Sunshine’s Macro Monday #68

Finally, during Lockdown II, I’ve been out and about taking photos in the Domaine.

This busy bee was gi-normous (size of my thumb) and decided to join me on the terrace.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your helpful feedback and kind comments on these posts – most encouraging.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge was hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encouraged us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It was a one day challenge without prompts which I have continued to pursue. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

The Most Important Guest Tag 

I was most kindly tagged by Mr Holliman of God of Faith back in September. Mr H – as I like to call him –  is the loving husband of Mrs.Holliman @GOD’S Love. They’ve been together for over 12 years. Inspired by his wife, Mr H started this second blog – his other one is about food –  because he wants to spread the Lord’s word. Mr & Mrs H are a charming couple, the sort you’d love to have as neighbours. So, please check out their blogs and show them some support.

The Most Important Guest Tag

“Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come into you and feast with you, and you will feast with me.” ~ Revelation 3:20

My Nominees

If you’d like to take part, consider yourself tagged. All denominations welcome!

Mr H’s Questions

1.Jesus has shown up unannounced at your front door, how long will it take you to answer the door?

Security is very tight in the Domaine, no one turns up unannounced! There are places where it’s safe to leave car and front doors unlocked, the Cote d’Azur is not one of them. I don’t just let anyone across my threshold. I’m assuming he’ll have ID with him. It’s illegal to be out and about in France without any form of ID. Plus, of course, he’ll have his attestation explaining why he’s found it necessary to break Lockdown II rules to visit us.

2. Is there anything you would want to put away or hide before you let Jesus in?

Errh, no! After over two weeks in Lockdown II, the place is spotless.

3. If Jesus looks for your Bible, where will He find it?

I don’t have a bible but my beloved does and it’s in his bedside table.

4. If Jesus asks you to play the last song you listened to, what song will it be?

Rather appropriately, this is the last song I listened to – Lenny Kravitz “Calling All Angels”

5. If Jesus asks you to put on the last TV show, movie, or YouTube video you watched, what will it be?

The MotoGP 2020 season finale from Portugal.

6. It’s dinner time, what restaurant are you taking Jesus to?

Sadly all the restaurants are closed in France during Lockdown II although certain restaurant chains are doing take out. But my reputation is on the line here. As someone who is “never knowingly underprepared” I’d whip up a delicious plant-based meal for him.

7. Do you invite anyone to join you for dinner or do you want to have dinner alone with Jesus?

Obviously, my beloved husband will be joining us.

8. Jesus has never eaten at the restaurant you are at, what do you recommend He order for dinner?

He’ll be tucking in to one of my delicious and nutritious home-made meals. I guarantee, he’ll love it. 

9. As you are eating dinner, you look toward the entrance and see the one person who has hurt you the most. What do you do?

There isn’t anyone who has hurt me but, if there were, I certainly wouldn’t invite them in.

10. Before Jesus leaves, do you ask to take a picture with Him on your cell phone?

Absolutely not, I don’t do selfies with anyone, not even Jesus. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you had a great weekend. Sx

Tag rules

1.Thank the person who tagged you and include a link to their post
2. Link the original post (The Most Important Guest Tag) and give credit to the creator of this tag (Purple Rose) – The reluctant preacher’s daughter From Purple Rose: “I heard someone talking one day about how people would behave if Jesus showed up at their front door. I thought that would be a good idea for a tag. Good for self–reflection and fun.“
3. Answer the 10 original questions asked by Purple Rose
4. Tag as many people as you like
5. Use the original tag image as the FEATURED image on your post

Song Lyric Sunday #19

Jim Adams of Song Lyric Sunday Challenge gives us plenty of notice about each Sunday’s prompts. For today, I needed to think what tracks are in my record library with Fiancé/Husband/Lover/Wife in the lyrics. There are lots of candidates, particularly for “Lover,” but again I don’t want to pick one of the more obvious ones. Instead, I’ve chosen I Don’t Want a Lover by Texas.

Texas are a Glaswegian pop rock band, founded in 1986 by Johnny McElhone (formerly of Altered Images) and lead vocalist Sharleen Spiteri. The band took their name from the 1984 Wim Wenders movie Paris, Texas.

This was the debut single from the band’s first album Southside. Released in January 1989, it peaked at #8 in the UK Singles Chart, and No. 77 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as top-40 positions in various countries worldwide. The track was remixed in 2001 by Stargate and DJ Stonebridge to promote the band’s The Greatest Hits compilation album. The song was also featured on an in-game radio station (Vice City FM) on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.

The band’s fortunes changed in 1997 with the release of their White on Blonde album which entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and has become their biggest seller to date, certified six-times platinum in the UK. The follow up album, The Hush (1999), was also successful, debuting at number one on the UK Albums Chart and certified triple platinum. The band’s Greatest Hits album, released in 2000, was another big seller, again debuting at number one and also being certified six-times platinum. Texas would go on to release a further two studio albums, Careful What You Wish For in 2003, and Red Book in 2005, both of which were certified gold in the UK. After the release of Red Book and a tour to support the album’s release, Texas went on hiatus. Lead singer Sharleen Spiteri launched a solo career, releasing her debut solo album, Melody, in 2008.

