Sunday 31 July 2011

Nothing but blue skies from now on................

Summer has returned to Normandy and blue skies are the norm (!) once again.
For Mary's Mosaic Monday at the little red house and Blue Monday with Smiling Sally a little taster to brighten your day.
If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you,
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleanora Duse
As some of you will already know Sally has been hospitalised for some weeks now
 but the latest on her blog is that she's doing o.k.
Do pop over for a visit and say hi to Sally's grandaughter Lauren
 who assisted Sally with this week's Blue Monday.
Les Nympheas

Friday 29 July 2011

Pink Saturday

How the week has flown by.
It doesn't seem 5 minutes since I sat here with my daylily collage for Mosaic Monday, now here I am on Friday preparing for the weekend ahead and Pink Saturday with Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound.
It's not as if I've been that busy this week, the days have been filled with mundane things such as shopping, housework and gardening.

I did have a mini rant over on my other blog just books yesterday, after I heard about the actor who will, allegedly, bring Jack (no middle name) Reacher to our movie screens this fall.
If you'd like to register your opinion on the matter, click here.
I'd really like to know what you think.

So, what have I got to show you for Pink Saturday this week?

How about a pink cow?
Well, Normandy is famed for it's wonderful cows and dairy industry, so why shouldn't l'Authentique not only have a beautiful creamy white daylily but also a pink metal cow in their garden?

Bon weekend a tout!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Mosaic Monday - Daylily collage

I spotted this beautiful, creamy white daylily in the garden of l'Authentique, a restaurant in our local market town when we had lunch there last week.
Unfortunately I got my shadow in there too, bottom right!
C'est la vie!

Kicking off the week by joining Mary for her Mosaic Monday gathering @the little redhouse with this simple collage and Shakespeares sonnet number 99.

To quote the bard:
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dy'd.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both,
And to his robbery had annexed thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet, or colour it had stol'n from thee.

Friday 22 July 2011

Pink Saturday with Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound

The weekend is almost here and so for Beverly's Pink Saturday party @ How Sweet The Sound I created this pinkalicious mosaic using photographs taken in our own garden and at the Château des Ravalet Flower show which we enjoyed visiting in May 2010.
The bad weather has kept me indoors almost all week.
There have been some dashes out into the garden, between the rain showers, to do bits of weeding and other tidying but mostly we've been housebound.
So, to while away the time, one of the things that I've been doing is sorting through the zillions of photographs stored on my PC
This is always a treat as I often forget just what's in there!

There are isolated T storms forecast for the weekend ahead so I'm glad that I have two new paper back books to read.
Mermaids in The Basement by Michael Lee West and Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, they should keep me quiet!
If you are looking for a good read click here or on the sidebar link to go to my other blog just books.
There you'll find recommendations from myself and other book loving bloggers, I should think that between us there'll be something to suit all tastes.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Most embarrassing snooze, we have a winner!

Cows in the mist.
The view from my bedroom window this morning

Last week on Bastille Day I owned up to the fact that some years ago I fell asleep during a performance of Les Miserables and asked if any of you had fallen asleep somewhere that you shouldn't have.
Several followers were brave enough to share an embarrassing moment with me and I did have to smile when Carol told me that she had fallen asleep in class once and dropped her knitting needle which rolled to the front of the auditorium.
Fennie admitted that she fell asleep during her daughter's graduation ceremony but was awake during her daughter's bit!
Sarah fell asleep in yoga class which I think we can all understand, but then she snored!
Lorrie was lulled to sleep on a tour bus whilst travelling through Europe, but I think that's allowed and Diane and her husband Jack fell asleep watching Mary Poppins at a drive in theatre.

However, Pondside's story made me howl with laughter and I think you'll all agree that she is the worthy winner, of a very small token of my thanks, for sharing the incident with us all.

This is Pondside's most embarrassing snooze....................

When our huge Home Depot first opened The Great Dane was very happy and wanted to visit at every opportunity. One Sunday, on the way home from church he had to 'pick up a little something' from the HD. There was something about the air in the store - the off-gassing, perhaps - but as I waited for him I sat on a stack of carpets, and before I knew it I'd tipped over and fallen asleep. I think everyone we knew walked by and saw me in my Sunday best, sound asleep in the carpet aisle. I was mortified!

Thanks to everyone who joined in, you're all jolly good sports and for those who didn't I hope that you'll click on the above names and go over and get to know the bloggers who did.

Friday 15 July 2011

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream!

July, it seems, is Ice Cream Month and the 17th of July is National Peach Ice Cream Day according to my list of American Food Holidays!

Would you like to join me in the garden to celebrate?

Where would you like to sit?

My contribution to the Ice Cream Socials being hosted this weekend by

Peach Melba Knickerbocker Glory - a Barney Desmazery Recipe from BBC Good Food.

It's so good and so easy and soooooooooo delicious
you're probably going to want to try it yourself!

This one is yours, grab a spoon and dive in!
You can even dip the madeleine into the sauce, I won't watch, promise.

