Friday, 5 June 2020

A Two Alcohol Apero and Some Lace


These days aperitifs involve not just wine, but carefully thought out nibbles, and hand sanitizer. 

Wine and hand sanitizer.
Post Covid19 lockdown aperitif.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I went to my friend Nathalie's for apéro soon after lockdown eased. It was just her and me, joined later by her partner. I arrived at 7pm and didn't leave until 11.30pm. Neither of us had done anything social for the whole of lockdown, so with the long warm summer evening, it was too tempting and we sat there for hours nattering, spaced well apart, at either end of her outdoor table.

Nibbles logistics is tricky. You need to have stuff that only one person touches. We solved it by having individual bowls and tipping or spooning small serves of anything we wanted into our personal bowls.

Nathalie was taking the health precautions super seriously. She is the only person I know who bought surgical masks before lockdown had even started. Apparently the pharmacy assistant thought she was mad.

 The top of a Tourangeau bonnet, hand embroidered by Nathalie's grandmother.
Top of a homemade hand embroidered Tourangeau bonnet.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Photo courtesy of Nathalie Perrault.

She had spent the lockdown much more productively than me, by clearing out her attic. Naturally some forgotten family treasures emerged, including various pieces of needlework made by her grandmother.

************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Chaumussay Orchids in Late May


The early species like Early Spiders, Early Purples, Monkeys and Ladies have finished. Now it's the turn of Fragrants, Lizards, Helleborines, Bees and Pyramidals. The Twayblades power on through from beginning to end.

Chaumussay, just down river from Preuilly, is a known orchid hotspot, so the other day London Bruno and I went out to check on them and see how the season is developing.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis (Fr. Orchis pyramidal), left unmowed in this orchard (as were the Lizard Orchids, which I forgot to photograph).
Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis in an orchard.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Red Helleborine Cephalanthera rubra (Fr. Céphalanthère rouge).
Red Helleborine Cephalanthera rubra.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Short-spurred Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia odoratissima (Fr. Gymnadenie odorante).
Short-spurred Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia odoratissima.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Common Twayblade Neottia ovata (Fr. Grande Listère).
Twayblade Neottia ovata.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera (Fr. Ophrys abeille), taken in the garden of my friend Marc, where we called in for an aperitif of sparkling Vouvray and his homemade lemon tarts (he's a retired chef).
Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Me photographing a fragrant orchid, taken by Bruno.
Photographing wild orchids.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Photograph courtesy of Bruno Bernard-Brault.


************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Chateau de la Louere


The original parts of the Chateau de la Louère near Marcé sur Esves date from the 15th century, and belonged to the Chateau of Bagneux. Only the towers remain, the rest, including the chapel, having been replaced by a modern building.

Chateau de la Louere.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Apparently the public archives in Tours have an extensive collection of documents about the chateau, containing details of the various occupants from the 17th to the 19th centuries. These include the Comtes de la Louère, the Comtes de Charritte and Chastenet de Puységur. The documents are a collection of letters which accompanied payments, together with bills, inventories and wills. Altogether they provide a picture of life in the chateau over this period. Most of the bills addressed to the Marquis Charles de Charritte, who was a naval officer, concern linen, underwear, tailoring and saddlery. There is an inventory of his house in Tours at the time of his marriage to Mademoiselle de la Louère in 1810. His father (I think...I lost track of the family relationships) was one of the French heros of the American War of Independence.

The chateau is now holiday accommodation, with capacity for 18 guests.


************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

First Post Lockdown Walking Club Outing


Our walking club, which is affiliated to the national federation of walkers (so we are licenced walkers with full insurance cover and so forth) has been given permission to start up again with our weekly Thursday afternoon walk. The provisos are that we have to maintain our distance, and there must be no more than ten people in the group. Anyone who is vulnerable is advised not to attend. Our first outing was Thursday 28 May, with the temperature in the mid to high 20s, and a breeze. Here are some pictures from that walk.

 Longère style home in Le Grand Pressigny.
Longere style home.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris (Fr. Silène enflé).
Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Old car being used as a bird scarer.
Old car being used as a bird scarer.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Leaving an old banger parked in the middle of a newly seeded field is becoming a bit of a thing. This field had a triple line of defence, with a gas gun that went off and scared the life out of us walkers because it was so close; then there are the flapping bits of plastic on poles; plus the car. Often when you see cars placed like this one or more door will be open, presumably for added scariness. None of these techniques work with anything like the effectiveness that the farmers would like. These young sunflowers will be vulnerable until they get half a dozen leaves and are no longer so tender and juicy.

Small dam (known as an étang). It was sooooooo tempting looking on a hot day.
Small dam (étang).  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Taking a break in the shade.
Walkers resting in the shade.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Slow Worm Anguis fragilis (Fr. Orvet fragile).
Slow worm Anguis fragilis.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I nearly stepped on this legless lizard which was not living up to its English name, and traversing the trail with some speed. 

Scrumping sour cherries.
Scrumping sour cherries on a walk in the countryside.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Negotiating a fallen log on the trail.
Walkers negotiating a fallen log on the trail.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Walking along a very welcome shady track.
Walkers on a shaded trail.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Monday, 1 June 2020

Kohlrabi, Carrot and Beetroot Salad


Prepared and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

As regular readers will know, I love root vegetables cooked or raw, and this is a great recipe for using them (including kohlrabi, which often bemuses modern cooks).

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Kohlrabi.

Ingredients
A kohlrabi
A beetroot
A carrot
A 125 ml pot of plain yoghurt
Dill weed (ideally fresh, but dried works fine too)
A clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground mixed peppercorns, to taste
Mixed salad seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed, sesame)

Method
  1. Wash, peel and julienne the root vegetables and mix in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together the yoghurt, dill, garlic, vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the veggies and the dressing.
  4. Serves 4 or 5, sprinkled with seeds, as an accompaniment to grilled trout, chicken or steak, and new potatoes. 
Prepared and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Shredded kohlrabi.

The veggies came from my local organic market garden, the Jardins Vergers de la Petite Rabaudière (at the market in Preuilly on Thursday mornings or selling from the farm on Tuesday evenings) and the yoghurt from a local dairy farm who delivers to my door.

Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Spring carrots.

************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Sunday, 31 May 2020

A Boat on the Harbour


Boat on Sydney Harbour. Australia. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

More or less everyone agrees that the best thing about Sydney is the Harbour. This photo was taken from a ferry in November 2002.



************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos.