Thursday, 30 June 2016

Life is just a bowl of cherries





I was reclining on my lounger and reading my book on the terrace this afternoon when I got buzzed by a helicopter.  It wasn’t the paparazzi or the guy from Milk Tray but the EDF helicopter checking the electric wires.  I’m currently reading George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighteen-Four; there are so many classic books that I haven’t read so I’m trying to make up for it in my old age. 



This morning we rode thirty eight kilometres.  It was a nice leisurely pace because Paul had to keep stopping to pump his front tyre, he had a slow puncture.  When we got home he mentioned that we hadn’t had a game of table tennis for a couple of years.  Give me a break!  Anyone would think we’re training for a triathlon – he’ll be wanting me to do a few lengths of the swimming pool next.  (Good job we haven’t got a pool.)



The courgettes have started to go mad in the garden so tonight I am cooking courgette carbonara.  Easy to do and not much washing up.  For dessert we have a bowl of cherries, scrumped earlier today from Philippe’s trees.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

The haymaking was very late this year.  Richard, the farmer, is now semi-retired and no longer grows tobacco and sunflowers in the fields adjoining our property.  There is a big farming enterprise nearby and they come with their state of the art tractors and cut the fields and take away the hay.  They also cut Philippe's field for him.  There is another field at the side of our garden that is owned by another retired farmer in the hamlet.  He just cuts the grass once a year and leaves it.  I understand that he receives a payment from the EU for leaving the field fallow.


 A wet spring and the grass just keeps growing...

 
At last the boys and their big tractor arrive to cut the hay. 


 The hay field is almost hidden by the vines.


In no time at all the hay is turned with the tractor's spinning spiky thing. Twenty four hours later another machine comes along and swallows the hay before giving birth to giant bales, carefully positioned so that they don't roll down the hill.



All done.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

French Doors


Yes, I have a door fetish...








I took these photographs on a visit to Bonnieux in Provence.  We walked up a narrow cobbled street of old stone buildings and I couldn't resist these wonderful wooden doors.

 

Monday, 27 June 2016

No Politics

This is my new dishwasher...



Our dishwasher finally got the boot as it was only working when it felt like it.  I couldn't bear the suspense anymore.  It was three years old, a fairly expensive model and had already been repaired once under its two year guarantee.  Nothing is built to last very long these days no matter how much you pay. 

The television is also on the blink.  It's over ten years old so I guess that's excusable. 
 .................

We went for our daily cycle ride this morning.  I wanted to follow some new cycle route signs that have sprung up recently.

"Not a good idea."
"Why not?"
"We don't know where the route goes."
"We follow the signs - that's part of the fun, a magical mystery tour."
"You don't know how far the route is, it might be eighty kilometres or more."
"Is that a no then?"
"And serious cyclists love really steep hills."
"That's a no then."


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Bat in a Bay Tree




Bat in a bay tree
 

I’ve just been sweeping bat poo off the steps.  That’s the problem when you share your house with critters.  The bats are currently roosting above the entrance door at the top of the steps and making a bit of a mess.  Usually they take up residence behind the shutters and are easy to move on.  I once found a baby bat crawling across the bedroom floor early one morning.  We managed to move it back to a window ledge and the mother immediately flew in and covered her young.  They stayed on the window ledge behind the shutter all day but were gone by nightfall.




Earlier I went for a wander around the garden.  Monique’s triffid has grown even taller.  It’s Mullein and grows everywhere round here like a weed but this one really is a very impressive specimen.  I almost fell over a sheep’s skull, it lay on the grass grinning at me.  I expect it was deposited there by one of Philippe’s dogs.





I took a snap of my folly only to discover afterwards it had been photo bombed by a manically smiling husband.  He was taking the postbox down to give it a new coat of paint.







The fernery is looking very healthy, I think the plants like the warm, humid air.






Can't go without giving these little guys a mention.  Wonder when they will turn blue. 


Saturday, 25 June 2016

Buddy








Let me introduce you to Buddy.  He is my daughter’s dog and the nearest I get to having a grandchild.  Sarah and Andy live in Sydney and adopted Buddy from a dog rescue centre a year ago.  He has a malformed front leg but gets around just fine.  Apparently he loves camping and going to the beach.  I am going to meet him when we go over to Oz in September.  Paul and I will be on dog sitting duty while Sarah and Andy go off to India for three weeks.  I’m going to spoil him rotten.

(Paul is on cooking duties today.  He did a poached egg and lardon salad for lunch and I got into trouble for dipping my bread into the lardon pan.  Wicked!  Tonight he is cooking a paella.  I love weekends.)


Sarah and Buddy


Friday, 24 June 2016

Weaver's Salad

I made Weaver's pink chickpea salad today using onion, beetroot and herbs from the garden.  It was simple to do and refreshing to eat on a very warm day.



Feeling a little despondent today after the Brexit victory.  From a personal point of view our long summers in France may become a thing of the past.


And just to make matters worse the dishwasher has just broken down. Bah!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Nostalgia



 
Baystone Bridge

I was surprised that I recognised this little bridge when it popped up on my computer recently but I was instantly transported back to the small Sussex village where I spent my early childhood in the 1960’s.   
 
Memories of jam jars and fishing for tiddlers and sticklebacks, mud fights with other village kids, climbing the big tree with branches that hung out over the river, hiding behind the anti-tank blocks of concrete (visible in the photo), the dank smell of the water and pungent odour of wild garlic.  Tucking our dresses into our knickers or rolling up trousers and paddling in the river.  The bridge was in far better condition back in my childhood.  We used to cycle there from the village, past the old army camp, through the farmyard, past the old mill pond and along a muddy track until we came to Baystone Bridge crossing the River Arun.  Those were the days when we had incredible freedom to roam around and explore the countryside just as long as we were home in time for tea.

 Most of the fields and woods around the village where we used to play have been eaten up by extensive housing estates so it’s wonderful to see that this special little memory of my childhood still exists, almost unchanged.