The Cormorant and the Heron

I am almost exactly the same age as Keanu Reeves, I am older than him but just a day and a bit. His mother’s maiden name is also Taylor.  This means that we are both “Virgo” wood dragons. He is allegedly an introvert too.


So, there you go…

This morning something unusual happened I saw both the Cormorant and the Heron at the same end of the pond. The Cormorant was on the water and the Heron was a few metres away on the land. The Cormorant saw me and flew off South.

This means that we are a bit of a breakfast diner for the local predators.

We won’t know the stock levels in the pond until it gets warmer and the fish are more active. Two birds of prey will eat quite a lot of fish…

Felix, the back and white stray cat, is a bit confused. He can see Bowie indoors and is wondering what is going on. He lets me get close to him now. So maybe, I need to check him for an identity chip…Guess is that he has not got one and it would take weeks of patience to earn his trust.

The weird thing about being 58 is that loads of people who are roughly the same age and famous, start dying. It is always mooted as a “tragedy”. It reminds one of mortality. The various life expectancy tools suggest that I should live into my eighties. If that happens, I am financially buggered. My guess for an expiry date, for me to be taken off the supermarket shelves, is very early seventies, assuming nothing untoward happens.

Anyway, Keanu has been seen drinking in pubs in and around Tring near where I used to live and where a copy of the I Ching jumped off a bookshelf and fell at my feet…

If he tips up near here, it will freak me out a little.

Spring at Traou an Dour 16-3-23

Before getting back into the DIY I took the camera for a spin around the garden…


The heather has started to flower…


This rockery flower is ~0.5cm across…the bugs are back


The magnolia is starting to unfurl…

This has been dipped in sherbet…


Daisy plus bug with psychedelic wings…


Simple yellow primrose … there are loads of these starting just now

Monsieur Le Heron has started to chill a bit

Grape hyacinth in full bloom…


Pine cone in the making…


Baby dandelion with assorted bugs…

Pine needles close up

Rescued azalea coming back to life..

Her Royal Highness – Bowie

Chainsaw Oil, the Resident Heron, and Vegan Food

Having been Avant Garde by three decades and thereby much less pretentious I can still knock up tidy vegan meals. I don’t need my soapbox anymore nor my Instragram or TikTok. There are alimentary consequences including meal volume and human induced methane related global warming. But if one eats plants direct one cuts out the middle men, the cattle, the sheep and the pigs. There is less methane per incident solar Watt if humans eat direct from the plant source. There is an added bonus in that it helps us reduce our food budget, vegan food is less expensive than fillet steak.

Three pulse based vegan dishes in one meal is perhaps a tad too much.

There is a bit of a problem sourcing Tofu here but I think I may have found an answer…

We are trying to cut back on expenditure and aiming towards €200-250 per week on groceries including a couple of bottles of wine. I am on the wagon. Our electricity consumption is down ~30% thanks largely to the induction hob. I am looking into water butts thanks to the “drought” and have filled the central section shed with wood for next winter. We are currently saving a lot of money by decorating the office and the last bedroom ourselves. It is a lot of work and not great for the arthritis. Most of the preparation work is done. You can see doing this where previous people have taken shortcuts and bodged. {Grrr…} There is maybe another two days of preparation.

When we first bought the chainsaw the geezer in the shop pointed us at 5 litres of chainsaw oil. I thought he was a bit mad. But no, I am now near the bottom of the 5 litre container of chainsaw oil. I need a new chain and a new bar. I did not understand scale. I think I probably will get a Hyundai two stroke chainsaw, one day. Proper country folk get scale in a way that I never did before. I am learning.

The heron has been standing around the pond on a semi-permanent basis. He is there before dark and soon after dawn. I wonder if he overnights. He sometimes looks to be sleeping. He has been in the water, there are “grey oil slicks” from his feathers. He/she seems to be almost resident. I think this hereon is the “new” one because it is less of a stress bunny than the old one. I can’t be sure.

Anyway, it colour coordinates with Bowie the cat… who is sat on “my” cushion… as I write. Her Majesty seems to have settled in well. She had Carrefour budget bonito for lunch…

Le héron garde-bœufs, a bird in the log burner and lottery winners…

The other day whilst circumambulating I got to pampas corner and I could hear quite a commotion in there. As I passed a large white bird with a sharp orange-yellow beak emerged. I put some distance between us so as not to scare it. I have just been looking at images and Le héron garde-bœufs in winter plumage fits the bill, excuse the pun. They are known to be at Nantes which is not too far south. This is the third heron to visit only this one east insects and frogs not fish. We have toads in the pampas as well as a salamander. A new visitor….

