Thursday doors #23

A few weeks ago I went for a stroll around the medieval old town of Cagnes, Le Haut de Cagnes, where I photographed lots of old doors. I’ve shared some with you over the past two weeks and here’s some more which are representative of the melange you’ll see walking around the labyrinth of streets.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award VI

A huge thanks to Saba Niaz siddique who has kindly brought me some more sunshine by nominating me again for this award. I much enjoy reading the blogs of those from different cultures to my own, I find them so instructive and informative and they help me to view things from another’s perspective which is so important. Indeed the strap line on Saba’s blog, which she only started in March of this year, is as follows:

Get rid of ignorance. Share what we know and search what we don’t know.

Admirable sentiments! Please go and check out her excellent blog, say hi, give her a follow and show some support to a newbie blogger.

Here’s those all-important award rules

1. Show the logo on your blog √

2. Thank the blogger who niminated you √

3. Respond to the 11 questions you were asked √

4. Bestow this honour on other bloggers √

5. Pose said bloggers 11 questions √

Questions posed by Saba

1. Have you had anything date back to your salad days?

Now, I’m not too sure what Saba means by this and my salad days were a long, long time ago.

2. What is your favourite possession?

I’m not big on possessions. Sure, I have lots of stuff but, if the flat was burning down, I’d grab my beloved husband and run. oh, and maybe Teddy (see photo below), we’ve been together for a very long time.

3. Do you like to watch cartoons with kids?

I love cartoons! While I don’t mind watching them with kids, I do find that they constantly chatter over the film, generally to tell you what’s happening next. It’s best to watch them in the privacy of your own home or on a long-haul flight.

4. Dedicate a short paragraph in honour of your country.

I was born in Great Britain but have always considered myself a European, rather than British. Please don’t ask me to explain Brexit as I see it as a cry for help from disadvantaged communities rather than any real comprehension of the complex issues. I’ve spent the last 15 years living and working in France. If Brexit goes ahead, I’ll apply for a French passport. This is my home and I have no wish or desire to return to the UK. I moved to France because I adore the French and their way of life, their culture, beliefs, food and weather. I’ve found paradise on earth and I’d like to stay here.

5. What do you easily give away:-

  • Your books

  • Your toys too 

Would you lend him out? No, he’s way too old.

  • Money

The answer to this question is none of the above! About the only things I do give away easily are my time and baked goodies.

6. What do you feel when you visit your fellow bloggers but they forget that your blog also exists?

I never give it a moment’s thought. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

7. Does blogging really matter?

I think it depends on why you blog. I blog for my own amusement and it’s an easy way for friends and family around the world to keep up with what we’re doing. If other people read and like my blogs then that’s bunce.

8. Five lessons you’ve learned so far from your life?

  1. Be true to yourself
  2. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you
  3. If you can give someone else a helping hand, do it
  4. Don’t put off tomorrow stuff you can do today
  5. Go for it! You never want your epitaph to be “If only!”

9. Have you remembered your time with your teacher(s), would you like to share?

I enjoyed school (and university) but it was a long time ago.

10. Who is more corrupt, leaders or common people, or both?

11. What is sacrifice?

Giving up something you value for the sake of other considerations.

My nominees

This is my third Sunshine Blogger Award in as many weeks. If you’ve taken the time to read my entire post and have found yourself here – Congratulations, you’ve been nominated.

Here’s my 11 Questions

1. Describe your perfect day and explain what makes it so.

2. If you could invite anyone (dead or alive) to dinner, which 5 people would you invite and why?

3. What would you serve at the dinner in 2 above?

4. What’s your favourite sport and why?

5. If you could solve one of the many problems facing today’s world, what would it be and why?

6. Are you a cat or a dog person?

7. Use 5 adjectives to describe yourself

8. How do you enjoy spending your vacation time?

9. What brings joy into your life?

10. At this stage in your life what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt?

11. Who are you going to nominate for this award?

Thanks for reading, have a great day and remember:-

 

Wallace Collection London: must see exhibition

When we lived in London, one of my favourite museums was The Wallace Colllection which is in Manchester Square, not far from where we lived. Furthermore, it’s free to visit so I was a very regular visitor to both its permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The Collection was built up over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. It’s one of the more significant collections of European fine and decorative arts in the world and arguably the greatest bequest of art (1897) ever left to the British Nation. It includes old master oil paintings from the 14th to the late 19th-century including works by Titian, Velazquez, Rubens and Van Dyck, princely arms and armour, and one of the finest collections of French 18th-century art.

