Monday, June 21, 2010

Norman Conquests

Yesterday we went to Bayeux to see the tapestry. It's a thousand years old and depicts William the Conqueror and the Normans conquering Britain in 1066. There is a fitting symmetry in the fact that at a nearby World War II memorial, an inscription reads: "We, whom William once conquered, have now set free the conqueror's native land":

We then visited the Museum at Caen, which depicts the steps leading up to World War II and eventually the Normandy landings in 1944:

Then to Point Du Hoc, where US soldiers scaled the cliffs to disable German guns prior to the D-Day landings:

And Pegasus Bridge, where three Allied gliders landed and the soldiers saved the bridge:

Arromanches is a coastal town where the Allies unloaded prefabricated marinas, named Mulberry Harbours. It's a very pretty town. Our friends were staying in the corner building with blue shutters:

Parts of the portable harbours can be seen in the distance, still there after 60 years:

Who could fail to be moved by the American war cemetery above Omaha Beach. It features in the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, one of my favourite films:

Then we went back to Bayeux for a dinner of galettes, a buckwheat pancake traditionally made with sausage. They were accompanied, as is customary, by local cider in an earthenware bowl:

What a day! Certainly full of food for thought.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Grand Tour Has Begun

Even though Henry James makes it sound so romantic, the Grand Tour of Europe in the nineteenth century was possibly a bit more trouble than it is today. What with all those trunks and hatboxes and maids and carriages. I just left Sydney Airport with one suitcase:

Then when we arrived in Paris, we picked up our brand new leased Peugeot:

Then drove to Chartres to sleep off the jetlag. Not before walking up to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral first:

One hundred years ago, when Clive Bell of the Bloomsbury Group, wrote about the Gothic Cathedral's beautiful windows, he meant the 'Chartres blue' ones below the rose. But, as is evident in the above image, that facade has scaffolding on it and it's impossible to see the windows. So I had to settle for these no less stunning ones:

Then we walked to the covered market in the centre of town, held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. That's paella in front, and rotisserie chickens dripping their fat onto potatoes:

Beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables are in abundance:

And cheeses of every shape look so tempting:

Don't the strawberries look wonderful in these blue and white containers?:

I bought some nectarines, apricots and cherries and made my own still life back at the hotel. For an Aussie, eating fruit like this in June is such a treat:

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Only Read Fashion Magazines for the Furniture

Even though I prefer to spend my money on design magazines, every now and then a fashion cover catches my eye, as was the case with this March 2010 Tatler. While I must admit I do love the Dolce & Gabbana dress, my eye was drawn to the subtle way it complements the chintzy cushions:

And I love the way this button back chair sets off the Moschino dress:

And this rug has just the right amount of faded grace as a background to this gorgeous Roberto Cavalli dress:

This is my favourite. Who would have thought blue plates on a dresser could look so up to date. (Dior dress very lovely too of course):

While I'm not denying the appeal of Amber's endless legs, it's the yummy chair that captured my attention:

Top Image from website
Other images from

I must admit that I was also quite interested in the clothes after all.

Who knows, if they keep making furniture look so good, Tatler could join the ranks of my regular design magazines.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Last night even though there was a chill in the air, I went out onto the boatshed deck to look at the stars over the water. The Southern Cross was hanging there as it always does. Then I looked inside, and saw a cosy warm, bejewelled cavern:

Until then, I hadn't thought about how much I'll miss the boatshed while I'm away for the next few months. I'll also miss being able to cook and entertain. Last Saturday we had our friends Annabel and Peter to lunch. I wanted to do a vegetarian meze platter, so I made some risotto cakes with artichokes and lemon:

And some corn fritters with dill and coriander:

A rocket, pear, walnut and parmesan salad:

A white chocolate and raspberry tart:

Then put it together with some oven-roasted tomatoes, a beetroot, feta and mint salad, caponata and bread:

Little boatshed, I'll miss you:

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