Friday, 31 May 2019

Preuilly Pool Opens Tomorrow


All going well with the annual maintenance, the swimming pool in Preuilly sur Claise should open tomorrow at 10:30 am. I'll be there.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

It will be open on the weekends in June, then every day except Thursdays in July and August.

Tuesday morning when I popped down there to check all was well, the pool was full of water and the local plumbers were in checking the big community pellet burner (Fr. chaudière) which heats it.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

They were both men I knew and who have worked on our house. Pascal has appeared on the blog a number of times and remembers well supporting our newly installed Italian custom made sink with a Traction Avant jack. The other guy, whose name I can't remember, is the one who did the gas connection for Big Berta.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

I mentioned I had a photo of Pascal sitting on the floor doing  some braising, and his colleague promptly whipped out his phone and said 'Yes but do you have a photo of him looking like that?!' , showing me an image of Pascal wearing a house coat and bonnet and striking an attitude. When I enquired why Pascal had been dressed like that he was slightly sheepish and informed me that it was just a bit of workplace silliness...



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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, 30 May 2019

Some Views of Ferriere Larcon


Our 16 May walking club outing began and ended in the pretty village of Ferrière-Larçon so I have split my blog posts into two sections. This one shows the village itself.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A view over Ferrière-Larçon.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Polly the Airedale trots along beside an impressive array of bearded irises against a limestone wall. This track is a popular walk along the river that we've done a number of times, accessed by going around behind the church.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Comfrey Symphytum officinale (Fr. Consoude officinale), which was growing in a large colony along the river, with both purple and white flowered plants. There was a bit of teasing Roger, who recently came off his bike and broke his arm. Officinale means the plant has a medicinal use, and in this case it was an old treatment for broken bones.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Female Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo (Fr. Caloptéryx vierge).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Polly the Airedale meets a cousin.

Photograph Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A troglodytic cottage.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A view of the church, from the mill pond.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A view across the valley.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
An old troglodyte terrace.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These steps lead to a doorway with a Templar symbol carved into the lintel.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Weary walkers take advantage of this nice long stone bench near the church at the end of the walk.

Other posts we have written about Ferrière-Larçon:

Fontaine St Mandé

Peering into Dark Corners

La Poste, Ferrière-Larçon

The First Marché Noël for the Year

Visiting the Valerian

Opium Poppies


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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, 29 May 2019

May 2019 Claise Connexion


Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The May Claise Connexion gathering was held at Frances and Anthony's lovely home near Bossay sur Claise. The range of people was terrific, with a little group of Californians who have homes in the area getting to know one another, and representatives of some of the old local families. The range of food and drink they brought was terrific too, with Frances doing a batch of her special stuffed vine leaves and Nathalie bringing a chestnut cake, to highlight just a couple (there was also some casse muséau, a tomato quiche, salmon and cream cheese toasts, a chocolate tart, feta and mint rolls, olives, carrot sticks, banana cake, and a savoury olive, feta and tomato cake) -- all delicious. Bruno and Martin brought a very interesting natural sparkling wine from an estate near Richelieu and I've made sure to note the name and will be visiting in due course. 

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

As well as a horde of about 40 guests, Frances and Anthony were playing host to half a dozen red squirrels cavorting about on the back lawn. They have very kindly offered their house to host again in the future, and I will definitely be taking them up on it. Everyone had a really good time, including the half dozen or so first timers, so hopefully they'll be back to join us later in the year.


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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, 28 May 2019

Small Ermines


Beginning in the spring, certain bushes here start being covered with what looks like rather thick spiders web and the bushes are denuded of all leaves. This is the work of several species of small ermine moth caterpillars. They live in colonies of dozens of little caterpillars on their host plants and spin the webs to protect themselves from predators. The one in the picture is on blackthorn Prunus spinosa, so I know it is the Orchard Ermine Yponomeuta padella, which attacks Prunus spp fruit trees (plums and cherries). Others are specific to apples (I have those in the orchard).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
You can see some of the caterpillars top right inside the web.

The ones that really gain people's attention though are those which attack Spindle Euonymus europaea. Spindle often self-seeds along hedges and every year there are dramatic photos on social media of entire hedges covered in caterpillar web.

The caterpillars' stripping of these bushes looks catastrophic, but in fact they don't kill their hosts. The bush looks tatty for a while, but normally goes on to grow more leaves, then flower and fruit in the normal way. The adult moths are small and narrow, white with black pin dots.


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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, 27 May 2019

Pickled Eggs


Cooked and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Pink, white and black pickled eggs.

