En promenade with Trixie

Trixie is not the kind of cat that shows much interest in people. She is very vocal, but that’s telling people what she wants, not an attempt at meaningful conversation. The only time she was known to allow anyone to pick her up and not protest was when she was an abandoned kitten and was looking for a home daft enough to take her in. Her behaviour has changed quite a lot since we’ve been here. Not that she purrs or sits on your lap or anything demeaning like that, but she has developed a taste for going walkies. Every afternoon she comes with me, or me and Finbar on a stroll around the property. It’s two hectares so it makes a reasonable stroll for a cat.

I set off down towards the stream, and Trixie follows.

Trixie begins

She knows the path

She knows the routine

We meet one of the noisy critters that chuckles all night. It thinks we can’t see it, but the water in this bit of the ditch is only about half an inch deep.

Frog

Come on Trixie

We inspect the deer damage. This is supposed to be what happens when they rub their horns against trees, but since they do it systematically to the young saplings, I wonder if it’s not that they are eating the bark.

Deer damage

Trixie takes the lead along the hedge. She inspects the animal runs while I take pics of the orchids.

Trixie ahead

There are only a few serapias in our meadow, but the one at the other side of the hedge has masses of them. This one appears to have a bee stuck in it.

Sarapia orchid

There are hundreds of bee orchids

Bee orchids

and a big clump of these that look like birds’ nest orchids, but since they are rare and grow mainly in pine woods, I wouldn’t swear to it.

Birds' nest orchids

Looking across to the house. The pink flower is a pyramid orchid of which there are hundreds. We’ve noticed that the people round here leave these orchids standing when they mow their lawns. I wonder if there isn’t some local legend about them.

Meadow high

A very old blackthorn with sloe berries forming

very old blackthorn

Fig and walnut trees in the patch that was the old kitchen garden

Fig and walnut

A bit of the massive vine that we are liberating from the brambles

grapevine

The next section is where the grass snake lives and I don’t like to hang about. It is very large and it hisses. Then there are the oak tree where squirrels live and both Trixie and Finbar are very keen to get at, so I carry Trixie, protesting vociferously until we get to the poplars and the black locust tree.

Home again

Home again.

New toy

Some of you may remember that a couple of years ago I bought my first ever mobile phone, a little Wiko Goa. It was tiny but it did the job, and it had a camera that I was thrilled to bits with. When it liked the lighting, it took gorgeous photos. Unfortunately, in June of last year it stopped receiving emails, and sending me the photos it took was taking days, literally. it got very possessive of its pics and in the end, refused to part with them at all. So I treated myself to a new phone, an ultra cheap Chinese phone but which claims to have a super camera.

I’ve had it for a fortnight now, and tried out the camera during the freezing cold miserable weather we’ve been having. I was a bit disappointed with the result; everything looked over-exposed. However, on fiddling about with it this morning, I discovered I’d had the flash turned on all the time, and it actually takes pretty good photos for a €60 phone.

These are the photos I took this morning.

Sky fish

morningskyfish

Every time I stop, Finbar jumps over the parapet. Even though the tide is coming in, it’s not the moment to fall in.

riverdog

Pont de Pierre east-facing.

bridge

Pont de Pierre shady side.  bridge2

Agapanthus and holiday traffic

Not being the kind of people who go on annual holidays, we had gone completely over our heads that this weekend is the deepest darkest traffic black spot of the year. It’s known as the ‘chassé-croisé’ when the July holidaymakers hit the road home and the August sunseekers stream south. Most French people holiday within France, mainly along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Consequently the motorways going south have huge tailbacks. Not the ideal moment to try getting in and out of Bordeaux and taking the motorway that links both coasts.

So, we’re off tomorrow instead for a couple of days at the country retreat, and have an extra day of sanding and painting here. Finbar and I took our usual walk along the river and through the flowers. Having marvelled at the Agapanthus since they began to flower, it eventually occurred to me to take a few (not very successful) pics. They are massive—some are over my head height. I actually took the pictures four days ago but my phone has only just sent them to me…

Aga1

Aga2

Aga3