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Inside the abbey church

Tired of these yet? This is the interior of the abbatiale (abbey church) at Fontevraud. Construction of the church began in the twelfth century. It's built mostly in the romanesque architectural style. The nave of the abbey church at Fontevraud, September 2003. The people are gathered around the tomb of Eleanor and Henry. This morning our outdoor thermometer reads zero, freezing. I'm sure it's colder out in the vineyards. And it's my morning to walk with Tasha. It's also a hunt day, but now th...
Tags: Travel, Henry, Eleanor, WCS, Tasha, Cathedrals And Churches, Fontevraud Construction


Cloister

This is one of the arcades that define the cloister at the Fontevraud abbey. The photo has special significance for us because the woman standing is our friend Cheryl who passed away several years ago. She was among the first of our friends to come and visit us after we moved here. Cloître Sainte-Marie, Fontevraud abbey, September 2003. My pulled back muscle feels much better now. The pain has faded to a soreness that is all but gone, depending on how I move. I knew that I was going to have tr...
Tags: Travel, Cheryl, WCS, Fontevraud, Cathedrals And Churches, Cloître Sainte Marie Fontevraud


Steeple chase

I find that, sometimes, taking the color out of a photo makes it better. Not that there was much color in this image to begin with. These are steeples and the bell tower at Fontevraud abbey. The sky and the slate roofs came out with a blue tint. Just toning down the blue didn't do much for me, so I took all the color out, adjusted the contrast a little, and I like the shot much better. Steeples, Fontevraud abbey, September 2003. When I first switched over to digital photography, I used Adobe...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Fontevraud, Cathedrals And Churches, Steeples Fontevraud


La cour Saint-Benoît

This isn't the cloister, but another courtyard inside the abbey complex at Fontevraud. I don't have much to say about it, but I liked the way that the potted shrubs were arranged. La cour St.-Benoît at Fontevraud abbey, September 2003. I went to the dump as planned on Wednesday morning. The line to get in was long, but it moved quickly enough. I had to ask the attendant to help me lift the old lawnmower up and into the dumpster. He was really nice, I could not have done it myself. Still, in th...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Fontevraud, Cathedrals And Churches, Saint Benoît


Tarte aux pommes

Last week, I had some leftover applesauce in the fridge and some leftover pie dough in the freezer, so I decided to make a tarte. When I make pie crust, I always have some left over, so I freeze it. When there's enough, I can thaw it, roll it out, and make another crust. I spread the applesauce onto the blind-baked crust then layer on some sliced fresh apples. Then it's into the oven until the apples are cooked. I glazed this one with Ken's home-made plum jelly. The last piece of apple tart. N...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking


Eternal rest

Yesterday's post of an alter or tomb at the Fontevraud abbey got some interesting comments, chief among them that fellow blogger Mitchell's partner is a descendant of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II Plantagenet. The former king of England and his wife are buried in the abbey, and their gisants (tomb effigies) lie above their crypt. The gisants of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II of England at Fontevraud abbey. If you're a student of European history or have seen the 1968 film "The Lion...
Tags: Travel, England, France, Mitchell, Aquitaine, Henry, Eleanor, WCS, Geoffrey, Fontevraud, Henry II, Cathedrals And Churches, Chinon, Henry II Plantagenet


Fontevraud abbey

Here's a flashback to the fall of 2003, shortly after we moved to France. A friend was visiting and we spent a lot of time tooling around our region exploring châteaux and churches and villages. And cafés and restaurants. I posted a smaller, more severely cropped, version of this photo back in 2010. Inside the Fontevraud abbey, September 2003. I don't know what it is, but it's inside the abbey church at Fontevraud, not far from Chinon. I liked how the candles mimicked the columns on the sculpt...
Tags: Travel, France, Ken, WCS, Fontevraud, Cathedrals And Churches, Chinon


The sky's on fire

Well, no, it isn't. It just looked that way on Saturday morning as the sun rose. I had to move fast, and the few photos I took don't communicate any of the drama I felt as the light intensified. I should have taken a video. After a few minutes, the vibrant colors dulled and faded into a more familiar gray. Looking southeast toward the sunrise on Saturday. Later in the morning, we got some snow. Very fine flakes fell for about a minute, then it was over. We had some rain overnight. [Author: wcs...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Late bloomer

The "Christmas" cactus is starting to bloom. This is not new. I once (ok, more than once) referred to them as "Presidents' Day" cactus because they like to bloom in February. This photo is from last March. Today's cacti have nice pink buds, but very few open flowers right now. They'll get better as we get closer to Presidents' day, which this year is February 15, about a month from now. Bloomin' cactus. There's snow going on somewhere, but not here. At least not yet. We're on the line between ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Collégiale Saint-Aignan

