Thursday, 20 October 2016

Five on Friday - Pictures of Home

Not much of interest to report today.  Gallivanting around France so much recently has meant that things at home have suffered.  This week I've been playing catch-up and as a result have been quite productive.  I finally phoned Amazon about a refund for that order that never arrived, I organized the drain-down of my van in France, I phoned Scottish Power as instructed, regarding the installation of my Smart Meter (only to be answered by a machine that would not allow me to leave a message... yeah, helpful) and I made a start on the hedge!

A nice man with a chain-saw will finish off the job for me as it is now about 10 feet high.  The laurel hedge is in the garden of my neighbour, an elderly lady who recently moved to a care home, whilst the property is empty and with her family's agreement I am going to reduce the height of it by half as it blocks out so much sun in my garden on summer afternoons. Hacking away with the loppers has been a most satisfying feeling.


Unpacking my winter wardrobe and putting away my summer clothes was also long overdue, another thing I tackled this week.  My out of season clobber gets stowed under the bed in this vintage suitcase, what do you do with yours?


I noticed that my home was looking lacklustre and could do with a spruce up.  I'd like some new curtains but money's tight just now, a move around of the furniture would freshen up the place but my open plan ground floor does not lend itself easily to this.  Eventually I settled on decorating the mantelpiece and the sideboard in the hall with a few pine cones, a kilner jar filled with autumn berries and leaves and a few candles in jam jars...all of which cost me nowt.

I also painted this picture frame to tie in with the black theme going on in the hallway.


Now the evenings are dark so early and I haven't been around enough to get into anything much on the telly, the crochet hook has been in use again making this floral ring.  I used an inexpensive plastic embroidery hoop, double crocheted around it and then attached the flowers and leaves.

I also made a pom-pom hedgehog in front of the telly the other night. 
Not sure he looks very hedgehoggy though, his snout is not quite right and the cute factor is definitely missing.


My final chore before going back to work today was taking the garden rubbish and other crap to the tip, only to discover that it is now closed two days a week!  Yet another victim of cut-backs Britain.

 On that cheerful note I will leave you with some bangin' sounds from the 70's.  Enjoy your weekend.
Linking with Amy's Five On Friday 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Five on Friday - French Connections

Crikey I've had a hectic time of it lately, I've crossed the channel twice in the space of two weeks, driven halfway down France and back, worked four twelve hour shifts and attended a concert in between ..phew!

After purchasing my holiday home in France HERE, I needed to close it up before winter.  Essentially a caravan, it would be too chilly to use in colder months and must be prepared for winter. (Being a novice at this malarkey, I'm not au fait with all the proper terms yet but if anyone knows them....do speak up.)
Anyway, I digress, I took a stuffed car on the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen and benefited from a few hours shut eye in a cosy cabin.
 After a five hour drive I arrived exhausted at my new place, but before I could relax I had to unpack the car and organize the van.  An invitation to share an apero and nibbles with some neighbours whose acquaintance I'd made in the summer, was gratefully accepted and I soon learned all the important stuff...like the opening hours of the village bar.  The next day following my appointment at the insurance office, I zoomed around SuperU and returned 'home' to further explore the local village.

St Christophe du Ligneron is not the prettiest village in France, especially on a grey day in late September but with two boulangeries, a convenience store, tabac, pharmacie and resto... it suits me.   One thing I've noticed about small French villages is that they often have huge churches.
It makes you wonder how often the pews are filled these days?

All too soon I found myself back across the channel and looking forward to events of the following week....


....the long awaited Jean-Michel Jarre concert!
The godfather of electronic music has entertained me on and off over the last four decades so when the chance arose to go and see him at Brighton I jumped at it.  The queue outside the venue snaked along the seafront but once doors were opened we were soon inside and remarking upon the dreadful soulless place that the Brighton Centre is!

There was no publicity of current or forthcoming events anywhere to be seen, no artwork.... just yards and yards of concrete and brick, it reminded me somewhat of the National Theatre on London's South Bank.
However the gig was fabulous and the visual effects were AMAZING!  The two hour show consisted mostly of JMJ's new album Electronica, alongside a couple of tracks from Oxygene & Equinoxe.  After the concert, instead of hanging around the stage door (oh yeah, for him I would!) I hurried home as hours later I'd be travelling across the channel once more.


A weekend break in Lille had been arranged a few months back with a colleague. D had commented that she wanted to go but her husband wasn't keen, I jokingly replied that I'd go with her, she took me up on it and so we found ourselves at Ebbsfleet boarding the Eurostar.

  It was my first time on the cross-channel train and I expected it to stop before the entrance to the tunnel but we sped on through and the next stop was Calais. My experience of it was very efficient, door to door in two hours, most impressive.


 Lille was lovely!  We took a tourist bus around the city checking out the sights en route which included Old Lille with it's stunning 16th and 17th century Flemish architecture, the birthplace of De Gaulle and the Palais des Beaux Arts, which houses the works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya and Toulouse-Lautrec and in France is second in size to the Louvre.

