I’ve started another blog for posts outside of french life and gardening. It will be mainly about music and books. I’ll reblog the odd post over onto 750metres. This one covers books I’ve read this year.

Originally posted on Other formats are available:

I had thought I hadn’t read all that much this year, however I’ve averaged about two books a month, which is none too shabby.


There’s the usual mix of literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy and crime novels. The Margaret Atwood novel was a very good final novel to the “Maddaddam” dystopian trilogy, all of which I’ve enjoyed. It didn’t garner great reviews, but if you have already invested time in the first two titles you will want to follow the characters to the end. Excellent new SF writers to me were Lauren Beukes, James Cory, Ann Leckie and Jo Walton, and I have re read some Ursula Le Guin and Phillip K Dick, both of which have stood the test of time. I’m also re reading all the John Le Carre novels (slowly) and managed two this year. On the fantasy side somehow I had never read the…

View original 143 more words

Into Winter


It’s the last day of November today and winter is just around the corner. Looking at the forecast it’s taking a turn towards a more seasonal pattern, and we have been cutting wood today stocking up for the colder weather ahead.

We also planted a Japanese Quince (Chaenomeles), which we have had for a couple of days. We have seen some around this area so it should do ok and according to the label it should thrive in any soil.

other than a mulch and a snip, I do little but harvest

says Alys Fowler.



Planning for 2015

This time of year its normal to start thinking about what we would like to do next year, taking into account what did well this year, what failed etc. All those listed below did well this year and merit another year.

We try to concentrate on veg that we like – obviously – but also that is expensive or impossible to purchase, especially organically. For the last two years we have been here, french beans, both climbing and dwarf have done very well and we still have freezer bags full of this years crop.The borlotti beans were new for this year and produced many excellent large beans, which we used fresh and  froze.

We grew peas for the first time and were very pleased with the easiness of cultivation and the crop produced, especially as the seeds – “Douce Provence” – were bought very cheaply from Lidl.

I read lots of dire warnings about trying to grow fennel, however either the difficulties were exaggerated, or we were lucky as we have had a large number of good-sized bulbs which we  have turned into risotto and slow cooker stews.

So I know now roughly what we will be growing next year, and so its time to plan the beds.

The climbing beans are staying in the same bed as last year so it will need a good feed this winter. Other than that there is a rotation around for the rest of the veg, to cut down on any diseases.

November calendar

november rose

the last rose

It’s been a mild and dry November so far with only a couple of frosts overnight and the last few days sunny and peaking at 18c – 20c.

We have cleared and covered up some beds for winter but others are still productive. So we are still picking beetroot, swede, leeks, fennel, chard, kale and cauliflower, and aside from carrots we haven’t had to buy any veg for weeks.

In the flower garden we have one lonesome rose, borage and the indestructible self seeded calendula still flowering. The hyssop is now gone over but the dead flower heads still have a fantastic structure especially when backlit by the morning sun. The beech hedging is turning a burnished bronze and has grown well this year, as has the mixed berry hedge at the end of the orchard.

looking north

looking north

raised beds - november

looking south