Monday 31 May 2010

Normandie Impressionniste Festival begins 1st June 2010.

Inside Rouen Cathedral The major cultural event of the summer here in Normandy promises to be The Impressionist Normandy Festival which begins 1st June 2010, continuing throughout the summer until September 2010.
Horse Drawn carriage in Rouen.
The Festival's website is rightly very proud of the event:
Initiated under Laurent Fabius and numerous governmental authorities, including the Regional governments of Upper and Lower Normandy, the counties of Seine-Maritime and Eure, the Cities of Rouen and Caen, with the support of major businesses, this multidisciplinary celebration is on an unprecedented scale for France. For the public, it will be the perfect opportunity to discover exceptional cultural heritage and all the creative talent of Normandy, homeland of the Impressionist movement.La Dame au Balcon. Henri Ottmann.
One of the special exhibitions is to be held in the Fine Arts Museum in Rouen.
It is entitled "A City for Impressionism" and will include paintings by Monet, Pissarro and Gauguin, many of which will be on show to the public for the first time.
The streets in Rouen's historic district are lined with ancient half timbered buildings, and here you will find many excellent small cafes and restaurants.
Click here to read my Monet's Garden at Giverney post

Champ de Coquelicots, Environs de Giverny. Claude Monet.

Nearer to home, I'll be able to visit the Corot exhibition at the Saint-Lô Fine Arts Museum and the Millet exhibition at the Thomas Henry Museum in Cherbourg.
Hopefully we'll get a chance to visit Rouen once again to see the light shows and illuminations at the Cathedral.
Rouen Cathedral by Claude Monet.
More from the Festival website:
Impressionist Normandy encompasses the entire territory of two separate regions (Upper and Lower Normandy) and as such, is an unprecedented initiative in France. The event will take place simultaneously in dozens of cities, towns, and villages. The main Norman institutions, as well as numerous other public and private partners, will be associated with the festival. In addition to the desire to bring together an entire geographical area, the fact of multiple locations also illustrates the precedent established by the painters’ own penchant to wander through the countryside in search of new subjects to paint. Certain exhibitions will be sent to other countries and thus will act as "ambassadors” for Normandy. As an unofficial & unpaid ambassador of Normandy I'm very happy to be able to promote our adopted region of France in with my blog.

If you are planning on visiting France this summer do try and see one of the amazing exhibitions going on throughout the region, and let me know if you'd like some company!

I'm linking this post to Frenchy's wonderful, 1st June French Obsession meme
@Le Château des Fleurs.
I have been lucky enough to have visited the Fine Arts Museum twice now and these photographs were taken during one of my visits.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Weekly Words to Live By # 170

My body is the garden of my soul, of my soul.
My body is the garden of my soul.

Soul of Healing Affirmations - Deepak Chopra

Please visit Tracey @Notes From A Cottage Industry for more interesting quotes & ideas.

Fête des Mères

Tomorrow, the last Sunday in May, France celebrates the Fête des Mères or Mother's Day, two weeks later than other countries around the world.
A lovely tradition here in Normandy (maybe in other parts of France too, although I can't be sure) is for local shopkeepers to present their female customers with a single long stemmed rose.
This morning at my local boulangerie I came away not only with a wonderfully fresh pain paysan for lunch but a beautiful red rose shyly presented to me by Madame's young son.

Wishing you all a lovely Fête des Mères wherever you are.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday: S stands for so much!

I was So Spoilt for choice this week when considering which Stunning Shots to Showcase in my Alphabe-Thursday "S" post.
So, I created two mosaics of photographs taken by the talented Mr B during our recent visit to the (Sh)Château des Ravalet.

Above: Scrollwork; Swag; Sunken grotto and Succulent plants Surrounding a Sign.

Below: Stone fireplace; Shadows; Shabby (Sh)Chic garden furniture for Sale; carved Stone window decoration & Still life Surround a Swan Swimming.

I hope that you have enjoyed this Stroll around the grounds of Ravalets Castle now Shimmy on over to Jenny's blog "Off On My Tangent" and See who else has Signed up today.
Thanks to a heads up from my friend Sarah @ Hyacinths For The Soul I am also linking this post to Claudia's Friday~ Finding Beauty~ meme @ Dipity Road and also to Laurie's A Few of My Favourite Things Saturday get together @ Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie.
Be sure to pop in and visit all these lovely blogs and say "Hi" to three very interesting and clever ladies.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Weekly Words to Live By #169

"Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection". Lawrence Durrell.
Please visit Tracey @ Notes From A Cottage Industry for more pearls of wisdom.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

R is for Reiki.