Eggs are good lo-cal, high value (ie high protein) snacks. I saw a picture on Facebook recently of some very glamorous looking glossy black pickled eggs, so I decided to try them. I wasn't convinced I'd like them, but actually they are savoury with a pleasant vinegary tang, and I've become a bit of a fan. So, I decided to make them again, but this time get even more creative and we have black, pink and white.

Cooked and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Eggs in a saucepan with a centimetre of water, ready to steam. 
The pencil annotation refers to weight in grams and date laid.

Ingredients
18 hard boiled eggs, peeled (I steamed my eggs, as it makes them easier to peel)

Black pickling liquor
500 ml cheap balsalmic vinegar
250 ml water
1 tsp sugar
6 pickling onions, peeled
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp coarse salt
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp lapsang souchong tea leaves
¼ cup whey (the clear liquid that is drained from fresh cheese or settles to the top of buttermilk -- I used the liquid from lait ribot)

White pickling liquor (this is a double quantity because you will use it as the base for the pink as well)
Dill weed, fresh or dried
A pinch of garlic granules
750 ml of white or cider vinegar
250 ml water
1 tsp coarse salt
12 pickling onions, peeled
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp pickling spices (I used equal quantities of cumin seeds, szechuan peppercorns, crushed cardamon pods and yellow mustard, but if I'd had them to hand I would have included or substituted coriander seeds and pimento berries)

Pink pickling liquor
Half of the white pickling liquor above
Half a raw beetroot, julienne grated, plus a round slice

Method
  1. To make the black pickling liquor, heat the balsalmic vinegar, water, sugar, onions, garlic granules, salt, bay leaf and tea until boiling and everything dissolved, then set aside to cool.
  2. To make the white pickling liquor, heat the vinegar, water, garlic granules, salt, onions, bay leaf, sugar and spices until boiling, simmer for 5 minutes then set aside to cool.
  3. Take 3 glass preserving jars (750 ml to one litre capacity each) and place 6 eggs in each.
  4. Add the whey to the black pickling liquor.
  5. In one jar, add the onions from the black pickling liquor and pour over the liquor plus all the seasonings. 
  6. In the second jar, add some dill weed, half the onions and pour over half the liquor, plus half the seasonings.
  7. In the third jar, add the julienned beetroot, then half the onions from the white pickling liquor, topped with the slice of beetroot, then pour over the other half of the white pickling liquor and seasonings.
  8. Seal the jars and leave them at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate for a week before eating.
  9. Tip the jars to and fro once a day to ensure the eggs move around and colour evenly.
Cooked and photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The eggs came from friends who have their own hens, and from my laitière, who delivers dairy products and eggs from her farm.

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

Photographed Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A young rare breed Géline de Touraine hen, owned by friends Tim and Pauline, who supplied some of the eggs. They got this hen, and her sister, as part of an initiative by the local authority to get households composting. Food waste destined for composting can be made accessible to the hens, who will help to break it down.

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


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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, 26 May 2019

Blue-banded Bee


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

This active and distinctive bee is one of the blue-banded bees, probably Amegilla asserta, photographed in my parents garden. Typically, it is visiting lantana, one of its favourite flowers.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

There are fourteen species of blue-banded bee species in Australia (and seven in France) and they are highly regarded as efficient pollinators. A. asserta occurs all up and down the east of Australia, from the temperate south to the tropical north, but excluding the inland arid zone. It looks very like the most well known and striking looking of the blue-banded bees, A. cingulata, and is often mistaken for it. Where my parents live blue-banded bees will be active all year round.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


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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. 

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Alpine View


Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Typical Swiss alpine view.



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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. 

Friday, 24 May 2019

Not a Snake


On our 17 May walking club outing we encountered a bit of a treat, something not seen very often.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

In the middle of a dirt track along the side of the Eperon de Murat, enjoying a bit of sun and snacking on ants was a large adult Slow-worm Anguis fragilis (Fr. Orvet fragile). Everyone stopped for several minutes to admire her. Pierre took a photo and will input the sighting on the local herpetology society's biodiversity recording system.

Several people thought she was a snake and it took quite a bit of convincing them that she was a legless lizard. She certainly lived up to her name, simply staying where she was, until eventually she very slowly moved off the track into the grass. A snake would have vanished in the twinkling of an eye before we had even spotted it and would never have hung around to be surrounded by walkers. It is easy to tell she is a female, as she is bicoloured, with a dark belly. Males are the silvery beige colour all over. 

Photograph Susan Walter. http://loirenature.blogspot.fr/2013/02/gardens.html

In this area you might encounter this species in your garden, where they like to hang out in the compost heap. That is, unless there are cats, which will kill slow-worms and lizards.

