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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last day of European Summer Time

I woke up at 10.00hrs today - very late - having had a very disturbed sleep last night.  I shall need the extra hour during tonight gained as the hour goes back and we say goodbye to European Summer Time for six months.  Though I hate the thought of going into Winter and the colder, wetter weather it will be good to get lighter mornings.
When I went up to the field to feed and let out the animals there was a bitter wind and I’m afraid it was so biting that in spite of my long sleeved fleecy sweater, padded gilet and scarf, I drove the short distance then and this evening.  Snow photos were being shown on BBC Breakfast of places in the UK – I do hope it doesn’t come here yet. 
I had to drive to see a friend before lunch and carried on to do some shopping near Loudeac.  I always enjoy shopping in a different and larger supermarket.  The choice of meat, fish and veggies was so huge and I came away with more than enough food for the week.  They only had live crabs for sale but, when I enquired, the young and friendly fishmonger asked me to give him twenty minutes and he cooked my lovely brown crab for me while I did the rest of my shopping.
When I eat him tomorrow, the first third of the crab meat which I extract will be mixed with Hellman's mayo and a chilli paste and eaten with the aid of butter and a fresh baguette - I am drooling just thinking of it.
The kittens have been very active today, but finally it was enough for them and they settled down to relax and eventually sleep.

My legs are covered in tiny puncture marks and needle diameter scabs where they keep climbing up to reach my lap.  I love having these little cats and even Purrdy seems to be marginally more accepting of them than she was at first.  They sometimes eat from the same plate at the same time now.
Daisy is definitely the braver of the two, although Claude is not nearly as wimpish as he was when he first arrived.
Three things I like:
1.   Some good friends have just announced that they are expecting their second child.
2.   Purrdy, Daisy and Claude all ate from the same plate this morning at the same time.
3.   Finally getting my new 'phones reconnected after the storm took out the old ones.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happily back home again

It's been a while since my last post, as I've been visiting both Cornwall and Charente Maritime and when I came home my 'phones and internet had been taken out by a thunderstorm. 
I spent a wet week in England seeing the dentist, chiropodist and celebrating my daughter, Libby's 25th birthday.  Four of us, including my little grandson, Charlie, went to a The Cornwall, a spa hotel for a swim, sauna and Sunday lunch and then later in the week we all had fish and chips after ten pin bowling, where I failed miserably to get a decent score but was only surpassed in that by my son, Matthew, who played seriously badly!  Libby's partner, bowled like a professional and put us all to shame.
I did loads of shopping and eating out, as usual when I am back in Cornwall, and visited friends I hadn't seen since my last visit.  I arrived back home late one evening and after unloading the car the following morning I repacked my bags and set off for a visit with English friends in Charente Maritime who were staying in their holiday home for a week or so.  I really enjoyed seeing them again and the meals and time we had with old and new friends down there.  It was a long journey there and longer back as I decided not to take the autoroute, but worth it.

There were two donkeys in St Georges de Longuepierre.  They are a special breed and each year villages in the area receive two of them to look after in order to preserve the species.  They seen all out of proportion, were friendly and I loved them.
Les and Roy have a converted cowshed in the village and it's perfect for a holiday home.
One of their friends in the village keeps bees and I wandered down to take photos of the hives before going to buy two lots of honey, one from Spring and one from Summer of this year.


The weather was lovely on the day I arrived, but deteriorated and shower dodging became the order of the days.  However, when the sun was out it was lovely and I took the opportunity of wandering around the village.


Everywhere there are roof pantiles, strange after the slate used up in Brittany, and they are also on the top of walls, stacked waiting to be used and even on the church.
Here's the little south facing courtyard, in the early morning, outside the converted cowshed, perfect for sunny lunches when the sun has moved round, and very little maintenance necessary.
This was a day when they collected wood with friends.  First of all a couple of normal loads of two metre logs and then a couple of loads of fagots, which are the long pieces which are machine trimmed from the sides of trunks when they are turned into straight sided lengths.  These only cost an incredible €9 per cubic metre which is wonderful value for hardwood.
This is the old lavoir - washhouse - in the village - most French villages have these old communal washing places, and there were berries and fuschia flowers in gardens in Rue des Roses.
I picked these mushrooms, hoping that someone would identify them for me as edible, but no-one wanted to take the chance!  They were in the garden where we were allowed to gather fallen walnuts.
Now I'm back home, I have been offered the possibility of having two kittens, who look remarkably like Daisy and Maisie did when I first had them.  This was the photo I was sent which persuaded me that I couldn't say no to them - could you?
I agreed yesterday morning, on the proviso that if Purrdy doesn't get on with them after a good trial then they would be returned. This is all through a third party and it now turns out that one kitten has been rehomed since yesterday evening, so I have chosen the grey kitten in this photo to join the white one here in St André.  I shall call the grey kitten Grace if it's a girl and Claude if it's a boy.  The white one will be Daisy, after my last white cat, as I know shall only forget her  name otherwise and call her Daisy in senior moments. 

My oldest son installed a solid state drive into my laptop when I was in Cornwall.  It has improved the speed so much - brilliant!  I also have a new printer which my son, a computer genius, has just helped me install via logmein, so I can have hard copies of stuff again.  Thank you, Matthew.

My Breton neighbours were away for a couple of weeks before me. They were packing in loads of visits to friends and family. I was pleased to find they had arrived back in the village yesterday, but when I went round to see them Paulette was in a wheelchair. In the first few days of the holiday she had skidded on wet grass and fell with her leg under her and has broken both sides of her lower leg. Two metal plates were fitted during an operation and a plaster cast applied. She can’t weight bear for six weeks from the operation  - still another three weeks to go.  They came over for lunch today. Her husband has been cooking for them both since the accident and I thought he might need a break. I had supper there on Thursday night and he had made a very nice riz au lait - rice pudding - with caramel drizzled on the top, but he says he won't be cooking any more once his wife is fit again!  

They returned from their holiday to find their salad beds devastated by slugs and snails so put down some of my little blue slug pellets to try and deter them. There was a mushroom growing on their lawn which Christian gave to me and he assured me that it was safe to eat. I had it with an entrecote steak and survived.

Unfortunately I had the tungsten light setting on the camera, so it has a blue cast as the photo was taken outside.

My salad stuff is in the polytunnel and I seem to have been lucky with only one slug attack on very tiny seedlings early in the season.  A few weeks ago I visited a garden centre and bought twenty-four winter lettuce plants which I planted out in the tunnel where the tomatoes used to be. I’ve still got salad leaves, sage, parsley, aubergines, peppers, courgettes and cucumbers in the tunnel and my butternut squash are harvested and hardening off in there along with the picked ripening tomatoes and onions that didn’t have long enough stems to string up. 
My peppers are finally turning red and I picked three off the plants to see if they'd continue to redden in the kitchen a few weeks ago, but they are now red in the polytunnel, it just took longer than I thought it would.

Three things I like: 

1.  The thought of two new kittens here by the end of the afternoon.
2.  Being back home again - it's always lovely to walk back into my own house even though I enjoyed my trip away.
3.  Scones, which I baked this morning, with Cornish clotted cream and cherry conserve.