Walking in the countryside I imagined myself doing the race this March in Paris, walking eight miles is a nothing in Paris, there is much to admire and gather inspiration from. I went out this morning, direction the blackthorn tree, not as grandoise as Saint Germaine des Pres though enjoyable.
As I walked I heard a dog barking, I remembered what Barbara (a Tongue in Cheek blog reader.) wrote me: Fold your arms, do not look the dog in the eye... that is all I remembered as fear took over when the dog starting coming towards me. I began to pray, "Shit God, I don't want to be eaten alive by a dog!" And then thankfully, I heard the dog owner call his dog back. As it ran towards the owner I noticed it was a big fluffy dog and its tail wagged. Whew.
The other day I noticed this big bush/tree full of fruit that looked like blueberries, but did not grow like blueberries. I tasted one and thought it might be a baby prune... Prunella? After I ate it I thought poison? and panicked for two seconds. I picked a few along with some weeds and herbs, acorns and hazelnuts to take to Annie's. I love watching her pick though my nature collection and declaring, "This is edible, Fennel, dandelion, arugula ... oh this is not, wild mint, acorn.. oh this is good, oh this isn't..."
When Annie saw the fruit I called Prunella, she sat up on the edge of her chair, "Blackthorn!" she continued, "When we were children blackthorn was like a candy to us. We would search for it in the forest, and often were so delighted to find it we would eat it before it was ripe."
Ripe or not Blackthorn fruit is mostly bitter. But Annie loved it and ate plenty. I went back today to pick a bag full for her.
Have you ever had this fruit?
I am back to walking the countryside.
The leaves wave in Autumn shades.
When will I need warmer clothes?
I only own one pair of socks. Bare legged or tights but socks?
I started walking again (five miles a day) because my daughter thinks it would be fun to run a 10 k race this March in Paris. Sometimes I wander if my daughter needs glasses. I can barely run around the block. I told her she could sign me up for the 8k walk.
I will try to walk the 8k faster than I can walk the 5k. I guess I better time myself, and oh buy running shoes... whatever they are called, I haven't owned those kind of shoes since the big bang.
Do you run?
Do you own running shoes?
I don't even have sports clothes.
Sacha, Fabrice (Sacha's friend from childhood, and Chelsea are going to do the 10 k. in Paris. Maybe Mr. Espresso? Yann says he cannot because his back won't support it. And I am going to wallk it, and train I doubt I can run all of it, but walk and run I know I could.
I am glad to think my daughter thinks I am a super hero! To think she asked me to run!
Le Train Bleu in Paris is one of my most favorite places. You and I could go there, sit down and I could tell you at least 50 stories about experiences I have had there. Okay, sure I talk alot. Share I could weave 50 stories out of a single thread. Well anyway, I have told a few stories of Le Train Bleu on my blog. Le Train Bleu is like a home away from home sort of place for me. I have been going there for the last 27 years: Nearly each and every time I went from Marseille to Paris, or Paris to Marseille... It was the in between heart of two homes. The changing point between two worlds. It reminded me of two different times: Now and then.
Now it has changed.
I have changed.
Change is rarely easy.
Recently, Le Train Bleu went through a renovation. I was worried. More like sad, you know the feeling when you want something to stay the same... but you cannot do anything about it so you cringe inside and wish for the best. I guess you could say I felt like a mother taking her baby in for his first haircut: A haircut makes a baby appear grown up.
The first thing I noticed was that the lace curtains had been removed. I knew they would. It was okay, I could live without the lace curtains, the open windows bring in light and that extraordinary Parisian view. I was worried the old wooden revolving door would have been removed, thankfully it stayed. The horrible blue fluorescent light that stood as the sign for Le Train Bleu has been changed and I was glad for it. The new sign is an improvement.
I appreciate the hardwork, the day and night hours and hours it took the many talented people to do all that they did to restore the things that needed to be done. It was an amazing undertaking (if you would like to see more follow this link and the other ones highlighted in blue.)
Though the design of the "Big Ben Bar Area" is disappointing.
The side rooms on the left side needed help, I must admit. But this? I know I know it is the new hip thing to make modern and old mix, and often it does and looks refreshingly interesting and good. I get that the designers were trying to go with a new kind of Orient Express look...
I don't like it because it looks pale compared to the richness of the other rooms, too plain, too... I-don't-like-it-period.
Maybe in a McDonald's because in France McDonald's look like this new renovation. Don't get me wrong the Macdo (McDonald's) in Europe are pretty amazing, very stylish, like the new rooms in Le Train Bleu but better.
Seriously this is the best you could do?
I could have done that and I am not trained, nor experienced, so my opinion doesn't matter, but really!!
The deep cranberry upholstery, rugs and ottomans were removed.
Cranberry lends to golden, autumn, Belle Epoque, "Crimson".
But since Le Train Bleu has the word Blue in it the designers I suppose went with
As in cold.
As in contrast to warm and golden.
And such an ackward blue it is.
I loved the old cracked worn leather oversized red ottomans that use to be in Le Train Bleu. I feared that they would not be renovated due to cost, or replaced.
