As you can see, we've had some snow …. and the forecast for this last week of January is that there is more to come. So, from the sunshine and blue skies over Christmas we have gradually moved to more seasonal weather. I sense that making snowmen is not big over here, or perhaps not in this area - just not a priority I suppose. I think I better pop out and put a gilet jaune on him … you know, just in case - to show solidarity before he melts, an irony that's not lost on him.
As ever, some snow creates new and beautiful perspectives in the countryside - trees take on new shapes and the contours of the hills provide different landscapes and, even in this peaceful area, the acoustics change and soften down:
This year we heard that a lot of people were visiting this Festival which, for a couple of years now, has been held in Gaillac in the Park Foucaud which houses the Museum of Beaux Arts. It has been developed out of the close association that Gaillac has with China. The Festival celebrates the art of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and the town of Zigong, known as 'the lantern town of the South Kingdom' - and so far Gaillac is the only place in Europe to host it. So, we went with a group from Le Bruel and neighbouring hamlets to have a look. It seemed a slightly bizarre event to hold in the middle of winter, but we were amazed by it - with the 40 metre high structures and the 80 metre long dragons and extraordinarily complex lighting:
Wildlife of the Month
We have been putting out feed for the birds, and we see the tracks of various creatures across the early morning, dewy grass and now, of course, in the snow. But January's 'wildlife of the month' has to go to the European Jays that are flapping and squawking all over the garden. They have always been in evidence at the outer edges of the garden, in the thick hedgerows that run into the pastureland and the woods below us. But certainly this month they've decided to move in a lot closer and one can see clearly how incredibly colourful these birds are and how they really enjoy a good argument!
Most notable has been the eclipse of the moon last week - luckily we had crystal clear skies and the view was terrific …. unfortunately we did not get a good photograph, but here's one from our good friend Jean-Jacques Valliant, taken by Phillipe Ledoux a member of the Astrological Society in Fecamp:
In the next couple of months, depending on the weather, we hope to start and complete work on the garden area outside the new Garden Studio …. that will involve making seating and barbecue area, and planting ornamental grasses and more roses. We're looking forward to that and the completion of our overall barn development. We'll keep you posted …….