Note these are not my drawings, but come from a great book called The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornwell. For a long time I have struggled to find an art medium I love. Watercolour I find restricting with the layers and colour build up of washes and control. I… Continue reading Finding my pencils
As a child my walk to school took me through a rambling footpath between mighty oaks and horse chestnuts. The latter supplied conkers that resulted in many bruised fingers from conker fights. Now this childhood right of passage has been banned. Shame, but it was actually rather dangerous. But also rolling around in leaves could… Continue reading Fallen leaves
From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds
With the French lockdown coming into affect tomorrow and the generally pathetic display of judgement by the powers that be, re Covid-19, I am arming myself with an eclectic library of reading, from science fiction, fashion, tapestry renovations, to bohemian souls, poultry farming, no-dig gardening and French decorators. I wont get bored. My latest delivery… Continue reading Bucket list at lockdown
Today we stopped to help a lady filming a trapped deer. Probably a Fallow deer. Why she wasnt untangling him, I have no idea. The deer was a young male, probably just under two years old. Likely lost his mother from the French mafia for Sunday hunting and as many, grown up a little vague… Continue reading Wild deer
Couldn’t write this yesterday as too upset. We came home around 6pm. I start putting everyone to bed but Penquin our Pekin duck has a torn wing from Heff being too amorous. Her white feathers were stained pink and the broken feather needed trimming out. It was bleeding profusely. So fetching medical kit we proceeded… Continue reading Accidents
Wasn’t that loud? I mean all that noise because a leaf dropped, a chicken sneezed or Ronnie Rooster did a tiny doodle-doo. The funniest thing is, if you replay this to the Guineas, they get louder….if that’s possible. They jump like jump jets , a vertical take off but with a very bumpy, ungainly landing.… Continue reading Ear drums
Sake and Tony. Devoted pair. They love their quiet moments together.
The French drink coffee but these die-hard Brits still drink tea, Yorkshire Tea with two sugars. Builders strong tea is a bit too tannin for us but a four minute brew and a dash of semi-skimmed milk is perfect.We manage to buy a few British brands here in France via a local couple who run… Continue reading Tea for two
A few weeks ago a visit to our local brocante found us hauling another van load of furniture back to the farmhouse. Now much of the land has been tamed and the ground cleared of fallen branches and sadly household rubbish, we have the foundations of a garden, orchard and meadow. This means the farmhouse… Continue reading Restoration chairs
Every year the feathered gang have a molt but sometimes its harsher. The damaged and worn previous year feathers are renewed and ready for winter. Sometimes the molt is so harsh, as is the case often with chickens, the regrowth resources so much calcium, any lacking it their diet is taken up from their bones,… Continue reading Feather memories
Well I painted more of the new chicken coop today and it seems most of myself too! Had this comfy work T-shirt for years but hey, I can now have a colourful graffiti one for another few more.
Yesterday we had our first meal at the farmhouse with friends who have lived in France for almost twenty years. They made the escape and have had a wonderful life here. We are novices compared but it’s wonderful being able to ditch debt and own your dreams. Simplicity is a word I love. That word… Continue reading Simple
A year ago we acquired a lonely Cou-nou cockerel. One of three wandering henless around our barn, bachelor cool and social, Mr Chicken made a beeline for our coop every day to trill at the girls and strut his stuff. The other two loitered by our garden waiting for treats or casually entering our kitchen… Continue reading There’s a Cou-nou in the compost
We have a small cottage next to our farmhouse, a little two roomed building that I have decided will be the perfect writing and photography den. Sometimes you need your private quiet space. I know my husband would agree. There are times we spend too long in each other’s company, working on the buildings all… Continue reading Studio scheme
I still feel exhilarated every time I wake here in France. In fact I have to pinch myself sometimes. The morning light is amazing and filters softly through our trees creating long shadows across the lawns. The air is slightly damp as we live on top of a plateau that drops away South to the… Continue reading Views to wake up to
Mr Chicken is sure this is a great nest for eggs. Doobie likes Mr Chicken, so it’s got to be a good spot. Ah chicken flirtations are so eggciting!
