Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 42 - deliciously floral

Since I'm still busily trying to catch up on jobs around the house (we have an artisan here working at present renovating and painting), an overgrown garden and sundry other minor chores which have accumulated whilst we've been in Crete, I needed a quick and easy post for this week's Mosaic Monday.

As I was looking through our holiday pictures yesterday I came across some which I think certainly fit the "a picture is worth a thousand words" category.

I hope you'll agree.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Cool shadows on a sunny day at Agreco Farm.

We returned earlier this week from a wonderful trip to the Greek island of Crete, I have over 400 photographs to wade through before I can even think about telling the stories about our adventures there.

..........some photos are just begging to be shared and really they need no back story.

I invite you to simply sit back, feel the Cretan sun on your face, listen imagine hearing the birds singing in the trees and relax in the market square @ Agreco Farm.


and Mosaic Monday

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 41 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 3

"Casanova" a marble statue depicting Casanova and seven women.

In 1999 a committee of representatives from local communes invited several international sculptors to a symposium in Cerisy.

Every year since then at the beginning of June artists arrive from around the world to create works of art out of blocks of granite and marble, working outdoors in front of the public.

For the 10th reunion 33 of the original sculptors returned and it was then decided that a garden should be created, below the Abbaye de Cerisy, to display these works of art.

The park is situated in the middle of the peaceful Normandy countryside and free to anyone to explore, a place to sit and contemplate whilst admiring the sculptor's art and the art of Mother Nature.

By the time the park was completed in 2013, 112 sculptures had been created by 71 sculptors from 34 countries.

Not all of those are on display in the park others can be found at various sites throughout the 12 communes, by the road side and footpaths or close to businesses in St. Lo, partners to the scheme.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 40 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 2

As promised a follow up to my Mosaic Monday post - 39, this week it's the turn of Saint Marcouf.
L'Eglise Saint Marcouf

A pamphlet displayed inside the church tells the story of Saint Marcouf.
He was born circa 483 in Bayeux, ordained by the Bishop of Coutances he worked amongst the poor before receiving the domaine of Nantus, on the Contenin peninsula.
The domaine was a gift from Roi (King) Childebert 1st at the beginning of the 6th c. and Saint Marcouf founded a monastery there.
On the 1st May in the year 558 Saint Marcouf died in the arms of Saint Lo. Due to an invasion by the Vikings his relics were sent to Corbeny a town close to Reims, Alsace Lorraine in the year 898.
The relics now reside inside the Church of St Marcouf, beside the altar.

Legend has it that Saint Marcouf communicated with Robert the Pious, King of France from 976 to 1031, giving him the power to heal those suffering from scrofula (tuberculosis).
He did this by using his right hand to draw a cross on the face of the afflicted person saying " Le Roi te touche, Dieu te guérisse" - the King touches you, God heals you.
The healings took place on sacred days and at great religious feasts.

the view from the church door
the statue of the left of the altar is of Saint Marcouf

The statue of Saint Marcouf above is on the wall next to the18th c. confessional in the village church, it is very similar to the unnamed one, shown below, in the Abbaye at Cerisy.

The church's 18th c. lectern is decorated with the eagle of Saint John.
On it rests a hand written prayer on canvas, dating to the same period.

Saint Marcouf pray for us, protect us.

Our home is the former Presbytere of l'Eglise Saint Marcouf and dates to the 16th c. with later 18th c. additions.

We were told by the previous owners that the room which is now a guest bedroom in the original 16th century part of the house was used by the Bishop of Bayeux when he came to visit, the hand crafted terracotta tiled floor and oak ceiling beams have survived the centuries.
Sadly, I've not been able to confirm that story or to find out anything about the property other than that during WWII the house was briefly occupied by the German army.

