Tuesday 31 May 2011

Cherries, cherries everywhere...................

One really good side effect of the very hot and dry spring in France this year,  is that we are able to be chez nous when the cherries are ripe and ready to pick. Normally they would reach this stage in 2-3 weeks and we would be back in the UK working!

We have three cherry trees in our garden, two large ones and one smaller one. They are all full of cherries! We are happy for the squirrels and birds to eat their share from the top of the tree, so long as they leave us the ones lower down.
The smaller cherry tree at the front of the house.

However I'm not sure they fully understand the terms of this deal!!

We've been having cherries on our breakfast cereal each morning and they really are delicious.

Tomorrow I am going to turn these .......

using this .........

into this............

I'll add more cherries to the one I make.

First I shall go into Loches tomorrow morning, to visit the market and buy one of

these ...............

or these..............

I'll post a photo of the finished clafoutis. It also has pastry and almonds, so perhaps it isn't really a clafoutis, more a clafoutis style cherry and almond dessert.

Watch this space.......................


Monday 30 May 2011

Monday music .......... my desert island disc collection parts 3 and 4

The tracks I've chosen for today must come to the island with me. Each would, in turn, remind me of my wonderful children, without whom my life would not be complete. Soppy and sentimental and not like me at all!

The first is for Rhiannon.............................

There are so many versions but I think that this version by Stevie Nicks is the best live one. It's just a pity that it was from a solo tour, and not with the rest of Fleetwood Mac. We saw them in concert last year and Lindsey Buckingham's guitar playing was awesome.

Rhiannon has flown the nest and has her own  partner, mortgage, pension plan (whatever that will be worth!!) and two dogs.

I'd also take this with me to remind me of Tom......

This video is about 4 years old and doesn't really reflect the music he plays now, but I like it. His guitar playing is awesome too - Tim, eat your heart out!

Friday 27 May 2011

"Is it me?" and looking forward to a great week............

Blogger is not allowing me to post comments about some blogs, but others will post. It is all to do with entering my password and username. These are correct, but it loses the comment EVERY time. This is VERY FRUSTRATING!

What about you? Is anyone else experiencing the same problem? Or in the words of a TOG  "is it me?".

There have been some really interesting posts that I wanted to make a comment on .........

Perhaps I'll have better luck next week!

Anyway, here is a little taster .........

Where am I?

I can't wait for 3.30. My pupils will have their stools up and be lined up ready to leave by 3.29. The bell will ring and I will be out of the door.Tim will be at the top of the school drive, revved up and ready for a quick getaway.

Then we will start our battle with the M6, M6toll, M1, M25, Dartford crossing etc, etc, etc., but it will be worth it! Le Petit-Pressigny, here we come..........

Monday 23 May 2011

Monday music .......... my desert island disc collection part 2


Bob Dylan has always been a favourite of mine. We've had  blips in our relationship from time to time, but I still find it hard to forget just how good his music and poetry is.

In 2009 we went to a concert in Birmingham. I was really, really, REALLY excited! A Bob Dylan concert was high on my list of MDBID's.

We were so disappointed! The sound quality wasn't as good as we are used to and unfortunately we looked at the back of Bob's head for all but one number. I remember reading somewhere that Dylan had problems with arthritis, so it is perhaps understandable that he mainly used the key board and only played guitar once. Even some of his classic songs were almost unrecognisable.

However, this is only my opinion and I know that there were thousands of very happy fans there. I think I was expecting something different. Perhaps I'm stuck in the past and Dylan has moved on with his music.
I remember reading in the 70's about a fan uprising (Manchester I think) when his music became more electric than acoustic. I actually enjoy both.

Still,  for me his music is timeless even though has changed constantly over the years. I would be taking some with me to the island. It is difficult to choose one piece - so I'm cheating a bit!

When I was searching  youtube for a video I came across this..............

Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not your typical 'rule breaker', but it was nearly impossible to find a clip of a whole Dylan song, apart from this.........

