Long-tailed tits and other birds

On a lovely sunny day last week I was hanging out the washing in the garden, enjoying the peace and beauty of the place, when I heard a ‘squeak-squeak-squeak’ from the crab apple tree. This was followed by more squeaks and what looked like blue-tits, hopping around the tree. I stood very still and after a while was able to observe one of them up close and I realised it was a flock of long-tailed tits.

I’ve always been interested in birds but found it very frustrating because you could so rarely see them clearly to be able to distinguish them. so I was delighted when someone introduced me to the Chirp app for the Ipad. It has a recording of about fifty birds so you can check what you hear. It also has a wonderful Puffin, laughing its head off!

As a result of this app, I have been able to identify in our locality, chiff-chaffs, chaffinches, golden orioles, huppoes, black redstarts, cirl buntings, green woodpeckers and of course, the usual sparrows, starlings and blackbirds.

Contine reading

Open doors at L’Atelier du Rempart

Yesterday I was in Beaufort-en-Vallee where I teach English, recruiting pupils for the coming year. The children are all back at school so now it is the turn of the adults to decide what they would like to do during the winter.

On offer are three languages, English, Spanish and Italian, a variety of painting courses, story telling, sculpture, basket weaving, making pictures with sand, glass painting, weaving, upholstery, flower arranging and lute construction. Not bad for a small country town! We have both enrolled for the history of art course which is looking at sculpture from Michelangelo to the modern day, I will continue with my weaving and Len may take up Spanish if there is a course for beginners.

Contine reading

A harvest of figs

The figs on our huge fig tree are now ripe. for the last two years we’ve had a very poor harvest because of the wet spring and maybe because I had pruned back too hard.

But this afternoon, while Philippe our gardener was busy clearing the weeds around the old farm trailer, I decided it was time to pick the figs and do something with them. I got the stepladders out of the stable and took an old umbrella to hook down the higher branches. At first glance there didn’t seem to be many, but after half an hour in the hot sun, the washing up bowl was almost full.

Contine reading

Welcome to my new blog

We have now been living in France for about three and a half years and a lot has happened in that time. I recently started writing a blog in an excercise book with the idea of savouring our experiences in France and being able to look back on them in times to come. A good friend said she would be interested in my writing and suggested I set up an online blog. After a lot of work on Len’s part …… here it is.

I should maybe explain the title. Many french restaurants kindly translate their menus into English for the sake of visitors. We enjoy looking at the translations which are sometimes rather quaint but our all-time favourite has to be ‘today-flavoured icecream’ for ‘Glaces – parfum du jour’. The title also includes the idea of flavour/savour, which is what I intend to do,savouring our life in France, one day at a time. It is along the lines of a wonderful podcast I follow called ‘One thing in a french day’.

So, here goes.