August 30, 2011

Paris Love Locks

Along the Pont des Arts, there are are nearly 2000 padlocks with
inscriptions of love. The bridge links the Left bank to the Louvre museum.
Lovers often throw the keys in to the Seine as a sign of undying love.

They are considered an eye sore these days and there are many who
would like to remove them. Not me... I saw this lock and turned the corner
to see this couple riding off into the distance.
until the day the galaxy will explode....
to Charles and wishes,
For ♥ Ever

August 27, 2011

Raining in Paris....

We said goodbye to the Loire Valley today as we hopped a train to Paris. My daughters and I are having a weekend together before heading back to the real world. So far our weekend has consisted of shopping, cafe hopping, sightseeing and a few treats in between. Sweet treats :)

It is raining in Paris which doesn't seem to matter at all. It is the perfect way to transition into Autumn. Temperatures are dropping, jackets are back on in the streets of Paris and scarves are getting the double wrap around the neck. September is around the corner...

Although brief, we will just enjoy, something you can't help but do in Paris. I managed a few pics in between rain drops at the entrance to our hotel and around the corner.

Signing off on my iPad from the Left Bank of Paris..

Best wishes to one and all for a fab weekend. :)

Photographs by Jeanne Henriques

August 25, 2011

Loire Valley Moments

 A few Loire Valley moments at the end of the day....

a roll in the grass with Cartouche and Paulette
a stroll thru the fields

a dip in the pool

admiring Queen Anne's Lace

picking blackberries

walking past the farm
feeding the geese....



August 23, 2011

Magnificent Proportions

"Chambord is truly royal-royal in its great scale, 
its grand air, its indifference to common considerations"
Writer, Henry James

Chambord is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen. If you are planning a trip to the Loire Valley, I recommend putting this château at the top of your list. Chambord dates back to 1518 and owes it's conception to François I. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have drawn up plans that were ultimately made into a model by Le Boccador.  Many famous masters of their trade had a hand in the creations of Chambord over the centuries. The château is a masterpiece of the Renaissance period and is rich in history.  
Love, war and much more breathed thru it's walls until it was sold to the State in 1932 for 11 million francs.  Every portrait tells a story and there are plenty of them with 440 rooms to fill. I could go on and on but I will stop there and let the photos do the talking for me. It was a challenge to get it all into a single frame, both inside and out, but I had fun trying. You can read more about Château de Chambord, here.

I just couldn't resist... :)

 Magnificent Proportions.

Text reference: Châteaux of the Loire
The Green Guide by Michelin


Thank you for your words of encouragement regarding my bat story. (here)
I was heartened to hear that many are quite familiar with these
little night creatures and take them in stride. :)

August 22, 2011

A Nocturnal Encounter

We were five and now we are six. I cut these beautiful roses for Mrs. H Sr's arrival to the chateau (here) yesterday. The fragrance is intoxicating and I am feeling a bit delirious...but not from the roses.

We had what I call a 'scorcher' yesterday and today...temperatures into high 30C/90F. I opened all the windows in the chateau last night to catch a breeze. Around 4:00am, a storm came through with intense lightening and rain. I awoke and lay in bed thinking of all the windows that were wide open throughout the chateau (no screens) and made a frantic move around the house to close them all. No small feat. I am sure I looked and sounded like a crazed woman, running around in the dark, bumping into strange objects and cursing myself for not closing them earlier in the evening.

Surprise, surprise, I slipped into one empty bedroom at the far end of the chateau, turned on the lights and was greeted by a gathering of bats, flying in a circle around the chandelier. It felt like a scene out of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I half expected Mrs. Danvers to pop out of the corner of the room. 

I did what any smart woman would do, I turned off the lights, closed the door, made a mad dash back to bed and decided to think about it in the morning.

Tick, tock went the clock as I lay in bed thinking of how I was going to explain bedroom bats to the owner of the chateau. I needed a plan to catch them and felt the pool leaf scooper was my best bet. Scoop and toss was my one and only strategy.  Luckily, when I peeked in after breakfast they had departed.

Note to self....close all windows in chateau this evening and dream of the sweet sounds of nightingale birds. No bats allowed. :)  Bonne Nuit to one and all!

top and bottom images~me

August 19, 2011

Sunrise in the Loire Valley and Karen Blixen

Sunrise over the farmer's place...

