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, June 25, 2011

Very warm Wimbledon weekend in the garden and village

Yesterday afternoon it was dry but no sun and I think flowers are often best shown in less light as sunshine seems to wash out the colours.  I sat outside on the terrace for a while with a coffee reading French lifestyle magazines which I was given and later took some photographs in the village and garden.

Today it's very heavy and hot here, as if a storm should come tonight, but none forecast as far as I know. Hardly any breeze at all, so I'm sitting inside watching the tennis at Wimbledon now with a glass of something cold with ice cubes, but earlier I wandered round the garden and here are some of the photographs. 

Above my pink hemerocallis with wonderful blue bits against the pink.  Below a yellow rose which climbs up my house wall in the driveway.

Above, one of the native foxgloves which self-seed at the back of my border each year.  I love them and am so glad they're here.  Below a gazania, in the front of the border.

Above, a very delicate and pretty aquilegia.  Then other odds and ends around the garden.  This is one of the outside lights with Fremontodendron flowers.

Mother Lavender Pekin with her nine chicks.

The biggest and the smallest eggs I collected during this month.

My three rabbits being visited by Purrdy.

Alstromeria slightly battered from this week's rain, but still beautiful.

My beloved Alfie having a roll in the sun by the Escholzia californica and below, marigolds in the driveway.

Holly berries before they turn red for Christmas.

Here's an oak seedling trying to grow in the rubble outside my neighbour's house.

I really like the look of the slates that have been abandoned along the front verge of his house.

Red poppy and seedheads.

This is the lane from the calvaire which leads on down to my home with the blue car outside.

 Below is an unknown blue flowering plant which according to the French couple who gave it to me, attracts bees in great profusion.  It really is very attractive.

Sunflower bud from the two plants growing outside my window.

Huge - as big as a not too big orange - seedheads from the single purple poppy outside the kitchen window.  These should yield a couple of thousand seeds I should think.

These sisyrinchium stratium plants are growing all through the border, like little dashes of sunlight.

Somewhere good to have supper in the evening sunshine.  I have tables and chairs all around the garden - lots -  because I used to have a B&B and they're all from my Cornish garden.  It's good to be able to plonk myself down when I have been standing or walking too much, wherever I am.

And lastly, my acer against the sky.

Three things I like:

1.   The cherry jam I made this morning.
2.   To be able to have a drink with ice cubes - at any time - from the fridge ice dispenser.  I've had it for six years now, but never take it for granted.
3.   The peace and quiet in my garden - only broken by birdsong.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Alfie, Badly Placed Sunflowers and My Garden

On Monday morning we drove Alfie to the vet. On the top lane, before reaching the main road, there was a handsome hare, just sitting on the verge and totally unflummoxed by my driving to within a few metres of him. Why didn't I have my camera with me?

Because Alfie was going to have the stitches taken out of his face where his eye and some tumour were removed three weeks ago, all three cats had been starved since midnight, since any food or drink I put down could have been eaten by any one of them. The vet, Aude, who is lovely, said that unusually, because Alfie has such a gentle temperament, that she might be able to remove the stitches without sedation, but just in case, that he shouldn't have had anything to eat. He was so good on the journey to the vet, not a sound from him. We waited for ten minutes and then went into Aude's surgery and she removed the stitches without any fuss from Alfie at all. What a lovely cat he is! She dimmed the lights and checked his remaining eye, which appeared to be fine still.

Today, things were not so good with Alfie. His eye was pouring with puss and clearly there was an infection. I kept expressing the revolting stuff by gentle pressure and wiping. We drove to see Aude, our lovely vet, and with a large needleless syringe she washed out the infection several times until the draining fluid was clear. I asked the question, through tears, that all pet owners dread asking "is it better to let him go now and not put him through anymore stress and pain?" She said that if he was her cat she would give him another chance with antibiotics. She then gave him an antibiotic injection and asked to see him again on Friday morning. She said he had the most beautifully temperament of any cat she'd ever seen. He didn't flinch while she had been doing all of these horrible things to him, except a little flinch at the rectal thermometer, which showed no raised temperature.   Here's Daisy looking after him.

And, by the way, on Monday, on the way home, in the same place, the hare was sitting, as if waiting for me to come back. He crossed the road in front of us and sat on the other verge for a while before making his way into the field.  It really makes my day to see something like this. I had never seen any hares before coming here and to see one close like that is just so wonderful and starts the day off really well.

Note to self - DO NOT FORGET CAMERA IN FUTURE. I used to carry it in my pocket all the time, but slammed the car door shut on it a few weeks ago and the screen has broken.  
I think you can make out the dent in the front of the camera in this photograph.  Luckily I picked up one on eBay for a pretty good price, so have the same model again - it takes me so long to get used to a new one with different features. 

