Sunday, June 28, 2009


Some five months after arriving in Brittany I am fascinated by the active farming happening all around me. Every spare section of land is used, first with lettuce, then peas, in other fields wheat is growing apace and now the corn is starting to grow quite tall. Interested to see if it grows as tall as it does in Africa. Something that really amazes me is that the fields are not fenced and no one would think of helping themselves. The cows are kept in meadows with knee high electric fences and they certainly do not wander off into the roads. As the season progresses the apples are growing on our trees, heavens knows how we will cope with all of them! The cherries are unfortunately just too high to harvest but the birds are loving them. There is also a nut tree in the garden which I am watching with interest, looks like a walnut tree.
During the past week we spotted a sign advertising a happening for SPA. Not sure what this was and looked it up to discover it is
La Société Protectrice des Animaux which was having an open day and flea market in a town just a short distance from Pontivy. We arrived about half an hour after the official opening time and I was sad to see the poor support for this event. Having attended flea markets around Brittany during the past few months and seen how popular they are, I would have expected this to be the same. The flea market was small but there was a lot on offer. Mervyn just had to help the animals and purchased a small tin of biscuits, lovely tin which I am anxious to acquire for my sewing supplies. I was persuaded to buy a laminated poem about abandoned animals, all in French, which the kind lady assured me would bring tears to my eyes! Will have to sit with Babelfish or the dictionary to translate it. We took the opportunity to visit the animals, quite a few bigger dogs all very well kept in immaculate cages with lots of space but I was so sad to see all these beautiful animals begging for some one to take them home.
Of course my undoing was the cats. Two large enclosures with the most beautiful kitties, all sizes and colours. There were tiers of shelves with kitty beds so each cat obviously can have a bed. But this did make me cry as some of the cats followed us along the wire trying to attract our attention. There needs to be an active campaign to enforce sterilisation of cats or more responsible breeding as they number of unwanted kitties is just unbelievable and that is why I have four in my home!
On the subject of animals, I am sad to see the number of animals killed on the roads. I should be used to this in Africa but I recently stopped to move a little white kitty who was left in the middle of the road.
Given that I have never seen hedgehogs, badgers or foxes in their natural environment, it is upsetting to see them dead at the side of the road.
Enough of the sad part of my journeys. On a lighter note, I have to share the problems of finding public toilets in France. There are no service stations along the highways something I took so much for granted in South Africa. Some weeks back I spotted a garage (would not be open on a Sunday) which I thought might just have a loo. Pulled off the highway to check and discovered that the parking area was full of police cars and men dotted around the grass verge, obviously there were no toilets. It looked so funny that I just kept on driving back on to the road, they must have thought I was some sort of pervert as I just had to laugh at all of them! There are public toilets in some of the towns which are usually quite filthy and most of them have squat pan style loos. Another interesting learning curve!
We stopped to take pictures of the forest on our journey today and discovered the shell of a beautiful old stone building, looks as if it could have been a church. Of course my artistic soul saw the potential of renovating this building into a very beautiful house! Oh to have the money to realise my dreams...................
We visited the most beautiful medieval town with streets of old buildings. There was a very beautiful house for sale which I would just love to own - wish I could win the lottery! This is a view of the town from the opposite hillside, beautiful old church and medieval city walls, my dream house was right in the centre of the town.

A unique feature of this town was that most of the shops had their own old fashioned signs, this is obviously from the bar, but there was a hairdresser, the usual boulangerie, butchery etc.
We have become very used to seeing the bright yellow 'La Poste' vans delivering our mail but this sign was quite unique, glad that transport methods have improved........................

A hanging basket of beautiful begonias outside one of the houses. and finally, the amazing things people have in their gardens....................

I am acquiring a vast number of photographs of my travels, don't know when I will ever have the time to work on them to share in my journal. Having grown up with a father who was camera mad and who took so many photographs (most of which have been lost over the years) I used to get very bored with looking at all those pictures. Now I wish I could retrace some of my childhood years as there were so many interesting places we visited. Mervyn's family on the other hand had boxes of old photographs, the main problem is that without any of the people still alive to identify them, they are actually quite worthless. It has been a lesson for me to keep a good record of photographs that I have taken in recent years, I am still a little slapdash about it but I do try.

Pay attention to your dreams - God's angels often speak directly to our hearts when we are asleep. ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

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