I woke up early to catch the sunrise this morning. In the end, I decided it was easier said than done. In my pink silk pajamas and a well worn cashmere sweater, I set off in my black walking shoes to catch the sun.
I was ready to hop on a bike and ride past the farmers place and it appears they heard me coming first. The rooster, the horse, the hens, the dogs...the donkeys and even the cooing pigeons. I wondered how my family and the farmers family would feel if I proceeded on my journey....especially in my pink and blue bedroom ensemble. I retreated with the pigeons (it appears we have a village worth of pigeons living amongst the roofing of the chateau.)

August 18, 2011

August 16, 2011

Playing Sherlock in the Loire Valley

I wrote about My French World, here, and discussed my struggles with the French language. I seem to have developed a language phobia which I am determined to correct.

"I think of my blogging friends, Sharon @ My French Country Home, Vicki @ French Essence and Ange @ Signed by Ange. They all inspire me. I admire them for their ability to live in two worlds, their English world and their French world. Being able to live within the language of another culture opens a door that you would never see as a tourist."

In the meantime, I am finding it very easy to slip into our French world. We are staying in the far corners of the Loire Valley. Last year, my dear Mr. H mentioned that he would like to go to France for a two week summer holiday. His mission was to be as far away from the crowds as possible. As usual, my thoughts were far far away (probably blogging) and I replied with a 'yes, dear' all the while thinking that I had a feeling a beach holiday was going to be out of the picture.

August 15, 2011

Mood Blogging; C'est Si Bon!

A car to love, 1950's Peugeot, do we love the colour too? I say oui!

I have started noticing the various stages of blogging....

I liken early blogging to being like a child in a toy store. So much to see and think, I will follow that blog and that one and then you find another and another. When the time is right you take a leap of faith in yourself and start your own blog and is love at first touch (keyboard) You start to wonder where has it been all your life. If you are like me, you will wonder why you should stop at just one. Why not another? Fashion, photography, travel, health, life, lots of interests.... a blog for each. All I have to do is click the button and voila!

'Voila' is the operative word because I did just that. People often ask how I manage them all. To be honest, at the moment, I am not doing it that well....but that is ok. They are there when I need them, like an old friend waiting for a chat. I call it 'mood blogging'. If I am thinking fashion, I pop over to and write a post, if I am having a midlife moment that only people of my age will understand, I hop over to midlife wisdom. When the photo bug hits in a big way, I pop over to one woman traveller and download to my heart's content. My travels around England and Europe make it onto Finding my Way in England and last not least I write here @ Collage of Life...with my thoughts on life. Everything floats back and forth...mood blogging. :)

Where am I today? In the Loire Valley for two weeks, hoping to take it as easy as it can get. So far... Se magnifique! I have time...something I have had little of these past few months. With that we plan playing tourist, enjoying great food and wine, reading books, taking long walks, bike rides, a bit of fishing, tennis, swimming and of course dear friends...writing to you. :)

Chateau tucked away in the Loire Valley. Volvo wagon came with us from New Zealand and has
now added England and France to it's mileage. :)
Large home away from a smaller home..
our two week hideaway in La Sologne. 
We have it all to ourselves.:)

Miss Christine playing Rapunzel above
and family strolls below.

I have so much to tell you...
I can't wait to show you the rest of the house. 

I will be doing a bit of 'mood blogging'
across my other blogs too...come and say hello. 
Just give me a day or two first. :)

Signing off with Eartha Kitt and C'est Si Bon...

Taken by me, around the chateau.
including a car to love at the top. :)


This car is not mine, it belongs to the owner of the chateau,
a very charming suits her perfectly!

August 8, 2011

Thinking about Edward Hopper

Cape Cod Morning by Edward Hopper

I recently came across the image above and found myself mesmerised. It was hard not to identify with it. The woman at the window, what do you suppose she is thinking? I feel many of us would have a lot to say on that one. :)

I have long been a fan of Edward Hopper's work and even more so after our recent drive through the many small towns scattered along the back roads of New England. Places and faces fixed in time, just as they are in the paintings. Many words have been used to describe Edward Hopper's paintings; loneliness and isolation are among them.  In the 2008 video clip below, Franklin Kelly, Senior Curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, suggests that their is a quiet beauty to his work. I have to agree.

More on Edward Hopper, here.

August 5, 2011

A Summer Canvas

I feel comfortable in my calm beige world with hints of colour. 
It travels well from home to home. But....every now and again, 
I have the urge to colour my world.  If our travels were to be my canvas 
then I would have to say New England (USA) would be the place for me to start. 
Summer house blue, peony pink, washed lime green, mellow yellow 
and Nantucket red. The colours of my New England world.

How about you? 
What are the colours of your world?

Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts