I took my new camera to France where I hoped to have the time to get to grips with it. When we went to Ken and Walt’s I took it with me and they gave me a few tips on how to get started.
We went for a lovely long walk along the banks of the river Cher where I took quite a few pictures. As you can see, it was a very grey afternoon, not ideal for taking pictures at all.
I photographed anything and everything, using different settings, just to see what would happen. I liked this old cart which just happened to be lying around in someone’s barn.
I liked this picture of something in the foreground in focus, background blurred. Clever stuff. Well it would be if I could remember how I did it.
At one point in the walk we were on literally a carpet of chestnuts. There were chestnut trees both sides of the path and no way of walking without stepping on them.
One of the things that always takes me by surprise is the abundance of home grown produce in the Loire. Where I live in Derbyshire very few people have apple trees or large vegetable plots, because land is expensive and houses are built on small pieces of land. Nick and I are luckier than many as our house was built in the 1950’s so it has a decent sized garden. Even so we have limited space to grow anything, but houses built in the last few years have tiny gardens which are purely recreational. A lot of people who do have gardens have turned them into patios for eating out, or car parking space, as many older houses were built before most people owned a car so there was nowhere to put one.
When I was a child everyone had a garden and grew vegetables. Very few people owned a car. When they did get a car they parked it on the road. Gardens were for growing your food, not sitting out and barbecuing, and most people grew much more than they bought, even in winter. Nowadays most of the fruit and vegetables we eat come from a supermarket.
There has been much in the media lately of the food waste issue. As a nation we throw away a huge amount of unused food each year and indeed Nick and I have been guilty of that too. If you buy a lettuce it’s hard to use all of it but I haven’t bought a lettuce for several months, just plucking a few leaves off the plants in the greenhouse as required. Once I started working part-time we got better at not wasting food and now I am retired we do better still. And I feel much more motivated not to waste stuff if I have grown it myself – all that effort just to chuck it in the bin ??!! No way !! I didn’t feel the same about stuff I bought from the supermarket, even though a lot of effort went into earning the money to buy it.
The supermarkets are beginning to highlight the food waste problem, which seems odd to me as they have a vested interest in selling us more than we need because they make more profit that way. Supermarkets are however trying to dig themselves out of the hole they have dug in previous decades when they were found out to be the bad guys in so many ways where food production, marketing and supply is concerned. Such as the “horse meat scandal” a few months ago. Since then the supermarkets have been frantically trying to restore public confidence and convince us they retail food responsibly, but there’s always a new food scandal around the corner.
Anyway, one of the things that very much attracts us to our part of rural France is that people grow an awful lot of their own stuff and the growing season is longer than in the UK. Which brings me to Ken and Walt’s apples. They have several varieties of apple tree in their garden including one which was absolutely loaded with beautiful Bramleys. Walt gave me a large bag to bring away, which I have been making good use of, eating some in pies and crumbles and freezing the rest for future enjoyment. Delicious !!
Naturally while we were at their house we enjoyed a glass of local wine, in this case a Vouvray. The more eagle-eyed may spot a clue as to what we had for lunch !!
And last but not least, a picture of their gorgeous dog, Callie the collie. She’s very photogenic. And easier to photograph than Lulu, who barely sits still for long enough to get the camera out. I suspect Callie is very used to having her photo taken !!
Anyone interested in the food waste issue might be interested in seeing Phil’s post in his excellent food blog, Mug of Strong Tea.