Sunday, 30 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 51 - flowers and cheese.

Although the weather has been very un July like in Normandy this week my blue hibiscus is continuing to put forth amazing flowers for us to enjoy.
It's such a shame that they wither and die so quickly if you cut the stems to bring inside, I shall  simply have to admire them as I pass by.
I snapped these colourful hydrangeas with my phone whilst at the market in Trevieres on Friday.
I was happy to see that the florist had reopened after being closed for many weeks due to illness.

Buying fresh produce there is one of my favourite things to do, I always look forward to sampling tasty bites of fromage before deciding what to bring home to enjoy at the weekend.
This time I bought a slice of creamy ripe Brie and a large slice of authentic Greek feta to enjoy in a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, olives and thinly sliced red onion, lavishly sprinkled with oregano and drizzled with Greek olive oil which I brought back from our trip to Crete in May, delicious!

My wisteria is covered in large blooms for the second time, we enjoyed it's sweet perfume in May and here it is again, a delight for all the senses.
The swishing sound it makes when a strong breeze passes through causing the flowers to swing to and fro is so romantic.
A small volunteer nasturtium, a descendent of seeds bought at Monet's home, Giverny many years ago, peeps through the low lying foliage and adds a sweet contrast.

Whilst walking back from La Poste across the market place I spotted a brand new addition on the Trevieres dining scene.

We're looking forward to trying it out soon.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 50 - home again, home again, jiggitty jig!

Home again from our wonderful vacation, we literally just walked in the door.
I said thanks and goodbye to our lovely house sitter, June, then headed straight up to my attic craft room/office to pen this week's blog post before jet lag and exhaustion from 48 hours travelling (we flew to the US via the UK!) take over completely.

The second week of our Florida vacation was just as amazing as the previous one, we managed to fit so much into the days we spent with my family but still enjoyed plenty of "us" time for just the Senior Partner and me.

The latest "land" to open in Walt Disney World in the land of Pandora which you may know from the movie "Avatar".
The plants and flowers both real and "imagineered" used in the theming of Pandora are amazing, here are just a few.

Apologies for such a short post this week, I'm sure you'll understand why.
I'll be better prepared next week I promise!

Also just a heads up..............after next week's post Mosaic Monday will be taking a short break during the month of August, returning all fresh and revived on Monday 4th September that's 09/04/17 if you're from across the pond!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 49 - Postcards from Florida

It's been great spending time with my sister, brother in law, their two sons and the eldest ones girlfriend who we met for the first time this week.
Our days have been filled with theme park visits, shopping and dining out, plus time spent relaxing by our pool.

Our favourite park has to be Disney's Animal Kingdom, of course it has roller coasters and rides that get you very wet but what the SP and I enjoyed the most was seeing "wild" animals in natural settings. On the Kilamanjaro Safari we saw lions, giraffes and elephants "oh my"!

On Saturday BIL celebrated his birthday by doing a 5km park run. He enters several UK marathons during the year and needs to keep fit even on his birthday whilst on vacation.

The Senior Partner went along with him as driver and chief supporter, it was good for them to spend time together something that only happens every couple of years usually.
In the evening we all celebrated together with dinner at the Boathouse restaurant in Disney Springs.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 48 - using Google Photos?

bucolic Normandie #1
I've been learning playing with google photos recently using my phone to create collages for Mosaic Monday.
The mosaic above was my first attempt and although I would have liked to have been able to "tweak" the photos before creating the collage I don't think it turned out too badly.
I thought I'd try and see what difference, if any, there would be if I edited the photos in Ashampoo and replicated the collage using PhotoScape.

bucolic Normandy #2

PhotoScape doesn't have the same exact template so I chose one that was very similar to the google photos arrangement.
I have to say that I can't see that much of a difference between the two which made me very happy because today dear MM'ers this post is coming to you not from Normandy, France but from Orlando Fl.
We arrived yesterday and are on vacation with my sister and her family, staying in two very similar villas close to each other and also close to WDW.
We can see each other's back yards across the lake.
I'm going to continue playing around with google photos on my phone and hopefully you'll be seeing us enjoying Florida quite soon.
Quick update.. Using Google photos has been a lot more fun since I discovered the snapseed app.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 47 "The Island" - Spinalonga, Crete.

I don't know if you have read the novel "The Island" by Victoria Hislop?
An international bestseller which tells the story of Spinalonga, an island off the coast of Crete, the leper colony created there in 1903 and the lives of the people banished to inhabit it's rocky shores until 1957 when the last people left the island.

