22 October 2009


Fresh walnuts are so sweet.

Last year (2008) we spent a week towards the end of October in Le Grand-Pressigny and although it was chilly it was sunny and we had a great time. Early in the week we returned from a day out to find a basket of walnuts on our doorstep - a gift (one of many) from our neighbour, Mme André.
We had never had walnuts this fresh before. They were so sweet and soft compared with the shop-bought ones we had had before which were often bitter and hard.

Nick and Lulu under one of the many walnut trees around the village.

This year we were in LGP a week earlier in the month and we were hoping we would not be too early for the walnuts. We were not disappointed. There were walnuts in abundance everywhere. We gathered some for ourselves and Mme André provided us with a little bagful most days. They were delicious, just like last year.

The walnut on the tree, about to fall, leaving the green bit behind.

The walnuts form in little fruits that look like small pears. Whilst on the tree the green outer shell splits to reveal the walnut as we know it inside. Usually the walnut then falls to the ground leaving the split casing on the tree. As we drove around the area in October this year, we would often see a car parked by the edge of a wood or field and nearby there would be a person with a basket or a bucket gathering fresh walnuts from the ground.


This picture shows the stages of the walnut from the green "fruit" stage to the final walnut, which then falls to the ground.

We brought a large quantity of walnuts home with us. Other than eating them as nuts for dessert or putting the odd few in a salad, we are short of ideas on how to use them. One can only eat so many coffee and walnut cakes !  Any suggestions ?

8 October 2009


We had owned the house for quite some time when Nick decided he couldn't stand the lights in the kitchen any longer.
The switches dangled in mid-air on the end of the trunking and were fastened to a cup hook on the wall.
The light bulb dangled from another cup hook in the ceiling.

It's funny but after we had been there for a while we had stopped noticing them but the time had come to do something about it.

It involved doing a bit of this.

And the end result was this !!

This had been kind of cute, though. I rather missed it for the first day or two!

3 October 2009


It's market day at Loches on Wednesdays and Saturdays so in the middle of the first week of our holiday we decided to go and have a look at it.

All the usual stuff was there, including the sausage man.

There was someone selling a sort of stew made out of "boudin noir", or black pudding.  We managed to resist!

This lady was selling cakes. We bought a chocolate one and it was expensive but absolutely delicious.

It was very like a dessert we often choose, "fondant au chocolat", which is chocolate cake with a hot runny chocolate sauce in the middle. Scrumptious.

On Thursday evening there was a market of artisans at La Roche-Posay. There was lots of interesting stuff for sale; the kind of things that are quite irresistable but that you really don't need. Wooden pens, leather jewellery boxes, basketware in all shapes and sizes, etc. We managed to resist most of it but I did buy some pretty hand-made beads.

On Sunday we went with Barrie to a brocante near Ligeuil. The shop, or rather, showroom is a permanent feature but every so often the owner puts a lot of stuff outside on tables, "vide-grenier" style. The things for sale were better than at most of the vide-greniers I have been to.

We bought a couple of interesting items for the terrace, perfect for displaying our geraniums. One of them was obviously meant to be used as a magazine rack.

There's something so enjoyable about browsing the markets and brocantes in the sunshine. The colours, the smells and the sounds are all a real treat for the senses. If you happen to get a good lunch and a bargain as well, it's just a perfect holiday activity.