Sunday, 31 August 2014

Some Bird Pictures

Our flowering Cherry Tree was a hive of activity this morning. The birds were all over the tree imitating the Tree Creaper, which was toooo quick for me to photograph.

Pictures taken through the lounge window so not the best.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Terrace visitor...

Elizabeth spotted this wonderful caterpillar moving quite quickly across our rear terrace...

We spotted the same caterpillar last year here and we have concluded that it is a Poplar Hawk Moth Laothoe populi Caterpillar. There are many similar pictures available on the internet.

Susan and Tim's comments last time both confirm this.

Interestingly we have never seen the actual Popular Hawk Moth and I am sure we would have noticed it.

Image from

Friday, 29 August 2014

Preventative measures...

As regular readers will know Elizabeth is sometimes a nocturnal animal, she gets up at all hours and flits about in the dark. She got up the other night with disastrous consequences...

"Who put that Bureau there" was not what I heard...

What I have heard ever since is "How am I going to get my wedding shoes on".  It is extremely painful and nothing can touch it at the moment!!! (Requires much sympathy)

So some action was required... Whilst out shopping today we bought some things to help. This is following suggestions made during the cake club and after a very sympathetic posting on Facebook.

Purchase one... A head torch to prevent further collisions. (perhaps)

I especially like the option of red flashing LED's as this will be useful in tracking Elizabeth down when she is in the garden at night!!!

Purchase two and three... A freezable bandage and some bruise cream...

She is, as I write, dunking the said foot in very hot and then very cold water, this helps evidently... What fun!!

However on a finishing note... The bad foot DID NOT stop her digging a hole for the new plant bought for us, by our good friends, as a wedding present... It's a good job I was around to help with this planting before more damage was done!!!

What I will be acquiring in the near future will be some form of restraint (bondage) to slow her down a little... I understand Ann Summers do such things, but I wouldn't know anything about that!!!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Cake Club comes to Braye!

For a couple of hours yesterday afternoon the population of Braye was augmented somewhat, when friends arrived for the August meeting of the Loire Valley Clandestine Cake Club (CCC)

We can blame it on the weather/our ovens/distractions etc but for some of us it was a bit more Brassed Off than Bake Off..

However, what some lacked in perfection was more than made up for in taste and sheer enjoyability!! And we have to remind ourselves that it's NOT a competition...

Colin's poster on the gate-post attracted some interest from villagers passing by who are more used to us leaving signs saying: "Fraises/Cerises/Tomates, Servez Vous S.V.P"

Once again the ingenuity applied to the theme - "French Picnic" - and range of cakes on offer was outstanding...

I'm naming no names but this cake really "rose" to the occasion - unlike some others (they shall also be nameless!)

In fact, in the left background of the above photo you may possibly make out the label "Cake Catastrophe!" It's creator likened it to the San Andreas fault but then again, cream covers a multitude of geological features!

Below is another example of a near disaster being turned into a creative opportunity. The intended topping didn't! So instead of wasting it, it was blitzed and made an attractive sprinkling to decorate this now showstopper of a cake.

Again, in the background of the above photo, you can see the meticulous attention to detail to create "arches" of icing, precisely arranged around the cake; it is NOT, as the unkind among you may think, simply runny icing!

The winner of the baking book was delighted, and is now looking forward to choosing and baking his contribution to the next CCC. We are all very happy for him!

Which leaves me with one last thing to say; and that is to send our heartfelt thanks and love to each and every one of the Loire Valley CCC for the early celebration they gave us for our wedding in under two weeks time. Their gift was perfect and, as I type, its root ball is soaking ready for planting later today..
Our thanks, also, for other gifts we've received from friends. Your kindness and generosity is very much valued and appreciated!

Wedding photos will follow as and when - possibly!!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A short family history...

I have mentioned on our blog on several occasions that I come from two generations of Gamekeepers. I have now found the photographs I have been searching for, so here is a snapshot of my life pre 10 years old.

This is the gamekeepers cottage. The first picture was taken before I was born, the second is probably the same age as the rest, mid to late 1950's. It had no electricity and was two miles outside the village of Wheldrake, North Yorkshire. I used to spend most of the summer holidays there and loved it.

This is my Grandfather William Young a gamekeeper up until the day he died in 1961. I was devastated when he died.

This is my late father Colin Young, taken as a young man. The story goes he shot a sheep in his younger days!! He went on to become a gamekeeper in Dalton Holme, East Yorkshire. Shortly after his national service he took up engineering, because the pay was better.

This is me with my Dad

The next photographs were taken after a deer was spotted in the adjoining cornfield, it did not survive long. If you look at the photographs either my Dad or Grandad shot it right between the eyes. It was duly butchered and shared between the landlord and our family.

Finally an 'Ahhh' photograph but not for the pig as it was raised purely for meat. I also remember similar photographs of me in the working dog pens, mainly retrievers. Will have to see if I can find them.

I have the Young (single line) family tree going back to the 1600's and would like at some time in the future to expand it. Many of them are buried in the village churchyard. One interesting fact I found out was that my relations used to run the stagecoach between Wheldrake and York.

It's on my list of things to do!!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Butterflies in the Garden

Every time we've stepped outside these last few days, the garden seems to be lifting with butterflies of all shapes and sizes.

Here are some of our favourite photos, most of them taken using digital zoom! (Well, what else?)

Holly Blue...


Silver-washed Fritillary...

Map butterfly...

Scarce Swallowtail alongside a Gatekeeper...


And although this is not a butterfly, we couldn't leave out the colourful Jersey Tiger Moth..

This shot is slightly blurred as it catches the Jersey Tiger in flight, which shows its colour so beautifully...

Digital zoom is going to take over our lives, if we're not careful!!