Sunday 29 April 2018

Mosaic Monday # 83 - indulging the senses

Do you ever think about how often we indulge our five senses?
Magical perceptions without which we couldn't understand the world around us, every moment of every day even during sleep!
Sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. 
It's lilac time here in Normandy and despite the April showers which we've had this week my lilac tree is in bloom.

As I cut some stems to enjoy indoors I noticed that the rosemary in the herb bed was covered in pretty little purple flowers, so I cut some of that too.
I created a welcoming vignette on top of the chest of drawers in the entrance hall.
A tall lantern with a church candle which I can light in the evenings to add a warm glow, faux lavender stems in a contemporary shallow bowl are both Ikea purchases.
The jug, cups and saucers are from my Grandmothers "bottom drawer".
The two bunnies, which were part of my Easter d├ęcor, seem to have taken up permanent residence this Spring so I let them stay.
The perfume from the lilac and rosemary together was divine.
In Spring my thoughts turn to lighter fare, well, hearty soups and stews are for cold winter days aren't they?

I made a beetroot and goat's cheese tart for supper one night last week, it was delicious.

Click here for the recipe.
This might be considered a bit of a stretch but handling my scrapbooking materials is an indulgence for me, squirreling myself away in my attic craft room to play with paper and glue is the way I like to spend my free time.
I created this layout for a challenge on the UK Scrappers website this week which was inspired by BBC Radio 4's weekly "Desert Island Discs" programme in which "castaways" have to choose 8 recordings and a book to take onto their Desert Island with them. 

My disc choices were:
The Dock Of A Bay - Otis Redding
My Guy - Mary Wells
Maggie May (natch!) - Rod Stewart
If I Fell - The Beatles
Imagine - John Lennon
Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
Songbird - Eva Cassidy (which is also my funeral song).
My book choice was A Redbird Christmas - Fannie Flagg (what else could it be?).
(I left this one until last!)
Early in the week I had root canal treatment. I'll spare you the details but the sound of the dentists drill has always instilled fear in me ever since I was a little girl.
and on that note..................................

Sunday 22 April 2018

Mosaic Monday # 82 - a surprising few days

The biggest surprise here this past week has been the scorching weather we've been experiencing since Tuesday, making this the hottest April in Normandy since records began.
It was lovely to sit outside midmorning Wednesday with a cup of coffee browsing through a gardening magazine and planning which herbs to grow.
In the afternoon the SP surprised me with these sweet treats.
Thursday brought another lovely surprise, the cows came back to their summer home in the field next door.
The house martins which take up residence in the nests that previous families have made, in the rafters over the garage, arrived too making Thursday extra special.
They fly so fast and the nests are so up high that it's impossible for me to photograph them.
image courtesy RSPB

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Website
On Saturday morning we enjoyed petit dejeuner outside before heading off to a vide grenier in a nearby town, in the afternoon the temperature climbed to 28 C that's over 82 F!
I didn't uncover any hidden gems at the vide grenier but there were lots of pots and rusty old tools to be had if I'd needed any.
Early evening brought a terrific downpour followed by thunder and lightening and more rain.
Sunday was cooler so we decided to take a trip to the beach for our walk, there were quite a few tourists about taking advantage of the beautiful weather, the forecast for the coming week however is for temperatures closer to those which we normally expect in April.

Look how green everything is.....................

Wishing you a week full of blue skies and sunshine.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Mosaic Monday # 81 - saturday

Although Saturday got off to a cold and dreary start by the afternoon the sun was out and there were blue skies up above. Perfect weather for wandering around the garden, iPhone in hand, to capture some spring flowers.
The early daffodils have now gone over, been deadheaded but not tied back, the leaves left to continue to store energy into the bulbs before dying back in about six weeks time.
It's a different story with the "Cornish" daffodils however.
This delightful daffodil is
Seven years ago the SP and I visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan (click on the link to read a post about our visit which features both shopping and a Cornish Cream Tea!)) and I bought a good number of different daffodil species in the shop there.
The Cornish daffs  flower at least a month later than the earlies extending our daffodil season from December to April/May and brightening Normandy's cold and dark winter days.

