Sunday 30 October 2011

Going, going, gone ......

As ever, our half term holiday was a busy one, and  we find ourselves returning to work in dire need of a rest! Some hope of achieving that ……

We knew that we needed to do some gardening so were prepared for hard work. Martin and Denise keep everything tidy and under control when we are in the UK, but we love to work on the garden when we can.

We have a number of large specimen trees in the garden which would have been planted around forty years ago. How do we know this? Well, here's one reason .....

The trees are, in places, rather overcrowded and for a while we have planned to remove some of the trees in order to give others the space they need to flourish. We suppose that the first owner of our house planted lots of trees, then failed to thin them out as they grew larger and needed more space. One of the trees we decided to remove was struggling; very straggly on one side with many brown patches. 

Tim and Ben with the large bow saw which they soon realised wasn't up to the job of cutting down the tree and sawing it into small logs. Or did they mean that they weren't up to the job ........

I was then dispatched to Monteboeuf for reinforcements!

With the right top, a rustic garden table perhaps?

This old lilac suffered the same fate ……..

The larger pieces of wood have been stacked to dry out for a couple of years, and the remainder of the trees taken to the dechetteries at Le Grand-Pressigny and Charnizay.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Autumn in Le Petit-Pressigny ......

Last week I wrote about Autumn in Salt. By contrast, here are some more Autumn pics taken on a 12km walk that Tim and I did around Le Petit-Pressigny on Sunday.  The walk is another one of the series I blogged about in the summer, which you can read here.

How did the bus end up in this spot?
Rhiannon and Ben were helping Ben's parents to dig some footings for steps to a small cottage they are renovating for some extra guest accommodation.
The weather was glorious when we arrived, although very cold at night. In fact the weather was even warm enough to sit on the terrace for aperos, but the instant the sun went down we needed to be inside, near the fire!
Just in the few days we've been here the signs of autumn are now more pronounced; the leaves are more vivid and falling fast!

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It is seven years since we bought our apartment in Thollon les Memises in the Haute Savoie, and two years since we moved out :o( .
Overall we probably made the right move. We love our house in the Touraine and have met some lively, interesting and friendly people who have welcomed us into their lives.

Autumn mist over the Memises, taken the day we bought our apartment.
If only there were mountains ...............

Sunday 16 October 2011

Autumn in Salt .....

Autumn has well and truly arrived here in Salt. The Virginia Creeper that covers a wall on the garage started to ‘turn’ a couple of weeks ago and has been this lovely rich colour for a while. It won’t be long before the leaves are lost completely.

The front driveway is covered with acorns. I think we need to import some of the red squirrels and pine martens from our garden in France to ‘hoover’ them up for us. There are a couple of grey squirrels in the large oak tree but they appear to have small appetites and are averse to working overtime!

One consequence of Tom being in the Boulder is that since we have Tom’s car here, we can put Tim’s mid-life crisis to bed for the winter. We (well if I’m honest, mostly Tim) spent yesterday cleaning and polishing it to showroom standard, and it is now in the garage covered by a specially made hoisted cover, lest any speck of dust dare to fall on it!

Whilst we were at it Tom’s car got the same treatment, and very smart it looks too. I love driving the polo and will probably use it for work. However, it doesn’t have heated seats, so in the very cold weather I might need to think again!

Other signs of Autumn are visible all around, and we need to make the most of the lovely weather before it gets truly autumnal. On Friday evening we were cold in bed, and needed to not only change the duvet, but also put the central heating on.

A windfall of apples and pears ……

The roses are still blooming beautifully, better than they were in the summer.

 The early morning moon, …….

Saturday 15 October 2011

Maintaining a dignified silence ......

In the face of gross injustice at the hands of a suspiciously French sounding ref!

I’m very proud of the Welsh boys and what they have achieved. However to win you must score the most points, and today France scored more  points, just clinging to victory. We weren't able to take full advantage of our chances either.

