Friday, 28 March 2008

Catching Up!

I always thought that procrastination was the thief of time - so what happens when you are going at full speed !!!! DD left on Wednesday after the most appalling week weatherwise, I felt so sorry for her and all the other tourists that were in Brittany for Easter. Whilst this is the most lovely & picturesque area in good weather, there is not a great deal to recommend it when the weather is so foul !! Not a successful visit weather wise, but lovely to have her here all the same. In fact, at one stage we did wonder if Sian was going to get home as the rain was so heavy on our way to Rennes that we had to pull off the expressway and sit out the cloudburst as the wipers were just not clearing the front screen, and then - the approach roads to the airport were flooded!!!

Since then its been the usual round of housework, washing & ironing (Ugh!!) which always seem to mount up when you try to ignore them for a few days - so - Voila! Friday again!!!

These are a few of the photos that I took on our visit to St Malo

Golfe de St Malo - the bay from the city walls or ramparts.

The bay is full of small islands, mainly uninhabited, and some very vicious rocks which makes for quite an interesting ferry docking!

The old fort,once used as a prison, which is cut off at high tide but reached quite easily across the sands when the tide is out

Hotel de Ville, or Town Hall, built into the walls.

A typical apartment block inside the walls. This was taken off the ramparts so no ground floor! Most of the buildings are like this, obviously some more ornate than others!

Looking down on some of the gardens around the city

Pavement cafes around the square - quiet this weekend but filled with wall-to-wall tourists in the holiday season!

Just a little taster of our day out ! I suppose we should be grateful for at least one dry day!!!!

On a last little note - my latest CWD quilt blocks! These might have to last me a little while as we have decided to go away for a few days next week as a late Easter trip- I have been promising myself a visit to the Chateau de Versailles now that they have re-opened the Hall of Mirrors after a mammoth refurbishment and at least it will be one place that will be dry (I hope !!!!)

From LL

Top - Another Death : Pleasures of Sweet Home : Runaway Slave
Btm - 64 Pound Shell : At Last A Free Man : Last Letter Home

From CWD

Top - Confusion & Turmoil : Misfortune
Btm - Surrender of Vicksburg : Visit to Town

These bring my total to around 50 blocks, so I think I can get away next week without feeling guilty and maybe even get on with something new in between !!!!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Day Out

Yet another week since I blogged (!!) but this time at least I've had a good reason as DD has arrived safely and there has been quite a lot of catching up to do!! The weather hasn't been too kind to us so far , but at least we managed a few hours of blustery sunshine yesterday so off we went to St Malo. We really struck it just right as today it has been blowing a gale again and we have progressed from rain to SNOW!!

St Malo is our nearest ferry port for the UK and one of the most popular tourist towns in Brittany. Its history as a port goes back to the 1500s, and it's also unique as it is a totally walled city! Unfortunately it suffered quite badly from Allied bombing towards the end of the Second World War and a large number of the buildings had to be reconstructed. However, this does not alter the special charm that the city has, perhaps 'city' it a big word for St Malo as it is really quite small.

I have a few photos to add to the the side bar when I have a bit more spare time, but here are a couple especially for all chocolate cake addicts !!

Sorry about the reflected light in the window - but I am sure that you get the idea of a French Patissierie - cake lovers paradise !!!

I have managed a few CWD/LL blocks too, and will try to post all the photos tomorrow.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Wales 29 - France 12 !

No need to say any more really! After an excellent game this evening , the Rugby Union Six Nations Trophy joins the Homes Nations Trophy in Cardiff !!! A good season for Welsh Rugby collecting the Triple Crown & the Grand Slam titles for the second time in 4 years !

Weekly CWD Blocks & Other sewing

The weekend again already - where do the days (and weeks ) go to!!! I have managed a few more CWD blocks this week, only 4 this time though and all from the Love Letters book!

