Monday 22 August 2016

Part Deux*

My recent holiday in France already seems like a distant memory. Once home, domestic matters, work and other stuff has occupied time, then recently I had problems with my internet connection.  Now this seems resolved I thought I'd better chronicle the second part of this holiday otherwise it probably won't happen.  I do like to look back at posts from time to time to remind myself what I've done with my life in recent years....do you?

I can't imagine that I will forget our day at Autrefois in the streets of Challans, in a hurry.  Described in the programme as a real immersion into the beginning of the 20th century, participants dressed up in regional costumes of the time.

Artisans demonstrated their crafts.

We were entertained by traditional folk music and dancing...

  which provided much amusement.  When the caller instructed the couples 'Messieurs, Dames, embrasser'  one old dear unsuccessfully tried to dodge her partner's kiss, then in a glaring display of disgust, grimaced and wiped her cheek with the back of her hand.  It was hilarious!

Of course there were sideshows and rides for the kids.

( French politicians are obviously as popular as their British counterparts.)

(and who doesn't love to slide out of a giant chicken's arse?)

There was a procession of vintage cars 

  And displays of animal husbandry...

....these baby ducklings were adorable.

The festivities climaxed in a heroic display by les pompiers.

  whereby 'they came to the aid of a young Vendeéne girl in peril'.

 Apparently the fire service put on a show every year and each time it gets more and more ridiculous. 

The story told of a saucy lady who was up to 'anky panky' wiz 'er beau.
Just as the fireman arrived, so did her father and so the beau hid from sight, but the father so concerned about his precious daughter risked life and limb to climb into the 'burning' building and found the boyfriend in a state of undress with his daughter.  Zut alors!

 Here the father is throttling the boyfriend...and the fireman laughing in the background!
You won't be surprised to hear that it all ends well with the girl being rescued over the shoulder of a fireman, the hose soaking her bloomers which become transparent, and the father being dumped unceremoniously into the firemen's water supply. 

Of course a holiday wouldn't be complete without a trip to the seaside and a few ice creams, and the beaches were far from crowded, even in July.

After walking along the front in scorching sunshine we watched the activities of the sailing school from the shade of a beachfront café and listened to a family from Birmingham (or thereabouts) discussing the merits of Korma versus Madras.

As is the way with lovely holidays in France, or anywhere else for that matter... they finish all too soon, but ce n'est pas grave... I'll be back there before long.

*Post Title kindly supplied by Vix

Sunday 14 August 2016

Sunday Photo - Sweet Pea Pickings

Thanks to you all who kindly commented on my first link-up with last week's Sunday Photo.
Today I'm posting a small posy of sweet peas that I grew from seed. (yes it's been an uneventful week!)  The foliage has succumbed to a nasty mildew disease but happily the flowers haven't been afflicted.
Enjoy your weekend.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Les Balles de Foin

My inaugural link-up with Sunday Photo at Photalife.

Monday 25 July 2016

French Leave

Yes,  I've been on hols to my favourite place again...Vendée in France.  We stayed in a tiny rural hamlet, where I'd rented a gîte, which in a former life was probably a pig sty or cattle shed.  The view from the garden was superb...just miles and miles of corn fields.

Agriculture is a significant source of employment in Vendée. Among the departements, it has the second highest level of revenue from agriculture in France. The major arable crops grown are corn, rapeseed, wheat and sunflowers.


It was a very lazy holiday, with lots of lounging around in the sun, reading and knocking back the odd bottle of wine of course.  Some familiar places were revisited....

St Gilles Croix de Vie....

...and Apremont, where we took a guided tour and learned of the history of the village and chateau.

The castle, built around the 12th century was later besieged by Bretons who wanted to free a prisoner being held captive there and suffered much damage.  The two surviving towers were part of a renaissance chateau built in the early 1500's by Phillipe Chabot de Brion, Admiral of France and a friend of King Francis I.  Louis XIII was later to stay at the castle.

We later visited the chateau itself and climbed to the top of the East Tower where magnificent views of the surrounding countryside can be seen.
No daft Health and Safety here..they rely on you to use common sense...how refreshing.

Included in the ticket price was entrance to the nearby Chateau d'Eau (water tower) which we visited later on in the holiday.

