Monday, 7 July 2014

Have just returned from the Auvergne in France and fulfilled a 40 year ambition as I imagined it would be countryside like my childhood in rural Sussex. There are  wonderful old farm buildings, many of which have been beautifully restored by wealthy people from elsewhere in Europe as holiday homes and very often including a swimming pool. This last is a wonderful asset when one takes grandchildren! The actual farmed land mostly consists of small fields, often as clearings in the extensive woodlands - the tractors used were mostly very old. This is strikingly different from the intensive farming here in the east of Scotland with huge fields and equally huge farm equipment and high input of both artificial fertilizers and weed and pest chemicals. The flora was however a little disappointing and I failed to find any orchids to photograph. There were however lots of interesting birds and we were serenaded day and night by nightingales all round the house. Red kites ad black kites as well as honey buzzards drifted over for much of the day.