If I still lived in London, I would be hot-footing it to Manchester Square to see its current exhibition An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection which opened in this week and pairs the most famous shoes from his archive with world-renowned paintings in the gallery’s 18th century rooms. The exhibition highlights the aesthetic shared between the collection’s baroque masterpieces and Blahnik’s own decadent craftsmanship, it aims to create a dialogue between art and craft. The famous shoe designer explained:

The Wallace Collection has been a point of reference for me since my early days in London. It was – and remains – one of my favourite museums with the most refined selection of art. I am incredibly humbled and honoured to be a part of the project and have my work displayed at the museum.

Manolo Blahnik, probably the world’s most famous shoe designer whose heels were immortalised in the hit TV show Sex and the City, is presenting his creations in a way they haven’t been seen before.

In one room, the shoes Blahnik designed for Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette are placed in front of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s 1767 painting The Swing, while in another Frans Hals’s 1624 portrait of The Laughing Cavalier is juxtaposed with a pair of ornate black boots. In total, 10 rooms are adorned with more than 160 pairs of shoes, each exploring a theme in Blahnik’s work, which has been heavily inspired by art and the Wallace Collection in particular.

Blahnik’s collaboration with the Wallace Collection marks the first time that the venue has allowed its permanent collection to be interrupted by another designer’s work. But then his shoes are lust-inducing works of art!

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection, London, from 10 June until 1 September

All images of shoes by Cassandra Parsons, © The Wallace Collection

Particularly poignant

Today is Father’s Day in France, and probably a few other places too. Coincidentally, it’s also the outlaw’s (my mother-in-law) birthday today. It’ll be her 93rd and her younger brother is travelling from Chippenham to visit her, which will be a lovely surprise. But this post isn’t about her, it’s about my late Father.

Obviously, no need to buy him a gift but I do like to commemorate him in some way on Father’s Day. Now, that might be with a special meal (that I know he’d enjoy) or it might be just spending time rememberng all the lovely Father’s Days we spent together. My Father’s choice of gift was always Sunday lunch with the family and we’ve certainly had some memorable ones over the years; not least the one at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons.

This year, since we’ve recently been back to Lake Konstanz (see next week-end’s posts), I’m going to remember all the wonderful time we spent together in Konstanz. My parents much enjoyed visiting us when we lived there and continued to visit the town and lake long after we’d left. They would go with their friends (pictured below), book the two suites overlooking the lake in the Insel Hotel and take daily trips around the lake to the various towns. The islands of Mainau and Lindau were always some of their favourite destinations.

They’d have a gentle stroll around their destination town in either Germany, Switzerland or Austria and, after eating a light lunch, they’d aim to be back at the hotel by mid-to-late afternoon to recharge their batteries before dinner in the hotel. While my beloved was working in Biberach-an-der-Riss we’d drive down to see them at the week-end and  enjoy Sunday lunch together at the Hotel Siber – oh happy days!

As well as thinking about the wonderful times we spent together, a part of me regrets the things we didn’t get to do. This was largely due to my mother’s Alzheimers. My Father wouldn’t have had it any other way but, in looking after her so wonderfully well, he neglected his own health until it was too late. There are so many places we wanted to take him but never had the chance.

My beloved, who was very close to his father-in-law, and I often look at one another and say; “You know who’d have liked/enjoyed this?” We’re both thinking of my father and, quite often, my mother too. Which was why our recent trip to Konstanz was a particularly poignant trip down memory lane for both of us.

 

40 years of Memorable Moments: Konstanz

It was only when I started to write about our recent trip to Lake Konstanz (Bodensee), I realised that I’d never really written about us living in Konstanz in the early 1990s. So I thought I’d better remedy that oversight.

My beloved was working for a very large US dental company in the UK but had forged good links with colleagues at its European HQ because he spoke fluent German, courtesy of his University sandwich year in Hamburg. He was offered and accepted a  move to Konstanz to work in its sales and marketing department in 1992.

After spending six months living in the company flat, we found a large, brand new, top-floor flat to rent which overlooked the lake in Hegne and started to make plans for our new life in Germany. Meanwhile, I was still working in London and flying to and from Konstanz each week-end, which was just a 45 minute drive from Zurich airport, while I sold our property in Chiswick, looked for a new role in Zurich and learned to drive!

It was much easier for me to fly to Zurich. The company chauffeur would drop me off at London City airport on his way home on Friday and I’d take the late evening Crossair flight to Zurich. Crossair was well-known for its ample servings of champagne (Gosset) and lovely nibbles – probably why it went bankrupt! I was part of a bunch of City regulars who flew there and back each week-end. Obviously, we had a very early start on Monday mornings but the chauffeur collected me from the airport so I was in the office by 09:00 am.

We loved living in Konstanz, particularly our spectacular view of the lake much enjoyed from our large lounge with floor to ceiling windows and adjoining balcony. Our brand spanking new flat was bright and airy, we’d installed a new kitchen of our choice and we were gradually putting our mark on the place. It had three generously sized bedrooms, one of which we used as a dining room, a massive bathroom and an enormous loft space.

