A lunar calendar to improve my gardening skills

Does the lunar calendar work for planting fruit, vegetables, flowers, for sowing seeds, or for simply gardening? What is the Calendrier Lunaire? Read on.

Exporting a UK-bought LHD car to France

Is it possible or indeed practical to buy a LHD car in the UK, originally registered in Poland, and then import it to France? Are there guidelines to be followed?

Driving in France

In recent years, travelling across to the continent and driving in France has become increasingly easy for Brits, but there are laws and regulations to bear in mind while driving abroad.

Mushroom picking in France

In France, mushroom picking, or “la cueillette des champignons”, is practically a national sport during the Autumn season. However, there are guidelines to follow before wandering through the woods.

Pineau … or Pinot? Do you know the difference?

Pineau is a delicious alcoholic drink which comes from the Charentes region of France. It is a fortified wine made from 3 parts grape juice and 1 part Cognac and, like many great delicacies, was discovered by mistake.

Find out all about Pineau des Charentes

Apples in a wheelbarrow in France

Why are these apples sooo small?

By 8.30 it had stopped raining and I was on my way to an orchard with the trailer bumping quite happily behind me.

I was the first to arrive (thankfully), so I managed to get the turn round (by driving five miles past the orchard and finding a huge junction large enough for me and my trailer to do a ‘U’ turn!).

Soon two other cars with trailers arrived. Apple picking it appears is quite a logical task. Firstly all the windfalls are collected. If any apples are too rotten they are discarded, a little bruising adds to the flavour I was told!

The first bucket was weighed (hence the bathroom scales), 9 kilos.

An orange bucket was put beside each trailer. Each time a bucket was emptied into a trailer an additional apple must be placed in the orange bucket. At the end of the day the number of apples in the orange bucket would be multiplied by 9 kilos… and voila our total harvest calculated. So simple.

When all the windfalls had been collated, each tree was shaken, battered with large sticks until the precious fruit could hang on no longer! Once again we collected all the apples.

The sun shone.  As I picked, I noticed some soft green fruits on the ground next to the cider apples I was collected. One of the skins of these green fruits had split to reveal a harder brown shell. It was a walnut. The brown shells were still pretty soft and I could crack them with my hand. Delicious walnuts. Would anyone mind if I diversified and picked a few walnuts as well ?…. Fantastic, a bucketful of walnuts.

On with the apples, the right mix of apples, some sweet and some cider apples.

By 2.00pm we had picked 1.2 tonnes (1,200kg) of apples…

Francois looked at the sky. ‘We need rain now’

‘Why?’

‘To wash the apples.’

But… of course…..

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