Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mosaic Monday # 45 - A very British affair.

Whenever the Senior Partner and I go on vacation we leave M'selle Fleur in the very capable hands of a lovely couple of ex pat Brits, Mr & Mrs Price.
They used to operate a pet sitting enterprise "Priceless Pets" but since retiring just look after one or two, luckily Fleur is one of them.
Whenever their car pulls up in front of the house it's as if we no longer exist as Fleur has eyes only for them.
Should I be upset that she abandons us so easily? Not a bit because we know that she will be well taken care of in our home whilst we're away.
Last weekend we went to an open garden event, a fund raiser for the Volunteers of Passerelles a refuge for cats and dogs, which June (Mrs Price) is involved with.
The event hosts were another British couple who have, like us, chosen to make France their forever home.
As we walked up to the house it was like walking back in time to an England that we left over 30 years ago.
Admission by donation.
Flower and vegetable plants,
homemade jams and dress jewellery for sale.
Refreshments and cakes.
Red Lion Morris,
performing at 15.00 and 16.00.

The owners garden was lovely, with hidden corners, many plant species and a small orchard.

By the time we arrived June's plants had practically sold out (at those prices I'm not surprised.
The refreshment table was down to the last few slices of quiche, the cupcakes were almost all gone but there were still some little sponge cakes and cups of tea to be purchased.

The Morris dancers put on a wonderful show and everywhere you looked there were people getting to know each other and admiring their four legged companions.

M'selle Fleur was so well behaved and sat quietly observing the scene. A couple went by with a black and white spaniel which they had adopted from the refuge and immediately Fleur was keen to meet him.
Did she think it was Ben my lovely cocker spaniel who shared our lives so wonderfully for 12 years? I'm not sure but the resemblance was uncanny. Such a shame I didn't manage to get a photograph!

The SP, June (facing away from the camera) and another of her clients
in earnest discussion about a robot lawn mower!

It was a lovely afternoon chatting with fellow Brits, browsing the various stalls, winning a prize at the tombola stand and smiling at the antics of the Morris men.
On the way out the SP stopped to admire a classic car which was parked at the side of a footpath.

A man, a dog and a classic car so very British!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Mosaic Monday # 44 - Commemorating 73rd Anniversary D Day Landings 1944.

Since the end of May and going through until the end of July towns and villages throughout Normandy have been Commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the D Day landings.
Here is a link to the program of events list on the D Day Overlord website, it is very extensive.
The first event listed was an afternoon concert of the Choir of the French Army at the Cathedral of Bayeux.
Some of the over 150 events taking place during June and July include historical walking tours; guided tours of the beaches; reenactments; parades of military vehicles; picnics; fireworks and bagpipers.
On Saturday morning the 10th of June as I was driving through Cerisy I saw a small ceremony taking place at the Memorial for the 2nd Infantry Division on the "Avenue de la 2ème Division Indian Head, Cerisy-la-Fôret.
This memorial commemorates the American 2nd Infantry Division which liberated Cerisy-la-Fôret on 10 June 1944. The command post of the division was also in this village, from 15 to 29 June 1944".
So I stopped to pay my respects.

Also attending the ceremony was a British veteran of the D Day landings Mr Edwin Jeffery aged 94, his daughter who lives in the village, introduced us after the ceremony was over.

She very kindly took photographs of us together and also with two other gentlemen, decorated British veterans of later conflicts.

Click here to meet Edwin Jeffery a hero who was awarded the Legion d'Honneur in 2014 for the part he played in liberating France in 1944, serving as a 21 year old seaman on Royal Navy HMS Vanquisher on D Day,.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mosaic Monday # 43 - Touring Agreco Farm & dining alfresco

Our recent visit to Agreco Farm in Rythymno, a privately owned replica of a 17th century estate, was a marvellous experience.
On Sundays in May they offer guided tours of the farm followed by a gargantuan feast of Cretan dishes served alfresco on the taverna's beautiful shaded terrace.

As far as the eye can see there are olive trees; fruit trees and vegetables being cultivated.

A delightful hotchpotch of buildings house items of age-old traditional farm equipment, there's an olive press; flour mill; raki distillery; bee hives; wine press and close by a very large vat where they tread the grapes!

There's also a small zoo you can visit, home to sheep; hens; peacocks; kri kri (Cretan goats) and a donkey.

Surrounding the small village square are an artists studio; the Farm shop; the open air taverna and the Chapel of St Nicolas Kourtalious.

In the square you can watch, and even take part in, demonstrations of traditional cooking methods, cheese making and sheep shearing.

