View From The Conservatory


Not so much, from the conservatory, more from within.

My wife stuck these butterflies, perhaps a dozen or so, on our bi-fold doors. Shortly after our conservatory rebuild was completed. The butterflies comprise two pairs of wings. One set sticks flush to the glass and has a reflective backing which catches the sun and is further reflected on the inside of the double glazing. The other set of wings stand proud, giving some depth to each individual butterfly.

Their purpose was to help prevent our grandchildren from running into the large clear glass panels. The butterflies seemed to have carried out their accident prevention role, perfectly.

However, there has been a war of attrition, as child after child has discovered the butterflies and ripped off their upper wings.

The photo shows the last intact example, flying proudly, just out of reach….. for the time being.

Limousin, France – Day 5


If it’s Tuesday,  it must be Collonges-la-Rouge. What the heck is that ?,  you may ask.

Selected as the target for a visit from yours truly this beautiful medieval village, some eighty kilometers from our gite, is listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages Of France” and is entirely built from a red sandstone which comes from the Habitarelle massif.

Collonges-la-Rouge, Correze, France - A hint at what makes this one of the most beautiful villages in France
Collonges-la-Rouge, Correze, France – A hint at what makes this one of the most beautiful villages in France

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church's steeple and other roof features
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church’s steeple and other roof features

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - quaint streets
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – quaint streets

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Le Chat
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Le Chat

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Street view
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Street view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - detail from eatery.
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – detail from eatery.

After exploring the various streets and alleyways we had lunch although not in the establishment featured above. The meal was as usual, very relaxed and delicous and was accompanied by the unusual “Moutarde Violette” which is made by combining mustard with a red grape mash. The version that we were eating is produced at Turenne, just a few kilometers away from Collonges. We enjoyed it so much that we purchased a jar to bring home.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - A local inhabitant
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – A local inhabitant

We, of course, visited the Church of  St-Pierre. The contruction of which was started during the 11th century. Further additions and modifications were made throughout the 14th and 15th Centuries and the church was fortified during the 16th century. Hence many different styles can be observed both inside and out.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church entrance detail
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church entrance detail

Unusual for Collonges, the entrance way is decorated with white limestone, from nearby Turenne, although it is tinted with the red sandstone dust.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Stained-Glass from Saint-Pierre church
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Stained-Glass from Saint-Pierre church

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church detail
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church detail

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Saint-Pierre church's steeple
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Saint-Pierre church’s steeple

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - view
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – view

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Happy window
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Happy window

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Through the arch
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Through the arch

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Archway
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Archway

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Twin turrets.
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Twin turrets.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - It's that butterfly again.
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – It’s that butterfly again.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France
Collonges-la-Rouge, France

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Main street.
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Main street.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Leather Workshop
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Leather Workshop

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - One of the more remote properties.
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – One of the more remote properties.

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Another roofline shot
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Another roofline shot
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Another roofline shot

Collonges-la-Rouge, France - Quiet streets
Collonges-la-Rouge, France – Quiet streets

After leaving Collonges our route took us past Turenne. We opted not to visit on this occasion, just stopping to take a couple of quick snaps from afar before heading home to the gite.

Turenne, France
Turenne, France

Turenne, France
Turenne, France

Blenheim, Bampton and Burford


Earlier in the year, we had the rellies over from Oz. During their stay we traveled up to visit Blenheim Palace, stayed overnight in Woodstock and did a small vaguely Downton Abbey related tour of the locale. The following are a few photo’s taken over the weekend.

Winston Churchill - No visit to Blenheim is complete without an acknowledgement to the great man himself.
Blenheim Palace – Winston Churchill – No visit to Blenheim is complete without an acknowledgement to the great man himself.

Blenheim1
Blenheim Palace – Water Gardens

Blenheim2
Blenheim Palace – Main Entrance

Blenheim3
Blenheim Palace – The view below the Water Gardens

Blenheim4
Blenheim Palace – Tranquility

Blenheim5
Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, a blousy pink.

Blenheim6
Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, I can still smell the scent.

Blenheim7
Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, a luscious red, which is just how I like my wine.

Blenheim9
Blenheim Palace – Rose Gardens, for shear exuberance. Reminds me of the Can Can

Blenheim10
Blenheim Palace – towering, or is that lurking, above The Boat House

Blenheim11
Blenheim Palace – Hidden Treasure

Blenheim12
Blenheim Palace – Dainty

Blenheim13
Blenheim Palace – view of the lake, from The Boat House

Blenheim14
Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, resident.

Blenheim15
Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, fancy some fruit ?

Blenheim16
Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, cheeky chappy.

Blenheim17
Blenheim Palace – Butterfly House, this cheeky chappy followed us around and harangued us from every perch.

Bampton

Bampton in Oxfordshire is the “real” name of  Downton, a name familiar with all Downton Abbey fans. As one would expect the real thing looks very different to the images presented on screen.

Bampton - Church View  appears regularly in the series. It is here that two pubs, The Grantham Arms & The Dog and Duck are located.
Bampton – Church View appears regularly in the series. It is here that two pubs, The Grantham Arms & The Dog and Duck are located.

Bampton - Church View - Apparently No. 2 gets quite a makeover to become a pub in the series.
Bampton – Church View – Apparently No. 2 gets quite a makeover to become a pub in the series.

Bampton - Church View - A real cottage garden.
Bampton – Church View – A real cottage garden.

