In Brittany Skies

I am pleased to announce that I have made another change. This time it concerns how I view the sky - I now love it. Here, I refer only to daytime skies when all is visible and little is left to guesswork. At night, much goes unseen and what is visible is often mysterious, sometimes…

The Curious Contents of the Garden Shed

We spent the last two nights of our holiday on a Brittany island in a ‘converted farmhouse’ with its ‘landscaped garden’.  We arrived at the Bed and Brefast to find the front drive freshly raked, the beds on either side weed-free, and the plants within perfectly aligned. Janine welcomed us; she was relaxed, tanned, slim and smartly dressed. In…

Mr Fox takes a Break

Unlike Rome, which plays host to wolves, or the suburbs of Berlin, where the intruders are wild boar, my patch in south-west London boasts an urban fox. With his lush orange coat speckled with white and grey, George - or should it be Vivienne - is impressive and, in his demeanour, takes the description of…

Sam for all seasons

Just after Christmas, my wife and I went for a week to our cottage in Brittany. Our key aim was to begin to prepare the garden for 2017. As usual, we stopped over for a day in Paris. There, the streets had the same tell-tale trappings as at this time every year. Dumped on the…

Was that a white rabbit?

It's confession time. Earlier this year I wrote that I was a compulsive chatterbox whenever travelling on busses or trains and that I had resolved to give the habit up [Pipped at the post, Greyhares, 5 May, 2016]. I failed. My silence only lasted a few weeks and I was soon chatting again at full…

The secret garden

There is a garden near our home in France and it is one of my treasured sights. Among other such sights could be a particular wall or seascape, bush or tree, or perhaps some old railings. Whenever I see one of them, I linger and gaze, sometimes touch or even sniff. As with many of…

Tweet of the day

Just recently two of our clocks have been causing concern. The concern is over the noises they do or don't make; or more honestly, to the noises that I can or can't hear. Sensitive readers may wish to skip the rest of this paragraph which describes a critical but personal component of this saga. For many years my…

Magic well

Joe Collier discovers lost well in garden. Authorities now looking into it. Last week I sat twiddling my thumbs. I had planned several summer projects but all had been thwarted. Finally, my wife suggested that if I had nothing better to do, why not look for the well in the front garden. We learned of…

Territorial waters

Builders and developers seem to get away with murder and in practice it is best to stop any errors or oversights in their tracks. Certainly, relying on the council or the courts to reverse excesses once they have been 'set in stone' rarely works. Keeping an eye on the builders requires vigilance, and in the…

Public inconveniences

I work out at the gym about five times a week with cycling and some standard aerobics. Whatever the advantages, they are not preparation enough for two real life challenges. Both are ungainly and require contortions, call upon muscles normally untested and are proving increasingly difficult. The first involves getting to (and from) the driver’s…