Friday, 24 June 2011

Pink Hydrangeas

This week the hydrangeas in the front garden have absolutely "popped", thanks no doubt to all the wonderful rain we've been having!
So, I decided to show them off and join Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound for my first Pink Saturday.
Before linking up I visited Beverly's blog to check out "the rules" and discovered a delightful way to get to know bloggers I've never met before.

This is Beverly's challenge:
We have a weekly challenge for you to visit the blog of at least one participant that you have never visited before. Then next Saturday include that blog and a link in your post. Quite a few of you have been done this challenge, and have met some of the great Pink Saturday participants. Thank you for sharing with us.

As I browsed the thumbnail pix, from last weeks particpants, a jug of gorgeous white hydrangeas caught my eye and with just one click I had "met" a new blogger friend.
Pam @ White Ironstone Cottage who is hosting a new weekly gathering which she is calling "Treasure Chest Friday".

Don't you love living in blogland!

Where else can you meet so many interesting people whilst sitting in a comfortable chair, tea cup to hand, dog lying by your feet, looking out at a lovely garden and all without getting dressed up and putting on make up?

I'll be sharing these beautiful flowers also with
Harriet @ Hey Harriet for Shadow Shot Sunday,
The Tablescaper and Seasonal Sunday
Mary @the little redhouse for Mosaic Monday.
Bon weekend a tout!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Chateau de Balleroy welcomes bloggers!

Yesterday afternoon the Senior Partner and I headed over to the Chateau de Balleroy to meet English blogger Jackie (Jackie's Life in Surrey) and her husband Phil for the first time.
They are spending a few days here in Normandy and they drove down to the Chateau from Bayeux where they had spent the morning looking at the Cathedral and the Tapestry.

The deep moat which surrounds the Chateau has always been empty!

The Chateau was built in 1631 by celebrated architect François Mansart for Jean de Choisy and was owned by the Balleroy family until it was sold in 1970 to the American publisher Malcolm S. Forbes.
He founded the world's first hot air balloon museum at Balleroy in 1975.

We had a little time to spare before our tour of the Chateau began and as Phil was keen to see the Balloon Museum they headed upstairs whilst the SP & I browsed in the gift shop, where he bought me a beautiful little tapestry change purse to replace one that I had bought there many years ago but which has since been lost on our travels.

We also had time to quickly visit the 16th century church, which is in the grounds of the Chateau, before meeting up with our bi-lingual guide and other visitors.
Me, Jackie & Ben
enjoying the sunshine
in our front garden.

Afterwards we popped our heads into the Dovecote before heading back to our home for a cup of tea and some Cherry Bakewell cake.

Click here to go to the GoodFood website for the Cherry Bakewell Cake recipe.
We had fun getting to know Jackie & Phil and hope that they are enjoying their visit to Mont St. Michel today and that the weather stays fair for the rest of their time here in Normandy.
à bientôt.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A special family weekend in Normandy

This past weekend my sister, BIL, two nephews and step - mum came to vist us here at the Presbytere, it was the first time we had been together in twelve months, and so we had a lot to catch up on.
The weather was awful! Their ferry on Friday afternoon was delayed because of it and the crossing itself was quite an adventure, luckily no one was seasick although many other passengers around them were unwell.
Saturday it poured with rain but we entertained ourselves playing golf with Tiger Woods on the Wii, Nicholas (aged 10) scored a hole in one! Not bad for a beginner.
When the rain eased off the boys and their Dad went with Uncle Roger & the dogs for a long walk whilst my sister, step mom and I chatted by the fire.
Yes, that's right, a log fire in June, incroyable!
Sunday dawned bright and clear which was a relief as the main reason for the family visit was so that BIL, Andrew, could take part in the 24th Marathon de la Liberté.
From the official website:
"Rooted in the French Top 10 marathons since its inception in 1988, the Marathon de la Liberté, sometimes called Marathon D-Day beaches, often chosen as the Marathon of Caen, has one of the most beautiful courses in France.
Coasting on the mythical places 42.195 km Landing (D Day Beaches, Casino de Ouistreham, Pegasus Bridge ...), the maritime and rural means something different and makes the marathon more than usual, full of symbols and emotions. "

Some facts and figures..........................
3000 runners began the marathon at 9.00 am from the port at Courselles sur Mer -  only 842 crossed the finishing line.

The first person across the line, Desta Morkana from Ethiopia, ran the race in 2 hours 15 minutes and 54 seconds.
There were 21 U.K. runners taking part.
Andrew's time of 4 hours 19 minutes and 49 seconds made him the 14th Brit to finish!
This was his first marathon and we are all very proud of his acheivement.
Whilst we were standing at the finish line we noticed that children were running up the road, towards the marathon runners.
We soon realised that the race organisers were allowing them to run and meet their mother or father as they came in, so that's what our boys Alex & Nicholas did too.

It came as a surprise to Andrew when they finished the race together but he was pleased to have them with him as he cooled down.
All to soon it was Monday morning and time for them to head back to the U.K. but not before I took one last shot of our Marathon Man and his medal!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tea and Tea Things Swap - the reveal!!

Can you see me doing my happy dance?
No, well believe me I am!

