Let it burn, gardening galore and Frêne trees

No it’s not the Mull of Kyntire but the mist does roll in!

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It’s been all too quick a visit this trip (half term).  It seems as if we have done nothing but garden the whole time apart from welcome socialising with our neighbours and friends. This isn’t entirely true as we did spend an entire morning in Decathlon where we purchased our ski gear for the Christmas adventure.  Next time it will be for a real holiday or else I’m not playing anymore.  Number one son has been glued to his Ipad as his buddies are visiting the UK. Not much fun for him as he could have been trick or treating with his friends back home.

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So we have cleared lots of wild brambles and had two bonfires, no guys though.  Or fireworks for that matter.  The first bonfire worried me slightly as it was still raging at 1.30am and I had to get hubby up to pour water on it for fear of it setting fire to the house.  OK I was watching TV at 1.30am but that’s normal isn’t it? The next bonfire was lit much further down the garden away from the house.

Hubby warming his hands

Hubby warming his hands

The ten tonnes of pebbles are now reduced to a very small pile thanks to hubby who has worked tirelessly to move them to make our new informal French pebble garden (what a mouthful).  Turning this!

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Into this!IMG_3255

It is a work in progress as the plants are so small at the moment it is difficult to get a real feel for what it will look like eventually.  Watch this space and in 5 years!  In this area are some of the plants that we brought from home.  An Apricot tree, a Fig tree and a small Phormium.

I’ve been busy planting more baby trees from our friend Barbara.  Walnut, Frêne and Oak trees to name but a few are now in my little tree creche, hopefully huddled together they can survive the winter.  Frêne is French for an Ash tree.

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We have had problems with little critters eating the new leaves but I’m hoping this new batch will survive the winter and if not at least they will have provided a welcome meal for something furry.  I’ve made a little jacket for one of the Cypress trees that has had all of its bark eaten away at the base.

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I’ve also taken cuttings from our local Willow, Chestnut and Fig trees in the vain attempt to have a bunch of these trees in our French garden.  There is a concrete electric pole that was covered in brambles which we have now cleared to reveal three plum trees.  I’ll probably plant one of the fig trees in this area next year.

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The inside is becoming much more homely, additions this holiday have been a lovely leather chair that I rescued from my good friend back in the UK who was going to skip it.  Now it has some big elephant cushions from logonear Ikea in Leeds, all very cosy.

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The standard lamp base that I painted earlier this year now has a shade curtesy of Ikea.  Not ideal but makes it a useable light which is very useful.

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We still haven’t put this picture up. And finally two more interior shots.

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Many francophiles like to use Farrow and Ball paints and it is true they have a huge array of different colours.  But our coffee table and standard lamp have been painted in Dulux Colour Mixing Natural Taupe 1 CN3 which is a lovely creamy grey colour and is cheaper than Farrow and Ball and in my opnion blends well with other pale neutral colours that give that French touch to a room. Dulux costs £10.49 for 500ml from B&Q and a similar paint from Farrow and Ball costs £20.99 for .75L from Homebase.  I may try the F&B paint in the future, just to see what all the fuss is about.

We’re back it’s HOT and I need inspiration for the garden!

If you need a place to begin your inspiration journey then this is a great place to start.

Wild brambles and plums, an unusual combination but together, delicious!

Wild brambles and plums

Wild brambles and plums

Grandma and I decided to explore the garden.  Several overgrown plum trees, a large fig tree, which we share, and lots and lots of wild brambles.  Grandma started the harvest and then I joined her, after much gathering we had enough to make a pie. 

Wild brambles and plums

Wild brambles and plums

I decided to make a pie like my mum would have made.  The fruit is held with a simple pastry base and then wrapped around at the edges. 

Wild bramble and plum pie

Wild bramble and plum pie

Served with some fresh cream, and the unanimous verdict, delicious!  Eaten outside on a whitewashed table and chairs that came with the house.

White washed table and chairs

White washed table and chairs