Saturday, 28 June 2008

Another 24hour trip to France and back.

  • I have just got back from another 24 hour round trip to France and back searching for old French linens. Linda and I have a regular route worked out now so that we can make the most of the short time we have. This time we travelled on the Fast Boat which left Poole at 7.30 a.m. and we were in Cherbourg at mid-day. We drove to St. Pierre Eglise and did our first bit of shopping just before the shop was closing. We then stopped for Lunch which we had sitting in the square in the sun. A simple but absolutely delicious meal. There are lots of things I love about France but the thing that stands out is the unpredictability of the people. While we were sat having lunch in front of the restaurant there was a rumbling noise approaching quite quickly and suddenly to our surprise a huge (and I mean huge about the size of a small house) farm vehicle turned into the car park in front of the restaurant and parked up and the driver got out and went shopping! Perhaps he had had a phone call from his wife asking him to bring home some milk!!!!!
    We continued on our way and made our way down to Coutances shopping as we went. We were lucky and managed to buy some lovely rustic sheets and shirts. We were staying overnight with friends who live near St. Mere Eglise so we started making our way back up the peninsula to meet them. We arrived there at about 6.30 p.m. I love this little town. It is quite touristy now as many Americans visit the Airborne Museum there and it is famous for the battle that took place there during the Second World War. In spite of all the Souvenir shops there is a quiet calm about the place and a feeling of respect. We had supper with our friends in the Creperie. Another delicious meal washed down with the local Cider. On the way back to their house we were following them and I was trying to write down the road numbers and directions as we went along. I hasten to add that I wasn't driving this time. Shirley and Mark live right out in the sticks and we have never been able to find it on our own so this is why I was trying to write down the directions. After a while we both realised that we were taking longer to get there than usual but we kept following until we turned into some gates and drove down a long and bumpy overgrown drive and stopped in front of this beautiful old Chateau. It was then that we realised that our friends had taken us to see the Chateau that Shirley has fallen in love with and had been talking about over supper. It is magical. The grounds are extensive and there is a beautiful old conservatory and a little Chapel hidden in the trees. It belongs to an Order of Nuns but has remained empty since the 1950's. While the Nuns were in residence they used to open it up during the summer for holidays for under-priviledged children from the Cities and now it has been left to crumble. All the more reason to keep buying the Lottery tickets!!!!!!!!!!!! I took the opportunity to take lots of photographs of rusting shutters and ironwork. The door of the little chapel is so beautiful and above it there is an amazing carving of the Lamb of God. We spent quite a long time there almost until the sun had gone down casting amazing shadows on the stonework. We were desperate to see inside but the shutters are closed and it is impossible to see anything except the kitchen area which is of course in the basement so we were able to peer through the railings and could just make out a few things but the glass is so dirty not having been cleaned for the last 50 years!!
    After we had decided what we would do with it if we won the lottery we went back to Shirley and Marks house by yet another route so all my direction notes were completly useless. Not to worry we are going back again in July so I will try again then.
  • We sat and had drinks in the last rays of sunshine in the garden until it got too cold when we went inside and carried on there. It was great to know that we didn't have to get up too early next morning to get the early Ferry. We had a great time and were kept entertained by Shirley and her hilarious stories of their life in France. They have been there three years now and can't imagine why they would want to come back here to the UK. I am certainly very envious of their way of life and as soon as I win the Lottery I shall be off to France as well.
  • Now I am back home it is back to the grindstone and a mountain of washing. I have a Textile Fair next week on 3rd and 4th July at Bradford on Avon so the new purchases must be washed and ironed and sold!! so that I can go back and get some more! We have been experimenting with dyeing some of the chemises. The Indigo blue has been successful so we shall do some more off those and also I have been trying to mix a dye to reproduce the grey/buff colour that goes so well with blue and red.
    It is quite time consuming and does not suit my impatient nature. I want to get it right first time and I worry that I will mess it up and ruin the lovely linen things. The colours in the photograph of the window grilles are what I am trying for especially the buff colour at the top of the window.
  • There is lots for me to do before I go back to France again. I must make a start on the quilt I am entering into the Festival of Quilts this year. It has to be finished and been posted and received by 1st August so I haven't long. I have dyed most of the fabrics I need so just need to make a start. Easiersaid than done. I always seem to leave things to the last minute. I think this is a ploy by my inner self to make myself get going. Why do I do it? I really don't need the stress but it happens all the time.