First you have to actually GET to the airport.
We had a hire car in France and driving to the airport wasn't really a problem... but the traffic was beginning to build up as we approached he airport...We did go around a couple of times but finally the GPS got us on the right track.
Finding the Hertz depot was indeed a heart stopper...
The same thing happened to my son Jamie and I in September last year... round and round we went, I was driving, the ladies watching for traffic and signs. 4 times round the airport and we finally found a small sign way up in the air....
I said one or two swear words I can tell you.
Our flight was late in the evening... so we sat in a restaurant and waited for a couple of hours.
Then we could book in and get rid of the luggage.... OK, everything is electronic, there are no signs where the luggage has to go, you sort of have to guess. The girl behind the counter was otherwise engaged.
I'm no stranger to airports, but this was way out of my comfort zone... I have never encountered a more passenger unfriendly environment.
Even though I was traveling on BA which is a partner to Qantas, I was unable to go in the lounge....only first class was his reply....!!!
To wait for the 3 hours before the flight.... you had to go to a restaurant and pay exorbitant amounts for food and drink....because it was the only place to sit.... there were no chairs in the waiting area, everyone sat on the floor or any bench they could find.
"I would like a toasted cheese sandwich please" I asked the waiter...No, we don't have those only baguettes...."No hot food" so I opted for a diet coke which cost $10 AU and turned out to be pepsi.
About 10 minutes later we saw the hot food we requested being bought out to other patrons... an indignant man next to me had had the same treatment... and complained... the waiter just ignored him.
It occurred to me later that the waiter had tried to get us through his restaurant quickly, seeing that my companions were older, he figured that they would stay in there until the plane came... hence his tactics.
We ignored him for an hour, I sipped on luke warm pepsi and he kept coming past and glaring at us... I glared back.
Finally with half an hour to boarding we thought we could go through security.... "Yes, come on in" said a young woman.
"No" said a young man with his feet on the desk...too early, there are no toilets in here....
Well, thanks for being concerned about my bladder honey, but I'm not ancient... I do know if I need to go or not...
So we hung around the end of the security check point watching the guard pick his teeth, adjust his attire and chat with his friends.
Finally we were allowed through. Finally we were in air conditioning and we had a seat.
The flight is short, just 40 minutes... then you have to add on the 40 minutes we added circling Heathrow, and 20 minutes because no one was there to guide us in and then 20 minutes because no one had organized the walk bridge.....add more time because the bridge didn't fit the plane, they bought the wrong one...
So we had to alight the plane, catch a bus and go up four flights of stairs...
Joan was unable to do that, so she had to wait until the staff had finished on the plane and they put her in a lift.
We were last in line in immigration, We had to wait for about 10 mins with another group of passengers for a security scare....by the time we go through there was no one at the baggage counter and we finally located our lonely luggage going round and round.
A few phone calls to our courier Cyril located him and of course we got charged more because we were so late...
By this time it was almost 2.00 am Paris time before we got to our accommodation.....
I was stressed and that certainly doesn't happen often.....!!!!
One of the things we do intuitively when we make quilts is pay attention to detail.
If you are piecing a quilt you know that it's important to have an accurate 1/4" seam other wise you're going to end up with a dog of a quilt.
If you come to one of my classes, we alway pay a great deal of attention to a combination of things that create detail.
So if you look at the way I take photos, I pay attention to detail. In this picture for instance, I have captured your interest by blocking out the rest of the background, getting down to the same level as the seagulls and capturing the personalities of these guys.
I love the subtleties of color of the seagull and her babies. The blue grey sky and the color of the railing match perfectly in the picture...
The is one part of the picture that is jarring however... let me correct it....
Veins on leaves.
I can hear you say, " I can't take photos like that"
Have you tried....? I often have a little sony point and shoot in my bag...
It's digital, you're not going to make a mistake, if it's out of focus... take it again.
The picture or the orange flower against the sky was taken just like that. The back of the flower, the light shining through and the quilt.
We arrived in London quite late last night. (well early this morning really) Tired, late and a little brain dead. There was no conversation as we sat side by side in the back of Cyril's London taxi on the way to the apartment. I dislike arriving in another place at night, I wake up in the morning in a state of disorientation.
So at 7.00 this morning when I woke up, I quickly dressed and put on the orange shoes and off I went for a couple of hours walk. I got back at 9.30 exhausted... but I had located the supermarket, changed money, bought a weekly bus pass and purchased fresh croissants and cheese for breakfast. Most importantly of all I knew just where I was.
Traveling to the airport was a testing time yesterday.
First we manhandled the luggage down 4 flights of stairs and into the back of our vehicle.
I checked, checked, and checked our route again on the GPS..... Giverny, Monet’s Garden then the airport..... Gees Louise....
The trip from Bayeux to Giverny was uneventful, the scenery flashed by on either side of the car as we slipped through the French countryside. Green pastures, blue sky, wheat stacks and stone buildings. I just couldn't stop to photograph, but the memory will always be there.
Giverny is 220 kms from Bayeux so it was late morning when we arrived. The car park was filling fast and there were already queues to get in to the famous Monet's Garden and also for the important task of buying ones gold plated lunch...
$10 for a dry hot dog... no thanks, I ate a croissant, "can you add some ham please" so I
purchased a croissant and a piece of ham for $10 AU.
The gift shop was enticing and I loved the colors.... specially the china and linen.!!!
Claude Monet, born in Paris in 1840 lived at Giverny for more than 40 years. He first rented the property... at times he lived a rather sparse life. His talent was recognized in a gradual awakening and he finally earned enough money to purchase the house he loved so much and began to establish the garden by rerouting a river. He selected different hybrids of waterlilies in an effort to get as many different colored flowers as possible, deliberately creating the garden as a motif for his paintings.
His studio is now the gift shop, his art is what I call a household image, but yesterday one of his painting reached a huge price .
Record $85m gilds lily for Monet market
June 26, 2008
ONE of Claude Monet's large waterlily paintings yesterday sold for a world record pound stg. 41 million ($84.4 million), heralding a week of London art sales that could raise more than pound stg. 500 million in defiance of the global economic downturn.
An anonymous buyer bought Le Bassin aux Nympheas for what was a record price for the artist at auction and a record for a painting sold at auction in Europe.
It's spring, the garden is in wake up mode. The poppies had just finished and now a new generation of flowers are about to bloom.
I was inspired by the colors.
Take this poppy for instance.
Look at the range of colors that I was able to extract from the photo...
If you look at the top two photos... you can see how Monet extracted the colors and images for his paintings.
I haven't got blue in my photo, However, I will add a little tonight with my paint program and see what it looks like...
Want to make a poppy Quilt?
Well, we have the colors and designs right here...
Let me put my thinking cap on and I will see what I can do tonight ....
Off to Westminster Abbey today.
I will add more tonight.
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
I thought I might share a little information about this area of France.
Normandy was named by King Rollo, a viking who invaded the country. His Descendant William, commonly spoken of here as William the Bastard became William the Conqueror when he won the battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066. William alway retained this Feifdom of Normandy for his relatives, well for a short time anyway.
We also associate Normandy with D Day. June 1944.
Of course, my interest is two fold. Our family can trace it's origins back to William the Conqueror.
And I have an interest in the Bayeux Tapestry.
The country side is certainly dressed in it's finest at the moment. We've had perfect weather, and a trip through the villages like we had to day makes your heart leap.
Bayeux is known for lace making and also its porcelain production.
A lacemaking workshop still exists to safeguard the knowhow handed down by the lace-makers of Bayeux from the 17th century.
I have been fascinated by the architecture, the furniture, and the fact that we are staying in a building built 100's of years ago makes me want to learn more about this whole area of Bayeux.
Built on the site of the old Roman settlement of Augustodurum, some of the buildings date back to Medieval times.
I found myself stumbling over the cobblestones on many occasions as I attempted to look up at the roofs, windows and tiles.
Furniture.... well I'm about to create a bedroom in this style, and part of our large dining room is also French style. I love the straw woven seat chairs, we have them as dining chairs, nothing fancy, just practical..... Even the churches have single chairs with woven straw or rush seats.
I love the flower boxes filled with blooms, crepes with chocolate, the smell of flowers mixed with roasting coffee, the winding cobblestone streets, lace curtained windows and the fact that the days are extra long...
I love fresh croissants, strong coffee, cheese and yoghurt for breakfast.
I've enjoyed every minute of my stay in France, in Paris, and in Bayeux.
Sharing it with friends is even better.... but next time hopefully it will be with family too.
We visit Monet's garden tomorrow and then a late evening flight to London and another part of the journey to enjoy.
Oh, we have to be up early and in our "best" clothes the morning after we arrive in England, we're off to the Ritz with a friend for lunch.
wo days without a blog.
But the mind and body have not been idle. I've had some time to study and begin a new article.
First of all, everything is in bloom here and I'm suffering mightily with hay fever.
Time away from my major project is weighing hard on my mind..... it's possibly because of viewing the Bayeux Tapestry again today.
I'll feel the same again tomorrow when I see it again.
Just being in this city of Bayeux is a personal pilgrimage, despite sharing it with others at time, it's still solitary, because I'm the only one who understands my innermost feelings about my project.
I've lived and breathed the Bayeux Tapestry for the past 3 years, it's become a little more than personal. I guess you would say it's an obsession on my part.
Changing the subject. I'm here to film the flax, so tomorrow if the light is right I'm off to the country side.
Talking of light, there is still the blue and orange glow of sunset and it's 11.45.PM.
Well, my friends are asleep and I have my earphones on listening to my music as I pen this blog.
