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, May 2, 2014

Flowers and Landscape

Everything is growing like mad in the polytunnel and I can't wait for the three last frost days to come and go so that I can plant everything outside.  In France, there are three Ice Saints, St Mamert, St Pancrace and St Servais whose days are celebrated each year on the 11, 12 and 13 May.  Each saint protects the crops on their particular day from frost and these three days are thought to be the last few days when frost is still possible.
I spent part of this morning finishing off planting up the blue ceramic pots which I use each year on the terrace and on the drive by the entrance door. 
In another couple of weeks they will have filled out nicely with the heat in the polytunnel and regular watering and I'll drive them down to the garden.  I've also been planting and stringing up tomato plants in the tunnel.  It's getting quite busy in there now.
Each time I walk round to Rainbow Cottages in the garden I pass the wisteria on the wall of the utility house.  The blooms are beautiful and the scent, absolutely delicious.

The pergola is covered in Clematis montana at the moment, with wisteria and a passion flower in bud.

This lilac is across the lane in my neighbour's boundary hedge

and the iris is in the garden of my neighbours on the corner by the calvaire.  Every year they have a wonderful display of flags and this is one of the first.

I had lunch today with a friend of my son, Matthew, who was in the area for a few days.
We went to the Auberge de Guerledan at Caurel.  As usual the meal was lovely and the service friendly.  It's very popular there and booking is definitely needed.  I'd been home about an hour when the owner 'phoned to tell me I'd managed to leave my wallet on the floor by our table.  Luckily, my special friend is passing near tomorrow and will pick it up for me.
On the way home I had to stop and take a photo of this view which hardly looked like a landscape.
The wider view showed it like this

I love the look of oil seed rape, the bright yellow fields looking even more stunning when the skies are dull with rain.  The stripy field is formed by the sowing of maize under polythene which biodegrades as the corn grows through it.
In the lane we now have bluebells in bloom and

red campion too.
Here, Ruby, Boris and Bert are tucking into their carrot supper yesterday evening. 
Three things I like:

1.   Seeing all the bright green clothing the lanes now that Spring is in full swing.
2.   Knowing someone cares for me.
3.   Collecting more eggs each day as the daylight hours lengthen.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Grand Day Out in Locronan

Woke up to a foggy day on Tuesday but it soon burnt off and turned out to be a lovely day.  I was driven to Locronan, in Finistère.  A lovely small town built at the foot of a hill. It was granted town status in 1505 by Anne of Brittany, who went there on a pilgrimage. Locronan’s parish church of St. Ronan dates from 1424 having been built on the site of the original oratory which was built in 1031. 
To the right of the church is the Chapel of Penity, built in 1480, where the effigy of the patron saints Ronan, is housed.
The sun coming through the stained glass widows cast wonderful colours on the stone floor in there.
I took many photos of architectural details - here are some of them:
 Reflections on the stone floor and a reed seated chair from the sun streaming through the stained glass windows.
The buildings were fascinating and the shops very tempting.  I bought a ceramic pot for paté in the shape of a duck to add to my already too large collection, a pair of pink dangly earrings and a bag of dark chocolate goodies.   There was a really good variety of artisan shops selling everything from glass, wool, ceramics, biscuits, jewellery etc. etc. 
We then drove to the coast as I wanted to walk on a beach.  It seemed ages since I'd done that and it was such a beautiful day.
We headed towards Douarnenez via Kerlaz and found a long beach with tiny waves of shallow water warming on the sun heated sand.  I turned up my jeans and paddled in the salty water.  It was lovely and not at all cold.
There were three vans with trailers on the beach and they had been gathering shell fish - tiny shellfish for sale to Spain and Portugal.  Their harvesting was restricted to three hours at high and at low tide and carefully controlled to preserve the stocks.
There were lovely patterns in the sand where the water had been running onto the beach and our shadows were there too. 
A grand day out!
Three things I like:
1.   Spending the day in a lovely place and then paddling in the sea.
2.   Lunching in the sunshine with a good book.
3.   Walking on the beach holding hands.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Poorly Claude, a recovered swallow, clearing veggie beds and the studio

