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Thursday, 29 September 2011


While we were at St. Cado in Brittany on the Ria d'Etel, it was the "Great Pardon". This is an annual but movable feast and the statue of St Cado is moved by men, on their shoulders, while everyone who knows the words, sings along. The words were sung all day and they were the same ones. There is only one hymn to St Cado and it was sung well. Apparently Cado the saint came from Wales and was washed into the ria and landed on the isle of Cado. At the celebration of the Grand Pardon, we are all swept along singing the same hymn all day.We trudged across the bridge and smiled at one another.Then the weather turned wonderful.

On our return from France we decided to venture out.
We went to Castle Howard. We had to drive up Sutton Bank. An amazingly steep gradient and always one of the first places to close in icy weather. And then we followed the signs till we got there.
I loved this statue with its see-through marble. There were hundreds of statues, inside and out but this one stopped me in my tracks. The whole place is amazing and on a really grand scale.

A couple of years ago I used to rank cheese scones in my blog.

I must admit that Castle Howard scones are highly priced but so is everything in the shop and cafe

But this was the BEST cheese scone ever eaten by me. I don't know what it cost but if it's price is reflected by the rest of the food and giftie stuff then it wasn't cheap. But it was heavenly. 10/10

Cheers Gillian

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Just reading Heide's blog and watching what her daughter A3 was doing instead of her homework and decided to do this instead of doing the ironing!

Monday, 26 September 2011


DJ and I spend much of our time enjoying food. Planning what to eat, shopping for ingredients, prepping, cooking and of course...eating. As a result we probably eat too much but it's a grand hobby and you can take it anywhere, so we took it to France. We treated ourselves to a little gas barbecue.We cooked a lot of sausages on it and brought even more home. It also produced garlic prawns, pork chops, fried potatoes, bacon, eggs, and tomatoes and the cooker inside the van produced the rest.We managed to eat outside the van on all days except the downpour day and even then we cooked outside and just ate inside. At la Trenche-sur-Mer in the southern Vendee we had wonderful weather and treated ouselves to a groundsheet (grandly called "un tapis de soleil" by the french) and doubled our territory in one unfolding. The people opposite us in the campsite had been there all summer. At the start of our last day they were packing up too. Monsieur started by taking up the wood block flooring and folding down the outside furniture (including 17 chairs!). He then dismantled the awning and parasols etc.When we returned after a spot of beach-combing he had reduced much of their summer home to neat piles. That evening he went off to get a truck to load it all into and drive it home to their house, five kilometers away. Apparently they set up every summer in the same place. We hope to see them again next year!!!We love our coffee and sat happily in cafes drinking our morning dose and watching the people on the boardwalk and the Atlantic waves breaking on the sand.We had a couple of fine meals in restaurants. In Orleans we had lunch at a Thai restaurant with a multicultural clientele. Orleans is in fact a very multicultural city and we shared the tram into town from our campsite with university students from all over the world. The lunch was great value and memorable eating.

In Auray in Brittany, we went with my sister and her husband for a "moules" lunch at a quayside restaurant on a sunny day. We sat outside on the terrace and watched the tide race out under the bridge. Another fine memory. We arrived in Calais a little early for our ferry, a couple of days in fact, and spent the last of our holiday cash in Carrefours. Sausages, cheeses and wines were loaded on board the van now that we no longer had to put the bed down.

Tonight we plan to turn some of the pork mince we bought into Sang Choi Bao and Sausage Rolls for our meal. Lunch has been the cheese.

Cheers Gillian

Thursday, 22 September 2011


After a few Cathedrals we journeyed on to the Loire area to see the Chateaux. I think I expected to see them from the road and appreciate their magnificence and glorious gardens from the comfort of my raised seat. However, they all seem to be tucked away behind forests and I suppose if I had built myself a chateau I would have placed it away from the main roads too.
We were camped close to Chenonceau Chateau and so we rode there on our bikes, only to find that we had left the lock behind. We returned in the afternoon to find that many of the bus loads of tourists were gone and the rest were in the gardens, so we locked up the bikes and sauntered down the avenue to the front door.The entry smelled wonderful because of this amazing display of lilies. The rooms were all decorated with an abundance of enormous flower displays. We toured the bedrooms of many famous people from the past. Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers, Henris I and II and Louis XIV were some I remember, but not whose was this one. We promenaded the galleries built on the long section over the Cher River. And admired the gardens, great kitchens, paintings and tapestries. Because the chateau was undergoing some renovations, parts were not open but so as not to spoil the view the scaffolding had been wrapped like an art installation with the image of the missing section on display.

I liked that bit best.

It poured with rain for two days after our visit so you won't have to read about any more chateaux in this blog because we headed south to the seaside and warmer climes.

Cheers Gillian

Monday, 19 September 2011


We stopped for the first night away in France at a place called Louviers, south of Rouen. We parked up at the site and then decided that four hairpin bends back to town was too much to walk and drove the "Van Persie" back down into the town-centre car park and wandered round a really lovelyold French town. We popped into a small food-mart and bought the basics for the next 24 hours and then wandered.
The Notre Dame Church was being given a major overhaul, in and out. Most of their saints and martyrs had become bereft of some limbs. It became a familiar pattern as we moved on. The next stop was at Chartre after some parking negotiations. Chartres Cathedral is amazing and asymetrical. Below is the side with the best display of missing limbs.

And this one is Orlean where we went looking for Joan. We found a great second hand book sale set up in the main square. The most popular books seemed to be childrens (well kept) and student/school books of a VINTAGE rather than antiquarian age.

More to come.

Cheers gillian

Monday, 5 September 2011


I adore doing jigsaws. I buy them at Op Shops which is the Oz name for charity shops. It is short for opportunity shops. I was returning a couple of completed ones and looking for further supplies when I spotted this one. It is ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS. It is quite large and beautifully made. Every piece is a different shape. There is a full size poster to go with it which is the size of the finished jigsaw, otherwise it would be tricky to read some of the small writing on the box lid.

First of all I sorted out the edges. These pieces will have to be left to the end because they are all pretty identical...white with a black line through! Then I sorted out all the plain white pieces. These two groups went into bags for ron (later). Then I sorted the stratigraphic sequence of the rocks and the bits with big writing and assembled them all. Day two, I gathered the coastal pieces into three piles...England & Wales, Scotland and Probably Ireland. These were in order of my geographic knowledge. And I completed the coastline of England.

Day three was spent completing Great Britain and then Ireland. The rest of the bits with stuff on them, were inserted and the puzzle was pulled together.

It's all beginning to look rather grand. It's now day five! The white bits and edges are still in their bags and the jigsaw has to be turned through ninety degrees so that it will all fit on the table. A tablecloth has gone over the top so that we can still eat in comfort and it will probably stay there a while. I'll get on with life and post a pic when it's finished.

Cheers for now