Showing posts from July, 2016

Mosaic Monday with Monet

1700-plus photos taken during our three-week trip mean lots of memories and lots of editing, along with some deleting. I hate to delete photos, always thinking that perhaps there will be some bit of information I might use, or some corner to crop.

Let's revisit Monet's home in Giverny. I showed you bits of the garden in this post. We'll walk through the pathways and arrive at the rose-framed house where the door is standing open. 

It's early in the morning, before the crowds arrive. We wander through sitting rooms and up a narrow stairway.

Most houses of this time favored dark rooms full of dark furniture and lots of wood. As one might expect from Monet, the painter of light, he disregarded the fashion of the day and chose the colours he loved. Light streams through large windows into his bedroom, above, and fills it with airiness.

Monet's step-daughter, Blanche, also loved to paint. Her room is seen above. After Monet's death, his son Michel inherited the house an…

Five Windows on the World

We live in a rather nondescript house, not very old, not terribly charming on the outside. (I love the inside.) As I sorted through my photos from our trip, I wondered if I had taken enough of windows to do a post for Five on Friday. Uh, yeah. Definitely. These are just a few, from France. There are many more, and perhaps I'll do another post on English or Welsh windows.

These windows illustrate individuality to me. Shutters can be painted in one's favorite shade, and plants act as frames. Monet's dining room window, above, is lush with colour and texture.

Another window in Giverny shows simplicity and charm with the gingham curtains that match the colour of the shutters. Blue and white is my all time first choice colour combination. 

In contrast, this stark photo of the abbey at Jumi├Ęges shows abandonment and devastation, and yet the pure lines of the window and wall speak eloquently of the architect's aesthetic.

Bright red shutters that match the roses growing nearby mad…

It's All about the Hat

Sports leave me cold. I have no interest in watching them, playing them, nor do I really care who wins. Oh, I can drum up some national spirit if Team Canada is vying for the gold medal in hockey at the Olympics, but that's about it. 

As you may remember, the Euro Cup 2016 took place earlier this month. In France. In fact, the final matches were the week we were on the cruise boat. Team spirit ran high. When the final came down to France vs Portugal, most people had strong opinions one way or the other. Our boat docked in Paris that night, and the Eiffel Tower was visible from the top deck. Big screens played the game to the crowds at the Tower. We weren't certain if the smoke visible in the photo was from fireworks or tear gas - both of which played a part in the evening. Off-duty crew were able to watch the match from a small television on deck. 

I didn't really care about the outcome, although if someone asked me, I'd say I'd like France to win. What I really want…

Not a Fashion Blog, but a Fashion Post

Clothes. We all wear them. I like wearing clothes that suit me, that I feel comfortable in, and that are reasonably fashionable. People seem to dress in similar ways throughout the Western world, with a few differences.

Here's a little bit of what I observed being worn in Paris and London: 

Skirts - short (not just on younger women), mid-knee, and maxi (but never trailing on the ground). Lots of prints, usually small geometrics and florals. In Paris the prints were in softer shades, like the skirt above, than in London, where black backgrounds were seen more.

Dresses, again in a variety of lengths and prints. Black was not uncommon. Lots and lots of jean jackets, on big girls and small ones.  

The weather was warm, but not hot, and almost everyone in Paris wore sandals, either flat or wedged. Scarves almost always. Above is one of our tour guides. Lace seems to be a continuing trend - yokes on knit tops, or more rarely, a textured top.

Well-fitted and well-balanced outfits - fitted pan…

From the Welsh Seaside and South London

Any possible view of the Irish coastline was obliterated by a thick bank of fog. Aberaeron is a seaside town with pastel-coloured houses and a harbour full of boats.

The fog tumbled quickly landward and we, along with the town, were enveloped in a chilly mist.

My cousin's husband showed us quickly around the town, and then we went off to visit a manor house that I'll tell you about later. 

We did return to town for lunch and the sun made another appearance. We ate at the restaurant in the bright red-orange building at the end of the street - The Hive. The Fish and Chips were crispy and filling.

For navigation on this trip we're relying on a GPS, known here as a SatNav. We downloaded the maps and routes onto my phone and it's served us well. Or so we thought. 

When we left the Cotswolds on Tuesday, we soon turned onto a small road and came upon a large fire truck blocking it entirely. Hmmm. What could be happening? I volunteered to check it out. 

Walking around the fire truck…

More about Sudeley Castle

I was so enchanted by Sudeley Castle that here is another post with more photos. The Cotswold countryside is full of fields and pastures that resemble a patchwork quilt with wide blocks of green forests. 

More of the ruins of the great banqueting hall, this time taken from the second story of the house, in the section still lived in by the family. This view is from one of the guest bedrooms. 

Elizabeth I visited the castle at least 3 times. She got on well with her stepmother Catherine Parr, and likely spent some time there with her before she (Elizabeth) became queen. The knot garden is based on a design from a dress that Elizabeth I wore for a painting that hangs in the castle.

Another detail of that banquet hall ruin. Can't get enough of it. 

This rose climbed very, very high to bloom alongside the empty window. I zoomed in as much as possible to get this shot. 

There's a wonderful rose garden, with all the roses labeled. I took many photos there, but this rose was against the c…

Out and About - Sudeley Castle

Here we go. Up the hill, hoping whoever is on the other side is hugging their side of the road. After a good night's sleep and a good breakfast (I ate well, Tim had half a piece of toast and some tea), we programmed our little GPS (on my cell phone - without data!) for Hailes Abbey and Sudeley Castle, said a little prayer, and ventured out. 

Here's another stone wall. I told you there would be more. Isn't it picturesque? 

So. First thing - I've been mispronouncing Sudeley - it's "Soodeley" with a long "u", not a short one. Before visiting the castle, I knew that the last wife of Henry VIII (who managed to outlive him and keep her head) was buried in the church here, and had lived here with her second husband, Thomas Seymour (who was later beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I). Whew! That's a lot of history just there. But there's so much more. I won't burden you with all of it, but I was fascinated.

Sudeley Castle (with a long "u") i…

Taking it Easy

Scientists say that learning new things is a good way to maintain brain plasticity. Our brains had a good workout yesterday as we rented a car and drove to the Cotswolds. Tim drove and I went "eek, eek" from the driver's seat. It seemed like cars approaching around corners were going to drive straight into us. As we left the motorway (the M roads), and the A roads, the way became narrower and narrower. I sucked in my stomach and pulled my elbows closer to my body in an involuntary response to shrink the car. It didn't work. But somehow, we made it without incident. Thanks be to God.

As we zoomed along, tall stalks of cow parsley waved at us from the roadsides. In places, the road seemed to be a mere track between two high banks. Unnerving. Then I saw my first Cotswold stacked stone wall. So picturesque. There was no way I was going to ask Tim to stop for photos. Where would we stop? There's no shoulder. 

The wall above surrounds the churchyard in the small town of …