Monday, 9 November 2009

Autumn again

It does not seem possible that we are in Autumn again and it is ages since I posted. The leaves this year have turned the most beautiful colours so I thought a few photos were in order, both of the vines on the house and also the ones in the vineyard which this year seem to have turned into a sea of yellow.

We have had so much rain this last week that is a wonder we have not floated away, but it is still mild so some of the flowers are still surviving amazingly.

I have at long last got back to weaving again, so hope to post some photos of finished items soon.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Still not back to weaving, too hot for that but I have Good News

I am an Auntie! My lovely brother and his wife had a baby boy this week. His name is Leo and he is just the cutest. Tamsin popped in to see him yesterday and took this photo which we just have to put on here for all to see.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Gosh it is hot!!

Suddenly I realise it is quite a while since my last post. The weather is really hot just now and in the afternoons I have to hide inside where it is cool or have a dip. Today thunderstorms are forecast so maybe things will cool down a little.

Life has been pretty busy. There is always a lot to do in the garden at this time of year and if it is not weeding then there is plenty of fruit to pick and things to bake or jams to make. We had a great crop of apricots this year and so plenty of apricot jam, ( my favourite) and also some apricot sponges. Then the plums started to ripen. Last week I made a spicy plum sauce a la James Martin which was lovely with magret on the bbq and also I used one of Jamie's recipes for Plum Bakewell which got the thumbs up from everyone and I ended up making another! Still lots of plums to pick so ideas required. lol

This last week I have had visitors and it was just wonderful to have family here and people to chat to and cook for. Jill and Ian and Tamsin and Mike had not met up for a couple of years so lots of catching up to do. Tamsin had the sun and heat she wanted and she and Mike had a great time. They did a bit of exploring locally both in the car and by bike

Sadly I had to take them to the airport this morning . Why does time always pass so quickly. lol Anyway they took me out to dinner last night and we had such a lovely time, and for once it was a treat not to have to cook.

I took a few pics and will post them now. Now of to catch up with the laundry I guess and watch Le Tour!!

Monday, 8 June 2009

June Galgo Rescue

I have just returned from a trip to Spain with a friend and others from the Organisation of L'Europe des Levriers. The reason for the trip was to bring back rescued Galgos and Podencas (Spanish hunting dogs) to the safety of France and onward to their new forever homes. The people in the refuges work selflessly with very little money to do what they can to right the wrong of the barbarism of the Spanish hunters who do not even acknowledge that the Galgos are dogs but use them as tools for hunting to discard at whim year after year. The people that help do such a great job to rescue them and need all the help they can get.

These dear dogs are regal and gentle and don't deserve to be treated in such an awful way. It is only in Spain and Portugal that this type of hunting is still legal and much is being done to try and change this but it is a long and tortuous task to try and change the mindset of these people who seem to enjoy nothing so much as cruelty to these animals . The hunters take along their young sons from 4 years old I was told, so the way of life becomes so entrenched in them generation after generation from an early age. They only use the dogs for hunting in the season and each hunter can have upwards of 80 -90 dogs who are thrown in a barn when not working and often only fed bread and water. At the end of the season they don't wish to keep them until the next season so the old way of dispensing with them is to hang them from the olive trees. If they have been a good hunter they hang them from the top so they die quickly, if not they hang them lower so their feet just reach the ground a little and they die slowly. They also throw them down wells, from cars and various other barbaric ways. The dogs discarded every year is upward of 50,000!!

The people in the refuges rescue all they can as indeed they do rescue other breeds of dogs discarded in Spain and do all they can with only mostly voluntary donations, to restore their health and find them permanent homes. These homes have to be outside Spain in countries where people treat them with the love and care as we do to our pet dogs. If they are left in Spain, come September the hunters will break in and try and steal them back for another season of hell.

I found the trip emotional of course but educational and rewarding. Between us we brought about 17 dogs back to France and many were reserved for the next trip in a months time when they have their pet passports. Most already had been adopted and have homes all over France to go to and a few went into foster homes. They were such lovely dogs and so amazingly kind and sweet when you think what their life has been up to now. I will certainly go back to help again and when finances and the situation here permits I will adopt one myself, in the meantime I mean to spread the word so anyone who is interested and will help in some way however small.

I took many photographs and have loaded some here. Anyone who would like to see them all go to my facebook page and there is a whole album there.

These first photos were taken at the first refuge we went to on the way to Seville.
Many dogs were here all wanting to find homes, but the men there were caring for them as best as they were able , keeping the pens clean and feeding them and none were hungry and all seemed to have a rapport with the men caring for them under such difficult circumstances.

This photo below shows some being fitted with Scalibor collars which are designed to control sandflies, the vectors of canine Leishminiasis and tick infestations for up to six months.

The three below are the first ones we brought back this time.

The next few photos come from a small refuge north of Cordoba run by a Dutch lady who keeps the pens spotless and cares for as many as she can but still many frightened dogs needing homes.

The two above on the right were so nervous they would not approach very far at all, so sad to see.

One of the bitches had been in pup when she was rescued so there are nine little angels soon wanting homes too!

These next pics came from another refuge north of Cordoba , a very small one.

We took quite a few dogs from here, and here is a pic of them being prepared for the journey. One or two had damaged their tails from being in cramped conditions and needed them treated before we took them onwards in the cars. We took a very old Podenca from this refuge who had arthritis and had to be lifted in and out of the car. He was so lovely and so interested in all he saw, just magic. He has a lovely home to go to in Normandy where I hope he has a wonderful time in his twilight years. His name is Sleepy and there is a pic of him at the end.

When we had collected all the dogs we drove north of Madrid and took them to a private kennel to have a peaceful and comfortable night before the onward journey the next day. We were very tired and ready for a meal and a good nights sleep too!

The next morning we were back to the kennels early to collect the dogs and start our homeward journey.

Here are some of them loaded up and ready for off. The red Volvo is the car we took with our 4 passengers in the back.

During the trip we stopped once to take the dogs out for a walk and give them a drink and then later on when back in France not far north of Bayonne we stopped at a house of a fellow galgo lover where we could let them all out in her garden for a while to rest and stretch their legs before the rest of the journey.

It just shows the gentle nature of these dogs that they all ran around, mixed with her dogs and no problems at all. All had fun.

This white Galgo lived here and was adopted 6 months ago. She is still very nervous but making a great recovery. If you look carefully at the photo you can see the scar around her neck where she was hung by the hunter. Luckily a rescuer found her and cut her down and carried her to safety and she recovered!

Here is the lovely Sleepy that I mentioned earlier. Isn't he just so sweet.

After we left here I was dropped off at Bordeaux to go home and the dogs went on to Niort for a night at the home of my friend Beryl and then they went on to their new homes the following day.
Hopefully they all enjoy the rest of their lives, they deserve it so much!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


The weather has been so miserable there has not been much to photograph lately, but, it has encouraged the hoopoes to feed near to the house as we have been inside more than usual. They have had one brood this year and are now on the second and are flying backwards and forward with food at a great rate and working so hard. A parents lot is a tough one. LOL

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Still it rains!

April showers still continue!! Where does all this water come from. I hate it when it starts to spoil all the lovely flowers we have waited so long for, but c'est la vie I guess.

I can never resist taking photos of flowers so have been out in the garden to take a few pics despite it being wet everywhere, just chose a short dry interlude! The wisteria is at its all-time best this year. They say it takes a long time and I planted it 17 years ago !

The veg are potted up waiting to go in the veggie patch, but ground so sodden at the moment it is impossible to work on it. So far I have toms, courgettes, chillis and peppers waiting to go out and I want to plant some runner beans too and this year for a first I am having a go at hops. Not for future beer, but to use to promote sleep . It is supposed to work well and we shall see.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

April Showers!

Wet wet wet in 33 this Spring, just as the saying goes April showers. Still to be expected after such a lovely March I guess.

I have not progressed much with the weaving since my last post, as for the last three weeks we have been giving the kitchen a much needed makeover . I would have loved new units but as this was not to be in these times I stripped down the old ones and painted them. So fed up with the brown stained wood which we have lived with for so long and wanted to brighten everything up. Also I regrouted the tiled work surface to make it fresh and nice and then of course the walls etc needed doing. It is almost done except for the painting of the main door and the welsh dresser which should not take long when we get a couple of dry days. I have posted a couple of pics so you can see what I have been up to and I have to say I am very pleased with it all and do feel it all looks lighter. Now to save up for a new cooker!

The garden is coming along nicely but have not had time to plant up the veggie patch yet as H has scaffolding on it for roof repairs. Hopefully we can get all that finished this week and the tomatoes etc can go in. The bulbs seem to be over very quickly this year, but the clematis montana is doing well for the first year and the wisterias are coming into bloom. Wouldn't it be nice if the flowers lasted longer. lol

Friday, 20 March 2009

Weaving again at last!

Well what with one thing and another it has taken a while, but at last the loom is warped and I have started weaving again. Am using up some stash to make some towels in linen and cotton and for the first time I am trying waffle weave. It looks ok so far, but, not having done this pattern before I guess I wont really know if all is well until I have taken it off the loom and wet finished. Fingers crossed.

With all the lovely weather we are having needless to say lots of washing is getting done and it is a joy to be able to dry outside. Yesterday I had a purge on all the dog beds. When they were dry I put one on the stairs ready to take up with me next time I went upstairs. Later I was looking everywhere for Bianca and look where I ended up finding her.

Today they are being far more sensible and enjoying the sunshine.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Catching up!

I dont seem to have had much to write about on the blog lately, but am making an effort today to update. The weather is much improved and it is lovely to see the Spring flowers coming out. The first blossom has appeared too , on the mirabel tree so thoughts turn more to gardening and what to grow this year. I think lots of us will be making the most of our veggie patches this year to eke out the pennies, and it all tastes so much better anyway when you can just pick and cook.

I dont have a lot of room but certainly will do the toms and runner beans, french beans , peppers and chillis as well as lots of basil. I am going to have a go at hops this year too. I understand the shoots and leaves are tasty in salads, and mostly the flowers when drived aid sleep, soo am doing this project for my Mum who has problems sleeping. It is a long haul as it will be a couple of years until the first harvest but will be fun no doubt.

I have started weaving again now as at last we saved up for a fuel delivery and the house is warm again. Nothing scintillating but some waffle pattern that I have not tried before for towels. I am only just warping up so will let you know how it all goes.