Thursday 27 January 2011

Shameless plugs

It seems a lot of people are trying to get around the spam protection and use this blog to promote their own advertising sites. If I spot you I will delete you... and if I don't delete you and you're a phony then don't think you've put one over on me, you're just too pathetic for me to bother with.

Now, to business! Living the French dream is something that catches the imagination of a lot of people. To fuel your fantasies further here are a couple of properties being sold by a friend. The picture above shows a house near Vire in Calvados, a couple of hours drive from the ferries. There are 5 buildings: a habitable cottage (pictured), cottage 2 to renovate, cottage 3, a charming but dilapidated old colombage house and a hangar. All located around a central green. Total area of 2.4 hectares (6 acres) land with an apple orchard, pear, cherry and walnut trees. 3 wells, spring, pond and a veg garden. 130,000€

Or, if that doesn't rock your boat how about;

This one is further south. The house is a former stone cottage and barn in the Brenne national park. The roof and external walls have been repaired or renewed. There’s an acre of land with a pond. It’s on top of a hill, and has magnificent views down a wooded valley.

The cottage has been opened out into a 35m2 big farmhouse kitchen, with a big old fireplace. Above the kitchen is a 17.5m2 mezzanine floor.

The barn contains a 10.5m2 bathroom, a 28m2 (unfinished) salon and two bedrooms (10.5m2 and 28m2). There’s another 42m2 of the barn that’s currently used as a full-height workshop, but which could easily be converted to two floors of bedrooms/living rooms. If you click on the picture it will take you to more pictures. This one is a little more expensive (but has better weather) at 145,000€

Buying property in France is relatively easy. Fees are paid by the purchaser and the transaction is usually handled by a single Notaire who acts for both parties.

If either of these properties interest you and you're seriously considering a purchase then please contact delanghe.steve[replace with at sign] who will tell you everything you need to know.

Monday 24 January 2011

My Dreams are Seedy

It might look like I never write blog entries any more, but I do. It's just getting them from my head to web always seems like such hard work.

Anyway, at the moment my thought are often composed of fantasies about the growing season ahead and the seeds I plan to use to create it. My chosen main seed supplier this year is Chiltern Seeds. They are a very well established company and I have used their catalogues as learning material for more years than I can remember, whether I care to or not. This year they happen to have a number of my favourite reliable varieties in their vegetable section and this will form a backbone of an order which will undoubtedly grow in oddness and magnificence when I actually come to write it. Having finally lost our old cardoons to the winter I will be buying more seeds of them, along with burdock and sea kale.

Of course, I've also started gathering seeds in other ways. The Heritage seed library selection arrived a couple of days ago and I'm thrilled to have been lucky enough to receive some more Irish Preans. We really enjoyed the handful of pods we managed to harvest last year before the deer got them so this year I will be growing them in the protected back garden patch with due diligence.

The local garden centre was having a half price sale of seeds as well, so I have stocked up with stuff from Suttons and T&M via that route. Nothing exotic of course, but chard, onions, more asparagus and artichoke seeds to extend our beds of those and wild flower seeds.

As usual I will spend more money and end up with far more seed than I need, but it's such fun. Are you planning any special growing treats for yourself this summer?

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Rather good

It's a funny thing, depression. I've been fretting and miserable because all logic indicated that this season's oca was a write off. Now I've had a chance to actually look at it, it's really not too bad at all. Plenty for replanting has survived and even sufficient to have some to eat, which is what it's all about after all.

Not a long entry today, I'm in mid journey and the net book is hopeless for image manipulations or long typing exercises but I had to put up something about this happier state as soon as possible. The picture shows all four colours of oca; even some of the 'rose pink' that I was sent from another enthusiast last year have come through, some Chinese artichokes, again a crop I had despaired of and one tuber from the Hopniss. There are more on the plant but I've just taken one for security which can be used to increase stocks if all goes well.

I've also managed to plant some garlic at last and have hopes my poor old car will make the journey back to Newport Pagnell successfully. What a relief...