Top: Dress Parade and Tents of the Enemy

Btm: Love Letters and The Monitor

Also made a start on Eleanor Burn's Pioneer Sampler Quilt. I've had her book for some time now but done nothing with it, so I thought that whilst I had the reproduction fabrics strewn all over my working surface, I would have a go at a 'scrappy' version using the same fabrics. Don't know if I am doing the right thing or not, its not so much running another quilt in tandem as it were - but the size of the blocks! At 12" finished they are HUGE after the CWD/LL blocks!!

I shouldn't have started yet another quilt really, as I still haven't managed to finish my scrappy 'Browns' - for no other reason than, when I got all geared up to do the 'sandwiching' I didn't have enough batting ! The last thing I thought to check was the batting, in fact I didn't check it at all, just assumed there was enough left, so it came as a bit of a shock I can tell you !! This project seems to be jinxed - or perhaps I am just a bad organiser!!! First I run out of background fabric (solved!!) then I changed my mind about the borders and ended up short of fabric for the binding (solved!!) and now the batting (in the post!). Well,they say all things come in 3s, so perhaps it will turn into a real beauty now that's all behind me - who knows!!! This will explain to everyone why I so envy people who can 'pop' into their LQS ! Whilst there is a reasonable craft/quilting shop in Rennes, it is an hour's drive each way, so not quite in 'popping' distance and as most quilt related items are imported from the USA, prices are high! It is much more economical to buy bulk fabrics direct from US stores and pay the postage, than it is to buy from the UK or locally!

One project finished in just about no time flat this week was this Lazy Girl Designs 'Sassy Bag' . The pattern was a gift from one of my cyber friends in the USA (Thank You Jeannie!). I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out as I am not that experienced at bag making, so I just used what I had to hand rather than spoil good fabric, but I am quite pleased with it and I am sure one of the DGDs will claim it before too long !!!

My only daughter Sian (Welsh for Jane in case you're wondering and I have 2 sons also!) is due to fly in on Wednesday for a week, so there won't be much sewing done whilst she is here I'm afraid ! We're just keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will improve enough for us to get out and about a bit, but at the moment we have another cold & wet low front forecast . Mind you, DD has a shoe fetish and we seem to spend hours in and out of all the shoe shops in the area when she is here, and believe me there are loads of them!! By the time she is done, all I want is my slippers and a comfy chair!!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Slow News Week!

Not a great deal to talk about so far this week except for the weather!! Monday saw the worse storm of the season, don't quite know which season that is to be honest, but I do know that the storms are getting worse! The forecasted severe weather arrived on time , and we suffered all day Monday and most of yesterday from lashing rain like I have never experienced and gale force wind that literally took your breath away !

Regardless of the weather, Megan still needs attending to, but I can tell you it was very hairy up in the paddocks, and, like most horses, Megs is not settled in high winds ,so trying to straighten her rugs etc was a bit of a nightmare. In the end I decided to fence her into the area in front of the field shelter to encourage her to use it in the first instance, and also to try and avoid any accidents with horses careering around the paddock !!

Something to make you smile - the wind had managed to blow Megs' feed bucket across 2 fields into a field full of dairy cows. Now, I am not afraid of cows, just have a healthy regard for them and much prefer it when there is a fence between us, but they were at the bottom of the field, so no problem, and off I went like a brave little soldier to retrieve the bucket. Battling across the field against the wind was a job in itself, but I really came to grief when the ground literally gave way beneath my feet!! What I thought was solid ground turned out to be not just liquid mud, but enough of it for me to disappear in it up to my knees and to end up with my wellingtons full of the stuff!!! By the time I managed to free myself - guess where the cows were!!! You've got it - gaining on me at a rate of knots thinking it must be feeding time as there was a human in the field !! Speed record for exiting a muddy field now has a new claimant AND I managed to grab the bucket on my way out diving under the fence - no time for opening gates I'm afraid!! Whilst all this was going on DH was sitting in the Landrover watching, and all he could say was 'You should have left the bucket there!!' YEAH!!! Thank You!!

