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, April 20, 2012

Time out in the north of Brittany

Another typical April showers day today with alternating hard rain showers and brilliant sunshine.  I spent the day with a friend, who brought me some lovely yellow roses.  Here are some from one side of the vase.

As I had to visit the hospital in St Brieuc for the first appointment of the afternoon, we ended up on the north coast afterwards, walking along the estuary at Plérin. 

It was bright as we walked away from the car and we walked to the lighthouse and watched men digging for something, bait perhaps, while the tide was out.  Soon the sky darkened and on the way back we were sheltering under an umbrella trying to keep the rain from soaking us completely as we made our way back to the parking. 

I have lately been attracted to the colour purple - I can't explain why, but there were a few subjects which I was unable to pass without photographing.  The tiles decorating a house were more purple than they appear to be here.

The bicycle was brilliant and even the bit of graffiti on the wall was purple.

I think the flowers are perennial wallflowers, Erysimum, possibly Bowles' Mauve.  I've never seen them growing in the wild or on the beach before.

The hospital appointment was interesting.  My consultant asked me to drink a glass of Lait Ribot, buttermilk, each day and take antibiotics for seven days starting now and again every three months for the next year.  I'm not sure I shall like buttermilk, but my friend suggested I try it in a smoothie and so I'll be getting bananas and any other interesting fruit tomorrow when I buy the buttermilk.  I also came away with an appointment to see an Intestinal Consultant at Clinique St Yves in Rennes during the second week in May, so hopefully before too long my bowel problems will be sorted out.

Three things I like:

1.   Visiting places with someone instead of alone.
2.   Finding a late birthday card in my letterbox from a friend visiting Australia.
3.   The wonderful clouds and skies that the stormy and sunny weather is producing. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Books and blooms

Being on the ferry for a total of eleven hours last week and not having a television in my room in Cornwall to watch while I fell asleep, I managed to get through quite a bit of reading.  I finished Jodi Picoult's Harvesting the Heart and started The Tenth Circle.  I quite enjoyed Harvesting the Heart, which was the first book I had read by her. 

I also read Joanna Trollope's The Other Family, which was a good read and having visited several charity shops came back with a few heaps of books for the future.

My children bought me a Kindle for Christmas, but although I'm pleased to have it and I do use it, I do love books - holding them, seeing the covers and the colours - my Kindle is in black and white - and I will never stop buying books.

I have also read Nick Hornby's Juliet Naked, which is the Book Club book for the meeting at the beginning of May, and enjoyed that so much that one of my charity shop books is another by him - How To Be Good. 

On Wednesday, I drove to Guingamp to get my Orange box looked at as I dropped off the internet and couldn't get back on again.  Apparently, one of the updates hadn't taken so they brought the box up to date and after fiddling with it for a while when I got back home I was connected with the rest of the world again.  It is particularly annoying when I can't get onto the internet as I use Freecall for international and local 'phone calls and can't access my 377 contacts when I'm not connected.  There doesn't seem to be any way of printing out these contact numbers for occasions such as this - very frustrating. 

There were lots of fields with oil seed rape in flower and, although I know some people suffer allergies from the pollen from this crop, I think the fields look so lovely dressed in bright yellow.

In Guingamp town centre, there were banks of tulips of different colours and I fell in love with these purple ones.

The weather has been stereotypical with April showers interspersed with bright sunshine.  Coming home I was surprised by the bridge at the far end of my village by a goat basking on the verge in a brief period of sunshine - a sort of reverse Billy Goat Gruff story!  He belongs to one of my neighbours who has quite a few goats and which I think he rents to people wanting to clear land cheaply.

I think he's rather impressive and I love his beard - the goat's not my neighbour's - although thinking about it, he too has a beard!

Three things I like:

1.   In spite of the rain and hail showers, we are also getting sunshine everyday.
2.   My Cream Legbar hens have given me beautiful blue eggs two days running.
3.  My gastric by-pass surgeon replied immediately to my email and I have an appointment with him tomorrow. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

An "out of date order" posting on a visit to friends in Plérin at the end of March

Breton neighbours from my village invited me to their home in Plérin for lunch - their granddaughter aged six was there as it was a Wednesday and the children don't go to school on a Wednesday in France.  Two of their friends from Versailles - I'd met them before - were there too.  The garden at their Plérin house is very pretty and the first flowers that greet you are grape hyacinths - Muscari, whose blue is just wonderful.

There were so many lovely blooms in the garden and I particularly liked the magnolia against the blue, blue sky.

This was a huge insect which was in the conservatory, like a very, very large bumble bee.

After lunch we sat out in the sunshine and enjoyed the good weather.  It was a lovely visit, with good food, good conversation and good company.  We had a particularly delicious cheese at lunchtime which I must ask the name of as I can't remember what it was.  I left  in the early evening in time to go to a meeting at the hospital a few miles away.

Three things I like:

1.   Having neighbours who are friends too.
2.   Being able to understand most of the conversation at lunchtime.
3.   Having GPS in the car and being able to find an address easily.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back home again in Brittany after a week in Cornwall

Just home from Cornwall after a week back in the UK to a pile of birthday cards on the dining table to add to those I received in England - thank you to those responsible.  It's amazing how much the veggie plants in the polytunnel and outside beds have grown.

Here is the rhubarb patch, doing really well  I've had rhubarb crumble twice and given loads away already and we're only half way through April.

Here you can see squashes in the foreground and broad beans behind them. 

These lettuces were the first planted this year.  I have others, different types, coming on now too.

The weather wasn't as bad as predicted and I celebrated my 65th birthday with my oldest son and friends at lunch in the upmarket newly developed Llawnroc restaurant in Gorran Haven  and in the evening ten pin bowling with friends and family - when I came second, to my daughter, out of seven people in the second game.  It's the first time I'd played since 1996 -  and then we all had take away Chinese.

As usual the trailer I was towing was overpacked so I drove back slowly from Roscoff last night arriving back around 11.00pm.  I had 500 litres of compost, bedding and perennial plants, English food products and clothes for my 8st10lbs lighter figure.  I hadn't bought any clothes since my mini gastric bypass in July last year and it was certainly time for me to spend some money.  My chiropodist, the last time I saw her, said I looked like a clown in my oversize trousers!  It was a strange experience buying clothes from a women's rail and trying to ascertain my current size, as when I was 22 stone plus I had to buy from the men's XXL range of t-shirts and trousers.  Now I've been shopping, I shall have to get on with sorting and getting rid of clothes that I will never need again.

The cats and rabbits looked fine and when I went up to the field this morning to see to the animals there they were good too.  Somehow, my worker, Andy, had managed to unload, earlier in the morning, the whole of my car contents into the downstairs of my house while I slept.  There was loads of stuff and I can't believe he did it so quietly.  Just after lunch some friends who have a holiday home in the next village arrived to say hello.  It was good to see them and they were amazed to see my weight loss - always good to get a compliment!

This weekend there has been a horse fair and endurance races in the next village.  I popped down, rather later than I might have been, to take some photos.

There were a tremendous of people there earlier in the day, but I was a little late to catch the true atmosphere.

And, lastly, a beautiful dandelion seedhead in the lane, almost shining in the morning sun.

Three things I like:

1.   Being back in my own home again with my animals and things about me.
2.   Finding I've still lost weight this week while eating lots of bad stuff in the UK.
3.   Having made it to the grand age of 65 and looking forward to many more years.