August 29, 2010

JUST A FEW PHOTOS


Market day in Le Grand-Pressigny







August 26, 2010

JUST A COUPLE OF PHOTOS


Market day in Descartes


August 23, 2010

JUST A PHOTO


The evening sunshine at the Pre-Histo

August 20, 2010

EN VACANCES


This shoe shop in Chinon has been selling these same shoes since I first went there in 1994. I have seen several ladies around the town wearing them and I bought a blue pair myself about ten years ago. They are extremely comfortable and I still wear them. However, when I went there on our girls' weekend this year, they were closed for annual holidays.

Quel dommage. I fancied a red pair.


August 18, 2010

WHAT'S ON ?

There is always something going on around Le Grand-Pressigny. When we are chez nous it is sometimes hard to decide which events to attend and which to leave out. Sometimes, we are so happy just chilling out on our little terrace that inertia sets in and we don't do anything at all. Then we feel annoyed with ourselves for missing something good.




Not far away is the village of Paulmy. At the Bar de l'Union there is usually live music on a Friday or Saturday night. Several people have told us about this. The music is often quite good. Apparently. They also serve food.





Earlier this year we went along one Saturday afternoon to see what was on that evening. It was a blues band whose name I can't remember. Dinner was duck with orange sauce; reserving a table was recommended.


We went home and considered our options. Then we had pizza from the van in the village square and a couple of glasses of wine chez nous instead. Our reasoning was that we had to be up early to travel home the next day. The reality was that sitting on our little terrace, listening to the church bells and watching the swallows dipping and diving all around us, for one last evening, was all we wanted to do before we had to leave to go back to the UK.




In July we missed the Festival des Barroudeurs. It was at Barrou, just over the hill from us. We had seen that it was on and went along in the afternoon to suss it out. They were just setting up the stage for the band down by the river. There were also obviously food stalls and who knows what else. It all looked very jolly and promising so we went home to think about it and guess what - we didn't go. To be truthful, it was the time I was rapidly going down with the flu and I was not up to it. Apparently it was very good.




We even missed our own village brocante. But this time we had the best reason of all for not going. It was the week after we went back home. How annoying !! The minute we go home, we miss something we might really like to see. Or at least have the chance to miss.

August 16, 2010

A TALE OF TWO POTS

We are having a clear-out at home. Partly because we need to do it - the house is overflowing with stuff. Also partly because the ground floor needs to be cleared to make way for the decorator to come and finish off the jobs he started and then abandoned last autumn. It has taken us this long to pluck up courage to strip the house of furniture, curtains and belongings all over again so that the work can take place.




These two stewpots live on top of the kitchen cupboards. They are nice decorative items, I feel, but they are also very useful and have sentimental value. They are definitely not amongst the things destined for the Oxfam shop.


The small one was a gift from a neighbour when I was about sixteen. At the time I thought it a very strange thing to give to a young girl who was more interested in The Beatles than beef stew. We were living with my grandmother then and the old lady next door died. Her husband, Mr Smith, was obviously clearing out things he didn't need, or maybe that he couldn't bear to have around him any more, and he gave me her stewpot. I recognised that it was a big deal for him to give it away and accepted it gratefully. I have only used it a few times.


The larger one is in regular use. It was my grandmother's. I remember her making beef stew in it throughout my childhood, which makes it over fifty years old. It is possible that she bought it early in her married life so it could be anything up to eighty years old.





When I was a child, ¾ lb of stewing beef with loads of vegetables and stock would go into the pot and cook in the old range for hours and hours. This would feed five of us easily, once the plate was piled up with even more vegetables (from the garden of course). As a special treat my grandmother would make herb dumplings and drop them into the pot towards the end of the cooking time. Crispy on top and fluffy inside, they were scrumptious. I have never been able to make any that taste as good. As an even greater treat, we would have the stew with home-made chips. Bliss.


My mother used the pot herself after my grandmother died - to say she inherited it sounds too grand. She just carried on using it. She then gave it to me when I first set up home by myself in the early 70's. I have used it regularly ever since. It goes into the dishwasher and comes out sparkling every time.


They were probably made by Pearsons of Chesterfield. In the 1800's there were many small pottery factories in Chesterfield and Pearsons was the biggest, outliving all the others but finally closing in 1994. During the 70's and 80's I acquired several pots and dishes made by them. I have few of them left now but I can't see me ever parting with my grandmother's or Mrs Smith's stewpot.

August 13, 2010

DAHLIAS AND DRIZZLE

We are having a typically disappointing summer in our patch of the UK. It happens every year. We get some proper summer days in June and July, then as soon as the schools break up for the six-week holiday, it all goes pear-shaped.

Today is particularly dismal. Grey, drizzly and actually quite dark. So I looked back on the photos I took during my "girls weekend" in Le Grand-Pressigny at the beginning of August and these flower pictures cheered me up.
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This is a dahlia that Nick planted last year. It was not in bloom when he saw it in July. I hope it stays in flower for another couple of weeks so he can see it for himself.






This begonia was an afterthought - a few plants were grabbed hurriedly when we packed the car for our trip in May. We stuffed them in our French garden wherever there seemed to be a space. Nick hasn't seen this in bloom yet, either.



For myself, I am somewhat disappointed that it isn't a lovely warm, sunny day today. But it really doesn't matter that much. I am off work today. In fact I am off work every Friday from now on. I now work a three-day week. So it doesn't matter if it chucks it down, life is good.

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(However, if the weather man would send us some someshine, I would be ever so pleased.)

August 10, 2010

MONTRÉSOR IN PHOTOS

All the faces were photographed in Montrésor, a lovely picturesque village in Touraine, about 17 km east of Loches. This was my third visit and I have never been in the middle of summer before. It was quite busy with tourists but still magical.




The first face was on a gate to a cave under the back of the château. Maybe it was used for storing wine at some stage, or still is. Who knows. There were several interesting doors and gates into the walls under the château.





There are pretty cottages everywhere.



I didn't actually see anyone wearing clogs.



I loved this gentleman's rather natty jumper. In fact he was very sweet and helped us when we took a wrong turning and had to turn around in a less-than-ideal place. He had a lovely smile.

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And this is the home of the virtual pig who looked very real from a distance.


August 8, 2010

MORE FACES

Here are a couple more faces seen in the same town as the previous post.
As different as chalk and cheese. Or is it pork and peas?



All will soon be revealed.

August 7, 2010

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE

We saw this face when out and about last weekend.
I wonder if anyone can recognise where it is.


August 4, 2010

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

Eating out is something we really enjoy when chez nous and luckily we are surrounded by plenty of good restaurants. In July we visited the "Auberge du Pont Neuf" at Cussay. This had been recommended to us by several people including our neighbour, Mme André.



Getting there was easy, although we had to compete with agricultural vehicles for our share of the road several times. It was that time of year, I suppose.




We took advantage of the lunch menu which was very reasonable. I confess that I can't remember exactly how reasonable but suffice it to say, somewhere around 16 euros for three courses and some wine.

It was an incredibly hot day, during the heat wave the first week of July. So we decided to sit indoors. We were rather lonely, being the only table occupied indoors, but we were very cool and comfortable. People that chose to dine on the pavement outside were not so cool, I think, although plenty of umbrellas were provided for the tables. I sometimes think that an umbrella intensifies the heat, even though it provides shade.



For starters we had a plate of charcuterie and salad. It was lovely and very well presented.

For main course we both chose the duck. I think we both got one half of the same carrot !! The duck was also delicious.

There was no cheese course on that menu but a choice of desserts and we both chose the fruit salad - must have been feeling virtuous that day. It was lovely.




We will definitely be going again.