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, July 2, 2011

Mustard, Wimbledon and Books

It’s been another beautifully sunny day here.  The laundry has been washed, dried, brought in and folded.  Before and after watching the tennis, I finished “Choral Society” and started another book, which I’m really enjoying.  It's by Tony Parsons and is called The Family Way.

I got another request from, a book swapping website to which I belong.  Last weekend I sent off four books and on Monday I’ll send the book I finished a few weeks ago, The Jewel Garden.  I’m swapping it for The Bookseller of Kabul.  The books are sent to my oldest son in Cornwall and I collect them when I go back to visit.  

I defrosted a gammon joint overnight, which came back with me from England in April, and have cooked that today.  I shall have it for supper with broad beans from the veggie plot and parsley sauce.  I picked so many beans that I cooked some and had them in a bowl with black pepper and butter – scrummy!  I really like the boiled gammon best when it’s cold, on hot buttered toast with Colman’s bright yellow English mustard.  I don’t like the jars with the product ready made, but prefer to mix the powder with water myself to the consistency I like.  One joint seems to last for ages and I love opening the fridge and just slicing off a couple of pieces to snack on.

These tins seem to be just the same as I remember them all my life, if they have changed the packaging it must have been a small change.  I don’t know of any other product packed in these rounded off rectangular tins.  I found this on the Unilever site: 

In 1903, Colman's purchased a rival mustard manufacturer that was originally known as Keen & Son. The manufacturer had made their mustard a household name and spawned the well-known saying 'keen as mustard'. In 1995, the company was bought by Unilever.   

I’ve had a really lazy day, sitting in the sun reading and watching the Wimbledon Ladies Tennis Match, which was won by a 21 year old Czech girl, Petra Kvitova quite brilliantly. 

I took this photograph from The Guardian newspaper on-line.  Doesn't she look happy?  Maria Sharapova didn’t stand a chance against this strong and versatile player. 

I took just two photographs in the garden this afternoon, one of some yellow fennel blossom with a visiting ladybird

and the other of the clematis on my house wall which is into its second flowering.

Two of my children telephoned me this morning.   They are both a little hungover today after hosting a party last night for a friend who is moving out of the area.  I think it was quite late finishing too, so sleep deprivation is figuring quite highly.  I can’t remember when I was last hungover, but am glad it never happens nowadays!  

Three things I like:  

1.        Scrambled eggs with my hens’ dark yellow yolked eggs.
2.        Sitting in the garden with only birdsong to hear.
3.        Starting a new book and not knowing what it will be like.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dinard, Dinan and Cherry Jam

Wednesday saw me in Dinard meeting, for the first time, friends I’ve talked to often in a forum for expats.  They turned out to be lovely people, which was no less than I’d expected from their forum comments!  I’d never visited Dinard before and although we had not much time really, I did take a couple of photographs.

We then transferred into my car the things which they’d brought over from England for me before driving to Dinan for a fish and chip lunch.  It was quite a walk from the car park to the cafe and even with my cane I found it tough going, my knees are particularly bad this week.  Thank goodness I have already arranged a rendezvous with my rheumatologist for Monday next.  I assume I’ll get a cortisone injection in each leg which should improve the situation.   

I took some photos while waiting for the fish and chips but nothing special. 

There was nowhere to sit at the fish and chip shop but there were wooden benches outside the church 40 metres down the road.  We sat in glorious sunshine chatting and eating our lunch until it was time to head back home. 

And some confectionery in a chocolatier's window which looked wonderful.

The weather was so lovely that we had the hood down on the Peugeot on the way back.  There was a block on the N12, but luckily we were close to a junction and came off immediately and back on at the next junction.  Our direction was then clear but the oncoming traffic was stationary – perhaps an accident which had affected both carriageways. 

I always keep a book in the car for when I have to wait anywhere and this week it's been Choral Society by Prue Leith.  It's full of well-described meals as she is a cook and cookery writer as well as a novelist.

Another lovely day on Thursday and I got loads of washing done and dried. I’ve been trying to weed a little bit of the veggie garden each day, only for about ten minutes, but it is making a difference, particularly to the carrots and radishes. I cooked rhubarb from the garden and will make a crumble for the weekend. I've eaten one jar already, but made some cherry jam which needs labelling.  The cherries were reduced in the supermarket.  I followed the recipe religiously, but next time I will put in less sugar as it's sweet, even for me.

So I feel very virtuous this week, especially in view of standing being difficult with my knees hurting so much.

When I arrived home on Wednesday, it was to find a message on the answerphone tagged as urgent.  I called the number which was Yves le Foll hospital in St Brieuc.  My surgeon’s secretary gave me a date for my mini gastric bypass.  I have to go in on Bastille Day, 14 July and will have the operation on Friday, 15 July.  This morning I had to visit the anaesthetiste, also at Yves le Foll, and he gave me the go ahead.  Phew!  It’s really going to happen … 

As a result two lots of friends have asked me to lunches over the next week – my last good meal with them all.  The first will be on Sunday and the second on Friday next week.  Meantime at home, I have been trying to plan meals for me so I can have foods I really love like prawns, venison, parma ham, artichokes in olive oil, camembert, English bacon etc. etc.  Some of them, foods which I won’t be having for a long time, if ever.   

I’ve also made an appointment with someone I don’t know, but who was a patient of the same surgeon with the same operation in April last year.  She has currently lost 64 kilos/141 lbs approx.  She’s French and lives quite a distance from me, but I just wanted to talk to someone who had been through it with the same surgeon at the same hospital.  We will meet on Wednesday afternoon at her home.

Three things I like:

1.   Making lists - this time for things to take into hospital.
2.   The sound of the horses hooves as they're ridden by my home in the lane.
3.   Driving with the hood down in the sunshine.