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, February 2, 2013

Saturday in St André and no rain - so far

There's very sharp wind this morning with interesting skies.  The sun succeeds for a moment in breaking through and everything takes on the most wonderful colour and light, then it is gone almost as quickly, before returning again in seconds.


I was wandering round the village toward lunchtime, camera in hand, just snapping really, when a persistent car horn beeping shattered the peace and quiet.  

Some details on a neighbour's building and two hanging details.  The catkins are on my young hazels along the lane side but they aren't new, they've been hanging there in a tighter form since well before Christmas.

A waterfall which isn't normally there - towards the back of a holiday home in the village.  It is just there because of the enormous quantity of rain we have had and the noise from it is amazing as it is such a small cataract.

I came back down into the lane and there was a dark red van whose driver wound down his window and, without even saying "bonjour", launched into a sales spiel about clothes he had in the back, jumpers, cardigans, jackets with pockets etc. etc.  After a minute or two he stopped for breath and I managed to get a word in and said I wasn’t interested.  He remarked on the fact that I was English and said he’d carry on down the lane.  There are only three more houses and there was no-one at home, two being holiday homes, and I said as much.  Not very carefully, he quickly reversed past me and continued beeping as he left the village, though there would be no-one to hear him for at least a mile, apart from the hunters parked further up the lane, who wouldn’t appreciate the disturbance at all.

Here's Grace mid wash.  I love the light shining through her ears!

The only flowers out in my garden at the moment are Bergenia and Viburnum Tinus.

I think the Viburnum flowers have suffered from being constantly wet.  I can't wait for other plants to start blooming here.  On my walk round the village I only found one primrose out.  I am surprised that there aren't more as it's been relatively mild during January.

Three things I like:

1.   Seeing a heron fly up, legs dangling, from the spilling stream alongside the lane today.
2.   Having a morning reading other people's blogs - very interesting.
3.   Cooking and lunching on an unsmoked collar bacon joint brought back from England. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Physio, a reluctant Land Rover and ducks

I went to see my Physio on what is, for the next ten weeks one of my three sessions a week, and luckily she had time at the end to do something extra and manipulate my shoulder which is giving me gyp at the moment when I turn my head to the left.  My children gave me a wheat and herb bag a few Christmases ago which after heating in a microwave can be applied to an aching area.  I've been using that for the last couple of days to try to ease it and my Physio had something similar which I used during the other physiotherapy I was having.  

It does seem to ease the discomfort somewhat.  My last visit to her ended in me being stranded in the Land Rover in the supermarket car park opposite the practice.  My remote got me into my old Discovery but the immobiliser then cut in and prevented me from starting the engine.  (Luckily it wasn't snowing, this was taken the week before in my lane.)

After about ten minutes of sitting there trying again and again and thinking to do – the remote casing wouldn’t be opened by me – where would I buy a suitable battery – how would I get home if I couldn’t fix it – another, newer, Discovery with English plates drove into the parking next to mine.  I was over at the driver’s door almost before he’d switched off the engine in the hope that he would be able to perform a miracle.  The driver, Gerald, turned into my knight in shining armour.  He managed to prise apart the remote and discovered that it was not a flat battery but a broken battery housing which meant that the battery wasn’t getting a reliable contact.  After a few minutes, while I kept turning the key in the ignition and he wiggled and held the broken housing to get a contact, the engine sprang into life and I thanked him profusely and drove straight home where I had a spare key and remote.  How lucky was I that he happened along?!  Apparently, it now needs soldering and hopefully will then become the remote on the spare key ring.

