This could have been just an indifferent day. Rainy, very windy, chilly… The sun popping out every so often as the clouds scudded over the sky. Typical April weather. So, a trip out to Plougrescant. Somewhere I’ve not been before.

And the wind, once we arrive at Plougrescant, is a blessing. Whipping up the waves and sending foam and a salty spray way inland. I notice that I seem to be looking through a mist. My glasses blasted by the salty air. But what a sea! And what beautiful light.

Plougrescant is one of the most typically ‘touristy’ places in Brittany. There is a photo that everyone takes of a house built/sandwiched between two huge granite outcrops, with the sea and sky behind it. I saw it today and it’s only bloody-mindedness that stopped me taking the same photo. Instead I took photos of everything else there instead:

This is Le Gouffre – the Chasm. A gap between to huge outcrops of granite. Today the sea was foaming and the wind was gusting. So, not easy to hang around watching the waves unless you felt like being battered by them…

Sea Kale, Bladder Campion, Sea Beet… looking like a planted rock garden amongst the mulch of stones and pebbles.

Out and about…

The annual visit to the banks of the Aulne was as magical as ever… Wild garlic as far as the eye can see, mixed with Wood Anenomes and Bluebells. As I still have last years’ jars of lacto-fermented to use up, I didn’t need to pick much. A bag full – just enough to make a ‘pesto’ with toasted hazelnuts, goat cheese, and some for a salad.

A trip to the Mont St Michel de Brasparts. One of the summits of the Monts d’Aree. At about 380 metres it’s a pretty small ‘mountain’. But on a clear day the panoramas are impressive and the little stone box of a chapel perches on top like in a child’s drawing. Obviously it’s not the Alps. But, whereas the Alps are pert, pointy and young in geological age, the Monts d’Aree are old. Old and eroded and almost flat!

I like the windows. Strangely though, they work better for me from the outside…

And Le Gouffre at Huelgoat Forest. One of my most visited and most loved places. Here the torrent of water that I saw in January has slowed to not much more than a trickle. No matter. Still amazing.

The garden just keeps on giving…

The first direct sowings are finally done. Peas, parsnips, radish, lettuce, carrots and beetroots. It feels very late, but – putting my bare hands down into the damp soil – it doesn’t yet feel properly warm. So perhaps I’m still too early!

A good day, where I feel like I accomplished stuff. And the promise of several equally as good, weather wise, if the forecast is to be believed. I’m planning on cracking on with the sowing and planting. And, of course, continuing to attack the grass.

But, for now, here are today’s photos:

Horse Chestnut buds starting their sticky unfurling against a blue sky.

And, to carry on with the ‘blue’ theme, it doesn’t get much bluer than this. I’m awaiting help for the ID. I’ll edit this once I have it.

And here’s a slightly random plate of ‘fromage du tête’ (literally, ‘head cheese’) or brawn. Made from half of a pig’s head, slow cooked overnight and then set in its own jelly after having parsley, salt and pepper added…

Return to Ploumanac’h:

This old fishing boat with its hand-painted numbers looked almost out of place and time amongst the sleek and expensive yachts.

Lunchtime on the rocks…I put my sandwich down for a minute and heard a bit of a clatter and a kerfuffle behind me. Luckily I retrieved it before these two got too close.

Sea spinach growing amongst the pebbles on the upper shore. Just starting to run to seed, but still tender enough to be worth eating. It got put with some scrambled egg and was delicious.

No idea how many years these chains have been submerged and then uncovered by successive tides to give them this strange resemblance to luridly coloured lightweight polystyrene rather than heavy metal…

Photos this time.

The daffodils were finished by the time I got back, but primulas and hyacinths were still going strong.
Lichens and mosses at the Gorge du Coronq.
One of many beautiful Camellias in the garden at the moment.
Lovely manure which was waiting for me…

Well I am back, at last…

It’s been difficult reconciling here and there. I’ve been back since Monday, but my head still thinks I’m in London. I guess it’s not helped by no Cat. She was always the impetus for returning. And the reason for the growing excitement as I got ever closer to home….would she be waiting? How happy she’d be to see us…

Well, of course, she’s gone. So things are more relaxed, but also more shit!

I think I’ll post pictures later…

This is what I left behind…

I had hoped to update this before leaving, or even on the ferry coming back, but here it is now…

Winter Purslane and Chicory ‘Rossa di Treviso’:

The first crocuses opening:

The Camellia I posted in bud last time….

Helleborus niger. I need more of these!

These snowdrops are (finally) really starting to self-sow and increase. They came, initially, as a tiny clump from my parents’ front garden and they’ve steadily increased year on year.

The forecast is that in the days to come this (almost) non-winter will perhaps get a taste of the ‘real’ winter being currently experienced in Germany and Austria… Hopefully the plants that are foolish enough to think it’s already Spring won’t get too much of a shock!

A mixture of good things.

Daphne odora aureomarginata. If only I could put this perfume in a blog post! These relatively unshowy flowers are pretty, and welcome at this time of year. But the fragrance….If you could bottle it I’d wear it!St. Maudez amongst the pines:

Plestin beach:

Honeycomb weirdness over the mussels – every year it’s the same!

Medlar and apple jelly – the last preserve of last year.

Hamamelis ‘pallida’  – the best it’s ever been…

Primroses (many colours) starting to flower:

Camellias getting ready:

Winter honeysuckle, Lonicera purpusii – I dug this up and moved it to another spot. I wasn’t sure if it would be happy (or even survive the move), so the flowers now are an added joy.

Add to all of this the days getting longer by (literally) a minute or two, and the feeling that Spring is waiting in the wings….this has, so far, been a good Winter!

Solstice. The new year starts here…!

This is my ‘happiest’ day – although I’m often too depressed to notice it. From now on from this, the shortest day, we start the upward climb to summer. There will be more and more light. Winter (although not yet really arrived) will be giving way to Spring.

Today a visit to Huelgoat. After the consistent rain the rivers and streams are bursting their banks. Not more than normal… but, as the Summer and Autumn have been so dry, it’s a bit of a shock to see such a quantity of water.

The Winter Chanterelles were still abundant – but very wet, but taste just as good after a little more cooking.

And back in the garden. Hamamelis mollis flowering early, with its delicious, slightly elusive, spicy perfume…