Grape Hyacinths - Muscari

Grape Hyacinths - Muscari
A sea of blue

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, April 3, 2014

La Boissière and flowers in the lane

On Tuesday evening, with a friend, I visited a restaurant I had not been to before.  We had been going to a different place but on arrival found it closed so drove on to La Boissière in Guingamp.  On the Tréguier road we drove off up a steep drive into a wooded garden and having parked walked round to the front door. 
It was 1940 hrs and we were welcomed by Véronique Monfort who showed us to our table in the empty, but well-appointed dining room.   Her friendly service made the meal even more enjoyable.   Within the following half hour two more couples arrived. 
Thomas Monfort is the chef who presented us with such delicious  food.  The photos have all been taken from the internet as I forgot to take my camera.
The whole evening was enjoyable and I would definitely recommend La Boissière to anyone looking for a very good meal in very pleasant surroundings.  It was not a cheap evening and I would like to go back to try their set lunch menu, which is obviously quite different but much more reasonable. 
Last night was the every 6-8 weeks quiz at St Gilles Vieux Marché.  Our team came second as we often do, although we have won once in the last six months.  We fall down on the sport questions as none of us has any knowledge of sport so have to work particularly hard at the rest of the quiz.  It's always good meeting up with people we haven't seen for a while and having an enjoyable evening.  
The little white bantam is continuing to sit on eggs in the feed sack so I hope that eventually we may have some little chicks.
Myosotis, forget-me-nots, are covering the ground everywhere at the moment and the wallflowers in my neighbour's garden scent the whole area.
This is a little bank beside the bread oven in the lane, studded with primroses, muscari and speedwell. 
The sunshine attracts not only me to the garden, but all three cats as well who want to get in on the act of sunbathing.  Although it has not been very hot this week, we have had 18°C in the shade and, without a breeze, it has been very acceptable out there.  Luckily we seem to have escaped the pollution that has been affecting much of the European mainland and the UK.

 Here is our calvaire with muscari, grape hyacinths, at its base.
The sunshine is out again and I'm just off up the lane to collect today's eggs.  The hens are all laying well at the moment and I'm getting duck eggs too.  This morning I clipped one wing on each of the six week old chicks so that I will be able to put them into an open run in the next week or so.
I was posting letters in the local village this morning when Virginie from the local bar/restaurant came out and asked if I could give her some of the poppy seed from the flowers which grow amongst my vegetables.  I am so happy when someone French asks me for something as I feel that I have been accepted here in my little bit of heaven.  I drove home, poured some saved seed into a glass jar and popped straight back to the bar to give it Jerome, her husband. 

I've just found out that a dear friend, Kathy, is going to have a heart by-pass in the UK as soon as possible.  She has been ill for for a while now but they have only just correctly diagnosed her.  My fingers are firmly crossed for her operation and good recovery and I can't wait to give her a big hug when she gets back to Brittany again. 

This was the beautiful sunset tonight looking from my field.

Three things I like:
1.   Hearing that my very good friend, Heather, has got her latest all clear from cancer.
2.   Searching for recipes for the duck legs I have in the fridge and finding a tempting one.
3.   My life here in Brittany.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mothers' Day, rhubarb and chicks

It's a beautiful blue sky day for Mothers' Day.

My chest infection finally seems to be coming to an end and I am coughing less and sleeping more.  However, yesterday was a difficult day with an allergic reaction to pollen.  I was not alone.  On one of the forums I belong to there were lots of people complaining about the same symptoms I had, streaming eyes, runny nose, sneezing etc. etc.  The general consensus was that it was the oil seed rape which is in full flower here.  I'm not sure about that as it doesn't normally affect me but something certainly did.   The lanes are clothed in white as the blackthorn blossom blooms. 
and the gorse is still flowering by the calvaire. 
In St Nicolas du Pélem, there are three magnolias by the town hall and the blossom is beautiful against the March blue sky.
In the morning yesterday, I drove out to collect some books and some empty Bon Maman jam jars.  I was passing close to friends so called them and went over to spend some time chatting in the garden and have lunch outside in the sunshine. 
It was good to catch up with their news and have a long drive in my new-to-me vehicle.
The Discovery has one of those little blue stickers of a Breton person on the back.  I think there's a name for it but I can't remember what it is.