Time for Mrs Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday lesson and I'm so happy that this week the letter to discuss is "R".
For me R means Reiki.
What is Reiki?

Reiki is universal energy, and is accessible to all, regardless of belief, age, colour, or creed.

Reiki is holistic healing, working on mind, body and spirit.
Reiki can do no harm, it is always working for the higher good.

What does the word and symbol Reiki mean?
Loosely translated Reiki means "the free flow of universal life force energy".

In Japanese Rei means spirit, ghost, soul or spiritual conciousness, it can also be interpreted as free passage, universal and ever present.

Ki means life force energy.

Reiki as we know it today was rediscovered towards the end of the 19th century by a Japanese Doctor: Dr. Mikao Usui, and is based on the teachings of centuries old Sanskrit Sutras found in a Zen monastery in Tibet.

Dr. Usui dedicated the rest of his life to healing and teaching Reiki and was decorated for this by the Emperor of Japan. He died in the early 1930's, and his teachings were eventually brought to the West by Madam Hawayo Takato.

The 5 Reiki Principles:

Just for today, I will not worry.

Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will honour all living things.

Just for today, I will earn my living honestly.
Just for today, I will live an attitude of gratitude and show kindness to all things.

After a relaxing Reiki treatment walk slowly to Jenny's and enjoy all the great blogs gathered there this morning.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

White Wednesday in Normandy.

Wherever my eye rests in the garden at the moment I see white blossoms fit for a bride.
Last years sickly, white clematis is making a healthy comeback against the ancient stone wall which surrounds the garden.
Pittosporum tenuifolium Irene Paterson below came home from the garden centre with me last week.

Not to be outdone, Mother Nature provides beautiful white hawthorn flowers to perfume the garden......... and sprinkles delicate wildflowers along the lanes.

I'm linking this post to Kathleen's weekly meme White Wednesday @ Faded Charm where you will find a wonderful selection of whites to please your eye.

Monday 17 May 2010

Anyone for salad?

Here's the latest from the potager..................................the salad leaves are amazing I am serving my version of a mesclun salad every evening.
The name mesclun comes from Southern French mescla "to mix", I pick a variety of baby salad leaves red and green to which I add add baby spinach leaves & parsley.
However, I fear we may soon be unable to keep on top of them!!

The early and main crop potatoes are also doing well, I spent some time yesterday earthing them up to encourage growth.

There's a very old English proverb that says:
"ne'er cast a clout til May be out"

Wikipedia explains the proverb like this:
Advice not to change from winter clothes to summer clothes until June, as there is often a sudden cold snap in May. May here refers to the common name of the hawthorn bush, whose blossom indicates the arrival of summer, or warmer weather.
I recently listened to a gardening programme on the radio and the expert obviously agrees with the proverb because he said he would not be planting out his courgettes (zucchini) until June 1st.
Our hawthorn bushes are covered in beautiful white blossom and smell heavenly, but even though my cougettes and pumpkins look ready to go in now I think the folklore and the expert probably know best and I'll wait until 1st June too.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Shadow Shot: Château des Ravalet

Joining the Shadow Shot Sunday gang @Hey Harriets blog with a capture taken not by myself, but by Mr B with my camera, last weekend at the Château des Ravalet Flower show.

Friday 14 May 2010

A Milestone.

Yesterday was a bit of a milestone day for me not only was it my 170th post but the number of people following Normandy Life reached 100 when Shakira signed on as a follower.
I find it incredible that 100 people scattered across the globe are willing to spend a few minutes now and again to read my "bucolic ramblings".
The most amazing thing is, that apart from a very small handful of family and close friends, most of my followers are people that I have never met in person and probably never will.
Despite that you are all very important to me and I feel that through your own blogs I have come to know you quite well over the past two years.
One person who's path would probably never have crossed mine in the real world is the lovely Kathy, otherwise known as Happy Mrs C .

Kathy was the winner of my 2nd Blogaversary giveaway last month and she recently blogged about receiving my package from France. She included some delightful photographs, of the gifts, staged in her garden amongst her stunning azaleas.
Kathy lives on Lookout Mountain, doesn't that sound like a great place to live, we met through Mrs Matlocks Alphabe-Thursday meme, a great favourite of mine.
So, thanks once more to all my wonderful cyber friends for helping this transplanted English rose in rural Normandy feel less isolated and thoroughly connected to you all.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Q can only mean ...........................Quimper

The subject of this weeks Alphabe-Thursday assignment is the letter Q and for me that can only mean Quimper pottery, a tin glazed earthenware which has been produced in western Brittany, France for over 300 years.
An assortment of Quimper cheese dishes.
Many of you will know that I also manage the blog for the Quimper Club International .

I am blogging over there this month as part of my duties as co-organiser of this years Annual Meeting October 24 -27 in Savannah, GA.
We are thrilled to have the renowned Breton artist Philippe Lalys as one of our guest speakers at the meeting, the collage below is of some of his wonderful pieces.

But this post is all about the pottery not the meeting, so for your delectation a selection of Quimper eye candy.

The croisille decor is one of my favourite border designs.

I know, it's all gorgeous isn't it?

Or maybe it isn't your cup of tea? Either way I'd love to hear from you. If you love it or hate it, leave me a comment so I'll know.

Now scoot over to Mrs Matlock's class and hand in your homework or you'll get a detention!

Sunday 9 May 2010

Fuschia Fantasy for Mosaic Monday.

Saturday was a holiday here in France; V.E. Day (Victory In Europe Day 1945) and as a treat we visited The Château des Ravalet in Tourlaville for the Presqu'île en Fleurs flower show.
We certainly enjoyed browsing the exhibits of 40 plus vendors, admiring all the beautiful flowers and plants on display and for sale.
I'll be blogging about this wonderful place more than once I'm sure because the grounds, the chateau, the greenhouses, plantings etc. are outstanding and I think you'll enjoy visiting there with me.

Today, a mosaic of mouthwateringly beautiful fuschias which I'm linking to Mary's Mosaic Monday @ the little red house.

Be sure to pop into the little red house and see all the other great mosaics gathered there today.

Sunday Favourites Re Run with Chari.

Happy Mothers Day to all.
Here's a chance to see how we dealt with a mini drama but really not a crisis, a couple of years ago when my surrogate child (!) Mr Ben fell in the pond!

Breakfast preparations came to an abrupt halt at 07.45 am today when as I briefly glanced out of the open door I saw our cocker spaniel, Ben, struggling but failing (!) to climb out of the pond in our front garden!
He must have walked around this pond at least 5 times a day since he came to live at the Presbytere (almost 8 years ago) and this was the first time he had ever taken a dip.
I don't know who received the bigger shock him or me, or maybe it was my other half, Roger, as I screamed "Ben's fallen in the pond".

Now, this pond isn't an attractive feature in the garden, the only thing pretty about it is that it's pretty yucky, so when I finally yanked Ben out of there he was in a very digusting state, not what you want to deal with just before your petit dejeuner.

I'll spare you the details, suffice it to say we gave him a very thorough bath using the outside garden hose & masses of doggy shampoo.

Roger then dried him off using my hairdryer until he resembled his former self.

The pix show just what Ben thought of that. Hope you're day get's off to a better start than ours.

Linking through to Chari's @ Happy to Design blog today and her Sunday Favourites Rerun meme, a super idea which allows us to revisit previous posts.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

P is for Photographs and Paintings in Paris.

For many years Mr B was the photographer in the family, he was always up to date with the latest kit and each time he upgraded I received his cast off camera. Worked that way with PC's too, for a while! When I began scrapbooking I commandeered first his Nikon, and then the Lumix which is everything I need for blogging too.
I use Ashampoo Photo Commander to manage/edit all my Pix and Photoscape and Picasa to create the mosaics.
I blogged last month about our visit, whilst in Paris, to l'Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens and my mosiac today, using Picasa, is of some of the wonderful paintings which we saw that day.

The painting in the centre is "Bouquet dans une loge" by Pierre August Renoir.
then clockwise from top right:
Portrait deux fillettes: Renoir.
Antonia: Amadeo Modligiani.
Paysage: Paul Gaugin.
Rue de Mont Cenis: Maurice Utrillo.
Deux fillettes: Renoir.
Le Boudoir: Henri Matisse.
Bouquet de Tulipes: Renoir.
Paysage de Niege: Renoir.
Le Chemin de Montbuisson: Alfred Sisley.
The header painting is by Picasso.
I'm linking through to Jenny Matlock's great blog Off On My Tangent for Alphabe- Thursday where the letter "P" is under the spotlight.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Weekly Words To Live By #166

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.

Nephew Nicholas busy at work in my garden Easter 2009, wearing my gardening clogs and Uncle Roger's work gloves. We like to start them early in this family!!
Please join Tracey @ Notes from A Cottage Garden for this week's Weekly Words to Live By.