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.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Napoleon complex, Boules Museum and Houdini chicks

Yet again the man fitting the belt for my post-op weeks was late for our appointment.  First meeting he was 30 minutes late, last week I just received a ‘phone call as I was leaving to say that he couldn’t make the appointment at all and again this morning he was late.  The people in the shop said to go off for half an hour so I went off to visit a Museum I’d seen a sign for on my way through Guingamp – the Museum of Breton Boules! 

It turned out to be a corner of the Tourist Office but the assistant behind the desk was very helpful and photocopied without charge the Rules of Breton Boules which I collected after I’d had my delayed appointment so that was a real bonus.  There were all sorts of bowls on display, some wooden and studded all over with nails and some, probably the earliest ever used which were cannon balls.   Among bowls from various parts of the world there were two woods used by Tony Alcock, who was World Champion twice in outdoor singles  (1992 and 1996), and three times World indoor singles Champion (1986, 1987 and 2002).
The visit also led to a bizarre coincidence.  Last night I visited a road I had to look up on Googlelmaps to find from where I was collecting five Buff Sussex chicks.  The road was called rue Mathurin Méheut and was in Rostrenen.  While in the Museum of Breton Boules I was looking at not only different types of bowls but also pottery depicting bowls games and paintings.  I recognised the name of the artist – it was Mathurin Méheut. He has an exhibition being advertised too.
I had never heard the name before last night so how extraordinary to come across it again within 14 hours.  How strange coincidences are!
The very unpleasant man fitting the belt was shorter than I am and appeared to be suffering from Napoleon complex which according to Wikipaedia is “an informal term describing an alleged type of psychological phenomenon which is said to exist in persons, usually men, of short stature. It is characterized by overly-aggressive or domineering social behaviour, and carries the implication that such behaviour is compensatory for the subjects' stature.”  He was unpleasant and rude.  He didn’t apologise for cancelling last week or for being late today.  He took an inordinate amount of time to process the payment and swore – merde, merde, merde - all the way through the procedure.  I hope I don’t encounter him again.
The weather continues to be extremely hot and when JackieN came round this afternoon we sat out under the big parasol chatting.  She’s doing fine after her gastric bypass operation and it’s lovely to hear of someone else losing weight thanks to Dr Lechaux.  We went up to the field to see the new Buff Sussex chicks and it was only when I got back home again that I realised I’d lost my glasses.  It took some hunting for them to find them again and I was lucky not to tread on them – hard to see without glasses on!  
One of my Breton neighbours, Jean-Luc, came round for the first time ever.  He was asking if I could let him have some eggs as he had three very broody hens and didn't want to waste their broodiness.  I am hardly getting any eggs in this very hot weather, but managed to scrape together a dozen mixed eggs and he promised to let me have two young poussins which were born earlier this year.  As I've lost six Light Sussex hens to some predator on the field - the general consensus is pine martin or pole cat - I think I will incubate some Light Sussex eggs when I return from Cornwall after my granddaughter's birth - due in three days.
While we were up on the field we noticed that the four 5 week old Cream Legbar chicks had escaped through a small chick sized hole in the fence through to the goat field.  We had to round them up and mend the hole temporarily by weaving bailer twine into the gap.  Why is it that for all animals the grass is always greener ...?
It has been really hot and I've really enjoyed having the pool.  Here's Claude trying to make a decision ...
 Right choice!
Jewel coloured nasturtians in the garden with the evening sun backlighting their petals.
Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of my mini gastric bypass operation.  I am still the same weight as I was last September and eat really well so am very happy. ?

Backlit poppy in the garden - lovely isn't it

Three things I like:
1.   My run which now has thirteen young chicks in it.  They are so cute!
2.   This gorgeous weather - perfect for a sunworshipper like me.
3.   Having really pleasant guests in Small Cottage this week. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bastille Eve fireworks, veggies and a week of breakdowns

It’s only 10.00am and yet the sun is burning into my skin reaching deep down to my bones – I love this feeling.  A couple of doves are cooing to each other from each side of my garden and other birds are singing all around.  Apart from that the only sounds are those of the trickles of water running off the projecting slate into the fish pond.   The temperature in the shade has already reached 24.3°C and promises to become much hotter as the day drifts by. 
The animals were all fed and watered a couple of hours ago and some watering and weeding on the veggie plot.  The first funny shaped vegetable of the year has been produced a conjoined pair of courgettes.