300g raspberries
50g caster sugar
200ml double cream
4 ripe peaches, halved - stones removed
8 scoops good quality vanilla ice cream
and a large handful of flaked almonds, lightly toasted.

This is so easy:
Blitz half the raspberries with half the sugar and a splash of water to make a raspberry sauce, then tip into a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the cream with the remaining sugar until stiff and spoonable, then set aside. Thinly slice the peaches.
In tall sundae glasses, layer the peach slices, raspberries and raspberry sauce, finishing with scoops of ice cream, a generous spoonful of whipped cream and a scattering of flaked almonds.
Serve straight away with long spoons.

and, since this is a social event after all
I'll be linking this post to
Beverly's Pink Saturday gathering @ How Sweet The Sound just so that I can show off the gorgeous pink hydrangeas that are still blooming so beautifully,
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
and also
Mosaic Monday with Mary @ the little red house. one of my favourite blog parties.

Please pop in and say Bonjour to all of our delightful hostesses this week
by clicking on the links above or on their buttons on my sidebar..

Bon weekend a tout!

Thursday 14 July 2011

Bobbie Flay's Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper and Arugula-Tomato Salad

Joining Lynn @ Happier Than A Pig In Mud for July's Celebrity Cook - Along with TV Chef Bobbie Flay.
Strange as it may sound but before this month I didn't know who Bobbie Flay was.


But through the wonders of the Internet, and trusty ole Google, I was soon able to put that right and found this easy chicken recipe on The Food

The recipe was featured in the series Boy Meets Grill in an episode entitled French Bistro Grilling.

Fat Tree Semillon - Sauvignon Blanc, New South Wales, Australia
went well with the dish.
Although we do have a small Weber BBQ I decided not to use it that evening, opting to grill the paillards on a heavy bottomed, ridged grill pan, on stop of the stove.

Much easier and not so messy!

As I happened to have all the ingredients, except for red onions, it was the perfect dish for a Sunday evening dîner pour deux au jardin.

Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper and Arugula-Tomato Salad.
·    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
·   1 small shallot chopped
·   1/4 cup pure olive oil
Freshly picked rocket from the potager
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded thinly
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound arugula (rocket/roquette)
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced ( used salad onions instead)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used balsamic just because we love the taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • Lemon halves, for garnish
  • Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, olive oil and black pepper in a large dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat then marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
·    Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt on both sides and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.
·   Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, toss with the vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
·   Place each piece of chicken on a large plate, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with some of the arugula-tomato salad.
·   Garnish with lemon halves and serve.
Don't forget to head over to Lynn's
and also to a new blog find
Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.

Click here for more Bobby Flay recipes.
Bon Appétit 

Bastille Day July 14th - La Fête Nationale

Today, July 14th is Bastille Day, a National Holiday in France and as I lay awake in bed last night listening to my neighbours celebrating into the wee small hours I was thinking of the evening about 20 years ago when we saw "LES MISÉRABLES" at the Palace Theatre in London's West End.

Embarrasingly I have to own up that I had no difficulty falling asleep that evening, that's right I fell asleep during the performance.

Have you ever fallen asleep somewhere where you shouldn't have?

Do tell! .......there'll be a small prize for the snooze I consider to be the most embarrassing!

Linking this little post to
 French Inspiration Thursday @ The French Cupboard
 click here to be inspired.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Did you ever have one of those days?

Did you ever have one of those days when things just don't go your way?
I'm not talking about a really Bad day (with a capital B) just "stuff" you could have done without?
Well, dear  reader, I had one of "those" days yesterday
I spent over an hour looking high and low through the house for my camera because there were pix on there that I needed to tweak before completing some blog posts.
Looking for it in places I knew it couldn't possibly be (under the dog bed; in the fridge) but looking anyway because it just wasn't to be found anywhere else.
Eventually I found it quietly sitting in a decorative Quimper bowl on a window sill where I had placed it earlier, before getting fresh sheets and pillowcases from the linen cupboard.
Of course!
Then when I finally went up to switch on my PC I discovered that the Velux window in the roof (my room's in the attic) had been left open overnight.
That meant that the rain which had been bucketing down all morning (literally bouncing off the pavement outside) had totally soaked everything on my desk beneath said Velux window, including above mentioned PC!
Before the rain!
Mouse, mouse mat, mug mat, blue cotton throw from Ikea that covers my table, note pads, pens, pencils, leather office chair, books, camera case (yes, I know, be grateful that the camera wasn't in it's case at the time!), dish of sweets and a teddy bear companion not to mention the rug beneath the desk and chair.

The rain went through the rug and into the floor tiles.

Every thing sodden!

After clearing up the mess and taking the rug down to the garage to dry out I gingerly powered up my laptop and all seemed well.

