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…

SPRING – Tender Tulips

Signs of Spring are appearing everywhere on the hillside now – tiny blue forget-me-nots, wild violets, the first cowslips, the early daffodils, even some very precocious iris are in full bloom seeking the warmth of the sun.   Opportunities for photographs abound and I have a score of ideas for posts for the coming days.   I…

Orchids – Strange exotic beauty

Someone gave me an orchid. I’ve never been quite sure whether I really like orchids or not. To one who loves the beautiful simplicity of daisies, they seem worryingly exotic, fleshy and organic, almost alien things.  It seems they have many symbolic connotations – strength, loyalty, luxury, virilty ( the name itself derives from the…

Winter # 3 – The Quietly Beating Heart

Here and there amidst the silver bare winter’s landscape are vibrant reminders that the pulse of life continues through even the darkest days and the longest nights.  The berries in the hedgerows and the hips of the roses are rich and blood red with the promise of Spring……..    ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY  

Winter # 2 – Life is Sleeping

The hillside is really in the grip of Winter now. The trees are shivering in the winds from the north and the warmth of the autumn colours has been chilled  to a palette of  brittle greys.  Only the laburnams and the lime trees are still clinging to their delicate copper- coloured  seed pods as if…

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…

Double Vision # 2 – Thankful

As the season of festivities has already begun with Thanksgiving in America, my blogging friend west517 had the excellent idea that we use the word ‘Thankful’ as our prompt for todays’ ‘Double Vision’ post.  There is no official Thansgiving holiday in England, but the traditional harvest festivals echo the same roots and customs.   In our frantic,…

Little Acorns, Mighty Oaks……..

A while ago on one of our walks, Freddie the Labrador and I collected some splendid acorns and oak leaves. I fully  intended to snap a few pics while they were still fresh and colourful but haven’t somehow got round to doing it.  Today I was going to throw them all away as they’ve dried…

Clocks, watches and timepieces # 1

Along with maps, globes and antiquarian books,  I have always had a particular fascination for clocks, and other timepieces.  Even in our modern world, these things remain symbols of great mystery for me – constant reminders of man’s attempt to make sense of the unknowable world and to impose some human order upon nature’s own…

A Summer’s day in a tiny flower…..

Autumn is really showing its’ beautiful glowing colours here on the hillside and already throwing some surprises into the meteorological mix. Yesterday afternoon was a busy one in the boutique and all my Sunday afternoon visitors were completely unprepared, after the mild morning, for the fierce downpour and hailstorm which turned up around 4.00pm and…

Gold, Copper, Chestnut, Conkers – Hello Autumn!

I had a very different idea in mind for today’s post but as I strolled along the path through the wood after lunch with Freddie the labrador, we stumbled across some exciting treasures which simply demanded to be photographed.  Freddie was delighted to have found a fox poo and a badger burrow plus a few…

Sunset Colours and Autumn Vines

Every day of September here on the hillside, has been warm, balmy and beautiful; the evenings noticeably cooler as the Autumn approaches but full of astonishing light and colours. I decided the other evening to take a walk down the hill towards the poplar wood where the sheep live, passing en route the tiny vineyard…

Apples, hornets and apple pie……….

The strange weather conditions of this year have left the orchard looking bedraggled and bewildered.  The spring cherries were waterlogged and the Maytime plums annihilated by hailstorms, now the apples, usually so abundant and wholesome, are rain-damaged and fast being eaten by wasps and hornets.  There is , as always a silver lining for someone….

Cosmos , Marigolds and the end of Summer

This weekend heralds the end of the official summer here in sunny France, as thousands of holidaymakers wend their way back home to prepare for ‘La Rentrée’ – the re-entering, literally, of work or school. over the next week to 10 days.  The summer has been a disappointing one weatherwise, some sun to be sure…

Figs , Fig Leaves and the Garden of Eden

There is an ancient town in the heart of Tuscany in Italy, famous for it’s alabaster, a beautiful translucent stone used for centuries to create windows, before knowledge of glassmaking arrived in the west from the Orient.  We stayed just outside Volterra a few years ago and one of our favourite daily pastimes was a coffee and…

Of Sunflowers, Kites and Kestrels….

