It’s all in the lighting…

01Celia’s parents had kindly invited us for a meal and Grand-mère Auzou seemed to have the perfect little nibble for an after dinner treat.

  So why was it so important to have photograph it as well?  The blogger’s curse!

There was an awful lot of this…

…and it came to this…

before we got this…


But they were a delectable end to a delicious meal.  Thank you Rose and Hubert!

(It really is all in the lighting!)





Rouen has been twinned with our nearest town Norwich for 45 years, and our family has done our bit towards Entente Cordiale by marrying a son of Norwich to a daughter of Rouen.  Very possibly Thomas and Celia had a rather different agenda when they tied the knot some years ago in Cambridge, but they now live within walking distance of the city centre along with two rather nice little boys, our grandsons.  Which explains why Rouen is currently our holiday destination of choice.

rue Eau de Robec

It is a beautiful city, every corner you turn presents another photo opportunity.  I have probably photographed  the same buildings every time I’ve visited, I am so struck by the shapes made by the timber framing, especially on the older houses which have settled, subsided and twisted over the years, and the wonderful colour combinations in which some of them have been painted.

quartier Croix de Pierre

Going under the clock on rue du Gros-Horloge you come into the old Market Place and the church of Joan of Arc.

rue de Gros-Horloge
Opposite the church is La Couronne, the oldest restaurant in France, which made me feel very inadequate about my window boxes!

La Couronne

Not far in the other direction from Thomas and Celia’s house is peaceful walk along the river bank to a water mill.  Peaceful to all but a nervous granny who could never get quite as near to the three year old as she would like to feel relaxed!

I am finding a reoccuring  theme to my  recent posts… look, I found another dahlia!

Hastings – hitting the heights!

Our third and last day in East Sussex before heading to France was dry, cloudy with a strong on-shore wind.  I’m used to the blustery gusts we get in our windy corner of Norfolk, but this was a relentless blow, with the flags standing out stiffly as if set in acrylic.

Just along the coast from Hastings is Bexhill-on-Sea, with a charmingly unspoilt sea front, no fun fair, amusement arcades, fish and chips, just a row of tall elegant houses and hotels overlooking the promenade and the Channel. I wonder how many period dramas have been filmed here? A location finders dream. Talking of which, Poirot any one?  He would have been perfectly at home with us as we took tea in the De La Warr Pavilion, an outstanding modernist building.

 It’s almost like an ocean liner, and in that wind, we certainly felt all at sea!

In the evening we went for a stroll prior to our evening meal. Tim had his eye on a likely looking pub spotted earlier in the day. We set off along another picturesque street…

…and it was then I had a ‘Life Enhancing Experience’!!  Family and close friends will know that back in the early nineties I succumbed to M.E. It’s been a long haul, and this year has been a time where I have at last felt I have been crawling out of a hole.  Last summer I finally got my system free of drugs which had been deemed helpful but in fact made more problems, and then I could address the weight gain brought about by years of comfort eating.  So I know this time last year all the walking this holiday had entailed so far would have been out of the question. Who can walk far carrying their airport luggage allowance at all times?

Hastings has two hills each side of the town, East Hill and West Hill both reached by their own funicular railway.  Our B & B, Cavalier House sits close to the bottom of the East Hill and the railway was closed for maintenance.

The castle like structure at the top end of the railway is perched above the town and has been taking people up and down since 1902 but I rather wondered why.  So when we spotted the steps on our way to the pub I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and said ‘Come on, let’s do it!’  Followed by a rather dubious husband (he’s the one who gets me out of the fine messes I get into!) I set off up the steps, all 190 of them.

Where we found we were here…

This was obviously a very good place to put a beacon…

..and filled with a huge sense of acheivement, a pretty good place to put me…

Fading light meant any further exploration must wait until the railway is running again, so we made our way back down the 190 steps, and THEN went to the pub!

Getting there slowly…

Enough time today to tackle my photograph mountain.  While trawling through all the colour I realised I had all sorts of beautiful natural tones and textures which deserve a little appreciation all on their own.

 A roof at Great Dixter, and all these lovely images from inside the barn.cow parsley


wooden peg

An amazing wall in Rye…



Luxurious textiles at Sheffield Park


And a shell encrusted anchor on the sea front of Hastings.

Heading South

Our usual trips to visit the French branch of the family involve driving along featureless motorways packed with cars as we head towards the Channel Tunnel.  This time we decided it would be nice to actually see some of the south coast of England on the way and so booked a few nights in Hastings  at Cavalier  House. 

 Tim had left me with the Country Living Guide book so I had drawn up a short list of interesting places to go, only thirty four of them!

Once we had left the nightmare that is the M25 we headed south on real roads, with scenery.  I have really fallen for East Sussex, a bit hilly, a bit windy (as in winding, not blowing) and lots of leafy green tunnels.  Very picturesque villages, roadside farm shops full of fruit,  and then as we approached Hastings, glimpses of the sea.  Our B & B located, we unloaded the luggage and set off into Hasting Old Town to explore.  Just a few steps from Cavalier House was George  Street, hung with bunting and with the tables and chairs of small bars and restaurants spilling out on to the pedestrianised street.  Very European, very inviting!

We filled in the time before an evening meal with a spot of window shopping…

I would have quite liked to have taken this vintage sign home, along with this tea set…

If I couldn’t have the tea set, I did have a wonderful pot of fresh mint tea at the end of our meal at Latham’s Brasserie, and, to the music of the seagulls(?) we wandered back for a good nights sleep.  My plan for the following day?  Top of that list of thirty four places of interest was Great Dixter…but that’s for another post.