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

Sunday, 9 March 2014

news from the Presbytere

I know that I've been awol (again) for some time but there's not been a lot going on around here that I consider to be "blogworthy".

the office get's emptied

into the dining room

The renovations continue but in fits and starts, no one room seems to be completely done and whilst one room is being worked on all the furniture etc. from there get's moved to another and you can never find anything or else you have to climb over or squeeze past something or other!

and into the new decorated and floored sitting room
About the only things that have remained constant are the daffodils which once again are magnificent (if I do say so myself, do you like the new blog header photo?).
my favourite miniature Cornish daffodils

Our walks on the beach are turning into an almost weekly occurrence this year.


The weather this weekend has been glorious, blue skies and sunshine, it's really been quite hot for Normandy!





So, this is all the latest from the Presbytere, I hope you enjoyed stopping by and I promise to try and get back here again soon.
à bien·tôt

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Simple Womans Daybook - February




For today: February 2nd 2014

Outside my window... it is cold but dry. Our beach walk this morning was very pleasant; it’s always good for M’selle Fleur to socialize with other dogs.

I am thinking... about a Chinese Whisper scrap booking project that has me “thinking outside the box”.

I am thankful... for a big, deep bathtub to soak in at the end of the day.

I am wearing...black T shirt, black lounging pants & a soft pink fleecy hooded dressing gown which was a Christmas present from the Senior Partner.

I am creating...the aforementioned Chinese Whisper layout.

In the kitchen... for dinner tonight foil baked fish with fennel, chives, thyme and white wine, inspired by Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

I am going... downstairs very soon to start cooking dinner.


Photo courtesy of Button Cottage website

I am wondering...if I need to contact the owner of Button Cottage, Alstonefield, Derbyshire about my May reservation. She didn't answer my last email, I’d really be upset if the booking fell through.

I am reading...”Temptation” by Douglas Kennedy.

I am hoping...that the painter/decorator doesn't make too much mess when he comes to lay the new parquet floor and paint & paper the SP’s study later this week.

I am looking forward to....watching “Call The Midwife” on BBC TV later this evening.



Around the garden….daffodils are nodding their heads with every slight breeze that passes by, there are buds on the quince and forsythia bushes and pretty primula plants are shyly peeping through.


A favorite quote for today, (actually my favourite quote of all time!)…


"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." - Julian of Norwich, 14th  English Anchoress.

One of my favorite things...Teresa Collins scrap book paper products.

A few plans for the rest of the week: a trip to IKEA to buy new curtains for the SP’s study, if the weather holds some garden work mainly tidying up after the recent high winds and with the Membership Renewal Drive in full swing some Secretarial duties for the Quimper Club International.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

January sunrise.


For some time now I have been regularly contributing to an amateur photography challenge on the scrap booking website UK Scrappers - Snap.


Alison has stepped in to take over the reins from Elaine for 2014 and the week 1 challenge is "sunrise".


The weather here this week has been terrible (I may already have mentioned this!) and so I despaired of getting any sunrise shots due to the rain lashing on my window panes early each morning.


But look what happened today......................................





Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A very wet New Year's Day

As I mentioned in yesterday's post it is a tradition that the family Bryant's New Year's Day walk is taken on one of Normandy's famous beaches.
2014 dawned wet, blustery and cold but were we faint hearted?
Well, I was but despite having to drive through a river which crossed the road on it's way to the flooded fields beyond.....



....the howling wind and rain and the incoming high tide, the SP prevailed and the tradition was upheld.



As we drove along the front we spotted a very strange sight, people were in the sea! Canoeing?
I jumped out to take a closer look. These four crazy guys were walking through the waves, using paddles to keep themselves up right. Another family's New Year's Day tradition, perhaps?


After parking the car we met a gentleman and his dog just returning from their walk, Fleur was in a mood to socialize and behaved very well.


When we finally made it through the dunes and on to the beach it was deserted.


Time for Fleur to take her first dip in la Manche (English Channel).




Heading back to the car we met more dogs out walking their people.



As always when I leave this beach I say a silent prayer for all the men who lost their lives here, almost 70 years ago.


We remain forever grateful to them for the sacrifice they made for our freedom and never take this special place for granted.


Bonne année à tous !

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Should old acquaintance be forgot........

FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE

Outside my window... it is cold and wet just as it has been for days, no White Christmas for us in Normandy this year.

I am thinking... that although I've been sad this year, losing Mr Ben was very hard, there has been much to enjoy. Our Kos vacation being the highlight.



I am thankful... for my wonderful husband and the happiness he brings me.

In the kitchen... for our celebratory New Year’s Eve dinner I’m serving twice baked smoked salmon soufflés followed by the SP’s historic steak frites. You can find the souffle recipe from Sara Buenfeld by clicking here.

I am wearing...comfortable warm clothing; corduroy pants, brushed cotton tunic and my favourite shawl collared cardigan.

I am creating...my last scrap book layout for 2013, the photograph is of me aged 4, in 1954 sat on Santa’s knee in his grotto at the Co-op Stores, King Street, Oldham, Lancashire, UK.



I am going... downstairs very soon for afternoon tea and the last of the homemade mince pies, Delia’s recipe of course.

I am wondering...if the wood burner has warmed the sitting room, ready for tea time. I'm sure it will have.

I am reading...One Thousand White Women, the Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus, for the second time.



I am hoping...that 2014 will bring peace and contentment.

I am looking forward to....a second visit to Derbyshire, UK in May and time spent with family.

I am learning……. patience and acceptance, que sera, sera.

Around the house...there are two new couches sitting on the new fitted parquet floor in the newly decorated sitting room and a brand spanking newly installed Falcon stove in the kitchen.




I am listening to.....a CD from Classic FM; Schubert's Trout and other chamber music favourites.

A favorite quote for today...”Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” – Anon.

One of my favorite things...a new diary full of clean empty pages.



A few plans for the rest of the week: a walk on the beach at Vierville-sur-mer with Roger and Fleur a New Year’s Day tradition for the Bryants, and if the rain keeps falling look for me in front of the fire reading a good book.


Happy New Year to all my friends and followers, may 2014 be the year that all your plans, hopes and dreams come true.




Saturday, 23 November 2013

Haddon shadow shots


For Shadow Shot Sunday this week some wonderful shadows captured during our visit to 
the amazing Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.















Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Historic Haddon Hall.


Haddon Hall on the banks of the River Wye just a few miles from the popular town of Bakewell is probably the very finest example of a medieval manor house not just in Derbyshire but possibly anywhere in the UK.


We were thrilled to discover this amazing jewel of a house when we visited the Peak District National Park recently.




Between us we took so many photographs, I'd like to share some of them with you over the next few posts.



The first owner of the Hall, almost 900 years ago, was one "Avenell of Haddon" (1103-1114), the Hall is currently the home of Lord Edward Manners.
Lord Edward is a direct descendant of John Henry, 9th Duke of Rutland, who in the early 1920's began the massive restoration of Haddon after 200 years of neglect.



In this post you'll see some of the wonderful architecture, ancient doors and windows, and despite it's decline with the advent of Autumn - the garden, and some of the flowers that were still adding even more beauty to the surroundings.





To really experience Haddon (albeit virtually) I really think you would enjoy visiting the website here: Haddon Hall.


It has a fascinating history and you may well recognize parts of it as Haddon was one of the locations used during the filming of "Pride & Prejudice" and "The Other Boleyn Girl".


Linking this post to the Tablescaper's weekly gathering
Oh, The places I've been!


Be sure to come back in a few days time 
when I'll be sharing some amazing shadows 
captured at Haddon Hall.