Friday, 31 August 2012

STERF Butterfly Survey August 2012

Wednesday afternoon we completed the August survey for the STERF Butterfly Atlas Project.

In many respects things had not changed much from last months survey. The Gatekeeper and the Speckled Wood being in abundance but many of them looking worse for wear.

 But not all...

New arrivals this month included the summer brood Map Butterfly (thanks Tim)

and the Wall Brown

The Peacock was also quite abundant...

BUT the star of the show had to be the Swallowtail who was kind enough to pose for the camera.

Closely followed by...

Another survey bites the dust... except for the writing up...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Apple Muffins - Gluten free of course!

I tried a new recipe today for Apple Muffins and it's one worth sharing:
 (Makes 12 Muffins)

Pre heat the oven to 180C (165C for fan ovens)

Two and a half cups of Self-raising flour (I used gluten free flour)
Half a cup of brown sugar
One teaspoons cinnamon
One cup of milk
Half cup of vegetable oil
One egg, lightly beaten
 Three small eating apples,
Grate one apple. Chop the second into small chunks and slice the third.
Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add the oil, milk and egg. Combine thoroughly but without stirring too much (this would make the muffins heavy and chewy). With a wooden spoon fold in the grated apple and apple chunks.
Place spoonfuls of the mixture in muffin tin or cases.
Before baking, place a slice of apple on the top of each muffin and sprinkle with a little brown sugar .
Bake for 20 - 25 mins until golden. Leave in tin for a couple of minutes before taking out and placing on wire rack to cool.

The observant among you will notice that I forgot to add the sliced apple before baking..... Colin, don't say a thing!!

These are lovely served with a little crème fraîche....

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A whole lot of roll-ups!!

Driving to north from Braye today towards Assay, we noticed a farmer out harvesting a 'leafy' crop, so we stopped off on the way home to take a closer look.

The 'leaves' turned out to be tobacco.

Colin recalls seeing this grown further south, near Bordeaux, some years ago but we haven't seen it before in the Indre-et-Loire region.

There again, we've travelled this road many times and it was only the tractor in the field which caught our eye today. We hadn't noticed the crop previously, so tobacco growing could be more common here than we think.

Could anyone 'give us a light' on this please?

and NO Stephen you can't go and get some tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


The people of  Dangé-Saint-Romain  take the 'Five-a-Day' advice very seriously.

These model fruit and veg are dotted around the centre of the town, so there's really no excuse...


A novel way to get the message across!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Chaumassay Brocante

We met up with friends, Jean and Nick, at the brocante in Chaumassay yesterday. The disused railway track made for an interesting venue..

The former Station house made a superb backdrop and housed several craft displays..

Among them was the work of a man who has been making models out of used matchsticks since 1969.
Each model was labelled with the number of matchsticks used and the total hours taken to produce the work.
The label for this model read:
 "Maison Bretonne, 26,000 Allumettes, 2000 heures de travail. 2006"

This model of a corn mill was correct in every detail even down to being able to angle the sails the better to catch the wind...
They were truly a labour of love!

AND no brocante would be complete without...

Our search for a kettle stand for our copper kettle continues...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Grasshopper ?

Following on from the bug theme, we photographed this specimen enjoying our China Asters.

Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes puntatissima. (Corrected from the Short-winged Conehead: Thanks Susan)

Normally found in gardens, It is the first one we have noticed.

We like the Kukri knife shaped ovipositor!! Its a good job its not ten times larger...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Eaten to the core

Our pear trees have done better than we expected this year with each tree having a reasonable crop.

The only problem now is how many will be left when it is time to harvest them!!

 Eaten to the core that  one!

This one is well on its way...

The culprit was captured seconds later emerging from the pear...

Not sure of technical name but it's one large hornet...  Would not like to be stung with that one!

We will have to take extra care when we do pick them...

Friday, 24 August 2012

A fine bit of cloth...

Yesterday in Poitiers Elizabeth thought she had died and gone to heaven when she came across this small shop tucked away on the Rue de Magenta just off the main square.

The shop called DMC stocked anything and everything a creative person like Elizabeth could only dream of...  and it appears to be owned by another Elisabeth.

They had the most impressive range of cloth I have ever seen!! or should I say fabric... 

On their web site, which can be viewed here, the shop is called 'La Mercerie' ('Notions' in English). The site shows their range of products.

If you are looking for a 'fine bit of cloth' this is the place; if you can't find it here, stop looking!

I can see us visiting regularly!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A Grand Day Out - Photos of Poitiers

Last time we went to Poitiers it was -5C and snowy. Today it was 27C and sunny...

A snapshot of the city in the sunshine...


A grand day out, a grand city with even grander prices!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Richelieu Station on the Fashion Map

Last month we took a few photos and posted a blog about Richelieu station

This was seen by my good friend's daughter, Caroline, a graphic designer at BMB group, who just happened to be working on a project for the fashion brand 'Gibson'.

One of the photos on the post struck a chord with Caroline and she contacted us to ask permission to use it in the project.

We were more than happy to agree and today Caroline has sent us photos of the printed brochure, showcasing the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection.

The original photo has been 'tweaked' adding a little colour and flair (and a bicycle!) but otherwise the image is very much that of the old station.

When the brochure is folded, the railway station forms the main cover picture.

The brochure will be distributed at fashion exhibitions including MODA and AIS and the fashion stands at the exhibitions will be built using the 'old railway' theme to reflect the photo.

So, a simple photo of the railway station and a good deal of creativity on Caroline's part and Richelieu can claim its place on the fashion map. Who would have thought it?

I wonder if the Cardinal would approve?!