Chionodoxas: a sparkling thread linking my homes across the years

Just four days after my 22nd birthday I moved into my second house, one I was to stay living in for almost 39 years. 13 days before Christmas, cold and dark, life remained mostly on the inside. Christmas Eve brought the arrival of a 9-week old Irish Setter, a surprise Christmas present (not something I would either recommend or wish on anyone). The puppy arrived … Continue reading Chionodoxas: a sparkling thread linking my homes across the years

Snowdrops and me; is this a virus?

We had many snowdrops in our Surrey garden from where we moved nearly five years ago, as the first stage in our French adventure. Mostly they were Galanthus nivalis (i.e. the common snowdrop) but I’d also introduced a few choicer cultivars. I don’t remember where the first snowdrops came from, whether they were already in the garden in 1975 when we moved there, or whether … Continue reading Snowdrops and me; is this a virus?

Compost, communication, and pain

Taking on the development of a 3-acre garden in another country was never going to be for the faint-hearted. At the best of times we can only be there between a third and (absolute maximum) half of the year. The land is fertile, the rainfall plentiful, and the temperatures temperate throughout most of the year. So the plants grow fast. We can only do what … Continue reading Compost, communication, and pain

The best laid plans … calamities and change

The best laid plans of mice and men … (Robert Burns, so Google tells me). These were the plans: 14th October, arrive at the French house, stay for three nights, back to the UK, final preparations for my final event, draw breath briefly and then get stuck into a new life that some call retirement. Well, change has occurred but with it has come some … Continue reading The best laid plans … calamities and change

A fortnight in April: cool, damp, and much progress

We set off from Sussex with a car packed to the gunwales with the usual random collection of items, this time mainly plants.   Our drive to Portsmouth is quick and straightforward (apart from the 11 roundabouts around Chichester) and we were smoothly on to the ferry. where we quickly dumped our small bag in the cabin and went straight to the restaurant for dinner. … Continue reading A fortnight in April: cool, damp, and much progress

Grinding, harrowing, and musings on blog frequency

Like many bloggers, the gaps between my postings have been varied and often far too long. I have sworn to myself that I’ll never use the words “sorry I haven’t posted for ages”, “wow, I’m back at last”, “It’s been far too long”, or similar. I’ve spent some time considering how to write, when to write, how often to write, illustrations to include. I’ve known … Continue reading Grinding, harrowing, and musings on blog frequency

The tree work draws to a close, vineyards, badgers, and glorious autumn

My four nights at the house last week went all too quickly. There is always so much to pack into the time over and above our normal life which doesn’t go away  (i.e. work which I mostly do from home, whichever home I’m at). On this particular trip I also wanted to visit a couple of vineyards, Chateau la Verriere because the red wine we’d bought in … Continue reading The tree work draws to a close, vineyards, badgers, and glorious autumn

Lady Smocks all Silver White

So, how did this adventure come about? Having listened to some friends talking about their ideas to buy a house in France (initially with not a little envy), being quite amazed to discover from RightMove quite how much value the French property market offered, we looked at each other with the same thought in mind, expressed out loud as “we could do that, shall we think … Continue reading Lady Smocks all Silver White

Starting at the beginning

I have been thinking about writing a blog for a long time. I’ve even made a start once or twice. I know what I want to write about (everything, actually) but I was never sure what would be important enough to form the content of the first post. The beginning seemed to be too important to rush into. Thanks to a recent conversation on Twitter (and the establishment … Continue reading Starting at the beginning