After another thunder storm last night we decided today was the day for some construction work à la Kevin McCloud. And just like Kevin's "Man Made Home", this involved reclaiming some of the timber from the old cabins the previous owner had for geese and duck and converting that timber into a shelter for the chickens in inclement weather.
Before we give the impression that up to now the poor things have been left without any shelter, let me stress that they already have two perfectly sound weather-proof structures, a smaller one divided up as nest boxes and a larger one for roosting.
Despite this they insist on sleeping on the roof of the larger pod even in the rain. And during the day when it is wet, they make a sorry sight!
We have spent most of the day on this shelter on the basis that if a job is worth doing, etc, etc... and by mid afternoon we were ready to let the hens have a nosey around..
They were happy enough to come and take a look, but as for going inside...
What is the one thing likely to entice a hen to overcome it's timidity???
Yes; food did the trick! They were soon in under the shelter and tucking into a dish of cornflake crumbs soaked in water. It would be nice to thing that they have admired our handiwork and that, more importantly, they will use the shelter when the weather isn't good.
However, that remains to be seen. Girls will be girls! And for once it is the Sussex who seems to have taken charge of the shelter...
Let's hope she remembers this place when the rain next starts to fall!
The Sunday market in Royan is colourful, vibrant and packed with stalls selling all manner of goods.
We came upon it by chance when on a day out the other weekend and we were very glad we'd found it.
There are outdoor stalls arranged around the indoor market, which is famous architecturally for its design, serving as a model for the market of Nanterre and as the CNIT of the Defence near Paris. Built in 1955 by the architects Louis Simpson and Andre Morisseau and the engineer Rene Darger, it is a round shell in reinforced concrete eight centimetres thick. At 52.40 metres in diameter and 10.50 metres high, it rests on thirteen peripheral support points without any internal pillar.
The form of the exterior can just be seen in the background of this photo..
Fascinating as this all is, we were more captivated by the colour and buzz of the outside area.
The fresh flowers displayed to perfection by the owner of this stall...
The fruit and vegetables competing with the supermarkets on price; not all uniform in shape and size but fresh, full of flavour and making the most colourful and tempting display..
The freshest seafood alongside a stall selling gladiolii...
It really was a feast for the senses and guaranteed to whet the appetite.... or was that just the fresh sea air??
The market in Royan is held every morning except Monday.
After a foggy start to the day the sun broke through and temperatures quickly soared. But by early afternoon the rain had come and looked as if it was here to stay.
As so often the case round here, just as quickly as it had come, it disappeared and again we had warm sunshine. We thought we'd make the most of this and do the Butterfly Survey for September. As we left home the garden was full of butterflies feasting on a variety of plants.
However only a few feet into the survey it was clear we were not going to see masses of butterflies as on other occasions. In fact we walked the length of four "tranches", each tranch being about 200m in length, without seeing a single butterfly!
Then Colin spotted one! Unfortunately it flew way up in the air and even with a telephoto lens, it was impossible to identify it accurately.
Can you spot the butterfly???
Things picked up later on and by the end of our survey, which usually takes us an hour and a half to complete, we had clocked a total of two Clouded Yellows, two Small Whites and the indeterminate one above!
No other butterflies to be seen...
So this is going to be a very short survey to write up; the shortest we've ever had in fact.
However, we did see the most lovely specimen of Toadflax...
I've always loved this plant since I first came upon it in the hedgerows leading to Lligwy Bay, Anglesey, when on holiday as a child with my life-long friend, Christine and her parents, Stan and Audrey.
Well, not canoeing or whaling, Jean and Tim, but good guesses none the less!
We were enjoying a walk along the coastal path to the north west of Royan, in Charente-Maritime.
The path is well marked and closely follows the coastline (a feature which is always a plus point for a coastal path, but cannot always be taken for granted!).
We had wanted to do this walk when we went to Royan earlier in September but that day was too hot. Yesterday it was around the 27C mark but as the path has plenty of shade in the form of shrubs and trees, it made for a pleasant walk
We set off from Vaux-sur-Mer and walked northwards, on Le Sentier des Douaniers.
The coast line here is made up of deep inlets, sandy bays and craggy headlands giving a different view round every corner.
We stopped to watch a couple of fishermen shrimping just off shore.
This chap had rather full wellies at the end of the afternoon!
We were surprised to see some of the things which had been washed up along the shoreline.
The tree trunk was quite a size, too!
By the time we reached le Plage du Platin St Palais, the sun was getting rather too hot for us.
We went on just to the Corniche de Terre Negre and then made our way back.
This was one of the nicest coastal walks we've ever done and one thing's for sure... we'll be going back to do more of the path, because from what we can see, it stretches off up the coast for some miles.
Autumn feels as if it's coming a little too early this year. Or maybe it's just that the passage of time is speeding up. Age does that to you!
We will soon be celebrating the third anniversary of moving into the house; where did that go??
A dear auntie of mine celebrated her 90th birthday this week; I hadn't realised she turned 80 yet!
We hit a milestone today on the stats for all time pageviews, topping 90,0000 since we began in January 2011. We could never have foreseen back then where the blog would take us as time went by; the wonderful friends we've made; the advice we've sought; the recipes we've found' a source for the seeds we wanted and a gift from the Isle of Man to boot!
Out dividing some perennials in the garden today, I was aware that for the first time we are in a position to give away plants because we are running out of space in the garden; it's not that long ago we were begging any specimens going to stock the newly created borders.
Some things in the garden try to trip us up in terms of time. The primroses are out in flower; is that late for 2013 or early for 2014? The advent rose hasn't stopped flowering for the last two years!
But one of our favourite trees today reminded us just what we are facing, all too fast...
Autumn is upon us and the colours are changing at a reasonable pace now.
The maple tree has supported my craft work each autumn/winter for the past three years, I've pressed the leaves and used them to make pictures, like this one above our hearth..
and to make paperweights to sell....
We'll watch the colour of the leaves changing and deepening again and we'll be out there collecting the best of the freshly fallen ones for me to press. thus preserving their shape and colour against the normal ravages of time.
It's perhaps a good job we can't preserve ourselves in a state of suspended animation. Change brings with it so many new opportunities and experiences which we'd miss if time could stand still for us.
So whilst time may be going too quickly, I suggest we celebrate it to the full!