Here's a gratuitous shot of Saint-Aignan's church. It's called une collégiale, a church operated by a college of canons. Not being a Catholic, I'm not really sure what that means other than that there's no resident priest in town. La collégiale de Saint-Aignan. Our brief spell of mild weather comes to an end this morning. Temperatures should be dropping through the day. There's even a slight chance of some snow, but nothing significant. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Aignan, Saint-aignan


I see you

Until last fall, the view of this house from our deck was obscured by two very tall pine trees. Our neighbor has since had those trees removed. And now that the leaves have fallen from the other trees, this is what we see. Fortunately for us, the neighbor who owns this house does not live in it. She uses it for holidays and summer visits. When she's here, she's very discreet. We hope she has no plans to sell. The view should be blocked a little better when the maple and other leaves come back ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Our Neighborhood


WABAC Wednesday

As Mr. Peabody might say, let's step into the WABAC (or Wayback) machine... Here we go, all the way back to the year 2016. I was in New York City seeing the inside of the Guggenheim Museum for the first time. I went more to see the building than the art. Good thing, because most of the art was gone. They were preparing a new installation on the building's iconic spiral ramp. Black and white treatment inside the Guggenheim. My friend and I did get to see the art in the museum's "new" (1992) win...
Tags: Travel, New York City, Edvard Munch, Guggenheim Museum, WCS, Gustav Klimt, Peabody, Adele Bloch Bauer


La gelée

The past few mornings have been very frosty. With morning lows below freezing, it's no surprise. Once the sun comes out (when it does), the frost melts away pretty quickly, except in places that stay shaded all day. Heavy frosts remind us that it's winter without the mess of an actual snowfall. And, we are told, freezes are good for helping to reduce the populations of insect and plant pests. The frosty view of a neighbor's property from our deck just after sunrise on Monday morning. A weather...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Atlantic, WCS, Our Neighborhood


Forgotten foto

I took this picture almost a year ago during a trip back to upstate New York for my aunt's funeral. When I travel to New York, I like to try the local wines. This was a short trip, so I didn't have time to try very many. This is one of the few that I did. Glenora Finger Lakes Chardonnay. Glenora Winery is in central New York's Finger Lakes region, on the western shore of Seneca Lake. It's just north of Watkins Glen State Park at the southern end of the lake. The waterfall on the label is Gleno...
Tags: Travel, New York, WCS, Wine And Spirits, Watkins Glen State Park, Seneca Lake, Glenora, Glenora Winery, Glenora Falls


Bird watching

Now that the weather's turned cold, I put the feeders out so that the little birds in our neighborhood will stop by for a meal. One of the feeders hangs from the deck railing just outside the sliding glass door in the living room. We get a good look at the blue tits, robins (the small European variety), and finches that visit throughout the day. Tasha and Bert like to watch. The dog is entertained, the cat is thinking about lunch. We have three feeders. One seed dispenser hangs from one of the...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Bertie, Bert, Tasha


Socked in

This is the view we had all day on Friday. The fog did not burn off and we were stuck under the inversion layer. We're expecting more of the same today. A dark and gray winter's day. The air is still and sounds are muffled. At one point during my morning walk with Tasha, the silence was broken by the faint sound of flapping wings as a flock of small birds flew just overhead. It's a sound I've heard before, unfamiliar, kind of eerie, especially when it comes from behind and gets closer. Once I ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha


Ten years ago today

It was very much like it is today. It's cold, just below freezing. At this hour, before sunrise, the sky should be clear, but the stars are obscured by a thick fog layer. Temperature inversions trap winter fog on the ground. It could burn off after the sun rises, or not. The air is still and there is little to hear outside. The vineyard road at sunrise, 8 January 2011. The people who work in the vineyard are out there each day methodically cutting last year's canes from the vine trunks. That w...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, The Vineyard


Galette des rois

Wednesday was the Epiphany on the Catholic calendar (by the way, neither of us is Catholic). As usual, I made the traditional "kings cake," called une galette des rois, for our dessert. It's made with pâte feuilletée (flaky pastry), around a filling of frangipane (almond paste). The finished galette. The pastry is relatively easy to make. It takes a few hours only because it has to be rolled and folded and allowed to rest multiple times. When the dough is ready, I use a dessert plate to cut tw...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Food And Cooking


Apropos of nothing

I've got no new photos to share, so here's an old one. I've reworked it so that it's not exactly the same version that was posted back in 2018. I took the photo during an evening river cruise on the Seine in Paris. That's a curious name for a boat. It's been a cold few days here and the forecast is for even colder (below freezing) lows toward the end of the week. Morning walks are refreshingly brisk, as long as the wind stays calm. I don't see any precipitation in the forecast, neither rain no...
Tags: Travel, Paris, Seine, WCS


