Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black & White and Red all over

The online group that I participate in had a challenge of producing a 12" square quilt on the theme of "Seeing Red".  This is my effort.

When I started to think about my quilt the Red Shirts were barricading themselves in Bangkok.  And trouble was brewing.  Red is my favourite colour - I think of it as a cheerful thing, lively, energetic, and full of promise.  But throughout our modern history it is a colour that is associated with violence, evil, and oppression.  Which got my goat a bit.  

I've used my fabric that I made during a Rayna Gillman workshop on gelatin plate printing, and the red is my own dyed fabric.  I've embroidered a variety of names such as red shirts, red brigade, khmer rouge, red guard, seeing red, red square, and then racking my brain for the last:  rackham le rouge.  A little humour never hurts.  

Finishing the bike tour

Quintin:  this is the Chambre D'Hôte that we staying in.  A stunning 300 year old house with floors and stairs of granite and huge rooms, and a huge garden out the back.  The owner, a lovely lady, told us tales of growing up in the area, and some of the history of the house, and served us tea in her great room.

Some of the buildings in Quintin

At the L'Abbaye de Bon Repos
This building has the lodging, and the restaurant.  The food was excellent, and we really enjoyed fresh local goat cheese.  

The Abbaye itself - much without roof, and in need of repair.

The final 5 Km run into Gouarec along this beautiful canal.

Gouarec - a town filled with buildings like these.  Quite lovely.  We sat having a coffee just across from these.  Our coffee breaks in the little towns along the way were nice breaks during the ride - often having conversations with the bar owners and patrons in there for their beer (no matter what time of day).
All in all, it was a great 6 days whizzing through the country side.  The bikes were good, the paniers kept our clothes dry, and the route wasn't too difficult.  Now if the rain had been better organized.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Biking in Brittany

Here I am on the first leg of our biking trip.  We left our suitcases with Bretagne Bikes and filled our paniers with the clothes that we will need for the next 6 days and off we go!  The first leg from Gourac to Caurel was 14 Km which was a nice easy start.

It gave us time to wander around and see the pretty church in town.  There was a very nice walk that started up behind the church and led to a small shrine and calvary.

We also came across this tiny little section of town that was all stone houses built of slate.  The first one was abandoned, and derelict but as we moved on there were two that were obviously well cared for.  And like many houses in Brittany, were enhanced by the climbing roses and hydrangeas.

This was the magnificent Chambre d'hôtes that we stayed at in Châtelaudren.  And a welcome sight it was after a 50 Km ride in the rain.  Jill Walker, the owner, provided a great breakfast the next day.  And along the way we were warned that food would be hard to get, but when we finally reached a restaurant in Corlay it was filled with workers, and of course, with the shops being shut from 12 to 2 there was a nary a speck in sight.  Thank goodness for granola bars!  We had a very late lunch in the town, and then crashed for a bit.

Here are a few views of the town with it's old waterfall and mill.

Binic was  an 18Km ride.  We started out in the rain, and uphill, but the last 6 km were mostly downhill - a bad sign for the next day's ride!
Here are 2 shots of the harbour - before and after the tide rolling in.

A partial shot of the town, and the coast line.  There is a lovely cliff walk along the top.
To paraphrase Elizabeth Barton, if you've been reading, thanks.  And if you'd like, leave a comment.  More to follow on our bike tour.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flowers of Brittany

These three pictures are of flowers that insisted on growing out of walls - everywhere.  From the side of the quay to house walls, to old stone fencing between fields.  The top one is false valerian, then daisies on the left and I have no idea on the right.

All along the fields the floxgloves were in bloom.

These purple flowers were also everywhere to be seen in the rocks.

Many of the houses were built right to the edge of the road and these little clusters grew right at the base of the houses providing some colour between the pavement and the cream or stone colour of the house.

The area around the Pointe du Raz was covered in low growing gorse and heather.  
If you have recognised some of these flowers please let me know their names by leaving a comment.

more of Brittany

Everywhere that we went we were armed with our cameras.  And each evening we would download the pictures onto Hilary's computer to see how well some of them had turned out.   

Part of a rock formation found near the beach.  The lines were so appealing.

This rock formation in Plouhinec is approximately 5,000 years old and was part of a burial chamber.

A village along the way to La Pointe du Raz - very typical of the houses that we saw everywhere.

At 4:15, right on schedule, the fishing fleet appears on the horizon and enters the port of Guilvenic.  I'm sure these are some of the langoustines that we ate for dinner!
Here I am standing beside a Gunnera - these amazing plants grow this high each year.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tri-This Reunion June 2010

Rosie, Hilary and me together again! We met up in Quimper after Rosie's daughter's wedding and journeyed on to Plogistal Saint-Germain to a time share that Hilary had organized for us. That would be the manor with all the ivy. But we stayed in the more modern section with a townhouse very nicely kitted out.

These old buildings on the right are in Quimper and date to the XVth Century.

We had a great week touring the countryside and on a rainy day, doing gelatin plate printing and rust dyeing.

We spent a few hours touring around the harbour at Duarnenez which I was happy to see as my daughter is there on a regular basis with her tall ship for festivals.

Another day tour took us out to La Pointe du Raz which is possibly the most westerly point in Europe, but this fact is hotly contested by the Portuguese.

We had lovely lunches out and managed to pick up the fixings for dinner. One of our best finds was after we had watched the fishing boats come in at Guilvenic where we bought fresh langoustines, and the fish shop cooked them on the spot.

Of course, it wouldn't be France without fresh croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast!

The countryside was very pretty and we managed to take our fair share of photos of hay bales, coastal rocks, menhirs and old churches. Now the challenge is on to produce something arty out of our memories and collection of photos.