Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rainy day thoughts of Mont St Michel

Today is Sunday.. that means I have the radio show from 11 to 1 pm.. I generally try to get to the studio a bit early to go over my notes before the show and jot down questions and such.. but, by the time I manage to get out of the house and drive through Tim Hortons for my green tea, it's about 10 minutes before air..

Today, in particular was a lot of fun. I had a great group of guests that all were super personable and ready to have a good time chatting about gardening.. sometimes, you never know! Last week, we had major glitches with the microphones. In the past, I've been very excited about certain guests - perhaps a favourite author of mine, or someone whose work I've admired.. but the segments turn out to be disappointing.. either they are one-word answer guests (never good for radio!!), cranky or even rude to my callers! That's a huge no-no.. So, I've learned over the past 5 years to not anticipate anything before a show and just enjoy it as it comes..

Later today, we tackled our newest project - what will become known as 'Man versus Deer'.. the battle to erect a new garden fence. The old one came down late last summer in a category 1 hurricane (can't remember which one!). I might have to rename this project Man versus Deer versus Blackflies, as they are out in full force! And, we still don't have any sunshine to lighten our spirits.. It was too damp to snap photos as we pounded in the new fence post supports, but I'll try to take some tomorrow. Fingers crossed, but so far, the supports have gone into the ground quite easily.. we expected more massive rocks! (refer to my post from last spring when we expanded our cold frames and encountered HUGE rocks).

Anyway, the point of this post was to share some photos of my favourite place from our recent travels.. Mont St. Michel, which is a small rocky island off the coast of Normandy, France. Fun fact - the tides at Mont St Michel are the 2nd highest in the world - behind the Bay of Fundy here in good ol' Nova Scotia (Insert chant - we're #1, we're #1). It began in the 8th century AD, when a simple monastery was erected at the top of the island to honor Saint Michel. The island was even depicted in the famous Bayeux tapestry (we stayed in nearby Bayeux) which details the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Over the years, the monastery became more grand and a village sprung up around the outside of the monastery.

I've wanted to visit this ancient island since I was a teenager and a friend traveled there and kindly/cruelly, sent me a postcard. We went mid-day, although my travel book warned me that this would be a busy time of day for tourists. But, when you travel with young children not used to the time difference, you do what you can. We stopped in a small village about 10 minutes from Mont St Michel to pick up some picnic supplies - fresh brie, baguettes, wine and other tidbits for a lovely meal that was enjoyed roadside, with the tantalizing sight of the island in the distance.

My book was right, it was crowded.. dozens of tour buses packed with tourists from around the world.. but, thanks to my trusty book (Thanks Rick Steves!), we avoided the 'main drag' of the village and hiked up the ramparts that were practically deserted. As we wove our way through the winding stone streets, bordered by incredible architecture and ancient buildings, we stepped back hundreds of years through time. Here a few photos from our adventure..

Just arrived.. Can't wait to explore the village and hike up to the monastery! 

Still climbing.. a view of a small garden, part of the village and the distant mudflats.

The Abbey at the top of the island - we made it!! 

An interior shot of the amazing abbey.

Outside the abbey - plants are growing all along the ancient wall.

We came down through the 'tourist strip', the main drag of the village.. Crazy, eh?


  1. Thank you for sharing Mount St. Michel; tourists or must have been wonderful. Love the first photo most especially.

    Your newest project...ahem...maybe rename Woman versus deer)))...

    Guarding against deer...It's not just the height that we must challenge them's the depth of the jump that inhibits them. A few six foot long poles stretching out behind your uprights..that's the trick.

  2. Hi Bren.. glad you enjoyed the photos!

    As for 'man vs deer'.. it's because the fence is my mother's day present, so the hubby is in charge of the project! :) Thanks for the tip too - maybe I should go with a 20-ft tall concrete wall!! :)

  3. Glad to hear that someone else is tackling a big fencing project this year too (although not glad to hear about your storm damage...). We lost half of our garden fence in Hurricane Earle last fall, and in a moment of early-spring motivation, we decided that instead of just repairing the fence we would expand the garden while we were at it.

    Our temp fence is up, but there's a long road ahead!

    Good luck with yours - hope it keeps those deer out!


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