In a vibrant vase on Monday

For more years (decades even) than I now care to remember I lived in a house with a hot, dry front garden. I’ve always loved colour and flowers so used to bed it out, changing the planting at least twice a year. Winter and spring always included tulips, usually in rich and vibrant colour combinations. To complement the tulips wallflowers also usually featured. I’ve always … Continue reading In a vibrant vase on Monday

A car packed full with random things … including plants

We are driving to the French house tomorrow. We will catch a Eurotunnel train around 8.30am and then drive like the wind for about 12 hours, taking it in turns as we tire. The weather has been dreadful across much of France for some time so we are hoping we don’t encounter any flooding or other problems. When we drive we always have a car … Continue reading A car packed full with random things … including plants

Christmas, a frustrating and sad winter season, but progress in the end …

Doing Christmas differently Our immediate family decided that we would do Christmas differently many years ago. Both my children have lived abroad, either working in an industry where Christmas was a key busy period (skiing) or in out of the way places where travel back home wasn’t necessarily available. As a family we approach each new year afresh, not expecting anything of each other and … Continue reading Christmas, a frustrating and sad winter season, but progress in the end …

A sense of arrival

We hear architects and garden designers talking a lot about “a sense of arrival”, how to make an entrance feel important or welcoming. A range of different devices are offered from matching topiarised bay trees in square faux lead pots, one either side of a glossily painted front door, to sweeping driveways and avenues at the other extreme. Event organisers and holiday tour companies also talk about … Continue reading A sense of arrival

The tree surgeons have arrived

  Last Thursday the tree surgeons arrived, two days earlier than originally planned, in order to prepare for Monday’s ErDF disconnection of the mains electricity which runs across the site. I had already decided to make a flying visit, arriving on Sunday (on hand for Monday just in case of issues) and staying for two nights. Sadly this meant cutting short a weekend with some of … Continue reading The tree surgeons have arrived

Trees: a decision has been made on the future of the poplars

After many emails back and forth, meetings at the house, and several other site visits by the tree surgeon and his associates who have also had meetings, phone calls, and exchanged emails with various people and departments at ERDF the decision has been made. 30 poplars will be felled and removed from site, with all roots being either dug or ground out (depending on location). Some … Continue reading Trees: a decision has been made on the future of the poplars

Trees at Les Vinsonneaux 2 – fruit, nuts, and ornamentals

Fruit and nuts Eating warm, ripe fruit, in the sunshine, straight from one’s own trees is an intense joy that we discovered last summer. We probably won’t be able to grow much, if any, vegetables and salad as we are not at the house full-time, but we can enjoy fruit and nuts we’ve grown ourselves, and we’ve inherited a few useful trees. We’ve inherited a lovely … Continue reading Trees at Les Vinsonneaux 2 – fruit, nuts, and ornamentals

Trees at Les Vinsonneux (1) – the big beasts

We have inherited a number of trees at Les Vinsonneaux. The estate agent poetically spoke of “driving up through your own parkland” … but that is rather grandiose language to describe what we have which is actually a real mish-mash. There may have been reasons why trees were planted in their positions; but I suspect there was little rationale. They are what they are where they … Continue reading Trees at Les Vinsonneux (1) – the big beasts

Visiting the house in March, continuing the theme of our life, warts and all

      It has been an interesting few weeks in our family. Darling Daughter returned to work after maternity leave. She has a responsible job involving standing up for those who don’t have a voice any other way, and we are proud of her for her commitment to the dispossessed. Returning to work inevitably meant that GrandBoy Number 4 started at nursery. At the … Continue reading Visiting the house in March, continuing the theme of our life, warts and all

A February visit: warts and all

A question we are often asked is, “How will you divide your time between the two homes?”. The answer is not straightforward as we both have busy working lives and family commitments. Some kind of answer will evolve over time but one principle we have adopted is to try never to leave either home abandoned and alone for more than a month or so at … Continue reading A February visit: warts and all