 I thought I had lost my little white bantam to a fox, but last weekend I realised she had been in the barn all the time, sitting on eggs in the top of a full feed sack stacked at the side of the building.  
She was sitting on 7 little white eggs - hers, and 4 brown eggs.  However, on Friday I found a black hen in the top of the feed bag with the little white bantam very upset and noisy on the ground.  The black hen was eating the eggs and had albumen and yolk dripping from her beak.  She has been despatched as there is no way I can keep an egg-eating hen.  The little white bantam was back on the reduced number of eggs, which are increasing each day with brown ones so obviously other hens are just going into the sack to lay and go.  We shall see if she manages to hatch any of them. 
The chicks born 5-6 weeks ago are getting big now and enjoying their practice flights in the run within the rabbit area.  When I get back from my trip to Cornwall I'll put them up on the field with the other birds.
My granddaughter, Mia, is getting into good habits with her toothbrush for when she has something to brush!
She was eight months on Thursday last week and this photo was taken that day.
On the verge between me and my neighbours there are lots of primroses and some grape hyacinths. 
In their garden they have tulips which are a wonderful colour, I just love them.
They have planted along the front of the house abandoned by my neighbour but one of the plants coming up was not sown by them but presumably by a bird, a gorgeous scented wallflower.

The rhubarb up on the veggie patch is doing so well, and I've been pulling stalks for the last couple of weeks.  These were for my Breton neighbour, who's granddaughter, Jeanne, loves rhubarb.
There's nothing like a rhubarb crumble with a little ginger in it, bathed in custard, to finish off a meal.
The vine is now shooting.  In four years it has travelled metres along the walls of the cottages and will continue this year I hope, producing lots of sweet white grapes on the way.

 I dropped the flowerpot I was carrying the collected eggs in and although they weren't smashed, just dented badly, I had to use them straightaway.  I can't resist eating these and although I made them only yesterday afternoon there are only two left.

Mothers' Day came to a climax at 17.20hrs when I was Skyped by my three children, Matthew, Libby and Olly, Olly's partner, Emma, and my two grandchildren, Charlie and Mia.  What a lovely day!

Three things I like:

1.   My Mothers' Day cards from Emma, Olly and Mia.
2.   Lying in the sun this morning finishing my Book Group book for tomorrow's meeting.
3.   Believing I am finally saying goodbye to this persistent chest infection.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First day of Spring and everything's growing

I am not a well woman.  I've had a cold and chest infection since Tuesday last week and feel tired and feeble.  If I could stop coughing I might be able to get some sleep but although the antibiotics have made me feel better in myself, I am by no means well. I visited the doctor twice last week as things got worse and ended up with six lots of medicine - a statutory three items per visit in France!  OK - moan over.

While I'm looking at my worst a friend nominated me for a "no make-up selfie" in support of cancer research - not that I wear any usually except for lippie, but do feel I need lippie at the moment!


However, if anything was designed to make me perk up it is the profusion of spring blooms in mine and my neighbour's garden and the lane. 


Yesterday saw me saying goodbye to my old Discovery which I had bought from my roofer back in September 2006.  It had done 243,000+ miles, 50,000 driven by me, and has been a good friend.  However, it had started leaking badly and if I didn't drive it every day it needed jump starting.  Once going it went on forever and I was sad to see it go. 

After much thought about what might replace both the Peugeot 307cc and the Discovery, I saw an advert for a younger Discovery and went for that.  Here she is in the road by Bon Repos Abbey where I went for a beer in the sunshine and then lunch on Tuesday. 

