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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Friday Favourites - on Saturday!

Where has the week gone? I apologise for not visiting many of you this week and for not getting my Friday Favourites posted on Friday! Thank you all so much for your comments and I am glad that so many of you liked the 10 commandments - I cannot claim the credit for them myself as I found them in a book many years ago and thought them worth copying down!

This week's favourites are clouds - I seem to have become more aware of the sky lately and am constanctly amazed by the wonderful formations made by clouds ...

...the combination of the clouds and the light together with the colour of the sky is something that I could watch for hours.

It is never the same - and constantly changing - yesterday the sky was an amazing yellow colour with fantastically shaped clouds and I wanted to capture it in a photograph but in the couple of minutes that it took to get home and find the camera it had changed!

These photos were taken this morning when we went to Montactue for the Farmers' Market and then on to Sherborne to the supermarket there.
Today's favourite quotation is from a book given to me by a good friend who sadly died a couple of years ago - the book is called the Complete Pocket Positives and the quote I have chosen is this:
"We haven't failed. We now know a thousand things that won't work, so we're that much closer to finding what will." Thomas Edison 1847 - 1931
Let's keep this in mind when something we are working on doesn't turn out quite as we hoped eh?!!
Next week should be a little less busy for me so I hope to catch up with some of your blogs then. Have a great weekend.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday Favourites

I certainly seem to have touched a nerve with my Christmas Scrooge post! I thought you might say what an old misery I must be not to mention a tightwad too, but no, I was amazed to see how many of you agreed with me. Thank you all so much for your comments including those new bloggers who visited - it's good to meet new friends.

Having enjoyed
Helsie's Favourite Things Friday post I decided to join in and post some of my favourite things on a Friday - won't promise to keep it up for ever or even to do it every Friday but now and then at least! If you fancy joining in pop over to Mrs Pyjamas here

First up - favourite flower fotos (couldn't resist the alliteration there!) My all time favourite flower is the primrose as seen here....

and a little later comes the apple blossom whose perfume is a favourite.

Today I had a Friday facial - now I was under no illusions that it would leave me looking like the picture (and indeed it didn't!) nor that I would actually leave with velvety smooth, youthfully radiant skin (and I didn't!) but I thought half an hour of pampering for £15 - redeemable against any purchase made - was a good idea especially as as I have had a cold which left me feeling in need of a pick me up. Well it was lovely and I enjoyed it no end.

Speaking of faces - here is favourite face - she has a scratch on her nose but isn't she beautiful and she doesn't have facials either! She was sitting at the table during lunch today and it was fishcakes so that explains her wistful look!
Finally Favourite quotes - thought as it is getting to that time of year I'd share this with you:
1 Thou shalt not be perfect nor even try to be
2 Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people
3 Thou shalt leave undone some things which ought to be done
4 Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
5 Thou shalt learn to say "No"
6 Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and thy supportive network
7 Thou shalt switch off and do nothing regularly
8 Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and inattentive at times
9 Thou shalt not ever feel guilty
10 Especially thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy but thy best friend
And Thou shalt not take life too seriously!
If we can all keep these commandments over the next couple of months maybe this year Christmas will be better for everyone?!!!
Have a good weekend

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Scrooge or eco warrior?

I noticed this sign earlier this week so yesterday I went inside the church and bought some Christmas cards - I know I have said I can't bear to think about it till nearer the time but the first year we were back from France and I went to buy some charity cards at the beginning of December they had packed up and gone! They are only on sale from now till 4 December apparently.

As you may already be aware Christmas is not my favourite time of year - I don't know why as I love the reason for it, the carol services and the spirit of goodwill BUT I could count on one hand the number of Christmases that haven't ended in tears, usually mine. I loved it when my daughter was little and I was kept busy making angel costumes out of old net curtains and searching the shops for a Care Bear she really really wanted but now well.....

