the gentle bucolic ramblings of an English rose, blooming in rural Normandy

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Plum Crazy in August



We've had a better than usual crop of plums this year more than enough to eat straight from the tree, as 1 of our daily 5 and to indulge my love of baking.


Angela Hartnett's Plum & Almond Tart with it's delicious frangipane filling was easy to make.
I found that it made enough pastry and frangipane for two tart's so as I had plenty of plums I made one for afternoon tea and one for the freezer, for us to enjoy later.


Plums and almonds were made for each other and this homely plum crumble was delicious. A perfect pud for a cold wet evening.


The weather this month has been dreadful and the comfort foods of our childhood are what we turn to as the afternoons get shorter and the shadows lengthen.

 It's Fall y'all.

Linking this post to Mosaic Monday #3
which is now being hosted by 
Judith @ Lavender Cottage 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Touring Blogland

Recently my dear friend Sarah invited me to join her on the Blogland Tour and featured me on her blog @Hyacinths For The Soul. 
Sarah and I have been friends since meeting at the Quimper Collectors Club’s second annual gathering in Washington D.C. in 2000. 

Sarah and I had a great day antiquing in Bayeux
when she & her husband came to visit in 2011.
As collectors of French faience in particular the pottery produced in the town of Quimper, Brittany, we always enjoy getting together with other Q collectors. I for one am counting down the days until we meet again next month in Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera.

plage Beau Rivage, Nice, France.
(photo from internet)
As part of the tour Sarah gave me 4 questions to answer.

What am I working on right now?

First of all with my Quimper Club Secretary’s hat on I’m working on preparing a report to present at the meeting next month. 
Mark Twain once said “there are two types of speakers, those that are nervous and those that are liars”. I know which type I am, addressing an audience is not something I am very comfortable with doing. Luckily I only have some statistics relating to the membership to report, so I think I’ll be o.k. 

Around the Presbytere I’m working on keeping everything “show home” ready as we never know when the Immobilier/ estate agent might call to arrange to bring a client over to view the house. 

My precious “me time” is spent in my attic craft room and it seems that lately I've been scrapping vacation memories.

L. Tulum, Mexico 1998
R. South Beach, HHI 2012
Some of my most recent pages.

L. Kos, Greece, 2013
R. HHI again with Dad & Joyce, 1992
How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Such a good question, but I’m not really sure that it does. I do have certain things that I like to include on my scrapbook pages, whether I’m following a sketch or a set of criteria set down in a challenge. I usually draw doodle a couple of lines around the edges to frame the layout. Tags! Almost every layout has to include tags wherever possible and I love to pile on embellishments in clusters and layers. These are my “signatures” I guess.

Why do I write or create what I do?

The simple answer is that I started my blog to share our life in Normandy. Our beautiful home, which we fell in love with the first time we saw it, is in a very small rural hamlet and there’s not a lot to do here if you’re not a farmer! 
In 2008 when I first started blogging I had no idea if anyone would be interested in my ramblings but just started chatting as if to a friend and went on from there.

 ice cream sundae, anyone?
I write about my garden, especially the potager, our pets, my husband, our little trips around the area and those to more faraway places. Blogging and scrap booking are the perfect hobbies for me.

How does your writing process actually work?



I always have my camera close by and anything such as my latest read, a beautiful sunrise, a bee on a lavender bush, a dog looking cute, white fluffy clouds or a new recipe can easily find its way onto the page. It’s almost always the photograph that dictates the post and inspires my words.
Lettuce soup, better than gazpacho!
Enough about me.

Time to introduce you to two ladies whose talents lie in quite a different direction to mine, you'll soon see why.
Lorrie @ Fabric, Paper & Thread is a blogging friend of many years who lives in Victoria, BC, Canada. 
On her blog you will find links to her Etsy store and Craftsy page where she says " I love to sew and create in a variety of mediums. Sewing, embroidery, paper crafts - you name it, I've probably tried it. But I always come back to my love of fabric and sewing! "

Another very talented lady is Sue @ I Sew Quilts
Sue and I met through the Quimper Club when we both attended the 2001 annual meeting in Quimper, Brittany. At that time she ran a very successful store aptly named “The Pumpkin Patch”. Sue’s blog is a feast for the eye, not only does she share with us the projects that she is currently working on but takes us travelling around the UK and the US, to the many museums and quilt shows that she visits with her quilting friends.

I’d like to thank Sarah for inviting me on the tour and you, too, for your company today. 

Please do visit Lorrie and Sue 
on Monday, the 18th August 
for the next sequence of the Blog Land Tour.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Personal Photo Challenge - August. Animals.

Despite having my camera with me wherever I went last month I encountered just four types of animals.
Dogs, M'mselle Fleur our beautiful German Shepherd is always nearby and has featured on this blog many times. We often see horses in the fields when out for a walk. Sheep.......I know! I can hear you saying "not sheep again".
And, of course Normandy cows.

Our home is almost completely surrounded by cows.


They have taken up residence in the fields to the left, to the right and behind us.


I took these photographs through the open bedroom window and then played with them in Picmonkey.
A gentle bucolic scene that I never tire of.
bon weekend a tous.

hosted by Donna @ Cottage Days and Journeys.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Flutterbys


Walking along the lane recently I couldn't help but notice all the little cream and brown coloured butterflies flitting in and out of the ferns.