Like all wild native reptiles and amphibians in France they are a protected species. They are widely distributed throughout Europe (everywhere in France except islands, such as Corsica, and much of the south-west), and can grow to about 50 cm long and live 20 years in the wild. In the winter they hibernate, digging themselves into the soil, a muck pile or your compost heap. They give birth to live young in the spring (and I suspect this one was pregnant).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Cold blooded creatures tend to be susceptible to insecticides and certain fungicides and herbicides, and slow worms are no exception. The population has plummeted due to the loss of natural unimproved grasslands and bocage style pasture, and the increase in intensive agriculture. The one we saw is lucky, living as she does on or near a nature reserve that now includes some prairie, as well as woodland edges and hedges.

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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, 23 May 2019

Rare Moth at the Back Door


On 7 May Tim alerted me that he'd had Patton's Tiger Hyphoraia testudinaria (Fr. Ecaille des steppes) in his moth trap in the Aigronne Valley. I'd never heard of this species and had to look it up. Then lo and behold, on 12 May I woke up to find one, a male, peering in at my back door. We are in the adjoining river valley, and it seems reports are coming in from the adjoining départements as well. We don't know why this year there is such a widespread appearance of a moth that hitherto none of us had heard of before, much less seen.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

It is one of those species that there doesn't seem to be any consistent information about (which makes me wonder if it is in fact a species complex). Some sources say it is an upland species found in the Pyrenees, Massif Central and Maritime Alps and the caterpillars eat plantain (Plantago spp) and dock (Rumex spp). Others extend its range into lowland south-west and central France, as far north as Paris, and provide a much longer list of low growing plants that the caterpillars can be found on, including reedgrasses (Calamagrostis spp) and hairgrasses (Deschampsia spp).

Photograph Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

It is said to like hot wet places and there is some indication that its range is shrinking in the west and it is becoming increasingly localised.



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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, 22 May 2019

Botany Lesson on a Loire Water Meadow


Saturday 11 May saw me heading off to Langeais to meet Chantal and Dominique and whoever else turned up at the carpark under the southern side of the Langeais suspension bridge. The outing was to be an exercise in learning about the flora of a Loire water meadow, and it turned out to be way more interesting than I expected. Dominique is a great teacher -- knowledgeable about all sorts of little botanical details and patient enough to make sure I've understood, seen and had time to photograph. It was a great site because there were lots of examples of two (or more) species in a genus, enabling lots of comparing and contrasting. What follows are some general photos from the morning, but I am planning to do a series for Loire Valley Nature covering pairs of similar species that we saw on site (bromes; geraniums; forget-me-nots; bugles; buttercups; storksbills; sandworts, stitchworts, chickweeds and mouse-ears; fescues).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The 19th century suspension bridge over the Loire at Langeais (the town on the other side you can see). This is the only suspension bridge over the Loire that survived the Second World War. Apparently when I say I'm going to Langeais, a French person can't tell if I'm coming here or going to Lingé.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The leaf beetle Chrysolina banksii (Fr. le Chrysomèle de Banks), on Crimson Clover Trifolium incarnatum subsp incarnatum (Fr. Trèfle incarnat). The clover is native to this area and growing wild, not as an improved pasture assemblage -- this water meadow is native grasses, legumes and wild flowers, extensively grazed by the favoured local breed of cattle, Limousin. Reassuringly sustainable and traditional. This beetle species is tricky to identify if you are a beginner, but once you know what to look for, is not too much of a problem. It is widespread and quite commonly encountered, especially on damp sites.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Upright Bugle Ajuga genevensis (Fr. La Bugle de Genève) and Cypress Spurge Euphorbia cyparissias (Fr. Euphorbe faux cyprès). I'd never heard of this species of Bugle and assumed it was a particularly attractive colony of the commonly encountered Bugle A. reptans. However, Dominique pointed out that the open habitat (as opposed to forest edge) was a clue, and the leaves are a different shape.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 The storksbill Erodium cictarium subsp bipinnatum (Fr. Bec-de-grue poilu), showing the striking seed pods and pale dusky pink flowers. Both it and the regular species grow on the site.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A close up of the extraordinary seeds of the storksbill, with a spring to propel it out.