I have a small attic room off the large main one. I have wi fi, a small desk, a ceiling attic window and enough room for my clothes and I'm happy.
Our first day in Bayeux, Saturday and the market was right out the front of our hotel in the city square.
I walked through the avenue of topiary trees into the square, the smell of sausage, hot coffee and flowers greeted me in welcome. It was a hive of activity. Cream coated women with straw baskets, sensible shoes and look of determination walked the aisles, occasionally they greeted friends with a cheek to cheek expression of greeting.
There was every imaginable fresh vegetable on display.
Fish, live geese, chickens, rabbits, goats and quail, brown eggs in baskets, thick fresh cream and bread and cheese to salivate over. But that was just the beginning of the day.
Our outing began in drizzle and mist. We drove 35kms along the coast to a town I can't remember the name of at the moment. We saw that there was to be an artisans exhibition.... we located the area but the art was missed out of the explanation... I've seen patchwork tissue covers and doilies before... XXXXX
Disappointed but not daunted we explored a little of the town. With he help of the GPS we continued on through small villages. The buildings of grey stone lapped the edges of the road. Often there wasn't even enough room for two cars to pass side by side... so the gear stick got plenty of use.
Every building is decorated with flowers. It simply takes your breathe away.
We were right in the heart of Normandy. The French pay their respects to the soldiers who fought to liberate their country in the 2nd world war. June 1944 is a time of remembrance and D Day is always celebrated with ceremony.
We visited Omaha beach and wound our way along the coast. There were many reminders in the form of statues and icons ensuring that the gift of freedom given to us by those long lost soldiers is never forgotten.
We drove on to a small fishing village just 7 kms from Bayeux.... the air was cool and the sun finally broke through changing the complexion of the scenery completely.
We sat in an outdoor cafe and sampled the local fish, people watched and ate good French food.
We returned home at 9.45 in high sunlight. As we pulled into the hotel, I noticed that there was a large crowd swelling in the main street ....
"It's a music festival" said our young host "it's everywhere" he said gesticulating widely.
SO - I just had to go. It was wonderful. There were families, young, old and the faithful.... all enjoying themselves on a summer evening in Bayeux.
Next challenge. - drive the car through Paris.
Fortunately for us Hertz was just one block away, so like a troop of tourists we wound our way down the street towing our cases behind us.
We picked up the car, a sort of little people mover which fitted our cases in quite well and our 3 persons.
Next Challenge, my GPS wasn't picking up a signal from the satellites because of high the buildings surrounding us. I worked up a google map and marked the route. I left it on the lap top and I also had it on my ipod for back up.... no stone left unturned.
We took off down the streets we had become familiar with during our 8 days in this suburb, suddenly lights were flashing on the dash and I realized the hand brake was on.... I pulled over, we hunted high and low.... no we couldn't find a hand brake, we couldn't read the manual because it is in French.... so I ran back to hertz and like a klutz, I said "we can't locate the handbrake".... well they looked at me as if I was silly and a young man walked back to the car and showed us the hand brake... for pete's sake, it's part of the center arm rest.... how could we find that...?
The GPS sprang to life, we followed the dulcet tones of "Gerald" and he guided us through Paris and into the most beautiful countryside until we reached Bayeux some 280 kms later.
I think we went through 50 round-abouts... that meant I had to change gears 50 times !!!!!
But we made it... and I will have beautiful photos to share tomorrow.
It's just a stones throw from Notre Dame Cathedral and a short walk from the banks of the Seine.
Diane de Obaldia and I sat in a quaint little cafe this afternoon as she told me with great enthusiasm about her early life in Paris. No, I won't spoil the story but you can read all about it in Quilters Companion and on film on the Quilt Show with Ricky and Alex. trust me it's worth waiting for.
The shop is just lovely, full of the most interesting fabric. Antique quilts, British and American antique furniture and my heart was taken with the old china and silver teapots.
Well worth a visit.
Diane states,- Our motto is : Even if you don't speak French, we speak Patchwork fluently!
La boutique Du Patchwork I didn't get to go to these shops, but Diane invited owner Christiane to visit and we had a wonderful discussion about the history of quilting in France. Christiane has two shops and says that she has over 6000 bolts of fabric to choose from.
I'm sure I'll get to visit her one day.
It was a great day. I'll now write the article and edit the film and you can all share in the interesting stories that I had the privilege of learning today.
It's our last day in Paris... well, we're not too sure. Our landlord owes us a considerable deposit and didn't turn up with the money at 7.00 pm as promised, I rang him at 9.00 "I have a big problem" I will be there at 9.00 in the morning with your cash.....!!!!
I have the task of driving through the Paris traffic tomorrow to go to Bayeux.
My GPS can't pick up a satellite here because of the height of the buildings... so cross your fingers I find my way out of the maze until the satellite finds me.
12.00 and I'm retiring to bed......to share the enjoyment of a party being held in the next apartment. It might be old, but the walls are thin !!!!