As I drove off to the Physio this afternoon one of my Muscovy ducks had flown up onto the new hen house.  When I came back she was in the veggie patch nonchalantly wandering about.  I've had these particular birds for a couple of years now and they've never come over the fence - it's high but obviously can be breached by flying up to the shed roof in stages first.  I don't mind them being in the veggie patch while there's nothing there, and certainly in Cornwall they used to wander around the general garden without causing any trouble, just eating all the revolting, large orange slugs we had there.  I'm not sure though whether they will be a problem with the veggies when the warmer weather comes and they're starting to grow again.  I only have three Muscovies now, the second from the left in the photo was dead, uninjured, in the field last summer when I went up one afternoon.  Another is sitting on hen eggs in an old cat basket.  I remove them from her each day, but she's really broody and I can't decide whether to let her have some to hatch out - and just hope she won't try taking them on the pond with inevitable results!

This is not a photo of a starving cat!  Purrdy, here sitting on an old staddlestone this week, seems to be getting bigger and bigger.  She is so heavy to lift now that I have to make a second attempt when I pick her up.  

So February has arrived today, but looks much the same as January.  Will this rain never stop?  There is nowhere for the new rain to go as the ground is so saturated and because the verges are so soft, vehicles are ploughing them up as they pass one another on the narrow lanes.

Three things I like:

1.   Grinding up stale bread to make breadcrumbs for my lunchtime chicken pieces.
2.   Collecting fourteen eggs from the hens today, the most in a day this year so far.
3.   Finding another tin of Quality Street which I'd forgotten about.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Two years today and still writing

It hardly seems possible but, as of today, I have been blogging for two years.  I’ve enjoyed the last twenty-four months of writing about and photographing my village life and hope to carry on blogging for a long time yet.   Apart from sharing my little bit of France with others, it has been a way for me to remember things that happen day to day.

The small amount of snow we had has now disappeared leaving the ground even wetter than it was before – at least the weeds are easy to pull up.  My hens are laying well and I’m even getting duck eggs now and then.  The duck pond didn’t freeze over enough to stop the birds swimming, it’s really been very mild this year.  I have two garden trolleys on the terrace which are regularly refilled with logs and they mean I only have to walk a few metres to get logs in for the woodburner.  

The kittens seem to have enjoyed the change in the weather.  Here, on Wednesday, the chairs on the terrace are covered in snow.  On Saturday afternoon I sat out on the terrace in this chair reading my Book Club book in the sunshine and it was lovely

The rhubarb crowns are shooting well and in a couple of weeks I think I shall be able to have my first rhubarb crumble of the year.  There are also onion type leaves which have pushed up about 6”/15cm above the earth which must have self-seeded, but I’m not sure what sort they are.  I still have leeks in the ground and parsnips too.

We've had some new arrivals in the village.  One of my neighbours is a cattle trader and this week we have a very small calf and Mum amongst the others.

The calf is so lovely and very, very small.

This is part of a stream running through a neighbour's wood.  He has been busy cutting logs this year and the cut edges are really orange.

This is a horse chestnut bud on a tree on the shrubby bit of land in the village - promises of things to come. 

Raindrops hanging from the moss on the garden wall.

This morning my seeds for this month arrived from the Seed Club I belong to.  We never know what we're getting so it's always a good surprise.  I had thyme and leeks on my list of seeds to buy so that's two things I can cross off.  I shall try my hand at growing the watermelon and squash are always welcome. 

Today it was our monthly Book Club meeting.  We had just read Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell.  Well - truthfully - I was the only one who hadn't completed the book.  This was partly because I should have been recovering from my gastric bypass revision and wouldn't have been at Book Club until I cancelled the operation.   It had mixed reviews but I was enjoying it so I shall read to the end.

Our book for this coming month is Between a Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble.  It's quite a long book, 468 pages, so I hope it's a good one.  It's always nice to catch up with the others in the group in the more informal bit at the end of the meeting.

My last photograph for this post is of the sunset from the end of the garden last evening.  The skies have been lovely this week and the days have been mostly dry here.

Three things I like:

1.   Coming back home this evening and finding the woodburner heating it so well.
2.   Finding a broody duck sitting on the hen eggs in the new henhouse.
3.   Getting veggie seeds in the post today - I always look forward to them arriving.