Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

The first time I saw this amazing creature, I was convinced it was the tiniest hummingbird. It hovered in the air, wings beating almost too fast to see, while it visited the flowers to feed on the sweetness inside. Hummingbirds in the middle of France? Was that even possible? There were so many of these tiny creatures flitting about the flowering shrub in front of the restaurant we visited with the family last year, we all stood there absolutely fascinated by these fabulous things. We weren't the only ones, there were other people, who stopped to watch the incredible display. Some were convinced they were tiny birds, others were convinced they were insects of some sort. So we researched and found out that they were indeed tiny moths, which looked and behaved just like humming birds - Hummingbird Hawk Moths.

Imagine my absolute delight, when my DH very excitedly called to me a few days ago, pointing to a Hummingbird Hawk Moth in our own garden! On my flowering pot plants! I grabbed my camera, and tried to photograph it, with no success whatsoever, lol, it was so fast, moving from plant to plant, from flower to flower. All I got was blur, lol. Andy read up on the moth again, and found out that they like their routine, visiting the same plants around the same time each day. So the next day the camera was ready and I didn't have to wait too long before the moth appeared again. And I finally, finally managed to get some shots -

Toodlepip xxx

Thursday, 21 July 2016

How to spend a pleasant afternoon

First, you get out a big box full of vintage French printers blocks, letters and numbers, all kind of different sizes and fonts and styles. Then you drag it into the garden, get a big bowl of soapy water and plenty of old tea towels, plonk your behind down at the garden table, facing the beautiful views over the valley,  of course, and start cleaning.

I spent a lovely warm and sunny afternoon doing just that a few days ago, before the temperatures climbed to 36C, lol. It was such a pleasure to root around in the big box and pull out these wonderful old printing blocks. There was such an amazing variety of sizes and styles! They were quite dusty from long storage so a quick dunk in soapy water and a gentle brush cleaned them up beautifully. Fitting them together like a puzzle was so much fun, finding just the right letter or number to fill a gap. And even more fun was making lots of words with the letters, lol. I think I will have to display some permanently in my craftroom, they look so interesting.

Just a few pics of the little 'jigsaw puzzle' I put together on the garden table whilst cleaning -

We have thunderstorms forecast for the next couple of days, so cleaning the next batch of these printers blocks will have to wait until next week, I reckon.

We are thoroughly enjoying the fruits of our labour, the veggie garden is supplying us with delicious new potatoes, courgettes, green beans, beetroot, lettuce and cucumbers. Yummmmmm -

Toodlepip for now, xxx

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Whats been happening in the craftavan?

Not a lot, I regret to say. I spent a few days in there when we first arrived back in March, and put up all the beautiful cards, collages, gifts etc from my bloggy friends. They always travel with me between the UK and France. Got all my craft bits organised in the little cupboards and on the shelves, and then the neverending rain put a stop to my visits. It wasn't until sometime in May that I braved the elements to put some ephemera, lace and button packs together for a charity, and also made another little domino book -

Ephemera packs -

lace packs -

button packs -

Now that the weather is much improved and summer is finally making an appearance, I am planning to find some time to get some crafting done. I need to do something with these beautiful things found in my little greenhouse -

Toodlepip xxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

In France

When even my darling husband tells me off for not having blogged for over month, then I know I have to do something about it. So here we go, catch up post, Spring in France and maybe hopefully almost Summer!

I don't think we have ever had such a wet Spring in the 13 years we have had the cottage. Yes, we have had floods in the village below us once or twice over the years, but this year the river has broken its banks at least three times this Spring -

It was cold and wet for so long, we couldn't do anything in our vegetable garden. My DH bought me a little greenhouse so that I could at least start some seeds off, and that worked well, it was such a pleasure to see little plantlets appearing. I kept them in the greenhouse as long as I could, but eventually they had to be planted out. We had the odd dry and sunny day, and we planted out what we could. We bought tomato plants, kept them in the greenhouse for a while and during a rare spell without rain, planted them out. Oh woe, the ground was still so wet, and after a couple of days it starting raining again, and all the tomato plants died a horrible death. The other veggie plants clung on, and survived, but nothing grew. Nothing except the grass and the weeds of course. And we never had a long enough dry spell to cut the grass, and the longer it grew, the more impossible it got. I didn't even want to go to my craftavan, as it meant braving horribly wet grass as tall as me almost, to get there. And my muse had gone and got herself drowned anyway, so what was the point? 

