The Thursday Three- and why do I have a teaspoon in my pocket?

So I put my hand in the pocket of my dressing gown and there’s a teaspoon in there. Why? I haven’t a clue. I know I’m extremely distracted right now and any hope of preserving the normal is out of the window ; but a TEASPOON??

Suggestions on a postcard please…..

It wasn’t one of the many implements, tools and potions I have employed trying to clean off what seemed to be hardened  nicotine from this hand mirror. In the end the answer was a strong paste of washing detergent.

I wish that was the answer to all my current conundrums.

Anyway, on the basis that I am taking bags of superfluous stuff to the charity shop and thus selflessly helping others, I allowed myself a little trawling.

It was well worth it. A pair of long, lined natural linen curtains with subtle embroidery in my favourite colours. And a heap of White Company bed linen with ladderwork and fagotting. The look of the antique with machine washability.

What is it I love about linen? apart from it’s natural texture, breath(e)ability and strok(e)ability. I’d like to see Google translate coping with those two words….


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Photographer Dan Bladen

We are right in the middle of what I will refer to as a bureaucratic issue with the move. Don’t ask. You really don’t want to know.

So, sometimes stepping away from a trying situation is the best policy. As we are  moving, I told my son it was finally time for him to clear out my walk-in wardobe which is filled with about fifteen  years of his stuff.

He and his wife live in a very beautiful but very Compact & Bijou apartment & have virtually no storage space. 

This proved to be a very rewarding exercise as it meant he pulled out all his old art and photography folios from his degree course and a bunch of photos I’ve never seen.

It just reminded me how damn good he is and I told him that, despite the distractions of the day job, he mustn’t let this huge talent sit on the backburner.

Below, taken with my phone (so some reflections and not good) a trypytch portrait taken with a large format camera; he told me all the technical stuff about measuring etc but it went right over my amateur head. 

I had seen these photos a while back , in a small thumbnail and they had caught my eye even as tiny images. 

At this size they are truly arresting.

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Predilections Prédilections – more faux amis?

link here-false friends

Well this is interesting. Type in “predilection” and Google’s first definition thrown up is below in italics:-

Is it me or do the examples quoted smack of VERY personal preferences!?

plural noun: predilections
  1.  preference or special liking for something; a bias in favour of something.
    “your predilection for pretty girls”
    liking, fondness, preference, partiality, taste, penchant, weakness, soft spot, fancy, inclination, leaning, bias, propensity, bent, proclivity, proneness, predisposition, tendency, affinity, appetite, love;

    archaic gusto
    “her predilection for married men””
    …….Hmmm, interesting, the question is, have I found another  “faux ami”? In language terms, a “faux ami” is a word in English that APPEARS to have an almost exact counterpart in another language, but on closer examination it mean something different.
    Ideal for tripping up the unwary. Which could lead to anything from a simple misunderstanding that just makes folk laugh at one’s incompetence with the language to a major “faux pas” that labels  one as mad, bad and/or dangerous to know!
    See how I sprinkle these French words through my text with alacrity? However, even I know that an “ensuite” does not mean a bathroom off your bedroom to a French person.
    Back to predilections. My last post and this photo give you  a tiny taste of mine.
    Google Translate (my last French teacher’s “bête noire“, and possibly that is another faux ami)  says “predilection” in English translates as “prediction” in French which is most assuredly NOT the same meaning. However, my French Larousse (concise dictionnaire compact) says prédilection means predilection. On balance I believe Larousse.
    I have just rejected a favourite contemporary oak and leather armchair from the Big French Edit. My predilections are sharpening to a very fine point.
    Is this age or downsizing or new priorities?
    All three I think.
    I have also been very, very brave and made a potentially difficult telephone call in French to a French person in which it was critically expedient to be absolutely precise. Who knows if I actually achieved that and might I find a new ensuite to the garage, rather than a leak repair when I get back to France ?
     This move is also throwing up that I may have acquired the odd “false friend” along the way, and not in the linguistic sense…..
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Episode 153 part 2- needful things

Many of you are au fait with the contents of my head and my idea of what is important.

So, here are the contents of the latest boxes packed today.

Remember these items are what I deem to be needful for life in France after the strictest life & stuff edit.

So, what would you pack?


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Episode 153- In which we do some editing and consider what happened to the Great British Pub

I am of the opinion that moving countries and downsizing both your life and your house is not so much stressful as Profoundly Mentally Taxing.

I have this button here that allows me to preview changes before I post.

Now wouldn’t that be a useful life tool?

Change is, of course, the key to moving forward. Consider this place. No, this is not a trendy bistro that has just discovered pseudo French shabby chic style twenty years after everybody else. No. It was once a typical British pub with  dark wooden ceilings, horse brasses, china tankards, cast iron pub table legs and very old horsehair stuffed bench seating; the backs of these still  sporting the little bells with which one could summon the barmaid fifty years ago. Don’t try that now. Only a few months ago I was saying that this was the last proper pub around here.

It has had a make-over. Some of which, like the herringbone tweed upholstery  bottom right and donkey brown wall above is rather interesting. Some of it is not. This used to be a favourite spot in the early days of our romance. The Black Country Boy is not convinced by pub-lite. Neither am I.

The food is still generous ( yes peas and salad are natural plate buddies here) but a fashionable upgrade to sweet potato fries was a little unexpected.  It’s all still cooked fresh and served, with a real smile and inpenetrable local dialect, on plates 12 inches across. That tradition has not changed. Manual labour needs fuelling and you don’t get many execs in here. It’s none the worse for that.

I require fuelling as I edit and reduce what we are taking to absolute must-haves, aesthetically (natch!) and practically. Whilst sorting through a box of mostly antique bed linen I found a stone carving of a rose and a pair of brass escutcheon plates with stylised eagles.

I have NO memory of purchasing either.

I bounced off downstairs to gleefully inform Trev that we have four more full boxes for taping up and that I had found the eagle escutcheons.

Gill ” I’ve just found these wonderful door plates, but I’ve no idea why I bought them or where I’m going to put them in France”

Trev ” Well, that’s never stopped you before…”

Whatever does he mean?

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Good Friday French Property P**n

Joyeuses Pâques! For no reason other than that I need a French Fix.

I am currently in quicksand




Not France, actually Amsterdam, but for the colour palette and painted ceiling

By chance, I had hit on the idea of  pre-painting the ceiling panels for the tulip bedroom, then mounting them around our old beams and joists.

This is exactly how artist-magician Peter Korver works. Great minds clearly think alike

Peter Korver’s work

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The Thursday Three – 1930s woolwork embroidery panels

I have just taken delivery of these three woolwork panels, completed around 1939. Classic designs for France.

Not in greatest condition when they arrived, stiff with dust and some odd marks.

All have come out with a delicate wash.

This one- left-  will be a cushion front in salon.

The one –bottom left- a cushion on dining room bench. I will leave a broad strip of the canvas back fabric exposed down each side when I make them up as I like the juxtaposition of textures.

Serendipitously all my accent colours!

Bottom right-the country cottage design is beautifully worked but not my bag, so is sitting on Etsy now if anyone would like it?

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