Friday, May 22, 2009

And so the week drifted away

This holidaying at home that we've been doing has been very very pleasant. It's not just been sitting under the gazebo eating barbecued food and drinking cider.  Mr FF has transformed the second bedroom (he did the first and the third rooms last summer) from the original pink and green wallpaper that we inherited, into a room of off-white and lavender; he has also removed the green pastel wallpaper from the bathroom and painted its walls a quite startling shade of green ( a bit of disparity between the colour on the lid and the actuality of the paint). This happens a lot in France (not painting bathroom walls green but the shade difference) - you can't get little sample pots here either to try out in advance. Okay, the French might be right up there where cuisine, haute couture, perfume and wine are concerned but, when it comes to paint, Britain rules. The English might be obese from junk food, badly-dressed and drink plonk but our paint rocks.

We've also got into the daily habit of walking the dogs off the lead along the canal. Now you might think this is no big deal but a few years ago it would have been inconceivable. Misty (who we've had since she was eight weeks old) was always too excitable and nervy  and Poppy (the rescue with all the allergies and self-mutilating tendencies) was just too unpredictable. They have both matured but we do constantly have to keep turning round to make sure nobody is about to overtake us and also pay attention  to see that nobody is approaching. We've only been caught by surprise once, when a cyclist came out of a side path and completely foxed all four of us - the dogs were too surprised to react and we got away without an incident. It might sound odd to walk along a canal path with so few people, but that is the thing about Brittany - there is so much unspoilt beauty that you can walk for miles without seeing a soul.

There is no doubt that a holiday at home can pay dividends. We don't have that urge to constantly be out and about which we would have had in Venice (the original holiday plan that we cancelled due to lack of funds); we can go back to bed after breakfast and just snooze; we don't have to be Doing Something All The Time. Of course I'm sorry I won't be seeing Madame Butterfly tonight, but I did once see it at Covent Garden with Mirella Freni as MB. The thing is that I don't remember much about it as I was very young- my parents thought they would introduce me to fine culture at a young age. It worked though, it instilled a love of opera that I still have to this day. So  tonight, when I'm under the gazebo with my barbie supper, I will raise a glass of cidre doux to Puccini and his wonderful music.

Just one last thing - there is a lovely new animated card from Jacquie Lawson here


Jennysmith said...

Hi FF, it sounded like you had a great week. People don't realise how important it is to have time to yourself.

Thats strange, we were gonna go to Venice on the train this summer but cancelled it for the same reason. Looks like Wales again!
Rather stay at home like you


Carol and Chris said...

It's lovely being at home and just pottering around isn't it. We're planning to do that this weekend. We'll probably do some gardening...perhaps have a barbecue...definitely drink some wine. Oh, I've just remembered, there is a sausage and beer festival here this weekend so I guess we'll be eating some sausages and drinking some beer too :-)

I think we'll probably go visit my Dad for our holidays this year. I love France and I've not actually seen him for, bloody hell, 4 years now!! (I speak to him every couple of weeks). We visited just after we got married but didn't have time to see him before we left for Thailand and then due to a lack of funds...

Blimey, 4 years *wonders off shaking head*

C x

willow said...

I have finally chosen a new color for my kitchen and sitting area. Can't wait for WT to take some time off and help me with the project. Your vacation sounds heavenly.

claire p said...

If that's a photo of your garden then I don't think I'm talking to you anymore!!! It's fab! Can you come and do mine please?

Dumdad said...

It all sounds very relaxing.

French Fancy said...

Jen, now that is a spooky coincidence. Venice will always be their for us both when our ship comes chug chug chugging in.

Carol - I didn't realise your dad was in France but then why on earth should I have known :). Whereabouts is he? Beer and sausages sounds a bit like this evening is going to be

Sitting about at home together is lovely, willow, isn't it. I mean Mr FF works from home but when I say work I mean it - he spends a lot of time in the basement office and I barely see him normally. I hope you are going to be blogging about your decorating plans

claire - yes, that is our garden and all designed and built by Mr FF (well, the gazebo and patio we had experts do it). It was just a fenced off piece of meadow backing on to the woods when we first moved in 6 years ago.