Photograph Susan Walter.  Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Migrant Corollae Eupeodes corollae (Fr. Le syrphe des corolles ) on Dovesfoot Geranium Geranium molle (Fr. Géranium à feuilles molles).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A female drone fly Eristalis tenax (Fr. Eristale gluante) on Spurge Euphorbia sp. She can be identified by her widely separated eyes, dark facial stripe, vertical lines of hairs on her eyes and dark front feet and hind tibia.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The very rare and localised mouse-ear Cerastium dubium (Fr. Céraiste douteux). It grows in a species assemblage of Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua and Hairy Buttercup Ranunculus sardous, where they are often found together in a damp depression. Their six teeth on the seed capsule is diagnostic.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Botanists at work (Danielle, Dominique and Chantal).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The sawfly Tenthredopsis cf stigma, nectaring on Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula (Fr. Euphorbe âcre). This spurge species is very localised, mostly only occurring on the Loire sands.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The weevil Phyllobius betulinus. The French for weevil is un charançon. This species can be identified by its dense large blue-green gold scales on its upper side and thighs (except for the bases of the thighs, which are black), spurs on all thighs. It is known to be present in Indre et Loire and I think is probably quite abundant.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The site, a water meadow with sandy soil and natural vegetation, grazed by cattle. It sits between the levee bank to the south and the river on the north, near the bridge at Langeais. It is part of a site known as Ile aux boeufs and La Chapelle aux Naux which is not open to the public and managed by the Regional Conservancy for Natural Spaces. There are plenty of rabbits on site, so I got mercilessly teased by Christiane, who rescued my red plaid sweatshirt last year from the rabbits, after I dropped it on a botany outing.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A Mediterranean Spotted Chafer Oxythyrea funesta (Fr. Cétoine grise) on a buttercup Ranunculus sp.



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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, 21 May 2019

Botany Outing to the Courtineau Valley, May 2019


Our Association de Botanique et de Mycologie de Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine outing on May Day was to the Courtineau Valley, near its confluence with the Manse, a valley with an equally rich botanical habitat. This outing was specifically designed as a teaching exercise and our members were training members of the heritage society of Saint Epain about the wild flowers on their patch. Here are some photos of an area I am becoming increasingly interested in, both for it's botanical interest, but also its impressive troglodyte homes and general picturesqueness.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Tassel Hyacinth Muscari comosum (Fr. Muscari à toupet) and Greater Star of Bethlehem Ornithogalum umbellatum (Fr. la Belle-d'onze-heures). The blue 'tassel' flowers are sterile and there to attract insects, who can see that colour blue very well.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Photographers go for that money shot of the Tassel Hyacinth, whilst Chantal talks to the group about what they are seeing in general on the bank. We never did do a proper species count, but it was lots!

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 This bee fly (either Bombylius or Systoechus sp, I can't tell from this photo) is where the real reward is on Tassel Hyacinth -- their lower, dull looking flowers are full of nectar.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 On the middle bank, a different selection of plants.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Meadow Clary Salvia pratensis (Fr. sauge commune).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Common Vetch Vicia sativa (Fr. Vesce cultivée). The plant is guarded by ants who receive a reward from the plant in the form of nectar produced from the black spots near the leaf axils. The ants eat or remove other insects that would eat the plant. The species name sativa means 'grows from seed' and by association has come to mean 'cultivated'. Common Vetch occurs wild or naturalised like this one, but is also grown for fodder, as a green manure and occasionally as a companion plant for cereals.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes (Fr. Ophrys araignée).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Chantal teaching people about Stonecrops Sedum spp (Fr. les Orpins) and Saxifrages Saxifraga spp (Fr. les Saxifrages) growing in the middle of the road.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
 Bastard Balm Melittis melisophyllum (Fr. Mélitte à feuilles de mélisse).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Fr. Lamier jaune).

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Dominique demonstrating how Lords-and-Ladies Arum maculatum (Fr. Arum tacheté) are pollinated by small flies.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Photograph Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua (Fr. Pâturin annuel). One of the perennial Meadow Grasses was growing in the same vicinity. One way of checking if a grass is an annual or a perennial is to try to uproot it. If it comes up easily it is an annual, but if it is a perennial it has a much more extensive root system and is much tougher to pull up.

Post-outing drinks were taken at the nearby house of a member of the heritage society. He is the former director of the Museum of Prehistory in le Grand Pressigny, and has an extensive collection of locally made bricks, which were on display in his lovely garden overlooking the valley.

I managed to frighten the living daylights out of my friend Louisette by making a classic error in French. I said at one point that 'Simon a décidé...' but I managed to mangle the vowels and she heard 'Simon est décédé'. For one reason and another, family, winter, stuff like that, we haven't actually seen one another for about 6 months. You should have seen the look on her face when she thought I was telling her that Simon had died! This is the sort of error you are warned about when you are learning French, but I have never actually done this one before.

Anyway, here is a link to Louisette's photos from the outing. Her photos are way better than mine, but she doesn't have a macro lens.

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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.