Seriously, out of all the beautiful armchairs in the world, these were the ones selected? Whoever picked these armchairs had to do so without EVER seeing the inside of Le Train Bleu, or wanted to make a sick joke of a statement.
And these blue space ship armchairs were added.
There I said it.
My favorite room.
Well not completely... if I look straight up and ignore the freshly painted walls and everything down from the ceiling.
Repainted, with those space ship chairs.
I nearly cried.
At least the glorious textiled ceiling piece remained thank you.
Sure I can go to Le Train Bleu and look up.
At least the ceiling didn't change.
The zinc bar did.
The moldings have been restored.
The floor too.
But why this look?
Anywhere but Le Train Bleu.
I am sorry to offend the person who created/designed this room. It isn't bad if it weren't in Le Train Bleu.
I suppose in the next twenty seven years I might grow use to it.
But I doubt it.
I wish I were dreaming about the renovation. I wish it wasn't a reality.
I wished I had take a million more photos over the years.
The Big Ben Bar
And I won't even mentioned the renovation of the bathrooms.
I knew they would renovate the bathrooms. I knew it.
The new bathrooms are new. And that is all I can say.
And the old bathroom will never be.
The way it is.
All clean, and blue, and new, and well...
I am sorry that I don't like it.
Blogging amazes me. It never ceases to surprise me. The connections, the small world made smaller, the way everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows you or me is a constant wonder.
Charland and Barbara are sisters who grew up in Montana, though years ago Charland moved to Canada and Barbara to the Netherlands. Their mother had a sister who is the Grandmother of my Mother's business partner Holly.
I met them, plus their friend Lorraine, who introduced them to my blog years ago.
Charland's creates needlepoint and makes silver charms:
Barbara works with bronze and sculpture:
We spent a lovely day together. The three of them encouraging me to open a bed and breakfast and offer tours of Provence, and or write a book. Spread my wings... which sounds interesting, at least they did not tell me to take up needlepoint! Charland and Lorraine said they are coming as soon as I organize a tour. Wheels are spinning... Brocante, food, antique textiles, wine, arts, culture... photography...
Then they giggled, they had a gift for French Husband the Panty Finder.
I knew instantly that this was going to be good...
I called Densie a.k.a. W.R. and or Panty Lady to tell her to hold on to her panties the story continues. She promptly told me that she should charge me everytime I mention it. Yeah, right, not.
Charland created a pattern years ago of the Late Queen Victoria's knickers (panties - bloomers) also she added Queen Victoria's royal monogram and a silver bloomer charm to each pattern. Charland gave French Husband a silver bloomer charm for his heroic effort of locating Denise's panties by the river. I thought to myself I am married to,
"Prince Panty Finder!"
When I looked up Queen Victoria's Knickers online... I saw that a pair had sold yesterday for £6,200!! I tell you blogging/internet is amazing. I never knew about, nor cared about Queen Victoria's knickers until yesterday. Gee Yann, gee Denise maybe you two should be looking for the real deal and not just a pair of black panties down by the river. Maybe if I keep telling this story Denise's panties wlll be worth something?
Photo Source Queen Victoria's Bloomers
Photo Source via:
"The bloomers are stored at Kensington Palace in West London and form part of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection which is composed of 12, 000 items that were all once worn by royalty and courtiers from the 17th century until the present day.
With a 50-inch waist and an impressive 66 inch bust, Britain's longest-reigning monarch's underwear are embroidered with a small crown and the initials VR, and also have a number to ensure they could be kept track of when sent to the laundry.
Vanessa Savage, a textiles expert at Hanson's Auctioneers said that Victoria's knickers are extremely plain and "made of a soft, fine cotton and sewn by hand, with fine attention to stitchwork, and the minute sewing would have taken days."
Hugs all around, good laughter, a bit of history at the French brocante.
"The monogram on a pair of Queen Victoria’s drawers. Each of her undergarments were embroidered with her royal cypher ‘VR’ - Victoria Regina and a catalogue number. They also reveal that at the time of her death she had a 50 inch waist. As her height was 4 foot 7 inches this would make her almost as wide as she was tall."
and the story continues I am sure of it.
xx Happy 79th Birthday dear loving ultra creative Mom!! xx
The familiar train ride home.
Crossing over the Rhone river,
A castle on either side,
Villeneuve-les-Avignon and Avignon,
Face to face.
Tree lined borders,
VanGogh's painted fields in golden hues,
A Cezanne sky.
Still Life History.
I held my cell phone against the smugged train window,
TGV speed and snapped a photo.
No paint brushes,
Nor oil paint, not even a smock,
A miracle of another era capturing the same truth.
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French country style - Provencal style
from the eye of a brocanteur
Color, texture, home, hearth and nothing to fancy, everything about warmth.
It is about everyday things one use to use daily.
- Pottery -
in earth tones:
Green, yellow, rustic red, brown...
Antique Provencal textiles are mostly linen and cotton. Silk would be too precious.
