Monday, 31 October 2011

Angles sur l'Anglin

Our last outing in this area was to the nearby town of Angles sur l'Anglin. The weather wasn't great - it was overcast and a bit on the drizzly side, but it wasn't far and it was certainly well worth the visit, it was very picturesque. When we were on the way back to the car we thought we'd go and see the interpretative centre for the Roc aux Sorciers - a 14,000 year old carved stone frieze. With our usual luck it was closed, and there was no indication of whether it was closed for the day or merely closed for lunch. There was a very jolly group of French tourists who were hoping we knew more than they did - they were enjoying an impromptu picnic on the steps of the centre, complete with their boxes of wine.

We also enjoyed a short walk out of town down a lane that led to a reservoir - lots of little birds in the hedgerows, and lots of walnuts on the ground. I still have a bowlful on the kitchen table.

The rain got much heavier, so that we'd decided that it was unlikely that we could get the tent down and move to our next location in time to set it up before dark. But just as it got to the point where it wouldn't be worth moving on, the skies cleared and the sun shone enough to get the tent dry. So it was a very quick and unmethodical packing, just a case of getting everything into the car as fast as possible, and on from the Poitou-Charentes area to the Charente-Maritime.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

La Brenne

After we had lunch in LeBlanc we found a short trail to walk along one of the many lakes in the area.
In the first  photo you can see some tall aerials. There were a lot of signs right beside them - no parking, no photography, no stopping...I think that perhaps it was a Very Low Frequency transmitting station for the French naval submarines, as there is one in the locality. We couldn't work out what the object floating in the water was - there were two of them just beside each other, and we came across more in another lake.
We saw the usual herons, egrets and mallards, but I think this was the only place we saw cormorants, and we also saw some crested grebe.

Yet another hunting themed weather vane

Just across from where we parked was this little building. It must have been a communal oven way back in the days when not everybody had one in the house (four means oven in French). The door was ajar, so we took a look inside.

After a lot of wasted time trying to find the interpretative centre despite the road closures and detours we did finally find it - only to discover that most of it was closed and only the shop area was open. C'est la vie...

One morning I was opening the cool box, and just noticed this grasshopper in time not to catch it as I swung the lid back.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Last of the Sculptures...

This one was called The Bigger Picture. From a distance it didn't look all that interesting; we'd passed it in the distance, and it just looked like a tall chicken-wire cone with bits and pieces all over it. I'm so glad that we ended up passing much closer because we went into the Palm House through the orchid rooms and ended up coming out the front entrance. If C's feet weren't starting to give out I could have spent a lot longer admiring all the little details.

Flying frogs - I think it's funny that they were for sale individually,  they look just right like this.

And this fun one was in the botanical family beds, and was title Family Bed Labelling. It reminds me of drawings from when we did plant biology in school.

Next post should be back to France - one outing left in the LaRoche Posay area.
Election today today - I don't know which particular vote caused such a turnout, but I've certainly never seen it so busy, and the officials at the desk where we picked up our ballots said the same. For us we had a bye-election as well as the presidential election and the referenda.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

More of the Sculptures

His Master's Voice - for an idea of scale, the figure wasn't more than 6 to 8 inches high.

I liked this one  - it was called Green Shoots as far as I remember.

Master and Muse

 These ceramic seed-heads were another one I wouldn't mind having in the garden - I've always loved the shape of poppy heads. I wasn't quite sure about the one with a face in it, though.

It's miserable wet and windy weather here with a severe weather warning in place. It rained all the way down to my brother's yesterday, but luckily it stayed dry for most of the drive home; I hate night drives in the rain, they make me a very bad passenger.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Back to France

I still have a few more sculpture photos, but I'm in the mood to remember France today.
One of our outings from LaRoche Posay was to the Brennes Regional Park. It's mostly small lakes and woods, with the focus on wildlife. C was a bit disappointed in it but I think he was tired that day. We started out by finding one of the centres that had a hide and a small bookshop. We got lucky in that we happened to visit the hide on the one morning a week when there is a naturalist there to help identify the birds, and with a much more powerful scope than our little one. We saw a couple of egrets and herons, a flash of kingfisher, and a bunch of lapwing/greenshank/redshank. After that we tried to find the interpretative centre, but a couple of roads were closed off with diversions, so we found ourselves in the nearest large town, LeBlanc, for lunch.

LeBlanc is on the Creuse, the same river as our campsite.
A butcher's

A fishmonger's

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Botanic Gardens part 2

I've been under the weather with a bad head-cold the last few days. I'm glad it's on its way out, as we're meant to be going to visit my brother and his family on Saturday, but it means I've been in bed in the evenings...
Some more sculptures from the Botanic Gardens exhibition, which finishes up tomorrow.

These lilies were in the herbaceous border. I really liked them, C wasn't so sure.

This tent, wigwam, teepee, whatever (called Pine Shadow) was made entirely out of pine needles gathered in the garden and stitched onto ribbon.

Some clever titling here - it was called Answering the Call of Nature, and the building in the background is the old toilet block. I don't know if it's still open since they built the new centre at the entrance. The telephone box was probably about 5 foot high, as it was easy to see the phone sitting on top of it, although from the distance I took the first shot at I couldn't work out what it was.

This one was on the wall around the Alpine House. I really liked it, but I think I might have preferred it set into the ground and reflecting the sky.

Concrete eggs in a large nest - the nest was easily about 3 feet across or more. Fun!! When C said Dinosaur Eggs I thought he was reading the title of the piece, but actually it was just called Nest.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Botanic Gardens part 1

I didn't take a lot of flower photos this time - it was a very overcast day and they weren't looking at their best.
But the morning glories in the Palm House were absolutely beautiful!! They're slightly soft focus as my lens had steamed up so much and I didn't have lens wipes with me.

This was possibly my favourite sculpture. I can't find the plan of where they were all sited in the gardens, so I can't check the title in my catalogue just now.  I could have spent ages looking at them from different angles and seeing how the reflections changed.