Sunday, 27 March 2011

Part 2 The Spring moves forward as the clock changes time

You have to have read the previous posting.

It is almost 21h, that is 9pm, new time, Spring time.
I just wandered outside with the rain spitting as it does in this region and down at the woodland at the end of the field which is the garden at Village de Vaux can be heard the nightingale preparing her speech and not yet in full song.  I  am in love. She or he who is so enchanting must surely fill hearts... but not of those who cannot hear.
To be unable to hear would be terrible. It would be worth the hearing aid.

Listen to this.

Read this.

Hark! that's the nightingale,
Telling the self-same tale
Her song told when this ancient earth was young:
So echoes answered when her song was sung
In the first wooded vale.
      - Christina Georgina Rossetti, Twilight Calm
Thank you Spring. Thank you March.

The Spring moves forward as the clock changes time

Now the rain is sprinkling the land after days of glorious sunshine. Dry weather and warmth started their promise for a summer to celebrate life.
The daffodils in my new garden at Angles sur L'Anglin have had to be watered three times a day to prevent them lying prostrate on the ground in the heat and drought, but at Village de Vaux they do not appear to need extra water.  Tulips are coming into bloom. Cowslips (les coucous) have been in flower for over a week.  The cherry and plum trees blossom, but are almost finished.  The bees have been about their work.  I made a herb garden from the bonfire ashes. It’s a kind of raised bed with recycled wood to create an edge.  Boxwood plants surround the edge and it is intended to be a sensory garden. There are no grand plans just an impulse to create something interesting.  Elsewhere flower seeds have been scattered and plants transplanted and there is more to do. There is always more to do. It must be a pleasure rather than a chore.

Before Christmas I purchased several shrubs. Now they stand in a row intending a hedge between neighbouring gardens.  The black redstart and the robin vie with each other for worms revealed in the earth. Digging 12 deep holes, filling with compost and then the shrubs was hard so I have given up for the moment on putting down textile fabric.  Logistics and energy went out of my head.  
My French neighbour who rarely has conversation came to the boundary to ask questions about what was this and what was I going to do with that, then asked me round for coffee but we had tea and proceeded to ask even more questions about the house, telling me her viewpoint on what needed to be done and how she would do it, and what the price should have been.  Hm… I did retaliate with questions so admit that I tried to deflect the interrogation away from my private life. Did I understand her French correctly?  Hm… She thinks I should not have lavender in my herb garden because lavender is huge.  It can be true of course, but also there are some pretty dwarf-type varieties of lavender and I do like French lavender flowers.

The first lizard of the year was seen on Thursday and on Friday the reinettes (small green tree frogs) began to chuckle to each other.  Every day I open the window and wait with bated breath to hear the cuckoos and nightingales that abound the rear of Village de Vaux and create magic in my life with their incessant song. This morning I am rewarded with the call of the Cuckoo in the woodland at the end of the field.  I hear it, but it takes several seconds to register …aha, there she is!  Now I await the Nightingales, which are private and hide themselves from view. They lure with their captivating, enchanting song.  The house martins and swallows arrived about a week ago screeching and squealing as also fighter planes flew overhead. Turtledoves romantically canoodle and repeat their cooing. Pheasants, or partridges more likely, are chook-chooking in the field beyond the grape vines, hidden from my view.

Loirets or maybe the glis glis (edible dormouse) called “bandits” are in the combles.  As there is no accessible attic we will have to remove the roof tiles to  check on what is happening up there.  I lie in bed with a fly swat and bang the ceiling and walls at the least sound of entry or exit of the little darlings!  They woke me up the other night with a swishing and swirling as if a train was arriving or as if a waterfall had appeared. I think they are mating!  So sweet looking but a nuisance.

Blogging has taken a bit of a step backwards as I am pretty exhausted with manual labour but Captain Sensible has been able to make progress on my new house….little by little......we will arrive.
I oscillate between hope and despair, of pessimism and optimism: I realise that dreams are made to be broken if ever they get created.  

Yet, walking along the lane of life in France I am transported into WONDERLAND.

I am trying to play the piano more frequently. Yesterday, it was just one note, one particular note, Db in its melodic and harmonic context, that reduced me to sobs of tears.  Chopin does that. On other days a sequence of notes and their harmonies ill have created heart-wrenching pain but I never know when it is going to happen if indeed it does. Sometimes I am afraid to play because I don't want to cry when I play. Sometimes I play and create pure inner smiling pleasure. Music can make me dance with joy, it makes me move, it gives me joy, it makes me as happy as a canary in a cage as well as an emotional wreck. It has been too long insufficient in my life.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Inspiration in the kitchen with Salmon and Rosti potatoes

January 13th 2011

I felt inspired to cook something interesting and different as I had offered to cook for tonight. I just love cooking salmon. It is so simple and usually so delicious that it needs very little to accompany it.

I peeled the last of the unsuccessful 'tiny' potatoes of the Charlotte variety. They have lasted to now so how is that unsuccessful?  Because they are small and we have had an abundance of small potatoes and I am the only one who is willing to peel them. They have not always needed to be peeled but they are fast throwing out shoots.  Several ideas in my head amounted to opening up the very nearly vegetarian cookbook, one of those Australian cookbooks that are so marvellous, and I espied a meal we enjoy.

Rosti Charlotte potatoes, Fresh Tail Cut of Salmon, Creme Fraîche mixed with cream, wasabi, seasoning, lemon juice and tarragon,  plus well-washed mâche which is like watercress and is a healthy eating food, of which we buy from our charming village 'producteur'.

There was half a bottle of delicious refrigerated Cremant de Loire opened but well-recorked, with less of a fizz but stillaplenty to accompany this January evening meal folowing a day of shopping for flooring materials and realsing that the January sales have started!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Age knows no Mercy

When you get to my age and read about the death of a particular woman from when 'Times have been a changing', and from when Times long ago produced male musical heroes who made one girlishly hysterical, one knows one is on the long long climb downhill!!

Suze-Rotolo  was 67 and I have that Freewheelin' LP and it's cover somewhere I'm sure.
They were in love.   Then listen to This

March begins  but yesterday was not a good start!
My mother's been in hospital unexpectedly with bronchial problems and I hear again of more acquaintances and friends who have cancer.   Life isn't easy.  I weep too much as it is.

My car needs a lot of money to be repaired. My heart has been pounding as to what decision to make. Should I let it limp to death and abandon it for another  that I know not so well.... or give it a kiss of kindness and hope it WILL be kind to me and see me through for another few months or even a year, until I can get it together to buy a newer model!

Good news on the house front with thanks to Captain Sensible ..... a floor is being laid and rooms have the sign of being loved and are keen to be lived in having been unlived in for almost two years.  I DO SO HOPE to get my brain and life in gear to write that other blog.

Spring HAS to give way to NEW LIFE even though the bitter cold of today  has said goodbye to the FALSE HOPE of the February warm weather.

March must hurry forwards to April and Easter and a time when a woodburner will not be required.