As of 2020, Texas’ sales were in excess of 40 million records. They have had thirteen UK top-ten singles, three UK number one albums and eight UK top ten albums, including their ninth and latest studio album, Jump on Board which was released in May 2017, debuting atop of the Scottish Albums Chart and within the top ten in France, the UK and Belgium. A new album called Hi will be released shortly.

Lyrics: I Don’t Want a Lover

I don’t want a lover
I just need a friend
I don’t want a lover
I just need a friend
You can’t just leave me
To face life on my own
I know you don’t love me no more
I knew this day it would come
Even when it cuts so deep
It’s true I still want you
But the harder I try
The more I seem to lose
I don’t want a lover
I just need a friend
I’ve had time to recover
Now that I know it wasn’t love
It’s always a different story
When it’s me who’s in the wrong
But you can’t have it all
‘Cause I’m the one who’s strong
I’ve already been burnt before
Once but never again
I know the time will come
That’s when you need me then
I don’t want a lover
I just need a friend
I’ve had time to recover
Now that I know it wasn’t love
I don’t want a lover
I just need a prayer
I know you never cared
Now that I know it wasn’t love
You don’t even care
About what I’m saying
You don’t even think
What you’re doing
All you see is what you want it to be
But in there there’s just no room for me
I don’t want a lover
I just need a friend
I’ve had time to recover
Now that I know it wasn’t love
You don’t even care
About what I’m saying
You don’t even think
What you’re doing
All you see is what you want it to be
But in there, there’s just no room for me
I don’t want a lover
I just need a prayer
I know you never cared
Now that I know it wasn’t love
I don’t want a lover
I just need a prayer
I know you never cared
Now that I know it wasn’t love

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John McElhone / Sharleen Eeugene Spiteri
I Don’t Want A Lover lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

One word Sunday: night

 I rarely take photos at night, it’s not one of the iPhone’s fortes! This is as close as it gets. It’s of Darling Harbor in Sydney.

I’ve decided to join in with Debbie Smyth‘s One Word Sunday challenge, largely because she sets them well in advance – always an advantage in my book. In addition, she’s a fantastic and inspirational photographer.


The Musette: butternut squash and sweet potato cake

During Lockdown II, I’ve re-started my cake delivery service to my elderly neighbours. This one is obviously healthy as it contains not one but two vegetables! Of course, many of you already know that the sweet potato is your friend when it comes to baking cakes. It’s sweet, it’s moist, it’s filling and it’s easy to work with – what’s not to like? It gives cakes a lovely fudgy texture. Appropriately, it has a bit of a Thanksgiving vibe!

Of course, I never let on how healthy my cakes are and this one will blow your mind. No one can tell its not the real deal. It’s moist, sweet, spicy, fudgy and absolutely delicious. It can sit in the fridge for a couple of days  – as if that’s going to happen – and be as good if not better than the day you baked it.

Ingredients (makes 1 large cake or 8-10 muffin-sized cakes)

  • 250g (2 cups) sweet potato, cooked
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp organic honey
  • 2 tbsp any nut butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 25g (1 oz) coconut flour
  • 30g (1 oz) rolled oats
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 150g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) butternut squash, cooked
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Orange glaze

  • 85g (3/4 cup) powdered icing sugar
  • 1tbsp fresh organic orange juice
  • organic orange zest to decorate (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan). Line your baking tin(s) with muffin cases or greaseproof (parchment) paper.

2. In a food processor, process all the ingredients into a smooth batter. It should easily drop from the spoon.

3. Pour the batter into the tin or tins. It should come 2/3rds of the way up the tin.

4. Bake in the oven for 30-55 minutes depending on the size of your cake(s). A toothpick should come out clean when inserted to the center of the cake.

5. Let the cake(s) cool for minimum of 30 minutes before glazing them. Just mix all the ingredients together and drizzle over the cake.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1.Make the cake vegan by substituting 2 flax or chia seed eggs (2 tbs of seeds plus 6 tbsp water for 2 eggs) or medium sized banana for the two eggs. Use coconut, brown rice or date syrup instead of the honey.

2. If you don’t have some of the ingredients, then here’s is a list of easy substitutes:-

  • Any nut butter: Coconut oil or butter
  • Rolled oats: tapioca flour, polenta
  • Coconut flour: Almond flour, hazelnut flour, or process unsweetened dessicated coconut until it’s fine

3. All ingredients should be at room temperature.

4. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the cake(s) in the oven, put the timer on for 5 minutes less than it should take to cook and then check regularly.

5. If you think the cake(s) is browning too much at the edges, cover it with an aluminium foil tent.

6. The cakes look a bit craggy. To make them more visually attractive I either use an orange drizzle icing as per above although this time I used some left over white chocolate and mango ganache. But there’s loads of glazes, icing etc that you can happily use. Just use your imagination!

Sculpture Saturday #35

The Fondation Maeght is one of my favourite museums of modern art. It’s situated on a hill overlooking Saint-Paul de Vence, not too far from where I live. It was established in 1964 by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght and houses paintings, sculptures, collages, ceramics and all forms of modern art.

