Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Cake Club comes to Braye!

For a couple of hours yesterday afternoon the population of Braye was augmented somewhat, when friends arrived for the August meeting of the Loire Valley Clandestine Cake Club (CCC)

We can blame it on the weather/our ovens/distractions etc but for some of us it was a bit more Brassed Off than Bake Off..

However, what some lacked in perfection was more than made up for in taste and sheer enjoyability!! And we have to remind ourselves that it's NOT a competition...

Colin's poster on the gate-post attracted some interest from villagers passing by who are more used to us leaving signs saying: "Fraises/Cerises/Tomates, Servez Vous S.V.P"

Once again the ingenuity applied to the theme - "French Picnic" - and range of cakes on offer was outstanding...

I'm naming no names but this cake really "rose" to the occasion - unlike some others (they shall also be nameless!)

In fact, in the left background of the above photo you may possibly make out the label "Cake Catastrophe!" It's creator likened it to the San Andreas fault but then again, cream covers a multitude of geological features!

Below is another example of a near disaster being turned into a creative opportunity. The intended topping didn't! So instead of wasting it, it was blitzed and made an attractive sprinkling to decorate this now showstopper of a cake.

Again, in the background of the above photo, you can see the meticulous attention to detail to create "arches" of icing, precisely arranged around the cake; it is NOT, as the unkind among you may think, simply runny icing!

The winner of the baking book was delighted, and is now looking forward to choosing and baking his contribution to the next CCC. We are all very happy for him!

Which leaves me with one last thing to say; and that is to send our heartfelt thanks and love to each and every one of the Loire Valley CCC for the early celebration they gave us for our wedding in under two weeks time. Their gift was perfect and, as I type, its root ball is soaking ready for planting later today..
Our thanks, also, for other gifts we've received from friends. Your kindness and generosity is very much valued and appreciated!

Wedding photos will follow as and when - possibly!!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A short family history...

I have mentioned on our blog on several occasions that I come from two generations of Gamekeepers. I have now found the photographs I have been searching for, so here is a snapshot of my life pre 10 years old.

This is the gamekeepers cottage. The first picture was taken before I was born, the second is probably the same age as the rest, mid to late 1950's. It had no electricity and was two miles outside the village of Wheldrake, North Yorkshire. I used to spend most of the summer holidays there and loved it.

This is my Grandfather William Young a gamekeeper up until the day he died in 1961. I was devastated when he died.

This is my late father Colin Young, taken as a young man. The story goes he shot a sheep in his younger days!! He went on to become a gamekeeper in Dalton Holme, East Yorkshire. Shortly after his national service he took up engineering, because the pay was better.

This is me with my Dad

The next photographs were taken after a deer was spotted in the adjoining cornfield, it did not survive long. If you look at the photographs either my Dad or Grandad shot it right between the eyes. It was duly butchered and shared between the landlord and our family.

Finally an 'Ahhh' photograph but not for the pig as it was raised purely for meat. I also remember similar photographs of me in the working dog pens, mainly retrievers. Will have to see if I can find them.

I have the Young (single line) family tree going back to the 1600's and would like at some time in the future to expand it. Many of them are buried in the village churchyard. One interesting fact I found out was that my relations used to run the stagecoach between Wheldrake and York.

It's on my list of things to do!!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Butterflies in the Garden

Every time we've stepped outside these last few days, the garden seems to be lifting with butterflies of all shapes and sizes.

Here are some of our favourite photos, most of them taken using digital zoom! (Well, what else?)

Holly Blue...


Silver-washed Fritillary...

Map butterfly...

Scarce Swallowtail alongside a Gatekeeper...


And although this is not a butterfly, we couldn't leave out the colourful Jersey Tiger Moth..

This shot is slightly blurred as it catches the Jersey Tiger in flight, which shows its colour so beautifully...

Digital zoom is going to take over our lives, if we're not careful!!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

There are many...

Things that sound much better in French, in our opinion, that is. This offer photographed in Lidl recently is an example.

Assiettes en plastique sounds much better than plastic plates...

One of my other favourites is 'tout à l'égout' which has got to be better than 'main drain' !!! One of Elizabeth's favourites is 'poubelle' .... much nicer than dustbin! And what about 'dechetterie'?? Better than 'tip' anyday! The list goes on...

The English television commentator during the Yorkshire stages of La Tour also thought so and quoted many examples from the French titles shown on the screen.

Please feel free to add your own favourite in the comments...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Digital Zoom?

Well I never... The other day whilst out on a walk, I (now we) rediscovered digital zoom... On my previous small Canon cameras it has been worse than useless and on my relatively new Canon SX500 IS  (now replaced with the SX510 IS) I have always had it turned off for this reason...

Somehow it switched itself on and aren't 'we' glad... Here are a couple of test shots.
This is cropped from the above photo
This is taken with full digital zoom from the same position as the first photo

The second example is what we will probably use it most for...

I must say 'we' are impressed, Elizabeth gets the same results on her Canon Ixus... Not bad at all for cameras costing less than £150...

Our Digital Zoom will always be turned on and used in the future...

Friday, 22 August 2014

Harvest Mouse

We've seen this little Harvest Mouse, or one of its family, a few times over the past couple of days (and nights) and we couldn't resist sharing these shots of the tiny creature. The clover flower gives a sense of scale...

My goodness it's making a meal of this blade of grass, grasping it with both hands - sorry: feet!

Sleep or eat?? Don't think it can decide which is better.... Or maybe it's just savouring the delights of our pelouse??

Alert here, perhaps it realises it's being watched....

Run for it just in case!

Back to its new home in the walls of our well...

And if you'd like to see it and another one in action, take a look at what Colin captured on our wildlife camera last night. Look closely in the right mid ground to begin with and then on the wall of the well and you'll see a couple of them....

It makes a change from our usual footage on the wildlife camera ....... next door's cat. 

Not good news for the Harvest Mouse!!

NB. Best watch at "full screen" or you'll not see it. (should have put this above, really!)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Will it fit?

No; it wouldn't!

We'd been up to Leclerc at Chinon and made an impulse purchase of a 12 drawer unit for me to keep my sewing bits and pieces in - neatly (!)..

We got back to the car with it and immediately realised we had a problem. How on earth were we to get a twelve drawer unit in the back of a 2CV? We spent a few minutes pondering; upright/ seat forward/ lying across the back seat...Would it?

Well it wouldn't! So when we could regain some modicum of control, having laughed so much at our predicament we did what all self-respecting 2CV owners would have done..

We rolled back the roof and Colin passed the unit in through the top... More laughter.... As soon as the unit was tilted, the drawers fell out. It was like a sketch from The Two Ronnies!

BUT... problem solved. We drove safely home and the unit is now filled with sewing essentials...

Could have done with a second one really.....    Only joking!!