Sunday, 15 July 2018

Mosaic Monday # 92 - a different sort of Bastille Day

Looking back through my blog post archives it appears that I blog about Bastille Day every other year so since the last post was in 2016 here I am again.
France's National Day 2018 fell on a Saturday, a day when even non sports fans such as myself were glued to the TV watching a blistering semi final match between Nadal and Djokovic @ Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Spoiler alert: Djokovic triumphed!
The total amount of prize money this year is a staggering £34 million with the tournament Champions each receiving £2,250,000.
Nadal and Djokovic were swiftly followed onto Centre Court by Serena Williams who was beaten by Angelique Kerber in the Ladies Singles final which frustratingly clashed with coverage of the World Cup playoff for third and fourth place between England & Belgium, in Saint Petersburg. Russia.
And let's not forget the Tour de France happening at the same time!

Time for tea, I think?

Kate and Meghan may have been seated in the Royal Box but here at the Presbytere we missed none of the action whilst savouring afternoon tea, mouthwatering patisserie, my favourite heirloom china from Nana B and pretty flowers from the garden. 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Mosaic Monday # 91 - searching out the quirky

quirky definition: unusual in an attractive and interesting way
Taking a trip to somewhere new
 often offers up something odd or quirky to capture through the camera lens.
Here are some unusual things that caught my eye recently.

an ancient wrought iron door knocker, how many hands have held this through the centuries?

another hand made piece of door furniture that has stood the test of time

how I wish these rusted and corroded metal shutters had been open!

What's caught your eye this week?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Mosaic Monday # 90 - discovering the Dordogne

Warning: this post is light on words and overloaded with images.
If you enjoy travelling especially from an armchair and love meandering through France well you might want to grab a beverage, get comfy and settle down, you could be here for quite a while.
The road we travelled last week wound its way through several regions of France which were new to us.
Nouvelle Aquitaine; Pays de la Loire; Deux Sevres; Charente and Charente Maritime; Dordogne; Périgord, all such wonderful places to explore.

Our base in the Dordogne was the lovely Maison Asholi, our B & B hosts Beverley & Martin looked after us so well. As experienced caterers they also cooked dinner for us on two evenings, the food was delicious.
On our last night, as they were going out for the evening, they left a selection of delectable eats for us to enjoy al fresco, sitting on the terrace watching the sunset was a lovely way to end our day after visiting Brantôme.

Friday, 29 June 2018

In the pink!

Joining Beverley @ How Sweet the Sound for this week's
Pink Saturday.

It has been a while since I had anything Pink to share
 but summer is here and my garden is 
"in the Pink"
at last.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Mosaic Monday # 89 - what I did on my birthday

Last Friday was my birthday, not one of the big ones the next O is a couple of years away but still a special one in many ways.
On the previous day we had driven down to the Pays de la Loire region of France to stay overnight at the Manoir du Moulin, in the small town of Sainte Hermine in the Vendee. 

Looking at the pretty garden through the breakfast room windows whilst enjoying our petite dejeuner was a lovely start to the day.
On our way to our next destination, Maison Asholi in the tiny hamlet of Bouteilles Saint Sebastian over in the Dordogne, we stopped off in the pretty town of Fontenay le Comte to visit the Chateau Terre Neuve. 
We had a wonderful tour of the Chateau. Our guide, Eve, was delightful and took great pride in telling us about it's history. 
The Chateau visit deserves a post of it's own and once I've reviewed all the photographs that I took during the tour I'll be telling you more about that wonderful place very soon.
Later that afternoon we arrived at Maison Asholi and received a warm welcome from our B & B host, Beverley.
Just look at our pretty bedroom!

As we sat outside basking in the glorious sunshine and admiring the garden Beverley brought out  a birthday cake that she had baked specially for me, complete with candles!

In the evening the SP took me to dinner at "a table" a quirky restaurant @ La Lumiere B & B owned and operated by two English women in the nearby hamlet of La Guide. 
The restaurant is small, it seats just 36 diners in two downstairs rooms of what once was an ancient French farmhouse and has a usp I've not encountered before.
Dinner is by reservation only, there is no menu (although they do have a short wine list), and all the tables are served at the same time.
As each course is dispatched from the tiny kitchen it is delivered to the table by a server along with a short description of the dish.
6 courses over 3 hours, quite an experience and one that made this birthday a birthday to remember.
You may have noticed that I've become a fan of the Waterlogue app after seeing the wonderful images created by Sarah @ Hyacinths for the Soul a week or two ago.
It's so easy to use and such fun!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Mosaic Monday # 88 - "Achilleion" Sissi's Palace in Corfu.

In the early 1980's the Senior Partner's career took us to Bavaria, West Germany, we lived there for over 13 years. 
Our home overlooked Starnberger See (Lake Starnberg) and it was whilst I was living there that I came to learn a little of the history of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, (1837-1898).
"Sissi" was the daughter of the Duke Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria, wife of  Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and half sister to King Ludvig I of Bavaria.

As a child Sissi enjoyed spending time with other family members by Lake Starnberg at their summer residence Possenhofen Castle, situated in the pretty lake shore village of the same name.
Sissi's adult life was not as pleasant.
Her marriage to Franz Joseph was not a happy one, overshadowed as it was by her domineering mother in law who also happened to be her aunt, the Archduchess Sophie (of Bavaria).
The suicide/murder of her son and heir, Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, and his mistress at his hunting lodge, Mayerling, in 1889 was a tragedy from which she never recovered.
Elisabeth fled Austria and travelled to the island of Corfu, a place she had visited often during her extended travels and a sanctuary from life at court in Vienna, Austria.
After purchasing a large villa in the village of Gastouri and later also the land surrounding it down as far as the coast she instructed the Italian architect, Raffaele Caritto to design a palace in the Pompeian style. 
Building began in 1889 and took two years to complete.
As a great admirer of Achilles, a hero of Greek mythology, Elisabeth named the palace Achilleion and had several statues of him installed in the house and throughout the grounds.
She visited Achilleion twice each year until she was murdered in 1898 in Geneva.
The palace remained closed until it was sold in 1907 by her daughter, Maria Valeria, to Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Achilleion Palace is now a Museum operated by the Greek Tourist Organization and we were able to tour both it and the extensive gardens during our recent stay in Corfu.

It was wonderful to walk the halls and climb the elaborate staircase however many of the rooms were unfurnished and in need of some TLC.

I so enjoyed learning more about the Empress Elisabeth and seeing her most favourite home but was saddened to discover that her visits were cut short when her life ended so tragically at the hands of an assassin.
On a lighter note to finish, some movie trivia for you to enjoy.
The teenage German actress Romy Schneider starred in a trilogy of movies entitled "Sissi" (1955, 1956 & 1957) playing the role of Elisabeth. The three films were later condensed into one version "Forever My Love" and dubbed into English.
In 1968 Omar Sharif played the leading role of Crown Prince Rudolph in a movie based on the Mayerling Incident. 
Scenes from the 1981 James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" were filmed in the Casino on the upper storey of Achilleion.