Thursday Doors – A Village House and Giant Gates

There is a well-known saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle – a love for privacy and a patch of personal territory on our overcrowded island is perhaps the explanation of this notion – but since moving to France we have been more than a little impressed by the Frenchman’s approach to presenting and…

Darkest Fruit

Before moving to France 13 years ago I had always dreamed of having an orchard and indulging in a variety of homely pursuits like baking apple pies from my own apples and creating jams and conserves from my prizewinning strawberries and raspberries.  We now have the good fortune to have just such an orchard and…

Thursday Doors – Le Manoir d’Alfred de Vigny

Just across from our hillside is the wonderful property which used to belong to French poet Alfred de Vigny in the early 19th century.  This medieval manoir was his retreat where he wrote some of his finest work in the wood-panelled room at the top of the stone tower and where he pottered about in his vineyards…

I’ve Got a Silver Machine……………..

The hillside is currently in preparation for our summer theatre spectacle, to be performed by our friends ‘Le Petit Théatre de Blanzac’ during four evenings of July. This talented bunch of amateur enthusiasts with a sprinkling of professional input are always immensely ambitious in their productions and this time is no exception. A full costume…

Hillside Views – Haybales

On our walks these last couple of days, Freddie the Labrador has insisted on walking along the field where the hay has recently been cut and turned into beautiful round bales.  They smell divinely of summer, sweet and warm with a sprinkling of sunshine and look particularly beautiful arranged in a string like a necklace of…

Spring #3 – Lilac Time

EVER SINCE WE ARRIVED ON THE HILLSIDE 13 YEARS AGO I HAVE DREAMED OF MAKING A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN. In my imagination the lawns are mown into stripes and squares, flat and rich enough to welcome the most stringent player of bowls or croquet. The borders are full of exquisite flowering shrubs and unusual specimens arranged…

Glorious Spring

The hillside has exploded in a riot of blossom and colour this week.    I know I’m in danger of repeating myself by offering up another post with blossom as its’ subject but when I went out onto the orchard this afternoon to the glorious sight of the fruit trees abuzz with the industry of…

Rustic Beauty – The Humble Turnip

After the lovely promising spring weather of a fortnight ago we’re suddenly plunged back into the damp and chill winds of November here on the Hillside.  Our sunny moods have departed with the warmer temperatures and so my plans for more spring inspired images for this post have been moved aside to make way for an…

Spring # 2 – Fragile Blossom

In the courtyard on our French Hillside is an almond tree. It has never been exactly prolific in producing fruit but its’ show of magnificent pale white-pink blossom is always our first herald of the arrival of spring.  The tree itself is need of an expert prune as all the blossom is now bursting forth…

Winter – Ghost Leaves

The colours on the hillside are changing now from their glowing autumn shades to the darker hues of winter. Nature’s astonishing architecture is becoming visible everywhere, in the bare branches of the trees, the hips on the rose bushes, the cones in the evergreens and in the fallen leaves which carpet the garden.  On our…