It's been a busy time here in St André since my last post.  My first guests of the year, German doctors living and working in Devon, arrived to stay in Middle Cottage, with their two delightful small boys.   I do like having people here, it reminds me of my B&B in Cornwall where there were always new conversations to have with people from all walks of life.
Gardening has occupied me too.  I've finally managed to clear the polytunnel of the weeds which had grown since the last blitz I carried out.  I love it when there's bare earth waiting to receive new plants.  The salad leaves which had self-seeded and which I transplanted neatly into their new beds hve grown tremendously. 
Most days I pick a big handful of salad both for me and for my neighbours.
I just pick one or two leaves from each plant and that way it keeps on growing and supplying me for months with fresh green and red salad.
The rhubarb is performing well too and I've had spinach from the veggie patch too this week.
Wednesday lunch was a meal in a Chinese restaurant, Lanterne Rouge in Pontivy with my special friend.  (This isn't my photo - it's off the internet.)  Although I have eaten there before, as we've had our Writers' Group Christmastime lunch there for the last two years, I hadn't had Chinese for ages and it was lovely.  
As there isn't a Chinese near to me here in St André, I usually make a point of eating Chinese when back to Cornwall but hadn't done on this last visit.  It was absolutely bucketing down with rain when we arrived in Pontivy and everyone was having to make a dash from their cars to the porch door of the restaurant to avoid getting soaked. 
The weather has been very mixed this week with hail, rain and also wonderful hot sunshine when the clouds disappeared and I got quite a colour one afternoon lying out in it when I fell asleep when intending to read. 
On Wednesday afternoon Claude brought in a swallow.  Luckily, it was not injured and after a brief cuddle from me he flew off happily.
In the evening Claude was not at all well.  He was very cold, except for his head, breathing rapidly, not eating or drinking, very lethargic and making a strange noise.  I stayed up all night with him, getting just a little sleep while on the sofa.  I managed to get a 0900hrs appointment for the following morning at the Vet.  His temperature was very high at 40°C and, having listened to him and examined him thoroughly, the Vet announced that he had a bronchial infection.  After two injections, one of antibiotic and one of cortisone I brought him back home with two different tablets to be administered over the following five days  He was very poorly but has now recovered thank goodness. 
Gracie gave him a lot of love while he was not well and seemed to understand just what he needed.
A very dear friend, Kathy, currently in the UK, has had a double heart bypass and I am keeping my fingers crossed that she  is healing well and will be feeling much better soon. 
I needed a ruthless friend to help me sort and clear the studio.  Jackie came over and whittled down the contents making some sort of order in the area.  So that I couldn't retrieve any of the numerous full-to-bursting black sacks and empty boxes they were put into a trailer and taken to the tip within the hour.  It's so good to be able to walk in there now and see the floor!  Why is it impossible to do this myself?  Why do I need someone being firm with me to get rid of junk?  My father was a hoarder so perhaps it is hereditary ...   Being a glutton for punishment, Jackie has agreed to return and do other areas too - what a good friend!
Some of the utility area was sorted by my cleaner when she was here doing the changeover on Middle Cottage.  I ended up with two grocery boxes full of empty glass jars with lids which I advertised on our local expat website.  Someone I knew answered and she came over and collected them for homemade preserves also taking home with her the two cockerels born in September, who were beginning to get Spring in their steps and were constantly hitting on the hens and fighting with each other.   I also managed to get her to take the latest pile of magazines I had read - result!  The empty boxes, which had held the jars, I put in front of the woodburner and they were soon filled again.
Today I had lunch at Bon Repos with two friends.  I had a perfectly cooked entrecote "bleu" - just shown the pan - and it was lovely served with mixed, dressed salad and chips.  None of us wanted pudding and as it was a really cold morning we had hot chocolate instead.   We went on afterwards to a Single Mingle in Mur de Bretagne, where I sold all my eggs, and after that I drove on to buy a load cover for the Discovery which had been advertised on the same expat website where I offered the jars.
The little singleton chick born last week is doing well and is definitely going to be a bantam as she's hardly changed size and is very small still and very sweet!
Three things I like:
1.   Seeing the veggie seedlings growing so fast both in the outside raised beds and in the polytunnel.
2.   Watching a video of my gorgeous granddaughter, Mia, waving and sort-of-saying "Hello!"
3.   Catching up with Jackie who I hadn't seen for ages.