(Very) good things this week


Please be warned – there are some seriously bad photographs to follow! However, I’m going to blithely continue in recording something that gave us a great deal of pleasure last week.

We were in the midst of one of those awful computer melt-downs that will be all too familiar to those (overly) reliant on the beasts.

I do use my computer for work (copy-editing), and I have had a fair bit of that recently, so perhaps extenuating circumstances?


I was on day four of a marathon to save my machine. It had trembled and collapsed at the knees after the most recent Windows 10 update. Too much for the old girl, I fear.

She is now laid to rest. (Although the Bon Viveur is suggesting a new hobby for me: I should spend my ‘spare’ hours bringing her to life again. Thanks, Nick. I already have enough hobbies that drive me to distraction while I try to keep them simultaneously moving forwards.)


A new shiny piece of kit is currently winging its way by camel from Amazon UK (I am a touch-typist, so I have to have a Qwerty keyboard), and I am working courtesy of a friendly dinosaur.

In the midst of this gloom two Great White Egrets flew into our lives and settled on the river bank opposite the house.


Now the bank is a long way away and my telephoto lens is very poor. (This is where the bad photos of my earlier warning come into play.)


The pictures were taken in the grassy gap, dead centre in the photograph above. And unfortunately at dusk.

First there was only one egret – who appeared to be inspecting ant hills on the other side of the river. Doing his ‘hunchy’ thing.


Then he/she was joined by a mate. They started to spread their wings and look about a bit.


After much excited consultation of books and websites, we were sure that we were lucky enough to be seeing Great White Egrets. Until recently they were rare in this corner of France.


A friend who lives at the other end of the valley confirmed that they had been present in recent years, owing (he thought) to the warming of our climate here.


They were superb – if only I had had my camera to hand on Friday morning when one of them took off and slowly circled above the garden at about 7am.

Unfortunately they have been sharply seen off the premises.

A little later on Friday or Saturday the Bon Viveur saw a grey heron and a white egret standing next to each other on the river bank, appearing to have a bit of a barney.

Next day, we had only a grey heron circling the chateau grounds, river and garden, guarding his territory. He is there continuously now.


And I never even had the chance to say goodbye …

14 thoughts on “(Very) good things this week

  1. karen

    How exciting! We’ve only ever seen an egret at the wetlands nature reserve in Norfolk where they have a breeding programme. We get very excited when there’s any new wildlife here. This summer we had a lesser spotted woodpecker nesting in our tiny wood, and several times we saw two baby woodpeckers. It really made our day. Love the misty photos. Captures the atmosphere of your garden.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks for the kind comment, Karen! Yes – it really makes a day shiny to see something so beautiful fly into it. I love woodpeckers. Unfortunately we had two fly into the glass of our sunroom this year – stunned and dead. I don’t know what kind they were, but Nick identified them. Now I think I may put some of those bird silhouettes up on the glass to deter them. Their little bodies were so very perfect.

  2. Steve

    Computers, computers! When are we going to stop being slaves to these machines. My wife’s laptop died the other day even so it is less than a year old. I think the latest version of windows 10 has screwed up a lot of machines. Anyway after many hours of telephone help an engineer is coming out later today. On a more interesting note we have started getting Little Egrets on the lake behind our house. Again a sign of global warming!

    1. Cathy Post author

      You are so right Steve – I’m pretty sure that it was Windows 10 that laid my machine low. Hope your wife’s laptap has been retrieved by the engineer. Mine was purchased in 2010 and it made me mad just thinking that this could be one of our problems – I mean, only 6 years old! So lovely to see your little egrets – I know how exciting it can be (didn’t used to be a ‘bird’ person).

  3. Paula Clements

    Lovely for you seeing a great eagret always brings magic and happiness! Sorry about the computer giving up the ghost! The pictures are lovely with a flavour of Autumn mystery. X

    1. Cathy Post author

      Lets hope that our egrets have done just that, Paula. Certainly, I feel very settled and contented at the moment (in spite of computer issues!)

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks for the comment! Yes – unfortunately sometimes you see things when the light conditions just aren’t right (at dusk in this case). I took the pictures initially to help verify our ID. It was exciting to be right because we argued about it for 24 hours!

  4. rusty duck

    Oh don’t talk about computers, I’ve been tearing my hair out here..
    Well maybe the egrets will return come Spring, now they know what a lovely garden you have!

    1. Cathy Post author

      The computer fiasco was triggered by one of those wretched Windows updates that seemed to go on for ever. The poor thing just couldn’t cope any more. Fingers crossed for an egret return.

  5. Eliza Waters

    Big water birds are always exciting to see. I think I’d faint if I saw a Great White Egret here, though we usually get herons. Your gardens look lovely in the mist. Long ago I visited France in the fall, your photos make me nostalgic. 🙂

    1. Cathy Post author

      It does look lovely at this time of year – but our colours have started turning very late because it was very warm up until about 2 weeks ago. We were truly very excited by the egrets …

  6. Cathy

    How exciting to have seen the egrets and what a shame the heron has now sent them packing… Reading about your computer experiences is a bit concerning especially as my laptop spent a good hour or so updating last night…. Hope you will be hapoy with your brand new shiny one when it arrives!

    1. Cathy Post author

      You are so right about the updates, Cathy. Unfortunately my computer had Windows 10 on it and I think it just wasn’t up to the job (probably an old printer driver problem). It was in the midst of those updates that it started blue-screening. I do wish, sometimes, that those computer geeks would leave good-enough alone!


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