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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tempête Joachim

Wow - what a windy night!  There was a roaring noise outside all the time as if a plane were overhead, but not going anywhere.  Certainly the worst winds I have known while I've lived here. 

This cartoon of wind in Brittany was on Facebook and I've stolen it for my blog.

In the morning two of the logshed door were off again, one was in the fishpond, and the large double gates to the garden had blown through the wrong way and were stuck on the driveway.  I didn't have the strength to move them enough to close the garden off from the neighbour's dogs.  On the field I was glad to see the polytunnel still standing and only a dog kennel, which I use as a hen house for new hens, had come apart and blown across the parking area.  The rain which fell doesn't seem to have anywhere to soak into and is lying on the ground meaning that wellies are "de rigeur".  This evening the temperature has plumetted to freezing according to the car display.  As usual, I am lovely and warm in front of the woodburner.

This weather is all due to Tempête Joachim which has caused chaos all over the west and north of France, with 400,000 homes without power, and many trees have been felled.  Brittany Ferries couldn't berth their ferry, Amorique, at St Malo and had to divert to Roscoff, not very convenient for people meeting them.  This photo is from

Another ferry, the Pont Aven I think, had to take shelter on the north coast of Brittany delaying it's journey back to Portsmouth.  A friend about 15 minutes drive away wrote on Facebook that the la snow had started with her, so it may just be a matter of time before it arrives in St André.

A tanker has gone aground on the plage d'Erdeven in the Morbihan and their is an oil slick coming from the vessel.   This photos is from

My worker will be here tomorrow morning to sort out the garden gates and the logshed and hopefully there won't be any further damage tonight.  Certainly the wind is much weaker than last night, when it was hard to sleep with all the creaking and banging going on.

The tempest came about as cold, dry Arctic air from the north came against warm, humid Tropical air from the south, some way off the west coast of Ireland.  Yesterday afternoon I had an email from my house insurers to warn me to put away garden furniture and large flower containers.

While I was talking to one friend in England another came on Skype to see if I was ok with the awful weather - it's good to know that people think about me!   500,000 people lost power, including Sally and Richard who were here on Monday.  They were reconnected this afternoon.

Three things I like:

1.   Knowing I have enough logs to last me for the next few years.
2.   Finding no irretrievable damage after the storm.
3.   Collecting three eggs from my girls, in spite of the bad weather.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rainbow and Fungi

The morning began badly with me remembering my stairlift had broken down yesterday.  It is stuck at the top of the stairs - the worst position with the least room for me to squeeze past.  Andy tried to sort it out, but wasn't able to get it working.  I was reduced to 'phoning Stannah in Paris.  They are sending an engineer tomorrow.  So a quick service, but so it should be, at €300 for the visit and a service, excluding any spare parts!  I just hope he doesn't turn up when the Writers' Group are here for their Christmas lunch, as I can't rearrange that at this short notice and I don't have a 'phone number for the service engineer. 

Purrdy - I'm sure it was she - knocked three of the Christmas tree decorations off during the night.  She's spent the last few hours sleeping alongside Daisy on the windowsill under one of the Christmas wreaths.

I went shopping and coming back home down my lane this rainbow looked as if it ended in my garden, but there was no pot of gold.

Later I drove to the other side of the village where I found on the verge more fungi.  I took photographs and posted them on to try and confirm my identification of them.  I looked in the River Cottage Handbook No.1 Mushrooms, and they appeared to be very similar, if not identical photos to mine here. 

These fungi were between 8"-9"/20-23cm across and I have noted exactly where they are growing.  If I ever find someone here who can, without any doubt, see these and confirm my identification of Lepista sordida, a type of Wood Blewit, then I shall have a feast next year!  Fungi though, are not the sort of produce that you can afford to make a mistake with, so I need an expert eye to put my mind at rest. 

Although the Pharmacies here are supposed to be able to tell you, I understand that some of them are not really trained in identification; they just consult a chart!

Here is the book cover and the photo from the River Cottage book.

This is one of the many derelict buildings here in Brittany.  It is a cottage opposite what was the old station for Lanrivain and the window and door covers were put on recently, I presume to keep people away from the danger of falling masonry.  The roof collapsed in about two years ago.  It is owned by one of the farmers in the next village and is on my route back from the Post Office.   Further down the lane by my fungi find is this enormous pile of tree trunks.   The buyers won't have trouble keeping warm next winter when  all these have been seasoned and cut to length.

Lastly, another Christmas photo, this time of the sitting room window wreath.

Three things I like:

1.   Buying the Christmas food treats and trying not to eat them before the guests arrive.
2.   The fact the the Christmas tree lights worked first time.
3.   Getting newsy letters in the Christmas cards arriving each day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Tree and Some Decorations

Today, with Flick's help, we put up and decorated the Nordmann Fir Christmas tree, which Sally and Richard kindly brought over for me yesterday.  Overnight it stood in a bucket of water in the garage to give it a good drink before it came into my very warm room.  Hopefully, as in previous years, this uptake of water should stop it dropping it's needles too quickly. 

Bits and bobs around the room

and the two wreaths on the window handles.

Just some of the things around my room, but not a many as usual as my daughter isn't here, and she likes to go mad with decorations - I'm just slightly more subtle!

Three things I like:

1.   Reading my Christmas cards and the enclosed letters.
2.   Remembering the decorations as they come out of the box.
3.   Receiving an invitation in the post for a Pre Christmas Soirée. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Manipulating Photographs, Soaps and Getting Wet

I was told about a brilliant program today for playing with photographs and have used it for the photo below.  I just need someone now to say "You ain't no oil painting"!

I just love it.  I did a module at Stroud Art College for a year in the 80s which was called Image Derivation.  It involved manipulating photographs while developing in the dark room.  We used to vote at the beginning of the year on which modules, two per year, the class would do for the end of year assessment exam.  I voted against doing this course, but was outvoted.  In the end, I really enjoyed it and you couldn't keep me out of the darkroom.  I did all sorts of stuff, but it was years ago and therefore not digital so I can't post any of it here.   I hope I'd be more open-minded now I'm older and wiser.

Today I was up in time to see the sunrise - it doesn't seem to happen very often.  It was worth it and these two photographs were taken just a few minutes apart.

No manipulation necessary on these skies behind my oak tree - ain't nature wonderful?

I've had a lazy day today filled with listening to watching omnibus episodes of soaps.  This morning while I cooked lunch I listened to The Archers, "an everyday story of country folk", which I usually do, if I haven't listened to odd podcasts during the week, this programme I really like.  The Archers had it's 60th anniversary programme this year - so it's a tradition now.   For those who don't know:

"The Archers had been launched in 1950 as a propaganda tool for the postwar Ministry of Agriculture. Rationing was still in place, farmers needed encouragement to increase production, and a radio programme extolling the virtues of the countryside and educating its folk as to best practice was seen as a good way to speed things along." from the"

Then this afternoon I watched the Eastenders omnibus.  I got fed up with watching this rubbish every night so watch it on a Sunday all at once and fast forward through the most boring bits.  I am multi-tasking though, being a woman, and sort out photos, reply to emails, eat, drink and play with the cats, while the omnibus chugs along in the background.

Tonight I've had a conversation with an old boyfriend of my oldest son.  I haven't spoken with him for ages and it was lovely - all the years just melted away.  My oldest son has, about two months ago, given up smoking - I'm so proud of him, and it seem that his old boyfriend is going to do the same.  He is runner and does half marathons and marathons and I can't believe he does it being a smoker.  I wish him all the best in quitting - I know isn't easy.  I gave up as soon as I knew I was pregnant with my first son and didn't have a problem at all, even though I had been smoking up to 60 a day.  I'm so glad I stopped.

I walked up to the field this morning and this evening,  at this rate it won't be worth mentioning as it will have become the norm, but tonight while I was in the barn feeding the goats, it started bucketing down and by the time I'd walked back home I was absolutely soaked.  I need one of those Drizabone coats and hats I think.  I have sorted out some cut off wellies, but went out in my Crocs, so my feet were soaked through too.

Three things I like:

1.   Hearing from someone I didn't think I'd hear from again - you know who you are!
2.   Crunching crackling from the pork joint I cooked for lunch.
3.   Laughing on Skype with, my good friend, June and meeting her sister too.