Thursday, 22 January 2015

Winter


It was lovely and sunny this morning, but very cold, so we lit the stove and had hot chocolate...


I finished a charcoal sketch of my garden, and beyond, it felt good to be back to getting dirty hands pushing it around the parer.


I hung the African mask here, it feels more comfortable than it did in our living room!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year



I'm a little late with my New Year/ Christmas wishes, but that sort of sums up last year.

I haven't spent much time here, or anywhere on the net come to that, but when I have been around I've very much enjoyed reading the blogs of all my blogging friends that are safely bookmarked on Feedly.

I have been quite busy creatively, but mostly boring stuff that I haven't wanted to share, but I hope to be posting something interesting in the near future.

Many thanks to all the people who have come here over the years and especially those who've taken the time to comment, it is always much appreciated. I've missed the camaraderie of late, although many people seem to prefer Facbook now, and I have to say I'm not a fan. I prefer the slower more contemplative platform of a blog.

Our summerhouse is being used more and more and is fast becoming the artistic sanctuary I hoped it would be, the picture above was taken on Monday, we had a very heavy frost so we lit the stove, drank hot chocolate and I started a pastel sketch of our youngest grandaughter. It doesn't get much better than that.

I hope this year brings happiness and peace to all, including our beautiful family.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Winter blogging

Blogging should be easier in the winter with the arrival of long evenings,  cold days and a general desire to stay indoors and keep warm and cosy.

Maybe it's because we've had a long autumn with unexpectedly warm days that I just haven't had the time to settle back into posting stuff about my humdrum life. I have been busy since returning home from France, mainly in the allotment......


Before we went away someone very kindly left a load of bricks at the allotment, just what I'd been waiting for to finish the extension of my brick path...


Some of you may remember the magazine page that I used as an inspiration for my garden. I'd already bought the Box balls, and now I needed a box hedge.


I thought I'd better plant these dear little trees before laying the bricks. I bought 2 packs of 6 thinking that would do it all the way along..... no chance! Especially as I now wanted to fill in the gap between the beds.


Another 14 trees were needed! and I'm now waiting for the rain to stop so I can lay the last part of the path.


The only thing is I need 6 more trees to get to the end of the path!!

Ive also acquired a beautiful wrought iron gate to put at the end of my garden, it has a lovely detail in the middle.

So I have been quite busy.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Back to a wet and windy autumn

We're back from our travels in France, we had far too nicer time and the weather has been very unkind since we returned.

Still the upside is we've been catching up with our children and grandchildren, whom I'm very pleased to say missed us a lot while we were on our 5 week treck.

2 little people who definitely missed us were our youngest grandchildren, Sam and Pippa.....


I was a bit worried that they might have forgotten us, it had been almost 8 weeks since we'd seen them, but as soon as the front door was opened, Sam reached for his granddad and gave him a huge cuddle, refusing to leave his side for the whole weekend.


As for Pippa, she couldn't have given me a wider smile if she tried, followed by lots of lovely cuddles all weekend.


While we were staying in Cardiff our son had managed to get tickets for all of us to go to the Doctor Who Experience, which one's the alien ? 

We had a wonderful time, Sam's new phrase is now,  "it's amazing", he was such a brave boy, he got right to the end, after experiencing take off in the Tardis, landing on a new planet, going through a very creepy graveyard that scared nanny half to death, but the last 3D effects of scary monsters and nasty scary people was just too much for him. 


I couldn't resist taking a pic of this lovely notebook, and it's real notes too, not just that filler Latin text....and how about the those shoes?

We had a fabulous weekend, it was so nice to catch up, as was the first weekend when we arrived home. It's lovely going to all these wonderful inspiring places but there's nothing to compare with the warmth and love you get from you family on your return. Thank you all, we missed you too.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Back to the Loire Valley and longing for lace

From Martel we moved slowly North until we got to the Loire Valley, the land of chateaux around every corner.


This is Loches and although we didn't go in it was really beautiful from the outside.


These lambs were pretty stunning too on one of the  tombs in the church.


Next stop, Amboise with this wonderful chapel perched on top of the battlements.


Plenty of textiles to admire here...


And amazing architectural challenges for sketching. 


Beautiful lighting through the stained glass window in the chapel. 


We finished our architectural visits with the Abbey at Fontevraud, somewhere I'd wanted to go for a very long time. It didn't disappoint!


The scale of the chapel was enormous and very earie with no furniture inside. 


This is one of the murals in the Chapter House.


But my lasting memory will be this amazing light installation by the artist Claude Lévéque. It was staged in the enormous upper dormitory that would have been occupied by the nuns.



And this was my favourite  building, a smokehouse/kitchen with fish shaped scales on the roof, and wonderful quirky faces, etc keeping guard.


Yesterday we were in Saumur for a visit to my favourite lace shop, the lady there makes such wonderful creations. But we had to walk 3 miles there on a river walk from our Camping Car Aire. 7 miles in total if you count walking round the town. That's dedication .......
 

We are now in Alencon the home of beautiful French Lace, and I'm so excited to be making another visit tomorrow.

Thanks once again to everyone whose been following my posts, I will respond to all your comments soon.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Moving North.....slowly

We're now on the last part of our trip moving slowly northward, and our first stop was this lovely lake. 



We spent a couple of days just chilling out, enjoying the luxury of electric hook up and internet access, which was on offer at the lakeside tourist information office. While we were there I came across a flyer for the work of this amazing Russian born artist Nicolai Greschny. Fortunately for us one if the churches he had decorated with his work was on our route. 


This was the scene that met our eyes on entering Notre Dame d'Alban. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I looked around at the spectacle. Every surface was coverd with his beautiful paintings. 



Here are just a couple of the shots I took. 


Our next stop was one of France's most spectacular treasures, Conques, not only does it have an amazing Abbey but the architecture of some of the other buildings is stunning. 


The Abbey interior was pretty spectacular too.

I was trying to sketch these arches when I was lucky enough to hear someone practicing a piece on the organ. The sound was incredible. 



This is probably the Abbyey's most famous attribute and is part of a frieze over the main door. It depicts the Last Jugement.


We have now returned to one of our favourite towns, Martel, more churches, more sketching and collecting walnuts, plus their soft outer shells for winter dyeing on the wood burner :-) 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

From the Tarn to the Haut Languedoc

We arrived at one of our favourite Aires in a little village called Broquies. It sits on a very high hill and in the mornings the Aire is shrouded in mist that collects in the valley.


This is the terace where we take morning coffee :-) 


And then walk into the village for a spot of sketching.


And a look at the hobbit house, this is my favourite house in the village.


A bit of garden therapy for my DH.


We finally dragged ourselves away to pastures new in the Haut Languadoc area and on the way spent a lovely quiet night in this picnic area. More sketching and a great breakfast view.


Our first stop of the day was Roquefort to sample the cheese. But first coffee with this amazing view in front of us, just outside the town.


The cheese tasting went well but the price tag put us off a bit, although it was an exceptional flavour. Can't beat a good bit of English cheddar though can you?


The final stop of the day was a town called Lunas.


Which is a beautiful medieval town that takes elegance in decay to a whole new level, it's just gorgeous! 


Right on top of the cliff that surrounds the town is this beautiful statue of 'Mary' looking down on the town.


After a couple of nights we moved on to another medieval town and were lucky enough to catch a carnival.


And a lady doing wonderful tatting.




And another lovely lady selling gorgeous honey which my DH couldn't resist.


She graciously allowed me to take a photo showing her lovely costume.

I spent a relaxing afternoon sketching this wonderful town view, what a great opportunity :-) 


Many thanks to everyone who's been keeping me company on on our trip.