Liberty of London

Over recent years K and I have fallen into the habit of having an afternoon of girlie time each December admiring all the glitter, bling, tinsel and bauble of Christmas decorations. We mostly go to garden centres, the one at Henry Street, Aborfield being our favourite locally. After discovering that Liberty’s Christmas shop is already open and as we’ve missed the last two years because in ’15 I was in Spain and in ’16 K was unable to walk, K decided a return to Liberty of London was called for – we haven’t been for several years. Okay it’s only September but I leave for the winter in a few days. There was a certain lack of yuletide excitement but there was sparkle and colour in abundance, all inside that wonderful Tudor revival building –  and there was Afternoon Tea …

we had a great time.

🙂 🙂 🙂

If I never hear it again …

Camping Pont-d’Avignon is a great site – and I really should have stayed one more night, as then I could’ve watched Arsenal win the FA Cup on the bar TV rather than reading updates via the web.  Trouble was that I made up my mind to depart without thinking of the match. However K joined me on the phone for the last nail biting 4 minutes of stoppage time and we celebrated together – nice one K. Arsenal have now won the cup for a record breaking 13 times with Arsène as manager for 7 of them.

Don’t think I’ve ever digressed preparatory to starting before …

Truth is that I was totally fed up with the singing … One of the delights of the site is it’s position on an island in the middle of the Rhône right opposite the Palais des Papes and the famous St Benézét bridge, wonderful view; the downside being that the evening cruises in extremely large barges pause right by the ruined bridge, and every time they play that “sous le pont” song. One of the barges has a bloke, using a very powerful sound system, playing an accordion and “singing” an extremely small repertoire of that song, followed by Frère Jacques then Allouette and finally a quick rendition of La Marseillaise. He has a middling lousy voice; I wanted to remove his plumage, forget that poor lark’s!

Just before reaching the lavender museum at Coustellat I passed through a great looking town, L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which wasn’t on my to visit list, so when the lavender at museum proved not quite blooming I headed back to a site on the edge of the town. Today was market day – and there’s nothing quite like a Provençal market …

… especially in such gorgeous surroundings.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Navy with white spots

When I was eighteen, doing my training in London, I bought a fabulous dress – it may have been from Richard shops (now defunct), they were a favourite chain of mine. It was, as per the time, extremely short, what my Dad used to call a pelmet. As was all the rage it was made from lined crinkle cotton, navy blue with tiny white spots, a slightly A-line shift with a small box pleat frill at the hem and at the edge of the short sleeves. I adored it and wore it with high fashion slingback brogue fronted, low heels. I felt like the bees knees with my hair pulled back into a small bun with a navy scrunchy (except that scrunchies hadn’t been invented and we did magical stuff with organza scarves). My best friend at the time, we’d met a year earlier on our first day, coveted The Dress, and being the fantastic best friend that I was she borrowed it if she was going on a date unless I was also going on a date. I had first call on it. Her boyfriend had no idea it wasn’t her own dress until on one date he commented that he had hoped she would be wearing The Dress. She said I was wearing it on a date and had to confess!

I thought very fondly about all this yesterday when I bought a brand new navy blue dress with slightly larger white spots. This one is a tad longer shirt dress, as befits my years. I doubt that I shall ever be as fond of it but I like it and it seemed appropriate and I hope to wear it in September when I meet up for a few days with my current best friend and we go out for a meal.

We shall be celebrating 50 years of dress sharing, problem sharing, holiday sharing, wine and other alcohol sharing, laughter sharing, dog walking, friendship – but no way is she borrowing my dress, she can get her own!

P.S. No picture – I don’t want her getting any covetous ideas!!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Unexpected delights

Out walking with the LWD and approaching the centre of Villeneuve-léz-Avignon, I saw a familiar sight. You can recognise them anywhere, the ubiquitous car boot sale. The difference being that whilst English car boot sales are generally out of town in a large (frequently muddy) field, this one, with all roads closed to traffic, was in the town centre. It made for a great atmosphere; every narrow, windy street was full of stalls and busy shoppers. In the town square as well as the stalls all the cafés were open, shaded outside tables full.

Town centre “booting”

The “official sights” were good too!

Phillipe le Bel Tour (top left) Fort Saint-André (bottom)

🙂 🙂 🙂

Bottoms up!

As a nurse my early career was full of sh1t, quite literally, and I’m afraid my sense of humour has remained in the toilet pretty much ever since. (Luckily my career didn’t!)

