17 September 2013

A day trip to Brantome in the Dordogne Region.

Brantôme (Brantòsme in Occitan) is a commune in the Dordogne department in southwestern France. It is the seat of the canton of Brantôme. Via Lemovicensis (fr), an old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, runs through Brantôme. The commune, which retains its picturesque atmosphere, is situated along the river Dronne

Brantome is one of my favourite places to visit, it's about an hours drive from where we live, so we usually go for lunch. There are restaurants all along the river bank.The most prestigious being the
'Restaurant Charbonnel' owned by the well known chefs, 'Freres Charbonnel'
I've only ever peeped inside and looked on the Internet to find out the comments and decided to go to our usual riverside restaurant.

All these restaurants are on the banks of the river Dronne

We walked along the edge of the river, watched the river boats pass by, then crossed over the bridge.

heading to our favourite restaurant.

During the months of July and August we normaly need to make a reservation
 for a table on the terrace at the rivers edge,
 so were  pleased when the waiter asked where we would like to sit.

I'm a lover of fish so really enjoyed what I chose. However I'm afraid I can't remember what it was,
It wasn't a fish I was familiar with, but it was delicious,
served on sliced muchrooms, with diced vegetables in a spicy sauce.

After our lunch we strolled along the river bank admiring all the pretty houses.


As I was taking this photo a very haughty French lady appeared and told me NOT to take any photos.
It was an art gallery and I had intended  to look around, as the poster outside showed some lovely water colour pictures.
Needless to say I didn't go in. Oh well her loss.

As we have been here many times we didn't go inside the abbey on this visit.

Abbey of Brantôme, which was founded in 769 by Charlemagne;

On the right is the Abbey which is built into the rocks.

By mid afternoon the town was getting very busy & we don't like crowds.
so it was time we left.

On the way to the carpark we saw someone else who thought it was time to go home

I just loved the way his little dog was standing in the basket

Hope you enjoyed seeing one of the many places we love visit.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

10 September 2013

Other peoples gardens .

This summer I've been away from my own garden so it's been badly negleted,. Mr France did the watering for the hanging baskets and the occasional grass cutting which wasn't needed very often due to the heat.
But I had the pleasure of seeing and enjoying other peoples gardens. Would you like to share them with me.

First my daughters garden,
 where I spend most of the summer when we let our property.

Her garden has very little attention and is a little on the wildside
but has great charm.
Each year the hollyhocks are always so pretty.

Entering the drive way the buddleia greets you, usually covered in a mass of butterflies.

When Mr France & I went to stay in  La Petite Maison. the buddleia I'd planted before I left had come into flower, so I picked a few blooms and put them in a lttle old bottle I'd found in the barn when we first bought this little house. I  took a photo so I could paint them at a later date.
So I thought now is  a good time to get back to doing my watercolour painting.
 Here's the scketch I did in my journal.

This is my first effort for over a year
 I'm still only a beginner, but hope that eventually I will improve.
I've only ever shared any of my sketching with my family.

Back to garden visiting.

This is my French friends garden near where I live.
This part has been created with the help her grandchildren, she has seven all under the age of ten.
I love to visit her and see what the little ones have added during their summer holiday.

A lot of watering has been needed
so every little helps.

Another friend I have I admire so much, she  & her husband had a house built not far from where I live. They live and work in England but divide their time between France & England. Gardening is her passion.
I always say, 'she could plant a stick and it would grow.'
It's not easy for her, but with the help of her husband they have made a  vegetable plot and  grow all sorts of vegetables, they always seem to survive whatever the weather, which gives them fresh veg, each time they come back.

Her first batch of haricot vert.

These pictures are from the garden of a dear English friend who has recently passed away.
Although she didn't live in France permanently she chose  her plants carefully.
 to be able to look after themselves, she loved her garden.

This year her hibiscus in white, pink & blue where spendid.


As always her hydrangia was beautiful.
I'm sure she chose these because she loved to wear different shades of blue even if it was only a scarf.

Now this garden I've never actualy seen.
This lovely dahlia I've only seen from this photo,as it's  in the garden of my lovely English friends.They used to have a second home near to where I live in France. Her garden in France was planted for every season and always looked as if someone lived there permanently.
They sold their house 2yrs ago and the new owners do live there permanent and they have changed it completely, now when I pass I feel so sad as it doesn't look as pretty as when my friend was there.

Now to North Wales, where my family live.

These beautiful pink poppies are so delicate they are almost like tissue paper,
  are in my nieces garden and she has just been to visit us and brought me envelopes full of poppy heads.
So hopefully I'll have some flowering in my garden next year.

This is my sisters garden also in Wales.
This lovely clematis climbing up the wall to greet you at the front door.

Their garden at the rear of the property.has always been lovely.
Now it's planted mostly with shrubs for ease of maintenance.

This arbour is usually covered  in pale pink clematis flowers.
but due to their severe winter & late snow in spring it's suffered a bit.

My brothers house was an old Welsh farm.

He loves his garden.
When he was younger he was head gardener on the estate of Lord Sefton in Liverpool.

The wall surrounding the front of his house is covered in white alysum, red sauge & blue lobelia.
Then he has a tower of baskets, this had only just been planted when I went to visit him in late June, so I'm sure by the end of summer it was a beautiful mass of colour.

Now I'm back home we have a lot to do in the garden. 

I have plans to make a new area for some shrubs.
So some hard digging will be necessary. I'll show you that later when we get it started.

Before I leave you I must show you the gift my niece bought for me at the market just before she left.

This beautiful giant hibiscus

the flower is as big as a large dinner plate.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these gardens, all so different.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian