Wednesday, June 17, 2015

20 minutes: 3 months of monthly collages

Just about the right length of time while the oven chips cook. Yes, I do. They are a convenience food guilty pleasure, and don't make the house smell of frying.

Anyway, I have in fact been keeping up with the monthly collages, but haven't got around to posting them, so start the clock:


  1. Primroses
  2. Winter scarves and hats in winter light
  3. Tête-à-tête
  4. Tom's broken toe
  5. A pot of jasmine
  6. Love of three lemons
  7. Gnostic angel shadow
  8. Early herb pots
  9. Lovely Lara (very sadly, Lara passed away a month or so after their visit, which we don't like to think about too much)
  10. Mirabelle blossom
  11. ditto
  12. Cut wood in the mirabelle field
  13. Camellia, nuccio's pearl
  14. Still having fires
  15. A mink yarn scarf and soap for my sister's birthday - the yarn really is spun from the combings of humanely reared mink.
  16. View from a plane.


  1. My sister's quilts
  2. Waltham Abbey church
  3. Ziggy
  4. Norwich cathedral glass
  5. View from the plane home
  6. One of two balloons in a clear blue sky. I'm told they're from the château at Bogard
  7. Bumble bees in willow
  8. The château at Bogard
  9. Bee on a dandelion
  10. Containers 
  11. Water drops on a red plant
  12. Morning garden view from the bedroom
  13. Mexican orange blossom, so abundant
  14. Forget-me-not
  15. Prunus amanagawa
  16. Spring light on early sycamore


  1. The Best of Times
  2. Gallerie Vero-Dodat, still meaning to do an arcades post
  3. Vélo la Violette
  4. Me on the Pont Neuf
  5. Tree peony and broom flowers
  6. Speedwell and oak
  7. Buttercups
  8. View over the garden hedge
  9. Barley in the green and sorrel 
  10. Stonechats, parent and young, a fact I didn't establish till after I'd taken the rather bad photos
  11. Ploumanac'h lighthouse
  12. Tom in a pink granite armchair

It all goes by so fast.

Monday, June 15, 2015

20 minutes (here and there): Boxes within boxes; stag beetles, broken biscuits and unmentionable soup.

Our friends are addicted to generosity. A most enormous parcel arrived, to sign for. A gift from G&A, the main item commissioned and acquired before they came to visit but then inadvertently left at home. It proved to be a magnificent plate, of the kind whose magnificence is underlined by its being called a charger, from a pottery in rural Pembrokeshore. Its main glaze that shade of ochre gold to be seen on some very old ware, but its striking feature is the motif of stag beetles of various sizes embossed on its surface.

Wishing to put it to use straight away, I put such fruit as I had on the table into it, which consisted of three rather specky bananas and a pile of Brazil nuts from the winter (I like Brazils better than most nuts, but find them almost impossible to get into). As it turned out these were rather a good match:

The effect was that the beetles were emerging from below to snatch at the fruit and nuts,

a scene which changed as one shook and stirred things around, a veritable drama going on in the middle of the table.

And this wasn't all. As well as a large box within a box of clever polystyrene construction which ensured its safe arrival, there were all manner of interesting comestibles used as additional packing, doubtless the work of A, who loves to feed people. These included an enormous box of broken biscuits: 

(pic taken on the webcam, as I forgot to photograph it). Tom's eyes lit up when he saw these, I think it's an austerity childhood thing. Though I must say they are rather wonderful, the act of dipping into them has something of the appeal of archaeology, careful sifting through for recognisable shards and fragments, a corner of a chocolate digestive here, half a Nice biscuit there, a partially defaced jammy dodger or mishapen choc chip cookie below... before carefully covering them over again.

Oh yes, and then there was this:


Saturday, June 13, 2015

20 minutes: dogs in the Palais Royale gardens.

Ah well, so much for every day, still, 36 rather than 24 hours will have to do.

So, twenty minutes before lunch, let me see...