 The old stock exchange

The patisserie was to die for!

  Later in the trip we walked miles around the old city and for a taste of authentic Lille, visited the Marché de Wazemmes. This huge market located in an ethnically mixed working class area of the city sells just about anything you can think of.  D bought several items for her family and I spent the grand sum of €6 on a book about the history of the 2CV and a pair of orange opaque tights.



Walking back to our hotel through the wonderful Gare de Lille Flandres

I happened upon this poster advertising Higelin's latest album.

Jacques Higelin was the first French artist that I discovered, in 1978.  Back then I was given a tape of his album Alertez Les Bébés and played it non-stop, I recently revisited it and found that I still love it just as much as I did in the 70's, here's my favourite track.  Enjoy.

Linking with Amy's Five on Friday 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sunday Photo - Sunset au Camping

Taken on my whistle-stop trip to France earlier this week.

Linking up with Darren at Sunday Photo

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday Photo - Shades of Autumn

The 22nd of September saw the Autumn Equinox, so I collected these leaves and berries from the hedgerows hereabouts to create a photo which marks the changing of the season.  My Countryside Companion imparts this September weather wisdom.

Should you notice a goat graze with his head to the wind, expect a fine day;
 but when he crops with tail to the wind, look out for rain during the day.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Five on Friday

It's been a busy old time recently,....(more of that later) so blogging has been brief and sporadic... no change there then, I hear you cry.  Here's an update with what's been goin' down in my neck of the woods. 


Last week, whilst the south of England was basking in sub tropical temperatures, I took a trip to the coast to visit a friend who lives a stone's throw from the sea.  Another friend joined us and we strolled to the beach side café at Shoreham Harbour and ate lunch, chewed the cud and sipped wine...all very pleasant indeed. 
From our table we could see the new i360 Tower at Brighton. For those not familiar with it, there's a pod around the exterior of the tower which travels slowly up to the top for fabulous views over the coastline and South Downs. The day before, it had broken down stranding visitors halfway up it for two hours, and since then it's stopped again... not a great record for something that's only been open for three months. 


Offshore, we could see the beginnings of Rampion Wind Farm.  My friend told us that at night he could hear the pile driving works in progress, amazing when you consider it is thirteen kilometres out to sea.

After lunch we ambled back from the seafront and had to wait a while for the lock gates to be opened.  This boat was passing through and we got chatting to the blokes on deck who were involved in environmental work.  They told us that they sail out to the wind farm to try to chase away any dolphins, porpoises or seals to help preserve sea life and to prevent interruptions to the work. Interesting stuff.


Somewhere else I've been lately is nearby Rowfant House. The house, a blend of 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th century architecture is rich in history, having been requisitioned during the war and latterly being purchased by the Latvian Church, who restored it to a habitable state, so it's especially sad that it is up for sale.

  A  house clearance sale was advertised so I went along to have a look and came home with a few useful bits.

A Classic Car event was planned at our local caff last weekend and I took a hike down there with my brother and SIL.  It's just a small place so I wasn't expecting many motors, but happily there was a decent turn out and we spent an hour reminiscing and inhaling the wonderful aroma of leather interiors.


At home the Frister & Rossman was dusted off and I spent an hour and a half in front of the telly one evening, seam ripping an ink stained duvet cover.   The stained half I'll use as a dust sheet when decorating, the other half I sewed into a sleeping bag liner.

I saved myself at least a tenner by making it myself and being a thrifty sort, I removed all the duvet buttons too and will recycle those some time in the future.


Now to explain why I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger.   As the saying goes 'it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind'.... and I have.  Back in June after the EU referendum, you may have read here how I was having second thoughts about my dream of buying a little static caravan in France.  Since then I've had a change of heart, largely due to by chance finding this super second-hand 'mobile home' on a lovely rural site whilst on holiday in Vendée this summer.... and a wake-up call regarding my age!   On my return home, I did some sums, thought about the lovely place in France and after some dithering I made an offer... which was accepted!  I decided if I don't do it now, I never will, life is for living and (I believe) we're only here once!

Since then it's been non-stop emails and phone calls organizing the purchase and insurance... my French has been well and truly tested and of course there's been shopping galore.  The items bought at Rowfant House will be going out and so will the sleeping bag liner...(for use on the last night of my stays so that I don't have to leave dirty bed linen behind.)  I'll be crossing the channel soon.... exciting times lay ahead!

So that's my Five this Friday, thanks to Amy for the link up and to you too if you made it this far.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday Photo - The Last Roses

My climbing rose has had a severe pruning this week, it had got so leggy that I hadn't even noticed these last blooms because they were hanging over the fence into the neighbours garden.  I hoicked them back, shoved them in a pot and displayed them on the patio table.  Don't they look pretty?
Linking up with Sunday Photo.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Sunday Photo - Colour

It struck me whilst preparing two of my five a day, how vibrant and attractive the contents of the dish looked, and so before you could say 'David Bailey' I'd whipped my camera out.
With a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt it tasted every bit as good as it looked.