poisson d’avril time. Children will be sticking paper fish on the back of every unsuspecting person they come across. Ruadhri has made a nice big shoal of them. This year we’re employing a secret weapon – Velcro! It’s much better than sticky tape.

That day is also Maundy Thursday, the day when, according to tradition, the church bells (or at the very least their chimes) fly off to the Pope in Rome to take everyone’s sadness at Christ’s suffering and crucifixion with them. They come back, all happy again, on Easter morning, bringing pretty decorated egss with them which they hide in children’s gardens. Sound like a tall story? Well, you won’t hear a bell chiming between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday so it could just be they’re not there!

Easter (Pâques) is all about chocolate here in France, as are so many things in this chocoholics’ heaven. But you won’t see many large Easter eggs, although there are plenty of small ones to be had. Thanks to the bell legend, you’ll find flocks of cloches volants (chocolate bells with wings). You’ll also come across vast quantities of chocolate rabbits and hens, and shoals of chocolate fish. These are chocolate poissons d’avril. They range from tiny friture (fish fry) to enormous multicoloured specimens. Yum.

Bantam, chicken and turkey eggs, left to right

I mentioned Ruadhri’s chilly Easter egg hunt. They’re huge over here. Many schools and organisations hold them. It’s lovely to see a field-full of happy children with bags and baskets scampering around searching for eggs. Actually, that’s what happens here regularly, but with just one child, as Ruadhri searches out our hens’ latest favourite laying spot. And he has an extra job at the moment. Our turkey has started laying eggs too, alternating between a nesting box and the middle of nowhere. It’s the first time I’ve seen one. They are magnificent affairs, elegantly tall and slim, with pretty red speckling on them. They taste just like chicken eggs but have a much tougher shell.

Have a great, chocolately Easter!