I could say more, but I am maintaining a dignified silence .................

Well, perhaps not so silent, or so dignified!!

Allez les bleus!

Sunday 9 October 2011

A weekend away .......

We’ve known our friends Anne and Steve for well over thirty years. Tim was at Loughborough University with them in the mid 70's. After this they moved to Kent to take up teaching jobs and have been there ever since. We are Godparents to all of each others children, and until we bought a home in France have shared at least one main holiday together every year.
We decided to meet up at a hotel in Milton Keynes to celebrate my birthday, and Anne's, which is tomorrow. We've met here before as it happens to be about equidistant between our homes; the hotel is quiet, really comfortable with a leisure complex and magnificent breakfasts!
Milton Keynes is famous for it's concrete cows. These are the 'original' ones, but now even fake ones are found grazing in a number of places!

We've had a lovely time catching up on news, wandering around the shops and taking a brisk walk along the canal at Stoke Bruerne. We finished the day with a tasty meal at the Raymond Blanc Brasserie.
I didn't take many photographs, but here is just a snapshot of our day .............
Anne, Steve and Helen ....

Some stalls at a vintage and handmade fair ...

These gifts are called ‘nappy cakes’ and consist of a pack of muslin nappies and other gifts for a new baby all dressed to look like a cake!

Having an audience, Tim was brave enough to suggest that he would buy this vintage sign for me ....

An insurance job or the loss of a someone's pride and joy?

Staring into the abyss .... a 2.8km tunnel through which boats would have been ‘walked’, with the crew lying down and pushing the walls with their feet to move the boat forward.

The Raynond Blanc Brasserie .....

I forgot to take photographs of most of our meal but it was all delicious. This is Tim's beef provencal .....

It's now time for another one of those magnificent breakfasts!!!

Saturday 8 October 2011

And we were singing, hymns and arias .......

What a brilliant win for Wales. Well done to the boys.
Semi-finals here we come!
What remains to be seen at the time of posting is whether we will play France or England......... Allez les Bleus

A wonderful birthday present for me!

My friend Janet also has her birthday today, although she is a few years younger. Nevertheless I have managed to convince Y8 that she's older. Well, how else would she know so much about the Victorians unless she had lived through it!!

We're having a weekend away with our friends Anne and Steve in Milton Keynes. I'll let you know how we get on ........

Saturday 1 October 2011

Animals do the funniest things ...........

Espace Animalier de la Haute-Touche is near Obterre, in the Indre (department 36) and  about a 15 minute drive from Le Petit-Pressigny.

The animal and nature reserve of Haute-Touche is a 500 hectare forest in the Brenne National Park. Over 100 hectares is open to the public with more than 100 species of animals from five continents on view - or so the signs say!

If you like animals it is a lovely day out. It is calm and non-commercial, although they do have a restaurant/café and a place to buy ice creams. The Haute-Touche is about seeing the animals in a more natural environment.

The first 20 minutes of the visit is a drive, VERY slowly, along a safari trail with some brilliant photo opportunities along the way. There are also signs with information about some of the species and the conservation work that Haute-Touche is involved in, with zoos and organisations around the world.

A car park is to be found at the end of the safari drive, and close by an area for picnics and a restaurant. Then there are many trails to explore and see the animals in large enclosures and wide open spaces.

I think the entrance fee is about 8€ and Haute-Touche is open every day from (10-6) in May to September (weekends and Wednesdays in April and until the end of November).

Tim, thinking about a money making opportunity. Needless to say we didn't send the video off . Still, it might make a healthy donation to the funds of the amis-hautetouche if the video were to appear on some inane TV programme!

The antics of this ostrich really cheer me up. I think he was trying his best to impress us - or see us off!

We had a fantastic afternoon – so much so that I visited with two sets of our summer visitors within the space of a week!

The Chateau at Azay-le-Ferron is very close by and well worth a visit. More about this at another time……