A short break

River at Maintenon

After a ten-day holiday in France, during which we had no internet to speak of, I am writing today to announce another short break. For the next few weeks I am writing up my portfolio to get accreditation as a family mediator and am putting an embargo on blogging until I have broken the back of that writing task.

So I leave you with a couple of the few photos I took on our holiday, from the chateau that is famous for having belonged to Madame de Maintenon, mistress of Louis XIV. I struggle to love French formal gardens, but this is a nice one, not too huge, with lots of water and a beautiful colour scheme in the planting of the beds (we saw even more beautiful plantings in the town of Chartres on another day). It was a nice day out.

The highlight of my visit however – apart from the general niceness of spending time with friends and catching up with family – was on a walk, when we came suddenly close to some deer hiding in a field of oil-seed rape. They turned to check us out, then ran off into the nearby woods, leaping high over the yellow rape so they looked like the model for those roadside signs (seen often in France) telling you there will be leaping deer for the next few miles. I have been as close to very tame deer at Dunham Massey in Cheshire, but these were not tame and they were wonderful.

Almost as wonderful was the cheese shop in the town of Rambouillet, a few miles from where we were staying.

If you are a regular reader you will have noticed that I have been posting less often in the past few months than I did last year. Over time the blog has been many things: a diary to keep friends in touch with our life in the new place; an introduction to rural Lincolnshire for those who don’t know it; a garden, food and cooking journal and a place to muse on connection to place and to people. In recent weeks I have been preoccupied with family issues, which I don’t write about here. And I have been turning over in my mind the question of what the blog is for and where it is going. No answers as yet, but watch this space (though it will just be space for a few weeks!).

p.s. And if you haven’t already visited the Facebook page, please do go and ‘like’ it. There are a few more photos there than appear on the blog posts, if you like that sort of thing.

p.p.s. I have this week been eating and loving the rose and rhubarb jam I wrote about in this post last year. Lovely stuff!

p.p.p.s. So exciting, the beginning of the long, light evenings. We ate out tonight, an unusual treat that was our Christmas present, and driving back after ten saw the last light in the sky – magical.

I shall return. Until then, go well.

Chateau at Maintenon

Poor Doris

Doris

Back in Manchester one of my many grumbles was about having to get in the car to walk the dogs. In the nearby local park our badly-behaved lurchers mostly stayed on the lead, so as not to have them run and bark at other dogs, raid rubbish bins, chase cats, kill pigeons and so on.

The field at the end of our road here in Heckington seemed ideal: space for Doris to run around while elderly, three-legged Bob pottered more slowly. But since the dog field became the sheep field, poor Doris is having all her walks on the lead.

Though no spring chicken herself, she has had a whole new lease of life on arriving in the country. The scents of foxes, muntjac deer and other wildlife are obviously exciting beyond anything back in Chorlton. Five times now, in different places, she has sprinted off over several fields and stayed away for ages (see Spot the Dog and No longer the dog field). Too much anxiety, not knowing where she is, if she’s run onto a road or into a farm, so until the sheep field is free again, she’s on the lead.

At least here we have a garden for her to run around in. But still, poor Doris; it’s a dog’s life!