Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Frogs Tale from Charente #RPBP #ASMSG






Hello and welcome to

Part 2 

    The Featured Book of the Month 

Our Frugal Summer in Charente
An Expat’s Kitchen Garden Journal

By
Sarah Jane Butfield
(If you missed part one click here )
))
Throughout June I will be featuring some behind the scenes stories and images from Our Frugal Summer in Charente and running some giveaways and competitions.

In this weeks episode I have a tale from the riverbank, (well our babbling brook to be precise) plus the first giveaway to announce. So let's begin!


As a child I always struggled at school with making up stories. My imagination just didn't seem to exist, or I didn't know how to use it, and I was much happier re-telling stories based on what I knew and what was going on around me. Over the years, as I became an avid reader, my ability to imagine places and scenarios outside of my own experience has developed too. Now my husband Nigel and my kids would say it has gone to far now and you will see why when I tell you the story of, 'The Frog King.'

At the perimeter of our new garden in Charente there was a small brook which divided our garden from our neighbours field at the back. When we arrived the brook, which was described in the estate agents details as 'an exquisite babbling brook' was overgrown and resembled a dirty ditch! The water was green and there were dead birds and other detritus floating ominously. 
As we cleared the area around it Nigel suggested that we dredge the bottom to encourage the water to flow as we had established on a walk through the village to the church that this brook flowed all the way through to a larger expanse of water.
The act of dredging using the garden hoe initially made the situation appear much worse as the grey/brown murky water blended with the green algae and leaves. The smell as we disturbed the lower layers of sludge was horrible, but we continued. As the weeks passed we kept the brook area clear and slowly the water started to clear, so much so that we could see tadpoles in the water. 
In the evening when our work was done we would often go and sit by the brook and dangle our feet into the water which was very refreshing.
One evening as we sat discussing the plan of action for the following day I felt something wrap around my foot and in-between my toes. I immediately pulled my feet from the water and pulled at the green plant that had become entwined. 

"Look Sweetheart, it's seaweed!" I shouted, even though Nigel was sat beside me. 

"It's not seaweed, it's blanket weed, now calm down or you will fall in."

As I removed the green plant from my toes I discovered the iconic black bubbles of seaweed you would find at the beach. "Look, I told you, it is seaweed!" 

Nigel took the plant and examined it before calmly saying, "It's a funny French plant, don't worry about it."

However, as I sat there I couldn't stop thinking about how seaweed could have got into the brook. We lived a good two and half hours drive from the nearest coast. I stared into the water and my imagination started to run wild as thoughts of our little brook linking up to the sea and how far a piece of seaweed might have travelled, could we one day find a message in a bottle thrown from some castaway on an island and so on. Then suddenly breaking my thoughts a large frog leapt out of the water and he too had the seaweed wrapped around him and in that split second as he left the water the seaweed trailed behind him like a royal cloak.

"Oh look it's the frog king."

"What on earth are you talking about now?" Nigel said. I had obviously made him jump as he was now wiping coffee off his trousers with that annoyed look on his face.

"The frog king, look at him he's wearing a seaweed cloak."

"Have you been eating the mushrooms gain? For goodness sake!"

The evening deteriorated from this point as Nigel, convinced that I had finally lost the plot, continued to moan about my outburst by the brook. However, for me it sparked a new idea - a children's story where a frog king seeks to find a suitor for his only daughter, Princess Sophia, but with his exacting high standards and expectations no frog princes were good enough. When the Princess Sophia falls in love with a tree frog visiting from Australia there is trouble at the Frog Palace as she tries to persuade her father that she is in love.




Australian Tree Frog
This weeks giveaway!!!
Comment below with the name of your favourite vegetable to enter the draw to win one of 3 paperback copies of Our Frugal Summer in Charente

See you next week for a boxset giveaway!



Book Three: 
Our Frugal Summer in Charente: 
An Expat’s Kitchen Garden Journal


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Our Frugal Summer in Charente
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