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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Horrid happenings, fungi and quinces

Three women visiting a friend’s holiday home in the hamlet had a very bad experience  on Tuesday.   They were involved in car accident at a junction nearby and although unbelievably no-one in any of the vehicles was hurt, it left them with no car to travel back to the port that evening.  Their front nearside wheel actually came off their car and it was distressing to see how they were clearly all in shock afterwards.  It just reminded me of how we never know what is going to happen day by day and we must, must, must live and enjoy every day.

The other main event of the week here was the rave which started late on Saturday afternoon and belted out earth-shaking base sounds for twenty-four hours before the police intervened.  It was located within a mile of my house and was absolutely intrusive and impossible to get away from.  Thank goodness for effective earplugs for the night. 

I went foraging in the lane this afternoon and picked two similar fungi.  I took them to a neighbour to confirm my opinion that they were good to eat.  He did confirm it.  About ten minutes later he appeared at my door saying that his wife didn’t think I should eat them, she’d obviously been worrying!
 I decided I would try one of them and keep the other for identification in the event of my death.  I cooked it in garlic butter.  However, as it cooked a strange grey liquid oozed out of it and joined the melted butter in the pan.  I decided that caution was the better part of valour and binned the lot.  Shame.
The three cats usually accompany me when I go up to the field to let the animals out in the morning and put them to bed in the evening.  This afternoon Claude came with me while I foraged in order to roll around on the verge.

When my holidaying neighbours went back to St Malo on Tuesday, as they didn’t anymore have a car they left with me some apples and quinces in a large carrier bag.   There is a quince tree in their garden.


I had never cooked quinces before and looked up several suggestions on the internet.  I finally decided to make a compote.  I cored but didn't peel the fruits and cooked them down with one apple, a little water, a capful of vanilla extract and sugar.  When they were disintegrating, I blitzed and sieved the contents of the saucepan and the resulting mixture filled up five jars.  The compote tastes quite different from apples or pears, it has a distinctive and interesting flavour. 
In my driveway there are several plants still in bloom and this honeysuckle had so many berries that I felt unable to prune it back when I gardened on Monday and I left the fruits for the birds.
My quiz team entered a different quiz yesterday at Café du Centre in St Mayeux.  It was a different format from our normal quiz.   Instead of the €5 euros we pay at St Gilles Vieux Marché which includes a one plate meal, we paid €6 for the evening and one course.  The large portion of fried chicken and chips went down well and our team came second so it was a good evening.   We are hopeless at sport questions and there were only five as opposed to the usual eight at St Gilles Vieux Marché so it looked more promising than our usual quiz.
Three things I like:
1.   Having a call from an estate agent to say that there had been two offers on the house I am selling in Cornwall.
2.   Receiving several invitations for Christmas from friends here in Brittany as none of the children are coming over this year.
3.   Finding that spinach seeds I sowed only eight weeks ago had produced enough leaves to have  with my pork chop, onions and mushrooms for supper tonight.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gaining an hour, Raves and Foraging

So much for looking forward to an extra hour of sleep as the clocks went back bringing lighter mornings and earlier dusks.  A rave started yesterday evening and is still going strong now.  The music – I use the term loosely – seems to be mostly base belting out building shaking sound over and over and over and over.  Thank goodness I have a very good pair of earplugs so I did get some sleep.  It’s now I’m awake again that I am thoroughly fed up with the intrusion into my usually peaceful life here.   

Yesterday, across the lane, a holiday home was opened up for a four day visit by the owner and three friends expecting a quiet stay in our rural idyll.  Fat chance.  I feel like a grumpy old woman but the rave is almost certainly kilometres away from here and what it must be like for people living close to the action I can only pityingly imagine.

We are also battened down against the storm which is expected to arrive this evening from the Atlantic.  Meteorologists are comparing it to the 1987 storm which did so much damage to buildings and destroyed thousands and thousands of trees.  I have stacked the garden furniture as well as I can and am hoping that the weather forecasters are being overly pessimistic in their predictions so that they are not caught out as they were twenty-six years ago.   Brittany Ferries diverted from Roscoff to Brest on Saturday and have cancelled their boats between Roscoff and Plymouth for both today and tomorrow.  A friend travelled over on Tuesday night last in very stormy conditions and did not enjoy his trip at all.

I have been out foraging and have collected nearly two kilos of good-sized sweet chestnuts in my lane.  I love them roasted and/or boiled, but I especially love them with my fried streaky breakfast bacon. 

Yesterday I made nine bottles of tomato sauce with just some of the surfeit of tomatoes I have in my polytunnel. 
In fact I had a cookery filled day and handmade bread and rolls and used up very ripe bananas in a banana cake/loaf.  
My son, Oliver, had a work accident and had a displaced fracture of his little finger on his right hand. 
The hospital been put it back to the correct position and he has a sort of guard on it now to protect it while it heals.  It makes me feel funny inside to look at this photograph.

Mia has been with us for three months now, it hardly seems possible, time is going so fast.  Here is their little family together the week before and a new one of Mia herself.

Three things I like:

1.   The gorgeous smell of my lovely loaf, with a mixture of seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed - baking in the oven.
2.   Having a very long lunch at the home of friends who are disappearing back to Cyprus for the winter.
3.   Coming home with a bottle of Bordeaux after my team won the pub quiz last Wednesday.