Dogs of the Palais Royal gardens, from our early May trip:

A standars poodle, caniche royale, an unusual sight in the land of the poodle, I wondered if dog and owner went to the same hairdresser?

Some form of shih tzu type thing, sporting a Burberry check frock and Elizabethan collar, presumably under doctor's orders. The suave Parisian gent looks up from his magazine with an appraising eye (the dog wasn't his).

Shih tzus seem to predominate. The elderly lady who sat near us firmly told her piebald one it was not coming up on her lap, yet when the white dog, arriving with its owner, saw her from across the gardens it raced up and leapt straight into her arms, amid much laughter and general pleasure in greeting.

A while back I heard a dog specialist deploring the vogue for border collies as pets in London. True you might think, yet it seems to me a well-cared-for city dog's life can be busy and sociable and full of pattern, not bad for a border at all, when I think of the lonely, neglected, hungry lives, whether cooped-up or dangerously at liberty, some of them out here in the countryside lead. This pup seemed to be happy and well socialised, with some very posh friends.

Generally a good spot for people and dog watching.


Twenty minutes precisely!  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Twenty minute post: gannets, puffins, shags, Seven Islands, more or less.

I keep putting off posting because I say to myself I've not got the time to do it properly, rather like flossing one's teeth. That I have too much material which then becomes long-winded then out of date.

Then it occurs to me that, I often have twenty minutes before the next highly important thing I have to do, mostly likely sitting down and watching telly with Tom and knitting (as now), or potting on the squash plants or thinking about when and how I'm going to use up the last of last year's white currants in the freezer before this year's come on stream if the blackbirds don't get them all or strangle themselves in the netting trying. So as there are photos already edited and on web albums, which makes it easier, I could for a bit decide to take those twenty minutes to put something short and sweet here, without worrying too much about polishing or putting in links or wittering on at length...

Well that's ten of those minutes gone already, so here are some gannets, puffins and shags. These we saw from the boat we caught at Trestraou where I took the last pictures. The photos are rubbish, since it was really quite difficult to get much of a shot with a compact camera on a boat that was being battered and tossed about by unseasonable wind and waves, or that's my excuse, but they give some impression perhaps

Les Sept Iles is the oldest nature reserve in France, bought by the newly founded LPO in the very early years of the last century, when it was noticed that the newly accessible by rail area of the Pink Granite coast was being descended on by doughty Parisian hunters chartering boats and sailing off to the small almost uninhabited archipelago and blowing all the puffins to kingdom come in order to have them stuffed and take them home as souvenirs.

The puffins are, as always, very sweet, though you only really get to see them here in the water. Best place for puffins is Staffa in the Hebrides, home of the Giant Fingal and his Cave, there the puffins all but invite you into their burrows,

but you get the picture. More impressive really are the gannets. You can see the island of Roizic from the chic resort of Perros Guirrec on the mainland, and you may notice an odd white edge to one end of it. 

Closer acquaintance proves this to be gannets. Or more especially, gannet poo.

Unlike puffins, whom you have to catch quite early to see them nearer to shore and in their full, cartoon-coloured, fig, gannets are at their nest site for much of the year, about February to November. Just now they're not doing their amazing headlong fishing dives into the sea, but are wheeling about and skimming and fetching seaweed for their nests, such as they are. They are still most impressive.

As the boat draws closer you realise quite how the rock teems with them, the noise is quite astonishing, as is the smell.

We also say the lesser cormorant or shag, which contrary to what Edward Lear may have said, does not keep its eggs in a paper bag, but lays them on rocks and such like places.

And some razorbills, a species of auk, as puffins are.

Well that was more like half an hour, and I've no time for labelling, and I shan't preview, though doubtless I'll regret it. Back tomorrow, perhaps.

Oh yes, there aren't really seven islands, it was a mistranslation from the Breton. I don't know how many there really are.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Ploumanac'h Plage, pink granite and sea pinks

Some picturesque pictures of a particularly pretty place.

(also present: pelagic puffins, pipits, promenades pluvieuses and pleasures a-plenty. Some of which photographed well and some less so; maybe more later)