That is until I began to write this blog post, then weird things began to happen.
The number seven started to appear in the text 7777777777, and my Ashampoo Photo Commander went haywire.
I called the Senior Partner in for a consult, he knows a thing or two about computers.
His advice, use a hair dryer!
Strange but true. So that's what I did and after 15 minutes powered up again.
Still not right, so I turned it off and left it overnight to dry out and fingers crossed it seems to be o.k. now.
Has your computer ever gone on the blink?
It's a scary feeling to think that you might not be able to access all your "stuff" ever again.
I've learned my lesson, and will be making sure I back up to the desk top more often in the future.
(and of course that the Velux window is shut tight at the end of each day!)
Looking forward to a better day today, and wishing you the same!

Saturday 9 July 2011

July - Potager Update

Here's a quick update on how my garden grows.......................
This morning in between rain showers I spent some quiet time hoeing, weeding and generally tidying up the potager.
Dwarf runner bean"Hestia"
The seeds were a gift from Gay
Getting my hands in the dirt is my idea of fun, no gardening gloves for me, which is why I recently joined Sharon Lovejoy's Grimy Hands Girls Club.
Thanks to Pondside for pointing me in that direction.
Dwarf Haricot beans
Lynn @ Happier Than A Pig in Mud recently shared her recipe for Pickled String Beans, in a week or so I think these guys will be ready to be picked and pickled!

Top: second sowing dwarf haricot seedlings.
Middle: Spicy, peppery rocket..
Bottom left, just visible: Red oak leaf salad.
I think that this is my favourite time of the year, when all the hard work starts to pay off.

It is one of my life's joys, each evening, to carefully step between the rows and pick mesclun leaves for the salad bowl or a small handful of yellow and green dwarf haricot beans to go with a simple steak and frites.

Courgettes; round, green or yellow, (zucchini) get a quick egg wash and breadcrumb coating, before frying gently in butter, they go well with steak too.
Or I could make zucchini bread.
I came across a great recipe on Becky's blog " Not Your Ordinary Agent" earlier this week.

As well as cauliflower and cabbages I planted Chinese leaf a type of crunchy oriental cabbage, for the first time this year.

It has a very mild flavour and can be eaten raw in salads, steamed to serve as a side vegetable, or added to a vegetable stir fry for a quick and easy supper dish.

Today's potager produce; yellow and green courgettes; a handful of beans; chinese leaf for steaming
a pretty blue hibiscus flower.
Joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
 Mary @ the little red house for Mosaic Monday.

Click on the links above
or on the sidebar
 to visit their wonderful blogs.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Watery Wednesday

Joining Watery Wednesday this week for the first time
and also
Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer.

I took these shots recently as we walked along the banks of the River Vire in Saint Fromond, a small sleepy Normandy village, typical of this area.

This village is about a 5 minute drive away from our home and we often stop here to take our dogs, Ben & Fleur, for a walk along the river bank en route to Carentan or St Lo.

67 years ago during the invasion of Normandy, as part of the "Avranches breakthrough", this is what was happening in this exact spot.

SAINT-FROMOND/AIREL Manche - 17 km north of Saint-Lô
The 30th Infantry Division seized a bridgehead on the river Vire

At the beginning of July 1944 the battle seemed endless for the Americans in the Norman bocage. On the left wing of the front line they reached the river Vire. On 6 July Airel is liberated. The following day on 7 July American artillery opened fire on the western bank of the river Vire. It is a preliminary to the assault of the 30th Infantry Division under General Hobbs who must cross the river Vire in Saint-Fromond. At 4:20 a. m. boats carried out the first assault wave, then the second under heavy German shelling. Infantry climbed the opposite bank and pushed back a German kampfgruppe. The engineers started to prop up the old stone bridge, and at 12:30 p. m. the first tanks crossed the river; a floating bridge allowed the passage of light vehicles. Saint-Fromond was liberated. North of the town the Americans spanned the canal Vire-Taute in front of Saint-Jean-de-Daye. On 11 July a German counter-attack of the Panzer-Lehr Division failed to drive back the bridgehead.

 with heartfelt thanks and gratitude
for those who fought for our freedom.
Lest we forget.

Monday 4 July 2011

Happy Birthday USA!

Timothy K Hamilton created this amazing image.
Wishing all our friends across the pond
all the very best
 on your 235th Birthday!

Friday 1 July 2011

Debbiedoos "Magazine Copycat Challenge"

Today Debbidoo is hosting a Magazine Copycat Challenge party.
I read about it on Ricki Jill's blog Art@Home  this morning and it sounded like fun.

As chance would have it the July issue of one of my favourite decorating journals, Campagne Decoration, had just arrived and as I leafed through the pages I found my inspiration for the challenge.

I took a vintage French enamelware utensil rack, threaded it with garden twine (supplied by Sean The Gardener) and hung it on a sunny wall in the garden.
I found three small plant pots sitting beneath my potting table, took three marigold plants from an urn at the front of the house and voila!

My Campagne Decoration Magazine Copycat shot.
Click here to see more copycats and maybe join in the fun.

Linking this post also to
Inspiration Friday with Heather and Vanessa @ At The Picket Fence
Seasonal Sundays with The Tablescaper
Mary's Mosaic Monday @the little red house.