It’s chilly and rainy, and the clocks have gone back – definitely Autumn now

But until this week-end it still felt like summer.

Sunshine in Coat Noz forest:

Fly Agarics (Amanita muscaria) in the field close to home:

Evening sunshine at St Maudez:

Sunset at Balanou:

Porcelain fungus  (Oudemansiella mucila) on beech at the Gorge de Corong:

And something lovely on rotten wood. My guess is that it’s some kind of mycelium from some kind of fungus…Answers or suggestions on a postcard please!

Autumnal delights.

I scoured my normal mushroom places yesterday – feeling sure that the conditions were right for a mass emergence. Almost nothing. This morning I went back to the exact same spots and…Voila! Boletus edulis, Penny Bun, Porcini, Cepe de Bordeaux….€28 a kilo – call it what you like, I found loads!

Newly planted in my garden: Camellia sasanqua ‘narcissiflora’. Flowering in October when everything’s starting to give up the ghost – and with that elusive scent (like violets) that is delicious but so hard to describe.

Horse mushroom with oak leaf for scale!

Peacock butterfly looking for shelter.

Borlotto bean – Lingua Di Fuoca – the beans taste as good as the pods look.

And Summer’s back again – briefly?

None of the normal oranges and yellows of Autumn in this post. Instead it’s straight back to Summer with magenta, pink and crimson.

This has been the best year so far for chestnuts! There’s a 20 cent coin there for scale – about the size of a 5p.

Zinnia California Giants. This has been the first year I’ve grown them. Everything says they need a good summer to succeed. And this has probably been the best Summer since 2006. They have been amazing.


Asters continue to impress…

This apple variety is ‘Florina’. Still not ready (quite) to eat. But it’s one that is best eaten straight from the tree and so I don’t try to keep it. Juicy, crisp and a beautiful colour.

And yesterday I went down to the Atlantic Coast to the Bay of Audierne. And found a complete contrast to the gentle tides that characterise my local beach of Plestin, still in the Channel, with its rock pools and shallow waters.

This was strong currents, big surf, dunes, pebbles made round by the tumbling action of the seas being launched at my ankles by the waves as they came onto shore and then receded. A vast expanse of fine, pale yellow sand, an intense raking light and an immense blue sky.

And the reason for the trip… la Chapelle de Notre Dame de Tronoen. Not so much for the chapel – which was locked. But for the Calvaire next to it. Dating from the fifteenth century, it’s the oldest in Brittany. Despite restoration it’s not in that great condition. But having spent several hundred years in the wind, salt and rain that’s hardly surprising.

Originally the characters in the frieze would have been quite brightly painted. Now it’s the lichens and weathering that create the texture and shadowing on the granite, or ‘Kersanton’  – a stone particularly linked with the geology of Brittany and much used in the religious sculpture during the sixteenth century. Apparently it’s easily carved when newly quarried, but ‘sets’ as hard and resistant and impermeable as granite as it ages; and fifteenth century is pretty old!

This postcard shows how it looked in the 50’s/60’s:

Here’s how it looks now:

The Calvaire’s function was to act as a kind of visual aid or illustration of the life of Christ, and other Biblical stories. So, for example on the bottom row of this side is Joseph presenting Jesus at the Temple and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The upper tier has Jesus carrying his cross on the way to his Crucifixion, followed by the two felons.

Autumn finally arrives…

Misty morning looking out over the field from the garden…It’s raining now. I’m listening to the rain clattering on the roof lights and the wind is gusting. It possibly sounds more dramatic than it is as it’s dark out there. Today has given us the first rain for at least a month. Yesterday it was 24 degrees and beautifully sunny. It’s forecast to be fine again tomorrow, but the ‘summer’ temperatures have ended.

I’ve harvested a fair amount of seed whilst it’s been so dry. Normally I don’t succeed with things like lettuce – the seed pods get mildewed and mouldy and the seed isn’t viable, but this year has been good. I’ve a load of ‘Oreille du Diable’ (Devil’s Ear) – which I use as a loose leaf picking lettuce. I first came across it three or four years ago via my Seed Exchange group and have been  sowing it every year since from the same batch of seed. I’m pleased to have renewed the stock – and I’ll have extra to take back and exchange again this year too.

The rain will (fingers crossed) have reminded all of those mushrooms out there that it’s time to rise and shine. It’s been a very poor season from point of view of fungi so far. But, if I had the choice to swap the amazing weather that we’ve had recently for an abundance of Boletes instead, I know I’d say ‘no’. But I’m quietly anticipating the pleasure of visiting all of my secret spots and seeing what’s occurring in the days to come…

But, for today, here’s what’s lovely:

The ‘Mare aux Fees’ ( Fairy Pond),  Huelgoat. Rain just begin to fall.

More tomatoes…

A mix of ‘Conference’ and ‘Louise Bonne de Jersey’ pears. The latter is a variety that I grafted onto ‘Conference’ – the scion came from my tree in Walthamstow. An excellent harvest this year. I doubt that I can use them all up in the tiny window of when they’re just perfect. Not complaining!

A leaf from Amelanchier canadensis – Snowy mespilus.