There were a few bright spots though. The wisteria flowered -

and so did the old roses -

the blossoms all got mushed by the rain of course, but at least for a few days we had beautiful roses.

I bought potted plants to add some colour to the garden -

and that cheered me up a bit. I think all the rain really got me down though, seeing our veggie garden in such a terrible state was depressing. I just wanted to curl up with my doggies and a book and forget about the world.

But I don't want to end this first post after such a long break on such a sad note, the good news is, summer has finally arrived we think :-). We are having a few lovely dry and sunny days and the veggies in the garden are finally growing, yay. And.......... my wonderful husband has bought me some new tomato plants, so hopefully I won't be without toms straight from garden this summer.

Got lots lots more to tell you all, of course, especially about the wonderful doggies at the shelter where we help out a couple of times a week. I will tell my DH to remind me every couple of days to blog :-)! Bedtime for me now though, lol, can't handle late nights these days.

Toodlepip xxx

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Simply Neutrals Tuesday

What is about being in France and at the cottage which makes me forget that I have a computer, lol? When I am in the UK, I spend most of the day in my craft room and on the computer, but here in France? The poor computer gets very much ignored. I feel terrible though about neglecting my blog and not taking part in any of the parties and challenges which I so love, so today I decided that I must post for Simply Neutrals Tuesday. I found this really sweet little couronne de mariee. It is not antique, merely vintage, but it is so adorable. And because it is not made from wax, it isn't quite so delicate and can be handled much more easily -

Toodlepip xxx

Monday, 25 April 2016

La Randonnee de Cuzy

Good grief, where have the days and weeks gone? How can it be a whole month since my last blog post? It did take me a long time to get over a horrible bronchitis, which had completely floored me, and the weather has been most uninspiring for much of the time we have been here at the cottage. But, yesterday the weather god was smiling on us, and gave us a very pleasant, if somewhat chilly Sunday for the annual Randonnee de Cuzy.

It is always such a pleasure to get together with our wonderful neighbours and friends and have a few hours walking through the beautiful Bourgogne countryside. We normally choose the shortest walk, just over 9km this time. The kind of half way refreshment tent is always at the top of our lane, and at least one of the 3 different lengths walks always goes past our cottage as well. Which is a great excuse for me to only do half the walk and spend some time with the doggies :-). Andy always finishes the walk with the others and then either jumps in the car and comes and picks me up for the meal in the village hall or I get a lift with one of the neighbours who didn't do the walk but partakes in the 'repas'. 

So, let me take you on a little womble through the countryside which I so adore.
We started at the Cuzy village hall of course, slowly winding our way up the hill -

We passed this sweet little cottage, deserted and slowly falling down now. It is such a shame to see these lovely old buildings so unloved and uncared for -

It could be such a sweet little holiday retreat for someone.

It was so lovely to see the sun shining through the delicate new leaves on the trees and hedges, their greens so fresh, so pretty -

I love seeing the wild orchids, which flower at this time of the year -

and these small wild violets are so very pretty -

Fascinating huge, ancient exposed tree roots, covered in moss, do woodland fairies make their homes inside? -

This was the biggest ( and scariest ) ant colony I had ever seen, there must have been millions of them -

It was such a pretty sight, large areas of the forest floor covered in masses and masses of tiny white flowers, like a lacy carpet -

Never forget the humble weeds, which make the wayside look so very pretty -

Whenever we came out of the woods, there were beautiful views to admire -

Miles from everywhere, in the middle of the woods, a rusty, thick old iron bucket. How many decades has it been lying there?

Half way, and oh those refreshments in the marquee at the top of our lane are so very welcome!

And I leave you with another pic of those wonderful wayside flowers which just shout SPRING -

Toodlepip, xxx