28 October 2013



On the Sunday I took my new camera to the annual event at Le Petit-Pressigny called “L’Art et Lard” - a festival of art and food.


The weather was glorious and we were there at the right time of day to catch shadows and reflections just right.  It was a fluke.  With my old camera I just snapped away obliviously but now I seem to be taking more notice of what is the right angle to take a picture from, or where the light is best.



How different it was from last year, when the river rose almost before our eyes as it rained heavily on and off.  In fact our two weeks in France last year were almost a complete washout.  This year the weather co-operated beautifully.


Lulu always enjoys L’Art et Lard.  It usually means a nice walk and lots of fuss from French people who have never seen a standard poodle before.  They will probably never see another one, unless it’s Lulu again !!


26 October 2013


If there is one day of the year I dread more than any other, this is it.  The last day of British Summer Time ~ the day of the night when we put the clocks back.  From tomorrow it becomes dark by teatime and although we benefit from lighter mornings for a while we soon seem to lose those as well as the days get rapidly shorter.  For most of my adult life I have hated what we always called “the long, dark nights”.

When we left France last weekend the sun was shining and it was 23°C.  Back in Derbyshire this week we have had rain, rain and more rain, interspersed with sunny intervals.  During one of those sunny intervals I picked some of the last roses and a few other flowers from the garden.


The garden has had its best year for a long time.  Summer was late to get going but turned out to be one of the best for a few years and I was able to give it more attention, keeping the weeds down, dead-heading and trimming little and often.  The garden responded to this TLC and rewarded us with a lovely show of flowers, especially the roses.  They are still blooming defiantly and somehow surviving the wind and rain.

When we planted all these roses we chose them not only for their colour ~ I especially love the purple ones ~ but also because they are all fragrant ones.  They smell fabulous and there’s nothing quite like the scent of an old-fashioned rose.  Having “time to smell the roses” has been a real joy for me this year.

Just having a few flowers brightening up the hall will cheer me up during the first of the long, dark nights.

Bon weekend !! And don’t forget to put the clocks back !!

9 October 2013


August 2013-3 193

So after a very disappointing start to the year – rather an understatement – the summer came good after all.

Even in the UK we have enjoyed the best summer for years.  Sadly it’s almost as though someone flipped a switch on 2nd October and we said an abrupt farewell to summer and hello to autumn, with chilly days, rain and wind.

However, back here in the Loire, we are hanging on to summer for just another few days.  The weather is due to change to become cooler and more autumnal tomorrow, allegedly.  Today, after a shaky start, the sun came out and we ate lunch on the terrace once again. 


Anyway, this recipe is a good one for all those friends in the Loire who are wondering what on earth to do with a huge tomato harvest this year.  Lucky things, for even though the summer was half decent in the UK, we have not done well for tomatoes, even in the greenhouse.

So if you are not truly sick of tomatoes yet, try this recipe.  It’s called “airport potatoes” but could just as easily be called “airport tomatoes”.  You can read all about it here.  Only then will you find out what an airport has to do with it !!