Well autumn has definitely kicked in, in our part of France. I was very thankful that 2 weeks ago I did get all my winter clothes out of storage as I’ve needed to wear them. (I also found my black gloves which I had been missing since we came back from Australia in January – they were in a suitcase) The heating is on every day and morning walks by Pat are with a hat and gloves (once we found them – again safely stored away).
With all this cold I do feel very sorry for our little sunflower – a flower that self-seeded and has been happily growing since the end of August, it chose this past Thursday to open up and of course it was a cold grey day with a grand total of 8 degrees centigrade. So not sure what is going to happen to the sunflower, but for the moment it seems to be surviving.
I have been in the garden the past couple of weekends. Firstly to pick all my tomatoes and to make tomato soup (which tasted lovely) and then to pull up everything else as it is now too cold for my summer veggies. I don’t have anything in for autumn as I don’t tend to plan that far ahead. Next year I might put in a pumpkin plant. We shall see. I have also moved a few things into either the green house or the front porch. One of the pots in the front porch is my Kangaroo Paws, which have grown well, but not flowered. I’m not quite sure why, but I’m still hopeful, but I think that they may be getting a bit too cold now so I don’t know what is going to happen with them. As an aside I just did some googling and found this “Plants propagated from seed may take several years to flower where as division propagated plants will flower the first season.” Yep, mine were from seed, so I think it might be time to bring the plant indoors so that it can survive the winter and see what happens next year.
Pat has also been busy in the garden, as he has removed the grass area between the end of our patio to under the honeysuckle. This is because in winter the area gets no sun and the grass just turns to mud. To this we are adding gravel to extend the patio area. Pat has also built a lovely step down to the grass area. We hope to get the gravel finished tomorrow so hopefully Pat will have some more photos for you next week. But for now here is a progress photo. We will also be putting in a path (down to the shed) and a new flower bed, but the flower bed will be a job for next spring.
We also have been getting to know our neighbours better, after one of them (Alan and his dog UFO – pronounced oopho in French) invited us to a meal. Alan is only in our hamlet for a couple of months of the year as he comes down from Paris, but UFO decided he liked Sinea last year (when she was a tiny little puppy) and he would come up to our gate and greet her every morning when he walked past. This year on UFO’s return, Siena was very happy to see him and he still comes and greats her if she is in the garden when he walks past. Anyway back to the meal, we had a speciality of the Savoie – a Braserade – which is basically a mini barbecue for the table where everyone cooks their own meat. It was a fascinating experience, and a very good night. Allan shared with us that he was doing this dish as it had been his wife’s favourite, and she had died in October 2 years previously. It was a great evening, which I had originally been dreading, all that speaking French, but really enjoyed.
This week has been a quieter week for me work wise, which has been nice, as I had been very busy the previous week. We’ve been getting back into the swing of things with French classes and the like. On Sunday last week, I gave Siena a long walk and heard & saw the first flock of Cranes (Gru) heading south for the winter. On that walk I actually saw 2 flocks and heard another 2. All this week we have been hearing them (the sound is very distinctive) as they fly away south, we then begin the wait for their return which will signal the beginning of spring.
I’ve also started making my Christmas cards. Yes it really is that time of year again (68 days as of Saturday). We have started planning our presents and actually already have a couple – which always gives me a false sense of security! Despite being in France for 2 years this December, this will actually be our first Christmas in our house. So we are really looking forward to it.
On Thursday this week, Pat took Siena off to a dog training class. The class was specifically about training a dog for walking on lead near a road, quite a good class for Siena to attend. Not sure how much she learnt, but she was tired when she got back, as at the end of the class the dogs were allowed off lead to run around (in a fenced field), which Siena apparently did with gusto.
So on to this weekend, today is the joy of house cleaning as we have friends coming for dinner and tomorrow the local pig and cider festival! Hopefully you will hear more about that in Pat’s blog next week – http://patblog.patbell.co.uk
And I will see you again in 2 weeks.