I read the book several years ago and had always hoped to visit Spinalonga myself one day. During our recent to trip to Crete I was able to tick that box on my wish list and what an amazing place "The Island" is.

We took a small ferry boat across from the town of Plaka which is how the lepers were transported to their new lives.

I imagine the scenery looked very similar then as it did on the morning we made the trip.
After arriving on the island the lepers were led through a short tunnel under the Venetian fort into the main street of the colony. This is the view they would have seen as they came out into the sunshine.

Many of the buildings erected by the Venetians and later the Turks would have been still standing although they made for very rough accommodation and were quite inhospitable.

Can you imagine how it must have felt to be able to see the mainland through this tiny window of your house, which was part of the Fort wall, knowing that you would never leave Spinalonga?


Repairs would have to be made by the lepers themselves with supplies brought over from Plaka or Elounda on the mainland.

A Hospital, a Dormitory, a Church  and  several shops were built to make life better for those living on Spinalonga.

The large concrete block on the left is the Dormitory, the Hospital is top right in the photograph above.

the Church has been restored by the Archaeological Service

The history of Spinalonga goes back centuries and I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface if I tried to tell you it's stories.

So please allow me to share some of the dozens of photographs taken during our visit, some of the information boards displayed in the restored part of the leper village and a link to an excellent website which you can visit if you would like to know more about Spinalonga.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Mosaic Monday # 46 - Cerisy sculpture park revisited.

Last month I told you about the sculpture park  situated in the grounds below the Abbaye de Cerisy and how it came to be.

Earlier this month we went back again to see if there were any new works in progress, although there weren't any sculptors working with stone and marble I did notice what appeared to be two recently created sculptures which hadn't been there on our previous visit.

This year the organisers of the event have extended the invitation to artists who's metier is working with metal. On land adjacent to the park workshops have been set up and I was able to get some photographs of the artists at work.

In one of the workshops I saw that a stone sculpture from 2010 was being worked upon. What do you think, do the little toy cars add or detract from the original piece? I have to admit to being baffled, myself.

On the opposite side of the road from the sculpture park is a beautiful lake which attracts locals, tourists and those who like to fish.

So serene and tranquil, the sculptures dotted around the lake add another level of interest.
I can see that this is going to become one of our favourites places to visit this summer.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mosaic Monday # 45 - A very British affair.

Whenever the Senior Partner and I go on vacation we leave M'selle Fleur in the very capable hands of a lovely couple of ex pat Brits, Mr & Mrs Price.
They used to operate a pet sitting enterprise "Priceless Pets" but since retiring just look after one or two, luckily Fleur is one of them.
Whenever their car pulls up in front of the house it's as if we no longer exist as Fleur has eyes only for them.
Should I be upset that she abandons us so easily? Not a bit because we know that she will be well taken care of in our home whilst we're away.
Last weekend we went to an open garden event, a fund raiser for the Volunteers of Passerelles a refuge for cats and dogs, which June (Mrs Price) is involved with.
The event hosts were another British couple who have, like us, chosen to make France their forever home.
As we walked up to the house it was like walking back in time to an England that we left over 30 years ago.
Admission by donation.
Flower and vegetable plants,
homemade jams and dress jewellery for sale.
Refreshments and cakes.
Red Lion Morris,
performing at 15.00 and 16.00.

The owners garden was lovely, with hidden corners, many plant species and a small orchard.

By the time we arrived June's plants had practically sold out (at those prices I'm not surprised.
The refreshment table was down to the last few slices of quiche, the cupcakes were almost all gone but there were still some little sponge cakes and cups of tea to be purchased.

The Morris dancers put on a wonderful show and everywhere you looked there were people getting to know each other and admiring their four legged companions.

M'selle Fleur was so well behaved and sat quietly observing the scene. A couple went by with a black and white spaniel which they had adopted from the refuge and immediately Fleur was keen to meet him.
Did she think it was Ben my lovely cocker spaniel who shared our lives so wonderfully for 12 years? I'm not sure but the resemblance was uncanny. Such a shame I didn't manage to get a photograph!

The SP, June (facing away from the camera) and another of her clients
in earnest discussion about a robot lawn mower!

It was a lovely afternoon chatting with fellow Brits, browsing the various stalls, winning a prize at the tombola stand and smiling at the antics of the Morris men.
On the way out the SP stopped to admire a classic car which was parked at the side of a footpath.

A man, a dog and a classic car so very British!