Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Day to Remember..

Today was a completely new experience for us as we were invited to the marriage of our neighbours and friends, Pamela and Maximilien...

We left the house just in time to join the back of the convoy of vehicles making their way to the church at Rilly sur Vienne..

There must have been 30 to 40 cars in the convoy, lead by five or six motorbikes, one of which was ridden by the groom! Working perfectly together, the bikers stopped the traffic at each junction as we made the 20km journey.

The church ceremony was informal and very relaxed and then it was out into the glorious sunshine for photos and the throwing of rice and paper hearts,  packaged in gift bags and given out to us on arrival, by the bride's friends.
Our convoy then made the return trip, horns blaring, (the groom still on his bike!) and on to Les Ducs de Richelieu for the Vin d'honneur. We left after this as the meal later was for family and close friends. 

We were very pleased to be invited to share such a truly happy and relaxed celebration.

All our love to Pamela and Maximilien for a long and happy marriage..

Friday, 30 May 2014

Roof Hive...

We photographed this bee hive located on a two storey house roof in Braye.

We can only think they must have had a swarm somewhere up there...

Unless of course anybody has another explanation.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Brocante de l'Ascension, Richelieu 2014

As in previous years, we went to take a look round the Brocante de l'Ascension in Richelieu, this morning.

The weather was kind for this public holiday and there was a mix of all the usual Brocante things... some reasonably pleasant...

Some rather bizarre...
(what's Colin doing in the wardrobe???)

And some frankly quite disturbing... (see below; not Colin in the wardrobe!!)

Now if anyone saw the progamme "French Collection" and felt inspired to come to the brocantes of France and buy with the intention of "up-cycling" and selling on in the UK at a profit.......

Forget it!!!

At the prices we saw today, all you are going to make is a gaping hole in your bank balance!!

If you come for the atmosphere and the sheer enjoyment of it, you'll not be disappointed!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Piece of Cake!!

Well, more than one piece actually...

In fact we had a table full to choose from, at the second meeting of the Loire Valley Clandestine Cake Club hosted today by Gaynor and Tim.

And after all the tasting, it was time for a 'raffle' with what else but a cake recipe book as the prize!

A smashing afternoon, enjoyed by all, young and old(er) alike..

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Broad Bordered Bee Hawkmoth (Hemaris fuciformis) 2014

When we were returning from our walk on Sunday, eagle eyed Elizabeth spotted this specimen happily feeding on our Verbena.  Interestingly it is where we photographed it in August last year.

She did a fantastic job with her small Canon Ixus 1100...

By the time I had got hold of my big Canon, it had of course moved on but I doubt I could have bettered these.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Any Guesses??

Whilst doing some "re-arranging" yesterday, we came across this item...

Elizabeth didn't know what it was but I recognised it immediately.

Is anyone else familiar with this object or at least prepared to take a guess??

And to Gaynor and Tim.....

our commiserations! Hope it improves significantly for you!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Another successful season...

It's our old friend the Hoopoe in what can only be described as "More! I want More!!!"

This is a star parent...

This is the hungry brat!!

"Here's some more then..."

"You want MORE?!"

"OK. Try this"

And what do you do when you have had a good feed? A little preening...

...followed by a good sleep.

We love the Hoopoe in the garden each year and are pleased that they have yet again successfully bred.
Long may they continue...

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Poison Flower...

Last year we brought from our garden in England a Foxglove (Digitalis Purperea)... It is now in full bloom.

The flower is Poisonous and can be used as a medicine, rather than re-type the detail you can read all the facts here. I only ever remember them as wild flowers and we used to see many on our walks in the Forest of Bowland.

Foxgloves seem to be very popular as garden plants this year and have figured prominently in the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.Interestingly we have noticed them in some French garden centres too and yesterday we called in a branch of Gamm Vert... We could not resist buying another one...

... which has been planted next to the existing one...

The Foxglove is biennial and will only flower in the second year. Hopefully we will be collecting seeds in an attempt to keep the lines going, but we will have to wait two years to get the flowers again. If the conditions arn't favorable the seeds will lie dormant. There is a good article on how to grow foxgloves by Carol Klein here

We will just have to wait and see...

Our local Château du Rivau is listed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the top ten gardens of the Loire... See Here

Thursday, 22 May 2014


When we did the butterfly survey last Sunday, large areas of the paths looked like there had been a fall of snow.

The air was also full of snowflakes!

The culprits are these Poplar Catkins...

It looked quite splendid...  Unfortunately, following the recent rainfall, it will have all washed away.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Today has been...

Well you have to eat whatever the weather...

Poor Green Woodpecker, soaked through...  Again its a hard life being a bird.

Think we will go back to the North West... it's been sunny and warm there today... anybody a spare boat!!!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

To Fear or Not to Fear?

This is the question....

"What is this creature? and is it as vicious as it looks??"

Here it is in silhouette..

And a different specimen - not quite so evil looking....

but then again, looks can be deceiving!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bee Orchids and Broomrape

The first of our 2014 bee orchids are in flower today..

And among them and our many Lizard Orchids, we spotted this...

I think it's the parasitic plant, Common Broomrape, but I'm prepared to stand corrected!