Sunday, 17 August 2014

En Vacances, Episode 1

I've been home from my hols a week but what with a birthday, work and a sick cat (urinary infection, now much better thankfully) there's been no time for more blogging until now.  
I just love France, don't ask me why... I can't explain it. I just do.  I hadn't been to France for a holiday since the 80's when I spent a week in Paris, but in the 70's I had many very happy camping holidays in rural France with my parents and brother and for three consecutive years we went to the same site in Vendee.  It is of these holidays that I have the fondest memories.  So after 35 years I returned... and I wasn't disappointed.

We drove down on the Peage, unlike Blighty we didn't see much traffic and the B roads which I expected to be busier were quiet too.  No potholes or patched up roads here, how do they fund their fabulous roads?  Anyone know?

Our accommodation, which Dad forked out for was a lovely old four bedroom country house in Lairoux, a tiny hamlet a few miles from the coast. The massive garden came complete with an abundance of fruit trees, vines and swimming pool. The figs were amazing.

I had my photographers head on for most of the holiday and found Vendee a dream to snap.  I love  capturing the texture of old crumbling plaster, faded facades and peeling paintwork.  For me that really epitomizes the rural France I remember.  (it's true.. but doesn't it sound such pretentious shit?)

Vendee's landscape is very flat and you can see for miles.  At this time of year there's a preponderance of sunflower fields and hay bales, more photo opportunities!

However it wasn't just winding alleys and bucolic splendour, we saw these cool street performers when visiting La Rochelle.

Monsieur appears to be floating in mid air.  The arm attached to the pole is obviously false and the shoes are dodgy too but I still can't work it out, elucidate please someone.   Very cleverly they only moved when money was thrown into the hat, the one above doffed his hat to the donor....

...whilst this bloke standing on the harbour wall made clanking and creaking noises as if he was in dire need of a liberal squirt of  3 in 1.

 Check out this stunning graffiti.

 La Rochelle Harbour entrance - from one side

...and the other.

 arty shots... (a la Curtise)

Boulette s'il vous plait

Before we left we had lunch at this cafe.  Bloody hell, France is not cheap.
E3.30 for an Orangina.... WTF?   I still love it though.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Liberté Égalité Fraternité

I'm just back from the best holiday.  Two weeks in sunny Vendee with Dad, my brother, sister in law, niece and nephew.  I took squillions of snaps, (you have been warned) but I've yet to sift through them and edit, so here's a quick taster of my Gallic gallivant.

Can't stand it meself but Dad likes it - as French as berets and petanque

We drove through lovely old villages

my crochet got finished.....enfin.

Acres and acres of sunflowers surrounded us

There was some Brocante-ing

and successful hunting down of Vide Grenier's

I had such a lovely time I didn't want to leave.  I'll be back here sometime soon to wax lyrical about la belle France and bore you rigid with my pics.  In the meantime I'm back to work and I've a 52nd birthday to celebrate this week... poor Dad spent his 75th driving home yesterday, we enjoyed a suitably celebratory meal and a few sherbets the night before though. Bien sur!

Will be catching up with you all soonest.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Skirt

Prepare to be impressed...nay, amazed.  Fiona has made a skirt!

I embarked on this sewing lark a few months back, enthused by The Great British Sewing Bee and inspired by Lazy Daisy Jones who blogged this fab tutorial.  I persuaded some ladies at my Stitch & Bitch class to have a crack at it too and they did.  It didn't go smoothly for me but after some consideration,  kind comments and encouragement from you lovely lot out there,  I decided to press on with it.  In addition to Daisy's tutorial I also had some welcome advice from my good friend and neighbour Eunice, about hemming, tacking and general finishing off, which I did in the sunshine accompanied by Prue and a glass of Pimm's.  

The fabric is plain as I thought pattern matching was probably a step too far for a novice like me, so I jazzed it up with some ric-rac...radical eh?

Is there an approved way of tacking???  I dunno but this worked for me.