My swimming pool is such good news now the weather’s so brilliant.  The water temperature has been at 24°C since it was cleaned and refilled and it’s lovely in there either jogging, swimming or just floating about on my bodyboard.  I’ve been in cooling off at least three times a dayand don’t know why I find the first dip of the year so difficult as it’s fine after you’ve dipped under the water but I always put it off in case it’s too cold. Here’s Charlie in it last summer.
This week my Peugeot changed it’s identity.  No more UK personal number plates but  brand new French registration plates for €20 each.  I had been waiting for my Carte Grise, the new registration document and it arrived yesterday.  They were printed out in seconds at my local garage and then put into a former where the rigid adhesive transparent panel was attached to each one before being compressed in a machine and then riveted – screws not allowed in France – on both ends of the car.  The owner, Sebastian, first had to remove the existing plates and these were firmly stuck over the original plates.  There was a lot of Gallic shrugging and mutterings meaning “this couldn’t be like this in France”.  I kept the old plates as the DVLA told me that if I ever took the car back to England again the chances were that I’d get the same registration number again. The garage also kindly pumped up my tyres before I drove off with my new look.
The climbers on the pergola – honeysuckle, grapevine, roses, clematis, passion flower, wisteria were growing out at all angles.  I am not into heights so felt very frightened as I climbed first onto the pond side and then a chair and finally the garden table to tie them into the crosswires.  It looks much neater now and I’m so pleased I conquered my fear long enough to do it myself.
Finally, my worker managed to unblock my sink wastepipe.  I’ve had hassle with it on and off over the last two years and in the end he had to cut the pipe in order to put a deblocking pipe with a little fuzzy brush on the end – called a herisson, which translates as hedgehog – down the 3-4 metre waste to clear it.  The deblocking pipe wasn’t long enough so we had to cut the pipe at the other end to enable the herrison to unblock the far end as well.  Out came, not grease, as expected by my worker, but a mixture of straw and fibres.  These bits are probably what I wipe off the eggs in the winter while standing over the sink, when the rain makes the bedding stick to the hens’ feet and then onto the eggs.  We had to drive to Rostrenen to get joining bits to repair the waste pipe. We also put a rodding point into the wastepipe so that we don’t have to cut the pipe next time it blocks.  I can’t tell you how good it is to see water running straight out of the sink again.
The red lettuce in the polytunnel has been taken over by ants.  I’ve never seen so many red ants as there are up on the veggie plot this year.  Every time the earth is disturbed they are swarming over my shoes and up onto me.  I have ant bites everywhere and they itch like billio.  The lettuces have been pulled up now and given to the hens who received them gratefully along with the weeds I pulled up – they love pecking and scratching at them.  I’ve put some green lettuce plants in a different bed in the polytunnel and hopefully the ants will not get into these.  I had some free seeds for Italian salad leaves from somewhere and these have grown on beautifully and taste brilliant with a good dressing and the addition of the baby broad beans I picked this morning.
The sweetpeas planted in the barrel in my garden have been flowering really well and I get a small vase of flowers every day.  The scent just lovely.
It's been impossible to post anything as my Orange Livebox gave up on me and having talked to the technical department on the ‘phone they asked me to take the box into my nearest Orange shop to have it reconfigured.  I went to Guingamp Orange Shop and got it sorted on Saturday morning.   Then an emergency electrician had to come in to fix a problem we couldn’t fathom which was constantly tripping my fuse box.  He lives at the top of my lane where it meets the main road so that’s good to know for the future.  The internet was still not working properly so I then had to call in a computer repair man.  He sorted the problem and I'm finally back in touch with the world at large.  My watch battery died in the afternoon yesterday but luckily I had a replacement in my "technical drawer".  Can anything else go wrong?
Last night it was a moules and frites and feu d'artifices night in Corlay to celebrate Bastille Day which is today.  Friends, JaneF and Paul picked me up and brought me back home.  It was extremely well attended with virtually all the spectators sitting on the ground surrounding the lake.  It was a brilliant, happy, no drunks, no arguments, evening for the whole community.  Fireworks were set off at the top of the castle and it was, without doubt, one of the best, if not the best, display I have ever attended.



Finally, Claude - not lying in the sun but seeking out the shade under a table on the terrace.  I'm going to join him but in the sunshine to catch some rays and read my book - it's now 26.8°C at midday - perfect!
Three things I like:
1.  Picking the veggies on the field for my lunch now that everything is growing fast.
2.  Taking a dip in the pool and drying so fast afterwards in the sunshine.
3.  Talking for ages on Skype with my UK based daughter and grandson.