Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck
Roosting on the gate

2011 - My second year of blogging in Brittany

I felt I would like to share some of the photographs I have taken so far this year and some from other years. I live in a beautiful part of Brittany and just love being here. It's a lovely place to photograph and enjoy being in through all the seasons and hopefully this blog will show you where I live my life.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Harry, scooter and garden produce

Harry, my new ginger and white cat, has settled in well as far as he is concerned.  My girls, Purrdy and Daisy, are not so happy but as I have fallen well and truly in love with him, he is here to stay.  He likes to lie on the sitting room windowsill pulling the red fleece up and around him.  No matter how many times I straighten it, he manages to bury himself in it again.

He also likes to be high up and in charge of an area.  Here he has the terrace and the driveway under surveillance, while the girls sleep their afternoon away, Purrdy on the stairlift chair and Daisy on the kitchen windowsill, although here she is having a quick wash.

Harry hasn't been the only introduction to the village.  I had a mad moment and for some inexplicable reason thought that getting a scooter might be a good idea.  Don't laugh!

The last time I rode a scooter was in 1969.  I lived in London at the time and it was delivered while I was at work and left in the garden of the flat where I lived - it was snowing that day.  By the time I got home there was just a very vaguely scooter-shaped white mound to indicate that it had arrived.   Once the thaw arrived, I spent an hour trying to negotiate a trading estate on a Sunday morning when it was deserted.  I fell off and injured my palm, my right thigh through newly ripped trousers and my pride. 

I worked just the other side of Hangar Lane in London and had to negotiate the rush hour traffic and huge, high lorries.  I was terrified and arrived at work shaking.  I did this for three days.  At the working day's end on the third day I sat in Reception dreading getting on the scooter to wobble home.  As luck would have it, a laboratory technician came in and enquired to whom the scooter belonged as he was looking for one.  Within five minutes we had agreed a price and I handed over the helmet and happily went to catch the bus home.  That was my last encounter with a scooter until a week ago.  

I'm not sure what prompted the idea of a scooter.  I had, over the forty-three years in between, briefly considered and rejected the idea several times, mostly when each of my children had become scooter riders.  An English friend with a house here, arrived at my house on his scooter last week from his holiday home one and a half miles away and the seed was sown again.  I had a look at the expat website which has a Cars and Vehicles for sale section and there was a 50cc Piaggio which looked a likely contender and once the owner had returned to Brittany from the UK I drove down with my worker and we came back to St André with it roped upright in the trailer on the back of the Peugeot.  I would not have chosen the colour if there had been a choice but I can live with it.

I have insured it and borrowed a helmet from my worker, who drove in front of me during a "round the block" trial which seemed to take about three hours, but was in fact about twenty minutes.  I was not relaxed and it seemed incredibly difficult to turn corners and to feel at all at home on the scooter.  The reason that he drove in front of me was that road users often use the centre of the road here and I didn't want to have to try to take evasive action with my currently poor command of steering.  With him first on the road, it guaranteed that I would not have to confront other vehicles head on as he would be the first in line for that pleasure.  We will repeat the exercise for a while each time he is working here when the weather is good to give me some regular experience and improve my biking self-esteem!  My progress will be noted on here.

When I went to Guingamp this week I had to stop the car and take a photo of the wonderful bed of yellow day lilies on a corner of the road.

In my own garden I have several buddleia which are attracting lots of bees and butterflies.

My veggie garden and polytunnel are going great guns and producing far more food than I can manage myself, so I am giving loads away to unsuspecting visitors.  Here's a record of yesterday's harvest - from the left hand top clockwise, various tomatoes, cucumbers, the ubiquitous courgettes and a green pepper.  I am also getting rhubarb, runner beans, herbs, onions and salad leaves - it seems to be a very good year.

The weather has been brilliant this week, with wall to wall blue skies and sunshine.  This means that I read a lot while I soak up the rays and the book I finished yesterday was Tony Hawks "A Piano in The Pyrenees".  I really enjoyed it - his sense of humour gels well with mine and will seek out his other books on the basis of this good experience.

One sign of the good weather has been the gradual maturing of my grapes.  They have begun to swell now and there are going to be many, many kilos on the three year old vine.  Last year I couldn't eat them, just after my mini gastric bypass, but this year I can't wait to pop the plump, sweet fruits into my mouth.

Three things I like:

1.  Having friends popping in who've relaxed out in my sunny garden this week.
2.  My grandson, daughter and her partner are due in Brittany late tomorrow evening - I can't wait!
3.  Having my morning shower and putting on a swimmer and sarong straightaway instead of real clothes.