I wore it to Stitch & Bitch today and unbelievably even the tutor (who never fails to point out the smallest mistakes) didn't have a bad word to say about it.  

 necklace - junk shop
t-shirt - BHS
sandals - cats protection chazza
skirt - all my own work


 It's not perfect, the fabric is unexciting and it took me ages to make, but nevertheless I'm quite pleased with it.  I might even have another bash, with a printed fabric ....but don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Scavenger Hunt - June

Another month has whizzed past so it's time for the Scavenger Hunt link up.  I didn't find this month's list too much of a challenge although my interpretations could have been a lot more imaginative.   You'll find other submissions and next month's list here.



 on Sunday 15th June. The London to Brighton Bike ride


 at the Ardingly Antiques Fair


 I was positive I would find a puppet at the antiques fair but Sod's law, they eluded me, isn't that always the way when you're looking for something?  In desperation I suddenly remembered this knitting pattern although god knows quite why I bought it, it's way too advanced for my limited abilities.

You again

Oh do put that camera away, can't you see I'm having a stretch?


 raindrops on alchemilla mollis



 support for our team at the post office.. before we were defeated!


 the water at the local yachting lake


 or womanmade in this case, my frog blog win from Tracey


 the local Italian restaurant


 is a bugger to photograph!

As always thanks to Greenthumb for hosting. 


Monday, 23 June 2014

Bargains and St. Botolph's

The last seven days have been busy ones.  There's been successful chazzing,  a few purchases made at the Ardingly Antiques Fair and a lovely day out on the other side of West Sussex with a friend.  I know you want to see my charity shop buys.... so wait no longer.

 I scored this gorgeous PVC jacket, Boden no less, although I didn't buy it for the label.  The colour is sensational and an instant spirit lifter.... if spirits happened to be low that is.  It has a bit of 60's vibe going on.  Instead of posing by the shabby shed, shouldn't I be in Carnaby St ?

I wore it to the antiques fair at Ardingly last week as the sky looked decidedly black when we left and no sooner had we arrived when a male stall holder complimented me on it.  No doubt he was buttering me up so I'd buy his £65 vase, but even so I felt chuffed.... this is how Vix must feel every day!

   Another stall holder spied me eyeing this basket with interest and offered it to me for a fiver.  I've no idea what I'll do with it yet but I couldn't leave it behind at that price.  There was all manner of vintage gorgeousness at Ardingly but although I took my camera I was so engrossed in the stalls I completely forgot to take any snaps.

And how about these shoes I scored at the Cats Protection chazza?

Oh yes I'm very pleased with these.  Not only do they accommodate my bunions but they are Kennel Und, I was none the wiser either.   They looked expensive to me so I googled their website and discovered that even their sale items were retailing at £130...I paid £2.49.  

The weather has been glorious lately, us Brits are always surprised by this so take full advantage of sunny skies to spend time outdoors.   I've been planting annuals and generally titivating the garden in hope of an impromptu al fresco soiree this summer.   Poor old Prue doesn't know what to do with herself except find a nice shady spot amongst my gladi's, which have now been flattened.  

Today was another sunshiney day, perfect for a day out with a friend and a pub lunch.

Afterward we visited a couple of junk shops but delights eluded us, so we returned to R's house and walked down his lane to the local church, St Botolph's.

   It's thought that this ancient church was built around 1050.  There are several Roman sites nearby and Roman tiles and bricks were re-used in the walls.  Inside the church is one of the finest series of wall paintings in the county which were painted in the 1100's.

I was amazed to find the church door open and viewed this with ambivalence.  I felt privileged to be able to experience these ancient works but also felt anxious that unprotected, they could be desecrated.  God forbid though that they should become some dreadful commercialised tourist attraction which Stone Henge, seen on TV this week, now is.

So that was my week, how was yours?
Anyone else having trouble with Blogger?

Linking to Sir Thrift a Lot.