23 Jun 2013

Kestrel chicks

I  think I’m turning into a bit of a twitcher …..

Allyson, a friend who lives in nearby village, recently found herself playing host to two separate pairs of kestrels. They've laid their eggs on two different windowsills of her house! Lucky enough to have one nesting pair, let alone two. 

Her house is quite high overlooking the village and the countryside so ideal launching pads for them. The shutters on one of the windows are kept shut, but she’s taped cardboard over the one in the living room, so that you can quietly view from a gap at the side. It’s amazing to be able to see them literally inches away on the other side of the glass. 

So last evening a few of us went over to see all four of the week old chicks – they’re little bundles of fluff. The parents were making intermittent visits with food, and after I stood motionless for nearly 10 minutes with camera at the ready, I was rewarded with an amazing couple of shots of a freshly killed mouse being brought back to the chicks. 

There will be several more visits over the next few weeks before they literally fly the nest…. watch this space!

Note the little mouse legs to the right of the picture!

22 Jun 2013

St Martin chapel

A heritage club has recently been formed in Bize - “Bize Patrimoine” – and the members and volunteers have been working on various historic sites around the village. The most recent project was the clearing and partially reconstruction of the ruins of the Saint-Martin chapel which dates back to the 5th century.

To celebrate the progress, the group organised a bbq for on the site, with sausages and wine provided, all for €3! This was a special treat indeed. Robert, our village butcher who retired recently, can be persuaded to make his delicious sausages for special occasions, using his secret fifth generation recipe. And this was just such an occasion.

The work done on the chapel so far is impressive, and the inauguration day was certainly a success, with a good turnout from the village.

Weather was gorgeous – lots of food (starters and desserts) were brought by everyone for sharing, and yet another day of feasting and making merry……

And as often happens at these events, a burst of song - in this case a traditional Occitan number....

14 Jun 2013


A poor cherry season this year because of the unusually cold spring - but one of my English students had enough in her garden to drop this off yesterday..... what a treat.

6 Jun 2013


I’ve not long returned from the annual week away with the local village group. This year it was Turkey. The title of the trip “La Turquie à grande vitesse” (Turkey at Great Speed) was a pretty good indication of the pace of things! 

Bize to Marseille by bus, flight to Bodrum – arrive at hotel 4am. On the road by 8.30am. Three of the six days on the road were 650kms, 650kms and 860kms!

We saw some great sites – Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Istanbul.

I saw quite a bit more of Istanbul than the others as I had decided to have a bit of time out while the group visited the Topkapi Palace which I’d been to quite a few years ago.

I thought I’d have a peaceful few hours back at the hotel. But the taxi ride from one of the mosques turned into a grand tour of the city.

He was really lost – he asked three different taxi drivers the way, then some local people and finally he rang the hotel. Still no luck. Fortunately I had the mobile phone number of our guide, who he finally rang to get directions. So an interesting last day in Istanbul.

The riots started the day we left….. but not because of it ….




Konya - home of the whirling dervishes
Road-side stop - delicious yoghurt, honey and white poppy seeds 
One night in Istanbul, a few of us broke away form the group meal at the hotel and went out to a traditional restaurant recommended by the guide. We ordered a plate of starters and the ‘specialty of the house’ – lamb done in a salt crust. For some reason, the salt crust was flamed at the table before being broken open with a mallet. Delicious.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Nesting storks on a column of the Temple of Artemis
Dried aubergines and peppers
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Moving sideways

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