Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sign of the times...

It's summer at 'Le Petit Lapin'... and as a sign of the times, we have a new sign: a lovely slate rectangle with the name of the cottage and a little engraved rabbit to welcome our guests.
It was quite a job to put this new sign in place, though.  I had to find a moment  when the current guests, a very nice couple from Holland, were out exploring, so that I wouldn't disturb them.  Then the granite walls of the cottage needed to be drilled and the surface evened out so that the sign would be secure and flat and level-- a bit of a challenge when working with natural materials, but the result is rather pretty, I think.
Welcome to 'Le Petit Lapin'!
And the nice Dutch couple thought so, too-- they told me that they were both surprised and pleased to discover the new sign in place when they returned to 'Le Petit Lapin' that evening.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

As promised: spring at 'Le Petit Lapin'

Daffodils against the granite cottage wall
It's spring!  Well... the temperatures are still pretty cool at night and the bright sunny days alternate pretty regularly with cloudy and rainy ones-- it is, after all, that season-- but spring is definitely beginning to bloom all over in Sains: the grass is emerald green; the bright yellow daffodils are out in the courtyard;
and the pears and apples are all in bud and ready to burst into flower.  The lilac that I planted as a cluster of sticks two weeks ago is now covered in promising tiny leaves, while the strong red stalks of the peonies are valiantly pushing up through the chives.

Peonies beginning among the chives
The days are appreciably longer now, too, in this most western region of France.  In summer the light lasts till after ten, but even before daylight saving kicks in on the last Sunday of March, it's still light these spring evenings at seven-- a big contrast to those wintry December days when darkness fell fast at five-thirty and my cats were clamoring for their dinner by six.
This spring's yellow pansies
This year I've decided on yellow pansies for the little flower bed outside 'Le Petit Lapin'.  It was originally a feeding trough for the pigs: the farmer would push the wooden door inwards, pour the mash into the hollow, then pull the door to so the pigs inside could eat.  The trough has now been filled with earth and the little yellow pansies do look rather happy there, don't they?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter at 'Le Petit Lapin'

Christmas decorations in the snow
It's still winter in Brittany this morning: the fog is rising from the valley and the lake is covered in a thin film of ice, but there will soon be signs of spring everywhere.
There was a rare snow storm at Christmas time-- that big blizzard that hit all of Europe transformed Sains into a white wonderland for a few extremely chilly days-- but everyone managed to make it home for the holiday. Our four children arrived from England, Italy and Paris by car, ferry, train and plane, reminding me once again how well connected Brittany is to the rest of the world.  I never feel cut off here, but I am more often aware of the rural calm, the self-sufficient little villages, the natural drama of the sea and the importance of the seasons in shaping the lives of those who are lucky enough to live in this beautiful part of France.
These quiet weeks between Christmas and Valentine's Day are very precious to me: I spend the mornings indoors at my desk writing (I have a book coming out in September) and in the afternoon I often manage a  walk to the lake in the bracing air that is particularly invigorating at this time of year. By Valentine's Day, there will be crocuses in the garden and visitors once more at 'Le Petit Lapin': I'll be welcoming an English couple on 12 February, my first guests of 2011.
A duck on the pond, waiting for spring...