This week we have had our first visitors, my parents, who are over from the UK for a week. Fortunately it has also coincided with some unfortunate brushes with nature – Dad to the rescue! I got a horrible shock when pulling some washing out of the machine the other day as two small lizards had obviously made their way in there at the same time as the washing, and had met their demise. I was also doing some sorting in the garden and moved a large outdoor beanbag in order to give it a wash down only to find some alien-looking growths on the underside. I think they are the start of wasps nests – amazing but pretty horrible at the same time.

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We have also been doing some bird spotting. There are the usual magpies, swallows and warblers that you would find in a UK garden, however we also spotted what we thought was a type of woodpecker. On closer inspection by my Dad this week it has been identified as a Hoopoe, doing the rounds of the treetops (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoopoe).

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It is also the time of year for the start of insect bites. I have been told about a natural mix of essential oils that is meant to keep the insects at bay so I will have to look into creating that. It is a mix of citronella, geranium and lavender so another trip to St-Remy-De-Provence to buy these is on the list!

We have also been playing a lot of petanque (or boules) with our guests. When we arrived at the house in April, the balls had been left out on top of a barrel over the winter so had grown a nice layer of rust.

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This rust was largely removed with some industrial vinegar and some scrubbing and they have been brought back to life again. The aim of the game is to try and get your boules as close to the small wooden ball called the cochonnet (which literally means piglet!). The gravel on the pitch adds another challenge as it send the balls off in all sorts of directions.

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We will continue with our tournament over the course of the week, one thing that we need to do is create a chalk board to have by the pitch as although the scoring is not complicated some people still seem to lose track!

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