Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Lucky to be alive

Well, in the process of John renovating the roof space into a bedroom he yesterday decided to stain and treat the beams that were going to be exposed, sadly his French reading (or any French for that matter) is not too good and he used the treatment that should be used only outdoors, after about 15 minutes I who was sat downstairs at the computer realised that I couldn't breath very well and my eyes were watering. I swiftly went up to tell John only to find him in the same state, he had by now also realised his mistake and was opening windows and doors frantically, sadly the only window in the roof space is a velux and it was raining so we couldn't leave it open, anyway we went to our Franglais class for two hours and on our return opened the door and the fumes were overwhelming, we went to bed with the window wide open all night, today it is a bit better but it is going to take a while to get rid of it completely, I think we have had a lucky escape..
No photo's I am afraid.
But there was a beautiful rainbow this morning :


I tried to get them to line up but sadly they wouldn't..

Last night as previously mentioned we went to our Franglais evening where we have good French and English conversation, we were only a small team last night but we still had fun.

The nutter in the front is Sandrine she is young and full of fun

from left to right - Sandrine, Robin, Frédéric, Helena, Isabelle, and Wendy
of course I am taking the photo and John as always is staying well out of the way.

Friday, 21 September 2012

OMG What was that

House Centipede,

While sat watching Tele last night, John had got up to make a cup of tea when I heard him say "Oh my God, what was that" I got up to look and saw this very large creamy coloured thing that could move faster than Roger Bannister shoot passed me, John got a glass and he finally trapped it, by this time my heart was racing (I don't like creepy Crowley's) after we looked at it exclaiming over and over "What the hell is it" we took it out into the night and threw it as far as we could..sadly I was in too much of an hysterical state to think about taking a photo but here is what it looked like (picture courtesy of someone calmer than me)

And I kid you not it was about an inch and a half long, needless to say I didn't sleep very well, I will be spending the whole day in search of any friends he might have with the trusty bleach (Le Javal)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Seat

The seat that John made out of a pallet has had a couple of coats of stain:

 Do you think it is better now

And doesn't it look lovely, I can tell you it is a very welcome place when I am gardening and I need a sit down (which is often these days, it is in the shade in the afternoon so just right for a cup of tea and a ponder.

The small roses are still flowering, there must have been about 100 flowers this year, they started flowering in April and have been going consistantly ever since, even in the drought.

This is my home made scarey Mary that I made from a tin foil plate and some straws, it works wonderfully to keep the birds away from seedlings, I think it is the eyes/

Bakewell tart, Yummy, we will have this tonight for puddingwith some custard

And a few lemony little cakes just to use up the lemon juice to have with a cuppa, anyone want to pop round, kettles on.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Our first grapes!

Yes we have grapes, only one small bunch but nevertheless Grapes.

And they are so sweet and juicy, I have no idea what sort they are so hopefully next year there will be many more, all we have to do now is find out how to prune the grapevine properly but I am sure there will be some Frenchman ready to show me in exchange for a glass or two of wine.

Et voila

The wood is now cut up and stacked ready for me to toast my toes when the weather turns cold.

John has worked hard bless him, I think he has earned a glass of wine don't you think?

A bientot (see you soon)

The Veg with no name!

Well we have spent a lovely weekend, sadly for most of it our camera got left back at the ranch so the pictures are few I am afraid,
(note to self: get a mobile with a camera) also I am very sad as we saw an unusual sight, three magnificant deer complete with beautiful antlers, standing in all their glory in a field, it would have made a wonderful picture, I almost made John crash the car as I squeeled for him to look at them, lurching across him.
Mystery solved

We had been asking all of our French friends about some unusual cabbagy veggies we have seen in many French gardens, explaining them to the French has been somewhat difficult; they have a long stem/stalk and just fairly big leaves splaying out from the top, this bemused all of them, it was suggested they might be broccoli, globe artichauts, Brussel sprouts but no, this was not the case, so the only thing for it was to find some in a garden and take a photo. as we were returning from our weekly shopping trip I spied some in a garden and made John turn around and go back so that I could take a photo and here they are;

And has we were going to a French friends for aperitifs Saturday evening I decided to send the photo to them and they had been very helpful in trying to discover what the illusive veg was, of course as soon as they saw them they knew what they were, well to be precise they didn't know the name but knew they were grown specifically for the rabbits to eat. (they breed rabbits here to eat) and apparently this veg is good for fattening them up.
Maybe we should breed rabbits as we have a rabbit hutch that will house 8 rabbits and we are partial to a bit of rabbit, they are extremely expensive to buy in the shops but readily available here.

We had some really beautiful weather this weekend, now I struggle to understand the spoken french and every now and then I hear this word/phrase that sounds like bouton and it didn't seem to be any word I knew that was associated with the weather as I knew it had to be, it came to me yesterday - at last, it wasn't bouton but beau temps meaning lovely weather, it really was one of those eureka moments.

This wasn't a good picture and I wish you could have seen it as we did as we sat Sunday evening in the garden watching the sun go down after a wonderfully warm day.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


A friend had cut down some old trees and gave them to us for the wood burner.

We now have to cut them up, thankfully John has a chain saw.

