Tuesday, June 9, 2009


My parents live mainly in Quillan. This is in the far south-west of France, south of Toulouse and Carcasonne, at the foot of the Pyrenees. They have a very large house with a busy road at the front, a big garden and a railway line behind it. (2 trains a day - we wave at them, and the dogs bark until they go away - it always works!)

This is the part with the flowers, and some peach trees, with a fountain built by my father:

This is part of the vegetable area, and the hen house. They have only 1 hen left now: she is 6 years old and still lays every 2nd day. The henhouse is so big in order to be able to stand up inside when you're cleaning it out. It's in the middle of the garden so you can let the occupant(s) out to each area in rotation.

And these are the geranium cuttings. They are the first cutting my father ever took. I read Bob's instructions out over the phone to him! They haven't done much though, since they were taken in mid April. Half have already died and been thrown out. I wonder what's going wrong?

This is the outdoor oven my father built. He said he was going to make a barbecue but he thought all the ones he could find plans for were pathetic little things, and designed this himself. He tends not to do things by halves.

This is what it looks like inside. A wood fire is lit to the left, then the food cooks on the right, either as the fire burns, as an oven, or as it smoulders with the door open, as a barbecue. These are red peppers being grilled:


  1. Hi Emily, glad to see you back and it looks like you had a nice time. Me and Vicki are thinking of moving to somewhere different although we are thinking Spain rather than France. Those cuttings, have they any stalks to them? All I can see are what look to be leaves in compost. Let me know - ok.

  2. Spain? Blime, you'd roast! But maybe you like roasting. Or maybe you were thinking of the Basque country or similar - have you thought of Majorca? It's much nicer than the naff reputation suggests. We used to go to Menorca for years but when we went there, we decided we'd been on the wrong island.

    Erm, yes, that's exactly what those cuttings are. Clearly I've misunderstood. I mean, they have the stalk of the leaf, but nothing more. One did take and is doing very nicely, but that was 1 out of 40 odd. I'm sorry to have misrepresented you.

  3. I remember now, I didn't read out anything Bob wrote: I rang Ben's Granny and asked her, then told my father what she'd said. I suppose she thought it was obvious that you need to include stem!

  4. How lovely to have a change of scene. Even second-hand for us readers.
    I enjoyed 'walking thru' your enlarged photos. Everything is slightly different, like the fences being criss-crossed. And so neat.

    I can probably tell you what has gone wrong with your dad's geranium cuttings: he is too good a gardener!
    Pelargoniums need to be ignored. The drier the better. The old advice about letting the cuttings lie around for a bit before inserting them in the soil is still good advice. And then you just neglect the lot of them. Strange plants. I never water mine from one month to the next and they bloom their hearts out.

  5. My cousin lives in Toulouse. We visited him three years ago. Gorgeous area.


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