Thursday, 28 April 2011

In The Summertime.....

J and the rest of the generation gang are off at the beach today. Our daughter, LVP, thinks it very funny that she's going to La Rochelle (followed by Isle de Rey): as apparently do most of her old schoolchum/facebookey buddies. When at school, learning French, one of the texts they used - Tricolor - had many references to the town and its facilities. She's rather looking forward to having a fun day out, looking out for the Biblioteque, La Marie etc., - you get the idea, I'm sure!

J also spoke to our old neighbour, Monica, in Sweden yesterday on the phone. Spring has arrived in time for them to have had a lovely Easter break with temperatures in the high teens and 20s during the day. Still dipping towards freezing overnight; though the snow has now gone, save for on the highest hills, she assures us.

Probably looks a bit like this now on the local river, Ã…ngermanälven, Junsele,  a few Kms from  our house:

Sweden is often like that. Snow and cold one day followed by sunshine and warmth the next. When the warmth arrives, unfortunately, so, too, do the biting bugs. Horseflies the size of Nicholas Soames, Mozzies in their thousands, gnats. Wasps. Hornets. Long-snouted weevils. They just seem to arrive with the good weather, making it a bit miserable at times, if truth be told.

Here it's blue sky, temp about 20 at noon, with a light, chilly breeze at times today. We have discovered loads of unpleasant looking (is there any other?) bugs when digging the garden: they are burrowing things of one kind or another, and scuttle out of sight with considerable vitesse when uncovered. We've looked through some insect books and 'googled' but can't identify them.

Here's a (sorry about quality!!) pic of one. Anybody any idea what they might be?

About 2 to 3 cm long, bulbous lightly hooped body, large blackish head and what appear to be wings, they have small tunnels in the grass where they also seem to live/take refuge. We wonder if they might be Doryphores/Colorado Beetles in a sort of larval stage? Any ideas???

Hamish has almost got the hang of the swimming lark, apparently. He certainly seems to be enjoying it and is most enthusiastic about it. A good sign and a useful attribute. Both J and LVP are good, strong swimmers. I'm pretty hopeless, having only mastered it - if that's the right expression, which is doubtful - within the last ten years.

Up in our nearby town they have a marvellous water tower. It sort of  resembles a metallic upside down onion set! :

The Grandsprog is most taken with its other-worldly appearance. I told him it was the landing craft used by Doctor Who when he last visited the area: not sure that he was taken in by this explanation, though. Who was it said, 'You can fool all of the people......'?

We had cakes with tea yesterday afternoon. J and LVP brought back the goodies from our local boulangerie. And lovely they were, too!

They know how to make an appetising pastry hereabouts:

And.....just as I'd given up on Charlie returning. He turned up, unrepentant but seemingly glad to see Jack and I again. Purring wildly, demanding cream and tucker, before heading out again to do what cats do best:

He was back at about 05:10 this morn with a loud bellow to make sure we all woke to admire the peace offering he'd brought for us - the usual mouse - which he then promptly demolished on the floor at the foot of the bed! Little booger! Not a thought for the worry he'd caused me!


  1. Here is a blog I follow for bugs.

    Put the coffee on as those pastries look yummy!

  2. Hi Iain, I think your bug is an oil beetle. Meloe Proscarabaeus - they larvae in nests of solitary bees - ie in the grass. If you google oil beetle and look at the images this should give you an idea of the different variations that are around. Hope this helps.
    Joan (Bellebouche)

  3. Hi there, this is Sam Brasch, a reporter with Modern Farmer Magazine. Writing to see if we might be able to use your picture of the vending machine in a blog post. We would of course credit you and your blog in the caption. Let me know at Thanks!