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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Been Away…came back.

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

229a

size 7″ x 9″ approx

There is an odd way in which it is sometimes easier to do the best things on holiday……I think on the whole it is the lack of computer and kitchen + garden + children distractions that help.

We went to Normandy and then I went alone to Newport Pembrokeshire.

In Normandy we went to two gardens Giverny and Chateau Canon about three hours drive apart but so different. Giverny is stuffed with flowers and visitors and I do mean stuffed. There are crowds of five or six drifting across the Japanese bridge all the time. The only quiet places are those not photogenic enough to attract the groups taking photographs of each other with a Monet painting backdrop in the style of a wedding photographer. “Could we have the couple, in four poses, best friends can join them now, can we have the friends on their own now, one with the tour leader perhaps?

Best quote of the day in an American east Coast accent” I don’t know what language you are gabbling at me in, but I am not listening to any of it!”

Talking to one of the gardeners I discovered that they operate on multiple plantings: they empty the beds in November and plant up with tulips and spring stuff all quite short then in early summer they replant and later they supplement with a rich mixture of Dahlias, Tithonias, Hibiscus and so on; the grassy bits are full of Colchicums variety Waterlily featured of course! There were lush salvias of the Mexican sort and the brightest Solanum I had ever seen. *

It was far too hot and crowded to paint there, I did try but it was hopeless. However at Chateau Canon the atmosphere was calm and tranquil and the garden has progressed since we last visited, then things looked precarious after the Boxing Day storm had brought trees crashing through the walls. It is a garden made during the transition from French formality to English romanticism, the best part is a Chartreuse- a series of interlinked walled gardens which were built to grow fruit. There is still much to restore but it is beautiful. I have never seen such gorgeous rainbow trout 18 inches long in perfect clear water.

The picture is of the view along a decorative canal towards a rope bridge, they have a children’s farm and mini parc-cours along with tree houses you can stay the night in- the higher up they are the more they cost to hire! This last part is all new to us and very popular but as it is away from the gardens it does not affect them.

I should never have added the pretty yellow aspen leaf it does not compose.

* added later: Solanum wendlandii from Costa Rica I think, its showy in a good way.

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Lastours the watercolour

March 13, 2014 1 comment

 

 

 

 

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This is the view from the Belvedere high up above the village looking over the hillside where all the castles are . The previous sketch was from the café by the stream in the centre of the village where I waited for the boys. It was so hot the masking fluid which I had off loaded from the bag to lighten it exploded in the car…at first I cursed as I thought it had leaked under pressure but actually it had blown a pea sized lump of glass from the shoulder of the bottle. Awful mess which stank but then dried into peelable rubber and neatly cleaned out the little crevices in the dashboard of dust and general grot……latex can be useful.

The weather in France was extreme, there were days of intense heat, sudden swirling winds like desert dust devils and then on the way home a ferocious thunder storm which we drove through for at least 40 kilometres. The other cars were sheltering under the motorway bridges and last weekend I found out why; that day friends of relatives had two windscreens and their roof tiles smashed by tennis ball sized hail stones only 10-20 km away from the motorway we were on. Perhaps the sheltering cars were listening to their traffic news and following advice.

After driving through the terrible storm for some time I learnt a new word “Orages”, it was on the motorway signs but I had to look it up in the dictionary, duh! you don’t need to tell drivers they are in a thunderstorm when its hammering the car roof with ice and the lightening strikes every 10 seconds all around.

#214

Lastours

September 3, 2013 4 comments

210a

This is from the sketch book I took to France which is now full.

We went to the Midi which is very lovely. It is a long way south but quite harsh in some ways, it lacks the softness of many other places so close to the Mediterranean; no wonder really, the temperature in the village we stayed in went down to -15c last winter and just like the UK they say “it was ridiculous! we did not cope, the pipes burst and so did the water mains”. This explains why they don’t bother trying to grow lemon trees in their gardens even in the walled gardens of the villages, Figs and olives yes but lemons no and no straggly five foot high Pelargoniums either.
#210

Old limonade

June 13, 2013 Leave a comment

A ten minute sketch done to a chorus of “we are hungry can you hurry up?”.

It’s Mont St Michel last summer.

209

framed SOLD
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