I asked if I could take a photo of their dog and we talked for a while. They were a delightful couple from the Dordogne, with a good sense of humour, and we laughed and joked together. They were cycling up into Finistère. I enquired how many kilometres a day they cycled. The answer was 70 kilometres, all with their dog, Hermes, running beside them - hence the shoes. Even when he is at home Hérmes runs everywhere all day. Apparently the shoes were not specially made, as dog boots are available just like people's shoes are. Hérmes, was fifteen months old and prior to having him with them, they cycled with his mother, who was now too old to run with them. He was a Berger - a dog bred for looking after cattle and sheep. In Greek mythology Hérmes is the god of shepherds. I am not a dog person, but he was a handsome fellow and was clearly happy, although took advantage of me chatting with his owners to lie down and rest until the couple climbed back onto their bikes and set off for Huelgoat.
I went on to the supermarket and bought some bread, cream, chicken pieces, trout and mussels and prawns. I came back and cooked the mussels for lunch and have the rest of them in the sauce, like a soup, waiting for suppertime.
The photograph doesn't look particularly appetising as the butter and cream in the sauce have begun to solidify in the fridge. However, it consists of Muscadet, butter, shallots, cream, parsley and seasoning and is seriously good when hot with several slices of fresh baguette to dip into it.
One of my Cream Legbars died overnight. She didn't look well yesterday and I could pick her up without fuss. I don't know what was wrong with her, the two females and cockerel have been in a run on their own for several weeks now so can't have been infected by another hen. I separated her into a run and house by herself yesterday afternoon and expected to find her body this morning, but it's still upsetting. Her sister and the cockerel have been placed in another house and field section with the two Orpingtons and the six Coucou de Rennes which I bought recently and all seem to have settled in happily with each other.
The weather is not good again, with rain and wind today. This has been going on all week and has slowed down the progress of the new shed, although we did do some fencing yesterday in the breaks from rain. Next week we're going to empty the old storage caravan of "stuff". None of it has seen the light of day for over two years and I have no idea what's in there now. The entrance is used for storing hay and I have decided to be radical and bring the stock trailer in to take most of the contents to the tip. We can then use the whole of the caravan to store hay and straw and the other straw shed can become another chicken house for some Light Sussex youngsters and my three older Light Sussex hens. I have a Buff Sussex cockerel to collect next week and they can all live in that field section together.
The field which I rent, next to my own, is seriously high in grass and I hope that the farmer who is going to make hay for me will do it before too long. He was hoping to get a machine to do the small bales we are used to in the UK, but it may be that I have to accept large round bales if not.
Right I'm just going up to the field to collect today's eggs and then settling down to read some of my this month's Book Club book - The Rapture by Liz Jensen - a rather unnerving novel it seems.
Three things I like: