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Wednesday 31 August 2016

Sous les Bois

During our recent holiday in France, our first stop was this beautiful gites complex in the Morbihan area of Brittany.  Details below.
It's near to lots of wonderful places including the award-winning village of Rochefort en Terre which i gave you a glimpse of here and here

It is owned and run by lovely friends of mine from Guernsey who moved over there last December.

They have quickly made this place their own.


Currently they offer 2 cosy gites each sleeping 4.

And this gorgeous former bakery is work in progress but is going to make a superb 2-4 sleeper accommodation some time soon.
Andy is doing a great job inside this beautiful building. He can turn his hand at anything which us a huge asset when running a gites business.

The current gites are fully equipped with everything you could want.  The kitchens are beautifully laid out and are so cosy, with the lounge area in an open plan arrangement.

Nikki has added her touch to these beautiful rooms.

She's paid such a lot of attention to the details in each of the gites.

The bedrooms are all spacious, with good storage.

Gorgeous, innit?!
She is a good photographer and painter and her artwork is dotted around the place making it feel like a home from home.

Large velux windows ensure the upper rooms are cool enough for a good night's sleep, even on the hottest of nights.

There are BBQ facilities and eating areas outside for the guests.

A super swimming pool and lots of lounging chairs around the pool.  
You will see here from his foot shot that The Photographer has availed himself of one such lounge chair and is not bothering to move from his chair to take Pout pictures.  That's how relaxed you feel at Sous les Bois!

Look at that Pout go!  A Limpix contender, for sure!  Veteran category.

The grounds include a super wood, as the gites' name implies.  
A tree house is snuggled in the foliage. 

And there's even a zip wire, which we couldn't quite catch well in the pics.  But trust me, it's there!
So it's a great place for adults and children alike.

Children can enjoy adventures in the woods.

Adults can enjoy the calm.

Enjoy nature.

Stop to listen to a babbling brook.

I have to say that we were so comfortable at Sous les Bois, right from the word "va"!
We felt at home.  We felt relaxed.  We had all we needed in our gite. 
Andy and Nicki are superb hosts and ensure that your stay is pleasant and cosy.

If you're in the area and looking for a home from home, give Andy and Nicky a quick call or email.
Contact details (and some better pics!) here.

Bon sejour!

 A la perchoine.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Mellow Yellow, Encore Une Fois

I never thought myself as a yellow sort of gal.  
I made a yellow gingham skirt and shell top when I was 12-13 for my school prize giving.  I bought a yellow sweat shirt in the mid 80s to play skittles.  And I think that's it.

Then this yellow print dress here sneaked in to my wardrobe.  It could have been a one-off, a blip, as I don't normally wear yellow, as you can tell from my 50 year history with the colour.
But then that little dress was joined this year by a yellow cardi and vest, details here.
And now I'm sold on the colour.

I can start the day with the vest (Next) and white shorts (Dotty P), leaving Chateau de la Goujonnerie.  Feeling fresh for travelling.

Then at the end of the day, switch the shorts for white jeans, add the cardi, change to metallic toe flatties

And I'm ready to walk the grounds of Chateau d'Apigne, enjoying the evening sun.

Still feeling fresh in the colour.  Summery.

Yellow makes me smile.

Weirdly, yellow makes me feel lady-like.

Yes.  Me.  Lady-like!

This outfit makes he feel like I'm on holiday.

I'm on holiday each time I wear it.

So, ladies, what's your view on yellow?
Does the colour do it for you?
Or is it a non-non?

A la perchoine.

Monday 29 August 2016

Fig, Stilton and Walnut Salad

According to Paul Simon, there are 50 ways to leave your lover.
I need to find 50 ways to serve up my fig crop!
Here's an absolutely delicious lunch I put together today, using what I had to hand.
Fig, Stilton and Walnut Salad


2 fresh figs per person
Stilton cheese, quantity according to preference
chopped walnuts, about a handful per serving
Runny honey


Wash figs, cut off stalks and halve.  Place on a serving dish.
Crumble stilton over figs.
Sprinkle walnuts over figs.
Drizzle honey over figs.

It's that simple!

Serve with a salad of shredded little gem lettuce, finely sliced red onion and quartered tomatoes (mix of colours if you have them). 
Drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the salad, maybe a bit of olive oil, and season.

And then  ... enjoy!!!
This is a perfect little lunch for enjoying outdoors.

And here's an aerial shot I took in the kitchen before I traipsed outside with lunch.  You could substitute the figs for pears or apples, if you can't get hold of figs.  Or if you just don't like them. 
I am growing to love their fine refreshing flavour.

So, peeps, that's 1 way to serve figs.  49 to go!!!

A la perchoine.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Messing About In Boats

Oh dear, peeps, I am continuing my obsession with shorts.  Just how did I survive without them?  Some weeks ago I was sort of challenged to wear them and show my knees
and the rest is Pouting Pensioner history.

So, I'm invited to a BBQ at the little marina where the cat sitters' boat is berthed.  What do I choose to wear?  Shorts, of course.  Or not-so-shorts, as I tend to call them as my selection of beige, white and denim "shorts" barely creep above the knee.
Which is no bad thing.

Next beige chino shorts and longline camisole; Magasin ecru/black stripey top.  And birkies.
Pretty much my uniform through August.

A H&M denim shirt (ancient) thrown over for after-sundown warmth.

Beaucette Marina.

Filled with a mix of local and visiting boats.

We had drinks aboard our friends' boat.

Then on to the BBQ.

It's an annual event.  The marina lays on a load of burgers and sausages, chicken kebabs, BBQ ribs etc and an amazing array of salads.  Extremely good live music in the dancing tent.  Bouncy castle and games for the kiddies.  Beer tent and soft drinks.  All free. 
Donations are collected for a charity, this year for MacMillan Nurse who provide palliative care for cancer patients - a very worthy cause. 
Well done, Beaucette Marina for putting on a great event and raising money for charity.

What a great night.  Thank you, sweet cat sitters, for inviting us.
We'll be back next year! 

A la perchoine, Beaucette Marina!

Saturday 27 August 2016

Sunny Summer Breakfast

Here's a sunny summer breakfast for you,
Just Like Gran Used To Make.
This recipe is so simple it doesn't even require your usual recipe format.
Take tomatoes, all the same, a mix, doesn't matter.  What does matter is that they taste like tomatoes.

Wash and chop the tomatoes.
Fry in a mix of butter and a little oil, to prevent the butter burning.
I had a little onion left over from last night's tea, so I added that too.

Fry slowly, so as not to burn the tomatoes - they must be slushily cooked.
When cooked down, add the merest sprinkle of sugar, salt and pepper.

Place on a slice of toast and serve up your sunny summer breakfast.

Wash it down with a mug of coffee (or tea, if you like that stuff).

Now, why Just Like Gran Used To Make?
Well, here's a little story, if you have the time ...

When I was growing up, the island was a big tomato exporter to the UK.  Tomatoes were grown by the heat of the sun.  Tomatoes used to taste like tomatoes
The UK joined the Common Market.  Our tomato industry died.

Its a common view that the mass production of tomatoes force-grown in heated greenhouses has affected the taste of tomatoes.  'Aver, back in the day tomatoes were abundant and most meals here seemed to be based around the  tomato.  The tasty kind. 

And during the summer months back then, if I wasn't at school I was out on the beach living out my  Enid Blyton or Bobbsey Twin adventures.

Here.  On L'Ancresse Beach.

Mum would pack me off to the beach with a tomato sandwich in a paper bag, a bottle of cordial, a wrap (tubular towel for drying/changing in) and a pair of bathers.  All squashed into a duffel bag.
Sometimes I'd take my younger sister (not squashed into that duffel bag!).  And I'd always pick up a cousin and maybe a friend on the way.

So my first stop was a walk down the road to my Gran's where the cousin lived. 
I remember fondly my Gran making me breakfast before I headed down to the beach. 
Breakfast of fried tomatoes on a thick slice of bread.

Luckily this summer I have an abundance of home-grown tomatoes here and I discovered that, Eureka!, they  actually taste like tomatoes did back in the day because they are grown by nature's sunlight. 
So I was inspired today to cook up a good old Guernsey breakfast.  
Just Like Gran Used To Make. 
The only difference being the bread element - for that she would hook a loaf under her arm, slap a load of Guernsey butter on the end of the loaf with a knife in her free hand, then cut off a slice (of bread, not her hand!) with the same knife. 
Today, I opened a packet and took out a slice - but I still slapped on the Guernsey butter!

Up to my Mum's generation, the island people spoke Guernsey French, a patois. 
So, I say to you as Gran would have said to me as she saw me off on my way to the beach ...

... a la perchoine.

Friday 26 August 2016

My Food Yards Conversion

Hi peeps, thanks for popping in.  Hope it's nice and sunny where you are.  It is here.
The bees are buzzin' and the garden's growin'.

Now I guess I've always felt that there really was no need to go through the palaver of growing fruit and vegetables when there is so much available on our hedge veg stalls throughout the island,  Picked daily.  Some of the stalls are so close to my home that I could do my shopping in my PJs!

But I now know what all the fuss is about.

This is a bowl of my latest pickings from the garden.  Everything tastes so different.  Because it's organic, yes, but more importantly, it's eaten within an hour or two of picking.  And that makes a huge difference to freshness, texture and flavour.
For example, I'd already eaten the other half of that green pepper when I took the shot above - I tell you, peeps, it was so firm and crunchy and so flavoursome.  I'm now a convert!

This is the Grandkiddies little veg patch we put together, for them to enjoy in the school holidays.

It's produced an abundance of baby plum tomatoes and regular yellow and red tomatoes too.  Peppers and chilli peppers.  A variety of herbs. 
GS doesn't usually eat tomatoes.  He does now!
And GS is now growing cucumbers, which he does already love.  Totally the wrong time of year to be planting seeds, according to the packet, but the seedlings are shooting up like billy-o.

The "patch" is just outside the patio doors.  So, forget food miles. 
We're talking about 3 yards from patch to kitchen.  "Food Yards"!
And, as you can see from the photo, I can lounge on a steamer chair and watch the veg grow. 
G&T in hand, of course!

What else has done well?

Elsewhere in the garden, the raspberry bushes have been so giving this summer, and the redcurrants have done fairly well too.  The birds ate all the blueberries early on, so I've not been able to enjoy even one little blue berry.  But I'm sure there have been some happy birds flying around the garden with filled little berry-bellies.
I've been cutting down a lot of chives and I've had a bumper crop of figs and rhubarb. 
Hopefully, the pear tree will be yielding another good crop this year. 
I haven't seen any white peaches yet on the tree we thought was an ornamental cherry tree for ten years, until last year when GS spotted peaches!  I am not a gardener, as you can tell!
Those are the things that have done well and which I will definitely plant out again next spring.

What hasn't so done well? 

Just one strawberry this summer!
No sign of olives on the olive tree and bushes. 
No sign of grape bunches on the grape vines.  2006 was my last bumper harvest.  From a white grape vine that had been established there long before I moved in. 

Maybe thinking that I was about to produce my own Chateau du Pout, I planted a red grape vine shortly after.  That died this year.

You can just see the red grape vine (RIP) starting to grow at the end of the run of white wall.

So I will not be making my fortune from wine or olive oil.
But that's OK because I really want the grape vine to provide a covered eating area where we, guests (and cat) can keep cool.

So why all the plant talk and analysis?  Because the so lovely Janet of thegardenerscottage asked about our planting plans for autumn.  Janet got me thinking.  Do I have plans?  Well, yes I do.  I will hopefully be planting new sheds in the autumn!  But next spring I will definitely be planting more fruit and veg, now that I've been converted to crunch, taste and "food yards".

And finally.
I was so relieved to finish the recent series of posts on my French holiday.  Relieved because due to techy constraints I had to post "head" and "the rest" shots.  It took a few days for me to twig that in the popular posts section to the right of my blog I was starting to see a tower of "head" shots building up.  And so it has continued.  I've had to endure seeing five mug shots glaring at me for days now.  And maybe you've noticed that too. Then quickly looked away!
So I won't be doing that again.  I've learned my lesson.  Vary the first photo of a post, Pout!

That's why I've posted a nice healthy bowl of fresh fruit and veg for my first shot.  And why I've saved this shot for last.  So that I don't have to see it pop up on my screen.  Maybe for days!

Would you want this shot appearing daily in the r/h column?!! 
Me.  With no make up apart from Clown Lips?!!
I was about to put a bit of makeup on before taking the GKs to the North Show (one of three agricultural shows we have on the island during August).  My GD offered to put on my lip liner for me.  I know she loves me but ... !!!

Moving swiftly back to gardening ...
Do you have plans for planting?  For autumn? For next year?
What's done well in your garden and what's done not quite so well? 
Floral or edible?  What's your bag?
Maybe you're just not into edible gardening?  Like I used to be before my Conversion.
Or maybe just not into gardening at all.
I'd love to hear from you.  Go on, make my day and tell me you've had bumper crops!

Happy weekend, peeps, and happy gardening!
A la perchoine.