Sunday, 23 October 2016

Mosaic Monday # 13 - Postcards from Rhodes, Greece.

Hi everyone,
Happy Mosaic Monday.
We just got back from a 10 day trip to Rhodes, Greece where we celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary, yay!

I picked out some postcards to send to all our friends back home but we had such a wonderful relaxing time that I didn't get around to mailing them.

So here are some holiday snaps instead.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Mosaic Monday # 12. The Church at Stanton Lacy, Shropshire.

Whilst browsing the shelves of the Castle Bookshop in Ludlow last month I spied a book with a very intriguing title, "The Temptation and Downfall of the Vicar of Stanton Lacy".

I put the book down to wander further down the aisles, got distracted by something else and forgot to pick it up again.

At breakfast the next morning our B&B host regaled us with the story of the aforementioned Vicar and his misdeeds before pointing us in the direction of St Peter's Church, Stanton Lacy just a few miles away.

The Vicar in question was one Robert Foulkes (born 1633, died 1678).
A brief (horrible) history.
Robert Foulkes married Isabella Colbach in 1657 at Ludlow Parish Church, Herefordshire .
He became the rector of Saint Peters, Stanton Lacy, Shropshire four years later. Together they had four children born between 1665 and 1673.
Isabella had grown up in Stanton Lacy in the home of the previous vicar, Thomas Atkinson, who had a daughter, Ann.
Foulkes began to neglect his wife and family as well as his parochial duties.
He started an affair with Ann Atkinson in 1669 and was regularly seen indulging in local alehouses.
In 1674 Ann was sent away from Stanton Lacy and bore an illegitimate baby girl which was believed to have been fathered by Foulkes.
In 1676 he was called before the ecclesiastical court in Ludlow to answer charges of beating his wife and his churchwarden after returning home drunk from a bowling match.
Two years later he seduced a young woman who resided with him, she became pregnant and he moved her to a lodging in the Strand, London.
Foulkes murdered the child at birth by stabbing it in the throat and disposing of it in the River Thames. When the baby's body was found he made a full confession and was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey in January 1678.
Whilst awaiting execution at Tyburn, London he penned the missive "An Alarme For Sinners" which contained his confession, prayers, letters and last words.
He was executed on the morning of 31st January and buried at night at St Giles-in-the-Field, London.
(source: Wikipedia)

Today the churchyard of St Peters is quiet and peaceful, with no hint of the events that took place there almost 350 years ago.
However the history of the site, on which the Church of Stanton Lacy stands, dates back to AD 630 as the Legend of Saint Milburga on the Church website explains.
"The earliest stonework of the present building, namely the west and north walls of the nave and the north transept have been dated to the first half of the 11th century, but visiting archeologists have suggested that the church is at the centre of a much earlier, roughly circular churchyard.  It is possible that there was an earlier, wooden structure, one which legend attributes to St Milburga.
So the story goes, she was being pursued by a Welsh prince, when she crossed the river Corve close to the present church, and prayed for deliverance.  And  deliverance is what she got, because the river level rose very quickly and flooded the adjacent land, blocking the path of her pursuer.  By way of thanks, she is supposed to have founded a church here.

As St Milburga is associated with the founding of Wenlock Priory, dated to AD 630, that would extend the history of Stanton Lacy church by a further 300 years.
The rapid flooding of the river is by no means rare, which lends some credibility to the story."

In January and February the grounds are covered with masses of snowdrops, with refreshments being offered to visitors on the second weekend of February.
Inside the church the silence is golden. Services are still held at Saint Peters with Sunday evensong at 6.30 pm.

Hand embroidered kneelers decorate the pews.

As we left the church I paused to read this sign on the oak plank door.

Somewhere, someway, sometime each day
I'll turn aside and stop and pray
that God will make this Church the way
of blessing unto men.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Mosaic Monday # 11 Beach walk in October.

For Mosaic Monday this week I'm taking you down to the beach once again.

Now that the tourist season in Normandy has drawn to a close
 we "locals" can reclaim the quiet solitude of the beach at Saint - Laurent- sur- Mer.

Old friends meet up once again and dash around like puppies.

They hadn't seen each other since February!
Have a great week.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Mosaic Monday # 10 - October has arrived.

Turning the calendar page to October has seen some subtle changes here at the Presbytere.
During the night I have been awakened by heavy rain hitting the leaves of the Virginia Creeper and in the morning there's a distinct chill in the air.
The branches of the hawthorn trees by the front gate are hanging low, heavy with bright red berries.
I cut a large one down and fashioned the leaves and berries into a wreath.
I knew that it wouldn't last very long but for a few days it added a nice seasonal touch to the front door.