damson blossom
Also bringing beauty into the garden this week are the blossoming fruit trees, damson; cherry; pear and apple are all doing their very best to outshine each other. As I walked around taking photographs I could hear bumble bees buzzing above my head but couldn't get a single one of them to sit still long enough for me to take a snap.

espaliered pear tree growing against the garden wall
Thank you for all your comments on the ballerina's tale last week, so many of us have the same dilemma it seems when it comes to disposing of our once loved treasures. The good news is that my ballerinas may have found a way to brighten up someone else's life in the future as a UK cousin, who deals in antiques and collectibles, has shown some interest.
All he has to do is come and collect them!

Sunday 8 April 2018

Mosaic Monday # 80 - a ballerina's tale.....................

To quote William Morris
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 
I can't remember when I first heard that quote but I know it was many years and several homes ago. 
I like to think that I've pretty much managed to follow this "rule" when deciding how best to make our home attractive, welcoming and comfortable.
Over the years I've gathered together quite an eclectic mix of furnishings and collectibles and when browsing through blogland I know that I'm not alone!
That's why I'd like to ask you something.
What do you do with the things that no longer suit your style or taste? If there's a possible home downsizing in the not too distant future, what then?
Are you ruthless and drop them off at the dump, donate to the local charity shop, sell them on eBay, or simply give them away to someone else to love?
I bought my first Lladro Nao ballerina whilst on vacation on the island of Lanzarote in 1982 in fact we liked them so much that we bought three.

Others soon followed and we began to receive Nao figurines as Christmas gifts from my family.
I loved to display them on a sideboard in our small English cottage.
When we went to live in Bavaria they suited the modern interior of our chalet style home, they even made it to Normandy when we moved to France in the mid '90's and that's when I fell out of love with them.
They are too modern, too 1980's and just don't go in this ancient house.
I took them out of the box to make my mosaic but they've been packed away again, to languish in a dark corner of the attic, until I've checked eBay to see if I'm sitting on a fortune! I'll let you know.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Mosaic Monday # 79 - apple blossom clematis

Picture the scene if you will - it's late Spring 2017 and I'm wandering around my local garden centre looking for new plants to replace two climbing roses which didn't make it through the winter.
Removing them had left large spaces on the front wall of the house and they needed to be covered over.
I came across a selection of clematis plants that I, in my ignorance, thought might be just the thing and bought two.
They were quite expensive but worth it, I thought, as they would quickly clamber up the Virginia creeper and cover the exposed surface.
All summer long I pined waited for them to flower, nothing, nada, rien!
Plenty of foliage although not enough to fill the empty spaces completely.
During the snowy days of February the clematis by the kitchen door had a bad attack of frost bite and sadly had to be severely cut back.
But now it's Spring 2018 and if you haven't already guessed from seeing my new blog header the apple blossom clematis by the front door has entwined itself around the sturdy branches of the Virginia creeper producing beautifully delicate pink flowers with pale yellow stamens and a delicious scent of vanilla.
The perfect clematis to grow in Normandy, the apple growing region of France.

Happy Easter from Normandy

We went to the beach this morning with M'selle Fleur after a two week break, as it's Easter weekend there were many others out enjoying the lovely day.
This weekend marks the start of the tourist season here in Normandy when holiday makers take over from locals, who enjoy walking their dogs on the beach, so we might not be going back for a while.
Which is why I was absolutely delighted to see that the town council of Colleville sur Mer have installed this large collection box by the footpath leading down to the beach.
This Tide Tray is available to collect Waste from the Beach
It is part of an initiative to get visitors helping to keep the beaches clean by picking up garbage from the shore line and dumping it in the box!
So hopefully, whilst I'm gone from the beach during the summer, other willing hands will be looking after Omaha Beach instead.
what goes in the box and what doesn't                                                           the collection so far