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 12, 2011

Wasps and other pests

What a dreadful morning yesterday!  At about 10.00am my worker went up to the field with his little girl.  There was no school as it was Armistice Day, a public holiday here in France.  He was putting a length of fencing across the part where the hole was allowing the birds through.  He walked round to another part of the veggie plot and disturbed some wasps.  The first I knew was when he arrived at the door saying he and his daughter had been stung.  He is apparently very allergic  and has had severe reactions in the past.  He probably should carry an Epipen, but doesn’t. 

He said they had both been stung and were going home to find something to put on the stings.  I offered to help but he said they’d be fine.   I worried until I telephoned about 90 minutes later.  He had taken Piriton, an antihistamine, and was alright. He had three stings on his neck and one in the middle of his chest. His little girl had been given something by her Mum for the fourteenstings she had on her legs, ear and back. What a dreadful morning for them. We spoke again at the end of the afternoon and no-one was affected seriously thank goodness.

On the site it says this:

"If you believe you or a family member might be allergic or is developing an allergy, it is advisable to seek the advice of an allergist. Allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings can develop anywhere on the body. The could result in non-life-threatening reactions, such as hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and headaches. But, life-threatening reactions, such as shock, dizziness, unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing, and swelling in the throat, require immediate medical care. Symptoms can begin immediately following the sting or up to 30 minutes later and might last for hours. This reaction is often referred to as anaphylaxis.

An anaphylactic shock needs to be treated immediately, usually with the use of an adrenaline pen injected into the body. People who know they are allergic to stings should carry an adrenaline pen whenever they think they might come into contact with stinging insects. Adrenaline pens are only available on prescription from a doctor."

It has been a very prolific season here for wasps.  There are also loads of them, flies, bees and something like a very large wasp, on the bunches of grapes which I never picked from the vine because of my eating problems. 

I can't believe how big this wasplike thing is.  I was quite frightened getting so close to take the photo.  I think I’ll have to cut the grapes carefully into a bucket and let the hens have them to get the wasps away from the entrance to the utility area.   Normally, I would have been eating at least two bunches grapes a day and they wouldn't be wasting, rotting on the vine.

My nasturtians are covered in caterpillars.  They are the caterpillars of the Cabbage White butterfly and there are loads of them.  I am inundated with wildlife I don't want at the moment.

My log piles, in the part of my garden which my grandson calls the "secret garden" because it's accessed by a door, are covered for winter and are already going down fairly rapidly.  I am always extravagant with firewood but it is my only heating, so that's my excuse. 

This afternoon while shopping, I met three people I haven't seen for ages.  One of them walked over to me later in the car park while I was unloading my shopping and said she hadn't recognised me as I had lost a lot of weight hadn't I?  I explained about the mini gastric bypass and proudly added - yes, five stone.  Always good when someone remarks on being able to see a difference!  I also met a friend who invited me to drinks etc. on Christmas Eve eve.  As my Christmas guests don't arrive until Christmas Eve itself it will be lovely to start the Christmas celebrations earlier.

Three things I like:

1.   Receiving a genuine compliment.
2.   My homemade butternut squash soup.
3.   Writing the last Christmas Card - very early I know - but they're done!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hole in the fence, bargains and Autumn colour

One evening earlier this week I asked my worker to put the poultry on the field away for the night.   Somehow, although no hole could be found in the fence, a baby Lavender Pekin had managed to get into a neighbour’s field and couldn’t be caught and brought back.   Also the majority of my ducks had escaped to the goat field.  The ducks were rounded up and put away, but thank goodness it was Andy and not me trying to do it in the twilight.  Sometimes I question the wisdom of keeping poultry.  Before I let the birds out the next morning, I found the hole and did an instant temporary repair.  All birds were present and correct in the evening when I put them away so it obviously did the trick.  Andy will attach another strip of fencing over the existing piece when he comes tomorrow.  It’s all very frustrating – I don’t know what makes these holes and have never ever seen it happening.

We had a bit of sunshine today after two really grey days and one torrentially rainy night. It was really mild and at one point I regretted lighting the woodburner. I always have the double doors to the terrace open unless it’s blowing a gale as I love the combination of feeling the warmth of the fire but having the fresh air coming in from outside. I know it’s not very “green”, but it’s the way I like it.

Apparently, I didn’t quite close the driver’s window in the Peugeot last night and when I went out in it this morning the whole of the inside of the door was soaked and the door pocket filled with water.  My “waiting in places” paperback was in the door pocket and it's currently being dried over the woodburner.  It’ll never been quite the same, but at least I will be able to finish it! 

We drove a very tortuous route to collect four chairs and a table which were being sold by someone returning to England.  The person arranging the sale turned out to be the wife of the plumber we used for the utility/gym area, these little coincidences always amuse me.  The sun was catching the turning leaves on the trees and they were exceptionally beautiful.   When we got back and parked the Land Rover I noticed the very yellow-leaved tree behind my neighbour’s tower - lovely isn't it?


The table top needs sanding and varnishing to make it acceptable for use, but the four chairs were a good buy and I’m pleased to have them for the middle house.  I think I’ve now had bargains for three sets of dining chairs over the years I’ve been here.   My own kitchen/dining table must originally have been a restaurant table as it has a metal disc engrave with the number “1” inserted in the top.  It’s a brilliant table of just over 6ft across and we can seat eight/nine people around it.   Again this needed sanding and varnishing and then it was like new.

The chairs round this table were bought on eBay for £12 the set of four, with a spare seat.  They were in Oxfordshire, miles from me in Brittany or my children in Cornwall.   My daughter and oldest son drove to London Airport just after I bought them and made a small diversion to collect them for me.   I love a bargain!

Purrdy has been sitting on my laptop today with her legs hidden underneath her.  I hate moving her but have to get on with things.  She''s grown so much in the last few weeks, she'll soon be a proper cat.

I wasn’t going to write about my bypass and weight loss on this blog, but am happy to report that I have now lost five stone (seventy pounds) in sixteen weeks.  I feel very different, can do things I couldn’t do before and it’s good.  My eating which has been very difficult seems, this week, to be improving, so perhaps I’m turning a corner – I do hope so! 

Three things I like:
  1. Watching birds eating unpicked and deteriorating grapes from the vine on the gym wall.
  2. Seeing all the autumn colours in the trees down the lanes.
  3. Talking to friends on Skype – what a wonderful invention!