Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We've been busy...

I'm sure I won't cover it all, but we have been busy. Unfortunately because of a "technical glitch" i did not get to the linen festival.
When we parted ways on Thursday, my new friend took our cell phone # and we took hers. In Canada we have 10 numbers plus the 1 in front, but here in France it is 2#space2#space1#space2#space for four more times and we didn't receive her message saying when to meet them, so they carried on without us, while we sat home waiting for word to leave. I was very disappointed, but I guess it was not meant to be. So Sunday we decided to take a small road trip and drove to a few more of the landing beaches from D day. Took a tour through one of the German bunkers that were protecting the beach and had a guide point out the various points of interest.

This village is twinned with our city back home. It is where our "North Shore" regiment landed on June 6, 1944.

The weather has been less than stellar, but it is not flooding anywhere and there are no mudslides or forest fires, so we do our best to dress accordingly and just "soldier on", rain or shine.
On Monday we headed out for an overnight trip to the WWI memorials, cemeteries and battlefields. 
You cannot imagine what it feels like to see so many, so sobering. The stories of hardships of living in the trenches for years! This was a war fought in trenches...unthinkable today! A war where over 8 million died! Allies, enemies and civilians...8 million!
It is hard to wrap your mind around those kinds of numbers.

Canadian WWI Memorial at Vimy Ridge.

There are 940 cemeteries dedicated to the war dead. Staggering!

This one was particularly thought-provoking. It has over 46,000 graves in it...all German.
They were the enemy to us, but they were some mother's sons, some wife's husband, some child's daddy...  So, so sad.

Essex Farm, was the site of an advanced dressing station where Dr. John McRae wrote In Flanders Fields.
While away we purchased a couple books, but they will wait for later, because it can all become too much, when you bombard your mind will all this sadness.

Such a beautiful country! So nice to see the countryside at peace the way God made it...

We are back "home" and have had a quiet day, laundry and tidying, and a few things to do before leaving for Paris in 2 days to pick up our son and his family. They will be spending the last 2 weeks with us. Hope they pack woolies, and raincoats!

In case you are wondering, I have been keeping my fingers busy too!
I bought some cloth napkins while at the linen shop and decided they needed a pretty crocheted edge to dress them up, so thats what I am working on, and the other night while watching a movie I decided to crochet a rock...well I didn't really crochet a rock, I crocheted a cover for the rock. It was sitting on the window sill outside and I figured it could use some spicing up too!
I have seen this several times on line and always thought I might like to try it, so I did!
Not great, but I will try it again when I get back home. This one will stay behind...
If you think you might like to try it, just google crochet covered rocks...hit images and you can find lots of inspiration. Mr. O says, I have too much time on my hands when I start crocheting covers for rocks...he just doesn't get it. <grin>

Saturday, June 22, 2013

C'est la vie

I really must open with a shot of the view out the diningroom window last night.

It is a bit dark, but, at the back of the cottage we look out over a bit of a grassy valley and hills dotted with black and white it is in the daylight.

It has been a lazy day here at Bruquedalle Cottage. The rain started early this morning, so we really didn't plan too much for the day; besides I was waiting for a call from Blanche about when we would be going to the linen festival. When we parted ways on Thursday, she took our phone number and said she would let me know when we were going to the festival. It is now Saturday afternoon and still no word...The French are so laid will happen when it happens...( I hope!) 
After a few cups of coffee, and a piping hot shower, I made French toast for breakfast. I used a variety of breads that were left from some of the breads we have been eating this week...fig and nut; coarse viking bread; Boucheron bread( a local specialty) drizzled with a bit of maple syrup; imported from Canada (how cute!)
We needed a few fresh things so we headed into the Ry village market. A few peaches, a few onions, 3 apples, strawberries, a bunch of bananas, some really yummy cranberry tea, a baguette. I love shopping like this! After we finished grocery shopping I ducked into a little local knitting shop, but nothing really called out to me, so we stopped in at the local tourist information building. We bought some apple juice and a bottle of apple cider from one of the many local cider mills. I also picked up a book that you may have heard of. It was written by Gustave Flaubert in the mid 1800's. It apparently caused quite a stir "back in the day" and was based on a local woman who married a local doctor. The story is Madame Bovary.

We were befriended by a very affectionate cat. I would have loved to kidnap her and bring her back to the cottage, but Mr O gave me the "look" and I ditched that thought. By the way, that is a bottle of apple cider, not wine!

After a brief walk along the stream, we took a drive to another village. Lyons-la-Forets...a very old village. A very pretty village frequented by Parisians on the week-ends. Oo-la-la!

This lovely old Inn is from the 1600's!

If you look under the beam, it says Auberge since 1610.

Such lovely buildings and such narrow streets!

Enough pottering around; back to Bruquedall, a pork loin simmering in apple cider with sliced onions and apples; watching old movies and stitching away...see what I mean? C'est la vie!

One letter left to do in the Boston block and then that's all for this project till I get back home.
I hand stitched several wool pennies I had left from a previous project, perfect size for a little candle mat; so that is off the list too!

The evening is still young, our little roast is smelling pretty yummy, and there is still lots of light left to start a little crochet project....c'est la vie!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Normandy; Zeese ees beautifool countryside!