The collection includes works by many important 20th century artists including Jean Arp, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Sam Francis, Alberto Giacometti, Wassily Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, Fernand Léger and Joan Miró among others.

Today’s bronze sculpture, Le  Pépin géant (giant pip), is by Jean Arp (1886 – 1966), a German-French sculptor, painter and poet who was known as Dadaist (a European avant-garde art movement in early 20th century) and abstract artist.

I’m going to be featuring sculptures from the Fondation’s grdens for the next few weeks or so – enjoy!

This challenge is kindly hosted by Susan Kelly over at No Fixed Plans.

Share a photo of a statue or sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

Friday Photo Challenge – while walking

This week Amanda’s challenge prompt is to post a photograph I have taken ‘While Walking.’

Now, I may be in Lockdown II in France but I’m fortunate to be able to walk around the grounds of the private Domaine where I live which provides fantastic photo opportunities throughout the year.

Most of these photos have been taken this week. The last photo of our olive grove was taken only yesterday.

I’m much enjoying these weekly challenges hosted on alternate weeks by either Amanda or Sandy because they force me to think about what’s in my photo archives and how I might re-purpose them.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not join in the fun?

Friendly Friday

One from the vaults: False start

Today, on our trip back down memory lane, we’re heading to November 2012 and those heady days when riding outside was possible! This was when I still had my cycling coach and we’d finally arranged our oft-postponed training ride in Italy.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much planning and preparation you undertake, things just don’t pan out the way you anticipated. Take this morning. It dawned gloriously sunny, perfect for a ride with my coach. We had reorganised our oft-cancelled ride in Italy for today and had agreed to rendezvous just after the motorway exit at 09:00. My kit and bike were prepared and ready the night before. Nothing worse than discovering you’ve got a flat five minutes before you’re due to leave the house.

I got up early, ate a hearty breakfast, dressed, put the bike on the car and set off with plenty of time to spare. At that time in the morning there’s always plenty of traffic and I hate to be late, for anything. I reached our meeting point early, parked, switched off the ignition and caught up with my emails on my Blackberry.  My coach was unusually early and after exchanging the obligatory kiss on both cheeks, I prepared to follow his van. I turned on the ignition, the car emitted a quiet cough and died.

I quickly leapt from the car to stop my coach leaving and he then took over. I’m a woman so of course I might be doing something wrong. I’ve long reached an age where this no longer bothers me. I handed him the keys and the instruction manual and stood back. Ten minutes later he confirmed I needed to ring Smart Assist. I gave them all the pertinent details, including a map reference for my location and they advised me to sit tight and await a call from the Smart mechanic.

I thanked my coach for his assistance and said I now regarded our trip to Italy as being jinxed. We’ve been trying to arrange it since early June and it’s been cancelled numerous times for one reason or another. He’s a chivalrous chap and I sensed his reluctance to leave me on my own. But I was fine. I had beverages, refreshments, indeed everything that one could possibly need and my knight in a white van would soon be with me.

I read a magazine, drank my bidon and waited. After forty minutes the mechanic rang. He asked if I’d contacted the emergency services. I replied in the negative. I’d been told to sit tight and wait for him to contact me. Well it turns out that even though I had exited the motorway, I was parked on their terrain and so I needed to ring “112”.

I did and after explaining my plight was put in contact with the motorway’s rescue service. They promised someone would be with me in 40 minutes, but actually he only took 20 and was himself a keen cyclist. There then followed a series of telephone conversations on my mobile with the motorway rescue services, the mechanic and Smart Assist whereby the last one promised the first one payment for his services. Tom III was then loaded onto the back of the lorry, I climbed on board and we headed for Smart in Monaco.

Although I’m guaranteed a replacement hire car in the event of Tom’s incapacity there’s always a problem: it’s always a  manual car. While I passed my driving test on one I haven’t driven one since. Luckily I had my bike and advised that, if necessary, I would ride home.

With space being at a premium in the concrete jungle that is Monaco, the Smart garage is situated just off a narrow lane where you’d be hard pressed to drive anything apart from a Smart. Undeterred, my rescuer backed his lorry the wrong way up a one way street, dropped off my car and left me in the capable hands of the Smart mechanics.

They kindly gave it their immediate attention. The problem was a dead battery. Now I’d driven the car to Aix-en-Provence and back yesterday and then to and from the airport in the evening without any trouble. It had also started this morning without any hint of what was to come. I should add that this is my third Smart and I’d never had any problem with them. Indeed, even if I could buy any car at all, my heart’s desire would be the one I’ve got. It’s totally fit for purpose.

You might be wondering if I’d inadvertently left something alight in the car? No, I had not. A wire had worked loose from the battery. It’s a wonder I’d not had any trouble with it before now. Within 20 minutes of my arrival, I was heading out of Monaco for home.  The sun was still shining so I dropped off the car, hopped on the bike and went for a quick ride. All was now right again with my world.

Thursday doors #94

This week and next I’ll be showcasing some more magnificent doors from Cannes.


Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite 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).