On Cold & Beautiful Morning ….. Wednesday, Feb 18 2015 


It’s a stunningly beautiful frosty morning & sun just rising behind the house .
Yesterday I gave the grass its first cut of the year,swept up  remaining leaves & winter debris, had a general tidy up after work on a palm tree removing all the dead leaves & ivy…what a horrible job that was !
I’ve been spurred on by the impending arrival of family for half term….all of them…the Bristol & the Jersey contingent, that’s 4 four grandchildren & their parents,plus some extended family.


In preparation I am today baking a chocolate cake ,granary bread & a Jersey bean crock.

The beans are a good standby to have something hot for anyone who wants them on return of a walk etc.

Bean crock recipe:

Butter Beans
Medium size Haricot Beans
Red Kidney Beans
Pigs Trotter & or Hock
Large onion chopped
1 Carrot chopped

Water to cover.

As I no longer have an Aga I now use a slow cooker.
Soak beans overnight.

Cook on setting 2 until bubbling then down to 1 overnight.
When the trotter has started to disintegrate remove from pot,cut up the flesh & skin [removing all the bones] & return to pot.
Add a scant dessert spoon of golden syrup.

Continue to cook or keep warm,this is a perfect dish to have ‘on the go’ for hungry adults & children.

Serve alone or with a sprinkling of Worcester sauce. Enjoy !

Free counters!

Squirrels…. Wednesday, Oct 15 2014 

Sasanqua Versicolor

Sasanqua Versicolor

In the 21 years I have owned this house squirrels have only been seen in the last three.Imagine my joy the first time on spying one scurrying past my conservatory door one afternoon, in midsummer when the cherries were ripe.
A red Squirrel that is as fortunately there are no greys here.

I had no more sightings until the following year when I once again saw him [?] in almost the same spot.Later the same year he was heard & seen in the trees & once on the lawn in Autumn.

Well,last week,not only was he scampering briefly on the lawn last seen hopping towards a large shrub with berries,but the following day, also from under the Magnolia, to my amazement out came another very red baby Squirrel !
I couldn’t believe it, this must mean there’s a family here,two sightings in two days of two different Squirrels,this is a first of many visits I hope.
Whilst there’s an abundance of trees & particularly Oaks all around here with a good green corridor to cover a Squirrels feeding zone, mine is the only property with a variety of Oaks,Chestnuts,Walnut,Conifers, with cones,Norwegian Spruce,a large Beech which had excellent mast this year,several  & Hazelnut, Maple, Birch, to name but a few.

The haul so far…….

I see no reason why these little chaps need to leave, at present they are chomping their way through a lot of chestnuts which I am not interested in, too much like hard work & it’s a race to get to the Walnuts before they do, but the evidence is there with quite a few open & empty shells of nuts they’ve enjoyed.

That’s Better……. Monday, Sep 8 2014 

Typically once I’ve decided to do something , I couldn’t wait.  So I got stuck into dismantling this old archway last week & now have a view from the house out across the garden.
This took four whole days to remove & clear all the debris. With deeply planted wooden posts, a metal frame & steel rods attaching the two,all of course knitted together & gripped by ivy roots, it was not as straight forward as first thought.

I think you’ll agree though, it was well worth the effort……


I’ve taken the above photo with the fisheye lens because it is the widest angle lens.

As you can see, I also stripped ivy off the stones in the centre of lawn surrounding the Rhododendrons & will now be able to enjoy the lovely Camellia Sasanqua which starts to flower next month which will continue until January !

Plus all the autumn colour of the Sumach trees will be more visible from inside the house.




Fortunately I have all the tools need for the job.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

I was originally going to take down the Italian cypress on the right,but once all the ivy & lover dead branches had been removed I rather like the elegance of the bare trunk, so it has been reprieved.



As you can see,the bee man has still not taken his ladder away, I don’t think he knows how to capture the bees in the roof .


