Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Up the road, early evening

The cloud hiding the setting sun is truly anvil-shaped, flat-topped, blunted into a wedge one end, drawn to a point the other, and backlit by an orange glow.

Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Down the road, early evening.

My fifty-first year to heaven.  We crunch the cold hard-frosted leaves and mud-iced ruts; my right thumb hurts its winter hurt.  A solitary grey heron beats over the further field.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Up the road, afternoon

The birdsong from Victor's apple tree sounds exotic in intensity.  Robins' voices seem to grow more full-throated, richer as the year closes; is this why they are on Christmas cards?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Up the road, late afternoon.

This north wind which brought us hail and light snow early this morning is ear-achingly bitter.  We hurry home to a fire, hot food, and an extra hour in bed.

Parc de la Corne de Cerf, Lamballe, afternoon

The second fruiting green figs by the path can wait another month before picking for pickling, but there are plenty of chestnuts, larger and cleaner than our local wild ones.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Down the road, early evening.

Soon we shan't be coming out during this clear, cool hour between Mol's dinner and ours.  The nights will draw in, the clocks fall back, but mornings will be easier .

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tredanial plan d'eau, morning.

A white egret, a grey heron and a black cormorant rise in turn as we approach the water.  A green woodpecker, heard but not seen, cackles as they fly off.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hill above Hénon, late morning

 Mol wanders in circles.  A family: two children, baby in sling, no dog, pile out of their car, look out to the distant sea, then set off into the woods.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Up the road, evening.

Air like wine, a cliché, but now after the rain the air and light are like a glass of Anjou rosé, not too chilled, sweet, quaffable, easy and indulgent. Drink deep.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Down the road, evening. Bon appetit.

Ludovic seems just a boy to me, but seeing him eating and relaxing outside with younger family and friends, dog, baby, house, slightly thinning hair, he is quite the paterfamilias.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Down the road, evening (Saturday).

We've waited until it's cool enough to walk. The wheat is all cut and the straw lies in loose piles, breathing and relaxing before being baled into great, friendly rolls.

Approach to Bogard, morning (Friday)

A bronze coloured dragonfly perches and hops on the wire of the electric fence like a tightrope walker, sequinned wings quivering in its balancing act, legs flexed in elegant calligraphy.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

Swallows and sand martins from above, trout from below break through the barriers of their elements and gravity to lunge and splash for insects over the surface of the water.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, morning, on the way to Lamballe Market

The bobbing back, downward nose and swinging tail move through the woods' light and shadow. There will be changes, possibilities, travel, opportunities, and memories, but never, nothing, better than this.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Water mill, Guette-es-Lievres, morning

Trees make shadows on water, water makes light on trees. Tribes of pond-skaters and fish-fry dart on and under the surface, a navy blue damselfly shimmers from under the bank.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tredaniel plan d'eau, morning.

Knapweed and ragwort, purple and gold in pink-bronze pointillist grass heads; blue buddleia; new cut hay fluffed on the field slope; rugosa roses - whatever made me think I minded stopping?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, evening

A quick turnaround before collecting pizza; there is a group of ramblers, including our neighbour's daughter, the retired Moncontour Catholic school teacher and our garagiste's ever-hassled-looking wife, on our heels.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Down the road, early evening.

A bright windy gap between showers, clouds whipped and pulled and piled every way; eastward a boom of thunder sets the neighbours' sharp-eared collie barking. Cloth-eared Molly takes no notice.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Up the road, afternoon

There are royal blue cornflowers growing against Marcelle's fence, and pink corn cockles at Le Boissy. I pick dog daisies, foxgloves, honeysuckle, green ears of wheat, bracken and purple vetch.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Up the road, afternoon, Pentecost Sunday.

 Anne, Marcel and Victor recall when they were young at Pentecost, dancing all night in the streets and cafés.  Victor is nearly ninety, Anne nearly a hundred, Marcel somewhere between.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Up the road, afternoon

I regret not bringing the camera; what looks like a curled dead leaf on a grass stem is a newly-emerged lime hawk moth, in shades of buff, persimmon and pistachio.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Approach to Bogard, afternoon

I spy a horse mushroom, the size of a tea plate, seemingly perfect, and carry it home carefully. It turns out later to be insect ridden, but not to worry.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Woods below Notre-Dame-du-Haut

Mol turns without hesitating, scrambles down the rocky path and trots across the single lintel stone bridge over the fast-running, deep-cut sluice with ease and familiarity.  I needn't have worried.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Water mill,Guette-es-Lievres

The water roars loud and brown, moss drips on the paddles of the turning mill wheel. Two grey wagtails bob and run on the rocks and low stone riverside wall.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Down the road, afternoon.

Scooters annoy the dogs up the road, who then come down to have a go at us.  To avoid confrontation, I pop Mol over the fence into next door's garden.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Down the road, afternoon

My mother always reckoned May 8th for swallows.  In fact they're around much earlier, but it's only now they seem as thick over the pasture as the insects they're chasing.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Down the road, evening

Spent dandelions stand up like pins, sorrel bolts to red flowerheads.  Two rabbits chase in the field.

