Sunday, 24 September 2017

Mosaic Monday # 54 = that was the week that was


So, that was the week that……….  it never seemed to stop raining with the odd thunderstorm thrown in for good measure.
Maybe that's why the kitchen has been the heart of the home a little bit more than usual, well when it's wet outside and you can't play in the garden there is only one thing to do. 

Keep Calm & Bake!
Let me tell you about my new toy the Panasonic bread maker, why I left it so long to get one of these beauties astounds me.
All I have to do is put flour, salt, sugar, butter and water into the bread pan, tip yeast into the dispenser, put any extra ingredients such as poppy, sesame, pumpkin and linseeds into another dispenser, choose the menu setting and loaf size, set the timer and head off to bed.
Next morning the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts up the stairs, a great start to our day. (Please excuse me if in my excitement I’m preaching to those of you who regularly perform this magic in your own kitchens on a daily basis but I am quite besotted).
The SP took me rather seriously when I said I needed to order organic flour over the internet.
The supply chest.
Sweet Sarah @ Hyacinths For the Soul recently shared the Wimberley Valley  Gourmet pecan and banana bread recipe. I’m afraid that pecan oil hasn’t yet made it to a supermarket near me (I daren’t mention it to the SP or else there’ll be another big box arriving from Amazon) so I used walnuts and walnut oil instead,  


A delicious sweet treat we’ll be enjoying often, perfect either with morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Backtracking slightly, in August our neighbour very kindly brought me a large bag of plums from his garden which I turned into jam.
A few days ago he brought apples, such a nice young man!
It took just 6 of them to make an apple cake and four jars of spicy apple, raisin & tomato chutney to enjoy on curry nights.
For the chutney I used a recipe from Mary @ One Perfect Bite, a food blogger whom I’ve followed for many years. You can get the recipe here (or from my Pinterest board) if you’d like to give it a go, so easy and very tasty.
And finally from the kitchen… on Thursday I bought a brioche loaf from some children who were out  in the village raising funds for the Cartigny L'Epinay/Verlar Twinned Town committee. On Friday 4 apples and a handful raisins turned the brioche loaf into a delicious pain perdu (bread and butter pudding).
A large dollop of crème fraiche and dessert was ready to serve..
One last thing…………just wanted mention a book that kept me company during the rainy afternoons this week “The Chemist” by Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight series).
I highly recommend it, the SP enjoyed it too.

It was a good week for satisfying appetites……………………………..


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Mosaic Monday alert - fail to prepare, prepare to fail

This quote is one I used often whilst organising events for the Quimper  Club it's a quote I should have remembered when preparing my MM post this week.
Wifi gremlins have struck the Presbytere and we cannot connect to the internet.
I'm using my iPhone now to let you know that there is a problem and unless it is fixed today (our service provider can't be sure it will be) Mosaic Monday will not be happening tomorrow.
So sorry!
I hope to be back later to say as is well and that MM will go ahead as usual.
Watch this space!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Mosaic Monday # 53 - life lately.............

There's been a shift in the rhythm of life lately, we no longer wake at first light to a boisterous dawn chorus instead it's the Angelus bell ringing out loud and clear at 7.00 a.m. that disturbs our sleep. One look out of the bedroom window confirms that it's still dark outside and there's a distinct chill in the air. Autumn is on her way.


And so our day begins, tea is sipped from pretty Emma Bridgewater mugs, newspapers are opened and the radio is tuned to BBC Radio 4.
Elsewhere in the world in Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States, life lately has become a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people. Their lives devastated by hurricanes and tropical storms tearing their homes apart and making them refugees in hours if not minutes.
In Florida 7 million people have been ordered to evacuate out of the path of Hurricane Irma. With Hurricane Jose fast on Irma's heels it may be some time before they can return home.
Fires continue to ravage the Columbia River Gorge National Park in Oregon meanwhile California has declared a state of emergency in three counties as wildfires burn uncontrollably.
On the other side of the world Nepal, India and Bangladesh have experienced the worst flooding in over a decade with thousands of people killed, homes and livelihoods decimated.
Another refugee crisis looms.
In the face of all these man made and natural disasters it's hard to write a frivolous little blog post about life here in my Normandy bubble.


