Tour de France

Le tour as it’s known in France arrived near us last week as is does every now and then. We arrived about 3  hours before the cyclists were due to find a space and waited, and waited.  The caravan arrived about an hour before the riders. The caravan is a parade of sponsors who drive by and throw out goodies to the spectators so we duly grabbed our hats, sweets, giant hands to wave with, notepads and anything else that was thrown our way.  Then the cyclists arrived and whizzed by in 10 seconds flat!  It was hard to get any photos of them because they were so fast but the atmosphere was great.

   

    

    

Click on the photos to see larger versions – love the old locals sitting on their seats with their free hats!

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Busy June

Well June turned out to be a busy month with not much time to post. I took this photo at the beginning of June of our first produce from the garden that wasn’t salad related. Potatoes, courgettes, a garlic bulb and some purple sprouting broccoli leaves –

first produce, yay!

There’s much more now of course. We’ve dug masses of potatoes, picked lots of courgettes, and ate our first cauliflowers yesterday. We don’t have too many of them because they’re all ready at the same time.  Nearly forgot the peas, we’ve eaten quite a lot of them with a second row to come and the haricot beans will be ready soon.

We spent Sunday at some friends for a barbecue with my parents who were in France to visit. It was the hottest day of the year so far, over 30°c but we had a great time.

dinner table

lunch with friends and family

If only all Sundays were like this!

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And still there is no rain

And still there is no rain. In France now there are 58 departments with water restrictions including all those around us so we will be next. That’s more than half of France.  Once those water restrictions come to us we will no longer be able to wash our cars – hooray! But worse, we won’t be able to water our precious gardens because the water restrictions cover source water, ie our well too.

There are clouds, in fact it’s cloudy now, but no rain.  The wheat and maize in the fields around us are turning brown which is bad news for the farmers – and no doubt us when food prices go up.

The good news is everything is flowering like mad, including this lovely straggly Philadelphus which needs a haircut

philadelphus

Maybe it’ll rain this afternoon ….. watch this space!

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It’s all red!

We have lots of red at the moment. Last week it was all purple, this week it’s all red. Next week may be purple again when we frame the poster because that’s purple but this week it’s red. Red tomatoes – we ate our first home-grown tomato of the year this week, yay! We ceremoniously cut it in half and then gobbled our own half up. I have to say it wasn’t the most tasty tomato I’ve ever eaten but that’s because really it’s still too early. Also, red peppers – not ours, and ours will be orange (that’s an orange week then) and red strawberries from some friends who have so many they can’t eat them all! They are were delicious. Radishes, ours from the garden, as are the salad leaves but they aren’t read so they don’t count.

red

We have lots of roses out now too – most of them …………………………. red!

red rose

red rose2

Also, I’m going to be pointing you in the direction of some Etsy shops that have great stuff this month. You know, interesting stuff, stuff you didn’t know you needed until you saw it. And seeing as how we’re in a sea of red at the moment, how about this?

red button bouquet

It’s from Angel9‘s shop on Etsy. Isn’t it unusual? If only I wasn’t already married! Actually there are other lovely things in her shop, it’s not all bridal bouquets.

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Literary Tuesday – Warning, When I am an Old Woman

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday but it might still be Tuesday somewhere in the world. I was reminded of this brilliant poem by Jenny Joseph on Sunday morning whilst we were drinking apperos of Pastis and wine in the garden, and nibbling rice snacks. That’s how Sundays should be.  The poster I won arrived from America this week, and guess what colour it is? Yup, purple, I wonder what that means – I don’t have a red hat yet but hats do suit me.

 

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit.

 

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

and eat three pounds of sausages at a go

or only bread and pickles for a week

and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

 

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

 

 

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Making hay and partridges

They (whoever ‘they’ are) say you should never work with children or animals, and I think birds should be added to the list.

You know I said that a partridge was never going to come and sit in your pear tree? Well a couple of days later look what turned up in the garden :
red legged partridge

Yes, it is indeed a red-legged partridge, and here it is kind of aiming for the still very small pear tree that we’ve planted:

red legged partridge2

He’s gone now, probably in a huff because the pear tree wasn’t big enough.

Next to the paddock that the goats are in there’s an area of grass that just kind of sits there doing nothing. So, we thought why not cut it for hay for the goats. Goats love hay. They can have a whole paddock of interesting things to eat but what they really want is hay. We have to buy in our hay so it would help out a little bit towards the cost. Rob went and got out the scythe and half an exhausting hour later – and that was just me watching, we decided that the metal cutter on the strimmer would be a better idea.

After a few days of drying and turning it was ready to pick up. The goats of course were very excited at the prospect of all that hay to eat, and tucked into the little bit they had as a taster.

hay

 Interesting stuff hay. Here’s the chief hay picker upper
chief hay picker upper
We got nine big bags of it and Matthew was desperate to try some.
matthewMolly managed to get a taster too.
molly

 

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I succumbed!

So, it had to happen.  I opened an Etsy shop. Actually the plan is to open two. The original idea was to open a shop to sell the bags and other stuff I make – Rob got fed up with tripping over them. But then we realised that we have loads of collectable and interesting (to us anyway!) stuff in boxes.  When we lived in the UK, many moons ago, we used to buy and sell antiques and collectables at the weekends and when we moved to France it all just got packed up with everything else. Those boxes have sat unpacked for nearly ten years now so we thought we’d better get them out.

So, watch this space for the bag and craft Etsy shop.  For now you have to make do with MaisonMaudie , full of interesting stuff!  Like these teeny childs leather gloves we bought on a visit to the  Poitou Charente region of France.

teeny childs leather gloves

Or, this vintage wooden gavel.

vintage wooden gavel

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with it all the time, you can just look at the Etsy widget thingy. Thank you.

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