Saturday, September 30, 2006


Ok I admit it. I didn't actually get out of bed till nearly 11.

Hubby was keen to get out and about. He's into "I need a new car" mode, which means he's prepared to drive miles to look at likely candidates and talk endlessly about the merits and demerits of various models. Now he's a bit awkward about his likes and dislikes when it comes to cars and although I try to be interested after a while (a few weeks or months usually) I tend to get to the point where I listen with only half an ear and hope that the occasional, "ummm" or "ohhh?" is sufficient response.

At the moment we are down to only 2 cars that he thinks would be ok, and even though they are a Peugeot and a Toyota, it goes without saying that they are the models which are hardest to find. He trawls the Auto-Trader site and tells me there's one 26 miles away, or another 20 miles away (mmmm?") or that there was one at this garage, but it's just been sold and anyway it was silver - not only are we restricted to which car meets his demands in engine, size and aesthetics but it can't be silver as there are far too many silver cars on the road and they are boring. I'm sure I'll return to this subject for another moan, so beware.

Our new sofas are due to start being made on 10th October! How neat is that? Apparently the factory in Italy makes them one by one in the order that the orders (sorry, I just couldn't think of a better way to put that!) arrive there. So we have a date ours will go into production. Now we are considering getting a couple of suede cushions from them to add a bit of texture to the set up. However, the cushions will also go on the list and have to be made in their own turn - none of this "OK, no problem we can make them at the same time" mularky. hehehe
So we went back to Bedford to check out the cushion situation. We didn't order them though, as with all this sort of stuff one thing leads to another and we realise that actually we should sort the curtains out first then we can get a variety of cushions to pull the whole room together.
Curtains are their own particular nightmare. Our lounge has four windows all different shapes and sizes; a bay window, a long but not deep one, a set of French windows and even one which sticks out in a triangular shape - though that doesn't affect the curtains - just thought I'd tell you as it's a bit mad. This is the window that sticks out onto the drive and kills car aerials.....

We go to
The Anchor at Great Barford for lunch. Now that the indoor archery season has started Hubby's club "play" between 6-8 on Saturday evenings - a bit awkward for evening eating so we indulge in a exploring the locality for nice places for pub lunches - such a hardship...! Hubby had a Mixed meat spicy casserole and I had a Beef and Ale pie. They had quite a big menu, but I'm awkward and there was a lot that I didn't fancy - like fish - which I don't eat. Great Barford is a pretty village and the pub is right by the river Ouse - perfect for an afterlunch riverside stroll should you feel the need.

Now on the curtain trail we head for the horror that is Stevenage and the various retail parks that are there. It would seem that today was "Let's all go shopping" day. Yep the whole country was driving between TVWorld, SofaWorld, CarpetWorld, AlltheStuffyou'llEverneedWorld today. We went to 2 CurtainWorlds and I only saw 1 fabric that I liked. We got distracted by BedWorld as we really should buy a new mattress, this changed into buy a new bed - when we found that a new mattress is only a couple of hundred quid less than a whole new bed - we spent a while discussing the merits of pocket springs and memory foam, and trying out all the various options (I had a bad night's sleep so was wary of anything too comfortable) then decided we'll add that to the shopping list for another time.

We seemed to be out looking at stuff for ages and do you know what we bought? NOTHING

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beads and Birthday Cards

I completely forgot to mention that St Emilion has a BEAD SHOP. How seductive have they made this shop - everything is displayed beautifully - all colour co-ordinated in a series of wooden trays around the shop, then the metal beads, findings etc are all set out in those tiny weeny glass finger bowls (I was so scared of getting a sleeve caught and sending the lot flying all over the shop) the whole place was like a work of art!
Now, I thought it was a bit expensive, so managed to rein in the urge to fill my tray with everything in sight - I know this will come as a shock to some people out there..... but Hubby was there and he had that "Why did I let her in here, I'm soooooo bored" look on his face - besides he was holding the euros:-) Still I did manage to get myself a nice little selection, and as it was part of my birthday treat, I get to use them to make something for me!

After a day of trying to load a whole set of photos onto Blogger, and with thanks to Jo and Deb for their assistance with getting my slideshow actually into the message, I think I can show you the wonderful array of handcrafted birthday cards I received from some of the very talented people on the CBC forum

I was so lucky to get all these lovely cards and I hope you'll enjoy having a look-see. A HUGE thank you to those kind people who made and sent a card - it is a real joy to see all the creativity, the different styles and the many different techniques - I thoroughly enjoyed opening each and every envelope and I hope you're all really, really jealous!!! :-)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Two Weeks Later....

Well, it's time to catch up after our Road Trip.
We went to France for a couple of weeks - nothing booked except the ferry - which meant finding places to stay as we travelled. This wasn't as easy as we'd thought, lots of the hotels were closed for their own holidays, and lots of places were full of people who like us had waited for the kids to go back to school and had got there before us! It meant we had to move on more often than we'd planned and that every day was a driving day - and a pack/unpack day too for that matter. My favourite bit was the 3 nights nights we spent in St Emilion so that's what I'll start with.

