Sunday, March 20, 2016


This doorway is directly opposite...

... this one

which is the door to this 14th century building.  

We wandered around Figeac in the sunshine yesterday. It is a town of such extraordinary contrasts. Vast, beautifully restored, ancient houses sit cheek by jowl with houses of extreme decrepitude. Looking at some of the ruins it's hard to see where you would even start with a restoration project. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

mystery object

Does anyone know what this might be?  It's a very heavy (for it's size) iron stamp with a flower motif.
It's just under 6 inches long and weighs almost a pound.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

almost instant lunch

There was a programme on French radio yesterday about food blogging. The were talking about the show offiness of food blogs and instagram and the like and said 'no one shows a picture of their lunch of plain buttered pasta'.  Well here's mine! When I haven't cooked anything and have forgotten to take bread out of the freezer we have pasta - spaghetti (or if we're really can't wait, vermicelli) with olive oil, garlic, chilli and lemon.  Chopped olives and some parmesan on top - delicious!

While your pasta is cooking put a good slosh of olive oil in a pan, add a clove of garlic,  your chili of choice (fresh, ground, flakes, paste) some salt and then just warm it over a low flame. You don't want the garlic to colour.  Add lemon juice to taste and pour it over the pasta when it's done. Mix well and grind over some black pepper.

Beautiful stoneware bowls from Tony Gant in London.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


We had a sunny interlude to this rainiest of Winters yesterday. We spent the entire day outside making kindling, cutting logs, pulling weeds (too wet and sticky to hoe), eating sandwiches and drinking mugs of tea. For supper we had a mushroom tart with the first proper garden salad of the year. I carefully picked sorrel, parsley, lettuce, rocket, endive, chard, chives, even a couple of spring onions. Such a contrast to later in the year when all those things and more are growing in abundance and picked by the handful.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


A good (if freezing cold) morning at the brocante. Am particularly thrilled with the key which I believe is 16th century. 16th century! I can hardly get my head around it. The wooden pieces came from a cabinetmaker's workshop and apparently there was a whole box full last week and these are all that are left...

Friday, March 4, 2016


One of the things I love about living in this house is that we get to see the weather coming. There's a lot of rain headed this way - again...