Bampton - The old Grammar School building, which now houses Bampton Community Archive, served as ‘Downton’ hospital. Unfortunately closed when we were there.
Bampton – The old Grammar School building, which now houses Bampton Community Archive, served as ‘Downton’ hospital. Unfortunately closed when we were there.

Bampton - St Mary’s Church, renamed for the series as St Michael and All Angels
Bampton – St Mary’s Church, renamed for the series as St Michael and All Angels

Bampton - Cottages
Bampton – Cottages

Burford

Burford is a small town on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills in west Oxfordshire, England, about 18 miles west of Oxford, 22 miles southeast of Cheltenham and only about 2 miles from the Gloucestershire boundary.

Burford14
Burford – With a name like Huffkins and the crooked windows this place looks like something out of a Harry Potter film.

Burford13
Burford – Going down to the shops is a doddle. Coming back is the real issue.

Burford12
Burford – Just popping out to the shops is part of the local fitness regime.

Burford
Burford – Alms Houses, Founded in 1457 by Richard Earl of Warwick. Rebuilt in 1828.

Burford10
Burford – Nearly at the summit. The locals must feel like planting a flag each time they make it to the top.

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Burford – Minutes just fly by here. So much so that the minute hand has flown away. Obviously the right place to sit and while away the hours.

Burford3
Burford – Hope you have left the handbrake on.

Burford2
Burford – I wonder what’s down there ?

Burford4
Burford – Something quaint and interesting round every corner.

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Burford – Nothing is straight.

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Burford – Hidden charm.

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Burford – More Wonky Windows

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Burford – I was holding the camera straight, honest I was.

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Burford –

View From The Conservatory – Some Flutterbys


bf2
Peacock
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Nymphalinae : Genus Inachis:
bf3
Peacock
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Nymphalinae : Genus Inachis:
Comma Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Nymphalinae : Genus Polygonia: Species c-album
Comma
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Nymphalinae : Genus Polygonia: Species c-album
Great White Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Pieridae: Subfamily Pierinae : Genus Pieris: Species brassicae:
Great White
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Pieridae: Subfamily Pierinae : Genus Pieris: Species brassicae:

View From The Conservatory


What Am I ?
What Am I ?

Well it’s been a while since I posted one of these.

I’ve been up and down healthwise, flu or something similar, and the weather has been dire to say the least. Now we have had a few sunny days and all the plants seem to be exploding into growth and the colours  are fabulous.

Our remaining cherry blossom is looking beautiful and the lawn in our back garden is totally out of control. I’ve taken a few minutes out from work to make a quick perimeter patrol and fire off a few snaps.

Up above is a shot of a butterfly. I don’t believe I have seen one of these before, certainly never in my garden.

Does anyone out there know what it is ?

Here are a few more pictures, some with titles where I know what they are. Some remain anonymous. However, I hope you enjoy these facsimiles as much as I am enjoying the real thing.

Dandelion
Dandelion

grape
Grape Hyacinth

pansy
Pansy – Always happy to see you

shrub
A Shrub ?

shrub2
Another Shrub ?

tulip
Tulip – with Primrose back-up

My perimeter walk has also highlighted the amount of work that needs to be done around the “estate”.

This weekend has been earmarked for  “slash and burn”. Perhaps not much of the burning but certainly there will be much slashing.

We have also decided to replace the fence which marks the back border for our property. fencing

As you can see the fence has a somewhat laidback attitude. Something it took on early the year after the “Great Storm” of 1987. Slowly but surely the post has rotated in the ground and many of the other posts have rotted out so the whole fence has to go. Thats not bad considering it has had no treatment during the last 30 years. So, 25-30 meters of wooden fencing, a task which is a little to big for my DIY skills, will be replaced by a local firm. They have done work on two of my neighbours properties so I have been able to see the quality of their work.

Once that is done we will have a blank canvas against which to plan the transformation.

Here are couple of general shots showing the desperate state of my garden.

Over grown
Over grown

lawnflowers
Primroses and Daisys

overgrown
Some significant trimming needed here.

It would seem that something has taken up residence under our shed. A large hole and signs of escavation. Maybe that tatty fox, I spotted a couple of weeks ago, has decided to move in.

Foxhole ?
Foxhole ?

shed2
Foxhole ?

And finally I submit this image. It is pretty much indicative of the general state of my garden which is in dire need of a make over.

Even my spade is over grown.
Even my spade is over grown.

View From The Conservatory


I haven’t posted from the conservatory for a while. But here are three items to make up for it.

The first is a shot of a Red Admiral, a typical summer visitor who was making the most of our Buddleia or Butterfly Bush. At least in this case it was living up to its name. Most years we have hundreds of flowers but the butterflies don’t come until the flowers have turned brown.

Red Admiral - Vanessa Atalanta
Red Admiral – Vanessa Atalanta

The next is of a Green Woodpecker. Not such a regular visitor to our garden but a welcome one all the same. We do see them in the area and this is the second time in recent months. This was taken through the double glazing so I consider this a lucky shot considering that I had the 300mm lens on as well which makes it a bit more difficult to keep the camera stable.

Green Woodpecker - Picus Viridis
Green Woodpecker – Picus Viridis

And finally a bit of humour. I was just mowing the lawn and popped indoors for a cuppa tea. When I cam back out my mower had all but disappeared. I blame it on this mixed up summer weather that we have had this year.

I only popped indoors for a cuppa