There once was a little red tomato Inside sat a little mealy worm When the sun shone, mealy worm felt happy Mealy worm would wiggle and squirm. Then came along a busy little chicken She would cluck, cluck, cluck all day She liked to peck at seeds and flowers And snooze in her bale of… Continue reading Chicken and mealy worm
One of my little pintades (Ginnea Fowl) has a cold. It prompted a quick sketch and an idea for a character in my future book. But more so, this sudden change of weather had arrived a little quick, finishing the creche pen to avoid drafts was getting me in a fluster. The new birds had… Continue reading Pintade problems
When I came to France I had visions of relaxing on a terrace, Pimms in hand and a good book to loose myself in for a few hours. Ok there would be renovations to do and a new business to set up after my retirement from tax this year. But somehow life presents unusual twists… Continue reading New career move
Just over six months ago we finally got two Jack Russell’s, my favorite dogs. Since the day I visited a friend, whose mother was asigned to baby sit me at 18 years old, after a jaw reconstruction operation, to make sure I didn’t joke on my liquid lunch….I fell in love with these naughty, feisty… Continue reading Bella
Napoleon and the girls just chillin. Trouble is it’s also Heff and Penquins patch. They won’t be happy!
Vases. In my case as seductive as shoes, as mint chocolate thins, as the very mention of “fancy going to Chambon resourcerie”? https://m.facebook.com/Ressourcerie.La.Dynamo/ I inherited a lot of hand painted vases from my mother who collected them in abundance. By the time she passed on, her house was a crowded display of nick-nacks and charity… Continue reading Brocantes and vases
Today I framed a picture. This post developed into something more than that somehow. On rainy days work at the farmhouse comes to a stop. The fields get slippery and knee deep in mud after a history of being cow pastures, and work on the coop building is dangerous. It’s a big build and with… Continue reading Picture this
After a very heady youth in the 1980’s spent in the City of London between working as a banker and sliding at most lunchtimes into the local pub, by the time I was in my late twenties I had somehow obtained a complete necessity to avoid alcohol in any form. Had I pickled my liver?… Continue reading We have a cellar
It’s Friday. Exhausted from a lot of physical effort working on furniture, the chicken coop and garden. Time to do what the gang do so well….take a break. Have a great weekend everyone. You deserve it.
Today one of my oldest friends, work colleague and business partner put up a post on Facebook. I do not always share these challenges as I know Facebook uses the data for its Big Brother dysopian world ambitions. All this information has been public over the years so today I am happy to share for… Continue reading Little things we do or are
Sadly since I posted these photos of my magnificent seven, Jasper has passed. A traumatic accident occurred just a few days ago. Ever curious and ever friendly, Jasper had climbed in under our pickup. Driving home from our local provincial town, about 5 miles from home we saw a cat on the side of the… Continue reading Cats everywhere
New mats in Amelie. Made in Italy. Thats good. I am avoiding ‘Made in China’. Have been trying to avoid that for years, as I feel its tiresome that Europe has sucumbed after being pioneers of the Indiustrial Age, to have got so embedded in that country, its a disgrace. Now people, supposedly in the… Continue reading Thoughts in a 2CV
Going through boxes again, I found my favorite tin. My Dad used to keep this on his work bench in the garage, for “found things” that might be handy one day. From aged two, I used to sit up on the bench and learnt how to mix cement in my own little wood tray he… Continue reading Tin box
On one of our evening dog and cat strolls. We have two Jack Russell’s and seven cats. All tag along and it’s some lovely bonding time for everyone. When the world us in such a mess there is something very special when animals trust you with their company and time.
Still get eggcited about our fresh eggs. I mean, look at those whites! And both of us have to take pictures too. These are a mix of Rhode Island eggs and a little grey Limousine egg at top. The latters eggs are smaller, like a large quail egg and white. The Rhodies eggs range from… Continue reading Photo fresh eggs
Sometimes I indulge in a piece of cheese mid afternoon. Sometimes brie, sometimes cheddar, sometimes whatever my tastebuds feel the need to be consoled with…salty, acidic or smokey. A few years back I did a quick European tour and explored cheeses. I used to work for HT Webb, a cheese importer back in UK, Kent… Continue reading Sunday Cheese Tour
I love to have Brocante finds and personal objects I love on my desk. I worked from home since 2001 and making a home office that felt comfortable and workable was important. We recently completed my accounts office and a studio above at the factory. Both have desks. One is a nod at my love… Continue reading Eau de Nil
A bit late but the garlic started showing signs of shooting and we hadn’t really planned to plant much this year given the building projects taking up so much time. But the awful virus arrived and we realized what bad timing. We had seeds but hadn’t really prepped the beds. A long slog in the… Continue reading Garlic
My first home was in Chatham, Kent, on a steep chalk hill with views to the historic dockyard and the downs that follow the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury where the famous Thomas Becket was martyred during the rein of Henry II. I loved my little home and after moving in with my long term bachelor… Continue reading Le Sapin de Noel
When you see your naughty Jack Russell Bella with her best little black cat friend Tokyo head to head burrowing in the nettles, oblivious of the stingers, something is being either brave or stupid. In this instance a poor lizard was being hooked out and tossed about. By the time we noticed, the poor thing… Continue reading Lounge lizard
Facebook prompted a celebration of marriage this week and I wanted to share. * In this honestly shameful and tragic time of Coronavirus, you really feel how precious your life and relationships are. We are honestly scared about this virus and angry about the loss of many innocent and hardworking people. The daily news of… Continue reading Marriage in the time of isolation
A misty morning should mean a mellow day ahead? Hardly. Our mellow is unloading two new cast iron stoves, bagging up our flurry of leaves for composting and making a new chicken ladder. The silly cou nous cant jump. These podgy naked neck chickens have no sense of balance and at bedtime literally wail because… Continue reading Little daily musings
I didn’t really want to mention the Coronavirus but this lock- in period hasn’t really caused us any inconvenience apart from having to slightly rearrange projects to deal with a few material shortages. The French brico stores are open but we are limiting our visits and the small local ones are closed. Generally the French… Continue reading Sofa sogood
Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm
Now off to get lawn fertilizer, clover, grass and wild flower seeds. After mowing we raked the surface quite hard to clean out dead grass, moss, thatch and scarify the soil to help with reseeding and regrowth. Years of leaving piles of mowings had resulted in dead patches and nettle growth. The previous owners rarely… Continue reading Grass at last
A design original! After buying the farmhouse the kitchen tap lasted a month. It broke in two! This amazing replacement design of ours featured a simple rocking motion to turn on water. Couldn’t adjust temperature but when in France and renovating you get used to temporary things. Sadly last night it fell off. Replaced with… Continue reading Tap
Our Notaire is a very jolly guy and I think with a bit of wicked sense of humour. Unfortunately I have yet to master French and with our rather ambitious renovation projects of doing up four properties, my head is more full of the finer points of a 1-3 lime mix than whether I can… Continue reading Bottles and steel balls
Because I finally found my vocation…. Every day this chicken slave trudges through mud to do her egg collecting and cleaning duty. My bleary eyed morning routine at the farmhouse starts with a hot cup of English breakfast tea. Can’t abide that thin whispy Smokey Earl Grey stuff. No has to be robust enough to… Continue reading It’s a poultry thing
My recent visit to London, my old hometown, was a quick five day turnaround. Between my art course at Central St Martin’s and quick exhibition visits, specifically Mary Quant of mini skirt fame, I only managed two tree photos. I can’t explain why I like photographing trees. I just get a thrill from them, especially… Continue reading London visit
On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds