My life in a small French hamlet in Brittany. The flora and fauna, the weather, veggies and polytunnel, garden flowers, neighbours, friends, cats, rabbits, hens, ducks and goats and everything else which comes into my life here in my home in St André.
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.
The early mornings are really fresh now and it’s tempting to pull the duvet slightly higher and watch the morning news from bed for another half hour. Luckily the sunshine hasn’t been slow to come out and most mornings have warmed up nicely by the time I’ve got the fire in the woodburner going well, fed the cats and fish and had my own breakfast too.
The acer palmatum dissectum atropurpureum in the large border has turned every shade that Autumn possesses and I see that the birds, probably blackbirds like last year, have made off with at least half of the crop of holly berries while I’ve been visiting Cornwall. My daughter, Libby, had her 23rd birthday last Sunday and we all went out to the local golf club for roast lunch. I also had my usual six monthly dentist and hygienist appointments and shopped for the things I miss as I’m living in Brittany. None of the things are essential, but nice to have in the cupboard or freezer, like creamed rice pudding, mature cheddar cheese, mint jelly and redcurrant jelly. I also brought back something I didn’t want at all – a cold. Well, more a red raw sore throat, which has laid me low this week and, in fact, resulted in two pyjama days. I’m feeling much better today though and have definitely turned the corner. Unfortunately it meant that I had to postpone the endoscopy appointment I had for last week, and that has now been rearranged for Friday this week.
My fish tank surprised me when I fed the fish on Monday morning. There were about 20-30 little fishes, from the Kribensis couple I have. The parents are guarding the front right hand corner of the tank from all marauders and are mostly hiding in a slate tunnel which I created from some broken bits Brian brought me specially for the tank. I had been worrying whether the environment was quite right in the tank, but this has allayed all fears as I feel sure they wouldn’t breed under difficult conditions. I have a new snappy camera which I collected in England last week, but still have to take some photographs with it to illustrate this blog. They will be inserted when I've done them.
Alfie, my oldest cat, who came with me from Cornwall, is definitely not quite right. He has abandoned his usual seat on the sofa as he can’t seem to make the jump to sleep there. I’ve folded a velour throw for him on the carpet next to my chair and the woodburner, and he now spends most of the day curled up asleep at my feet. I’ve checked him all over and he doesn’t appear to have anything obviously wrong, so I’m guessing it’s just old age – it does come to all of us.
The geranium foliage is still looking very healthy, but the flowers have disappeared. The cosmos is still in bloom at the side of the terrace and the yellow climbing rose on the east side of the house is still putting out the odd pretty rose. I suppose I will have to take the geraniums in soon if I want to save them for next year. This afternoon Flick planted in the polytunnel some salad leaves, spring onions and herbs I brought back from Cornwall. They look a bit sorry for themselves, so fingers crossed.
In view of the current fuel crisis, I am glad that I fully filled my car before I left for England. The Land Rover is empty of diesel, but has a transmission pipe problem and can’t be used until I receive the ordered new parts when the next person coming over on the ferry collects them from the garage in Saltash. Perhaps by then the supply will be re-established and I won’t have to worry about finding fuel.
This morning, my friend, Flick, cleared out my understairs store cupboard, which resembles a mini Tesco and is indeed better stocked than many of the tiny épiceries in villages here. People generally laugh at my hoarding instinct, but it’s inherited from my mother who never forgot the deprivation of rationing in the 1940s and 1950s. It was a very useful resource when we were snowed in for ten days last winter and I lacked for nothing. The trick is to know what you have in the store and use it well before the expiry date. Something I have not entirely perfected. As a result of this, the hens are in for a mixed treat this afternoon. Loads of apple sauce, dated 2008 which has fermented and I wonder what effect this will have on my birds. A jar of bean shoots and another jar dated 2007 of foie gras, all mixed with yesterdays stale bread slices. I now have enough empty jars for my next jam making session.
Three Beautiful Things:
1. Being home again in front of the woodburner fire. 2. Celebrating with my daughter, Libby, her twenty-third birthday last week. 3. Sinking my teeth into a Crunchie.