Monday, 16 October 2017

Take Three Cards

It's been some while since I did any crafting and I should think any crafty followers I may have had, have long since abandoned me, I wouldn't blame them.  I'm back in making mode due to three family birthdays this month, two of them big 'uns.

First up this card for my brother Stu, whose birthday was earlier this month

This next card I made for Emily, his daughter who turns eighteen at the end of the month

and finally after much thought I created this bottle shaped card for my uncle Ray who celebrates his 90th birthday on the same day.

 All cards were made with scraps from my obscenely large stash, something I intend to work on reducing over the coming months.  

Whilst my die cutting machine was out I cut some stars from a pair of 30p jumble sale jeans as I'd an idea to patch a couple of cardis which had been attacked by bloody moths.  My darning isn't fit to be seen so I thought this could be a good solution as the cardi below has only been on my back a handful of times.

There's life in my knitwear yet!

  Thank goodness I took all these photos earlier as halfway through the afternoon the sky went a very strange colour and it looked as though the end of the world was nigh.  Storm Ophelia is to blame I gather and according to the news she's letting rip on the country thirty years to the day of the Great Storm.
I hope you're not getting too battered where you are?

Linking to Handmade Monday # 47... where you can see some serious talent!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Five On Friday - Five Days In Le Pays de La Loire

This time two weeks ago I'd just landed in Nantes, France where I picked up a hire car and hit the road south, destination...the van.  I took my aunt with me this time (she's just eleven years older than me and great fun) I was a little concerned that she might not take to 'roughing it' in a static caravan, her usual holiday accommodation being a plush hotel.

We arrived in the village (indicated by the red pointer) just in time for lunch at the café.  I'd warned my aunt that it was a simple affair and there was no choice of entrée on their menu ouvrier.

 After enquiring what they were serving that day, Madame informed me it was poisson and veau.  Strange combination I thought, or maybe I hadn't understood properly?  Anyway when we sat down we saw other diners, some with fish and others with veal, so it seems that occasionally there is a choice of hot meal.  We enjoyed a tasty repas which included starter, main course with bread, dessert, cheese and biscuits and a glass of red for the bargain price of  €11 

Saturday morning saw us hitting the streets of nearby St Gilles Croix de Vie.  It was market day and with temperatures in the mid twenties, azure skies and not a cloud to be seen, the streets were fairly bustling.  After making a couple of purchases we headed back to the car in pursuit of lunch on the seafront.

The glorious wide sandy beach was almost deserted ... something us Brits can never get our heads around.  But of course they enjoy more than a few hours sunshine per annum in this part of the world and don't need to rush out the second the sun shows itself.
After lunch we walked the entire length of the front and along the harbour wall, stopping for an obligatory ice cream... always pistache for me!  Along the way I was approached by a pipe-smoking, bohemian looking Frenchman who must have heard us speaking English and asked how I liked France, I don't need to tell you what I replied, he then told me that my French was better than his English (not true) and informed me that he didn't agree with Brexit.  He said that he had an appointment and had to rush off, a shame as I rather enjoyed my impromptu chat with random monsieur. 

'When are we eating?'

 By the time we walked back to the car along the beach it was late afternoon and considerably busier.  We viewed families splashing around in the sea , a group of teens huddled around a thumping boom box and many a dog walker...one savvy boy was 'walking' his dog whilst cycling up and down the sands with the poor hound trotting beside him on the lead, his short legs struggling to keep up.


That night a treat was in store as we'd bagged tickets to a local production at the village hall.

When we arrived there was hardly a seat to be had, the place was packed with villagers. (mostly of a certain age, it has to be said) 

We were entertained for two and a half hours with songs and dance from around the world.  As you can see Great Britain was featured...I had wondered beforehand if Brexit would preclude us, but no, a gorgeous young man with an amazing vocal range sang John Lennon's Imagine. 

The amateur dancers were no spring chickens and the concentration on one particular lady's face was a picture, it was the best €5 I've spent in a long time.

Wild horses wouldn't have dragged me away from the vide grenier at neighbouring village Froidfond, on Sunday morning.  Of course, I made a couple of purchases, two CDs €1 each and a wicker jug for 50 centimes....last of the big spenders eh?

Next stop was Bretignolles sur Mer. Before we left I telephoned a favourite restaurant of mine to make a lunch reservation, but was told that they were full.  It wasn't a problem as we found another place that was just as nice and ate our salade on their sun terrace with fabulous views of the beach. Afterwards we ambled along the sand, nothing like the exercise required to burn off calories from the king-sized crepes we'd consumed! 

After poking around in a few rock pools and finding some scallop shells we found ourselves a comfy rock and had forty winks under the sun.

On Monday the sun had a day off but we weren't deterred and continued with our plan to visit L'Île de Noirmoutier.  Since 1971 this island off the coast of Vendée has been linked to the mainland by a bridge,

another way of reaching the island is by the causeway, Le Passage du Gois

which is navigable for an hour, twice a day at low tide.  We took the bridge!

Once on Noirmoutier, we stopped for a coffee followed by some browsing
in the few shops that were open...many shops are closed in France on a Monday.
As it was threatening to rain we took shelter in this restaurant where we enjoyed another good lunch.

  I chose the Plat du Jour, 'loup de mer' which I seemed to remember was sea bass but not trusting my memory 100%, I thought I'd google it.  I asked the waiter for le code wifi but he just shook his head and said 'non', I imagine he thought quite rightly, that I shouldn't be looking at my phone during a meal.

Afterwards we explored the back streets of the main town,

the castle
and St Philbert's church

about which I could go into more detail, but fearful of this post dragging on, I won't!

