Saturday, 22 April 2017

Garden: Late Frosts

Usually by this time in April the outdoor anti-slug shelving will be laden with tomato and chilli plants jostling with melons, aubergines and other tender vegetable plants getting hardened off before being planted out in the garden. But this year, after a really warm spell in the early part of the month they are yet to spend a single night outdoors. We are still carrying out the twice daily plant shuffle, which becomes increasingly difficult as the plants get potted on and take up more and more space in our salon-sejour.

Oh for a heated greenhouse or conservatory!

This April, as well as being incredibly dry - again - it has also turned really cold, culminating in frosts the last two nights. While the tender veg was smug and snug indoors, some things just can't be moved, like this gorgeous fig, Madeleine des Deux Saisons, which, by the look of these frosted leaves and fruit will only manage the one crop for us this year.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Books: A Work in Progress Dilema

Over the winter of 2014-15 I wrote the first two drafts of a bitter-sweet romance loosely about an older couple taking the plunge and buying a wreck of a house in the south west of France. Without giving too much away, the focus of the plot is her reticence about moving - new country, new man, new business and new challenges. 

My characters - well one of them - were captivated by a view like this.

All well and good, and then wallop, June 23rd 2016 comes along, the British electorate vote by the tiniest of margins in an advisory referendum to leave the European Union and suddenly my simple people-focused plot is in the middle of a massive political upheaval.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

March - The Best Month of the Year?

It has only taken thirty odd years of pondering plus a return to living in the countryside for me to conclude that March might just be my favourite month of the year. Possibly. Probably.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Monday, 2 January 2017

Photo Project 2017: Flowers

Another year and another photo project. 

Over the last few years I've tried to take a weekly photo either in or from the garden that illustrates the changing of the seasons: I've focused on the potager through the year, or the Pic de Montaigu (above) as seen from the house. Last year was a look at a large oak tree (below) that stands on the edge of our garden, and dominates it in the summer, and the unmanaged woodland that faces it on the opposite boundary.

This year I have decided to try something a little different, and find a flower in bloom to photograph each week. Most of the year this will be very easy, although finding a different variety may be more of a challenge.

The first few months will be the toughest, although there are always a few winter stalwarts to be found, like the rosemary (above).