I spent most week-ends and all of our holidays in and around the Lake Constance (Bodensee). In the winter months, my beloved would collect me from the airport on Friday evenings and we’d drive up into the mountains to spend the week-end skiing. During the summer months, we’d enjoy the various wine and food festivals in the towns and villages around the lake.

Our flat in Hegne was opposite the fire station which was manned by volunteers who also organised all the festivals in Hegne. Consequently, the walls of the fire station were lined with cases of wine and beer – surely a fire hazard in itself! Handily, all the festivals in Hegne took place in the parking space in front of our flat.

However, the town’s main claim to fame is its Kloster, a complex of buildings whose architectural core is the historic Hegne Castle. In addition to the monastery, this building complex also houses various educational and charitable institutions. The nuns were ever present around the village and you’d often see them on bicycles though one had a motorbike. We used to call her the “Flying Nun.”

Aside from the lake, one of the great advantages of Konstanz’s location was its proximity to Switzerland, handy to pop across for cheaper petrol and chocolate, plus Austria. To be honest, we’d have been quite happy to settle down here. It’s a beautiful spot and there’s much to enjoy around the lake all year long. My beloved had resumed playing water-polo for the local club which helped us to better integrate into the local community. In addition, there were other non-Germans also working for my beloved’s company who were only too happy to show us the ropes, not that we found it particularly difficult since we both spoke German.

Friends and family were happy to visit, particularly my parents who enjoyed their boat trips around the lake – much the best way to see everything. They had such a great time that they continued to visit the area, with their friends, long after we’d moved back to UK!

After only two years, my beloved was lured back to the UK to work as the local CEO of a major German, family-owned, dental company. Fortunately this was before I’d made the move but not before we’d sold our home in Chiswick. Meanwhile, I’d been living during the week at my youngest sister’s in Wimbledom and had to start looking for another home, albeit closer to central London, which was how we ended up in Cleveland Sq, Bayswater.

Since moving to France in 2005, we’ve only had a couple of quick visits, largely on business, to the area and a longer visit, a trip down memory lane, was much overdue. We have fond memories of our time there which we’re looking to rekindle.

 

 

Friday Photo Challenge – vast

I think I’ve muddled two Friday Photograph Challenges to come up with one of my own! But that’s okay, isn’t it? It’s just a way of showcasing some of our photographs. Here’s one from my 2016 trip to Australia which I took on the drive from Melbourne to Sydney at Wilson’s Promontory, affectionately known as The Prom by the Australians.

It’s a peninsula located about 200 km southeast of Melbourne, mostly covered by a national park, created more than a century ago. The park is known for its temperate forests, dunes and wild beaches, abundant wildlife and breathtaking views – just like this one!

 

Thursday doors #22

Recently, I went for a stroll around the old medieval town of Cagnes, Le Haut de Cagnes, where I photographed lots of old doors. I shared some of them with you last week and here’s a few more. These are all in stone-built properties and again look as if they’ve been in-situ since Medieval times.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

 

The Musette: kaiserschmarr’n with rhubarb

A kaiserschmarr’n is a rich, thick Austrian pancake that is traditionally served for dessert. We’ve typically eaten it after a hard day’s cross country skiing. However, I also think it makes a fabulous and quick brunch dish. It is thick, eggy and torn to bits during the cooking process, which is great for those of us who are not adept at flipping pancakes – yes, that’s me! It easily doubles up if you’re cooking for a crowd. It may look a bit messy, but it tastes fabulous! It’s usually served with a fruit compote and I just happened to have some home-made rhubarb compote hanging around in the fridge.

Ingredients (serves 2 hungry cyclists or cross-country skiers)

  • 60g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 large organic eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 240ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic lemon zest
  • 60g (1/2 cup) plain (all-purpose flour)
  • Icing (powdered) sugar to serve

Method

1. In one bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, milk, vanilla, salt and lemon zest until fully combined. Whisk in the flour a bit at a time, whisking out any lumps.

2. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. I find it easiest to mix in 1/4 of the batter first and then the rest, taking care not to deflate the batter.

3. Then pour the batter into a warm non-stick pan (medium-heat) and cook as if you were cooking scrambled eggs turning the batter over gently to ensure all of it is cooked, around 10-15 minutes. Do not allow the batter to colour.

4. Serve warm, topped with powdered sugar and with the compote on the side – enjoy!

 

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Traditionally, rum-soaked raisins are added to the batter and the kaiserschmarr’n is served with either an apple or plum compote.

2. You can also incorporate the fruit in the kaiserschmarr’n by gently cooking it in the pan first, adding flavourings of choice, before pouring in the batter.

3. For example, I cook apples in a little butter and honey with either vanilla or cinnamon while I cook the plums with mixed spice. The possibilities are endless!

4. If, heaven forbid, you’ve made too much, you can easily reheat it on another day.