Saturday, 26 May 2012

Italian Flowers and Gardens

In the last of my themed posts of our trip to Italy last month a collection of photographs from the Villa Cimbrone and the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, a collage of flowers seen in Positano and the gardens next to the ruins of Pompeii.
The Villa Cimbrone is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Turn a corner and you'll discover wonderful vistas and beautiful statues.

Left:Flora - Goddess of Flowers
Centre: David with the head of Goliath at his feet
Right: Leda with swan

The Tea Room,  

Sun dial

Lost to a world in which I crave no part
I sit alone and commune with my heart
Pleased with my little corner of the earth
Glad that I came not sorry to depart.
Palm trees grow close to the Pozzo, (well) Villa Rufolo

The 19thc Giardino, Villa Rufolo.
Gardens at Pompeii
Everywhere you look in Positano you find beautiful flowers,
 growing in tubs, baskets and flower boxes.
Arriverderci from the beautiful Amalfi coast of Italy.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Italian odds and ends!

More photo's from our recent trip to Italy's Amalfi coast, 
this post is devoted to some of the quirkier things that we saw as we explored the region.
These two ceramic figures hang on the wall of the terrace restaurant La Tagliata.
Although they look like Laurel & Hardy they are in fact meant to be
the owner and his brother.

By the side of the road just outside the small seaside town of Praiano
we saw this miniature village.
During the Christmas period the scene is decorated and the houses are lit up from the inside.

Cars are parked along both sides of the twisty road that hugs the mountainside.
This is not a one way street!
La Tagliata's little orange fiat cinquecento regularly brings customers up the mountainside
from Positano down below.

Beautiful mosaic sign at the entrance to the city of music, Ravello.
The next four photographs were taken as we wandered around the gardens at La Tagliata, Montepertuso.

Look closely and you'll see a peacock perched on a branch inside this cage.

Amazing ice cream flavours in Sorrento.

Newly weds on Spiaggia Grande, Positano.
We spotted this huge anchor by the quayside in Positano,
no boat just the anchor!
Coming shortly, as a tribute to the 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show which is taking place this week, "Italian flowers and gardens" 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Italian Doorways.

It may have taken me a while but I think I've just about sorted through our vacation photographs and got to the stage where I can share some once again.
Sometimes though it can get a bit boring looking at someone's holiday snaps and so I thought I'd post them a little differently. Each post will have a theme.

For example this post shows a collection of doorways that caught my eye as we toured around the glorious Amalfi coast, towns and villages.

Welcome to the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, "considered one of the most important examples of the landscape, botany and culture of England created in the Mediterranean area between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries." (quoted from souvenir brochure)

The architecture of these beautiful buildings is staggering, sometimes so simple it takes your breath away. 


Others are so ornate they make the breath catch in your throat.

This building houses the Operatic Society in Sorrento.

In  towns such as Amalfi the shop owners fill their doorways and the pavements beyond 
with wonderful goods for sale.

The torre d'ingresso, Villa Rufolo, Ravello.

The area around this doorway below entranced Richard Wagner to such an extent that he exclaimed that he had found the magical garden of Klingsor 
for it was the tangible expression of his most fantastic vision.

In my next post, some of the quirkier things that we spotted on our travels.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Blog visitors come to call in Normandy!

On Wednesday afternoon some really nice folks came all the way from California for afternoon tea with us at the Presbytere!
Waveney, an artist, writer and interior designer, came to visit my blog "Normandy Life" during the Tartan Parade Party in March.
Click here to see Mr Ben watching the Tartan Parade if you missed that post.

My dear friend Sarah @ Hyacinths for the Soul and Waveney's friend Alison @thepolohouse were both hostesses for the Tartan Parade and as Waveney and Doug were planning their third trip to France, concentrating on the rural countryside this time, with a little antiquing on the side, she contacted me to ask if we were a B&B.
Sadly, I had to let her know that we don't take paying guests (just family & friends) but did say that if they were in our area and had some free time in their schedule we would love to have them call in for tea.
On the morning of their visit the Senior Partner went shopping for beautiful little cakes; eclairs and fruit tarts and some small, delicious quiches to go with the cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches that I made.
The weather was so changeable. First we had blue skies & sunshine then overcast grey skies and a chilly wind.
I dithered about not knowing if we should sit out in the garden or if it would be better to stay indoors.
After visiting our local church and photographing the grounds Waveney and Doug arrived promptly at 3.30 pm and we decided to head indoors.

In all the excitement of getting to know new friends I totally forgot to take pictures of the table before we sat down to tea in the dining room.
Waveney brought us a wonderful gift, a beautiful, vintage book entitled "The Cocker Spaniel by Ella B. Moffat which she inscribed:
"To Ben, from chums at Glendogal House. Doug, Waveney, Hank, Maude & Roslyn, 2012."

Hank, Maude & Roslyn are Waveney's dogs!

Click here to take a tour of Glendogal, their stunning home, when it was featured on Alison's blog.
It may take a little time to load as there are lots of pix but you'll be glad you took the tour, believe me.
After tea we took the dogs for a short walk, to work off some of those calories, before returning home for one last picture.

Of course, Mr Ben had to get into the shot, too. After all they had come all this way just to meet him!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday walk in May.

It's taking me an age to sort through all the photographs from our recent trip to Italy.
So, because I'm missing all my blogging pals stopping by, I've decided to do a quick post about our walk this morning.
Wherever you go in our little corner of Normandy you're probably closer to a cow than a person!

Seriously, we saw 17 cows and three cyclists this morning.
As we walked along the lane I noticed many wild flowers beginning to flower such as the delicate yellow irises in the collage above and the wild comfrey in the next photograph.

"Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped flowers of various colours, typically cream or purplish, which may be striped. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is locally frequent throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches. 
Source Wikipedia.

Later on we plan on working in the garden clearing away all the old daffodil foliage and maybe, just maybe, I'll persuade the Senior Partner that it really is warm enough to get the garden furniture out of storage and onto the patio.
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing today may I wish everyone bon dimanche!
Sharing this bucolic scenery with
The Tablescaper for her 100th Seasonal Sundays
Mosiac Monday with Mary @ the little red house 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Duomo di Sant' Andrea, Amalfi.

Piazza Duomo fountain

The most memorable part of our day in Amalfi was our visit to the Duomo di Sant' Andrea, despite having to climb up 62 steps to reach it.

The 11th century Chiostro (cloister) del Paradiso 
Once inside you are immediately captivated by the peace and serenity of the Cloister of Paradise.

The sections of the passageway walls reveal some of the original mosiac tiles, stucco and intricate doorways.

Built in the early 1200's the Cathedral crypt holds the relics of St Andrew, the patron saint of Amalfi, Scotland and Russia.

The Arab influenced exterior of St Andrews Cathedral, Amalfi.