Some of our friends who join us for Mosaic Monday each week live in Oregon, Texas, Florida, India and the Caribbean, my thoughts are with them and their families,
I so hope that they're all safe.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

Mosaic Monday - # 52 - what I did this summer

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone and welcome back to Mosaic Monday.

I'm so happy to be back hosting Mosaic Monday once again after taking a short break, can't wait to hear about what you all got up to last month.
I wonder if like me you kicked back, relaxed and enjoyed some down time (very much needed by me after our hectic but oh so happy family vacation in Florida in July).
In which case I want to hear all about how your gardens grew; children and grandchildren's visits; cakes you baked and books you read - anything at all to do with la vie quotidienne/daily life.
Perhaps August was the month you took a trip to the coast or the mountains or the country or maybe you travelled to a foreign land?
The possibilities are endless.
So come on, let's share those memories of summer.
Bring along your photo mosaics, your beverage of choice and settle in for a catch up.
The highlight of our August staycation in Normandy for me was the tour of le Château de Colombières  that the SP and I took last week.


You may remember that I featured the Chateau on a list of interesting places to visit in our area on a blog post several months ago.
If you missed that post just click here to see it.


I am so pleased that we finally were able to take the tour, our guide (the young woman in the white coat in the photo below) was very informative and told some interesting stories about the Chateau and it's history.

As I'm sure you can tell from the photographs it was a wet afternoon, umbrellas and wellies were necessary accoutrements along with a warm jacket.


Unfortunately cameras are not allowed inside the main rooms of the Chateau, so I can only include photographs of the Chateau's exterior, it's gardens and chapel interior in my mosaics.

There were some very well behaved young children in our group for part of the tour and the guide was so good at involving them in the Q & A sessions throughout, especially in the Chapel that once was the Guard room.



However, there is a video on the Chateau's website which shows the Chateau off in all it's glory, be sure to have the volume turned up!
Click here to see it on youtube


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 51 - flowers and cheese.



Although the weather has been very un July like in Normandy this week my blue hibiscus is continuing to put forth amazing flowers for us to enjoy.
It's such a shame that they wither and die so quickly if you cut the stems to bring inside, I shall  simply have to admire them as I pass by.
I snapped these colourful hydrangeas with my phone whilst at the market in Trevieres on Friday.
I was happy to see that the florist had reopened after being closed for many weeks due to illness.


Buying fresh produce there is one of my favourite things to do, I always look forward to sampling tasty bites of fromage before deciding what to bring home to enjoy at the weekend.
This time I bought a slice of creamy ripe Brie and a large slice of authentic Greek feta to enjoy in a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, olives and thinly sliced red onion, lavishly sprinkled with oregano and drizzled with Greek olive oil which I brought back from our trip to Crete in May, delicious!

My wisteria is covered in large blooms for the second time, we enjoyed it's sweet perfume in May and here it is again, a delight for all the senses.
The swishing sound it makes when a strong breeze passes through causing the flowers to swing to and fro is so romantic.
A small volunteer nasturtium, a descendent of seeds bought at Monet's home, Giverny many years ago, peeps through the low lying foliage and adds a sweet contrast.

Whilst walking back from La Poste across the market place I spotted a brand new addition on the Trevieres dining scene.

We're looking forward to trying it out soon.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 50 - home again, home again, jiggitty jig!


Home again from our wonderful vacation, we literally just walked in the door.
I said thanks and goodbye to our lovely house sitter, June, then headed straight up to my attic craft room/office to pen this week's blog post before jet lag and exhaustion from 48 hours travelling (we flew to the US via the UK!) take over completely.

The second week of our Florida vacation was just as amazing as the previous one, we managed to fit so much into the days we spent with my family but still enjoyed plenty of "us" time for just the Senior Partner and me.


