Tuesday, 8 June 2010
SECOND REPORT (STILL FROM UK)
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!!!