our best bits

Our last blog night of the year and we’ve rounded up some pics. 23 little trees 2015……


M: I’ve never seen anyone sooo excited about planting leeklets! I spose that is one of the best things about working with Hal this year; revisiting the wonder and enthusiasm I’d lost on the long solo slog…

Hal: The day I fell in love with leeks. The only issue I have with this photo is I look like I’ve been let out of an institution….


Hal: What was it Mandy bragged about? Oh yeah, how she was working in the greenhouse on a daily basis by 6am before it got too hot. This photo was taken the one day this summer I joined her at that unearthly hour.


M:ย Ok, not sure why Hal wanted this pic, unless she was tickled by the idea of me peeing in the pea patch? (I’m not btw – peeing that is!!)

Hal: Is she taking a pee? Has she gone delirious? No, that’s Mandy hiding in the mange tout waiting to say….. you have to pick the mange tout every day Hal. Or, you’ve missed loads, can’t you see them….?

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M: What a couple of drowned rats! still I wanted those pumpkins planted out, summer storm or no summer storm ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hal: Ah, the day the pumpkins were planted out. I showed I was made of the tough stuff that day pushing on in the pouring rain. For the love of pumpkins!

jammin' 2

Hal: The making jam film. The one that didn’t have the final scene because we well, didn’t know what we were doing, were knackered, had started drinking wine and quite frankly just didn’t care any more!

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M: ย Hillbilly central methinks…

Hal: Gathering the hay in an old unroadworthy motor. This was such good fun and this photo just makes me chuckle, what do we look like! Mandy looks like she’s ready to cook some fools….


M: My pride…How many kids do you know would grin like this at the thought of eating broad beans? ๐Ÿ˜€

Hal: Seeing our happy children prepare the broad beans barefoot on a sunny evening is enough to make my heart swell.


Hal: Summer parties. Wonderful balmy evenings, heaven.


M: Moments like these make a damned fine affirmation for our choice to quit city life…

Hal: Toby & Lilla escaping from the crowd and putting the world to rights.


M: …and baskets like these ๐Ÿ˜€

Hal: Oh yeah, we grew them!


M: Could do better on the selfie front ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hal: More party prep. This shot was taken at the end of a long days hard graft. Just enough time to get glamourised before the party started.



M: …and she blamed her carpal tunnel! Baahaha!!!!

Hal: I look at this at just remember feelings of hope, frustration and elation. Who’d have thought learning to milk could cause such emotions!


M: Oh the bliss…could use this ย memory as a perpetual antidepressant…

Hal: The inside scoop. What Mandy actually does in the greenhouse is snooze.


Hal: Cornichons….we won’t be going there again eh Mand?

M: Ahem…less said the better methinks…


Hal: Pepper problems, you can’t have it all.


Hal: Look at these beauties though. It’s all about the highs and lows this gardening lark.


M: Definitely a high point!

Hal: Enjoying the harvest.


M: Oh lor, I do love a duck…


M: …and she accepted!!!



Hal: Could it get any more unattractive? The sweat was running as we worked in the greenhouse on a summers day.


M: Jars of fresh cut flowers, jars and jars of joy ๐Ÿ˜€


M: Our beautiful Cornues d’Andaines – as featured on a horticulturel porn site!!!

Hal: Rude tomatoes!!!


M: I’ve been waiting a long time for my girls to ask me to teach them the guitar, and this summer the moment finally arrived – got everyone at it now, both families can now play ‘Leaving on a jet plane’…well, nearly ๐Ÿ˜‰


M: Aldo having a pause. Building a hot tub in August, well, it can get quite tiring…


Hal: A day trip to Caen and I think this is here to show that we can look half decent occassionally.


Hal: A days graft at the St Fraimbault fete, flower pounding with the kids. And here’s Mandy with her arse in the air – again!


Hal: There are worse places to work eh?

M: Looking astonishingly tidy actually…did we have visitors that day?


Hal: Looking good until the goat raid….who left the gate open?

M: No-one did own up…..


M: Suno the donkey got so used to visiting Lilla’s bedroom that the day the window was locked he forced his way in to join the party…another thing to fix, thanks boy!

Hal: Not everyone has a donkey call by their bedroom window!



M: Corn on the cob for us, leaves and silk for the goats…everyone’s a winner!!!

Hal: The wonder of children and beasts.


M: This years experiments…Loofah – we got two- not a frank success….

Hal: Good job we’re not in a hurry for those natural sponges eh dear?!


M: …but the oca is plentiful and delicious!!!

Hal: And when you see them in the supermarket for 6 euros a handful you can’t help but feel a bit smug.


Hal: Yes! The day in the rain was worth it.

M: Oh thank the stars we like a bit of roasted squash ๐Ÿ˜€


Hal: Some grown, some foraged. Either way, good grub!


Hal: Seed saving. As I carefully scattered them into the envelope I remember having a moment thinking how cool it was to plant a seed, watch the plant grow, eat it and then save the seeds for next year. The seedcycle!


Hal: How’s it go Mand? Too much work for not enough fruit…. The battle for the strawberries continues. We will beat the mice.

M: I will beat the little beggars, if I have to plant a bloody field full!


Hal: The grape jelly and a stern lesson in the importance of reading a recipe properly.

M: How much suger per litre of juice Hal?


Hal: Ah, a Normandie facial – apple infused!

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M: I scare myself sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hal: Bad day in the garden or a monster party?



Hal: It’s been an absolute blast and certainly a year to remember xxxx

M: I’ll second that me dear…now, what did you do with that bottle? ๐Ÿ˜€


Wishing you all a happy and healthful 2016, ย may your seeds sprout and your plates be piled!





5 thoughts on “our best bits

  1. A truly fab photo story of what looked to be a wondeful year….my teensy weensy attenpts at home growing veggies is poor in comparison…but I pride myself as living in possibly the only house on the French Riviera where we do our own gardening, have a compost bin, recycle bottles and plastics and paper, have a wood burning fire (that we actuallly use), AND grow our own veggies. Seeing the fruits of your very hard labouring has truly inspired me – next year I am going to be more ambitious, ๐Ÿ™‚ May 2016 by bountiful and beautiful xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your message. You’re absolutely right, it was a wonderful year and one I will always treasure. Sounds like are doing a fine job down there on the French Riviera – what a wonderful spot. Thanks for reading our blog. xxx


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