The twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of 2012 was an interesting one. The blog hop went well, and many thanks to everyone who joined in. That took quite a lot of the morning up and then it was time to pick Rors up from school. He only has lessons until 11.30am that day so when we can, we collect him although he usually stays on for dinner and comes home on the bus shortly before 2pm. Anyway, we wanted to do some geocaching since there was a special award to be had at the site for finding and logging a geocache that day. I’m not sure how many were found on Wednesday but in the last 30 days, at the time of writing this post 4,304,955 caches have been logged. There are a lot of geocachers out there.

We were nearly late for Rors since about 11am a courier turned up with a surprise parcel. My sister has sent us some British food goodies for Christmas. Yum! You’ll remember I recently blogged about cracking and shipping in a parcel of Christmas baking stuff – now I’ve had two UK food restockings. Thanks Hil! Anyway, it wasn’t the parcel that made us late – but the fact the courier broke our gate. We have a very large, very solid metal gate at the end of our drive, about 12 feet wide, possibly more. It rests against a wooden support on the left hand side as you face it coming to Les Fragnes from the road, and is hinged on a metal post on the right. There’s a jockey wheel to support it as you open it. Well, this moron for whatever incomprehensible reason, instead of opening the gate towards him which is what everyone else has done in living memory, since that’s the way the gate’s designed, and the deep groove on the ground worn over the years by the jockey wheel is the final clue, decided to push it. To do so he had to literally smash the wooden support on the left out of the way and force the gate over the bumpy drive beyond it. He hadn’t been able open it all the way, surprise, surprise, so he’d been forced to drive round it onto the edge of the hay meadow. Jeez. When we found his handiwork on leaving to collect Rors ten minutes after the delivery, it took both of us to heave the stuck gate back up to the gateway, where we had to battle to get the wooden support out of the way to push the gate back to the right side, and then open it. On reclosing it behind us – the passenger’s job, mine on this occasion – I had it about halfway shut when … it broke. The huge thing crashed off its hinges to my feet, and fortunately not on them. I was standing there in dazed ‘does not compute’ mood for a good few seconds before Chris saw what had happened and got out of the car to join me. An oak sapling had been caught under the gate when it was opened the wrong way and it’s this which pushed it up and off its hinges. We were now running late for Rors so had to leave the marooned gate lying across the drive and drove swiftly into Boussac cussing out the idiot driver all the way!

You could fit a lot of Santas along our gate!

We collected Rors and I told him there was a snack lunch for him in the rucksack, which there was, together with some nibbles for all of us for while we were geocaching – biscuits, chocolate and three bananas. By the time we got to our destination, the reservoir at Sidiailles for a cold but sunny walk, everything except for the bananas had been eaten! Rors has a healthy appetite. I suppose we should have noticed how quiet he was in the car. Good job Chris and I had had a hearty elevenses to keep us going! Our geocaching trip was succsessful and we found 7 caches, only being defeated by one, so that was rather good. We’ll go back with reinforcements when Benj and Caiti are home from university and track the errant one down. Or die trying.

Our route started at a point on the Meridienne Verte

After a cup of tea once we got back four hours later, Chris and I tackled the gate. I was dubious that we’d be able to rehinge it ourselves, since, as I’ve mentioned, it’s unwieldy, heavy and big. But we were nothing if not determined and managed to get it back up, although we both had some extra aches and pains next day. And we, OK, Chris still has to rebuild the wooden support again so the gate is secure. He’ll probably make one from bricks so that it cannot possibly be broken by even the dumbest person, and we’ll also be putting up a ‘Tirez’- pull – sign for other people lacking more than three-quarters of their brain. Forgive the scathing tone but being caused a lot of unnecessary aggravation and extra work and expense out of sheer stupidity is REALLY annoying!

Onto nicer things, I have new going-out boots! I’ve been managing for a long time now with a pair each of crocs, trainers, cycling shoes, welly boots, fur lined boots, and walking boots. That’s it. And you’ll spot the emphasis on boots. This is what living on a farm does. Last year I did my reading at the carol service in my trainers. Caiti had threatened to leave home if I went to the church in my crocs which meant it was running shoes or wellies, and neither were terribly appropriate, but they were all I had to choose from. Luckily my baggy trousers pretty much my feet. Since this year, yesterday in fact, I was set to do another reading, this time my poem ‘Baby Jesus and the Fox‘ (assisted by Rors), I couldn’t appear again in sporty white imitation leather footwear so I treated myself to a pair of Gemo’s finest synthetic boots. They’re very smart. The kids won’t recognize me in them.

And finally – drum roll – here’s the winner of the blog hop booty I had on offer. The three Eiffel Tower Christmas tree decorations will be winging their way to … Mary in Oregon. Well done Mary!