29 October 2017

Fog and Fika

This morning we woke up to a house enveloped in cold, white fog.  I was faced with a dense whiteness from every window of the house.  The fog has lifted slightly but it is still very cold and grey outside, it’s a day for log fires and staying indoors.  Everyone has lit their fires and there is a strong smell of wood smoke lingering over the hamlet.  Actually I’m assuming that fact because I haven’t even stepped outdoors yet (Paul did the early morning dog walk) but I can see the smoke rising from all the chimneys.

We made coffee and grabbed some rock buns, then snuggled down in front of the fire to watch Jordscott, a Swedish drama about murder, mystery and evil in the forests – a bit of Nordic Noir.  The sub titles are not a problem for me as I always have them on anyway.  It was an indulgent way to spend the morning and the cold fog outside just added to the Nordic atmosphere.  (Fika – Swedish coffee and cake break)

28 October 2017


Diane the Dawg came too
Another perfect day for a stroll in the woods.  There are so many trails to discover.

tree monster
dog monster

a splash of colour

half buried log trailer
mushrooms growing on a tree stump

27 October 2017

Experimenting with Peanut Butter

The salad stuff has just about finished in the garden now so today we had tomato and lentil soup with some crusty French bread for lunch.  I don’t know about you but if I eat too much bread at lunch time I feel a bit bleugh  afterwards.  I pigged out today and sure enough I felt bleugh.  Of course it may have been due to the second glass of red wine.  After eating we watched Bargain Hunt and I fell asleep during the auction which is the best part of the programme.

This afternoon I started clearing out my cupboards and I discovered a half empty jar of peanut butter (left over from the girls’ visit) and some cooking chocolate.  I found a recipe for some cookies so I added the chocolate, some extra peanuts, sugar and one egg and hey presto made some peanut butter cookies.  Needless to say they look nothing like the ones in the recipe.

They don't look anything like the ones in the recipe photo

26 October 2017

Subtle Changes

I’ve started to notice that things are changing round here and I don’t just mean the leaves on the trees are falling.  Yesterday morning I noticed that the garden bench was missing, and surely the ping pong table has disappeared too.  Earlier I went to pick some tomatoes from the potager and I was met with newly rotovated earth, no tomatoes.  Paul has started his ‘shutting up the house’ procedure, he likes to be well prepared and not leave things until the last minute.

This morning he pruned the roses right back from the barn wall and this evening I see that the solar lights and garden lantern have also disappeared.  And the parasol.  Crikey, we’re not off until next weekend!

24 October 2017

I'm going to miss this

setting off through the hamlet
I took my camera with me on Rick’s walk to try and capture the beauty of the chestnut woods in the afternoon sunlight.  Put your walking boots on and come with me...

walking through the chestnut groves

plenty of chestnuts underfoot


Paul and Rick negotiating a muddy patch

Where have all the trees gone?

chestnut logs waiting to be collected

I'm going to miss these walks while we are away in the winter.  The chalk hills of Wiltshire don't have the same sort of beauty for me as this French countryside.

22 October 2017

Fête de la Châtaigne

The chestnut weekend is an important event in the local town’s annual programme of festivities.  Market stalls, giant mushroom omelette and a chestnut spitting competition are just some of the delights on offer at the Fête de la Châtaigne. Sadly it was rather damp and dismal yesterday as it rained for most of the day so we gave the chestnut attractions a miss.

As we were pulling on our wellington boots in the afternoon to take Rick out, a group of walkers, part of the weekend’s organised tour of the chestnut woods, appeared (I’ve mentioned before that there is a right of way through our property).  We waited until they had disappeared from sight before we set off.  Rick’s canine groupies, Diane and Joy, trotted along with us.  As we walked through the chestnut woods we suddenly caught up with the tour; they were standing in a group listening to a lecture about the chestnut tree.  We didn’t really want to join them (unsociable bastards that we are) so we stayed back and hid among the trees.  The dogs looked at us as if we were mad.  Eventually they moved on so we followed, knowing that we could veer off on to another track through the woods to avoid them.  Unfortunately they had only gone a few hundred yards before they stopped for another talk.  How much is there to say about a chestnut tree?  A lot apparently.  It had started to rain again so we turned round and headed back home.

After we had walked by the lake of doom (Rick’s favourite place) we let him off his leash.  He immediately set off like a rocket, running with Joy around the farmer’s fields.  They charged off up the hill towards our house and disappeared from sight.  Would we ever see him again?  We climbed the hill as quickly as we could in the pouring rain and as we approached our garden, completely out of breath, there he was, wagging his tail and waiting for us to open the gate.

It felt very chilly and autumnal last night. Paul lit the wood burner and we had a delightful evening eating roasted chestnuts while Rick stretched out in front of the fire and gave off a wonderful odour of wet dog.