Friday, September 18, 2009

En France

This is going to be a long post, so it may be a good idea to make a cup of tea or coffee before reading on!

We have just returned from a wonderful time in France. It was partly a working holiday, but we also enjoyed a few days of rest. Our place of abode is lovely. Set amongst farmland in deepest Charante it is peaceful, and the weather was warm and sunny throughout our stay, encouraging us to take the rest that we really needed.

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This picture shows part of the outside. You can see the Pigeonnier and the Grand Salon. More of that later.

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The surrounding countryside is beautiful. Fields of Maize, Sunflowers and Corn surround tiny hamlets and ancient villages

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The maize was a wonderful golden colour. Lots of texture too, to stimulate ideas for future work.

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Sunflowers in different stages of development create atmospheres of their own too,

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whether still showing a little bit of yellow or almost ready for harvesting.

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There wasn’t much time to settle in, though. First we had to convert the Grand Salon into a shopping area. Not quite ready, but this gives you an idea of what was in store.

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The picture was taken from the mezzanine. If I tell you that the dining table seats at least 10 you will get an idea of what a wonderful space this is, and why it is called the Grand Salon! Through the doors at the end you can see the Veranda with a glimpse of the swimming pool beyond.

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Such a beautiful blue. The sun glinting invitingly.

The selling day was followed by a workshop.

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Everyone had great fun, me included. We created texture using a new technique, first to make a brooch and then a piece that will eventually become the panel for a book cover. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of the finished pieces. It was hard to choose which one to include here, but finally I ‘plumped’ for this one.

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Of course, some of us were able to relax while others were working hard!

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Several dips in the swimming pool were the order of the day too!

Our free days were too precious to spend much time travelling, so we visited the local area. A trip to the River Charente at Fleurac was a delight. It is a beautiful spot, calm, quiet, and peaceful.

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There are several islands in this locality, and they are all connected by a series of wooden bridges. There is also a working paper mill processing hand made paper. Unfortunately it wasn’t open on the day we visited. The banks of the river were full of autumn fruits.

Hips

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Hops

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and blackberries in abundance.

Each morning was greeted with the chattering of sparrows in the poplars and evening was heralded with the arrival of flocks of swallows that dipped and dived over the fields, feasting on the insects that they could find. Every night we were treated to another beautiful sunset. This is the start of just one.

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One of the most interesting towns in the area is Aubeterre sur Dronne. Only a small town, a walk around won’t take very long, but each corner heralds another view. A cavernous church hewn out of rock is just one of the delights. We have visited there before, so this time we wandered the streets looking for lunch and other sights.

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This is a general view over the town, while this next one shows just a little of the beautiful stone carving on the church.

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And I just love the higgeldy piggeldy arrangement of these buildings.

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We always return to this view, though.

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Aren’t the colours lovely.

Let’s face it. Half the fun of a holiday is the food! And when it is locally grown, or picked straight from the tree it tastes even better.

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What better way to start the day than with fresh figs and strawberries?

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And freshly cooked bread with local ham, melon and grapes for lunch! Yum!

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And who could resist figs with local almonds?

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So much to see around the old farmhouses too. Always worth a second look.

14 comments:

circleinthesand said...

WOW, awesome pics!! It all looks like it's just beautiful!! glad you had a great time!!

Tessa said...

Sounds wonderful! mm and the food delectable.

Gina said...

I have enjoyed the trip to France with you... the food looks wonderful!

Yankeegirl said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I feel like I was there with you!!

Precious Quilts said...

Wonderful pics, had me drooling over the food. Looked like an amazing place to visit, thanks for sharing!

Sixsisters said...

Loved the photos. It looks like such a fabulous place.
Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

Chauncey said...

Myfanwy, so good to have you back. The trip looks amazing. Like some others have said, it feels like we were right along with you.

gloria said...

What a great time! Love the food pictures! Making me hungry.

Beth said...

Welcome back, loved the photos. What a fantastic trip.

Judy Nolan said...

Welcome back, Myfanwy! I found it relaxing to look at all of these photos.

storybeader said...

love the pics! Looks like you had a productive time. It's so beautiful... never have been to France before. Love the water and landscape shots. So, did you bring home some finished products? Love to see the book cover - are you using it for anything!?!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Those are some incredible pictures - and it looks like you had a great time!

Rose said...

Wow lucky you! Photos are fantastic and great inspiration! I know you enjoyed this very much!

The crafty Kaeru said...

Oooh those figs!! It all looks wonderful - and glad you got to have some R & R too!