Monday, 30 July 2007

The Travelling Caravanne


It's not just a whole load of chaps on bikes yer know!

Everyone talked about the caravanne that preceeds the cyclists, but little did we realise what we were going to see. The most amazing floats - tyres, bottles of water, animals, watches and, of course, bikes! These people have travelled from London down the east side France to the Pyrenées and then back up the west side to Paris, throwing all sorts of goodies out to the waiting hoards. Because we live in a rural area I don't think the "catch" was as good as if we had been watching on the outskirts of, say, Angouleme or even Vieux Mareuil just up the road.

But the spectacle was just A MA ZING! For an hour we watched this lot go passed. I didn't take that many photos as I couldn't hold the camera, wave and try to grab freebies at the same time.

At one point the whole spectacle came to a grinding halt just in front of us - someone had got stuck trying to squeeze under the bridge just up the road - so I managed a quick snap of part of the Nestle Aquarelle parade.


On our side of the road there was a chap on a lorry spraying everyone with water. DH and I stepped back to avoid it, but the people we were with got a bit wet.

Then silence - complete silence. The temperature started to rise and we were sitting under the trees wishing we had remembered to bring the Evian spray and enviously watching those who had decided to make a day of it eating sandwiches, drinking cold Chablis or Chardonnay and generally enjoying themselves. At least I remembered to bring the water bottles!

Slowly but surely the Skoda and LCL cars started to go past, then a few motor bikes with camera men riding pillion , then a few "L'Equipe" people carriers and then silence again. We chatted to the young gendarme who was part of Le Tour Equipe and was on duty to stop us stepping over the white line and getting run over! He had done the Pyrenees run and was getting pretty fed up. It was hot, he was in the full regalia, gun, truncheon and all, and had had enough! I was tempted to take a photo, but thought better of it.

Then the portable rang ever so loudly - we jumped! It was Mum calling from the UK to say that the riders were south of Brantome, so not very long to wait, but that if we were standing where she thought we were we had no chance of being seen on the tv as the cameras will be in front of us facing the other way. Oh well - not a problem - at least we tried. So we listened and listened, waiting for the helicopters to appear. A big yellow van with loud speakers came roaring up the road giving us info on what was happening to the riders. The leaders had split off from the rest at Brantome and there was a 17 minute gap - 17 minutes!

Suddenly we could hear the helicopters. They came up


over the trees - 4 of them circling and circling over our heads, swooping down low and then rising back up again - fantastic sight. Then the entourage appeared round the corner and before we knew what was happening the four leaders were upon us. Les claxons hooting like mad, everyone cheering and shouting, headlights flashing and it seemed as if we were in the middle of some huge celebration.

Then flash! They'd gone, leaving a few straggling gendarmerie motorbikes and the odd car.

Only 17 minutes to wait we thought - that will go by in a flash. Alex was getting fed up . Her friend Amandine was getting fed up and everyone was getting just a bit hot.

17 minutes stretched to 20 and


we thought we heard a helicopter. Then it appeared from behind the trees on the opposite side of the road. Over it came swooping and then rising up like a big white bird. Circling round and round.

A huge roaring noise followed it, flashing lights, claxons and Le Tour had finally arrived. This was what we had been waiting for.

The noise was horrendous. Sirens, motor bikes with journalists and camera men riding pillion, the estate cars belonging to France 2, the silver Skoda cars, the yellow LCL cars, the "team" cars - it was something else.


Then they were gone, but hang on, what is happening. The cavalcade slowed right down. The riders were going up the hill to the bridge at the top. They had climbed all the way from Brantome. It probably didn't look like it on tv (we are yet to watch a DVD that someone recorded for us), but it is a long long climb from Perigueux to Angouleme. In a car - fine. On a VTT no way! I am personally not surprised that they take drugs. How else are they supposed to manage these long long rides every day for 3 weeks!

Anyway, gendarmes started to chat to people in the car next to them


and a party atmosphere broke out, albeit for about 5 minutes.

Things started to speed up again and it was all over.


Walked back up the hill to fetch the car and by the time we had loaded DH and DD's bikes into the back and turned the car round, the D939 was open to traffic again. We rushed back and watched the last stretch from Dignac to Angouleme on  tv and heard about the dog who had run into the road earlier that day, bringing down the French guy who went on to win the day!

After all that - they didn't show our little bit of paradise - they were too busy filming Brantome and Mareuil sur Belle. Good thing really - I didn't have time to do the flag so you probably wouldn't have seen me, unless you just happened to spot a lunatic jumping up and down wearing a dark blue Nike baseball hat!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Advice Needed

I moved over to Wordpress thinking I would it prefer to Blogger. I don't think I do.


So I am asking you to help me make a decision.

Shall I move back to Blogger or shall I stay put?

Monday, 23 July 2007

The Wait Is Getting Too Much!

On Friday I ordered the 7th Harry Potter from I tried who do not charge for P&P, but unfortunately they wouldn't ship HP7 to France for some reason. So had to pay a lot more than most for the Amazon copy.


According to Amazon it was sent by La Poste's Colissimo Rapide on Friday evening - ETA either today or tomorrow. I just hope it arrives today.

Not a lot of quilting going on, but managed to sit down and starting ripping some curtains a friend gave me as the lining is poly batting and just the right thickness for quilts.   At least 2 quilts and a wall hanging out of that lot!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Wedding Pics

These pictures aren't brilliant. Sophie has some better ones to show, but I think she is tinkering with them at the moment.

