mardi 12 juillet 2016

The writing`s on the wall..............

I have never been a fan of graffiti but today I changed my mind!! Visiting a local church I was shocked to see so much graffiti etched in to the stone around the altar. 

But then amongst the newer carvings I found these wonderful names etched in the stone with old dates too. 

So timeless and evocative that I had to run my fingers over the stones. I wonder who and why?

Will someone like me way in the future find today`s names as charming?

A la prochaine mes belles


vendredi 10 juin 2016

The artist at the cafe......

Engrossed in his work at the cafe....

This young monsieur asked us in broken French if we could look after his bag and equipment whilst he went to order a drink.

When we realised we all spoke the same language we started to chat and he told us that he was travelling by bicycle and drawing as he went.

I was enthralled by the old chocolate tin brimming with the tools of his trade.

We exchanged cards and we left him engrossed.

When I got home I searched his name.....

Micheal James Monaghan

I came up with his Instagram page and this superb self portrait....

and this stunning portrait....

I hope he found inspiration in here in Normandie. I must have passed by that pink building a hundred times and never paid it any attention! 

I wonder what it would be like to look through the eyes of an artist?

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” 
― Francis of Assisi

lundi 30 mai 2016

Off with their heads...................

This beautiful old church statue stands in the wood of a good friend where we had lunch yesterday in the sunshine. The head is missing and the moss is now taking over and the look is simply divine.

And then this morning this little monsieur tumbled in to my life!

 It looks like he befell the same tragic event as Marie Antoinette!! But he can be restored as the neck disc is all intact.

He is in my Ebay shop listings tonight.

A la prochaine mes belles


mercredi 11 mai 2016

Charles takes the back seat.....

The Baron and Baroness du Brevands came to visit the chateau today.

Their 1930s car looked SO at home here!!

Even Charles fell in love and tried to get inside!!

I just hope he is not comfy on their back seat!!!

A la prochaine mes belles


lundi 9 mai 2016

Still building.............

Seven years ago we stumbled upon our Petit Chateau hidden away on the marsh. She had been sleeping quietly empty and unloved for 10 years. As we made our way through the broken gate we fell in love. 

As soon as I saw George the dragon girouette weathervane on the roof I knew the house was for us!

Seven years and one long learning curve later we are still renovating, the concrete mixer is still in use and I sometimes feel we will never be finished. The day that Mark knocked a hole from the main building in to the barn next door we panicked wondering if we had done the right thing. We covered it over with a cupboard and ignored it for a while!!!

But looking at a couple of photographs I unearthed yesterday it seems we have moved on quite a lot. We have certainly been good for the local builders merchants!!!

I had to learn pretty quickly that if I wanted a certain period piece to be included I had to have it ready as it`s no use turning up with it later. Just like the 19th century iron railing on the salon steps that I arrived home with just in time!!

I had quite a stash of old doors just in case!!

And they were all used too!!

We bought the parquet floor from an old chateau chapel and hand cleaned each piece!

Now THAT was a labour of love!!

From one bedroom and no bathroom we now have three bedrooms with bathrooms, the open barn where the horse drawn plough had been parked became our living area.  Even the attic has been made in to a guest room.

It was impossible to get through the brambles in the garden that led on to the marsh but now we have lawns. 
The marsh tries to reclaim it quite regularly and the North wind can be too harsh for many plants but in Winter but when the marsh floods and swans swim past the bedroom window it is almost like an enchanted house on the sea. 

The sunrise every morning is stunning .....

The renovation sometimes seem slow and then all of a sudden we seem to have moved on with a jolt. 

Will we ever be finished I wonder? 

George just looks on from the roof top.....

A la prochaine mes belles


mercredi 27 avril 2016

An old friend lost..............

Not too far from our home an old chateau lay silent and closed. I could never resist the temptation of passing the big iron gates without driving in. 

