Tuesday 25 June 2013

Bit of a floral theme

Yesterday the weather started to improve a bit. It still isn't really warm but at least the sun is, intermittently, showing its face and the temperature is grudgingly climbing to just under 20C. This is of course well below what it should be at this time of year.

I went out to see how our lizard orchids are doing and they are now in full flower. Ours are always tricky to photograph as they lurk in shady green places and as they're mostly pale-ish green themselves there isn't a lot of contrast with their backdrop. Close up shots do work however as they show the splashes of cerise spots and dusky pink of the 'ribbons'.
Not really all pale green
Lizard orchid flower spike

The roses we have inherited have all done extremely well this year. The red slightly scented one by the front door especially. In fact, so much so that we were able to cut a large bouquet for the living room while still leaving plenty on the bush. It isn't a repeat flowering type although in the past we have had the odd second bloom around August.
Red roses from the garden
A couple of years ago a friend from Massachusetts sent us a packet of wildflower seed. Niall sowed them in a patch on the south side of the house and each year we get a slightly different collection of flowers coming up. So far this year we've had California poppies, one of my absolute favourite flowers, as well as lupins and Sweet William. It will be interesting to see what else pops up as the summer continues.

California poppy
Sweet William

Thursday 20 June 2013

Piano player in Poitiers

Last of our posts informally centred around Poitiers' Hotel de Ville. You can read about the other two here and here.

They really are busy regenerating this area and this chap is putting that to good use busking on the large revamped square in front of the Hotel de Ville. 
Pink piano on wheels
He busks, not on your usual more portable instrument such as a guitar, but on a shocking pink, somewhat battered piano, cleverly mounted on a dolly. He must keep it somehwere near the square overnight and then during the day he trundles it out to entertain. Perhaps one of the cafés allows him to store it overnight.

When we took these photos it was towards the end of the day and he was obviously taking a break and more focused on a good chat than entertaining ....

Catching up on the gossip

Saturday 15 June 2013

A potter around the grass

Been for a wander round our long grass to see how our orchids are doing. Apart from the patch of Early Purples Niall unexpectedly found this April we have always had the odd Lizard and one sole Bee orchid.

'Our' Bee orchid
This year behind the old swing frame where we hang the hammock chair I've just counted 14 Lizard flower spikes; last year there were about 3. No doubt in amidst the long grass there are other juvenile rosettes which won't flower this year. Lizard orchids are supposed to emit a pungent smell -- ours obviously failed that class on how to be a good orchid as they don't. They're in shady places; we also have 2 'old faithfuls' under our Linden tree and all are just on the point of flowering. Give it a day or two and the first ribbons will appear. I like them, but they are a 'messy' flower.
Pretty but small: compare it to the canes
Our Bee orchid, after being indadvertently chopped down by the mower last year, has come back better and stronger. In our defence it is very small and though we knew its location we just didn't see it quickly enough when trundling along on the mower. This year's flower spike looks to have at least 4 if not 5 flowers and the first is open! It is still our only example and I do wish we had more as I think it is one of the prettiest orchids you can find around here. You can see how small it is when compared to the stakes we set round it this spring to protect it.

Taking photos with crutches is a bit of a challenge, but just being able to potter about and photograph what catches my eye is great fun. Snapped this butterfly which obligingly sat still at my feet while I sorted crutches and camera. Then I used Susan & Simon's excellent information blog: Loire Valley Nature to find out what its name was.
Black veined white [Le Gazé in French] butterfly

Thursday 13 June 2013

Funky Seats

During the summer months you find these 'chairs' on the square in front of Poitiers' Hotel de Ville.

They re-appeared at Easter and are perfect for hanging around on. People move them about to create groups or pull them away to sit/ lounge by themselves.

Over by the Cathedral the seating is more traditional -- classic stone benches; but they come with the added bonus of the friendly Cathedral cat, who looks more than a little like a heftier version of Tinka :-)


Hip news: Antoinette is home from the hospital and everything is going extremely well. She's mobile - 1 crutch inside, 2 crutches outside and looking forward to some sunny weather so she can do her walking exercise outside!

Saturday 8 June 2013

Bright Green Crutches

On Wednesday I had my op and all has gone extremely well. The consultant is pleased as is the physio, who, after walking me up and down the corridor yesterday, has now told me it is up to me to decide how much exercise I feel I can take with my bright green crutches.

Courtyard garden at the hospital
So I have gone for short walks along the corridor outside my room and am pleased to be independent again--after a fashion--sorting myself out, sitting in a comfy chair, surfing the net, snoozing on the bed or watching TV. The French Open semi-final between Djokovic and Nadal at Roland Garros yesterday was gripping!
Terrace in the garden
The nursing staff are lovely and very kind. Amazingly the food is recognisable and reasonably edible :-) The signs are good that I'll be discharged at the start of next week.
Speedy green crutches
Thank you to everyone who has been sending me good wishes. Each and every one has been greatly appreciated.

Off for my next walkies... who knows I might even eventually make to the garden!