We have just come back from
LA BELLE FRANCE
or more precisely, a friend's villa just above Caylus - a delightful mediaeval fortified town in the Tarn et Garonne part of France, right down on the S.W. corner. It is the third time we have bee there and we just love the area, no wonder so many Brits buy property there! This is breakfast with freshly collected bread, butter and Bonne Maman apricot jam - holiday treat.
http://www.lafermette.org/. We were intrigued at breakfast the next morning to see a housemartin's nest above our heads in the beams of the dining room. Apparently the windows had been left open a bit too long! Our objective was to visit the wonderful Millau Bridge designed by Norman Foster. It is most impressive and flies gracefully across the valley, so high that as you can see from this diagram in the visitor centre (very smart!) the Eiffel Tower would just about go underneath the centre span!
We drove across it and back, 6 euros 50 each way but it was worth it. My only complaint was that the fact that it was designed by an Englishman was in VERY small print, but then we were in France. Whilst we were away George was reading '1000 years of annoying the French' by Stephen Clarke and maybe the Millau Bridge was the last straw !
The weather was wonderful apart from one rain and thunder storm, and we were able to lie around the pool reading and George even did some swimming. We visited lots of interesting markets, bought good, cheap wine and big, fat, fresh vegetables and we visited an English woman doing patchwork and quilting holidays at her villa near St Antonin Noble Val - my friend had spotted an advertisement in one of the quilting magazines. A very nice set up right in the middle of nowhere, there were about 12 women beavering away - one from Paris, two from California and three from Ashdon Quilters at Saffron Waldon! Of course we had friends in common - what a co-incidence! http://www.horsdesbrumes.com/. All the ladies said the food was wonderful....!
We were sitting in the 14th century market square in Caylus having a drink when we heard a sound above us - a cat had jumped out of the window onto the ledge and was happily sunning itself, not at all worried about the drop below him. A very good vantage point. I wonder if that is a bullet hole from the revolution behind him?
OOOps, here is the Millau bridge out of sequence !
Again there were about a dozen women sitting in a big room round a huge table, stitching away and all by hand. There was a very nice young woman from America who had married a Frenchman and she was able to do a bit of translating. We spent about an hour with them and had a cup of tea, it is amazing what warmth and friendship comes arm in arm with textiles. Thank you, lovely ladies of the Club Du Fil a L'aguille - les petites abeilles de Septfonds, for a really great afternoon!
Beyond Septfonds is the town of Causade - the berceau du chapeau de paille (cradle of straw hats) or in other words the Luton of France. But very different! A typical market, a good shoe shop selling designer models very reasonably (yes!), and a hat museum. Lots of very old hats lying around and on shelves, and the amazing thing was no one seemed to be there to stop you trying them on - so of course we did. Very carefully, as some of them might have been around during the revolution! And no, I'm not showing you the photo because I don't look anything like Marie Antoinette. But just to prove I was there...
On the way home we stopped overnight in a farm at Bourg Beaudouin near Rouen - we stayed there three years ago and were charmed by the place and by the farmer's wife Benedicte. firstname.lastname@example.org. The house is full, and I do mean full, of stuff. Decoupage, doilies, paintings, books, cheese labels, chickens in every shape and form, old farm and dairy utensils - even the radiators are painted. I fell in love with this teapot at breakfast (note the cows on the tablecloth!) this is the front......
Last time we stayed we ate dinner at the farm but this time it was not possible so we drove, on Madame's recommendatition , to Les Lions de Beauclerc in the utterly delightful village of Lyons la Foret. Every building was strung around with flowers - this is the covered market -
The meal at Les Lions was first class and at 20 euros a head not expensive, and we were eating in a decor raffine et chaleureux ! It was dark when we left the restaurant, but I was amazed to see on the house opposite all these figurines on the OUTSIDE of the windowledges ! Amazing! I have never seen the like before. I hope they were stuck down.
Anyway, after a couple of glorious weeks away we came home to find a flooded conservatory, soaking wet patchwork quilts, cushions and armchair. A big water stain on the lovely old rug. Down to earth with a bang Yukkkkk. But........
The one ray of sunshine was this -
Thank you so much Gina and I understand that I now have to pass this on to three people, is that right? Well, of course, I don't have half or even a quarter as many followers as Gina but if anyone is interested in receiving a mystery parcel from me (and it is a mystery to me, too, at the moment!)let me know, shall we say by the end of October. I can certainly do the chocolate bit! I am really thrilled with my pincushion.
Anyway, no more holidays now this year, it is WORK. House work, gardening and SEWING. And that's a promise. But not necessarily in that order.