Thursday 29 September 2022

Nuts and figs

The figs are the first good crop I've had from a tree that I started from a cutting several years ago.   It is the sole survivor of about 10 attempts that otherwise failed for one reason or another: frost, drought, neglect, etc.   I have been eating the occasional figs that have ripened during the Summer, but now they're all coming at once.

The walnuts are from a couple of trees that were saplings when we arrived here, but that are now producing reliably each year.   Walnut trees seem to like the conditions here, and I have many young trees in the field over the road.

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Scorpion on the wall

 Well, it makes a change from fiddler on the roof.

There is a "scrapyard challenge" once a year, that two of our neighbours participate in.   The idea is to weld a piece of artwork together from various bits of scrap metal.   This year they decided to make a scorpion.   And on "heritage day" (journée de patrimoine) the one of the team who is a "cordiste" (steeplejack) decided that the scorpion would look good on the wall of the local church tower.  Well why not?

I have to tell you that the ugly wheels on the scorpion did come off, but I don't have a picture.

He had a good audience too, since the heritage day tradition in the throbbing metropolis of St Pierre sur Erve is to fire up the communal bread oven and invite people to bring their pizzas, bread, pies etc., and have a communal cook-together and meal.  Preceded by a piss-up in the local bistrot, of course, and washed down with plenty of wine.  It was a good evening.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Quiet walk


Girls and boys come out to play,
The moon doth shine as bright as day

Sunday 4 September 2022

Baked beans

Anita makes a wicked baked bean recipe.   The beans are home-grown borlotti beans, the rest of the ingredients are commercial.

Proceed as follows:

Take about 500g dried beans, soak them in water for 24 hours, add salt, then boil them for an hour and a half.   Drain the beans, keeping the water.

Put half the beans in an ovenproof casserole, (that has a lid), add half a chopped onion, between 100 and 200 grams of chopped thick streaky bacon pieces (lardons),  put the rest of the beans in the pot and then add the other half of the chopped onion and another layer of bacon pieces. 

Make the sauce in a small saucepan by combining 4 fluid ounces ketchup, 2-3 tablespoons of dark treacle, 50g brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (or 1 teaspoon of wholegrain French mustard) and 1 tablespoon worcester sauce, ground black pepper to taste.  Stir, warm until all combined.  Pour over the beans in the casserole, the add the cooking water to cover the beans, cover with the lid and bake at 160°C for 90 minutes, then for another 30 minutes uncovered.


Saturday 3 September 2022


My hopes for a career as a BBC wildlife photographer are on hold.  But meanwhile, here's a fish in the Erve, as seen on a walk the other day.  You might need to enlarge the pic, but it really is there.

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