Les poissons en France

Monday, July 28, 2014

Midsummer in the Lot

Midsummer here means lots of socialising. So we were out for a meal with Jean-Jacque and Nadine on Friday and BBQs with friends on Saturday and Sunday. The diary is similarly booked for this week and the weekend, great! Midsummer in the Lot also means Sunflowers.

John snapped these two pictures over the weekend.  I think the salvias in the foreground look wonderful. Who needs to plant wildflower meadows when you are surrounded by them. I fear that I may be engaging the wrath of our French friends and those on holiday but it has been a wonderful year for plants (and consequently that strange tribe known as gardeners). We have had lovely sunny days interspersed with spells of rain - sometimes a bit too heavy. Although I have now carefully selected plants suitable for the climate, dare I say it our garden almost looks English at present and my right arm has hardly had to be connected to the hose.

Beware a rant is coming up. Our Blog as you know is rather like a diary but I think a lot of people use theirs to express opinions, well I'm about to join them. I have avidly watched all the TV programmes from the RHS summer flower shows and I have got to say that I thoroughly dislike the current fashion for gardens planted to look "wild". I like grasses but planted so that you can appreciate their form. John is constantly asking "how on earth are they going to maintain that garden?". I am not inviting comments that is just our opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs.

Rant over, now other matters. You may recall that last year we were on the route of a running race, well it is obviously going to be an annual event as this summers race took place yesterday. However this year Mas de Bouye had its own feeding station. John and Lesley's family were out in force to clap each contestant and hand them water. The grandchildren had a wonderful time and no doubt Matthew understood the needs of the runners as he has run The London Marathon in the past.
Midsummer has just arrived in the form of loads of very ripe peaches which need urgent attention, so must dash.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Avin goes to London

Following on from his well received exhibition at Mas de Bouye, Avin and Mrs. Alaff went with us to London last week-end to see the annual Summer Show at The Royal Academy.
Avin had never been to the show and he felt that it would be interesting to see how his work compared with the works accepted to be hung at the RA.  This show is open to all 'artists', amateur or professional.  A huge range of material was on show ...
... although it was curious to note that there was very little figurative work.

However, Avin was most struck by a large piece, painted in yellow and black gloss on aluminium with accompanying 'extra' round yellow piece, entitled 'Yellow Nude No.8 and companion painting'.
Upon reading in the catalogue that it was for sale at £222,000 Avin was heard to mutter "You're 'aving a laugh!"
We left Avin at the RA to continue his comparisons and went to Eros in Piccadilly where we had arranged to meet Guy who was in London for the weekend.
 After all this excitement, we went off to Birmingham to spend a couple of days with our friends Bob and Jenny.  And what an eventful 2 days this turned out to be!!  Jenny is secretary of an allotment association and was most anxious to show us her own patch.

But, whilst we were there we realised that we were in the middle of a man-hunt.  We later found out that there had just been an armed robbery in a bank a few roads away and the police were tracking a suspect with a helicopter.  Thinking he may be in the allotments, we had armed police walking around the fruit and veg.
Jenny, who had learnt of a strange man hiding in her greenhouse only a couple of days before had initially thought that this 'rapid response' was a bit of an overkill!!

The next day we were all joined by the Alaffs on a Sculpture Trail in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham organised by the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.  This involved following a route and stopping to look inside restaurants, bars and office foyers where pieces of sculpture were displayed.
At this point we let Avin leave to pursue his inspiration.

However, our duties were not finished as Bob and Jenny wanted some thoughts and advice on a 'lost' area of their garden.

Behind this lovely break in their garden, at the very end, is an area currently used for bonfires and compost  and very shaded by trees.  Various suggestions were given but, no sooner said than done, and Bob was sawing down overgrown Lilac and had plans to buy a chainsaw!!
We realise that we must be careful with our 'suggestions'!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More Tourist Ideas

As part of the entertainment programme, we took Paul and Jennifer to the Gardens at Marqueyssac on the Dordogne.  They are gardens of topiary around a small house ...
 ...set on a raised plateau looking over the river Dordogne.
 I wasn't too keen about this visit as I think gardens should be about colour and flowers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it with its wonderful views over the surrounding countryside.  And it is brilliant for children!  Lots of swings and play areas and a marvelous cliff-face rope walk for everyone over 8 years old and 1.30 metres tall.
The topiary was all architectural but gave the gardens a unifying theme. 
Visitors (and we) were happy!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

New Adventures

We took our friends Paul and Jennifer on something which was new for us ... a train ride!  We all went on the 'tourist train' along the Dordogne river; spectacular views and feats of engineering.
All the passengers seemed happy!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Avin Alaff

Yesterday we had another of our mad episodes.  As an excuse to show off the finally completed salon, we invited about 18 of our friends to come for an exhibition of paintings by that unknown, unrecognised Scandinavian genius Avin Alaff.
Sue had organised an 'Indonesian Feast' and so the tables were suitably decorated in orchid colours.
Paintings were hung throughout the house and in the courtyard and so everyone made their own tour of the rooms.
All in all the art may have been of dubious quality but the social side was a splendid success and a laugh was had by all!