Am I the only one who feels the stress mounting when the October magazines come out filled with all the things I should be doing in order to have a proper spectacular Christmas? I should have made my puddings and cake by now so that they can be maturing nicely - why? We don't actually like Christmas pudding and when I make a cake it is usually only me that eats it and then I get depressed as the pounds I have managed to lose pile back on. I should be making lists and buying gifts (cashmere cardigans and stocking fillers at £30 each? - who are these people anyway?) along with sheets of wrapping paper and ribbons, filling my freezer with food to feed the hordes of visitors (what when we are never more than 4 including my sister-in-law and daughter and this year my daughter will probably still be roaming round Australia) and generally preparing to deck my halls and to be merry - well Bah humbug! I won't do it any more. I refuse to worship at the altar of commercialism in the cathedral of Tesco!

I have decided that this year instead of sending gifts to my friends I will enclose with their cards a little handmade Christmas decoration - see above - and a note explaining that I have decided to give the money I would have spent (usually only about £5 each plus postage) to charity and suggest that they give to charity too instead of to me - many of them have already been told of my decision anyway. So to this end I am now busily making some little decorations that will fit nicely inside the envelope with a card. I will make little sachets like the one below from recycled papers stamped with a potato cut - I am having such fun here!

Now tell me, honestly, can can I claim this as being in the interests of reducing my carbon footprint and helping to save the planet (as well as my sanity) or am I actually just a miserable old bag and a Scrooge into the bargain?
PS Just realised that it might look as though I have but 3 friends - those are just the first 3 tree decorations I have made more will follow!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Final day in France - come with me....

As promised photos of the last day of our visit to France. Our friends took us south to Collange-la rouge a very pretty old town built of red stone - hence the name.

Lots of really old buildings and being further south the climate is warmer so there were plenty of grapes everywhere....

And juicy figs too! (Our friends had a fig tree in their garden and every morning there was a basket of fresh figs to have with our cereal should we wish - and boy how I did wish! I love fresh figs.... Mmnn)

Come with me for a stroll round this pretty town....

I wonder how old this lovely building is?

I know you all like a bit of culture so here's a photo of the toilets - hole in the ground sort of course!

After lunch - a baguette and a drink sitting outside under a grape arbour - we set off for Curemonte - another old town. This was the well and a notice told us it was 32 metres deep so to be careful!

Lovely views of course....

Paler stone buildings here.....

And finally on to Turenne which had a castle atop a hill with stunning views which were well worth the steep climb. Any enemies back in medieval times would have been so out of breath when they reached the chateau they would have been no problem to overcome!

I think it said there were 139 steps up to the castle and that was after climbing the very steep streets!

Stunning eh?! And as you can see it was a beautiful day - temperatures in the very high 20s and sunshine and blue skies - we thought it was summer! We had enjoyed our visit and how wonderful it is to have such good friends. We might not have been so lucky this week as my friend tells me that it is very cold and that there is no petrol to be had as both garages in their town are closed due to the strikes currently bringing France to a standstill!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Fancy a stroll with me?

As promised some more of my photos taken a couple of weeks ago when we were in France. This time our friends took us to a very pretty village called Gargilesse which was apparently well loved by the author Georges Sand.

You can tell it's France by the car can't you?!

There were many pretty little corners like this

Plenty of geraniums still blooming well...

We stopped in another little town called Crozant hoping to find somewhere to have lunch but as is often the case in France everything was closed for the winter months as it was now October - just! So we ended up having an impromptu picnic lunch of baguettes (torn by hand as we had no knives of course) filled with a slice of ham and with a tomato to eat alongside followed by a piece of fruit and a shared bottle of water! This we ate sitting on a bench overlooking a ruined chateau and it is one of my happiest memories - it was so quiet and to be sitting in the sun eating a simple but delicous meal with good friends ... say no more!

Our final destination was the arboretum of La Sedelles which luckily is open till the end of October! This was a lovely peaceful garden filled with different trees and we spent a very happy couple of hours wandering round the extensive grounds...

I love these little wrought iron sculptures don't you?!

Imagine living here!

Tranquilty of the very best kind.....

I hope you enjoyed your stroll with us? I have a few more photos of our last day in France but I think I'll save those for another day as by now like us you are probably ready for a cup of tea? We sat outside in the grassy area at the entrance to the arboretum and were served with mugs of tea and the chap who served it brought out a carton of milk afterwards as he realised 2 of us were English - can't think how! I thought it typical of the lovely welcoming attitude you come across so often in France.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Lucky me - yet again!