Finished !
Of course one job always leads to another & now I can see the far trees more clearly, I’m eying the ugly palm in the top lefthand corner of first photo, I did have one removed earlier in the year,but I shall just take the ivy & dead leaves off this one.

Summer On The Wane……… Tuesday, Aug 19 2014 

I’ve been rather lazy of late, yet time seems to fly by.

The plums have ripened, been collected,stewed & frozen, there has been such a crop this year I’ve had to buy an additional freezer, with the blackberries & crab apples still to come.


The corn was cut weeks ago but for some reason & unusually the farmer has not collected the bales.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the meantime, I’m eyeing up this arch which is getting overgrown with Russian creeper….


I lost the Italian Cyprus tree on the left so now the other one looks very scrappy & not completely healthy…….As I now have the large picture windows/doors, the arch blocks the view across the garden from that room.

It’s a shame to (more…)

Test… Saturday, Jul 5 2014 






Phew….What a Week ! Sunday, Jun 29 2014 

As expected a friend arrived on Monday for a short visit, he’s a very energetic person so I knew there would be much to get through & as delightful as he is I’m usually very happy to see him leave !
I had put off collecting my new car until he arrived, he is a fluent French speaker so he may have been needed on handover day.
As it happened all went well, after parting with my 21-year-old diesel Audi we very quietly & regally glided out of the dealership car park.

This was the first time I’d been behind the wheel, having not even test driven this petrol model & you can imagine the difference for me in a modern car, most of all the silence,it is also one of those which cuts the engine in traffic, I don’t have a clue whether the engine is running or not until it moves !!!
I absolutely love it & even more on finding a bottle of Champagne in the glove compartment later.

So cute…….






After a celebratory dinner that night.

Tuesday morning I was awakened by the noise of heavy vehicles arriving on the field side of the house,looking out I saw a convoy of lorries & tractors with lifting gear all coming in my direction.

The French electricity company EDF have been doing work on a grand scale in the region,relaying cables underground, they had finished that work some weeks ago & were now back to remove all the pylon/poles.

What a joy to be rid of the one nearest the house & another further up the field.

They also cut down this dead tree for me.

























Tree gone & the Cherry picker came to its own as the big tree to the right,out of shot was heavily laden with cherries & the driver picked a basket load for me. Later to return & fill two buckets for himself :-)








This took most of the day…allowing for almost a three-hour lunch……. to get out this pole & the one further up, I have to say they were quite well organised  & just look at the difference, I now have an uninterrupted view !












Sorry about the stick on wine glass, I shall need to take that down now.

So again we went off out for another celebratory dinner !

Wednesday was slightly more relaxed where my friend decided to set up an internet booster.

My Livebox just doesn’t seem to have any strength, Orange say it’s because I live in the countryside…. blah blah………..anyway,I now have full strength & can use my laptop outside at the top of the garden again……..as I did originally when I first went onto Wi-Fi.

Thursday was much the same but an early night & farewell to Mr energy !

Jamais Encore ! Friday, May 23 2014 


For sometime now I’ve wanted to have a go at gilding. It always looked so easy when watching others on these home decorating TV programs. So, having looked at this large mirror many times thinking it looks so drab & knowing brown furniture is unfashionable at present, I chose this as my victim.

P1040016 I should have known what was afoot when after buying a book of gold leaf [ Dutch gold] & laying out all the materials ready to start the next day, I poured myself a glass of red wine & promptly knocked  it over … spilling all over the book of gold leaves….this meant they stuck together & I lost at least a third of each page !

Fortunately it was only a starter book of 12 not 24.

I started a dummy run the next day on a plywood tissue box, using egg white for ‘size’ [ glue] as I had failed to find any other product in the art shops. Gilding was nothing like as simple as I expected,the thin light gold had no give it creased/crumbled at the slightest touch.Seen here with added chocolate wrappers for decoration, all faults can be seen.:-(


I then progressed (more…)

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