Forever Young

Do you have a favourite Dylan track? 

I would also like to own some of his art work, but even limited prints are really expensive.

Friday 20 May 2011

A gentle stroll from Le Pre Vert..............

Le Petit-Pressigny has two plan d'eau.

In the late afternoon

As dusk begins to fall
One is in the centre of the village, alongside the church and behind the new Maire and Salle de Fetes. This is a lovely area with a few picnic benches, and just the thing for a gentle stroll late in the evening, or when buying bread from the boulangerie.

The other plan d'eau is larger, and  a couple of hundred metres out of the village along the road to Charnizay.

This again has picnic tables and a barbeque.....

a toilet .......

and is a lovely area to enjoy.

You can buy a fishing permit at Le Boin Coin .........

although Ben, my daughters partner did, and didn't catch anything!

From Google images.

Monday 16 May 2011

Monday music .......... my desert island disc collection part 1

Often on a Sunday morning I listen to the Archers Omnibus followed by Desert Island Discs - my daughter often reminds me that I like controlled fun in small doses!!

I've enjoyed it in all it's reincarnations, with different presenters, but perhaps I'm not quite old enough for the Roy Plumley original version - or perhaps I was just too busy at the time.

Anyway, Hotel California by the Eagles would definitely be my first choice.

The Eagles as they are today

This particular video was recorded in 1994.

We've seen the Eagles three times in concert, once in the late 70's and a couple of times more recently. Band members have come and gone, but they have always put on a terrific show. The sound they recreate is studio quality. This is one of those songs that I could place on a loop and listen to time after time.

Why do I like it? Nostalgia - it reminds me of my relatively carefree university days in the 70's, before work, a mortgage and a family. When you played loud music and didn't worry too much about your neighbours - they were playing their music at full volume too!

Saturday 14 May 2011

Quincy............. but not a medical examiner in sight!

During our last visit to France we decided to have a round or two of wine tasting. One visit was to Mareuil sur Cher and the La Renaudie vineyard of Bruno and Patricia Denis. You can read about it here. The other was to Quincy and Reuilly.

The experiences were very different but both were enjoyable.  La Renaudie is very much more of a family run, but still very professional, operation. In Quincy it seemed to be a much bigger operation, and more of a co-operative.

Quincy is a village in the east of the Loire wine region. The river Cher flows past Quincy, rather than the Loire itself. Wine has been produced in there for many centuries, and reached its peak just before the phylloxera crisis of the 1860s. Quincy received official AOC status in 1936.

The vines of Quincy benefit from a continental climate. In global terms the climate is cool and the wines are generally considered more 'rustic' and less elegant than those from the eastern end of Loire Valley.

Outside there were a series of small plaques explaining the process of wine making and information about the region. Inside the centre there was a 'nose' trail, with various scents to identify.

A tasting session with John and Maureen.

I wouldn't class myself as a wine connoisseur, or even someone who knows very much about wine, but the Quincy wine is a fresh and fruity white wine which I liked. 

Tasting notes refer to it as being herbaceous, grassy and citrus; I can't say that I noticed this, but I did like it, and bought 6 bottles.

In the fields opposite we noticed lots of structures which we found to be heaters to protect the vines against frost.

We've been debating how they work .................what do you think?

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Thunder and lightning, or more precisely, lightning and thunder ......

Last night we had a fantastic thunderstorm. At around 9pm the heavens opened, and there were brilliant flashes of lightning followed  closely (some almost instantaneously - and we know what that means!) by crashing rumbles of thunder.

It reminded me of a storm that we had in Le Petit- Pressigny towards the end of last August. It was a costly storm for us in that our router was fatally damaged, but things were much worse for a another home in our village.

Again the storm was a big one, which we enjoyed through our open bedroom shutters, but we didn't have a view of what was happening about 200 m away. Tim had the foresight to turn off our computers, but didn't think to unplug our router.

