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, February 23, 2013

Snow again and veggie bargains

After yesterday’s find of a euro bag of three large red peppers – I bought two of them - my usual early Saturday morning trip to the supermarket yielded some good bargains.  Each plastic bag costs a euro, this morning’s haul was – a large cauliflower, nine bananas and 1.075kg of mushrooms.  The fruit and veg are not spoiled and I am always ridiculously thrilled to find something I would like to eat – I am a born scavenger.  There were other things that I didn’t want – Savoy cabbage and green peppers.  I prefer red peppers, they are much sweeter.  Obviously, living alone I can’t eat six red peppers while they’re at their best so I prepare them and bag just the shell of the peppers cut in four to lie flat more easily in the freezer, then they’re all ready when I have a recipe for them.  I kept two whole so that I can stuff them for lunch or supper tomorrow. 

There was an icing sugar look to the village this morning on waking, but it will become deeper as the snow is now falling in larger flakes.   

Just look at this incredible build up of ice round individual iris leaves.  The fountain in the pond was paying onto the leaves during the bitterly cold temperatures of yesterday and completely surrounded each leaf.

I was amazed that the fountain hadn't frozen, but you can see it still working to the right of this photograph.

There are posters on every other lamppost in St Nicolas du Pélem advertising the circus for today and tomorrow.  I'm not sure exactly where it will be, but it will be very cold for the audience that's for sure whether outside or under canvas.

It’s very calm though after the strong and bitter winds of yesterday evening. By 10.00hrs all the animals were done, laundry on, dishwasher unloaded, floor swept, worksurfaces cleaned, shopping bought and put away sorted and I enjoyed my coffee and a lovely fresh chocolate fondant in the warmth of the woodburner.

Two friends from England Skyped me - I love Skype - it's just as if they're in the room with me.  One of them is trying to sort out dates and travel arrangements to come and stay in April so I'm really looking forward to her visit.

I now have just 80 pages of my Book Club book to read before Monday afternoon.  

I'm going to read 40 pages minimum today and the rest tomorrow to make sure I get it finished.  It's been a strange book to read - not madly exciting and I've found it quite difficult to keep going with it.  A bit like meeting someone and them telling you their life story in a few hours - not my favourite book by any means.

Three things I like:

1.   Talking to friends on Skype this morning.
2.   My gooey, very chocolatey fondant cake - big enough to share with someone and not feel deprived - I ate it all myself!
3.   Just enough snow to make it beautiful out there without making life difficult.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three bad things and village activity

The day didn't start well.  While I did the animals this morning I left the Peugeot running to clear the frost from the windows.  I went out with all my stuff dumped it on the seat and set off up the road only to stop after 40 yards.  I got out and found my rear offside tyre was completely flat.  I drove it back to outside the house and started up the Land Rover transferred all my stuff over and after fifteen minutes it was frost free and ready to drive.  

When I got home early this afternoon I made a mug of coffee.  I took a new kilo bag of sugar from the cupboard, opened the top and promptly dropped it on the worksurface from where it spilled all over the floor.

The third thing, because they do seem to go in threes don't they, was when I went to collect a camera from the door pocket of the Peugeot to find that water had got into the lens and even after drying it out it doesn't want to work.  So, it looks as if it will be going to the repairer.  Let's hope that's the last rubbish thing to happen for a while.

Having made several jars of marmalade several weeks ago which hadn’t set, I decided to start again with it.  I emptied all the marmalade into heavy based saucepan poured quite a bit of sugar in and brought to a rolling boil for about fifteen minutes.  I then removed the scum which always forms, and ladled the resulting amber liquid with chunky cut orange peel into newly sterilised jars.  I’ve just test tipped the jars and success – the marmalade has set into lovely golden jelly.

Signs of Spring in a neighbour's garden - these beautiful golden yellow crocus.

And the ubiquitous catkins - these are growing at the entrance to my field.

I love the light catching the raindrop on this peach tree twig in my opposite neighbour's boundary.

I went to collect paperbacks from a friend who lives twenty minutes away.  She wasn't in but had left the books for me in her porch area.  I took the opportunity to take a photograph of her palm.  I love the texures in the trunk.

This is the stream at one end of the village, now in full spate.  

On my way to Physio this week I took this photograph of the bell tower of a church in one of the villages I passed through.  The cloud formations were lovely in the sunshine.

There has been a lot of activity in the village this week, partly I suppose because of the wonderful weather we've had for the last few days.  Ditch digging, tree pruning and horse activity too.

I, however, have had a fairly lazy week, partly due to my neck still being in the neck collar, although the muscle relaxant, corticosteroids etc. do seem to have increased my movement and lessened the pain so that's good news.  I sat out in the sun with an almond croissant and a mug of sweet, black coffee - lovely!

A few village details - the door of a woodshed, lace at the bottom of a curtained window and unused roof slates being taken over by nature.

Purrdy in her usual place chilling out and Grace washing in a sunny place on the carpet.

Three things I like:

1.    Getting a bargain piece of Brie from the supermarket today.  Just perfectly ripe and tasting divine.
2.   Finding my propelling pencil which I only bought last week but which had done a disappearing trick.
3.     Reading through a whole pile of English magazines which a bowler's wife kindly sent into the club yesterday.     

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spring flowers, waterfall, July arrival

There are now signs of Spring about and today is wall to wall sunshine and blue skies - wonderful after so much grey and damp.  Cyclamen, primroses and snowdrops are all blooming in the lane.

I couldn't resist taking a photograph of these macaroons in a patisserie window in St Brieuc, but I did resist buying them.  

However, I succumbed when it came to these tulips at a very good price in a local supermarket.  

I think tulips are probably my favourite flower - I just wish they didn't go over so quickly in the heat of my sitting room.  

Andy, my worker, brought his digger with him on Friday and we cleared out all the compost bins of lovely crumbly, worm filled, brown mixture which he wheelbarrowed onto the veggie beds.  This should provide a wonderful start for my vegetables this year.

I picked some of the leeks and the last of the red cabbages - I love the colour of the cabbages.  While I was on the field I trimmed them and put the trimmings back into the empty compost bins - the cycle begins again.

There has been so much rain here that the waterfall at the mill house in St Nicolas du Pélem has been absolutely spectacular.  My neighbour told me that it was looking wonderful so I went down with my camera and he was right.

While walking back to the car a horse appeared on the top of a ridge.

Yesterday one of my friends from England spending half term here in Brittany, came over for a chat and brought me some Cornish clotted cream - I love her!  I spread crusty bread with butter, raspberry compote and then the clotted cream - scrummy!

On Thursday I was invited to a Valentine Party and last night I was a dinner guest with four friends in St Gilles Vieux Marché.  I so enjoyed both evenings and am thinking perhaps I ought to entertain more myself here at home.

Lastly, I have to post this photo of my middle child, Oliver with his partner, Emma because they look so happy.  They are expecting their first child in July, my second grandchild, Charlie who's just six and gorgeous is my first grandchild, and I can't wait - I'm so excited.

Three things I like:

1.   The brightness of the sunshine in the garden.
2.   Licking Cornish clotted cream off my fingers.
3.   Chatting with friends.