The postman arrived today with a package for me from the lovely Lorraine at The Balancing Kiwi - I'd won yet another giveaway prize! I really must stop entering and give others a chance!!

When I opened the package inside I found this lovely twirly scarf in such a pretty turquoise and red - that will surely keep the grey clouds at bay?! Together with a pretty lavender heart in a similar colourway - love it - and a handknitted discloth with my initial on it. The question is can I bear to use such a dishcloth? Or shall I keep it for display only?!! Thank you so much Lorraine - I am indeed blessed.

I have been given another blog award - this time by Jenevieve over at Buttons, Ribbons and other Things and must say thank you for choosing me - I can't believe that you think I offer "fabulous inspiration, fantastic photgraphs and wonderful memories from my life" It really must be sombody else but Thank you so much Jenevieve. I am supposed to pass the award on to 10 more bloggers but I would find it too difficult to pick 10 from the many great blogs I follow so will pass on that.

I really thought I'd seen the last of the sweetpeas before we went away but no look they are still producing flowers and this is today's offering!! All the more appreciated as there really cannot be many more I'm sure.

Helen Phillips posted a single photo yesterday on her blog as she was having problems uploading pictures and it occurred to me that as a multi photo often somewhat verbose, blogger I might try occasionally to do a post using just one photo on the "less is more" principle - that will be a challenge to a mighty mouth like me but it would be good for me to think more before posting. Watch this space! I know Helsie on Lady Helsie's Happenings does a Wordless Wednesday post too but I don't know if I can manage wordless as well - though if the photo is chosen well it should speak for itself I guess. We'll see! What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

French Leave

As promised some photos from our week in France - as you will see we had mixed weather with some brilliantly sunny days and some dull and damp:

After we had been to the chateau in St Auvent where the contemporary art was on show we went on to a place nearby known as the Petit Lourdes in Limousin in see here for more information and photos - it was a peaceful meander through the woods along the banks of the Gorre - just what we needed after our 4.00 am start! We did laugh though as my friend tried to explain about the pelerins (pilgrims as I now know) and I thought she meant peregrins and was talking about falconry or something whereas it is a place of pilgrimage!

Friday saw us taking a stroll round St Junien - when we lived in France our village was on the outskirts of St Junien so we went there often to the shops. The bottom photo is of a dig which was taking place in what is to be a new car park and where they have discovered a medieval cemetry!

Neolithic dolmen

On Monday we had been invited to another French couple's home for lunch - they came and picked us up at mid-day and invited the friends with whom we were staying to stay for aperitifs when they came to collect us at 6.00 pm! Thus it was 8.00 pm by the time we left and since they speak no English and my husband speaks very little French it fell to me to keep the conversational ball rolling! It was lovely to see them again and she is the friend who made me the little house which I showed you earlier but I was glad to see our hosts and to have help with keeping the conversational ball in the air over the aperitifs!! They took us for a drive after lunch and we saw this neolithic dolmen as well as the little village school where they had lived and worked for 30 years!

Tuesday was a day spent in Limoges - our friends dropped us off and left us to our own devices at our request. We used to go to Limoges nearly every Saturday for our weekend shopping and wanted to revisit our old haunts. This is the Museum of Porcelain next to the car park which we were to return to later on.

Here is Les Halles - the covered market where we used to buy our fruit and veg along with bakery items and occasionally fish. We popped in to see if our usual fruit stall was manned by the regular lady and it was and she came round to give us bises (kisses to each side of the face as is expected in France!) and to ask how we were and so on - they are amazing at remembering their customers. She used to give me a "cadeau" some weeks - an unusual fruit to try or maybe a peach or mango or something.

This is just outside the market hall and is trompe l'oeil and not actually windows and timbered walls at all - amazing isn't it?

This is the real McCoy though and is another building on the edge of the market place.

Thought some of you might like this display of felt accessories in the shoe shop window.

That evening we took our friends out to dinner. This was the amuse bouche which I thought quite appropriate for me as Marigold Jam! It was a tiny glass of beetroot mousse and a sliver of cheese tart decorated with an edible flower - a soucis!!

We also had 2 whole day outings and I will show you the photos from those next time - the arboretum we went to was stunning so watch out for those coming soon!