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, November 13, 2011

Remembrance Sunday and Apple Compôte

I watched on television, the service at the Cenotaph this morning, I am reminded that I am always moved to tears. It looked cold but bright and sunny. In 1976, I was living in London and my then husband and I attended the service. It was a bitterly cold day, but not wet, and we were well wrapped up. It was extraordinary to be there and to experience first hand the two minute silence with so many others. It is amazing how hundreds and hundreds of people can be silent together. The service is long for the Queen and especially for Prince Philip, now he is 90, to be standing throughout. I love the BBC's handing of it all, the little interviews with proud, bereaved parents and with the surviving victims of war. If only we could have world peace.

My Breton neighbours brought round a paper carrier bag of apples from their own trees.  This morning I sat and peeled and cored some while listening to The Archers, my Sunday morning habit, and then popped them into a pan with some sugar, a soupçon of water, three whole cloves and a little ground cinnamon. 

This is going into the fridge, but I may freeze it if I decide to make some more tomorrow. It should be good with the Christmas boiled collar bacon or gammon joint.  I find I can’t sit very long and work with my hands above the table, as in peeling apples, it really seems to make my back hurt between my shoulder blades.  I am particularly aware of this at Christmas time when there seems to be so much preparation of food.  By Christmas lunch I can barely sit up straight!

There are still butterflies flying around outside.  Whenever I see them I don’t have the camera and then when I fetch it they have all flown off.  It just shows how mild it still is, and it’s a lovely sunny day today too.  I can hear the hounds of La Chasse, the hunt, baying a few fields away.  I do hope the cats don't go out while they're around, the hunters tend to shoot anything that moves.

I telephoned my worker to see how he and his daughter were after the wasp stings and they are both fine.  It could all have been so different.  They seem to have been very lucky considering how many stings they had. 

I have checked out the large wasplike pest from yesterday and it turns out to be a hornet.  I took another photograph this morning as it seems to have taken up residence around the vine.

It was a full moon last Thursday and even last night there was so much light coming through the windows – I don’t have blinds or curtains by choice – that I could get up in the night without putting on the lights.  I love being able to see the stars on less moonlit nights, which is why I don’t have window coverings.  I think visitors must think it’s odd, but I had none at my last house in Cornwall except for other people’s bedrooms.  My oldest son used to put a painting, just the same size as the window, in front of the window of my spare room, when he was staying here, to block out the light, he likes to have a really dark bedroom for sleeping.  It’s still in the room for visiting friends if they want to use it.  I find dressing windows here in France difficult particularly as windows open inwards and not outwards as in England, so it’s good not to have to think about it.

Three things I like:

1.   The smell of the apple compôte cooking with cinnamon and cloves.
2.   Alfie, my black and white cat, sleeping in a pool of sunlight on the rug.
3.   Yesterday evening's prawn tempura dipped in Hellman's mayonnaise - mmm! 


  1. The apples will be delicious for Christmas. I can't believe that we are already planning for Christmas. Here, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. No gift buying, just a lot of cooking and eating. My son in law disturbed a nest of hornets while mowing a lawn and was stung multiple times. He ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance. Now he carries and epi pen that has a small dose of medication that he must use the next time he is stung. I am surprised that you are battling these creatures so late in the season.

  2. That sounds horrid for your son in law - stings can be so dangerous. Yes, it's so mild here this year that nothing has gone away for the Autumn/Winter except the swallows. I still have the flyscreens on the doors and my bedroom windows - heavens knows when we can take those down. Do you have the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving? Sandra