A light dusting

When it got light outside on Monday morning, we noticed that it was snowing very gently. There was no wind, the flakes were small, but it was coming down. Tasha and I had a nice walk in the falling snow. It wasn't sticking to the road and other bare spots, but there was a light frosting on the vine trunks, posts, hedges, roofs, and some grassy spots. It was subtle and beautiful. Monday morning's view from our guest room window. After about an hour, the snow turned to rain and melted away the l...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


My home town

A friend took this photo of the New York State capitol building out his office window after a recent snowstorm. He posted the photo on his Instagram and Facebook feeds, and I asked him if he would mind if I posted it here. The southern facade of the New York State capitol in Albany. Photo by Fran Kramer. Construction of the capitol building was completed in 1899. It's the second capitol building since Albany was made the capital city in 1797 and it's one of eleven US state capitols without a d...
Tags: Travel, Facebook, Instagram, US, Paris, Albany, New York State, WCS, Albany New York, Albany Photo


Color my world

The holiday decorations are down and put away. I like to do that on New Year's Day. I know some people like to keep their decorations up through the twelfth night, and I've known others that keep their decorations up into February. Yikes. Santa's gone now, but the candles remain. So now, the only colorful lights in the house are votive candles. This candle holder came with clear glass votive holders. I replaced them with these colorful cups since we've been in France. They help to make the dar...
Tags: Travel, France, Our House, WCS


The sea food diet

I see food, I eat it. Badum-bum. Here are several photos of our New Year's Eve lunch. We tried to have mussels, but were disappointed not to find any in the markets. For some reason, the season ended earlier than usual. Our disappointment, however, was short lived. Shrimp, heads and shells intact, pre-cooked, ready to peel and eat. I found these nice shrimp at the supermarket and the price was right, so I got 500 grams (just over a pound) for our appetizer. We ate them with a sriracha mayonnai...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Salmon, Provence, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking, Badum


Bonne année 2021 !

Wishing you and yours all the best for a healthy, happy, and all-around better new year! Snowflakes on our deck railing, January 2016. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS


No mussels

A strange thing happened when I went to the market yesterday. There were no mussels. La saison est terminée the fish monger told me, the season is over. Well, that was news to me. The season for mussels usually runs through January (having started in July). So something seems to have shortened the season this year. Mussels. Summer 2006. I left the market and drove up to Super U to see if they had mussels, but they didn't either. So, no mussels for us this New Year's Eve. No worries. I got some...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, WCS, Food And Cooking


Tippy tops

This is the view looking up into the birch trees in our yard, one of which snapped in Sunday's wind storm. There are three birches (they always seem to be planted in threes). We know they're more than twenty years old. We first saw the house eighteen years ago and the trees were pretty mature then. They're probably closer to thirty years old, likely more. Our birches as the sun rises. We have a photo of the house taken before the guy who had it built died (sometime around 2000, his widow sold ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Birch breach

The wind howled through the day on Sunday. It didn't seem to be as strong as predicted, but it was strong enough to snap one of our birch trees. I was looking out the window when it happened. All of a sudden, the uppermost branches of one the trees came down. I heard no noise at all. Three of the biggest branches hit the fence on the north side of our property. The fence is seventeen years old. Three big branches lying across the fence. Some smaller branches are scattered around the lawn. The...
Tags: Travel, Weather, WCS, Birch, Garden Flowers Plants


Trivet pursuits

I got a couple of comments about the iron trivet under the bowl of apples in Saturday's photo. That trivet spends most of its days as the centerpiece of the deck table. I keep a pot of hens and chicks on it. In the winter, when the table and chairs get stored away, I bring the trivet inside and use it on the dining room table. It has rubber feet, so I don't have to worry about scratches. Trivet. If my memory serves, I found the trivet in a shop in Collonges-la-Rouge back in 2006. We were visit...
Tags: Travel, California, WCS, Collonges la Rouge, Kitchen Collection, Collonges


A ghost of Christmas past

Ken mentioned yesterday that we're in a rut. A good rut, that is. I looked back at photos of our first Christmas dinner in this house. It was 2003 and we had moved in about six months prior. On the table were a turkey breast with a rice and sausage stuffing, steamed and sautéed Brussels sprouts, a bowl of butternut squash purée, and giblet gravy. We drank a dry Vouvray (100% chenin grapes), maybe with the appetizer. It was five years old, from 1998. With the main course we had a bottle of Tourai...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Brussels, Ken, WCS, Wine And Spirits


Pommes

In addition to bread cubes, I like to dip apple cubes into our cheese fondue on Christmas Eve. They taste fresh and sweet and add a crunch to the meal. We've been thinking about what else might be good. Ken thinks that steamed Brussels sprouts halves would work well and I agree, so I think we might try that next year. A few holiday apples and a clémentine. Today, Saturday, is leftovers day. More of Friday's Christmas dinner (or lunch, actually). There's some of everything left, as intended. Th...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Brussels, Ken, WCS, Food And Cooking