Because of the warm conditions these last few weeks, with some rain and the 'return of the grass', it has been possible for the local farmers to put the cows out to grass again. It has been a very difficult summer for them, losing at least one grass crop and having to use winter feed in advance of actual winter - so, a 'double whammy' in terms of costs. The cattle are, in the main, Aubrac breed - very fine, large animals, with gentle 'faces' and large, usually unclipped horns'. We have taken some photographs of our neighbour's cows and have made some poster-size prints for the new Garden Studio - it seems fitting to retain the link to the fact that it was a cattle barn:
And on the subject of what the weather has brought this year - the summer was so hot and dry that our supplier of wood for our woodstoves has had a problem with his wood getting too dry ( not an issue when we lived in North Devon!) - so, when we went to negotiate the delivery of the wood for this Autumn, he was very careful to explain that he had set aside wood that was at the correct humidity (and we trust him, and it did not feel 'propre' to stick our humidity meter into some logs. So, the wood for this Winter has been delivered, about 8 tonnes of it, and it was good exercise to get it into the woodstore:
As Autumn heads on into Winter we have the routines we are starting to get used to. We like the celebration of All Saints' Day (known as 'La Toussaint' as it is in honour of all the saints, 'tous les saints'), when people in the countryside honour the lives of their deceased relatives and visit special church services and place flowers (usually chrysanthemums) on family graves. We place some flowers on the cross on the green in Le Bruel, just to acknowledge the tradition.
drains and gutters are checked and repaired if necessary. We have also been repairing some of the really old doors on the barns, so they close properly and don't flap around in the wind …. and we have tried to retain the old wood, while making frames of new, strong wood.
We have also been finding time to make changes to our website, to include the new barn room - 'the Garden Studio', in time for people looking to book for next year … we have already had, rather to our surprise, some booking enquiries and confirmations. We're looking forward to the fibre optic connection (we're told it will certainly be before Christmas) so the process can be accelerated somewhat, as we have to do not only our own site but also make alterations to the Sawdays and France Voyage sites.
Wildlife of Month
Well, although there have been all sorts of creature scuttling and flying around, preparing for Winter, I'm afraid it's one creature who, yet again, features on 'Wildlife of the Month' …. having just 'moved house', from one barn to another, just 100 metres away, it is:
A few weeks ago we had some very special visitors - granddaughter Sophia, with mum and dad, Amy and Lex. Sophia charmed our French neighbours, had some excellent walking practice, and built on a considerable gourmet capacity - we had a lovely time!
And now, it's time for:
No, can't do it - as Armando Iannucci said some time ago, it's gone way beyond satire.
In this week's febrile+ goings on one moment crystallised the madness ….. cutaway to a breathless news reporter on Breakfast Time - what were we about to hear? Could it be that Dominic Raaaaab had died of hypocrisy, or perhaps Jacob Rees-Mogg had imploded after hearing shoes would not be cheaper after Brexit ….. it's going to be something REALLY crucial, because there's been a long pause and we can hear John Humphries panting ……. YES - "Michael Gove has got into his car and is leaving his house …………………………………………………..!"