I stopped so long to photograph them that the SP & Fleur got tired of waiting and walked on, leaving me behind to snap away.


I was fascinated by the markings on their wings and the way the sunlight dappled on them creating shadow and contrast.


Perhaps it was the wild honeysuckle threading it's way through the undergrowth that was so attractive to them?


Getting back in the car I was amazed to see how high the mais is now, high as an elephant's eye!


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Early Sunday morning


During the summer months the potager comes into it's own, providing wonderful fresh produce for the table.


Watering always takes place either late at night when the bats come out to play or early morning whilst waiting for the coffee to brew as happened today.

my favourite salad "cut and come again" mixed leaves and roquet
When I noticed the way the water drops on this opened courgette flower sparkled in the early morning sunlight I had to dash indoors and grab my trusty Lumix.


Did you know that technically courgettes/zucchini are a fruit not a vegetable?
You can use them in cakes and tea breads as well as many savoury dishes.
These two plants are identical yet one bears yellow fruits and the other yellow and green.
Such a rebel!


They have both been quite prolific so I'm trying out all sorts of ways to prepare them. Fritters and casseroles are always good standbys but our favourite recipe this year is for courgette pesto pasta which makes a great BBQ side dish and the cold leftovers (if there are any) are delish.


The plum tree has plenty of fruit on it this year, I hope that the birds leave us some and don't steal all the plums, after all they've already had the cherries, raspberries and blueberries.


Soon the coffee was ready and calling me back to the kitchen, so I picked a good handful of dwarf haricots for tonight's dinner as the SP is planning on cooking pork tenderloin medallions with a Dijon mushroom sauce, c'est magnifique!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Walking through IKEA


Last week I persuaded the Senior Partner to come for a walk with me through IKEA, it's that time of year when large "SOLDES" signs appear and you never know what bargains are to be had at Sale time.
I also wanted to replace the mattress toppers from our individual single mattresses and needed a guinea pig to lie down in the store and test them.


Stepping off the escalator you walk straight into new and trendy room settings.
As anyone who has ever visited an IKEA store knows it isn't easy to go directly to the department that you require since you have to follow the one way system through many sections to reach your destination.


Storage boxes and suggestions in all sizes and colours.
So, grab a coffee, cup of tea or your beverage of choice and come for a stroll through IKEA with me and see if I managed to get those toppers.


I really liked the look of this colourful kitchen/dining room but the SP wasn't keen.


This one was more to his liking, and to be honest I could be persuaded.


Kelims, carpets and rugs, I could spend ages just looking at all the different designs and patterns.


Isn't this a great way to display the variety of seat cushions available?


At last, the bedroom department.


Just 4 toppers to choose from and we decided on the second from the top: "SULTAN". To spare the SP's blushes no photographs were taken of him testing them out.
On the way to the self service check out we had of course to pass through the candle, glassware, kitchen utensil, office, gift wrap and garden departments.


Bright and colourful picnic wares.


Everything a girl needs for the office or craft room.


I need a gift wrapping station just like this one. A friend who lives in Dallas, TX has a small room devoted just to gift wrap!


Wouldn't this be a lovely outdoor place to sit with an aperitif and watch the sun sink below the horizon?


All that walking left him feeling quite tired so the SP takes 5 whilst waiting for our delivery to be brought from the warehouse.
Hope you've enjoyed your virtual walk around IKEA with me, today. I had planned on sharing the shopping trip when we got back home on Wednesday afternoon.
It was going to be my "What I Saw Today" weekly post.
However, a call from the Immobilier had us running around fluffing the house and tidying the garden instead ready for an early morning viewing the following day. No feedback yet from the clients so I'm not holding my breath.
Before you go, there's one last thing I'd like to talk to you about.
I was chatting yesterday with my very good friend Sarah @ Hyacinths For The Soul and she mentioned that lately she has been running out of inspiration for things to blog about.
Like me she has been blogging for several years now and has found that her blogging mojo has gone walkabout.
I shared with her an idea that I've had about maybe starting up a "What I Saw Today"  Linky party, a place where we can share with each other once a month what happened during that day.
Sarah liked the idea saying  "it makes it easy to come up with something about which to post".
It doesn't have to be a special or fancy event that you blog about - just show us what makes up "daily life" in your part of the world, as seen through your eyes.
Here's a link to my first "WIST" post in case you missed it.
Do you think it's a good idea, dear reader?
Leave a comment and let me know.
bon weekend a tous

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What I Saw on (Mon) Day


I'm calling this post What I Saw on (Mon) Day but it could just as easily be titled What I Saw on Bastille Day.
no treasures uncovered today, just the usual mix of bric a brac, toys and children's clothing
We celebrated in our own little way by mooching around a vide grenier in the nearby village of Bernesq in the morning.

insde the village's church of St Vigor


As a special treat I baked a Strawberry & Almond Cheesecake sponge from a recipe featured on the cover of the June 2014 issue of BBC Good Food magazine.
You can find the recipe here.

my cake on the left - not a bad "look a like" even if I say so myself!
Sitting on the terrace looking out over the garden with a large slice of cake and a good magazine, what a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

I found the vintage blue and white "Asiatic Pheasant" plate (one of a pair)
at an Antiques market in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. May 2014

Vive La France!

Joining Patti & Paula for
What's It Wednesday
@ Ivy & Elephants