Walking back from the church. The house is behind those huge trees in the background. About 10 minutes walk if you aren't wearing stiletto's, the most beautiful dress ever made and being hugged to death by your husband.




Two beautiful bridesmaids.

One of Mum's greatest friends is a gardener/flower arranger extraordinaire. She also did the flower's for Sophie's wedding in 2005. She uses the most unusual flowers and her arrangements are stunning. Tom's mother helped her do the flower's in the church and we all helped out with the flowers in the marquee on the Friday. Whilst she was doing the pedestal arrangement for the marquee, the wind picked up and we all thought the marquee was going to take off!

Church Flowers
Church Flowers

Not the most brilliant photo of Tamzin. I have fiddled about with it a bit so it looks a lot less blurry than it did.



More as and when - done enough fiddling for the day. Time to get some stuff done.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

No I haven't been buying. Sticking firmly to the No Fabric regime.

Yesterday was a gorgeous, hot day. Makes a change after the foul weather we've been having since May. Pool was cleaned on Saturday and is now a glittering blue instead of mushy pea green.

We had the option of a vide greniers at Le Rochebeaucourt or a proper brocante at Brantome. DH and I opted for the latter. Didn't really fancy traipsing up and down lines of tat!

I then remembered that Tonya had asked if DH could pretend to have a heart attack so I could take pictures of the fabric from Senegal hanging outside the fossil shop. I talked about it in June. So I grabbed the camera on my way out. Glad I did.

I think this picture is very Covered Porches. I thought of her when I took it.

Brantome Brocante

I love the dummy on the left at the back and the cushions on the sofa.

It amazes me the prices people charge for things. Has anyone seen the huge clock faces made in plastic and battery operated? They are made to look old and sort of station clock ish. There were 2 for sale yesterday. One was 95 Euro and the other wasn't even priced!!

Here is the fabric outside the fossil shop



I've got too much to do at the moment so quilting has had to take a back seat. However, I have got a nasty niggly, guilty feeling about Quilts 4 Leukaemia so will have to pull the box out, have a rummage through all those beautiful blocks and design the next quilt.


Friday, 13 July 2007

Le Tour de France 2007


Tour de France Logo



Some of you may be interested in this, some of you may not ......................................................


Le Tour is passing the bottom of our road on Friday, 27th July. The route is Cahors to Angouleme (210 km's) and is, apparently, going to be one of hardest routes this year (apart from the Alps and the Pyrénées).


I am hoping that I shall have the time to get together a white sheet and some red paint to advertise Qs4L so that those of you who watch it may be able to spot me.


The ETA is somewhere around 14.00 hours local time and we are between Brantome and Monsec. You can view the route here (and it is in English!!!!).


Back to the grass, the washing and everything else and will post more as and when.

 STOP PRESS - just realised the ETA for the "caravanne' is around 14.00.  The cyclists don't actually arrive until about 16.20.


Thursday, 12 July 2007

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

Got back at midnight last night after a lovely lovely week in the UK. The bride look stunning, the groom gorgeous and the wedding was the wedding of the year, fireworks et al.

Pictures as and when. Piles of washing to do and must start organizing "The Bash".

Aunt loves her quilt. I nearly got strangled by the hug!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Early WiP Wednesday, a Recipe and the BBC

I'm supposed to be packing. I don't "do" packing and try to leave it until the last possible moment, which just happens to be today. I would much prefer to be quilting, but if I don't get my head round this packing business I shall be arriving in the UK with nothing apart from the clothes I am wearing!

There has been a huge amount of progress with Little Acorns. I have quilted along the bottom of the border and am about turn the corner and go up the left hand side. My stitches are getting more even and when the thread stops knotting itself and getting caught up in the safety pins I am quite surprised at the speed I am going.

Fanning the Quilt

I think I am getting the hang of adding photos to the posts. Not as simple as Blogger.

Connie posted a recipe the other day for Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta which made me think that I haven't ever given you the recipe for Dreamers's Tomato Tart. This recipe was put on the old Dreaming of S W France group some years ago and it has sort of become my speciality. It is so easy and quick to make and tastes sooooooo yummy. We are having it for supper tonight.

1 pâté brise pastry shell

1lb Comte cheese sliced thinly

2/3 large tomatoes cut into ½ inch slices


Black pepper to taste

1 tsp dried basil or 1 tbl sp fresh basil

1 oz Parmesan cheese

1 oz melted butter.

Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and leave for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375°F, 190°C, or gas mark 5.

There is no need to bake the pastry blind. Just make sure you prick the base with a fork.

Arrange cheese slices, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of the pastry shell and place tomatoes side by side on the top. Sprinkle with black pepper, basil and Parmesan. Dribble melted butter over tomatoes and bake in the upper part of the oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the top of the tart is slightly browned.

Serve hot or warm.

Alternatives are to spread mustard or puréed garlic over the pastry base before adding the cheese.

Now the BBC. I follow Craig McGinty's This French Life blog/web site and the subjects over the past few days have been very interesting. For instance, did you know that BBC 2 are running a history of Paris on Tuesday evenings? The second of three programmes is on tomorrow.

I am also a BBC Radio 4 freak and one of my favourite presenters is Caroline Wyatt who is the Paris correspondent. Sadly she has had enough of the drip coming through the ceiling in her office from the bathroom above and is leaving Paris. I shall miss her and hope the new correspondent is as good as she was.

I really must start packing. Most important things to take - camera, quilt, scissors, thread, pins and hot air brush. Oh and don't forget new outfit and hat Clare!

A bientôt!