The next thing was a friend coming from near Rostrenen to trim the goats' hooves. She arrived about 11.00am and Andy held each goat in turn while Ros cut away the overgrowing cuticle. While they were being held firmly, I managed to put a large syringe, without needle, into their mouths with worming treatment. Everything went well and that's that sorted for another year.

I think it make have been a mistake to sow sunflower seeds under the sitting room window. Two plants have grown about a metre now and are coming up past the glass and will soon block the view on one pane!
Still, at least I shall have a good view as they go on upwards towards the flowering moment. 
Under the kitchen window I have my blue pots and nasturtians which won't cover the view.

   This evening I had a quick walk round the garden when the sun popped out for a bit and took photos of - first Lychnis Chalcedonica Cardinal

Secondly the honeysuckle on the garden wall.

Then two seed heads from my red poppies in the border and

next of the nasturtians which have turned out to be plain and variegated this year.

Lastly a view of the pergola with the pink rose growing by it.

It's been a reall weird weather day, perhaps now we're heading towards winter again the weather doesn't quite know what to do.  I can't believe the sunshine finally came out today.  Apparently it's going to change at the weekend and be wall to wall sun for a while - let's hope so.

Three things I like:

1.   Purrdy snuggling up on my shoulder purring loudly.
2.   Collecting hen eggs - still warm.
3.   Eating my friends' daughter's birthday cake in the polytunnel.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Charlie's New Bike, Guémené-sur-Scorff Art Day and Cats

This morning I decided to go and collect a bike which I had seen for sale.  A red bike, for 6-8 years - Charlie's four and a half now, so it won't be long before he can use it. 

The vendor lived near Silfiac so I drove over in the Peugeot and I shall store it and wait for Charlie to get bigger. 

After leaving there I drove on to Guémené-sur-Scorff to a carboot sale the vendor's wife told me about.  There didn't seem to be a carboot, but it was an Art Day in the town and a small part of the main street had been closed to allow the artists to put up their stalls.

This is the florist at the end of the street and then a photograph of the reflections in the florist's shop window.

As I entered the street I could hear what sounded like a piano and Pan pipes playing. I wasn't wrong, there was a grand piano on the pavement, next to to a man drawing and a woman weaving. I spoke to the pianist and she not only performed frequently, but also taught the piano.

There was a man doing charcoal nudes - from memory - no nudes women acatually posing!

Also a girl with amazing hair, shoes and stockings was painting a water colour portrait of a Frenchman.

There was a boucherie/charcuterie open, and it was selling the traditional Guémené andouilles. 

I have copied this extract from the internet:

Genuine andouille from Guémené (100% pork, 30 cm long, 8 to 10 cm diameter, 1.5 kg) is only produced in the Morbihan department, in Guémené-sur-Scorff and the surrounding districts. Guemene andouille sausage is made from about thirty large pig intestines which are pickled in brine, calibrated and wrapped in layers around a central part called the "core" (with a diameter equal to about one quarter of the finished sausage). The core is also made of intestines cut into strips and assembled "on a string".After being inserted in a cow bladder, it is then tied off with string at both ends, smoked over beech logs, cooked for several hours in a bouillon flavoured with hay, and left to dry for a time that varies depending on the desired maturity. This delicious traditional speciality is celebrated particularly on the last Sunday in August at Guémené-sur-Scorff (56).

There's no doubt that andouilles - chitterlings in England - are an acquired choice.  They smell awful, but for me they taste brilliant.  I don't know of any other English people here who like them - I am alone!  I was brought up on chitterlings, which my father loved ,and I always ate anything he liked so I had a head start on liking them.

Just along from the classical piano player was an old house, partly boarded up and there was a cat crying inside.  A small group of people gathered on the pavement nearby and someone was trying to get inside to release the cat - I hope they succeeded.

A couple more views of the part of the street which hadn't been closed off.

At one end of the street there was this mimosa foliage against the sky.  I love the patterns of the frondy leaves.

As I walked back to my car I saw this white valerian growing out of the wall. 

I love valerian, but had never seen this colour, I have only seen pink and red before.  I stole a couple of stalks with the tiniest of roots on them and have planted them in my driveway bed and am keeping my fingers crossed.

I took these photographs in a rare sunshiny moment this week - foxgloves in my garden - most of the blossoms are sodden with rain at the moment and poppies have all collapsed.

and Purrdy washing, but it's the pots I like best in this photograph.

Here's one of the other two, Alfie and Daisy, taken yesterday afternoon.

I have been reading lots of other people's blogs this week and had a lovely time with them.  One, Snapdragon's Garden, inspired me to pick some of my garden flowers and pop them into a vase in the sitting room.

Three things I like:

1.   Coming home.
2.   Making chicken stock.
3.   Listening to The Archers.