Sunday, 31 March 2013

Lôches en Fête!

"De samedi 30 mars à lundi 1er avril, Loches célèbre l'eau sous toutes ses formes à l'occasion de Loches en fête....."

This is how 'La Nouvelle Republique' advertised the festival at Lôches this weekend. However nothing had prepared us for the mix of attractions.

The theme today was water and the sea, so we took our visitors to see the attractions. There was everything from wine to wildlife - even some walking talking fish..

We tasted honey and spice cake, had a nice sip of Vouvray and generally enjoyed the atmosphere. After a spot of lunch we took our visitors up to the Donjon and then the church, the old town and the park

Then something we didn't expect... From the relative quiet of the park we took a different route back to the car and came upon a Fair, with rides the like of which we've only seen on Blackpool Pleasure Beach or similar...

It was all a bit crowded and very noisy but there were plenty of folk enjoying themselves..

Joyeuses Pâques Tout le Monde!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla)

We last noticed an influx of Bramblings in February 2011 (See here). Last year we saw perhaps an odd one. This week they are back in force.

Last time we saw them they simply cleaned up on the ground what had been pecked out of the feeders by the other picky eaters! This year is a different matter, all be it for the males only.
"What's going on up there then?" "Ah I will try some of that"
"Not bad but what's that over there?"  The Brambling had spotted the nut feeder!
Only one small problem and I mean small... The female Siskin!
"Get off! These are MINE"

Not to be beaten the Brambling resorted to acrobatics... along with the Great Tit.

Our peanuts have been in great demand this year, they will be missed when we run out next week. 

Interestingly we bought a cheap coconut (50 cents) drained the juice, split it in two and hung the two halves adjacent to the feeders... Not one taker after two weeks...However when we removed the flesh from one half and placed it in two places we know the mice and voles hang out, it is being eaten bit by bit... 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Can you see where I've been yet.

What a job on the coldest, dullest, snowiest morning for a while now.

We felt a little sorry for these two happy chaps spring cleaning the supermarket this morning...

You could certainly see where they had been though...

Will have to check next week to see if they went all the way round. For those of you who don't know the Auchan in Châtellerault, it is one big shop...

The men were working where the arrow is pointing, so they had a bit to do!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Nestbox Wars?

Interestingly, after it had been mounted only 10 days, I noticed yesterday that the new willow nestbox had a bit of moss sticking out of the hole and after further observation gathered that the new resident was a Blue Tit...

So today I thought I would attempt to take some photographs of the new nestbox residents building their nest... I got quite a surprise when I looked at the results of my stakeout.

Blue Tit 1
Came and checked it out
 Needs cleaning!!

Blue Tit 2
 Came and checked it out
 Needs cleaning!!
This one paused for thought!

Blue Tit 3

Came and had a look and flew off!!!

NOW the $64,000 question is how many different Blue Tits were there?

Looking at the full pictures it is difficult to tell but our guess is they are different ones above and there must have been others that put the moss in there in the first place! But it does answer one question we posed earlier this month "Where have all the Blue Tits gone?" They are obviously still around!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Preparing the Potager 2013

Colin has been out today with the motobineuse giving the potager the first of several "diggings" in readiness for planting, once the weather is reliably milder (if ever!).

This grey wagtail kept Colin company all afternoon, coming backwards and forwards as he worked, quite at ease with Colin's presence..

And after an hour or two of hard work, the result looked most satisfying..

but I suspect Colin's back may not up to appreciating the view for a day or two!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What's in a Name?

Two of my favourite spring flowers have just come into bloom; one on the roadside near the house, the other in the woods. But whilst the name: "Star of Bethlehem" conjures up a lovely image, "Lungwort" sounds rather less attractive.

Common Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)

I think they are both beautiful, but I'll leave you to judge for yourselves..:

(As its name suggests Lungwort was traditionally used as a remedy against lung diseases)

NB. For regular readers The Village Hanging Santa is no more!! 

Monday, 25 March 2013

A matching pair...

Well nearly!

Last March we blogged about the Black Redstarts nesting in a hole in our eaves and at the time Tim suggested before we block up the hole we put up a 'robin' type nestbox.

Well I eventually got around to producing not one but two!

The first was attached adjacent to the hole in the eaves.
The hole was closed with a screwed block of wood! 

The second nestbox was placed a little higher which involved the use of my roof ladder. No pictures on the grounds of health and safety!!.

The main reason for putting it there is that last year something made a nest in the gap on top of the beam that the box is screwed to!  But I have now created an even bigger ledge on top of the nestbox, so we will see what happens. We hope that both nestboxes will be used this year but as yet we have had no sightings of the Black Redstarts.

We have a good number (circa 50) of self seeded small Laurel bushes in both of our front borders. They have grown since we chopped down the Leylandii. I suspect  the seeds are from the birds eating the fruits from our already extensive Laurel hedges. 
So if you want any number of these please let us know and we will arrange a "dig your own" party...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

An Idea for the School Answer Phone??

We watched a short video today, posted on Facebook by my niece. It had a great deal of resonance for me after my years in teaching and whether you've been in the teaching profession or not, we feel sure you'll find some sympathy for the sentiments expressed.

Well, there's nothing like telling it how it really is! Hope it made you smile!

NB. And it is Australian....

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Auto Bourse de Chatellerault 2013

For the second year running we went to the Auto Bourse or car market / exchange at Chatellerault. We arrived before 10:00am and the huge car park was overflowing. The only place we managed to find to park was next to the campsite down by the river, which was more pleasant than the car park anyway...

When we entered it was packed out, as expected given the number of cars...

The display this year was of all UK cars, including a nice E type, and no it's not Elizabeth posing by the Rolls...

There was also a second E type, which I had a drool over...

It was in the same hall as the Traction Universelle stand and we know someone who will be drooling over the convertible. But for me it has to be the E Type.

This year as well as browsing we were looking for a couple of items for our 2 CV which is 30 this month... Oh to be 30 again... 

The first was a spare ignition coil, as we understand they are prone to playing up especially in hot weather...  Yes, there were a few around but not at a price we wanted to pay...  The second was a locking petrol cap which we bought from one of the two 2 CV stalls in the bourse hall.

I never owned a Ford Anglia but did give this rally one the once over.

The Bourse is on over the weekend and if you are in the area it is well worth a visit.. providing you can find somewhere to park!