So when I saw this on sale in the aisles of the world’s biggest wine purchasers … (It’s a fact, it was on a BBC documentary – they ship wine in vast container sized plastic bags and bottle it here.) … I attracted one or two bemused looks by roaring with laughter and photographing it especially for this blog.



For people you would otherwise not buy for this Christmas!

😊 😊 😊

It’s a musical life …

I didn’t quite have the four weeks I had in mind on returning to England. For a start it became five weeks and not for the best of reasons, I’d been back only 4 days when I went down with a nasty flulike virus. If you cast your mind back to my last post Dear Reader, you may remember I also mentioned headaches, falls and dizziness and bought new spectacles, well I can see a lot better but the headache did not disappear in the timespan allotted by the optician. When I finally got down to Devon my friend suggested I go to a physio specialising in vestibular problems – I did and she found that my problems are all to do with being a stiff necked individual, C1-4 to be precise! So I’ve been duly tortured, pummelled, thumped and brutally wrenched – but I have neck movement and my proprioception has returned – I no longer fall flat on my face without warning and the head/neckache is reduced – I can’t believe I willingly stayed an extra week and paid to suffer into the bargain and bought an expensive pillow to support my poor neck.

However there is always a bright side and I saw, and hugged, the majority of my nearest and dearest tho’ some for not as long as I’d hoped – sorry BB xx. Managed to find time to do some serious shopping too. Vis – an iPad and a bluetooth speaker so as I write I’m bouncing around to all my favourite music downloaded from my CDs (sorry for any typos!). I bought the threatened curtains and made toning tiebacks. Bought a voile panel to act as a hab. door mozzie barrier, put same up on a rod and added another (matching) tieback – it’s all looking very cosy and unvanlike in here now. Despite her continued vandalism to stuffed anything, Daize was not left out. I bought her a Vetbed to replace the eaten previous (stuffed) bed. Vetbed is a very plush deep pile rug with a nonslip backing (excellent for van floors) and she seems very taken with it, by which I mean she hasn’t (yet) eaten it. R0X1 was also treated – serviced, new windowed, de-junked (everything I haven’t used in the time I’ve had her is off so we’re a wee bit lighter) and a bit of a spring clean.

Once again we managed to get a learner driver on the ferry and stabilisers were the order of the day, tho’ with my balance sorted I didn’t have the nausea of the trip home. Dieppe our overnight stop is bitterly cold and wet and I’m hoping to get a long drive in tomorrow to get us somewhere a bit warmer. Eventual destination is Perpignan. It’s been a long day today, up at 5.30 and we’ve also changed time zones so I’m for an early night – if I can stop bouncing (and head banging!) to the music …

Interior pics taken with my other purchase – Lumix compact camera.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Fifty percent disaster

Rosemary and John have driven me mad-ly to all sorts of places! I’ve met some of their ex-pat. friends for lunch and dinner at Spanish restaurants, a very friendly bunch I shall be seeing again at Christmas.

We found a caravan shop where I was able to get a connector for the grey water hose, another warning triangle (it’s obligatory to have 2 in Spain), a ground cover for under the awning and a stack of assorted rock pegs all at ridiculously low prices. The same place also has a replacement kitchen window on order for me.

There are several “brotherhoods” locally who take part in the great Easter festival. Each Icon is on a platform shouldered by 50-60 people all in costume. There are mounted sections of the procession, which takes about 4-5 hours to pass by, who perform representations of historic battles, again all participants including the horses richly costumed. The costumes all have either religious or historic scenes hand embroidered, and I was totally gob smacked by the amount of detail satin stitch can give, facial expressions are amazingly well portrayed. The White Brotherhood costumes spend the rest of the year on display in their museum, and videos of the spectacular parade show on a loop. When Rosemary and I visited I didn’t take the camera but discovered that I could have photographed there so a return visit may well happen in December.

We’ve been to coastal towns and over mountains, to village markets and large malls. Today was a search for a bike. I decided on a folding bike that can be stored in the garage rather than a full sized bike that I’d have to lift up onto a bike rack. Found a good one in a shop in Lorca, the pannier takes 20kgs and will easily accommodate Daisy in a basket so we shall soon be extending our out-of-van wanderings. Once again price was a lot lower than in England.

Also low in price were our 2 Spanish hair cuts. As Daize can’t read yet it’s safe for me to write that I’m extremely glad that hers was the disaster. Mine was really good, even tho’ it was half the price of hers, think I might be taking her to a hairdresser rather than a groomer in future …

I’m off travelling again for a few weeks but will return here mid-Dec for the window fitting and Christmas.

🙂 🙂 🙂