Thursday, 28 May 2015

Caught on Camera...

As we travelled to the cake club yesterday, three fox cubs ran into the road ahead of the car..
 which way to go??
 Try again...
Quick, leg it!!
 Faster...
 Gone!

Such a pity I couldn't get all three together!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

He's a Winner!

An afternoon spent at the cake club, courtesy of David and Jane.. surrounded by friends, family and the very best of home baking..

And to top it all... Well done, Colin! You're a winner!

 I can see you giving Paul Hollywood a run for his money before long.

Thanks to Jean for the arrangements and, again, to David and Jane for their hospitality!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Pique-nique chez le Vigneron: 23rd-25th May Part Two...

Following on from yesterday's post...

After we'd eaten and drunk our fill we were offered the option of walking to see an underground quarry where sarcophagi  were produced during the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries.

The trapezoid shapes of the sarcophagi were easily distinguishable, cut alternately head-to-toe to get the optimum number from the rock..

These underground quarries were the largest production centre of sarcophagi in the Touraine in the early middle ages and production is estimated at around 10,000 units.

A study of them has been undertaken, as part of a Doctorate in Archaeology by Daniel Morleghem of the Universite Francois Rabelais, Tours.

Interestingly for us, two years ago Daniel came to Braye to survey the cemetery where several sarcophagi had been discovered.

Back out into the daylight, the next treat in store was a walk down to the lower meadow to see the wealth of wild flowers growing there, including several species of orchid..

These are (with Susan's help for ID) Lady Orchid (photos 1,2 & 3)

Pyramidal Orchids

Monkey Orchid
 

We had the most wonderful day at La Domaine de la  Marinre, with great company, good food, excellent wine and with history and botany thrown in for good measure!

Thank you to Renaud Desbourdes and family for your hospitality, and as Renaud said:
"There is only one thing certain at La Marinre: the time to arrive!"

Everything else certainly comes as a surprise!


Saturday, 23 May 2015

Pique-nique chez le Vigneron: 23rd-25th May

We have just got home from one of the most enjoyable days we've spent in France!

This weekend is the annual "Pique-nique chez le Vigneron".  The basic idea of this is for people to take along a picnic to their participating Domaine of choice,  where wine to accompany the picnic is supplied free and very often there are other activities to enjoy.

Our Domaine of choice was based simply on  travelling distance for all parties: La Domaine de la Mariniere, near Panzoult. 

And it proved to be an excellent choice!

The day started with a walk round the vineyard led by, Boris, the grandson of the owner.

We learnt about pest control, the problems posed by hares, deer and wild boar and so much more about the grapes which produce wine under the appellation d'origine contrôlée de Chinon.

Half way round we were treated to a little wayside snack of cheese, pate, bread and of course, wine....

Someone's enjoying the first tipple of the day.. (There were many more to come!) 

And what a fantastic view to enjoy whilst partaking in the above!

Returning to the house, picnic tables were already being set out under the shade of the trees..

Bit by bit the tables were filled...

and along with the food, the wine flowed freely!
Very freely...
We sampled bottles from 2004, 2012,  2013, and 2014 plus eau de vie... Gaynor has just a few of her glasses lined up in order..... she thinks!

We were on the table with the family, so there was plenty of banter...

The bottle of water we'd brought (shown in the above photo) provoked derision from Monsieur, who asked if we'd brought it to wash our hands!!
And just when we thought we couldn't eat another morsel, Madame came round offering flan - huge slices, too!

Well that was only half of it...  
We'll save the rest for tomorrow!! 

Our thanks for this wonderful day must go to Jim Budd, as without his  blog, http://jimsloire.blogspot.fr/2015/05/pique-nique-chez-le-vigneron-23rd-25th.html we wouldn't have known about the event at all!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Raindrops on Roses...

Earlier this week it had rained during the night and the flowers still had the raindrops on them when we looked round the garden the next morning..
 
 

You wouldn't think anything could enhance the beauty of a rose..but when you see them covered with raindrops, sparkling in the sunlight, they are simply out of this world!.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A First in the Garden Bird Sightings

This afternoon Colin noticed a male Stonechat  with young on our fence...

Our photos were taken with a zoom setting as the male was warning us off with its call

The lovely russet breast and distinctive black head of the male contrasts, at this time of year, with the less colourful female. In winter, however, it is similar to the female with streaky upper parts, a paler breast  and no white on the rump.

The parent bird flew off onto our neighbours roof..

before joining its young on our gate post...

 It's always a delight to find a new species of bird in the garden, but one with young is an added bonus!