Dumdad - yep, we are both relaxed and I have been full of cidre doux most of the week - it is such a lovely taste.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I hear that we have to call this a Staycation nowadays. Whatever it's called it's a great idea.

I enjoy the excitement of going away (probably for the same reasons you enjoy moving), but it's still a stress.

Ann said...

Sounds to have been a wonderful week FF, sometimes the things not planned, turn out to be the best.
Love the sound of the " quite startling shade of green " in the bathroom, hmm, jealous now, VERY JEALOUS, our bathroon has green and white tiles, wonder if you can paint tiles a startling green.
FF, click your heels together 3 times, repeating there's no place like home, don't forget to put on your sparkly red shoes first.
PS, Barbies, gazebo, underneath the evening sky, this must mean you had no rain, or hail the size of golf balls, or storms, of course not, we had it all.

La Belette Rouge said...

You give me hope that maybe some day I will be able to walk Lily off a leash. I keep telling myself that she is too reactive to be able to do that. But, she's only a puppy. Thanks for giving me hope.

LadyFi said...

Lovely to hear you are having a grande vacation at home. And good news about the dogs walking off leash. Our dog is very well trained and can't imagine having to have him on the leash... (Lucky me - and thank you to the breeders for all that training.)

Cheers to Puccini! Make mine a red...

Veggie Carrie said...

We used to let Sky into the lead and she`d get into all sorts of trouble, including stealing things and eating them, especially from fishermen (including their sandwiches, maggots, keys, and she once stole and gulped down a young boy`s teddy!). A couple of times she crossed the river into the sheep field, and once she went on the railway track and nearly got run over. Now, she is older and a bit more sensible like your bichons. She doesn`t do "walkies" much anymore.

Lola said...

Brits rock their paint, I agree. Your home looks fabulous, and the garden and flowers are to die for.
Mind if I pull up a chair and join in the barbecue bash? I'll bring the (Italian) vino and the breadsticks.

I've been turning an idea in my head for a while, it's more of a fantasy, really: organizing a blogger reunion in Venice...
I've been known to design excellent custom tours on a shoestring. Shall I dare?

Mama said...

Hey there FF, What a wonderful week you have had, (Venice will wait) and you can always crank up the sound when playing tracks from Madama Butterfly on your sound system in that gorgeous garden of yours, look at that view, I am also drooling over your gazebo. Misty and Poppy are so sweet and must enjoy their off-leash walks with you and Mr FF a lot.

ps "our house" over there on your side bar is very, very lovely indeed.

Blu said...

Lovely to see your garden. Lush and exotic. Our garden was blank too, so each year it improves, as I acquire more plants. Glad that you are having a lovely week off. Take care Blu x

Anonymous said...

So true re paint.

I tried with French paint once and began to lose the will to live, I think I'm still traumatised!

Love all Puccini, heartbreakingly wonderful scoring,


Maternal Tales said...

There is nothing nicer than being able to spend time in your own home in a holiday kind of way. It's tempting to go abroad when we get a break, but it's even nicer to stay at home sometimes - and your home is stunning (and your dogs are pretty cute too). Enjoy the rest x

A Super Dilettante said...

It sounds like you and Mr FF is having a wonderful week. It is so important to have some home comfort. You see a lot of people go away for holiday abroad and when they come back, they always come and tell me they need another holiday because they're exhausted after their holiday. I'm crazy about Poppy and Misty (have I told you that already)? I've always loved Puccini - Mirella Freni's vocal acrobatic skills are breathtaking. But personally, I much prefer one of most underrated soprano, Ghena Dimitrova. A lot of gay men love Maria Callas. I love Callas too but personally, I believe Dimitrova was one of the finest interpreters of Puccini.

Frankofile said...

I just can't get into opera. Give me ballet any day - but much harder to enjoy without actually seeing it live.

Garden looks lush, gorgeous. Brittany is very very green at the mo!

lakeviewer said...

We should come up with a plan for our blogging friends who can't come visit. We should give them a virtual vacation somehow. Uh. I let the creative people arrange the details.

Cynthia said...

How exciting you make staying at home sound!!! Of course, you do live in a lovely place...I was with you during your canal walk while your heart raced and your sweeties behaved! Your adventure with French paint just turns me green...though not with envy.
Love to you Mrs FF. <3

French Fancy said...

Lulu - I've been wittering on about 'being on a staycation' now - thanks for the tip.

Ann - you do love your green! Actually the bathroom shade is growing on me, although I'm going to have to get some new towels. Oh well - oh, one thing. Our mutual friend has not accessed his inbox (deliberately whilst on his hols) - that is why no progress has been made in sending you your '10,000th hitter of the blog present from Brittany'. It will all be sorted Tuesday - promise.

LBR - there is hope for Lily, I promise. It would have been inconceivable once for the girls to be off the lead and not bolt (bichons can be bolters) - but as long as we have a bag of treats (plain bikkies) to dangle and shout TREATS - then we can control them. They're a bit like me in that respect.

Ladyfi - some dogs are just bred to be obedient - all the retrievers and labs, little toy dogs are bred to be cute and cuddly and independent. It must be good (in a way) to have an obedient dog, I g u e s s.

Carrie - that is so funny (although it probably wasn't for the little boy). The girls just want to run at people and bark and jump up - and I hate it when other people's dogs do it to me - hence keeping a look out fore and aft.

Lola - what a fabulous idea but we couldn't spare the time or the cash this year - but it would be a lovely idea for us for the future. It's very nice to be 'in touch' again by the way. Ciao.

Mama - aw, thanks for those sweet words. I must admit Mr FF said ' why did you post a pic of the pond circle before I weeded it?' - but it is all clear now. As for playing music outside - sometimes the kids of our neighbours return home for the weekend and play rap very loudly - so we are extra careful about playing no music outside - except on headphones. Although we once went head to head in mega-volume stakes with us playing 'Dark Side of the Moon - against their 'ghetto rubbish' - and we won.

Blu - lush is the right word - because everything has grown massively this year. Even the severely-pruned front garden is growing very fast - you were all correct that it would.

NWBD -Mr FF has said that it's okay now - after the shock about the different colour, but then he always sticks up for France and French products when 'I go off on one'

MT - I've loved this week - well, apart from the revision that I've made myself do. Can't afford to slack now, only three weeks left

ASD - I've returned from busy holidays more tired than when I've gone away, so I know exactly what you mean. I'm glad you love the dogs, they are very pretty and cute.

I do love Callas, especially when she duetted with di Steffano (my favourite tenor) - they are all the recordings I have. I have the Australian Opera DVD of LB though - the one directed by Baz Lurmann (sp?). It's not bad, reset in fifties Paris. Mimi is excellent but not too sure about Rodolfo.

I must check out Dimitrova. It's about time I got some other interpretations.

Frankie - I also love the ballet. Isn't it a shame there is so little of a cultural nature here without going to Paris

lakeviewer - one day virtual hols will be the norm - like in that film (can't recall the title - was it Vanilla Sky?)

Cynthia - you've got it exactly! We stood there literally open-mouthed and my heart was racing. Poppy was annoyed she got cheated out of running at the cyclist and making him wobble - Misty just missed the chance to bark furiously.

Val Erde said...

I love lavendar as a colour (and as a plant!) Paint always looks a bit funny out of the pot anyway. For a start it dries darker than it looks 'in the wet' and then when it's up on a wall, its verticality (!) darkens it some more and often changes the shade.

I've been trying to find a colour I'm happy with for my study walls, and still haven't found anything I like.

Your garden looks lovely. These days I have no desire to go away on holiday - got it all here!

Ann said...

