Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Chopping, Dicing and Peeling.

It’s been a bit of a cottage industry here in our kitchen. The preserving pan came out of retirement and there’s been lots of chopping, dicing and peeling plus a very sore thumb at the end of it all. But, we’ve ended up with 23 jars of jams, jellies and chutneys. There was a lot of deliberation about what kind of fruity plum tree we had. Maybe greengages, maybe Mirabelles?? Our fruits were more on the green/yellow side and Mirabelles are yellow. But after seeing the differences in the supermarket and help from Diane, we definitely have a Mirabelle tree. Our Mirabelle harvest has given us Mirabelle jelly, Mirabelle jam and Mirabelle chutney. Plus we have Bramble jelly from our walk on Sunday, Apple, tomato and onion chutney and Storecupboard chutney from our apple trees. We’ve also frozen apples and blackberries for future puddings.

If anyone counts the jars, there’s one missing. It’s a jar of Mirabelle jelly that’s in the fridge and it’s nearly all gone. Yum!

Jam

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Sompt to Tillou circular walk (4 miles)

We took a lovely walk on Sunday, taking in the beautiful scenery and the lavoirs, even though we did it the opposite way round from the map!! Tillou had 6 mills at one time, 3 wind and 3 water powered. The little streets and alleys gave easy access to the mills where the villagers produced their flour. Each person ate 1kg of bread per day, now the average is about 150 grams. That’s a lot of bread! We found a play park and picnic area right by the river near the end of the walk, that would be perfect for little visitors to play in.
We took some pots with us to collect blackberries and got enough to make bramble jelly.
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Tillou Church

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Weeds

I’ve been telling everyone how many weeds we’ve got, but I’ve not mentioned how tall they are. Here’s a couple that we took out today. Hope our veg grows this well.

As an aside, lunch was interesting today, we had a bird flying round the kitchen. Poor thing was probably scared as it pooped on my tea towel! Weeds

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Coubortiges to Celles-sur-Belle bike ride (24 miles)

We’ve said that Sundays will not be a work days, so we took ourselves off to a Vide Grenier at Lezay this morning. It was nice and small, about 50 stalls and Roger bought himself a chestnut roasting pan for 3€. He was really pleased as he loves them, just need some chestnuts now.
We then popped back home, made a picnic and set off to Melle to join the Ruban Vert to Celles-sur-Belle, but we did cycle round Melle for a bit as we couldn’t find the start of it!! I blame the map reader :) Once we found the Ruban Vert, which was once an old railway line, but is now a lovely off road route for walking and cycling between the 2 towns, we had a lovely flat ride. Not much to take photos of as the ride was mainly on a country path so there’s just a few taken in Celles-sur-Belle.
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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lounge Wall

My Mum has been asking why Roger has been banging a hole in the wall. I suppose banging a hole in the wall is not strictly accurate, more like chipping the cement out between the stones. At some point in the past the pointing had been done with cement instead of lime and then covered with paint. While we are waiting for the sand blasting to be done, hopefully at the end of September, Roger thought he’d start chipping away. It’s going to be a long job but it will be worth it in the end. He says his arms are hanging already. Not a job to be done every day.

I haven’t been idle though, I’ve been painting the cladding in the downstairs loo to brighten it up a bit. It was so dark and gloomy. It’s a lot more cheerful now. Lounge Wall

Monday, 11 August 2014

Brocante and Vide Grenier at Sauzé-Vaussais

On Sunday we popped up the road to Sauzé-Vaussais to take a peek at the brocante and vide-grenier. A brocante is a second-hand sale and a vide grenier is like our car boot sales, but the translation is an attic sale. There were over 200 stalls selling all manner of stuff, clothes, books, kitchen wares, furniture, tools, toys, bric-a-brac etc etc. But we were on the look out for knobs for my larder, Pineau glasses for Roger and an enamel bread bin. We didn’t find any of those things but I did spend 1 whole euro on a basket with cute sunflowers on the side. Here are few of the things that caught our eye – clogs, Rogers always like them but they look so uncomfortable to me, pretty dolls ready to be hugged, look at that amazing pram and rillettes bowls.

Clogs
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Bowls
Pram
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Dolls

Thursday, 7 August 2014

If you can’t find one – make one!

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I really fancied a larder for the kitchen, but to buy a new one was very expensive or if buying second hand they sell so quickly. So I had a brainwave – buy a wardrobe and convert it. So that’s what I did. I bid on this lovely wardrobe from Ebay and got it for £100. The problem was it had been heavily waxed in only what can be described as orange. Yes I know the walls are orange, but they will be painted soon.  After loads of sand papering (no point having nice nails!!) it’s true colour was revealed and you can see the difference in the top two photos above. I was going to clear wax it just to finish it off, but I liked it as it was, nice and rustic. Roger made some shelves for me which I waxed in a light brown, just to tone down the whiteness of the new wood. It’s perfect and I love it, everything fits in with plenty of room to spare for more French goodies, and I haven’t even used the drawer yet.

Just needs new knobs :)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Tackling the veg patch again!!

After a chat over dinner and some advice from Monsieur Google, we’ve decided not to try and do the veg patch all at once. The weeds are just horrendous, and getting them all out by hand is back breaking, so we have decided to hand-weed a third of it and mow the rest. We will then cover the mown part with plastic sheeting over the winter to suppress the weeds. The hand-weeded part will be sown with some winter veg, after all we need to see some fruits of our labours. The plus side of the weeding is we dug up 2 buckets of spuds, which will keep us in dinners for a few weeks. But there must be an easier way of getting them out, I just seemed to stab all mine with my fork and make holes in them!!.
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Friday, 1 August 2014

Photo Friday – Happy Faces

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New Home

New Home Arrived today to take up permanent residence in France. Annie and Alain, our lovely neighbours invited us round for aperitifs and nibbles, plus it was an opportunity for us to meet  our other neighbours too. We must confess we were very nervous, but they were so welcoming the nerves soon went away.