Les poissons en France

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How NOT to plant Bulbs

Some people are barmy and we're certainly among them. Last year we bought a sack of mixed daffodil bulbs to plant around the sycamore trees that we put in last Autumn. So we decided that each year when we ordered our bulbs we would include a 25kg sack of daffodils to gradually plant down the right hand side of the alley which we have started to develop. From recollection these bags contained about 600 bulbs and last year it took us about 2 days to plant them. Our memories must be already deteriorating.....we estimate that this bag is going to take to the end of next week to plant, and we have already been planting for three days. Furthermore the conditions in the alley are making it almost impossible to plant the bulbs. But we will battle on regardless!!

We have had virtually no rain for 4 months, hence the soil is bone dry beneath the established trees. Did I say soil, foolish, that is virtually nonexistent. I think that the alley was once an access farm track so is predominantly stone.

Hence our strategy is to first spike the ground
then dig it and remove the loose stones (transferred to the dry river bed, which has been under construction forever)
Scrubble to create a hole
then plant the daffodil
and finally try to find enough earth or compost to cover it.
So that's as far as you get in a morning!
Should be a good display in the Spring. Hope springs eternal!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thinking Ahead

Although we are now into wonderful Autumn weather, the Gardener is thinking of Spring!  Bulb planting time!  So I've been wielding the trusty spike to create holes ...
... big enough for Sue to put the bulbs in. 
It wasn't too difficult for the Crocus bulbs but the Daffodils needed something larger!

As you can see the sun has been shining gloriously (at least 20° today) and we took the opportunity to gather some of our neighbour's walnuts.
Merci Jean-Jaques et Nadine!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Again and Again and Again

Firstly I am pleased to report that my assistant is now fit enough to report for duty and we have resumed normal life!!!
(Normal life??? What's that?   John)
We entertained at the weekend and then started the week in time honoured fashion by yet again reseeding the courtyard. Initially that required collecting bags of compost (a task not undertaken for the last 3 months due to the hernias). When we got to the garden centre to my delight it was on offer, 70 cents a bag less. So we cleared all they had ... well you can't miss a bargain. However I was concerned that I had not eased my assistant in gently so I insisted on each bag being moved by the two of us. His face showed his frustration but he had to put up with it.
If we have another drought next year like the last two summers we will have to have a rethink about the surface in the courtyard.

Must go, we have 1500 bulbs to plant.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Excursions for Visitors

Sue's cousin Linda and her husband Mike are staying with us and so we decided to take them out at the weekend.
Saturday we went off to Brive la Gaillarde as friends had told us how good the market was.  We were very impressed with the shops in 'old' Brive and then we slowly walked through the market.  Interesting stalls outside ...
and the obligatory Oyster stall ...

before we went into the covered market ...
with a selection of interesting foods.

Having built up an appetite we found a nice restaurant for lunch!

Today, Sunday we went off into deep rural countryside to an Autumn Fair that I had seen advertised at Sousceyrac  in the north of the Lot department.  It wasn't as big as we had hoped but it had drawn out all of the locals ... roasting chestnuts, folk dancing ...
...pancake making ...
... and apple pressing.
The apples were 'crushed' ...
... the pulp was then put into a press with layers of straw ...
... pressed ...
... the juice poured into barrels ...
... and then bottles were filled., with the assistance of a few wasps.
The resultant juice is guaranteed to cure any digestive problem and will recharge your immune system!

We all enjoyed seeing this little bit of real, rural France.

Saturday, October 08, 2016


Sue has started to lift Pelargoniums before any frost arrives with a view to keeping them over winter.
But she perhaps didn't start early enough ... we had our first frost this morning.
The temperature was 2 degrees next to the house so it was maybe 0°C in the middle of the back garden.  The long bed was protected by the trees but the flowers in the Christo bed were touched.
It looks like we are going to have a few days of morning frosts (it's forecast for 2 degrees on Monday and we usually get a couple of degrees lower than that) but we don't mind as we then have lovely bright, clear. sunny days!