The lovely Beth @ Beyond The Garden Gate recently arranged a Tea and Tea Things Swap amongst her friends and followers and lucky me because I got Beth, the gracious hostess, as my swap partner.

Today, our post lady delivered a great big box all wrapped up in pretty paper and it was addressed to me.
Take a look at what was inside.

Quelle surprise when I unfastened the clasp on the small Parisien attache case and discovered new and exotic fruit teas (Tazo "Berryblossom White and Pomegranate, a green tea produced by Harry & David) and a teapot shaped tea bag holder festooned with roses.

This beautiful book "The Art of Tea and Friendship"  is sure to become a firm favourite and will inspire me endlessly when writing my tea time themed blog posts over the coming months.

Here is just a sample -

"May your home always be too small for all your friends", reads a plaque in my friends house. I once lived in a home that was so small that a guest remarked, "I can't believe real people live here!"
Even if your home is too small to host all of your friends at one time, you can throw open the doors and welcome them all with a "Come and Go" Tea Party, an idea I learned from my mother.
By staggering the times on your invitations, you can enjoy all your friends at one special party. Invite one third of your guests to tea from 1 - 3 p.m. one third from 2 - 4 p.m. and one third from 3 - 5 p.m.
Enlist the help of two or three friends to serve the food and tea and clear the tables so you can be sure to be available at the door for every "Hello" and "Goodbye".
Not only will you enjoy seeing so many friends together, each of them is sure to find some new friends at your house!"
Marietta. GA.
Click here to go to the author's website.

Thank you so much Beth, for initiating this delightful Tea things swap and extending the hand of friendship to me and everyone else who took part.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mosaic Monday at Lebanon Plantation, Georgia.

Joining Mary and other creative Mosaic makers for Mosaic Monday @ thelittleredhouse with these mosaics of images captured inside the Garden House of the Lebanon Plantation.
I had the pleasure of touring the plantation last October with other members of the Quimper Club during our annual meeting in Savannah, GA.
The Garden House, Lebanon Plantation.
Georgia, Georgia,
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Scenic Sunday in Herefordshire

I've finally found the time to look through the dozens of shots which I took during our recent stay in Herefordshire and thought you might enjoy seeing some of the interesting black and white architecture which abounds there.

You will find these pretty cottages in many of the small villages, down twisty country lanes.

Of course there are plenty of Public Houses (pubs) on the Black and White Trail too.

Weobley, Dilwyn, Sarsfield, Eardisley, Kington and Pembridge are just some of the villages which we enjoyed visiting. You can usually find a pretty little teashop where you can have a refreshing cuppa and a cake (or two) before continuing along the route. We particularly enjoyed the Old Forge in Weobley which is a gift shop too!

Joining in with Scenic Sunday this week , click on the link to see more of the beautiful world in which we live.

Monday, 6 June 2011

D Day - 6th June 1944 - a tribute

Today 6th June 2011 marks the 67th Anniversary of D Day when allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy during Operation Overlord.
"At dawn on the 6th June 1944, two Allied armies, one British and one American, landed on the beaches of Normandy in France. It was the largest invasion ever attempted, and its ultimate goal was to secure a foothold in Europe, to defeat Germany and liberate the Continent from Nazi rule. Leading the invasion, landing by parachute and glider, several hours before the first troops assaulted the beaches, were three Airborne Divisions; two were American and landed in the west, the other, the 6th British Airborne Division, landed in the extreme east.

D Day Veteran- Dan Lyons: 6th British Airborne Division
The main tasks of the 6th Airborne Division were as follows:
1. To capture the Bénouville and Ranville Bridges. These strategically vital bridges, if held against counterattack, would not only prevent the Germans from moving decisively against the flank of the British and Canadian seaborne troops as they advanced inland, but they would also enable the Allies to advance eastwards.
2. The destruction of the Merville Battery. Several miles to the north-east of these bridges was an imposing fortification that contained four large calibre guns, which could do terrific damage to the invasion fleet. The 6th Airborne Division had to attack and destroy these guns in the hours before the landings took place. "
Yesterday evening we had the honour of meeting, and paying tribute to, a veteran of the 6th British Airborne Divison who took part in the D Day invasion.
New friends Sue & David Roberts graciously invited us to their annual "Hog Roast" and village party.
The guest of honour, once again this year, was Dan Lyons who was a wireless operater serving with the British 6th Airborne and was dropped by parachute, close to Pegasus Bridge, on the night of 5th June 1944.
Dan and his brother in law John, a British Royal Navy veteran of WWII, accompanied by their sons will be attending several events to commemorate the 67th Anniversary in Normandy.
Dan and John
The weather, which until Saturday had been sunny and warm, turned against the party planners and Sunday dawned wet, cold and windy.
However, our hosts and their team soon put Plan B into operation removing two German anti-aircraft guns from storage in one of the long barns and clearing cobwebs and detritus from nooks and crannies before installing several long tables and many chairs.

The evening was very well attended, residents of the nearby village of Litteau mingled with English and American guests staying at the Manoir, as well as a number of British ex- pats (like us) who live in the area.
The Mayor of Litteau paid a heartwarming tribute to the veterans, which was heartily endorsed by all those present.

Besides the excellent roasted hog with all the trimmings our convivial hosts also laid on an open bar and live music for dancing, parfait!