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, December 12, 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010 Breathing machine, Pumpkins and Jess

There was another quiz on Friday night at La Vallée in St Gilles Vieux Marché. It’s always an enjoyable and good value evening. For €5 we have the quiz evening and a one plate meal. This time it was chicken in a cider sauce with chips. The chicken was very good, and the chips were superb. I rarely eat chips now, but could never leave even one of these they are just perfectly cooked. The atmosphere at these quizzes is excellent and they’re brilliantly organized and run by Andrea and Vic. I had my camera in my bag, but completely forgot to take a photograph – typical.

I now have an oxygen extractor, which adds pure oxygen to my sleep apnoea breathing machine. It works by taking in air and extracting just the oxygen to pass to my usual breathing machine and is an alternative to an oxygen cylinder to someone who only needs oxygen at night. The extractor is very noisy and because of this it can’t be in the same room as the user - me. To this end, it has a 10 metre hose and is sited in the adjacent bedroom.

The mini gastric bi-pass which I am probably due to have in March, will eventually result in sufficient weight loss for me to abandon both machines, but for the moment the hose snakes across both bedroom floors under the doors and across the landing. If it were to be a more permanent fixture then we’d drill the wall and pass the hose through. In fact, I have tripped over it so many times in the three days I’ve had it here that I may well get a hole drilled anyway.

The weather has been warmer over the last two days, reaching a heady 8°C yesterday. However, because the skies are clear at night with wonderful star displays, the temperature is really dropping through the dark hours. When I feed the birds first thing in the morning any food still left on the table is frozen solid to it and the water container is too. It’s also strange walking outside where the normally loose gravel/shingle is frozen into a one piece slab.

Friday was a sad day for my friends Flick and Andy whose lovely collie dog, Jess, had her last ever visit to the vet. Andy buried her in the garden along with all her toys and bowls.

She was a fetching dog, in more than one sense. Good looking and constantly wanting to have things thrown for her. She will be very missed.

I have often grown pumpkins, but only used them for Halloween, cut out like a face with a candle inside. Today I decided to make pumpkin soup. No accurate measuring necessary, I just made it up as I went along.

I poured some olive oil into a baking tray and placed peeled large chunks of pumpkin in it, plus two peeled and quartered onions, and four cloves of garlic peeled and left whole, then seasoned it all before putting in the oven to cook until the pumpkin was soft and the onions just catching on the edges.

I then poured all the contents of the baking tray, including the juices, into a saucepan and blitzed it. I brought it to the boil while adding some chicken stock and milk to get the consistency I wanted. Checked the seasoning and served with warmed buttered French bread. It was a delicious colour, tasted scrumptious and I shall never waste a morsel of pumpkin again.

I washed off and kept some of the seeds from the pumpkin to use again for next year’s harvest.

I am an obsessive seed collector and can never go past plants with seeds, wherever they are, without grasping a seed pod and putting it into my fleece pocket. My dresser, is full of envelopes labelled with notes like “From Bruno’s road frontage – yellow, tall daisy flowers – 2010”. I have a whole mug full of poppy seeds from various plants which I shall scatter at the appropriate time next year, just as I did this year. They made a lovely display along the drive.  The roundabouts here all have lovely flowering plants on them and last year I collected many different types of marigold from a mini roundabout in St Nicolas and they were mixed in with the poppies along the drive.  This summer/autumn two of the borders in St Nicolas had ruby chard growing and on one of the small roundabouts there were pumpkins - lovely!

It’s seriously dark in the mornings here now. It doesn’t really get light until about 8.50am and even after that and through the morning it’s necessary to have the lights on inside the house. In general, I am extravagant with lights and one of my friends never fails to comment on the number switched on when he comes round. Even if they’re not entirely necessary, I feel cosier and happier when I have lots of different lights about, twelve ceiling spots, one pendant light, seven wall uplighters, several under cupboard lights and two table lamps in the downstairs room, which is my kitchen as well as my sitting room. Two wall lights are not in use as one falls behind the dresser and one comes in the middle of my book shelves. I like the different light each type gives, and perhaps it’s also because I miss the sun so much at this time of year. In the kitchen area, the wall lights, pendant and ceiling lights are not on at the moment, but all the rest are – I think light often makes a room. I know it’s not particularly green, none of my lights have energy saving bulbs for various reasons, but I am reasonably economical with electricity in other spheres of my life.

One last photograph, a young robin, who was sitting on my garden wall with his Mum yesterday, but I could never see the two of them together when I had a camera in my hand.  I just love him, his feathers seem still mixed with down and he's so sweet.

Three beautiful things:

1.   Speaking on the 'phone to someone you haven't spoken to for ages.
2.   Receiving a photo of my three children and grandson together, at last.
3.   Getting the first Christmas cards of this year in my postbox.


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