The latest "land" to open in Walt Disney World in the land of Pandora which you may know from the movie "Avatar".
The plants and flowers both real and "imagineered" used in the theming of Pandora are amazing, here are just a few.



Apologies for such a short post this week, I'm sure you'll understand why.
I'll be better prepared next week I promise!





Also just a heads up..............after next week's post Mosaic Monday will be taking a short break during the month of August, returning all fresh and revived on Monday 4th September that's 09/04/17 if you're from across the pond!




Sunday, 16 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 49 - Postcards from Florida

It's been great spending time with my sister, brother in law, their two sons and the eldest ones girlfriend who we met for the first time this week.
Our days have been filled with theme park visits, shopping and dining out, plus time spent relaxing by our pool.


Our favourite park has to be Disney's Animal Kingdom, of course it has roller coasters and rides that get you very wet but what the SP and I enjoyed the most was seeing "wild" animals in natural settings. On the Kilamanjaro Safari we saw lions, giraffes and elephants "oh my"!





On Saturday BIL celebrated his birthday by doing a 5km park run. He enters several UK marathons during the year and needs to keep fit even on his birthday whilst on vacation.

The Senior Partner went along with him as driver and chief supporter, it was good for them to spend time together something that only happens every couple of years usually.
In the evening we all celebrated together with dinner at the Boathouse restaurant in Disney Springs.






Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 48 - using Google Photos?

bucolic Normandie #1
I've been learning playing with google photos recently using my phone to create collages for Mosaic Monday.
The mosaic above was my first attempt and although I would have liked to have been able to "tweak" the photos before creating the collage I don't think it turned out too badly.
I thought I'd try and see what difference, if any, there would be if I edited the photos in Ashampoo and replicated the collage using PhotoScape.

bucolic Normandy #2

PhotoScape doesn't have the same exact template so I chose one that was very similar to the google photos arrangement.
I have to say that I can't see that much of a difference between the two which made me very happy because today dear MM'ers this post is coming to you not from Normandy, France but from Orlando Fl.
We arrived yesterday and are on vacation with my sister and her family, staying in two very similar villas close to each other and also close to WDW.
We can see each other's back yards across the lake.
I'm going to continue playing around with google photos on my phone and hopefully you'll be seeing us enjoying Florida quite soon.
Quick update.. Using Google photos has been a lot more fun since I discovered the snapseed app.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Mosaic Monday # 47 "The Island" - Spinalonga, Crete.

I don't know if you have read the novel "The Island" by Victoria Hislop?
An international bestseller which tells the story of Spinalonga, an island off the coast of Crete, the leper colony created there in 1903 and the lives of the people banished to inhabit it's rocky shores until 1957 when the last people left the island.



I read the book several years ago and had always hoped to visit Spinalonga myself one day. During our recent to trip to Crete I was able to tick that box on my wish list and what an amazing place "The Island" is.



We took a small ferry boat across from the town of Plaka which is how the lepers were transported to their new lives.

I imagine the scenery looked very similar then as it did on the morning we made the trip.
After arriving on the island the lepers were led through a short tunnel under the Venetian fort into the main street of the colony. This is the view they would have seen as they came out into the sunshine.




Many of the buildings erected by the Venetians and later the Turks would have been still standing although they made for very rough accommodation and were quite inhospitable.


Can you imagine how it must have felt to be able to see the mainland through this tiny window of your house, which was part of the Fort wall, knowing that you would never leave Spinalonga?



 

Repairs would have to be made by the lepers themselves with supplies brought over from Plaka or Elounda on the mainland.

A Hospital, a Dormitory, a Church  and  several shops were built to make life better for those living on Spinalonga.

The large concrete block on the left is the Dormitory, the Hospital is top right in the photograph above.

the Church has been restored by the Archaeological Service



The history of Spinalonga goes back centuries and I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface if I tried to tell you it's stories.



So please allow me to share some of the dozens of photographs taken during our visit, some of the information boards displayed in the restored part of the leper village and a link to an excellent website which you can visit if you would like to know more about Spinalonga.