Normandy is so pretty. Fields of flax (the flax is just beginning to flower, everything is very late this year because of the cool weather and all the rain) and oats and canola, all fringed with daisies, buttercups and jaunty red poppies, like a lace trim on a lovely patchwork tablecloth. Some of the fields dotted with sheep or dairy cows. Lovely old stone barns and homes covered in moss and ivy and climbing roses. Always with lovely lace curtains in every shuttered window. Almost always with window boxes or pots heavy with red geraniums. Miles and miles of hedges. Many, many apple orchards and always, it seems no matter what direction you look the spire of a church from one of the many hamlets or villages. The country roads so narrow there is barely room for you to meet another vehicle. 
And always, always, always a boulangerie or maybe two or three in each village. The French love their breads! 

I almost forgot! ...yesterday we met a very interesting local woman, named Blanche. in a former life she was the wife of a French Ambassador. now, she is a midwife and organic farmer who lives about 30 minutes from our place. she was here to tend to "Eeyore" our donkey. in the course of our conversation, she noticed some of my needlework on the table and we got talking "shop". she asked if I liked linen. it seems this area is the linen capital of Europe! she offered to take me to a shop to purchase local linen yardage, AND also to a linen festival this weekend. We spent a wonderful afternoon together and learned a lot of local culture.
This morning after a wonderful breakfast of fresh market strawberries and yogurt, and offerings from a local bakery, (first time eating fig and nut bread), we headed out to find the Canadian Cemetery in Dieppe.

After arriving at Dieppe we spent a couple hours at the beach, just enjoying the view and looking for sea glass. I was really hoping to find blue sea glass, but no luck! I did find a piece of pottery, several shades of green, a couple clear, and a couple light aqua pieces of glass as well as a very pretty blue rock. All in all, not a bad haul!

We grabbed a quick lunch along the beach and headed off to find the cemetery.

Such sad heart wrenching stories of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Normandy still bears the scars of the years of war. This is a plaque commemorating the Canadian army in a nearby town where we go to market.
It must have been so sad for these people to see their beautiful homeland ravaged by war. All around us we see evidence of the war. We are so blessed to live in a land not physically touched by the horrors of war. In a couple of days we will go to Vimy...sad, so sad, but for now I will enjoy the beauty around me.
I will end today's post With a little explanation. I want to show a photo that dropped off of my last post.(well it dropped off my version of it, not sure if you got to see it.)  When I wrote about the cobwebs and cleaning... This was some of what I was referring to.

...a little authentic Norman cottage "charm", oui?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

J'adore France!

I sat last night to write a blog post, but I was so sleepy, I decided not to fight it, but just to close the windows, turn off the dim lights in our old cottage and call it a day. I am really loving living here. This old place has such character. Sometimes I sit in my big old armchair and just sigh, and look around me. I think I should pinch myself to see if I am dreaming, but then I quickly discard that thought, because if I am, I really don't want to wake up. It is everything you have seen in the movies and more...sigh.

It really shows it's age; and has quirky little things that just make me love it. When we were looking for a place to rent here in Normandy, we must have looked at over a hundred places. Some much more modern, some much fancier, some in more populated areas, but I knew I wanted "old" and "quaint" and "country". That is what we got. A bit rough around the edges, and I told our "landlord" yesterday that if it was me, I would fire the cleaning lady, but other than that, it is almost perfect. He apologized and I believe he really was sorry. He is an older gentleman from Donegal, Ireland who has worked in mining(can you believe it?!) he was among the miners who worked drilling and blasting and building the tunnel under the English Channel; met a French "mam'selle" and has made his home here in Normandy.

See what I mean about firing the cleaning lady? Well, we were not going to let a few cobwebs spoil our vacation, so Mr. O got out the "hoover" and I gathered up a few bottles of cleaner and a basin of soapy water and we had fun discovering all the little nooks and crannies, and it really was not work at all! It so different from what we are used to, you really do "throw open" the windows and screens, and the windows swing into the house, to allow for shutters; shutters that are used not just decorative.
As I am writing this, I glance out the window and the cows are gone from the field, the rooster has finally stopped crowing, the birds are still twittering away, and the donkey has mosied over to say goodnight.

Before I say "bonne nuit" though I really must tell you that I had a wonderful day and was able to check something else of my "bucket list".
Are you ready for this?
This is a biggie......
I went to a french market, yesterday and today, and then we found a "brocante". In North America we call them flea markets but doesn't a brocante sound so much better?
The markets totally take over the downtown area for about 4 hours. Stalls and vendors everywhere, cars weaving in and out, people socializing. It is like our Saturday morning farmers market but on a bigger scale and out in the open air. Each little village has one and we are finding out which village on which day.

This is a little taste of what was at the market. I had fresh figs and peaches today! So sweet and juicy. I made a few purchases at the market, but later as we were leaving town, I spotted a sign with an arrow for a brocante...STOP! I said, there is a sign for a brocante! Mr. O hits the brakes and pulls over, with this comment..."what the heck is a brocante?" After I explained, he drove me back, saying, now what do you expect to get here? Well, looky, looky........

These babies are coming home with me, well 8 of them are and I am kicking myself I didn't buy them all, so we are going to stop by tomorrow and bargain for the rest!
What are they? Why old wooden spools, and they are just the thing to wind and store my trims and lace and ric rac on!
I can tell you are as excited as I am...aren't you?
Well, you are, aren't you.....?
Now I have to settle myself down for a sleep, this is a lot of excitement for one day!


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