Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 38 - Lisboa/Lisbon, Portugal.

As you probably know by now the SP and I do love to travel.
Some of our happiest memories are of sun kissed beaches in Greece, European city breaks and time spent enjoying bijou B&B's in the US and France.
When we're not travelling ourselves we enjoy watching travel programmes on TV, especially if the presenter is a chef.
We often discover a new place to add to our travel wish list and sometimes rediscover somewhere we have visited previously, as recently happened when we watched Chef Rick Stein spend a long weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.

In the summer of 2008 after 10 days spent relaxing in Praia d'el Rey on Portugal's Silver Coast we drove to the Hotel Dona Maria I, Pousada Palacio de Queluz  which we had chosen as our base for exploring Lisbon and the surrounding area.
The Hotel Dona Maria I is situated across the square from the Palace in a building which once served as the Guardhouse.

In order to make the most of our 4 days there we hired a driver to take us around and show us the sights. Whilst this was an extremely good way to discover Lisbon for the first time the days were very full and quite tiring.

Here are some things you might like to know about Lisbon.

Belém is a district of Lisbon that you must visit, here you'll find fascinating museums, the famous Belém Tower and the Monument of Discoveries.

The Monument of Discoveries on the bank of the River Tagus, celebrates the Age of Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first Monument was a wooden structure created in 1940 for the World's Fair. It was replaced in 1960 by the 52 metre tall concrete monument which now dominates the shoreline.

Jeronimos Monastery owes it's existence to the wealth and prosperity brought to Lisbon through trade with Portuguese colonies founded by early explorers such as Vasco de Gama.
The Catholic monks who lived in the Monastery were also responsible for creating the famous sweet custard tarts known as Pastéis de Belém.

the SP enjoying his first taste of Pastéis de Belém.
Our guide introduced us to these delicious tarts at the famous bakery next door to the Monastery, click here to learn the history of how it all began in 1837.
Watching Rick Stein strolling through downtown Lisbon inspired us to start planning a more leisurely return trip maybe later this year and prompted me to bake some Pastéis de Belem which turned out quite well for a first attempt.

Pastéis de Belém, home made by me.
We also enjoyed seeing the National Coach Museum in the Old Royal Riding School and the Maritime Museum, click here for a complete up to date guide to visiting Lisbon.

Pat has asked for the recipe for the pasteis, the one I used was from olive magazine, you'll find it on my Pinterest board  "Bake", or follow the link here.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 37 - normandy life snapshots

When we moved to Normandy 21 years ago my Dad, Bill, and my step mum, Joyce, were our first visitors, they came and helped us to unpack our belongings almost as soon as the removal van had driven away. He used to love to hear about our experiences as we worked hard to renovate and restore this old house and they came over, from the UK, often.
Dad often said that we should write a book about our life in Normandy a la Peter Mayle.
The last time they made the journey was in October 2007, my sister, brother in law and two nephews came too and we celebrated his 80th birthday with a Halloween themed party six months before he died.
I began writing my Normandy Life blog two weeks after he passed away, today is it's 9th Anniversary.

the village notice board always let's us know about all the exciting things happening here

This past week I've been walking around the village taking snapshots that I think reflect the way of life in rural Normandy and show why we enjoy living here so much.

the latest additions to friend Jacques' flock of sheep born this week

this week our farmer neighbour Marc brought a new herd of Holstein Friesian cows into the field opposite
the ornamental cherry tree in our front garden burst into glorious colour
M'selle Fleur always on guard
the SP enjoys a hot dog snack whilst wandering around a vide grenier
a wild flag iris growing at the side of the lane.

I wonder if we'll still be here in 2026?

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 36 - you say Disney and I say d'Isigny!

Happy Easter everyone!

Here's a non Easter question for you....................
What might the connection be
between here

and here?

The answer is this man!

That's right, Uncle Walt's ancestry can be traced all the way back to Hugues Suhard and his son Robert who left Isigny sur Mer to fight side by side with William the Conqueror during the invasion of England in 1066.

Isigny Sainte Mer Cooperative

I always thought Isigny sur Mer was only famous for the wonderful butter, cream and cheese, produced by the Isigny Sainte Mere cooperative, using milk from Normandy's native breed of cows like these.

Our farmer neighbour, Mark, supplies the co-op and we often encounter the huge tankers, in our narrow lanes, on their way to collect the creamy stuff.
In the centre of Isigny opposite the Town Hall the Walt Disney Garden has been created.

Here you'll also find a small plaque officially recognising what  generations of children from Isigny have grown up knowing - Walt Elias Disney's ancestors were Normans!
Click here to visit the Disneyland Paris website confirming the story.

"To the youngsters of today, I say believe in the future,
the world is getting better;
there is still plenty of opportunity.
Walt E. Disney
05.12.1901 - 15.12.1966

According to Madeleine Hubert, historian of Isigny, a charter of the King of England and Duke of Normandy Henry II, written in the 12th century, reports that Hugues Suhard, "guardian and master of the port of Isigny", took the name of Hugues d'Isigny.
(His) descendants settled in England, many decided not to return to Normandy. Over the years, their name became more evocative. In 1150, the stronghold of Norton, in the center of England, belonged to a certain William of Ysini. There is also a Norton Is'ny in a charter of 1331. It was this Norton who later became Norton Disney. Several centuries later, around 1830, a distant descendant of Norton, Elias Disney, left his native Ireland for the New World.

Walt Elias Disney's ancestry can be traced back to the Irish branch of the family.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 35 - easy like a Sunday morning

Normandy is basking in beautiful sunshine
as I write,
with wide cloudless blue skies as far as the eye can see.

In our garden the apple, cherry, pear, lilac and ornamental cherry trees
are all fit to burst!

To quote American poet William Cullen Bryant (no relation)...................

There is no glory in star or blossom
till looked upon by a loving eye;
There is no fragrance in April breezes
till breathed with joy as they wander by.

I'm wearing flip flops and suffering just a bit with hay fever!
On Sunday morning we spent time mooching around the vide grenier
(literal translation: empty attic) in Le Molay Littry.

In the UK they call them "car boots".
I think in North America you call them yard sales?

There were about 50+ stalls,

most of them laden with second hand/pre-loved children's clothes, toys and books.

Plenty of hand tools, garden/farming implements, engine parts and such.

Not too many antiques of note but loads of junk!

And toy cars, lots and lots of toy cars.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 34 - The Good, the Random and the Fun

I liked the idea of blogging the Good, the Random and the Fun so much last time that I've decided to share a GRF post every now and again.
Last week kicked off with Random when we walked past "Mimosa Cottage" (my name for the fixer-upper that I showed you recently, click here if you missed it) and discovered a new tenant in the garden.

I haven't a clue where he came from as the house does appear to have been left abandoned but he's made himself at home very well and is so friendly.
I love chatting with the horses that we meet on our daily walks. The SP and Fleur are used to me stopping for a chat and always walk on and leave me to it.

The Fun - chocolate!

When I called in at Super U (my local supermarche) for groceries on Wednesday I couldn't believe the amount of chocolate on display.
I'm not a chocaholic so I wasn't tempted at all but there were plenty of other shoppers adding Easter treats to their baskets.

Finally, the Good thing that happened last week was that Sean the Gardener came and dug up two of the vegetable beds in my potager leaving just one small bed for herbs, soft fruit and a few mixed salad leaves.

Now all we have to do is wait for the grass to grow, creating a quiet place enclosed on two sides by the tall laurel hedge where I can while away sunny afternoons napping, reading and sipping tea.

I'm thinking something like this would be perfect..............................

(internet image)