Taken a couple of days later. The house on the right had a lucky escape from the flames!
If you click on the photograph to enlarge it, you will see the remains of a burned out car.
It was only when we went for our bread the next day that we realised that there had been a lightning strike on a barn in the village and that it had virtually burned to the ground. A nearby house was very lucky to have escaped the flames and it must have been a real shock for all concerned. Some of our English neighbours told us later that most of the village had been out watching the scene and trying to do what they could to help those affected.

Luckily I haven't heard about any lasting damage caused by last nights storm.

We did turn off our router, just in case ......

We were just reminiscing about the storm and remembered that apart from the inconvenience it wasn't costly at all. We managed to get the router replaced under the guarantee - we just didn't tell the company the circumstances in which the router had 'stopped working'. 

Saturday 7 May 2011

Foiled again................

This last week has been really busy, especially for Tim, who exhausted himself working on the bathroom last weekend. This resulted in Wednesday becoming a 20 hour working day for him!

So we decided that today we would go for a long walk, in Derbyshire. The forecast for the Ashbourne area was a morning of sunshine and cloud with rain from 1pm. Our plan was to walk for the morning and then retreat to a lovely cafe in Ashbourne for lunch and a look around in the afternoon.

Well, our best laid plans (well to be honest, hastily arranged is more accurate) were scuppered by .............RAIN.

Now I know I should be pleased, as we have only had 0.5mm of rain in a period where the average is something like 70mm, but did it have to be this morning?

As we approached Ashbourne at 8.45 (we wanted to be early) it started to rain - 4 hours and 15 minutes early!!!

We regularly go to Ashbourne. It is an interesting and lovely market town (which has had a market since 1257) with a rich history. There is an excellent range of small shops where it is always possible to find something a bit different. Ashbourne is the gateway to Dovedale; I'll post more about both the town and Dovedale in the near future.

Wanting to salvage something from the trip out we decided to look around the town and get a morning coffee (again to be accurate, it was Earl Grey tea and a toasted tea cake!).  We visited a few galleries  and saw some lovely art work, but nothing to suit what we are looking for, to fill the large space on our sitting room wall in Le Petit-Pressigny.

The Opus Gallery had some beautiful pieces of art, ceramics and jewellery.

 I also wanted to find a good florist for some flowers to take as a gift to a friend who has invited us for dinner this evening. I found some beautiful irises - Susan at Days on the Claise  posted about her Siberian iris today.

By 11.45 we were on our way home...... sans walk.

Tissington, we had intended to walk the Tissington Trail.

Within 15 minutes of arriving home THE SUN CAME OUT.

Still, we desperately needed the rain ....................

* We left the camera in the car, so the images are courtesy of Google.

Sunday 1 May 2011

A long weekend........... this and that.

This weekend we have taken the opportunity of our  'holiday weekend' to do some work around the house and the garden.  

Here are some photographs of trees we took with our new camera - nothing to do with the post, but I like them!

Sunrise over Salt


Can you spot the woodpecker?

One of the disadvantages of having a home in Le Petit-Pressigny is that most of our holiday time is spent in France. The reason why this is a slight problem is that we rarely have any real time at home to keep on top of those essential jobs that need to be done. We both have busy jobs which demand not only long hours, but also a considerable amount of our time to be spent on work related things.

Not that we are complaining........., we enjoy what our jobs enable us to do with our lives.

One day I will post about the saga of our bathroom - but I'll wait until it is finally finished. Be prepared, it is a 3 year epic......... We do have another bathroom -just in case you are wondering!

Tom has gone back to Lancaster today, and is preparing for his exams. Needless to say he has taken with him the contents of our fridge and food cupboards!!

Hopefully Rhiannon will call in sometime today or tomorrow, with her partner Ben and their dogs Maisie and Lucy. Dogs are always so delighted to see you and aren't ever in a bad mood - unlike humans (and I count myself in here!) They sometimes leave Tim a little present on the lawn, and this is generally the cause of his 'bad mood'.


So, my plan for today is to renovate our garden benches and pot up some fuschia plants for our terrace. Watch this space..................