As we headed back to the car park through narrow alleys we saw a crowd of women hanging over a garden gate so went to investigate.

 These two elderly ladies told the assembled crowd that they had discovered this family of  cats in the garden of the derelict house and had been feeding them for several days.

The kittens were adorable but it was this lady's socks that most held my attention.

Tuesday arrived all too soon and it was time to close up my van for the winter before flying back to the UK.  I won't be visiting again this year as even with heating, it gets a bit nippy during the colder months.

So that's it, until the spring it's au revoir et à bientôt....and in case you're wondering, 'auntie' loved it. 
Linking with FASTblog for Five On Friday 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Scavenger Hunt September

There were some challenging subjects again this month but I hope you enjoy my interpretations... some were from the archives and others taken last weekend when I visited France for the last time this year.


We arrived at this Vendéen seaside town at lunchtime... when most shops in France close.


Taken a few years ago on a day out in the big smoke


My aunt bought this wacky watch from a market stall in St Gilles Croix de Vie as a gift for her daughter and obligingly modelled it for me for the purposes of this photo.



 It starts with a C ...

 ....more food, this time crepes in a lovely beachside restaurant at Bretignolles sur Mer.
I chose banana, my aunt ordered marronière...a heavenly chestnut purée.


I don't know what's come over me lately, earlier this month it was my legs and now it's my  torso....I think that's enough naked flesh for one month. year.

 Loving this Sanctuary Shower Foam that I received for my birthday.


Some of my scarf collection hanging on the inside of my wardrobe door


 Tickets please.  Taken at East Grinstead station


My favourite radio station when across the channel, evoking memories from 1970's camping holidays.

 My own choice

 Ambling back to the car park via the marina at St Gilles, before finding a seafront restaurant which served the most humongous moules frites lunch.

Head on over to I live I love I laugh for more Scavengers snaps.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Five On Friday - The One Where I Show My Legs

Suzi of Alternative Ageing recently wrote a brilliant post about older women wearing shorts.  Being 55 and having less than perfect legs.... scars, wobbly knees, varicose veins and no ankles, (according to a former boyfriend!) I wear shorts on holiday, where nobody knows me, but I've never worn them to pop out to the shops say, or down the pub at home.  That changed a fortnight ago when temperatures reached the high 20's for a few days.  I was wearing my shorts around the house and needed to pop out, I couldn't be arsed to change and as I'd slapped some fake tan on a few days earlier I didn't think my legs could be too offensive ....could they?   

I need longer arms or a selfie stick...note the return of the 'Deidre' neck!

Anyway, after a liberating trip to Screwfix, where no one gave my legs a second glance I've decided I'll be wearing shorts again and bollocks to anyone who thinks they are 'age inappropriate' (dreadful phrase) or vulgar as my pins aren't perfect.
  Do you wear shorts? Let me know in the comments what you think.

Something I wouldn't been seen dead in, in public (unlike some Tesco shoppers) are pyjamas!  These Sainsbury caravan 'jamas were bought for sleeping in.

I couldn't resist them and thought they'd be just the thing to take to my van... in spring and autumn it can get un peu chilly at night.

After a summer of shite and shows featuring sex-mad millennials on TV I was more than pleased to see the return of Inspector Montalbano. 

 The Sicily portrayed is stark and sparsely populated (where are all the tourists?) but the skies are blue (always a mood lifter when you live in the UK) and Dottore is not bad either !  Subtitled, it's screened on BBC4 on Saturday nights. I need to catch up with last week's episode as I fell asleep whilst watching it, being rather jaded after an eventful day at

My Cousin's Wedding

I travelled across to Bristol last weekend for the marriage of Christopher and Emily.
  I gave a reading during the ceremony, mingled with guests whilst photos were taken, then stupidly cut myself rather badly on a glass between my thumb and index finger.  Fortunately there were lots of guests with medical training...a cardiologist, an anaesthetist two SRN nurses, an armed response policeman and a 999 call operator!  The general consensus was that I needed stitches, so unfortunately I missed the meal, speeches and happy announcement that two will become three early in the new year, as I was sat in Cleveden Minor Injuries Unit.  The staff there were marvellous and after a short wait I was steri-stripped, bandaged and on my way back to the wedding in a taxi, being entertained en route by the driver, whose previous occupation involved touring with pop stars. By the time I was deposited back at the venue he'd furnished me with the name of the biggest bitch in the industry. 
I don't have many photos of the occasion as I was absent for quite a while, but here I am at the end of the day with my cousin, (the bridegroom's sister) Vanessa.

Fortunately I've done no lasting damage and was able to drive home.

 I did remark to my family that there weren't many presents left at the wedding venue and was told this was due to the online wedding list, as the retailer delivers them straight to the couple's address. (I'm so last century!)  No impersonal present from me thanks very much, I gifted them some unusual Mr & Mrs mugs and personalised teaspoons 

I also put together this idea that I shamelessly stole from Pinterest and wrapped the lot in brown paper tied with vintage lace.

Last week a friend suggested a trip to The Depot in Lewes which screens French cinema, so it goes without saying that I was up for it.  We saw Back To Burgundy, (Ce Qui Nous Lie in French - What Binds Us) which tells the story of three siblings reunited when their vigneron father dies and leaves them his vineyard.  It wasn't the best French film I've seen and I tend to agree with The Guardian review here that it lacked depth and drama, nevertheless it was a pleasant enough film and the vistas of the French countryside were glorious.

So that's what I've been up to recently, how about you?
  Linking this post to Tricky's Five On Friday.