Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Greetings from our isolated home in a little corner of France

Some would say it is the middle of nowhere, but for us, at the moment, it is our secure place.  We hope you are all in your own secure place and remain so for the duration of this crisis.  Our thoughts are with everybody we know, and those we don't know!

So, we do have visitors!  Phil the pheasant and his three Phillettes ( only one caught on camera ) are very regular visitors to the bird table. They are good fun to watch.

And this morning - Easter Sunday - there was a bunny rabbit in the garden watching the pheaseants ( sorry, no pic) - it did run away when we went to the window but look what it left behind!

OK the bit about the rabbit was true but not the eggs - they are porcelaine and have been decorated with special paint.

Over the past few weeks we have had to fix a couple things - first it was the strimmer that wouldn't start, then my sewing machine motor that froze and a minor issue with a door handle breaking so we just moved one from another door.  Mostly sorted thanks to the internet.

Then I wanted a portable BBQ!

So these are parts from an old tractor mower that Mark has gradually been taking apart, and an old tin container from some sort of wood preservative that we bought when we moved here 15 years ago!

And an old roasting tin that was in the potting shed - when fired up it worked perfectly and as the weather has been so warm we have already had use of it, yum.

Firings have gone well in the studio too - these pieces, amongst others, will shortly be on the new Anglian Potters sales site.

Yesterday it was my birthday - Mark had a lesson in cake making (  he still needs to master the beating action ) but as you will see the result was pretty good especially with my cranky oven.

I was a happy birthday girl! ( Well I still feel like one ).  Especially as the internet and phone apps allow us to keep in touch with people, even though we only have basic tech stuff how wonderful.

And after a few puffs I even managed to blow all of the candles out.

We were supposed to have had open studios here this and last week-end but these birdies will be happy to wait ...

We send lots of love to everybody who reads this ..... do whatever you need to do to stay safe and to keep everybody else safe.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Impulse Buy

Have you ever bought something and then wondered why you had and then not been able think what you are going to do with whatever it was that you bought ?

Well this is a tale about a box of crochet squares!

A crown, beard and hair extensions were the last project for 2019.
So last summer we were at the annual village brocante and I purchased a box of nearly 500 crochet squares for a very few euros.  Not that I counted them before making the purchase, and neither did I have any plan for using them apart from the usual blanket or even waistcoat.

On getting them home they all went into the washing machine and then my trusty helper assisted with the pegging out.

Mark, aka the crochet squares laundry assistant.
It was at this point that I counted them and started to wonder what I was going to do with them all!  Then the weather got so hot that we could barely go outside during the afternoon so the sewing machine came out and the dining room table disappeared under a covering of multi-coloured opportunities.

Deep in concentration!
So first of all a couple of cushions ...

They're for the garden chairs really.
Then an advent tree ......

Each pocket is double thickness so this used up a fair few!
Then a pair of Christmas stockings ......

There is another one somewhere, probably in the lost sock place.

And a dozen padded coat hangers .......

I might even make some more of these for myself!

Now I just need an idea for the last 100 or so - hang on, maybe the waistcoat is a good idea after all!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Sunflowers and Summer Time

Sunflowers in the sun.
So far this summer we've had two heatwaves but at the moment the temperature is in the top 20s and pleasantly cool at night.  Sadly it looks as though we may have lost a few fruit trees and shrubs to the drought but on the whole our garden is looking less tired than last year. 

The parasol pine in the gite garden is living up to its name!
Down at the Cheval Blanc, Gorrie has been counting up his sales of freshly whipped ice creams and he's hoping to beat last year's bumper season.  We're sure that the new parasols will help!

Not sure if these parasols are cool or kitch!
A few weeks ago we participated in a craft market at a local town, Montmorrillon.  

Mark with some of his pieces.
We had three tables under a row of mulberry trees.  Opposite there was a rose grower with some beautiful plants.  The stallholders had forgotten to bring their watering can so had to borrow some jugs etc to stop them drying out on what was a very hot day.  Along with the beer tent, freshly cooked beef on skewers, the usual array of "jewellery", glass and fabrics there was a good atmosphere and plenty of visitors.

I resisted making a purchase!
Then the following week-end up to Angles sur l'Anglin for the annual "Artisanales" which were held on 13th and 14th July. We were entertained by people in costume riding around on vintage cycles of one sort or another and a car rally featuring enormous cars.

Mark's range of blue ceramics

One of the vintage bicycles

Dread to think how much this costs to fill up.
Lastly, here we are relaxing with an apero at a little restaurant in La Roche Posay on our wedding anniversary.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Glorious weather for Easter!

Sunshine, temperatures well up into the 20s, birds singing, frogs croaking .....
Grass growing like crazy and weeds trying to take over!  Its that time of year when everything looks vibrant, fresh and ready for the summer but its also the time of year when there's always a job of some sort that needs to be done whether its weeding, taking cuttings, planting or just enjoying!

 The roses are starting to bloom, this one is outside Mark's studio and is always the first.

Clumps of iris everywhere.

Bluebells in a wooded area.

Part of the gite garden looking neat and tidy after a mow.  Mark has got the pool clean and sparkly again ready for the swimming season.

One of our three wisterias.  This one is by the side of the gite parking area.  We allowed a rooted stem to grow into a free standing "bush" .  It's a blue/white variety.

This one is growing over the pergola in our back garden.  It's the first time it has flowered and they are more pink.

The third one adorns the front of our house, then leaps over towards the studio,

where it now reaches nearly to the far corner of this building too!  The flowers are a beautiful soft lilac and must be the favourite.  Happy days!

Thursday, 11 April 2019

The First Chenev'Art week-end took place on 6th and 7th April 2019

A couple of months ago Mark thought he would invite some artists we know to come and exhibit their work here.  We chose the week-end of 6th and 7th April as he was already taking part in an international open studios event. 

The Gang of Six!

Mark kept his studio for his own work and the others agreed that their creations would be fine under our open barn or outside - so the barn had to be cleared of wood and all of the other clutter.

The barn hasn't been as tidy as this since we moved here in 2005!

The artists set up on Friday and Saturday morning, in the rain, but it cleared up later in the day and Sunday was beautiful so we had a really good number of visitors.

On the grass - Sam's tumbleweed seed capsules

Robert chose to put his sculptural pieces outside where they created a great display.

The Director said - all point at Robert!

One of Robert's pieces
As I said, Mark was in his studio where he did demonstrations on the wheel on both days. He threw a couple of dozen pieces which will help to re-stock as he had a successful selling week-end.

A very small bowl
 We also set up a display upstairs in the studio, after giving it all a good spring clean.

These pieces are by Emmanuel who incorporates pieces of furniture and metal in his sculptures, some of which have moving parts.  They are intended for indoor display.

And these were created by moi!  The porcelain pieces ring when they are blown by the breeze.

Fox brought along his paintings and the ceramics in the photo below.

And last ( but not least ) Francois created his display of conceptual furniture in our barbeque palace.

All in all the week-end was "yaaay"!