In which we bang on about the weather again but for a different reason and then turn a little serious………….. I have always had the fanciful notion that the weather here on earth is largely dictated by the activities of the Olympian Gods up in the clouds.  Right at this moment in time , they’re…

Summer Storms and Teeny Tiny Toads

 In which we consider the return of Noah’s flood to the Charente and tackle a hoard of teeny tiny toads in the wine press………. The weather has achieved Biblical proportions today here in sunny France. After an impressive build up over the last few weeks and months, with a few minor monsoons here, a mini…

Oh No! It’s Holiday time on the Hillside

In which we consider the impending onslaught of summer visitors and wonder whether a person could have opening and closing times like a boutique. Well it’s that time of year again here on the hillside, the friends and family start their mass migration to foreign climes passing where possible by our front door for a…

The Pomegranate, the Seasons and a few Greek Gods and Goddesses

Wandering around the aisles of the supermarket the other day, I came across the section devoted to ‘exotic fruits’. All kinds of alien forms and textures populate this particular aisle  – spiky, fleshy, hairy, succulent – all originating from countries I couldn’t hope to place on a map and all ultimately fascinating and mysterious.  Not…

Daredevil Daisy’s bid for Freedom

In which we take a walk and have a close encounter with a 1500 pound grumpy cow It is my daily habit to take a brisk walk down the hillside and, almost as briskly, to walk back up again.  I generally spend the time this involves admiring the scenery, talking to myself and chatting to…

Four-legged Neighbours in the poplar wood

In which we delight in our four-legged neighbours and worry about the constant threat of mint sauce………. Living as we do on top of a hill amongst the vineyards, we are blissfully untroubled by the proximity of neighbours, the nearest other house being a good kilometer or so away on the hill opposite. Whilst we…

Feather part I

Feather : Noun, adjective, verb ;  a single word suggesting many things – light, ethereal, flight, airborne, arrows, attack, quill, sharp, razor, pen, writing, Shakespeare, manuscripts, words, thoughts, deeds, imagination, heaven, angels…………………….    ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY  

The Beauty of Imperfection – the art of Wabi Sabi…….

” Wabi Sabi” noun:  From Japanese culture :  A concept, an aesthetic and a worldview. Simply, an intuitive way of living which emphasizes finding beauty and perfection in imperfection and simple authenticity. Wabi Sabi accepts the natural cycle of growth and decay and believes objects gain value through use and age.        ALL PHOTOS © JANE…

Oh No! Here Comes Summer!…….

In which we consider the excesses of French summer weather and wish we had a decent deckchair…… Well finally, here in South West France, the sun has put in a long awaited appearance and the Summer has arrived, at least for the next few days.   This is, of course, great news for those of us who…

The Ethereal Veil……..

“Life’s splendour forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its’ fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its’ right name, it will come…” FRANZ KAFKA   ALL PHOTOS © JANE…

The Beauty of Simplicity

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things” Isaac Newton “The more simple we are the more complete we become” Auguste Rodin ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

And a fine time was had by almost all….

In which we praise the optimist, denounce the pessimist and wonder just who is Maureen? And so after weeks of planning and a good deal of hard work, our first independant arts and crafts fair is finally over.  The gazebos and backdrops have been taken down, the debris tidied away and the hillside is back…

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens….”

In which we consider life as an eternal optimist and how this combines  with perpetual worrying… As the sky remains cloudy and the rain continues to fall here in sunny France at the end of May I thank my lucky stars and my mother that I was born an eternal optimist. It is not always…

“Life is just a bowl of Cherries”

There is a garden in her face Where roses and white lilies grow; A heav’nly paradise is that place Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow. There cherries grow which none may buy, Till ‘Cherry ripe’ themselves do cry.                      Thomas Campion (1567 – 1620)    …

Be careful what you wish for …….

In which we consider Noah’s flood, the advisability of a fountain in the bedroom and never having enough buckets when you need them… Having begun with great gusto, the creation of our new vegetable plot at the end of last week we consulted the meteo – weather forecast – on Monday to see what might be…

Blush Roses

Roses have long been my favourite flowers, along with lilac and the beautiful simplicity of daisies.   A few years ago I planted a climbing rose, the name of which has long since been forgotten, which has so much enjoyed it’s position against an east facing garden wall that it now covers the wall completely…