I had better stay out of his way

First tomatoes

The first of our orange tomatoes are ready (they don't turn red but are the sweetest I have ever tasted)
So this morning I have picked what are ready and mixed them with some red ones to make sauce to freeze, then we can get a taste of summer in the winter, it is always so luscious when the weather is cold and dismal to thaw out this lovely smelling sauce, it takes you straight back to the sunny day when you made it.
Firstly I put them in a roasting tin with lots of garlic,basil and thyme from the garden all chopped up and sprinkled all over, then a drizzle of olive oil.

All in the tin ready to burst into flavour
out they come
 I wish there was a smell button, they smell absolutely delicious and will taste even better.

into the super sticky swisher or as the French call it un mouli (I think).
This will mulch it all down until there is just the skin left.

And what you are left with is this Divine tomato, garlicky Herby sauce that you can freeze.

But we are going to use half of it tonight for a spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread and Parmesan cheese...What will you use yours for?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Chilly days are on their way

With Autumn approaching rapidly it seems it gives us more time to think about changes, adventures.
Plan something for Spring.
Perhaps a new project.That is what I am see I don't like the autumn and winter one bit so I have to divert my mind to nice things to get through it, Could be anything from
What veggies I am growing next year ( I am very excited about the raised beds and my vertical garden
Organising a Franglais evening once a week for both English and French to practise their other language, we already go to one on a Tuesday evening but another in the week would be good with perhaps different people.
wine tasting evenings (John's Favourite)
Join the local flower arranging class or take a reflexology class.
Create your own special jam elderberry and pear, or raspberry and rose..
Organise a fete for spring with the help of your local Marie.
Get all the locals to give up all those unwanted presents which
have been hidden away.

I am sure that you can think of so much more.
Please come here to write about your ideas, don't forget to click join in order to post, I am looking forward to hearing from you all.

Roz :)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Cake

Well as promised the finished cake, it doesn't make a very deep cake but it is always delicious especially with a cup of English tea (not the French stuff)

let me know if you try it and what you think

It's raining

Hello everyone,

Well guess what, it is raining, I said we should be careful what we wish for!
It is very dark and dismal and very heavy rain but I suppose the garden needed it as the veggies don't respond as well to tap water and the butt water always browns the leaves.

So what to do on a rainy day? make a cake of course - the general thoughts were for a fruit cake so I am making a boiled fruit cake and thought I would share it with you.

And just in case you want the recipe:

Boiled fruit cake

In a saucepan put:
12 ozs of dried fruit
1/4 pint of water
4 ozs Butter or margarine
4 ozs sugar
Bring to boil and let simmer for 3 mins
Let it cool slightly otherwise you will cook the egg in the hot mixture
Then add
8 ozs Self raising flour
1 tsp of mixed spice
1 egg
Mix well
pour into a tin
cook at gas 2 for 1.1/4 hours
Leave to cool before cutting
Enjoy with a cuppa

Mix in the flour

Then the egg

Now pop it in the oven.
There is something very comforting about the smell of a cake in the oven,
I will post a picture of the cake when it comes out of the oven

I must be feeling very autumnal today as I have also made a sausage casserole

Just sausages pre-cooked a little to Brown them, Onions, Carrots, a little sweat and sour sauce left over from yesterday a stock cube and a sprinkling of sage and onion stuffing. slow cook in the oven with the cake, serve with mashed potato.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Wedding

John and I have attended our first wedding in France, our friends Helen and Rick, though it wasn't a French wedding due to them being English.

Helen and Rick's Wedding at the beautiful Chateau

We look as if we are having a great time don't we? and we are, the champagne flowed
The wedding cake was lovely (Made by our dear friend Carol from Iced memories)

Sorry the picture is still in the box but it was the best one, Carol is so talented.

I love butterflies BUT!!

Bonjour a tous

I had planted some Sprouts and some sort of Cabbage that I have no idea what they are and I realised that the butterflies like them enormously as do the pigeons so John has built a lovely framework around them.

This will stop the cabbage butterfly and the pigeons having a feast but it still allows rain and sun to get in, the framework was from an old plastic greenhouse that we no longer use, it fits the raised beds just right.

Here are the orange tomatoes that survived the potato blight, we are just waiting for the sun to ripen them and they will be slow roasted with garlic and thyme with a splash of olive oil and blended to make tomato sauce for the winter and frozen. Also in the background you can see the new padded seat we bought from a vide grenier for 1€ and it just fits.

And these are my serpent squash, it is the first time I had grown them and they are very slow to produce, we are just hoping that there is going to be enough summer left for them to produce some fruit, I will post pictures if they come to fruition.
We need just a little rain but you have to be careful what you wish for as when it starts it doesn't stop.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

September already

Well it has been so long since I wrote on here that I thought I might start it up again,.
life in St Aignan Sur Roe is very good and the summer has really dug in it's heals now, we are hoping that it is going to go on for a long time, well into the Autumn.

John has made all the raised beds now, primarily they were to help my back but they have turned out to be benificial in so many other ways, they keep everything well watered and stay warmer for longer ( thus making the growing season longer.

We have also started growing veg vertically ( saving on space and stopping the dreaded slugs.)

This is such a good idea and it saves water, you put water in a bottle at the top and it drips through all the pots then into a tub at the bottom which goes back into the top.

Well watch this space for more garden news and anything else that goes on in this lovely place...