We tried a couple of hotels with no luck then went to the Tourist Information Office for help. When we mentioned that it was my birthday and we were looking for somewhere nice to stay she suggested a little flat in one of the old buildings and rang the owner to arrange it. We didn't realise that she'd mentioned the special occasion to the owner, but when we arrived at the house he was waiting with a bottle of wine from his own vineyard for me. Not only was it my birthday, but it was a special weekend in the town too. Saturday was the Nuit de Patrimione, when all the buildings are open to visit for free, and special events happen - in St Emilion this meant a music festival with lots of different types of live music being performed in different spots all around the town. Unfortunately it was a horrible weather day and several of the performers couldn't do their thing in the venue assigned - heavy rain and electrical gismos just don't mix! The rain actually dried up by late evening but it was too late for some. Still wandering around the ancient cobbled streets finding oompah bands, swing bands, guitar and accordian players, clowns etc in unexpected places made for a fun evening. Sunday was also a special day as it was the launching of the grape-picking. The whole day saw processions and services in the old Church, and various other traditional events taking place. As the day went on those processing got less and less staid and serious - I think some were almost rolling down the hill after they'd been for lunch - I believe a lot of tasting of the vintage goes on......
It all ended with them climbing to the top of the castle where a speech was given over the tannoy and then grape shaped balloons were released.

Much Flag-waving, medieval costume, drummers and trumpeters at the head of the procession on Sunday

The wine heirarchy followed the musicians through the town to the old Church, where I think a special mass is said, presumably in the hope of a fantastic grape harvest..

While they are all in Church, the musicians and other costumed leaders of the procession hang around outside and pose for photos.

Here's what it's all about!
St Emilion is fab, a fantastic place to spend a few days. It's a town on a hill, very old - home to the hermit Emilion who lived in a cave hewn out of the rocks. He became a Saint and the old Church was built bearing his name and again hewn out of the rocks - it's open to the public and worth a visit. Plenty of wine shops and caves to visit - over 30 growers in the town I think. There's the big "new" Church as well as the ancient one, plus the castle, and wonderful views over the town and the surrounding countryside from all over the place.

I took this photo looking back up to the town from among the vineyards that surround the hill St Emilion stands on; There's a wine "cave" now in the old convent buildings - but even that has been in there for over 100 years, some of the buildings are in ruins, this photo is of the Cordelier's Cloister which I loved. The wine people use it as a place for their wine tasting now.

This is one of the old gates into the city;This is the view we had when sitting at the breakfast bar of the flat we stayed in. I loved looking out over the red roofs and out to the countryside beyond. OK sometimes it was a very grey view, but somehow, when you've got a bit of space to lounge around in the weather doesn't matter! Our "landlord" brought us a delicious breakfast of fresh bread, croissants, pain au chocolate and other pastries every morning, there was juice, milk, jam etc in the fridge, plus tea and coffee supplied, and of course loads of cafes and restaurants within a couple of minutes stroll - wasn't too bad eh?:-)Next installment will probably be Chateaux and seaside so be warned!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Busy Busy

Trying to get myself caught up with my blog because I'm not going to have much on-line time in the next couple of weeks. It's been a manic week, not only have I been feeling rather "under the weather" but I've got masses of things I need to do, plus I've had a lot of cards to make and get in the post for clients, friends and family - it's proving a busy month. Thank goodness there's one birthday I don't need to make a card for - my own!!!
I had an few rush orders to do - so rushed I forgot to get photos taken before they went off. One of these was for a 70th birthday card for the mother of a Swedish work colleague of Hubby's. Apparently she loved the card, but was only 69........ Let's hope the same girl's sister really is 40 or I think she's not going to be too happy when she gets her card either! And let's hope the names she gave me to put on the wedding card she ordered are correct....

Also had an anniversary card to make for another client - luckily she's a bit more reliable with her info. I was really pleased with that card - shame I forgot to take the photo.

Here are a some others I've done for September - they all use the same basic template - it's proved useful with so many to do.

House-wise, Hubby's been painting the front guest room. It was a very deep blue on one wall and a slightly less deep blue on the others and has proved a pig to cover. after two coats of white there is still a faint blue tinge, but I think it's almost ready for the vanilla top coat - though that'll have to wait now too. Check out what the walls looked like when he ran out of paint!

Last weekend we spoke to the guy who did a bit of work for us at the old house about some fencing, topping out some trees and getting some turfing done. Then we went to look at sofas - finally got round to ordering them yesterday so hopefully they'll be here before Christmas. We're getting 2 sofas (like the pic) and an armchair . They are by the Italian company Natuzzi and ours will be dark blue leather. Can't wait.

We've even started on the "Get Bathroom Sorted" campaign and yesterday saw a builder and plumber to get the first of the quotes underway - now I need to see more people about this.

Last is a photo especially for Janine. I loved reading your blog entry about the old wedding photos you've been looking through. This one is of my Great Uncle Len and his bride Olive on their wedding day. I know I have more photos, but can't find them at the moment.

OK, it might be a while before I get any more blogging done, but I'll be back as soon as possible, and till then - behave yourselves and I'll catch up with you all soon.....

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ancestry Challenge!

I've been tagged by Kathy Pitt, well, I guess it was about time we had another challenge going around :-)

1. Which famous person would you most like to learn that you are descended from?

AA Milne - because I love his Winnie the Pooh stories and would have appreciated being related to him in the way his son Christopher Robin didn't seem to....

2. Which famous person would you hate to learn that you are descended from?

Any of a number of despicable characters. I hope that even if I am decended from someone like that, that my own life wouldn't reflect the way they acted.

3. If you could be ancestor to any living famous person, who would it be and why?

I think I'd be proud to be an ancestor of someone like Bob Geldoff. He really grabbed the world by the scruff of it's neck and demanded some action over poverty in Africa. OK so there's still a long way to go, but you've got to admire the way he's motivated so many to try and make things better.

4. If you could go back in time and meet any known ancestor(s) of yours, who would it be?
OK this one I'm actually answering first because it's the easiest - I'd like to have the chance to speak to my 4 Grandparents about their parents and grandparents - because by the time I decided to do my family history they were all dead and I didn't get to quiz them about our history.

5. Tag five others: Jo, Kel, Lythan, Lisababe, Rachel