Whilst walking Fleur I noticed the lane was littered with small acorns from the many wild oak trees that grow along there, I picked up a handful and brought them home in my pocket.
The next day I found a few pine cones so I brought those back too.
I didn't really know what to do with them so simply emptied them into some antique teacups to display in front of the hall mirror.
Et voila an instant autumn vignette.

As I lay in bed yesterday early morning sun streamed in through the open window and created a beautiful shadow mosaic on the opposite wall.
At this time of year we start to see some wonderful sunrises, I captured this purple haze with the camera on my Kindle.

Have a great week.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mosaic Monday # 9 - autumn in the garden.

We haven't quite reached the "fall" stage of Autumn here in Normandy, although it's very dark in the mornings when we wake and the nights are drawing in, our garden chores are still about pruning and tidying.

In the kitchen I've been busy using up the last of the courgettes, apples, plums and green tomatoes.
The green tomatoes came as a huge surprise because this year I didn't plant any!

Two plants self seeded themselves in amongst the sweet pea seedlings that I grew for the first time next to the kitchen door, they may not have ripened but there have been plenty of them.

I have high hopes for at least one dish of fried green tomatoes soon.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Five On Friday - every picture tells a story.

Joining Amy once again this week for Five On Friday with five stand alone photos taken during our recent trip to UK.
The first four were all taken in Ludlow, described by Sir John Betjeman CBE "as probably the loveliest town in England".
I'm not sure I'd agree with that description after spending a day there during the recent Ludlow Food Festival but it has got an amazing castle, some very pretty streets and wonderful architecture.
Here are four random events that happened during that day.
on a market stall selling vintage kitchenalia I discovered this little book tucked in amongst some knives

We enjoyed watching Shropshire lad and Development Chef for Raymond Blanc
@ Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons,  Adam Johnson,
demonstrating how to make cauliflower couscous and souffles.
Graham Kidd stage @ Ludlow Food Festival

The blue plaque says it all.

I had an errand to run @ The Castle Bookshop so I parked the SP outside holding the bags.
Whenever we travel to UK we spend our last night at Stone Green Farm B & B, Mersham, Kent. Caroline and Geoffrey are wonderful hosts ably assisted by Paddington Bear standing by with the picnic hamper.
After a marvellous full Kentish breakfast the next morning we're ready to face the Eurotunnel journey and the long drive home.
Paddington Bear ready for a picnic.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Mosaic Monday # 8. Emma Bridgewater Factory Tour.and a sandwich.

Anyone visiting my blog for the first time recently might wonder why I called it Normandy Life as the last few posts have been about anywhere other than Normandy, France.
That's what happens when NL goes travelling......................

And so it is once again this week as I invite you, dear reader, to join me for a brief tour of  the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke on Trent, the heart of the Potteries and situated less than an hours drive away from the holiday cottage we stayed in recently in the pretty village of Crudgington.

I have been collecting Emma Bridgewater's Black Toast for a long time, occasionally adding to my extensive collection of coffee mugs with other patterns such as Tulips, Pansies and a pair of commemorative ones for the Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
I love it so much I even included it in my blog header photo.

It's no surprise that this came home with me.
Although I don't think it'll be staying long.
In fact I know it won't!
The tour was a fascinating glimpse into the production of this very popular pottery and we saw the whole process from the making of the clay,

through the forming of the pieces including the hand thrown bowls and plates,

a Fettler cuts off the excess clay and seals the joins
before the piece is fired

the fettling

to the first firing

the application of the décor using hand cut sponges

details of a personalised mug
for Sam
 and the final firing.

After a suitable length of time spent browsing the EB store we headed to the café for a late lunch.
The SP decided on the Soup of the Day (beetroot) and I ordered an egg and cress sandwich which was delicious.
Here in Normandy I sometimes can find bagged watercress at the supermarket but I've never seen the small cartons of mustard cress which, as every English school child will know, is one of the easiest things to grow on a piece of damp cotton wool placed on a sunny kitchen windowsill.
So as we stocked up at the supermarket just before heading for the Eurotunnel I popped some mustard cress into the trolley along with a bag of fresh watercress for good measure. A box of 6 large duck eggs and a white Hovis sliced loaf came home with us too.
The very next day for lunch - voila!

Since making these delicious sandwiches I have googled mustard cress and found quite a few different suppliers of seeds so we'll never have to be without egg and cress sandwiches again!