Les poissons en France

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Out of our Comfort Zone

As you may remember we visited Guy in Taiwan earlier in the year.  So we were interested in a lecture which was being held at the Museum of Writing at Figeac looking at contemporary Taiwanese calligraphy.
Our main concern was whether we would be able to follow an illustrated lecture in French, although we have noted that academics tend to speak more slowly than ordinary people in conversation!

So we steeled ourselves and went along last night.  There were all of about a dozen people in the audience for such an obscure subject but we were very pleased to be able to follow the talk. The main theme was how a group of contemporary calligraphers are producing work which is basically illegible and becomes abstract art.

Taiwanese Calligrapher and Artist
Hsu Yung-Chin 徐永進 

 So, an hour and a half of brain exercise on a number of levels!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

No sooner said than done!

Yesterday I had marked out the new bed Sue wants for the grasses in the path between the Grass Beds.  Well, taking advantage of the lovely afternoon weather we are having, I set to!  Fortunately the bed is long but narrow and so I was able to speed on.
Actually, all I have done is to skim off the turf and we will just dig holes for the grasses wherever the Head Gardener decides.
Another job completed ... although this one didn't even get on to my 'to do' list.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Scrub a Tree!!

Just for a change I thought I would tell you about what's happening in the garden. Believe me we do do other things, although perhaps it doesn't appear that way.

The tree we bought last weekend for the courtyard was delivered this week. We chose a Himalayan Birch with lovely white bark which we thought would give us some winter interest. We moved it around when it arrived to see if our ideas were going to work and then I gave it a bath and a good scrub!! We had never heard of doing such a thing until it was featured on Gardeners World a couple of months ago. The difference is amazing although the photo doesn't show it very well.
For some time I have had the idea to plant ornamental grasses down the middle of the path between the prairie beds. Having looked on line I decided that the cost would be prohibitive as I needed so many. However recently I have managed to acquire some inexpensively from various sources culminating in the plant swap at our garden club this week.
I will be able to split them in the Spring and hey presto! Of course I first need a bed dug so John marked it out this afternoon. He says the gardening year would not be complete if he did not have another bed to dig.
Although the mornings remain very frosty by lunch time it is glorious outside so we have been taking advantage of the afternoons. We have decided to double the size of the woodland bed down the alley so John spent Friday afternoon collecting compost from the village recycling depot. Its a start and certainly looks tidier.

Never happier than playing in the garden.

A few days ago I floated round the garden to take these photos before the frost melted.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Different Autumn Colour

John says I am boring keeping on about the autumn colour. So if you feel the same don't bother to read further.

However I am totally fascinated by the changeing tree colours and in particular how they appear in different lights. As I pass the hall window on my way to the kitchen each morning I stop and reflect on what greets me. In the last couple of days it is the bronze of the oak trees. They are the last to turn and as they are the predominant trees in our locality, suddenly the hills have become golden brown.

Today I was greeted by a dull sky and soaking earth but it just seemed to intensify the colour of the oaks. Unfortunately the camera doesn't quite see what my mind sees.

Yesterday was the second sale of the year at our favourite garden centre. Well you know what that means. Yes we bought another tree (and some grasses). We are such good customers that they gave us a discount on the discount. More likely they thought "here come those suckers again!" We have spent many hours recently redesigning the lower courtyard and researching and sourceing plants which will grow in the boiling summer conditions. The grass looks green and lush now but it rapidly dies once the temperatures warm up and the moisture disappears. Watch this space!!

Friday, November 10, 2017


After living in France for over 11 years we rarely have any "strange"  cultural differences to comment on anymore. You may be aware that the French do not drink tea, ie builders with milk and sugar, as we Brits do. They go in for infusions, ie soak anything you fancy in hot water and drink it. Well yesterday in Intermarche (one of the biggest supermarkets in France) John came across the most bizarre yet. Dried Cherry Stalks!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Just Another Lovely Day

We woke this morning to be greeted by the first real hard frost of the season. As minus 2 had been predicted I had wrapped up all my plants in the porcherie to protect them. It is stacked to the gunnels with hundreds of geranium cuttings and dahlia tubers stored for the winter.

I recently reported that we weren't getting on very well with the autumn garden jobs ... well, we must have been working extra hard because all the bulbs are now in and most of the beds have been cut back ready for winter.

This includes the cut flower bed (ex veg patch) which John has covered with cardboard (some gardening correspondent must have said it was a good idea) and this morning he collected compost from the village recycling depot to cover it. The proof of the success or otherwise of this method of cultivation will be judged by the quality of next years flowers!
By late morning the temperature had risen significantly so, after I had recorded John's efforts, I couldn't resist taking yet more photos of the autumn colours in the garden.

As he had been such a good boy this morning, this afternoon he was allowed to go off with his camera and map to start his new project. I know he plans to follow the river Ceou which runs through our valley but I expect there is far more to it than that. Today, after much tramping through fields he found the source.
Only another 55 kms of river to trace.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Where's that Spike?

It's that time of year again ... bulb planting time!
We buy a 25 kg sack of mixed daffs to spread through the banks, to provide a blast of spring colour.  However, our ground is very, very stoney!!!  So the big old spike is needed to make some holes.
Should be good come March/April.

Whilst we are talking about planting bulbs, Sue has been busy planting 500 Muscari (Grape Hyacinths) in the bank in the front garden and 170 tulips in the beds in front of the house (where it is easy-peasy!)