The water tower and nearby dam were built in 1966 to provide for the burgeoning tourist trade.
We took a lift to the very top, where an interactive visitors centre was located, complete with funky graphics.....not at all what I had expected.  A very pleasant young chap accompanied us up and as we were the only tourists at that time, we got chatting.  He explained that we would have to descend after 10 minutes to observe a minute silence for the recent horrific terrorist attack in Nice, which we did with the two other employees there. 

Afterwards we went up again to take a few snaps. Visitors are able to walk around the outside of the 125 metre high tower ...you can just glimpse the sea in the distance.

Of course, there were also new places to be discovered such as Commequiers where we attended the spectacular 14 Juillet fireworks display at the castle ruins.  We were advised to go early thank goodness, as crowds later swarmed the seating areas surrounding the castle and at 2230 when the fireworks commenced there wasn't a space to be had.

We also visited the neighbouring village of St Christophe du Ligneron where Les Puces were held one weekend.  Even though it was scorching it would have been rude not to go! 

I purchased just one milk bottle... in general the prices were outrageous.

You can make up your own captions for this one!

If you are able to bear a few more holiday snaps I'll be back soon to share the rest of the trip.  In the meantime I'll leave you with French singer and songwriter Christine and The Queens, who I'm pleased to hear is now being played on British mainstream radio.  Enjoy.

Friday 24 June 2016

Five On Friday - The Brexit

Oh dear, I'm barely able to cobble together a post these days, I know I'm a slack blogger and if you bogged off and didn't read my infrequent scribblings ever again I wouldn't blame you.  I'm quite sure you won't find this post riveting but I felt it was time to put in an appearance.  Here's a snapshot of my life recently.

1. Winchelsea

After working five shifts back-to-back, (60 hours) I had eight days off last week and was invited down to Winchelsea one day, where a colleague was staying in her static caravan. It was an ideal opportunity to look around at static vans and site facilities as, until this morning, I had a dream of buying one in France. (....now this plan will be placed on a back burner for a while)  After sniffing around several luxury vans and a few priced more modestly we strolled around Rye Harbour and ate freshly caught fish with chips in this pub.


On our way back to the van site we had to stop abruptly whilst two extremely inept shepherds tried to move a herd of sheep into a new field a hundred yards up the road. 
   It was chaos... everywhere sheep ran amok.   Eventually a farmer in a Land Rover arrived and heated words were exchanged...it almost came to fisticuffs.  The tailback of traffic was colossal. 

2. Stool

I finally got around to recovering the jumble sale stool I bought a year ago...I don't like to rush 
 these things you know.

 A few weeks ago I found a remnant of material in a posh interiors shop for a couple of quid and as it resembled what I'd had in mind, I didn't hesitate. After respraying the legs with some radiator paint I already had, I covered the seat re-using the forty year old foam, added a pom-pom trim bought in Walsall on a bloggers day out (how I wish that market stall was nearer) and covered the staples with some upholstery braid.

There's enough fabric left for a few other projects but no doubt I'll leave those to another year.


3. Craft Fair

Last week I attended a craft fair hosted by Clarity Stamps and the very talented Barbara Gray.
The venue was Crowborough Rugby Club and it was packed out with middle-aged women and a few husbands who seemed resigned to their lot.  There were lots of demos taking place but unfortunately it was too busy to see them very easily.  I did however manage to get this snap of Barbara in action.

 Of course I was powerless to resist a few purchases.

4.  London to Brighton Bike Ride


Now don't get the wrong idea here!  I could never attempt this annual event, I am far too unfit, but every year the British Heart Foundation organized bike ride is routed through my village.  I felt I should go and show my support and admiration to the riders along with other villagers.  This ride, not for the faint hearted, is 54 miles long and takes the cyclists up nearby Ditchling Beacon one of the highest points on the Sussex Downs. Hats off to all who took part, especially those in fancy dress.

5. Brexit


How could I post this week without mentioning the British referendum on the European Union?  Yesterday was an historic day.   After weeks of listening to politicians, economists , businessmen and celebrities (WTF?) pontificating about what would become of Britain if we left or remained in the EU, the nation has spoken. 

I was on night shift last night and without a telly, was glued to the online news whenever possible...I even made a cake with Brexit and Remain flags for my team.  The referendum result was not what I was hoping for and the future will be uncertain for a while but we must now get on with building a different Britain, hopefully without the mud slinging of recent weeks.

Linking to Amy's Five On Friday
Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!