Saturday, December 26, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

morning sun

The bright, blue, sunny days continue - it must be 3 or 4 weeks since we had rain and full sun is forecast for the next week. No daffodils blooming but it is unseasonably warm. 15º today.

Friday, December 4, 2015

winter light

I'm wrapping parcels and listening to Radio 4. I've just heard that in the UK this November has been the dullest since 1929 with just 36 hours of sunshine.  It makes me even more grateful for our bright Winter sunshine. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

musée de traditions populaires, limogne en quercy

Above the tourist information office in Limogne en Quercy is a delightful little museum. 2 rooms set out as a typical living room and bedroom of the early to mid 20th century and one full of tools. 

One of my favourite things is the one in the photo just above - a tool for clamping together a bundle of faggots and dispensing the string to tie it together with. The faggots would have been used for lighting the bread oven that most houses had (outside the house not in it).

All the objects are numbered and you can consult a list which tells you what their use was. It's closed now for the Winter but will open at Easter next year.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

market day

I'll admit - these photos were taken last week not this morning. Today market day was grey and drizzley and all the traders had their umbrellas up and it was a decidedly soggy affair. But you know even on the wet winter days I love going. At the moment there are beautiful carrots, kale and spinach, all picked just hours ago. A generous bunch of parsley added to my basket for free. Those San Pelegrino bottles? No, that's not mineral water but local organic wine direct from the man who makes it. Cheese and eggs and olives and that's me done.

Mathieu's organic wine stand. Bring your own bottle and he fills it up.

Well, almost done! A quick stop chez Boutonnet for a croissant aux amandes. Enough calories for the whole day probably but what the hell!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

parapluies roses

An installation of pink umbrellas in Rodez for breast cancer 
awareness month.

Monday, September 28, 2015

sesame thins

(compotier available here)

Siobhan made these when I was in Ireland recently and they are delicious and very quick to make.

Sesame Thins

4 oz (100g) wholemeal flour
4 oz (100g)  butter
2 oz (50g) sesame seeds
2 oz (50g) sugar

Rub the butter into the flour, add the sesame seeds and sugar and work the mixture together.
Press into a 23 x 23 cm tin (no need to line) and bake at 180º until pale golden brown - about 20 minutes. Score while still warm but leave to cool completely in the tin. They keep well in an airtight tin or kilner jar.

(recipe from the Cranks recipe book)

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The first walnuts are starting to fall.  They are very bitter until they've had a chance to dry out a little but if you have time on your hands you can peel away the papery skin and then the fresh nuts have a delicious milky flavour.  A friend remembers her father burying fresh walnuts in a sack in order to have them at Christmas.

We had such a good harvest last year that we haven't quite run out yet - an excellent state of affairs!

Monday, September 7, 2015


One of the best things about France is the old doors! (and sunshine and cheese and markets and architecture and brocantes and wine).

Sunday, September 6, 2015


The storm the other night brought down all our neighbour's peaches so he brought me two big buckets full.  I've made two large batches of bottled peaches - no sugar - delicious just as they are. I know I've mentioned it before but I just can't understand why British preserving books make no reference to this healthy, easy way of preserving fruit, everyone here cans and makes compote. In fact many French houses have either a second kitchen or a cooker and a sink in the cellar or a shed specifically for making preserves of one sort or another.  I went to a vide maison today and the house had a little lean-to at the back just for that purpose.

Friday, August 28, 2015

late summer

Last days of summer...

This is my favourite time of year  - well from now until mid to late October. The temperature drops dramatically after the 15th of August (yes it is that precise!) and we have sunny days with temperatures in the mid 20ºs.  I'm not sad to see the end of 38/39/40º!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Is it very middle aged to get excited about storage space?!  I have over 200 items in the shop now and people were starting to get a bit impatient about things being stored all over the house. Well no longer  as everything is down in the cellar on my brand new super sturdy shelving made for me as a birthday present by John. I have a big packing table too and plenty of room for boxes and bubblewrap. It's brilliant!

Saturday, June 13, 2015


A pictorial update on the vertical garden at Les Fleurines in Villefranche de Rouergue.
The first photo was taken on March 12th and the second at the beginning of June. I just love it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

central garage

The sky is definitely not that colour today! We had a severe weather warning last night: rain,wind, thunder, lightning, hail - the works! As it turned out we just got a really good soaking (much needed).

Monday, June 8, 2015

if only...

If only I'd had 350€ spare!
No surprise that it was snapped up in under a day. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015


We visited Martel this weekend. A small town in the Lot with fantastic architecture and pure heaven for anyone with a penchant for French doors!

This one has to be my favourite - I love the mixture of beauty and aggression! It also illustrates the rather refreshing attitude the French have to personal safety and public responsibility - Don't be an idiot, it's a spiky door, it'll hurt so don't lean on it.

In England there'd be barriers round it and disclaimers or even worse it would have been taken out. Do you remember the story of the pear tree in a public park in Wolverhampton (I think) which had it's pears removed lest  they fall on unsuspecting passers by...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

for olga

Some pictures of the Abbaye de Sainte Foy in Conques. It is a beautiful plain church. Pierre Soulages designed the opaque windows to exclude the outside world but admit the most unaltered light possible.

The fourth and fifth photos are of the tympanum which shows the Last Judgment. The good are on Christ's right and the sinners on his left. The sinners are not getting off lightly!