That is how is should be FF, computer turned off.
No problem with your dad's beautiful cabinet, I can wait, have a space all ready for it.
A big yellow thing is in the sky, and it feels very warm, don't know what it is, might be that thing they call the sun, been so long since we had any, forgotten what it looks and feels like.
Green towels, mmm, lovely, have plenty of those, even some the colour of grass, with soap to match, yes that smells of cut grass.
Rousseau, is this the Swiss man, a man of many hats, a man who started what we know now as the autobiography?, I might be able to help, because I am sure I helped so much with your beloved Lord, as in ASD's blog a few days ago.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

"The English might be obese from junk food, badly-dressed and drink plonk but our paint rocks." Speak for yourself!! ;-)

bindu said...

Your backyard looks so lush and beautiful! The gazebo looks so inviting.

Rob-bear said...

What an amazing back yard you have. I fell in love with it immediately.

G3 would love to redo the basement -- my study, sitting area, bathroom, kitchenette and two bedrooms. I, unfortunately, am probably nowhere nearly as handy as Mr. FF.

Here in Canada, before you take the paint home, they often put a small dab on a piece of paper, dry it, and let you inspect it -- so you actually see what it will be like when it gets on the wall. A very civilized process, I think. Especially in "the colonies."

Nora Johnson said...

Hi French Fancy: At last managed to get through! Tried several times over the w/end and each time got message "operation aborted"!So tried new tack...

Since though you've had 26 comments already, it looks like an IT problem here at Johnson HQ...

Hope you've had a lovely w/end. Will stop by again later - work (& computer) permitting!
Take care

French Fancy said...

Val - funnily enough the green bathroom is getting paler - unless it is my eyes adjusting to the 'greeness'. The photos you sent me of your garden show that you have a superb garden - and you've got a big pond!

Ann - you are funny! As for Rousseau, yep, him of Geneva. Byron write much of a cryptic nature about R in CH - and it's deciphering the hidden meanings that is quite hard. I'm hoping either for the section on Napoleon or Waterloo - I know those inside out.

Reasons - I was only kidding. Honest. It doesn't apply to bloggers anyway - we're all gorgeous and chic

Thanks bindu

Rob - I am the least handy person in the world - it's official. I can't even knock a picture hook in without it bending.

That does sound a good idea about the paint. It would never happen in France - it's much too helpful for the consumer and means the assistant would have to do some extra work!

Nora - I hate it when that happens. It often happens to me. Maybe our pc chemistry is out of kilter :)

nikkicrumpet said...

Well with a yard that gorgeous it would be like staying in a resort...without the maid service. My hubby and I vacation at home quite a bit. We've worked so hard to make our yard as beautiful as possible..we enjoy lazing around the pool and just relaxing and enjoying all our hard work. I think more people would come back to work more relaxed after a holiday if they did vacation at home!

Anonymous said...

Your garden looks very inviting. What a lovely place to while away the hours.

Ann said...

I know Shelley was not a particular fan of Brinylon, he thought his scruples appalling, he hated the fact he consorted with Italian females, thought he treated his wife dreadfully, often accusing him of plagiarism, and believed he took some of his ideals, he detested all homosexuals, hated the thought of what they did, perhaps he was a repressed homosexual.

Though Byron thought highly of Shelley, especially after his untimely death.

Have a book somewhere re, Rousseau, two and a half hours later, I am back, after reading so many things, sort of, oh jeez look at this, or wanted to read this for ages, or reading something that had nothing to do with what I was looking for, two dogs annoying me, 3 stone Tommy sitting on my back, as I lay on the floor, Charlie flinging cuddly toys on my head to distract me, one thing I found that fascinated me, Byron's body when brought home, the British establishment were not forgiving of his foibles, they wanted him hidden from sight, what a shock for them, the river was crowded with spectators, as the barge brought Byron's coffin up the Thames, very similar I thought to Diana and the royal family.

I can understand your fascination with this man FF, he was said to be, mad, bad, and dangerous to know, perfectly understandable when you think of what his nurse did to him at such a young age, that was so appalling.

