April..

…and its been a great month. Back to the blog at last – ‘where have you been?’ I hear you ask  – ok in my dreams – just a joke, but yes I’m still out of the home for the bemused and bewildered and we’ve been out and about.

So mostly photos this time…

First to the UK, maybe wrote that last month…

Today I made a case for all my crochet hooks – ok so its May but I’m sneaking it in

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Earlier in the month we went to ProvenceIMG_0232

This is the view from the gite (holiday home) where we stayed – overlooking Vaison la Romaine. The Mistral blew and mornings and evenings were chilly, but the light down there is different and the blue sky is truly Provençal.

My friend even braved the exceedingly cold water of the swimming pool…

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I know it would be lovely under the heat of the Provençal summer sun …but in April? – good grief the water  might just have reached 15°C. One brave lass indeed.

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Aix en Provence was as lively and colourful as I remembered, here’s the square of restaurants, and it was even more buzzing  as it was market day in the Cours Mirabeau.

If you want a really good coffee there, in the centre, but off the beaten tourist route then try  Mana Espresso. The granddaughter of a friend of mine and her partner have it, hard workers, the pair of them and they so deserve to succeed.

Then we went to Paris

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The view from the big wheel – the Tuilerie gardens – you get to go twice round on the wheel, so its not very long, but looking down the Champs Elysée is quite spectacular.

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The Montmartre museum is worth a visit – especially if you are at all interested in the history of the area and Suzanne Valadon, the model and artist. The presentation at the beginning is well done.

Becoming boring now – BUT at the end of the month it was my birthday and there’s nothing boring about this – well not for me anyway…

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you see those two envelopes…well

number 1 envelope had the reservation for a night in a hotel in Paris.. ‘strange,’ I think, ‘we have just been..’

Number two envelope had tickets for

‘BRUCE SPRINGSTEIN LIVE IN PARIS!’

how unbelievably fantastic is that? Aren’t I just one of the luckiest people? A big thanks to the one I love for knowing I couldn’t wish for a better present!

So here’s one exceedingly happy 69 year old granny!

Its never too late.

 

of pigs and pretty things…

Here’s one granny who has just had a wonderful time visiting her daughters, partners and grandchildren in the UK.

We went to a farm where you can scratch the pig’s back with a brush

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Well actually its a boar – but isn’t he the cutest you have ever seen? Very intelligent as well and so friendly.

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The big skies of the vale of York -when it was sunny, and Scarborough when it was not!

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And now it’s back to the cottage and rural France – how lucky am I?

of deer whoopsies and dogs, and winter weather….

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and to think we were having lunch outside a couple of days ago…

 

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It’s only about 3° C here and not very pleasant.

No long walk with the doglet today – that’s for sure.

She has had her springtime hair cut – I know, bad timing – but at least when she does get wet she can be dried easily. And when she has rolled in the unmentionable – wild boar or deer whoopsies – then a shower is most necessary. It’s what terriers do in the country, chase the farm cats, eat or roll in unmentionable stuff, pick up ticks, hunt for mice and moles – never known her catch one, smell strongly and have a jolly good time!

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But the visit to the toilettage, as dog grooming is called in France, when you are 10 years old is very tiring ,and between that and the dampness outside then its been a day in bed. But don’t I look cute now?

 

 

 

 

of cycling and sewing

…and other seemingly boring stuff for the blog site…but its just not boring! The good life here in rural France is – well  – Good…

18th March 07

Tranquil, relaxing, and at times, challenging – like last night -three hours of french speaking with some friends from the next village – topics ranged far and wide, from Maréchal Pétain; the student riots in Paris in the sixties,  the new French employment laws and this weeks strikes… to the french agricultural system and ownership of land which believe me is immensely complicated. These Charolais don’t seem worried anyway.

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The hummus I made for last night  was disappointingly dry – I blame the blender – on its last legs and soon to be binned..and oh yes maybe I didn’t add enough olive oil.

Himself made filo pastry parcels filled with prawns and ginger and its only fair to say they were delicious.

Our friend is originally from the Ardêche region and his wife was born a couple of miles away from here – she has a wonderful garden and brought some daffodils and he brought a speciality drink from the Ardeche region.

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But mostly this week I have learnt to make cushion covers – thanks to youtube…

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and watched the Paris – Nice cycle race – mostly on the TV but once in the rain because it was only a few km away.

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The race was preceded by lunch in a local restaurant – which at 11.80 euros was excellent quality and value.

Oh yes, the good life is certainly good.

 

feel the rain

The little lake on our evening walk. The view changes all the time.
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‘Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.’ 

Don’t you just love that quote from Bob Marley?

Today it has been lashing down, running down our tiny french lane like a river – but, and here’s the good news – the aforementioned lane has just been tarmacked – well that can’t be the right spelling… imagine a tiny lane down to only two other houses and a farmer’s barn, now looks like a motorway. It is so lovely – before, every pebble was brought into the house on the sole of our trainers and the grit and sandy soil was carried in by the dog…and the rain washed more and more of it away. Tarmacadam-ed because, just wait for it, they dug it up to put pipes in for mains sewers. That will be so fantastic – it’s happening in all french villages – we will have our very own reed bed.

I have just returned from a walk with the dog and half way round there was a rainbow, complete and beautiful, but by the time I had felt for the phone with my cold fingers it had disappeared so instead here’s a photo of the dog…

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‘The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.’ Longfellow

Well that’s what I have done today… and toasted in front of the fire, crocheting granny squares. Oh the simple pleasures of life. There is much to be said for them.

 

lazy in winter

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March already!

This winter I have mostly… been  knitting blankets for rescued cats, crocheting blankets for who? I’m not sure yet. And trying to meditate with DeepaK Chopra. Oh yes and making vegetable stew and dumplings…

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We’ve been to Spain in the camper van to escape the worst of the winter

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via Argeles sur mer and

here’s the snow capped Canigou.

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and then after a couple of days in the very windy south of France here are the mountains above Denia – the scene of our daily walk – I think I put photos on a few years ago of the Almond blossom

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And now, well I am doing a course called Strategies for Successful Ageing – Oh yes, I hear you say – you and successful ageing? Interesting – especially after going into hospital with gastric enteritis and being convinced it was the beginning of the end…

Laugh – you have to, if this is as rough as it gets we are doing very well!

I can’t resist putting in some more photos – I read somewhere that a blog should have photos…

IMG_3226the donkey at the last campsite  –                           IMG_0106  the doglet on the washingIMG_0116

and of course the Charolais on our daily walk.

I have given up on creative writing courses – I read somewhere that if you are going to be a writer – just write – so obviously I am not going to be a writer…in this lifetime.

I have just read through some of my earlier posts and actually I quite like them – ah… those were the days when I actually did some writing! So this year i am going to try and put something on regularly – even if its not very literary I shall practice my craft!

 

just an old bear

Once upon a time there was Old Bear. He was sad and tired and knew he was too scruffy even for the charity shop.

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His arms were wonky, his eyes not right and over many years of cuddling all his fur had been loved off.

Along came Old Mary… she was old too, and sad and tired, but didn’t admit it.

Bits of her didn’t work  quite as well as they used to either, and what wouldn’t she give for a cuddle now and then?IMG_0005

With some needles and wool Old Bear was transformed.

He was loved once again. Loved for just being old and therefore special.