the gentle bucolic ramblings of an English rose, blooming in rural Normandy

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

K is for Knife rest

It's almost Thursday once again (wow that week went by so fast) time to meet up with Mrs Matlock and the other participants for Alphabe- Thursday.

K is for Knife Rest
A set of 6 hand painted antique Nevers knife rests
"Knife Rests have been used for longer than most people think. 
In the early 18th Century and possibly the late 17th century the gentry and the ruling classes sat down to a meal that could have had anything up to 12 courses and apart from their hands probably only had one knife and fork per person. To save soiling the table, the knife and fork and tablecloth, if there was one, the utensils had to be put down onto something that kept them off the table. It was probably initially just a piece of wood in the times of Henry the eighth but from the eighteenth century we know that some enterprising person started to design what we now consider proper knife rests in pairs, sets of 4,6,12 and probably more."
Source: Antique Knife Rest Collection.


a set of 6 metal dachshund knife rests
Back in the noughties I sometimes offered French knife rests, portes couteaux, for sale on eBay.
Collectors loved them,
a pair of Montagnon, Nevers faience knife rests
 tablescapers loved them,
a cheeky pair of pottery dolphins
a 1950's pair of colouful fish shaped vintage knife rests
and I loved shipping them, so light and easy to pack!

Christofle cut glass knife rests

a selection of Quimper faience knife rests
a pair of silver plate "wishbone" knife rests
I must admit that I developed a fondness for these decorative table accessories, acquiring quite a selection to use whenever we entertain.
I'm always on the lookout to add to my private collection when mooching around brocantes, vide greniers and auction houses.
Click here  to read a knife rest post on the love quimper blog.
How about you, do you ever include knife rests in your table settings?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015 - la vie en Normandie

"Come party with us at the 3rd annual meet & greet blog party
 hosted by the delightful Miss Vicki @ 2 Bags Full"
Click here to see the full list of party goers!

2 Bags Full

Are you looking to expand your network of blogger friends,
 meet new people; travel to new places; discover new ideas and pastimes?
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin........


First of all let me introduce myself to anyone visiting Normandy Life for the first time.
 My name is Maggie (that's me on the sidebar over on the right)
and I live here in rural Normandy, France with my husband (we've been married an awfully long time). 
On my blog I refer to him as "the Senior Partner or SP for short" 
simply because he's older than me!


We share our home with a beautiful, 4 year old, GSD - M'selle Fleur.


My first blog post saw the light of day 24/04/ 2008.
 Just words, no photos!


It was about the new vegetable garden that I was planning to start,
 it received 2 comments - both from friends of mine keen to show their support of my new ventures:
 creating a blog and creating a "potager".


Fast forward to now.
I've written almost 550 posts; the blog to date has had 226,148 page views.
 I'm thrilled to say that I have over 370 followers from around the world
 and it was one of those followers, a lady called Cheryl, who gave me the idea for today's post.
Cheryl emailed me recently to say that she and her husband would be visiting the UK later this year.
She also mentioned that they hoped to be able to make time to cross 
the English Channel and visit the WWII landing beaches.
She asked if I would be willing to answer their questions and I readily agreed.


 I always love to share our little corner of France with visitors,
 whether they come to le Presbytere as guests or arrive via cyberspace - it is my raison d'etre!


There is so much more to see and experience in the region
besides the D Day landing beaches and war cemeteries.


The city of Bayeux boasts the Cathedrale de Notre Dame which dates back to the 11th century.
Bayeux has many museums, my favourite is the Bayeux Tapestry Museum,
 a UNESCO World heritage site.
 If my visitors only have a short time to spend in the area the Catherdral and the Tapestry are the "must do" places to visit besides the landing beaches.

Sunday morning market @ Port en Bessin, Calvados region of Normandy and one of our favourites.
Each and every day of the week there are markets held in small towns and villages throughout Normandy, too many to mention but click here and you'll find a comprehensive list.

Normandy has long been a favourite destination for horse lovers,
click here for information on trekking holidays.


 So, I've gathered together some photographs of what Normandy means to me and scattered them throughout the post.


If you're already a follower you may have seen some of them before,
 to those who just might begin to follow me after visiting from the
 Grow Your Blog Party 2015,
I hope they might tempt you to come visit again soon, enjoy!