Maelle, helping his father in the garden, wears a coat and balaclava still.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Down the road, evening

The neighbours' border collie, his broken leg all mended and good as new, runs and jumps and barks at us as we pass.  We are happy to see each other.

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon (Wednesday) .

The surface of the water is whipped into wavelets by the wind.  Two sand martins fly over, the first I've seen; they are often earlier than this, and more abundant.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Up the road, afternoon.

The grey hen pheasants scutter up the track like tiny dinosaurs, disappear into the green wheat then fly up.  I let Mol off to enjoy rummaging around after their scent.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour

Two roe deer step across the shadow-striped, celandine-stippled track ahead.  They swivel hare-ears towards us, but don't hurry to scamper away up the path.  I've never seen them here before.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Up the road, afternoon

Old Marcel sits framed by the hedge in his favourite sun trap by the woodpile, in blue work trousers, green pullover and a wide-brimmed straw hat shading his sleeping face.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Up the road, afternoon.

The primroses seem too wan and delicate, washed out by the bright, hot day.  Suns and moons of dandelion flowers and seed heads shine robustly from the vivid green fields.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Beach at Morieux, afternoon.

We walk to the rocks and see Val André and its islet bright in the sun, but the advancing sea is lapping at our toes, we can go no further.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Down the road, afternoon.

Tom chases after us, so we do the full circuit after all.  The wind is southerly, but chilly, and though I have gloves,  he doesn't, so I don't wear mine.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour

A large tortoiseshell, the first butterfly I've really seen this year, stretches its wings in the sun on the concrete base of a telegraph pole, next to tiny, near-black pansies.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Up the road, afternoon; gained in translation.

Man, accusingly: 'Was your dog peeing on my wall?'

Me, indignantly: 'No, it was on the verge, but not peeing.  It's a bitch, she doesn't do that.'

Grunt and shrug.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Up the road, afternoon

What a joy  to share the skylarks with Tom, he can hear them again.  There seems to be one in every field; looking up to spot them makes me sneeze.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

The water is almost noisy with fish.  There are primroses and a few daffodils, and a beer bottle at the water's edge to mark the start of the fishing season.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour

I've forgotten gloves again, so I gather the luscious, fuzzy green pleated nettle tops with two plastic bags.  Somehow they sting me through the plastic; my fingers prickle for ages.

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

As I drive up, I see a flock of curlews in a ploughed field beside the road.  Gull-like, they fly low across the chocolatey  earth, patterned mottled brown and white.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The old railtrack, gare de Moncontour, morning.

Never too late to discover a new path; this one, unnoticed before under weeds and leafmould, scrambles precipitously to a pretty cascade on the Evron river we've not visited before.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tredaniel plan d'eau, afternoon.

The soft wool of Tom's coat sleeve is warm and dry under my hand.  We walk slowly, with many pauses, over the rain soaked grass and broken, powdering leaf mould.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Up the road, afternoon.

A flock of gulls swirls chaotically over the fields; behind them grimy streaks from the clouds, which come down as hail. We have no hats, and want to be home.

Up the road, afternoon.

This time last week the mirabelle trees were bare, today they are powdered in places with white.  A fire's smoke makes a changing white background for the shapes of branches.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Tredaniel plan d'eau afternoon

The mist which has surrounded us everywhere all day leaves a greyish film of condensation on the grass.  Two mallards fly up and away over the water and the trees.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Watermill, Guette-es-Lievres, afternoon

Shoots of bluebell and daffodil spike through the leaf mould.  Where the river forks by the big house, a man is wading thigh-deep, apparently  to encourage his golden retriever to swim.

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

Leap-day, a day out of time, brilliant precocious spring with daisies and shining suns of celandines.  I stop here on my way to the airport; everything is on the move.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The old railtrack, morning

The canopy of the woods is thick with bird sound, woodpeckers whir like ratchets from tree after tree.  A flock of tits accompanies us for a while, chiding and chivvying.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Approach to Bogard, afternoon.

The Morse code call, and looking up I see two nuthatches high in the poplars.  I crane my neck uncomfortably, but fear to change position in case I lose them.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The old railtrack, Gare de Moncontour, late afternoon

There are icicles, perhaps a metre long, hanging where the springs trickle down over the rocks and tree roots.  Despite the lowering light, they seem to possess an inner luminescence.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Approach to Bogard, late morning

A fallen poplar twig has quite big glossy buds, sticky with balsam.  Great tits and blue tits flitter among the branches, there are some celandine around, though few other flowers.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Down the road, evening.

Nearly six and still light. Birdsong, birdsong, blackbirds and a thrush at the corner of every field, though still there's a cold wind in our faces when we turn around.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Up the road, morning

My it's cold.  We're only out because the car wouldn't start and Mol was done out of an outing.  But she struggles and needs encouragement and massage to keep going.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Up the road, afternoon

At the corner at le Boissy there is a particularly good clump of sorrel, the leaves as large as spinach.  I collect a handful to make sauce for tonight's salmon.