I loved walking around the deserted gardens where statues were hidden by the over grown foliage. I always wanted to enter the orangerie but it was locked tight.

It had the most perfect proportions and I have often wondered what it would be like to peer out from one of the oeil de boeuf zinc top windows.

In the 19th century it had been a home for an aristocratic family. I truffled a few old sepia postcards around the local brocantes and loved to see how little it had changed.

During WW2 it had been used as a headquarters for German officers.

After the war it was bequeathed to a local order of nuns and in the 1950s it had been used to give holiday breaks to needy children.

The doors closed in the 1960s and had remained firmly shuttered.

I have sat on those steps so many times in the sunshine just listening to the birds singing and it always felt like a  wonderful secret hideaway.

Until,  a few months ago the gates closed and a padlock and chain appeared. Soon a very elegant name plaque appeared next to the gates.

Apparently it has been purchased and renovated.

I have never seen it since. Sometimes the gates are open but I cannot bring myself to drive through the woods as my perfect dream would be shattered.

I just hope the renovation has been a kind one.

A la prochaine mes belles


vendredi 15 avril 2016

A guessing game....

A little competition and the winner will receive a simply-chateau brocante bundle of treasures!!

The best caption for the photograph will be the winner.

I will leave it to run until next Tuesday and Bonne weekend!!


lundi 21 mars 2016

I wanted to win....................

I had no idea when I opened my eyes this morning that I would be entering an international sporting event. Indeed I hadn`t even done any training.

About 11.45,  having visited our accountant to sort out some particularly confusing French paperwork,  we passed a small local restaurant and  thought "Why not" - and so we did!

An hour later and having enjoyed a wonderful three course meal for less than £11.00 each  we turned  off the car park onto the road to head home. We had travelled no more than some 30 yards when  a rather officious looking man wearing a yellow 'gilet' and carrying a clip board made it clear that we could not continue  but had to turn around go in the opposite direction. It was clear we had been 'barriered' in!

Driving along by the side of the canal we soon fell in behind a large supermarket advertising van with an immense video board on the top listing lap numbers. Then a few lycra clad racing cyclists on very streamlined bikes zoomed past us and disappeared into the distance.

We continued on our way eventually falling in behind a small convey made up of cars and a few small trucks carrying spare bikes. We passed various camera men proudly pointing their very long extended lenses directly at us and and a few spectators, some enthusiastic enough to have  brought their own seats with them - but no matter how we tried to leave the road we couldn`t do so as all the side roads were cordoned off., and we were simply waved on. I tidied my hair...paparazzi and all that you understand!

More cyclists began overtaking and then hoards of people sitting on the pavements on their folding chairs. It suddenly dawned on us that we were actually on the course of one of the legs of the Tour de Normandie cycle race taking place that afternoon. I was very tempted to wave but hid my face instead.

We actually drove quite close to our friends Viv and Mike`s house and were desperately hoping they had turned out to watch the spectacle as I wanted to give them the Queen`s wave and watch the shock on their faces!!!

We started to head back towards the town and came to a traffic island surrounded by gendarmes and more 'yellow' men. We  assumed that we would be moved off the course but, again, we were simply waved on. Did they think we were an official vehicle and perhaps Mark was a timekeeper or medic?

WE had already passed the sign arrive  (start/ finish) 3 kms - and then we passed the 2 km. sign. It then became very obvious from the growing number of people standing at the side of the road that we were almost at the start point - and were destined to do another lap!  I was very tempted to do just that as, by this point, I was getting very competitive and wanted to win!

At the next side road Mark managed to make a quick swerve, mounted the pavement and  managed to squeeze past the barriers before the 'yellow coats'  could stop us.

Let it never be said that life in this quiet backwater called Normandy is ever without excitement! 

A la prochaine mes belles


dimanche 20 mars 2016

A peek around the chateau....

Just a little peek around the chateau at some of my favourite things........

Hope you are having a restful Diamanche!!

A la prochaine mes belles