2 Bags Full

Friday, 23 January 2015

Pretty or Prosaic - Pink Saturday

We all love French Country style n'est pas?
My favourite French lifestyle magazine Campagne Decoration is an icon of all things stylish.

Then there's this, seen at my local home/garden deco store Castorama.


The colours are almost the same but I know which one appeals to me the most.
What do you think?
Linking to Pink Saturday
See you there.
Don't forget to come back here tomorrow for the
Grow Your Blog Party 2015!
If you want to meet new bloggers, travel to beautiful places make new friends
then GYB is the party for you!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Jotting things down for Alphabe-Thursday

Jotting, (certainly not to be confused with jogging) a quick shopping list on the back of a used envelope; an appointment noted in a diary; a daily To Do List or a recipe taken from a blog or magazine scribbled in a notebook, is something I do all the time.


I've noticed recently that I've started to take photographs in a "jotting" kind of way too.

on our walk yesterday we had to turn back as we came across another flooded road

I don't possess a smart phone, much too techie for my needs, but usually have my Panasonic Lumix camera with me so that if a particular scene catches my eye or I see something out of the ordinary I can "jot" it down for future use when blogging or scrapping.


In early January I bought a Kindle Fire HDX. 
It has a built in high res camera which came in very handy yesterday morning for capturing a quiet January sunrise from my bedroom window.


This morning when a very light snow lay on the ground I couldn't resist - do you wanna build a snowman?

Joining Mrs Matlock once again for Alphabe-Thursday
click here to see who else in joining in this week

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Egyptian Sun and Shadows

As an antidote to all the rain we've been enduring recently
let's enjoy some sunshine!


and walk like an Egyptian


remember long sunny days at the beach
cool down in hidden shadow

chillax

stroll past tall palm trees


and finally swim up to the pool bar!


You can probably tell that I recently upgraded to picmonkey's Royale level
 and am enjoying playing with learning
all about the features which until now have been out of reach.



Linking this post to

Sun Lit Sunday with Karen @ My Little Home & Garden

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Inondation - we need an Ark!

Inondation - translation - flooding.


It has been raining it seems non-stop for days and my small corner of Normandy 
is under water to an alarming degree.


The garden is soggy.


The daffodils are drowning.



Lakes, ponds are appearing where there shouldn't be ponds,
 in our driveway


and the field next door. 


Roadside ditches are overwhelmed.


Entrances to fields are quagmires.


Adult dogs become water babies once again.


But, spring is on her way.


Joining Mrs Matlock for Alphabe -thursday
where today the letter I is centre stage.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Twelfth Night - Epiphany.

Quite a sad day today as we take down the Christmas decorations, un - decorate the Christmas trees and pack everything away again for another eleven months.
I know many of you did this chore last week but I always like to wait until Twelfth Night - Epiphany, the Christian feast which marks the visit of the Three Kings to the baby Jesus.

google image
I think it harks back to our time spent living in Bavaria when on this day a group of children from the village, known as the Sternsinger, would visit our homes
 dressed as the Three Wise Men collecting donations for children's charities.
They would sing us a song or recite a poem before inscribing
the year, C + M + B in white chalk above the front door. 
 " 20 C + M + B 15".
For a long time I thought the letters represented the names of the Three Magi
 Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar 
but they really stand for the Latin phrase
Christus Mansionem benedicat 
 "God protect this house"


As a treat on this special day I thought I'd take the opportunity to sample some delicious
Downton Abbey tea with a slice of "galette des rois", the traditional French cake eaten on this day.
The tea was a recent gift from my lovely friend Sarah who like me is a big fan of Downton Abbey.


Will I chose "butler's pantry blend"  -premium black tea with essence of honey.
a favourite of Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes or
mrs's patmore's pudding tea - with caramel and vanilla which Mrs P & Daisy prefer?


A delicious confection of puff pastry and frangipane the cake of kings
 contains a small porcelaine figurine and whoever finds it in their slice becomes king for the day.


The Senior Partner and I don't care for frangipane so we ordered a galette des rois with an apple filling, well we are in Normandy after all!


Are you a tea drinker or would you prefer a cup of java with your slice of galette?
I'd love to know.