Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Almost gone Wednesday's in France

Wednesday almost passed me by without a picture of France.
In 2006 we stayed at a village in the Languedoc, south of France.
Saint Chinian is out of Beziers and in the wine growing district.
We stayed in a three level villa in the village for a week.

Sue overlooks the small canal that passes through Saint Chinian.
The small Juliet balcony was where we enjoyed our evening glass of wine while the locals  walked by with a smile, a wave and a whisper of Bonsoir.
And we would smile and wave back from our Juliet balcony with a raised glass in our hand.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Local Past Scenes of our Home on the Bay

Black Rock is a bayside suburb just down the road from home and several mornings every week I pass through Black Rock on a morning training ride. Down Balcombe Road and pass the clock tower and down Beach Road. Just a lovely piece of scenery, no matter what time of day.

The clock tower still stands as a landmark.

One of Black Rock's historic homes still stands as well.

The trams from Sandringham to Black Rock have long gone and many of the more recent residents would have no knowledge of its existence.

Our Bayside Beaches are part of the charm of Melbourne

The jetty is no longer - the ship is now a marine sanctury for  sealife.
Here's a You Tube I found of the now defunct tramway that began at Sandringham station to Black Rock.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday

It must have been late 1970s when my daughter Carly and I jumped into one of those railway station booths where they take your money then take your photos - if you're lucky. We were lucky.
Carly is now 40 years old and still as cute as she was back then.
As for me!!!!
My glasses are thicker and my hair is thinner.
Do I hear laughter in the distance?

The photo is not fuzzy - its my eyes.

Wednesdays in Italy

With a little over 5 weeks to go we'll be flying into Rome Airport, picking up the Citroen C4 and driving to Gaioli in Tuscany. Last visit was 2006 when we stayed a week in Monticchiello. The hilltop village sits high overlooking the valley with Pienza in the distance. To the east is Montipulciano and to the west is Montalcino.

 I guess you'd call that - "The Full Monty".

The only entrance to Monticchiello
Pienza and a Busker playing a touch guitar - something I'd never seen before.
The main Piazza of Montalcino - home of the Brunello fine wine.
The early morning mist from Montalcino
The road leading from Monticchiello

Sunday, August 17, 2014

No - not a Sunday Roast

During our childhood days, the Sunday roast was traditional in Australia - but things change with the influx of other nationalities to Australia. On a trip to France not that long ago, we went to the food chain of Leon's of Brussells. I even bought some Belgium beer for the meal tonight.  Moules Frites!

2.5 kg of mussels for under $10 - bargain. Plus they come from our bay about 10 kms away.I brought them home and put them in water to soak and they smelled like the beach.
Lots of shallots and Australian garlic.

When they opened, I added a good sploosh of cream and lots  of chopped parsley.
A cone full of pommes frites, Belgian beer, crusty bread and Bob's your uncle.
All good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesdays in France

Is it really a little over two years
since the changing of the guard.
I remember being there, hearing and seeing
people in the streets celebrating.

Being at the other end of the world,
I wonder if expectations are being met
for the people of France.

Are they?

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Planning a Holiday

Life is busy lately - work, house rejuvenation and those other things that take up your daily life. It's only six weeks before we jump on the big silver bird for 10 weeks of new and renewed experiences., meeting old friends and making new ones.
The car lease is almost finalized, accommodation is booked and the route is mapped. We fly into Rome at the end of September and drive to the little town of Gaioli in Chianti to meet friends for the famous one day cycling event, L'Eroica (Oct 5) which attracts over 5000 participants to ride the Strada Bianco - the white gravel roads of Toscana.
It has a magic of past great Italian cycling events and riders of days gone by. Coppi and Bartoli come to mind.
We spend a week with fellow Aussies who pretend that they are in the days of those gladiator bike riders - well there are the pleasures of those stops along the way with pasta, pizza and vino served by the locals.

We leave our Aussie friends after a week in the region to travel to Bologna and then to Bellagio in the lakes district of Italy. We've never been there before so we are quite excited. After our stay we move off to France over a four day drive to meet up with our friends in the Loire.

We have chosen the following route - so if any of our readers might offer some advice of places to see or eat at, we would be very appreciative.

Italy - Fiumiciano,  Gaiole, Bologna, Piancenza, Bellagio, Turin.
France - Chambery, Tarare, Riom, St Romaine Sur Cher.

Sue had the desire to live in France for a year but we found that people outside of the EU can only stay for 3 months - maybe our two months will help to quell that desire or maybe, just increase it. Well that's life

It was 2009 that we spent a week in this lovely cottage in Thenay, near Pontlevoy. At the time we didn't realise it came with friends. Since then we've returned twice to the warm friendship of the Loire.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Throwback Thursday

At a very early age, I discovered the bike. Since, its always been part of my life.
It's brought friends my way, it's offered travels and experiences beyond belief.
The bike has given me time to think over 1000's of kilometres.
Therapy coming at a very low cost.
The bike and the scenery, the smells of the four seasons, the conversations with friends,
The many coffees - the bike is my friend.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Wednesdays in France

On the streets of Arles - Provence from our 2006 trip.
Wanted to go there because Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin lived and painted there for nine weeks in 1888.
The "Yellow House" where they lived was just outside of the walls of Arles.
After Gauguin tired of Van Gogh, Vincent moved to Saint Remy de Provence where he painted some of his more recognised work.
The yellow house in Arles
Paul Gauguin self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh self portrait

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Depths of Winter

OK - I know Melbourne is not Canada in winter, not even the UK. December in Melbourne is a Christmas dinner of lobster and prawns. But geeeeez its been bloody cold to ride my bike these winter mornings. I do have to say though that the Bay has been simply gorgeous like a still water pond after our recent windy weather.

This morning was 1 degree - our new possible home (Launceston) was minus 2, so I decided to work on the weekend to spend some quality time on the interior renos - painting our hallway. Gone are the heritage darker colours and bring in the new brighter ones - make it look bigger with bland colours. Whites!!!!

Already the new paint scheme is starting to open up the area with the appearance of more space.

The carpet currently makes a good drop-sheet but under the carpet lies these rich Baltic pine floorboards that will be sanded and polished.
This is just the undercoat stagers - you can't imagine the hard prep work of sanding, stripping wallpaper and clean-up afterwards.
I had some left over paint so I thought a bit of frivolity wouldn't go astray - there's always next weekend to finish it off.

This is what we did with our bedroom early this year - you may notice that our cat, Gem likes to sit on Sue's derriere while sue plays silly games on her iPad.
And here's a close up in case you don't believe me.
But now even she is becoming bored with Sue's iPad games and she now wanders to the kitchen to see what delights that may behold her food bowl.
 So that was our weekend - uneventful really but now it is only 8 weeks before our 10 weeks in Italy and France. I'd better get on with the painting.

Have a good week all.