If only these walls could talk, what stories they could tell.

the Bishop's Room

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Mosaic Monday # 39 - Saints, Statues & Sculptures # 1

A few posts back I told you a little about one of our area's tourist attractions the Abbaye Cerisy La Foret.
This tiled plaque decorates the front of the boucherie in Cerisy La Foret
Last week the SP & I were running some errands in Cerisy village and decided to stop by the Abbaye to get some photographs for a new blog post.

St Vigor

The origins of the Abbey at Cerisy La Foret are lost in the mists of time, however legend has it that the first religious structure to appear on the site was a monument built in the sixth century by Saint Vigor, Bishop of Bayeux, on land that he received after vanquishing a dragon.

the apse has 15 windows on three levels

Over the years the buildings fell into decline until 1032 when Duke Robert of Normandy, William the Conqueror's father, founded an Abbey in the grounds.

Whilst researching the origins of the Abbey and what became of the Benedictine monks who lived there I came across the names of several other monasteries and priories in the region.

Imagine the thrill when I saw the name of our very small village, St Marcouf, in a book entitled "Religious Connections of Early Normandy" and the passage below on the website mondes- normandes
"The abbey was founded in 1032 in the middle of the forest by Duke Robert the Magnificent. It inherited the remote site of a small religious establishment founded at the beginning of the 6th century by St Vigor, Bishop of Bayeux, and destroyed by the Scandinavian invasions; the Benedictines thus restored, as at Saint-Marcouf or Orval, a religious continuity after this interruption. Nothing now survives of the ducal monastery and the current abbey church belongs to a reconstruction dating from the last quarter of the 11th century."

In my next post I'll share the story of Saint Marcouf du Rochy and the ex- Presbytere which we call home.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mosaic Monday # 38 - Lisboa/Lisbon, Portugal.

As you probably know by now the SP and I do love to travel.
Some of our happiest memories are of sun kissed beaches in Greece, European city breaks and time spent enjoying bijou B&B's in the US and France.
When we're not travelling ourselves we enjoy watching travel programmes on TV, especially if the presenter is a chef.
We often discover a new place to add to our travel wish list and sometimes rediscover somewhere we have visited previously, as recently happened when we watched Chef Rick Stein spend a long weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.

In the summer of 2008 after 10 days spent relaxing in Praia d'el Rey on Portugal's Silver Coast we drove to the Hotel Dona Maria I, Pousada Palacio de Queluz  which we had chosen as our base for exploring Lisbon and the surrounding area.
The Hotel Dona Maria I is situated across the square from the Palace in a building which once served as the Guardhouse.

In order to make the most of our 4 days there we hired a driver to take us around and show us the sights. Whilst this was an extremely good way to discover Lisbon for the first time the days were very full and quite tiring.

Here are some things you might like to know about Lisbon.

Belém is a district of Lisbon that you must visit, here you'll find fascinating museums, the famous Belém Tower and the Monument of Discoveries.

The Monument of Discoveries on the bank of the River Tagus, celebrates the Age of Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first Monument was a wooden structure created in 1940 for the World's Fair. It was replaced in 1960 by the 52 metre tall concrete monument which now dominates the shoreline.

Jeronimos Monastery owes it's existence to the wealth and prosperity brought to Lisbon through trade with Portuguese colonies founded by early explorers such as Vasco de Gama.
The Catholic monks who lived in the Monastery were also responsible for creating the famous sweet custard tarts known as Pastéis de Belém.

the SP enjoying his first taste of Pastéis de Belém.
Our guide introduced us to these delicious tarts at the famous bakery next door to the Monastery, click here to learn the history of how it all began in 1837.
Watching Rick Stein strolling through downtown Lisbon inspired us to start planning a more leisurely return trip maybe later this year and prompted me to bake some Pastéis de Belem which turned out quite well for a first attempt.

Pastéis de Belém, home made by me.
We also enjoyed seeing the National Coach Museum in the Old Royal Riding School and the Maritime Museum, click here for a complete up to date guide to visiting Lisbon.

Pat has asked for the recipe for the pasteis, the one I used was from olive magazine, you'll find it on my Pinterest board  "Bake", or follow the link here.