This lady is demonstrating how to make feta cheese, the men in the background are shearing a sheep! 
Once the demonstrations were over we sat and rested in the cool shade of the terrace and enjoyed a long (2 hour) leisurely lunch whilst admiring the beautiful scenery, chatting to other diners and discussing the wonderful authentic Cretan food which just kept on coming.
I hope you enjoyed the visit to Agreco Farm.......
........oh! almost forgot to show you the amazing food served during the 9 course lunch, this was just for two people!
In the first mosaic from top left: savoury cheese pies; omelette; stuffed vine leaves, tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and green peppers; feta cheese sprinkled with oregano; slow roasted lamb with artichokes; a dish of feta, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and hard boiled eggs; a bowl of fresh fruit.

In the mosaic below a dessert of Cretan rice prepared by the Agreco chef who also demonstrated how to make Cretan sweet cheese pies.

until next time
μέχρι την επόμενη φορά

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 42 - deliciously floral

Since I'm still busily trying to catch up on jobs around the house (we have an artisan here working at present renovating and painting), an overgrown garden and sundry other minor chores which have accumulated whilst we've been in Crete, I needed a quick and easy post for this week's Mosaic Monday.

As I was looking through our holiday pictures yesterday I came across some which I think certainly fit the "a picture is worth a thousand words" category.

I hope you'll agree.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Cool shadows on a sunny day at Agreco Farm.

We returned earlier this week from a wonderful trip to the Greek island of Crete, I have over 400 photographs to wade through before I can even think about telling the stories about our adventures there.

..........some photos are just begging to be shared and really they need no back story.

I invite you to simply sit back, feel the Cretan sun on your face, listen imagine hearing the birds singing in the trees and relax in the market square @ Agreco Farm.


and Mosaic Monday

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 41 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 3

"Casanova" a marble statue depicting Casanova and seven women.

In 1999 a committee of representatives from local communes invited several international sculptors to a symposium in Cerisy.

Every year since then at the beginning of June artists arrive from around the world to create works of art out of blocks of granite and marble, working outdoors in front of the public.

For the 10th reunion 33 of the original sculptors returned and it was then decided that a garden should be created, below the Abbaye de Cerisy, to display these works of art.

The park is situated in the middle of the peaceful Normandy countryside and free to anyone to explore, a place to sit and contemplate whilst admiring the sculptor's art and the art of Mother Nature.

By the time the park was completed in 2013, 112 sculptures had been created by 71 sculptors from 34 countries.

Not all of those are on display in the park others can be found at various sites throughout the 12 communes, by the road side and footpaths or close to businesses in St. Lo, partners to the scheme.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 40 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 2

As promised a follow up to my Mosaic Monday post - 39, this week it's the turn of Saint Marcouf.
L'Eglise Saint Marcouf

A pamphlet displayed inside the church tells the story of Saint Marcouf.
He was born circa 483 in Bayeux, ordained by the Bishop of Coutances he worked amongst the poor before receiving the domaine of Nantus, on the Contenin peninsula.
The domaine was a gift from Roi (King) Childebert 1st at the beginning of the 6th c. and Saint Marcouf founded a monastery there.
On the 1st May in the year 558 Saint Marcouf died in the arms of Saint Lo. Due to an invasion by the Vikings his relics were sent to Corbeny a town close to Reims, Alsace Lorraine in the year 898.
The relics now reside inside the Church of St Marcouf, beside the altar.

Legend has it that Saint Marcouf communicated with Robert the Pious, King of France from 976 to 1031, giving him the power to heal those suffering from scrofula (tuberculosis).
He did this by using his right hand to draw a cross on the face of the afflicted person saying " Le Roi te touche, Dieu te guérisse" - the King touches you, God heals you.
The healings took place on sacred days and at great religious feasts.

the view from the church door
the statue of the left of the altar is of Saint Marcouf

The statue of Saint Marcouf above is on the wall next to the18th c. confessional in the village church, it is very similar to the unnamed one, shown below, in the Abbaye at Cerisy.

The church's 18th c. lectern is decorated with the eagle of Saint John.
On it rests a hand written prayer on canvas, dating to the same period.

Saint Marcouf pray for us, protect us.

Our home is the former Presbytere of l'Eglise Saint Marcouf and dates to the 16th c. with later 18th c. additions.

We were told by the previous owners that the room which is now a guest bedroom in the original 16th century part of the house was used by the Bishop of Bayeux when he came to visit, the hand crafted terracotta tiled floor and oak ceiling beams have survived the centuries.
Sadly, I've not been able to confirm that story or to find out anything about the property other than that during WWII the house was briefly occupied by the German army.

If only these walls could talk, what stories they could tell.

the Bishop's Room