The coypu is still leaving us frozen turds…

When I went to clear out the log burner this morning. I saw a tiny, miniscule bird in there. It looked at me and climbed back up into the chimney. After a while I thought it had escaped. I started cleaning out the fire. I could hear scratching noises so there is no way to light the fire unless the birdy gets out. Once I had finished, I left the log burner door open. We went quiet, the bird came out and as we were pulling back the curtains to open the sliding doors, it flew off to the bike bedroom upstairs. Perfect I could lock it in and open the window there. We had lunch and I went back to check. When I opened the bedroom door it saw me and promptly flew out. It survived and escaped I know for sure. There is no roasted bird smell coming from the log burner now.

All my last four lottery tickets have been winners. They each have won between 2 and 5 euros. The nett loss is only ~one euro.  I am on a streak! At this point in time some extra free cash would be most welcome and we could buy one of the multi-million euro properties from the previous post if the win was big enough.

If I keep paying the “idiot tax” I might win…

Autumn at Traou an Dour

The grass needs cutting and the central section needs clearing up.
As if by magic….
The mowing ninja is back…long shadows at 4pm CET…we are as west as Plymouth
Fresh growth in the field across the road…the earth is a beautiful shade of fertile brown. The farmers are very neat.
Lovely blue sky, les soldats are nearly naked plus a passing magpie..
Mr Heron catching the last of the rays in an oak before dusk…I need a tripod and bigger lens at this range…

The Unhappy Heron

When I went out to work on the pond today, the heron who had been sitting in an oak, flew off in an unusual direction and complained at me. I am pretty sure he was not happy with me. I have been working on the pond on an off for the last week or so. He might be a tad peckish.

Le Jaudy is half way up to our footbridge and in demi-flood.

By the cat bowl method we had ~2cm of rain overnight.

No lunch for Mr Heron from Le Jaudy today..

The nasty human being has been tidying up around the pond and removing my weed cover.

We had beautiful light for a couple of hours. One more session and the pond is done.

Mr and Mrs Heron?

Over the last few days there has been not just one but two herons in the garden and by the pond.

Here is one on the football pitch this morning.

It saw us trying to take a photo from indoors at 80m distance…and flew off.

To see two of these large birds fly up into the oaks by Le Jaudy is quite a sight!

Will they nest there and make heronettes in spring?

The Heron, The Moorhen and The Kingfisher

After the rain, grass grows.

This is not a Zen kōan but a fact of life. As a consequence, I am officially knackered. I have been out doing strimmer frenzy in preparation for mowing. I haven’t done this since before the wife’s accident, the drought has meant no need, I am not strimmer fit.

If you have a UK garden, you might think what a wuss…

But I strimmed for over an hour with a 15kg quasi-industrial petrol strimmer walking well over half a kilometre up and down. The pinecones, fallen because of the drought are a tad lethal underfoot.

I have been trying to stalk the heron in order to get a good photo. This means that I creep up on the pond all ninja like. This morning I got to within a few meters of the moorhen. She took off in haste. It looks as though she is back for autumn. There were eggs last year. No heron.

Next time out Mr electric blue the kingfisher flew from plughole corner to his hunting tree. He seems to have recovered from the bang on his head.

Here he is off his face with concussion.

The heron normally hides in reeds by the greenhouse. This afternoon he was on the bank by Le Jaudy so I was, although silent, in plain sight. He took off before I saw him…

Here he is…flying by the soldiers, les soldats, who guard the northern perimeter…

Eventually I will get a photo of him in the water!!

In the fridge there is a bottle of San Pellegrino and some flat water. There is some plain cake flour and corn-starch chilling. There are ice cubes. The veggies have all been prepped. This means tempura.

In the previous century I was taken by a friend / colleague Mieko to a famous Tempura restaurant in Tokyo. She explained to the chef that I was vegan {at the time and before it was trendy} and he knocked up an eggless batter to pander to my needs. He presented me with a symphony of crispy yumminess.

I have been a fan ever since.

My home made teriyaki sauce is waiting…

Soon it will be Tempura time…

Oh, I nearly forgot. Over the past few days I have seen two new species of butterflies…