Views around the garden

It is sunny today, so I was inspired to get out the proper camera (so easy and lazy, having the iPhone and Hipstamatic) and investigate various corners of the garden.  Our Japanese maple tree is currently ablaze, and the pink hydrangeas have turned a gorgeous shade of deep magenta tinged with dusty green and hints of purple.  I have cut a few and dried them, hoping they’ll last through the winter as a reminder of warmer days.  There are a couple of apples still on the tree which we couldn’t reach, which continue to cling bravely to their branches.  The lavender is also having a final hurrah.








Adventures in the Loire Valley

We spent a lovely week in the Loire Valley at the beginning of July.  It was sunny and warm, the countryside was beautiful, and the food was scrumptious!  We stayed in a lovely gite which meant we could cook our own food (or rather, eat bread and cheese and pate and red wine for dinner).

Here it is:  Annie’s House near Saumur, run by a lovely English lady and her equally lovely French husband.





All the gardens seemed to be just soaking up the sun and bursting with the most gorgeous colours.

We visited a few chateaux, including Chenonceau which I saw in a book of chateaux of the Loire Valley once and have always been transfixed by.  It was magical to see it in person.



There was a glimpse inside of how the floor must have looked before it was worn away over the years…



and some really incredible copper pots!



We also visited Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci lived and was buried.  It was covered in scaffolding so not the most picturesque in places, but this gargoyle was quite charming.




And of course, we stopped for refreshments a fair few times.


Our final day we spent in Honfleur, which is a lovely seaside town on the coast.  I cannot imagine the kind of weather they must get sometimes, as the houses are commonly tiled with slate all down the sides.  Not a good sign!


It is a very beautiful place though, and these days is quite bijoux and expensive.  We had some very expensive drinks on the waterfront and watched the world go by, but they were worth it.  Vive la France!

A walk on the wild side

This morning, spotting a gap in the persistent rain, we put on our ‘technical trousers’ (similar to Wallace’s techno-trousers but sadly, much less whizzy), grabbed the camera and headed out for a walk up the hills behind our house.  We paused momentarily in the garden to document the lovely roses which have just appeared.

Every week something new unfurls, and I am just observing and trying to work out what is a weed and what is not.  Dandelions I can spot, but there are quite a lot of other mysterious things which require identification.  If they all keep popping up with pretty flowers, though, that will help!

We marched up the hill, and eventually found a view of Blagdon Lake.

I think there’s a little bit of blue sky in there somewhere…

We carried on and all of a sudden, in a gap in the hedge, some sweet little woolly faces appeared!  I tiptoed over and tried Mark’s patience for about 15 minutes while I took photo after photo of the lambs.  The below is only a small selection.

Posing up like a natural!

And then mummy came over to investigate.  I have not met such photogenic sheep in a long time.  Heading back down through the woods the path took us across a field with a small group of what I think were bulls, rather than cows.  (I am not very knowledgeable about matters bovine, but have no doubt I will increase my awareness living here…)  They were certainly not too pleased to see us, and even though we gave them a very wide berth, they glared and glared at us as if to say ‘what on EARTH do you think you are doing in our field’.  I managed to get a couple of shots of them before we felt like it was probably time to move on!


I especially love the sly one peering over his mate’s back…

It was a lovely walk and we ended up in the village of Ubley, which is just down the road from us, gawping at some beautiful cottages with lovely gardens, roses spilling over the front door, and everything perfectly picturesque.  I was so inspired I came home and started trying to tackle the garden, but the weeds won and I had to break for a nap in the end!

Welcome 2012

Happy new year!  2011 felt like a whirlwind both on a micro and macro level- we returned from travelling, moved to Bristol, found jobs and a place to live (not in that order necessarily), made new friends, and raced around the country and the world (again) trying to keep in touch with old ones.  The world in general felt as though someone picked it up and gave it a good shake… hopefully the dust will settle a bit this year, and changes will be for the better.

I felt in need of cheering on the final day of 2011 so picked up some pink roses in the supermarket.  The thin winter light catching them this morning at breakfast time did, indeed, make me smile.

Wishing you joy, peace, and prosperity in the new year.

Munich: a trip to the viktuelienmmarkt

On my first day there, we wandered around Munich’s viktuelienmmarkt in the late afternoon sun, and inspected the fruit, veg, flower, tea, and many other stalls.  The cheese stalls are particularly wonderful as your nose registers their presence long before you get up close!  Sadly they were all in the shade and not very photogenic, but here are some other tempting delights…

And my favourite… the walnut sellers!

One of the best things about Christmas is having a bowl of nuts lying around to be cracked and eaten absentmindedly on cosy winter evenings.  The walnuts inspired me to purchase a truly brilliant wooden nutcracker which is a cup with a big screw in the side of it with which to crack the nut, a bit like a vice.  The genius element is the cup which provides the perfect receptacle for the pieces of shell while you carefully extract the nutmeat.  It doesn’t exactly stop me from leaving nut detritus in the sofa cushions, but it does help!  The shape is difficult to describe but I’ll try and post a photo of it in its proper milieu (the nut bowl, obviously) once I feel it’s time to get the Christmas nuts going, which might have to be very soon…

Floral bounty from the allotment

I know there have been lots of posts about flowers recently, but it is summer!  Last weekend my aunt, uncle and cousin came down from Yorkshire to take part in a cycle race with Mr. Meg (who has blogged about it here).

My aunt is an amazing gardener and has a beautiful garden and a very productive allotment, although I think it suffered this year from the total and utter lack of any rain during the entire month of April.  However, lovely flowers abound still and she brought a gorgeous big bunch of them down with her:


Aren’t they stunning?  Thank you Philly!