12 days of Christmas: day 5

While we traversed the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain this summer I took plenty of photographs of hydrangeas, one of my favourite flowers. I love all their different colours from jade tinged white through to deep and dusky purple. I spotted this bush while we were driving around the vineyards of Bordeaux, snapping away at all the fantastic property porn.

The property behind the bush was just a store but you see properties with those blue shuttered windows, which look in need of total renovation, all over France. I call the colour French blue and it provides a lovely backdrop for this pink hydrangea bush.

I am death on two legs to most plants, aided and abetted by our very sunny and windy terrace. About the only things which survive are succulents. It’s sadly an inhospitable environment for a hydrangea, which are known as “hortensia” in France.

Holiday photos: day 9

I’m not very knowledgable about wine. I know what I like and what I don’t like. When my beloved suggested we tour the chateaux on the left bank of the Gironde, you might be thinking we were going to indulge in a degustation of all the Grand Crues. I, on the other hand, was thinking property porn!

I totally understand why the Bordeaux area is UNESCO protected. It’s charming, just like a fairy tale. Vineyards as far as the eye can see, all beautifully maintained; creamy stone, turreted, medium-sized chateau with impressive stone entrances and extravagent wrought iron gates; dnall flocks of swallows swooping; enchanting, sleepy villages with names that are familiar from the more expensive bottles on restaurants’ wine lists. It was heavenly.

My beloved spotted a lovely restaurant in Saint Julian – 40+years of intensive training finally paying dividends – where we ate a divine and  ery reasonably priced menu. Plus, the chef owner indulged me by explaining in detail how he prepared and cooked each of our courses. Despite its inauspicous start, our stay in Bordeaux was going with a swing.