Posted by: kathandroger | November 20, 2016

Fish, game, and dressings.

We are both lucky to have good health at present and have only needed the odd bit of our bodies attacked by the surgeons knife over the past year or two. The French medical system is superb in our experience, and we have had prompt, appropriate and expert care. But how do they pay for it all? Kath decided to clear out the bathroom cupboard this week, after she had been given another box of dressings for her poorly elbow.img_3604-2I guess it is better to have too many dressings rather than not enough, but this is only a fraction of our supply. I wonder if they know something we don’t and we will be needing more in the future!

The fishpond in the courtyard is no more. I built it from the old poplar beams that came out of the barn during renovation, and knew that the wormy wood would not last long. It began to sag badly this summer (I know the feeling), and we were glad that it lasted until the last visitors had gone. The thirteen goldfish that we started with had somehow multiplied by at least three times that number, and the one armed fisherwoman had some difficulty in extracting the wily wrigglers.img_3605-1We managed in the end, and have put all the plants in dustbin bags and the fish in a plastic tub with the water pump to try and keep it clean. I tried to keep clean as well, but five years of fish poo had resulted in a smelly, sticky mass that was somehow attracted to my lower regions, and after all had been demolished entry into the house was forbidden.img_3608All the remains have now gone. leaving the poor metal cockerel all alone, but work has begun on the replacement, in concrete blocks and with a rendered liner. If the rain stops it may be ready for next season!

Last weeks butchering session involved a new technique, for me, of loosening the hide of the animals by blowing compressed air under the skin through a small incision. It certainly looked spectacular as the hanging animal doubled in size, and it made skinning much easier for the inexpert. A couple of days ago, friends in the village brought us a bag of game that Gilles had shot locally. A partridge, a pheasant and a duck. He and his wife are not keen on eating game, but know that the strange English couple love them and duly give us some birds each year. I don’t mind plucking birds, but it does take a long time and I usually rip the skin badly. So the obvious answer was to use the compressor again. I made a little cut in the neck of the bird, inserted the tube from the machine and pressed the trigger. Now a large animal like a sheep does need a lot of air to do the job, but a tiny partridge does not. In an instant the dead bird seem to expand and come to life; even the head became erect again, and, as the pressure mounted  the beast left the work surface in an powerful puff of air. After it was finally retrieved, the process did, indeed, make skinning much easier, and it will be eaten tonight-as long as it stays on the plate!


  1. If you had fewer fish (ideally none) in the pond you would get more dragonfly larvae, tadpoles and newts. Between them they would be more than capable of dealing with any unwanted wildlife such as mosquito wrigglers. Just a thought.

    • Fair comment Susan, but the pond is really for the clients, and the children love feeding the fish! Also it will be about a metre high, so the frogs and newts will have to jump a bit.

  2. Thank you for really brightening a very dull Monday morning….
    just the thought of a jet-propelled partridge is so funny….
    I am having great difficulty in typing this comment!
    Did it make the same sound as a balloon rocket from our youth I wonder…..

    Now I have recovered my composure a little…..
    a possible idea for the pond… how about dividing it…
    either down the middle…or from two corners to the fountain….
    with some mesh to keep the big fish to one side…
    and having a wild area in the other…
    and perhaps do a Lake Louroux every two years to skim out the sludge…
    you wouldn’t need to do the wild bit… that would re-seed the pond with all the necessary micro organisms.

    It took me twenty minutes and a cup of tea to recover from the partridge…
    booga… just the thought has sent me off again!!

    • Thanks Tim, good idea, but I will have to get rid of some of the fish. Pleased to have caused some mirth!

  3. After Mr FD had an accident a couple of years backl we ended up with a good supply of dressings – we’re coming to the end of them now, but they have certainly been very useful!

    • We have so many I am thinking of washing the car with them!!

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