Then read Childe Harold, all of them, Harold surely was a pseudonym of Byron, what I can extract from some of these writings, is perhaps Byron thought himself superior to Rousseau, and of course Shelley, he seemed to dislike Wordsworth with a passion, calling him a sycophant, and a poet of tedium, though on reading FF, you realise that he really did admire Rousseau, Rousseau did say he was feted to become an example of human misery, Byron's Wild Rousseau, The apostle of affliction, perhaps he became too much like Robespierre, I shall read Childe Harold again, when my head is not so full of all the other stuff I have crammed into it tonight.

You will get Waterloo, and don't forget to learn all the words to the song, My my, at waterloo Napoleon did surrender, Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way

Think it is my bed time.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

PS Just read you comment on my blog. I know what you mean re the cringe thing. In fact when I posted it I though eeek FF won't like this!! Good for 9 year old giggles though. Enjoy the rest of your week pal x

French Fancy said...

nikki - well from the photos of your yard (yard in UK English is jut a stone or brick space with not much that is pretty)I'm not surprised that you want to be in it as much as you can be. You have made it gorgeous.

mrwriteon - hello to you and thank you very much

Ann - what can I say? It's lovely of you to go to so much bother. I know CH seems autobiographical (and B indeed said that everything in his poems either happened to him or to a friend) - but the greatest Byron experts in the world agree that it is a triple-voiced poem; we have the poet as narrator, we have the character Harold himself and we have Byron as editor, with copious footnotes referring to the classical and historical anecdotes that certain passages are based on.

I have the full text with every footnote (I have the OU edition and I also have an academic edition of my own) - and the footnotes add a lot of background info. The section on Rousseau cannot be taken at face value - there is a lot of scholarly arty farty stuff to stick in - nothing is what it appears in CH - or, indeed, most of the other very long Bryon works (Don Juan and Manfred come to mind).

the Waterloo section, the Revolution section and the Napoleon section I know inside out - it is only the double speak of the Rousseau (who he did admire but with reservations) and their relation to the Revolution that I need to really brush up on.

Anyway, I have to finish it by today and move on to Goethe's Faust (part one) by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.

Reasons - I see you understand me well :). I do tend to be a bit outspoken about poetry though.

French Fancy said...

p.s to Ann - I wasn't aware that Shelley thought Byron was a plagiarist. According to what I read Shelley nearly gave up writing poetry after meeting and then really following Lord B's work. But I'm only at the beginning of the Shelley bio - however there is a lot about Shelley and Byron in Switzerland and Italy that I know. I thought Shelley looked up to Byron but of course disapproved of the way that B treated Clare Clairmont and also Allegra, his daughter by her

Obviously I have a lot more to find out - but then we all knew that anyway :)

French Fancy said...

pps - I guess the 'Drachenfel' stanzas in CH could be said to be a spoof of Wordsworth at his most purpley of nature prose - in fact W said that B had stolen his own style for those stanzas. Many scholars have put all kinds of interpretations as to why these stanzas have been included - everything about them is different from the rest of CH. The only person who really knew - well, he never said (and he despised Wordsworth - he regarded him as a traitor to the lefty cause that he used to espouse - B had nothing but disdain for all the Lakeland poets)

Phil Lowe said...

Your colour scheme of off white and lavender sounds very beautiful and calming. I also liked your emphasis on not Doing Something All The Time. It can be hard when staying in a hotel and you have to get out for them to tidy and clean the room (often not until midday) and you feel obliged to be out all the time and doing something otherwise the holiday is wasted.

Sorry I am a bit behind in following your wonderful posts. I have had to go to the Jobseekers place a lot recently as I am officially unemployed for six months now and they 'need' to know what I have been doing re finding a blog - oops sorry I mean a job.

French Fancy said...

Phil - yours will be the last comment I answer due to a blogging holiday. Good luck with things - shame you can't make money eating or blogging