Just a quick post to say I'm back. I do have plenty of photos to sort through for some future posts but in the meantime here's a photo from our ferry journey over to England with the Isle of Wight in the distance. It's a long crossing during the day from St Malo to Portsmouth but we get a cabin so we can put our feet up and chill, and have a nap if we want. However there was a coach load of French school kids on the boat and despite repeated announcements on the tannoy that they should not run on deck, it seemed that when the sun came out they appeared to be running, jumping and leaping off the staircase from the top deck to the one below. Which just happened to be right above our cabin. So we were not pleased about that!!
Coming back was the first time I've ever felt one of these large ferries actually move with the waves. I woke during the night and couldn't believe the way the boat was moving about! I managed to stagger to the loo then lay down again hoping I would not get seasick (I do sometimes, but it seems quite random as to whether I get sick or not). Thankfully lying down it seemed more like swinging on a hammock in the breeze and when I finally woke again nearer St Malo the waters had calmed down. I did feel a bit zombie like the rest of the day (perhaps fitting as it was Halloween) because every time I sat down I felt I was still moving. I have no sea legs!
During our time away there was a storm which hit southern England and Brittany (don't know about other parts of France). Where we were staying at that point (Berkshire) there was little damage, though I heard that plenty of trees had come down in Somerset, which was where we were before, staying with my Mum.
However it seems like it hit home harder as my beautiful weeping willow has lost a huge branch from high up in the tree and now it's looking a bit of an odd shape. Unfortunately one half of the branch is now half in, half out of the pond and when you see the next photo you'll realise it's not something we can exactly just pull out. The second photo (taken in pouring rain, yes I know I wanted rain but I haven't seen a butterfly for ages and I need my bug and butterfly fill before winter hits us properly!) shows the rest of the branch, unfortunately it was a forked one and is balanced on another branch about 20/30 feet up in the tree, over the water!
Also a neighbour's old apple tree has uprooted and landed half in the stream which bounds our two properties. But that's their problem to deal with!
Of course I got my priorities right as soon as I got home. Before unpacking I went to check out the orchard and spent about 2 hours collecting walnuts. The nice housesitters had picked up a whole big plastic bowlful for us which was kind, but I found tons more and still there are nuts on the trees. It's really important to me to get as many as possible this year as last year was a dreadful year and between the red squirrels and the bad harvest I managed to collect only about 50 total, instead of thousands. So I'm pretty happy with this little lot, which are now spread out on newspaper all over my living room floor to dry! Next job, windfall apples, and I'm glad to say there are still tons of good eating apples on the trees too.
We did have a good time whilst away but I'll fill in more with the next posts.