Un petit peu de culture

Last night Len and I set off for our first class of a series on The History of Art. The theme for this year is Sculpture from the Renaissance to the present day. It is run by the Association I work for and the teacher is the curator of three local museums.

The atmosphere was very informal. We all introduced ourselves to begin with – poor Len was the only male with nine women – and then the two-hour talk began, accompanied by photos on a big screen. We began with ancient greek statues which brought back memories of our holiday in Greece, then progressed through the Classical period to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a lightning tour, looking at the influences that had affected the kind of sculptures that were created.

Bust of Niccolo da Uzzano, a local banker, by Donatello

Bust of Niccolo da Uzzano, a local banker, by Donatello

Settling back in France

Lunch on the pation, hot weather and a game of scrabble - we're back!

Lunch on the pation, hot weather and a game of scrabble – we’re back!

We have just come back from a week in England. We went for our granddaughter’s christening in the Wirral. It was lovely to spend time with all the family and friends. Then we had a weekend with my sister, including a day in London seeing the poppies at the Tower of London and the Turner exhibition at Tate Britain.

We average four or five trips a year to Britain at the moment, no more than the number we used to do in the opposite direction. It can be unsettling, belonging in two different places and sometimes feeling that you don’t belong in either. But once we had had a good night’s sleep, unpacked and seen to the chicks all was well again.

Jessica's christening cake.

Jessica’s christening cake.

88,000 poppies (not puppies as Len thought I said) flowing like blood around the Tower of London, representing the soldiers who have died. They will be sold at £25 each and will raise £15 for charity.

888,000 poppies (not puppies as Len thought I said) flowing like blood around the Tower of London, representing the soldiers who have died. They will be sold at £25 each and will raise £2m for charity.

Searching for treasure in Angers

I had a lovely afternoon in Angers today. Angers is our nearest big town, the administrative centre for the department. It only takes 45 minutes to drive there but we’ve become such country bumpkins that we don’t often visit, which is a shame as it’s a lovely town.

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Old houses in Angers

 

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Just to show you can make a garden out of anything!

My prime purpose in visiting today was to find the much talked about shop, Tissus Myrtille (Blueberry fabric in English!). It turned out to be an Aladdin’s cave of all things to do with sewing, embroidery and knitting – a bit like El Kilo in Liverpool. I emerged after 30 mins with a bag full of wool for my next weaving and having had a short knitting lesson – possibly not a very good idea as continental knitting works in a different direction from British knitting!

I then made my way through some lovely back streets and found an indian restaurant – very important, and across the river to the Gallery for Contemporary Tapestry where the huge Jean Lurcat tapestry is displayed. In one room there was the happy sound of a class of children completing a piece of weaving. At the moment there is a display of work by European and Japanese textile artists. Here are some of the treasures I found.

Contine reading

A few hours snatched in the garden

This has been an odd week. We went from sandals and T shirts to boots and jumpers overnight. The computer kindly told us that it was warmer in Liverpool, that never goes down well.

Seeds of yellow flags

Beautiful seeds like little counters in pods on the yellow flags. Do I feel another embroidery coming on?

However, the warmth has returned and we may even make it to the end of October without lighting the Esse.

Still a bit of colour in the garden in October.

Still a bit of colour in the garden in October.

A visitor for breakfast

This morning we were quietly eating our breakfast when there was a fluttering of wings from the wood cooker. I opened the hatch and out flew a sparrow. This has happened a few times during the summer, a bird falling down the flue, and it was one of the reasons for me cleaning the range this week, before the weather changes, to check that there weren’t any other birds hiding in it somewhere.

We love our wood cooker but cleaning it is one of the downsides. Twice a year (at least) we unscrew the bolts that hold the hotplate down, lift it out (a two man job), push a wire brush around all the spaces inside, scrape deposits off the boiler and give it a good hoover and clean. Then it all has to be reassembled.

Hopefully this was our last summer visitor.

Stephen Gerrard and knee bends

I’ve just come back from the doctor’s.  For the last year I have taken part in a gentle weekly exercise session for over 60s called ‘Gymnastique douce’.  In France you need to get permission from the doctor to do any form of organised exercise. Last year this involved a blood pressure check, ten knee bends with a heart rate check before and after and a request for a blood test. I couldn’t manage ten so she took pity on me after five and signed my form. Zumba, however, was out of the question without a visit to a cardiologist. (Not that I’m complaining, it’s very good to be so well looked after.)

This time, a wonderful locum didn’t ask me to do any knee bends, but just took my blood pressure and heart rate. Instead, we talked about Liverpool, Stephen Gerrard, the Beatles and the vexing question of whether Liverpool is nearer to Scotland or Wales! Result.