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, November 5, 2011

Fireworks, butternut squash soup and Purrdy's lampshade

It’s bonfire night in the UK today, but not here in Brittany apart from a few isolated expat events; so my animals will all be grateful for that anyway.  I can’t remember my cats I had at the time being scared at any stage in the UK, but I know lots of people who had animals who were terrified.  I love fireworks and do miss them myself.  I remember my first year here we made an effort to find a firework evening being held by an English bar, it was a damp squib.  In spite of requests, the bonfire and fireworks didn’t start until after 9.30pm, by which time many people with smaller children had left to put them to bed.  There were very few fireworks and it was a complete waste of time.  In contrast, Bastille Day is celebrated here with wonderful firework displays and I think the best one I’ve ever been to was at Quintin - this was taken on 14 July 2006.

A long and excellent pyrotechnic event, alongside the lake with the display reflected in the water – brilliant!

I've just in the middle of making another small batch of butternut squash soup.  With my current eating difficulties, I find that this is so easily eaten and an absolute joy.  I make it with olive oil, home grown butternut squash - I grew twenty-six this year - homegrown onions, bought garlic, chicken stock and salt and pepper.   I cook it in the oven until soft and then let it cool before blending it and seiving it. 

I fridge this refined mixture and when I want a bowlful I mix in very generous quantities of cream and heat it gently, adding in a small amount of pili pili which I think is a sort of cayenne - it just adds a lovely heat to the soup.

My newest cat, Purrdy, has been having problems with her sterilisation scar.  She seems to have been overwashing it and it has not healed properly but become infected.  It was over three weeks ago that she had the operation so on Thursday I drove her back to the vet and having looked at it and cleaned it she recommended an antibiotic pomade and a "lampshade" to stop her licking the wound.

Well, she just hated the lampshade, as I thought she would.  She spent about one and a half hours running backwards in the house hoping it would fall off.  Then came up on to my laptop table and was breathing so rapidly.  I stroked for a while and she seemed to settle down a bit, when I took the photo, but her breathing got more and more rapid and eventually I felt I had to remove the collar.  She is not licking as much as she was and I'm hoping she will heal fairly quickly with the antibiotic ointment.
I wonder how other people manage to dry their washing in the wet winter months.  I couldn't do without the suspended ceiling dryer I have, which guarantees that the warmth of the woodburner at the other end of the room will have dried everything by the following morning. 

When I had my B&B in Cornwall, I used three of these to get not only our own clothes and bedthings dry, but also the guest bedlinen.  I had one in the utility room where the boiler was and guests used to dry swimmers, beach towels, walking socks in there for the following morning.  The dew was so heavy in Cornwall that you could never dry anything on outside lines overnight.  The other thing I use on the landing, where all my woodburner heat ends up, is an extending shower rail high on the walls, in case I have too much for my ceiling dryer.

The weather is still so mild here that I had to post this photograph taken a few minutes ago of my delphinium trying to flower again.  The buds are beginning to show the blue of the of the flowers and in the background you can see a nasturtian flower.  The nasturtians are growing steadily up the wires I have cleared on the house wall and are still producing lots of flowers too.

There has been news today of a dreadful accident on the M5 Motorway yesterday evening, involving twenty-seven vehicles, both HGV lorries and cars with many of them burnt to the ground.  So far ten deaths have been reported and many more injured, some critically.  My heart goes out to the victims, survivors and their families and friends.


  1. Oh my. Another blogger from Normandy mentioned the horrible accident, but did not give any details. Simply tragic. I have a basket full of butternut squash. I should try your recipe. How do I dry clothes in the winter? My electric clothes dryer. When I was kid my mom used a clothes line (and an old wringer washer). I don't remember what she did in the winter; though, I do remember frozen clothes sometimes that she would put by the heater.

  2. Hello Ann - good to hear from you. I also have memories of my mother bringing in shirts frozen stiff which she would drape over the clothes horse. Three hinged wooden frames which zigzagged open into a Z shape and supported one another where she dried laundry in front of the fire. We had a coal fire which would stay alight all night and she could usually get things dry by morning. The death toll from the accident was finally given as 7 dead and 51 injured. They think it might have been caused by smoke which drifted across the road from a bonfire/fireworks event at the local Rugby Club.