Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Well, after my first posting I think I have really got the bug for writing in my blog - so here goes with the next chapter!
As I said before, cooking and eating are very important to me so here is a photo of my dining room. We like to sit there in the cooler evenings and chatter about this and that but, if the weather is good then we sit outdoors to eat (BBQs are very popular with us) and enjoy the surrounding countryside (see photo above) and listen to the birds twittering in the garden. We like to watch the sun go down and see the bats slowly emerging from their hideouts flying round and round the house and garden in search of insects. Wonderful sight and it never fails to make me smile.
Our nearest neighbour is about half a kilometre down the country lane that runs outside the house. Strange to say, although we live in the quiet countryside of Brittany there is very little wild life to be seen. Oh, it is probably there but you just hardly ever see it!
Ian and I walk the dog every day, choosing a different route every time and usually passing through the nearby woods. During that time we have spotted the odd red squirrel, a couple of deer, a few hares and the odd rabbit. Nothing much else seems to be around although we know there is a fox which crosses our garden every morning and our dog goes mad sometimes at night barking away at some creature or other which passes through in the dark of night. Of course, we have dozens of birds: wrens, blue tits, robins, swifts, pigeons, and woodpeckers to name just a few. And the dawn chorus is a delight to listen to first thing in the morning. Because of our remote location we get lots of birds nesting in the trees around us and it's lovely to watch the babies when they are fledged, knowing that some of them will return the following year to start the cycle all over again. Love it!!
At the side of our BBQ area in the garden there is (or was) a large rhododendrum which attracted the odd nesting bird. One year two pigeons took up residence to raise their family. It was hilarious really - Ian and I would duly light the BBQ, put the food on to cook and the pigeons would decide on a change of shift for sitting on the eggs. One pigeon would enter the rhododendrum from the back and ease its way onto the nest and the one on the nest would ease its way forward onto a branch which jutted out from the bush right over our BBQ. Now, I have to say, pigeons are ungainly birds and it really was an effort for each bird to launch itself off the branch. They would flap their wings, launch themselves into the air and dramatically drop a little before rising up again! Ian and I would duck every single time because we were in danger of being be-headed by a flying pigeon! The pigeons, in turn, would have a panic stricken look in their eyes on launching wondering if they would end up on the BBQ or land on our table!! I think we were all relieved when the babies actually hatched and took flight away from the rhododendrum!! Funny thing is, since that time we have never had another pigeon in the bush!
The rhododendrum has been drastically cut back this year as it was over 4 metres high and totally blocking out the view across the countryside from the lounge. I am not sorry about the cutting back although Ian thinks it is a crime. I want the bush totally out but Ian has come up with the idea of chopping it down and leaving a stump about a metre in height. He would then turn the stump into a bird table which I think is a wonderful idea. I am still trying to persuade him that this is the way to go and, hopefully, I will succeed. The trouble with the rhododendrum is that the previous owners of our property didn't encourage it to bush out but let it grow tall - to try and reduce the height later in its life is not at all a good idea. So, maybe the bird table idea will win out. Hope so.
I have been busy with my packing all weekend trying to get as much together as I can for when I depart for Brittany at the end of July. I got quite a lot done really and was so pleased with myself. I had intended to go to the Spanish Fiesta on Regent Street on Sunday but changed my mind because the weather was hot and sticky. Didn't fancy mingling with all the crowds on such a muggy day. Stayed in and did some sorting out of my clothes, shoes, etc instead. Funny how I can have an amazing amount of clothes and shoes in Brittany and still have as many here in the UK! I see a boot sale coming on soon after arriving in France!
On our last night in the UK, Ian and I are treating ourselves to a night at a restaurant called Moonrakers. It is situated just outside Eastbourne on the south coast and I first heard about it on the Hairy Bikers' Tour of Britain programme (I think that was the one!!) and have since read a really good review on the restaurant. Anyway, Moonrakers have accommodation if required and we thought that would be a great idea on our last night to stay somewhere nice, park the van, pocket the keys and have a meal. So, that's exactly what we are going to do! The next day, after breakfast at the restaurant, we will trundle off via the coast to Portsmouth with our loaded van to get the ferry to St Malo for our trip home. Isn't "home" a wonderful word? When the PC is eventually up and running in France I will do a review of our meal at Moonrakers.
Well, that's the second instalment over and I hope you stick with me for future readings!!!
Friday, 4 June 2010
Hello everyone - all those that know me and those that don't!! And welcome to my new blog.
Now, a little bit about me.
I am currently living in the UK but retiring, at long last, to my home in Brittany - a photo of which you can see above together with a photo of my kitchen (very very important in my life). Very early on you may well gather that one of my passions in life is cooking. But more about that later as well.
I actually retire on July 28 of this year and my hubbie, Ian (about who I will talk about later) is coming over to the UK with his trusty van to pick me up together with my clothes and all sorts of stuff that I have collected over the past year - needless to say, dozens of cookery books!! We actually get into Brittany (St Malo) the morning of August 1 and what a celebration we will have that day. My brother and his wife are travelling over with us as they have never seen our house before, nor have they ever set foot outside the UK. They are in for a real treat. I hope the weather will be good at that time because we intend to have lots of BBQs.
Much of this blog will be taken over eventually by recipes, photos of food I have prepared and eaten, photos of my beloved Brittany and much, much more so, for non-food lovers, I hope I can find other things of interest to keep you logging in!
My husband, Ian, has been living in our current home for about 6 years, and we previously had a house just a mile down the road from this one - Ian renovated both houses to a great standard and we are both very pleased with the results! The original house we had, and which we purchased in 1997, is a mill, known locally as Le Petit Moulin. It was a lovely house complete with trout stream but we found out in our own good time that the sun never shone on the back garden, that there was always a pervading sense of dampness around the house and we always had to have the lights on, even in the summer, because the trees surrounding the house blocked out the light. Of course, we should have realised all of this before we bought the house but we simply fell in love with it. By chance, the house on the top of the hill became vacant and, hey presto, we decided to buy it and we started the renovations all over again! Needless to say, we truly believe it was all worth it and just meant to be. But, moving just one mile up the hill took us from one commune into another one and some of our French friends shook their heads in despair. They thought we were totally disloyal to them but all was forgiven after a few glasses of vino!!
It has been a struggle for me travelling backwards and forwards to Brittany leaving my husband and dogs behind and being thoroughly miserable but the time has now come to lay down my PC (for work that is!!) and join Ian and the one remaining dog at home in France. (We had two dogs, but the one in the photo above sadly passed away at Easter this year).
I am starting this blog now before I depart for Brittany as I want to have it up and running before I arrive so that I can update continuously about my progess. It is going to be the start of a new way of life for me and, quite honestly, I just can't wait!!