Reds: As in monograms, single striped dish towels and checked table cloths.
Boutis: For a cold evening, and picnics under olive trees,
Jupon: Worn with pride instead of silk and lace,
Hemp: Practical and strong, sturdy elegance.
Provence was a life lived close to the soil and sea. It wasn't a city life, a simple life, but an equally beautiful one to any other area in France.
Salt of the earth:
with hints of
Plenty of them to collect and store lards and fats.
Green pottery is the most common, then yellow, then white and blue.
Fine craftmenship nevertheless.
and egg yolk.
Colorful facades and shutters.
Zinc the precious metal.
Not gold, not silver, not anything that has to do with wealth.
The Provencal countryside is rugged, dry, pine and oak. It is about narrow roads that trail along the mountain to the sea. Provence style is living both indoor and outdoor all at once.
It is about time.
Must use colors of the landscape.
Through the eyes and words of
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When in France the markets are a must. My cousins and I went this morning. We sent to the herbs and spice stand amongst many others.
The market in Aix is vast and grand: Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.
The handsome herb and spice man explains each spice and how to prepare it. He put on the charm when speaking to my younger cousins. Gave them a packet of dried rose buds.
Since the market run along the streets, the building facades become the back wall.
Distraction sets in the moment I arrive.
How can I keep an eye on necessity when sensual is around?
Herbs and spices.
After the market we went for silence inside of the cathedral.Walked around in awe.
A little wine tour is what we set out to do. Chateauneuf du Pape is not far from Carpentras where the brocante I love to go to is at. Though when I am at the brocante red wine, even in such a dream place as Chateauneuf du pape, is the last thing I think about.
Today might have caused a change of habit... well let's just say after a morning at the brocante I might start going wine tasting, er um discovering wine that is:
Our first stop was Chateau la Nerthe.
I could have stayed there.
and been happy ever after.
A little tour anywhere in Provence will show you olive trees, stone walls, ancient ruins, vineyards... beauty.
And I never grow tired of being shown such.
We were fortunate to taste a 1984 bottle at Chateau la Nerthe. I like to entertain the thought that they sensed I appreciated old things.
On the grounds of my Nerthe...
A stone tower.
One door leading in.
Via Chateau le Nerthe,
"The moment the harvest arrives in the cellar it is sorted on a conveyor belt - always by hand - in order to eliminate the grapes that are either not ripe enough or spoiled. The whole of the harvest is stemmed, then undergoes a second sorting to eliminate any leaves or debris.
Then the grape varieties that are particularly complimentary are mixed together in a vat where the fermentation will take place.
Several successive tastings will help determine the best moment for the devatting: the free run wine is then drawn off by gravity and poured into vats for the malolactic fermentation. It is in this way that the wine will begin to evolve either in 16th century stone tanks, or in some cases, in large wood barrels."
Was our second stop after lunch.
French Husband, Vlad and Denise carried a lively conversation with the owner.
I twirled, breathed in, thought of flavors that spoke of fruits, swished the wine in my mouth and drank.
Falling in love with wine tasting.
"Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, is the family background, the heart, but also the flag bearer, the flagship Vineyards Brunier. Located since its origin in the plateau of La Crau, South East Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, the vineyard has grown, developed and matured on this huge gravel terrace giving it its character, generation after generation. Of the 70 acres that make up the area today, 65 are dedicated to Châteauneuf du Pape red and 5 white. Only 4 wines are produced: Old red and white Telegraph, from the oldest and most complex wines vineyards, and Red and White Telegram, representing the second Vineyards wines Brunier AOC Chateauneuf du Pape. The cellars are located on the highest point, but 2 km to the south, at the foot of the plateau, at a place called The Pigeoulet, where it was more natural to dig into the rock formation to create the cellars , and enjoy the soil cutting for gravity delivery of harvests. For over a century, the Brunier family product in these places Chateauneuf du Pape red and white strongly influenced by their terroir wall behind which it can protect its vintages assaults of modernity excessive." Via Lavinia
What do you prefer?
Coffee with a shot of Kahlua
I prefer red.
From the descriptive words used by the wine makers it seems I prefer wines that are:
Feminine and gourmandise.
Gourmandise sounds better in French then Gluttony in English.
So much goodness in one day.
"Le Clos du Caillou is ideally located in the municipality of Courthézon. It consists of 44 hectares in Côtes du Rhône, and 9 ha in Châteauneuf du Pape. Le Clos has the distinction of being located on the edge with the appellation Châteauneuf du Pape." via Le Clos du Caillou.
"The Clos du Caillou , run with passion by Sylvie Vacheron, is a winery located in the municipality of Courthézon, and spans 53 hectares appellations Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du pape . The vineyards of Clos du Caillou enjoys an exceptional soil composed mainly of pebbles and sand filters. Vineyards Clos du Caillou are worked in accordance with nature: organic fertilizers and composts, regular plowing without use of herbicides, handpicking. Rigor that allows the field of Clos du Caillou get impeccable quality of grapes and develop some of the best nectars of the Southern Rhône Valley." Via 1 day I wine