Most of Tuesday was a little calmer, but the gales returned last night and today it is still blowing - ah well!! At least the roof is still on at the moment!!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Happiness is....

..........Wales winning the Home Nations Triple Crown in Ruby Union yesterday by beating Ireland in their last round match ! DH is deliriously happy to say the least particularly as the last few minutes were cliff hangers!!! Just one thing that would make him feel even better and that is if Wales were to win the 6 Nations Grand Slam Trophy in their match next week - its going to be a great match I think and guess who their opponents are - France!! Talk about divided loyalties !!

Just a couple of blocks to end this week

Top -Bombardment (CWD) Greenfield & Stockton (CWD)

Btm -Going Home (LL)

Top - Premium Prize (CWD) Parlour Activites (CWD)

Btm - Games, Music & Knitting

Think I am just about coming to the end of the 'easy options' so I expect to slow down from now on !!!

There are severe weather warnings in force for the next couple of days, more rain and gale force winds are due to funnel up the English Channel , which means that we will catch it also - does anyone happen to know where Spring has got to ?????

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

New Arrival!

No - my fabric has not arrived! Instead I thought you might like a change of subject and have a look at this little fellow!

15 days old and so cute - don't you just want to cuddle him ! Brittany has its own breed of heavy horses and when they are born they are all this blonde colour even though their coats may change colour as they get older. I am not sure what their registered breed name is, can't get to the bottom of it. They are known locally as Harras and there are two National Studs in our immediate area ,both well worth a visit. This foal was born in a field within sight of our house, as many of the Bretons breed them just for the love of it ! Fully grown they are about the same size as a Clydesdale or Percheron, and maybe a bit heavier - as you can see, Mum is a big girl!!!
The change in the weather is just incredible! The sun is back today but we have a really cruel east wind blowing, so not quite as pleasant as it looks!
No sewing today yet, grass cutting & gardening chores (!!) whilst the weather is fair has been the order of the day, I'm afaid - perhaps I can get something done this evening !

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Bad Weather Again !

After nearly 3 weeks of cold, but dry & sunny weather with the odd bit of drizzle thrown in, we are back to winter!!! The last few days have seen high winds with lashing rain and now today - the mother & father of all hailstorms!!! The daffodils look very sad & droopy and the wind has just about stripped all the blossom off the Camellia tree next to the well and it is unbelievable that just a few days ago I found cushions of primroses basking in the sunshine along the banks of the stream !! Needless to say, I am back to wading through the mud up at Meg's paddock and she is one very wet horse again !!!

I have managed to squeeze a few more blocks in between my other sewing projects, but now I am waiting on more fabric arriving from the USA to give me a bigger selection of colours/patterns. It should be here this time next week as I had notification this morning from USPS that it was on its way!!

Top: Pretty Long March(LL) Rebel Spy Hung (LL)
Btm : A Beautiful Picture (CWD)

Top: Letter/Papers from Home (LL) Fight like a Man (LL)
Btm: The Fall of Richmond (LL)

Only other piece of news at the moment is that I have my new appointment for hospital - and depending on how long they keep me in, I could be spending my birthday there - how lucky can a girl get !!!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Dydd Gwyl Dewi - St David's Day

Today is St David's Day, patron saint of Wales. Not as well known as St Patrick but equally well loved by Welsh nationals all over the world !! Daffodils and leeks will certainly be the order of the day , either being worn or eaten ! For all ex-pats like myself, this has got to be the worse day for 'hiraeth' , which loosely translates into being home-sick, BUT means a whole lot more if you are Welsh.

A few of us will be getting together here tonight to crack a couple or three bottles of wine , listen to our Welsh CDs with lumps in our throats (!) and hopefully not do too much 'crying in our beer'!!!

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant hapus i bob !!!