There was a group of French school children on a trip out who had just settled down to eat their lunchtime filled baguettes on the area by the Nantes/Brest canal - very well behaved.

The coping stones along the top of the bridge wall are linked - a little like a jigsaw puzzle.  I don't ever remember seeing coping done like this before.

The weir water was still rushing over.  There is still so much water draining off the land.

The skies have had unusual cloud patterns this week but we had no rain for about nine days, so lovely after the wet months before.   I love this stripy sky.

The polytunnel has been waiting for its cover and yesterday, while it was sunny and little wind, seemed the ideal time to replace it.   Here are the before and after photos.  I have already got self-seeded lettuce growing in there which I have transplanted to serried rows in the raised bed I wanted it in.  The new metre square cold frames are housing seeds which I planted before the cover was put on and which needed protection.  I am pleased with these cold frames which were on promotion in the local supermarket. 
And finally the cover is on  - long may it last!

Three things I like:

1.   Drying my washing on the garden line in the sunshine.
2.   Getting the first two blue eggs from my Araucana hens.
3.   Driving a vehicle which has dry seats.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunshine - hard to believe - but yes, sunshine!

Wednesday was our first sun-filled day for so long, so I took advantage of it and cleared all of the area in and around the polytunnel frame so that it will be ready for the new cover to go on once my worker returns from his visit to the UK.  The trailer is now full of rubbish to go to the déchetterie.   
Below are the blue ceramic pots I use on my terrace, empty and waiting for the warmer weather to establish before I get them planted up.
The following day it was also gorgeous weather so I worked on the veggie area most of the day in the beautiful sunshine.  I planted just nine potatoes which had sprouted in my veggie rack and sowed loads of seeds.   I sowed carrot, peas, beetroot, perpetual spinach, turnip and everlasting bunching onions straight into the ground and then globe artichokes, butternut squash, Moneymaker tomatoes, Gardener’s Delight tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes into seed trays.  I planted a bag of onion sets and dug and weeded all the raised beds through except two. 
I found this wonderful small handtool at SuperU a couple of months ago.  It has two ends, one like a baby mattock and one of three tines.  This isn't a photo of mine, but it's virtually the same.  With this miracle tool,  I sped through the beds like I never have before.  If only I'd started my gardening life with one.
A French couple walking in the lane wandered into my animal/veggie area, they were doing a long walk in the sunshine.  They lived up in the north of Brittany, he worked in agricultural  polytunnels and we stood in the sunshine chatting for about 40 minutes about hens, goats and veggies.  The man described the wonderful computerised set up he has at work for heating, watering etc – my eyes were green as he talked.
Today the temperature reached 22.7°C in the shade on the terrace.  I wasn't in the shade, needless to say, but seriously sunbathing in swimsuit and listening to two weeks of The Archers recorded pocasts - bliss. 
The cats frequently sit beside me while I'm in the garden - here they are on the gravel next to me.  I read almost to the end of my current book - this has been a perfect day for me.  
The chicks enjoyed their first day outside as it was so warm.  I put them in the rabbit are on the grass in a small run 2m x 1m and they loved it. 
They are not yet three weeks old but were doing test flights and generally running about, pecking and scratching the ground.  I brought them in once the sun started losing its heat and they'll spend the night in the brooder as usual.
The rabbits seem quite interested in the chicks and I think they enjoy having something different to entertain them when they are not resting - Bert and his dad, Boris.
As I walk up the lane towards the calvaire the song thrush is singing his heart out at the top of a tree.  The song is so beautiful I often stand still and just listen for several minutes.

The bergenia is blooming next to the staddlestone and looks lovely.
Three things I like:
1.   I found my Drizabone hat which had gone missing for 16 days – yippee!
2.   The virtuous feeling due to working hard all day and getting lots of stuff done.
3.   Listening to my thrush in the lane singing his song.