Monday, August 17, 2015

No Longer in France

The photo above is one of my last looks at France. I have been back in the United States now for about a week. I unexpectedly cut my visit short because of a family emergency. My mother, who is 91, is ill. I have returned home to stay with her & help with her care in what will be the final months of her life. She is alert & aware & at peace with her prognosis. She has lived a long & fruitful life & is most appropriative of all of her blessings. 

Even though my mother is an excellent patient the task of caregiver is not without its challenges. Everyday presents a new challenge & learning experience.

 It is very similar to the challenges one faces living in a foreign country like 
France, even if for only a few months out of the year. Leaving family behind is always one of the difficult drawbacks. Although a sobering thought, I think it is probably important to share not only the beauty & romantic aspects of a life abroad but also some of the difficult realities as well.
 Best wishes to all of my friends Dreaming of France. I have lots of photos from this summer & hope to share them with you as I continue to navigate my new reality.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Bounty of the Season

On Saturday we went to the smaller market in Cordes. It was a rainy day so I did not take photos at the market.  But this is a photo of what I bought. I sautéed the peppers & Swiss chard in olive oil & garlic & then tossed them with orecchiette pasta  lemon juice & lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It made a very nice rainy night supper. Fruit & pasteries for dessert. I had so planed to take a  photo of the beautiful jewel like pastries inside the neatly wrapped package. However, when it came time for dessert, all thoughts of photography went right out the window.

I love this season of plenty & I am so appreciative of all of my neighbor's incredible generosity. My sweet neighbor Aurora recently brought me sunflowers from a nearby farm. Another neighbor gave me the rather giant zucchini from her garden, which I turned into a lovely creamy soup. 

Yet another neighbor gave me a huge sack of tomatoes from her garden. Along with garlic from Spain & basil from my own little flowerbed I used this recipe to make a scrumptious  sauce.

The photo below is from last weeks market day, all that I had bought dumped out of my basket onto the table. Without even knowing it I had a real color palette going on.  I just adore thoes baby eggplants both the white & the purple. I slice them very thin & sauté them in olive oil until tender & golden  brown then just sprinkle with coarse sea salt. That's it & they are so delicious.

While in Spain one of my favorite tapas was a plate of  the Padròn peppersI loved them so much I just had to get some & try to make them for myself. Again you just sear in olive oil until they begin to blister on all sides then serve sprinkled with coarse sea salt. For me the best recipes are always the simplest.

I hope you are enjoying the bounty of the season & maybe, just maybe
while you do.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Lunch with a view in Albi today. We dined alfresco on the balcony of a nice little restaurant with the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia as a back drop. 

At home peaches from the peach man in Rėalville on a chair in the kitchen, almost already half eaten since I took the photo early this morning.

A few little vignettes from my travels today

Just thought they were appealing.

Hope all of you are having a fantastic Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2015


You probably know by now that I have a thing for French signage.

The older & more faded the better.

I love the hand written ones because I so love the uniquely French style cursive.

The old blue enamel signs are so quintessentially French as well.

This is the kind of sign you can love & want to disobey at the same time. Just kidding...sort of.....who wouldn't want to sneak into the grounds of this abandoned chateaux.

I believe I'ver posted a photo of this sign before but I couldn't help another shot. It's one of my favorites.

I wasn't sure what this place really was but loved the old sign anyway.

I also love the discreet signs framed & placed on doors of local B&B's.

Sometimes there is really no need for a sign because it is perfectly clear what is for sale.

These signs represent just some of the many details that make up 
for me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Our brief but pleasant visit to Spain hit all the cliches of what a trip to Spain is supposed to be.
 First of all, tapas, tapas, tapas, lots & lots of tapas.

With no shortage of tapas bars, there seemed to be at least one on every corner.

You really do see lovely señoras fanning themselves with beautiful fans in the afternoon heat.

Not to mention pretty señoritas looking out of flower covered windows.

And then there were the tiles, the amazing tiles, like these in a neighborhood  bar where men gather at the end of the day.

And what would a visit to Spain be without paella?

There were of course beautiful old cathedrals & other quintessential Spanish architecture.

As well as a complete & varied landscape of mountains, land & sea.

In just a few days we felt we had experienced it all.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend & that it will fulfill all of your expectations 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I have just returned to my little village from a 5 day excursion to Spain. The last night there we stayed in the  magical seaside town of Hondarribiawhich is  in the Basque region right on the boarder of France. We stayed in the colorful  pink & blue hotel San Nicholas. 

Surrounded by flower covered balconies 

And a view of the sea

The little town was so pretty waking up in the early morning light....

...and just on the other side of the bay you could see France.

If this is not what dreams are made of I am not sure what is. 
Find other dreamy spaces & places on

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Windows of Bilbao Spain

This week we have been visiting Bilbao Spain. My first impression? The windows, the beautiful windows. I was immediately struck by all of the amazingly beautiful windows.

The sheer volume of them....

....the shapes...

...the sizes...

...the elegance.....

....& oh the colors....

.... no matter wether bright or subtle... the colors, oh, the colors....

....& oh....oh, all of those incredible details.....

...of the beautiful windows....

....of Bilbao Spain.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vide Grenier

Our little village had it's first very own vide grenier on Sunday.

After the extreme high temperatures of last week the overcast day was a relief from the heatwave & a perfect atmosphere for the event. 

We had our very own sign to proclaim the day & quite a large number of participants for such a tiny village. Vide grenier means quite literally "empty the attic" & that is just what everyone did.

There was a little bit of everything & certainly something for everyone.

From trinkets to cast off treasures 

Young & old alike found some little something to bring home.

But mostly it was just a happy occasion for neighbors to gather together & enjoy each other's company & celebrate the life of the village. 

I am connecting this post to Paulita's weekly meme
because sometimes dreams are all about real life experiences.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Retard à la Fête

Oops! I totally spaced out yesterday & forgot to wish everyone in France a 
Bon 14 Juillet
 Sorry I am late to the party but I do hope it was a fabulous day all the way 'round.

Not much happens where I am here in the countryside to celebrate the day, which might explain my forgetfulness. There are no fireworks here, although I have, on a number of occasions, had the opportunity to see the beautiful "feu d' artifice" in Paris. That is an amazing & memorable experience to be sure with the
Eiffel Tower as backdrop.

I did see this acrobat performing her acrobatic stunts to old French tunes in the square of Gaillac recently, which called to mind a festive France of an earlier epoch.

A lot of visitors do come to this area for the holiday though. They come to hike, ride bikes, picnic in the countryside, kayak down the river or just relax in small riverside cafes. It is definitely  a more low key sort of celebration here in the country, which for many is the start of the official summer vacation. 
So Happy Fête Nationale    
a day late & happy summer vacations to all!