Ahhhhhh Bonjour mes amis!!! How have you been? It feels like I've been away for aaaaages! Very glad to be back here I have to say, I've been trying to find time all week to pop in and say hello but it just hasn't been happening. Have managed to carve out a little bit of breathing space now though, and am here with some photographs to share with you from my sunny trip away to France last week.
The memories from last week are still so very fresh in my mind, although they feel a little bit dream-like now I am home. This is the beautiful villa that we called "home" last week, it was a wonderful light, spacious and peaceful place for sure. Petah from Provence Temptations had sent me some pictures of the villa, but it was so much more beautiful in real life.
As you know, I adore taking in a homely landscape view, and I spent quite a bit of time leaning out of the wide open windows at the villa gazing out. It looked so beautiful and not too dissimilar from what I am used to. Cute rooftops and chimneys, old walls and lush trees, distant hills and wide skies.
That large mountainous looking heap in the distance is Mont Ventoux. It was oddly exciting to look out of the window and see a real, genuine mountain. Definitely not Yorkshire!
This was the view I woke up to each morning, the view from my bedroom window. It was incredibly peaceful, apart from a little noise from the local vineyard as truck loads of grapes were unloaded in a tumbling heap.
It's hard to describe the beauty of the light, it was just so very lovely. The mornings often started out quite hazy and misty with pale sunbeams shafting gently in through the trees, but as the day wore on, the sky cleared and the sunlight was bright and intense. The night sky was equally astonishing due to the complete absence of light pollution (the villa was in a very rural location, a small village surrounded by open countryside). The stars were extraordinarily bright and there were so many of them! Great swathes of them spattered across the sky, far, far more than we ever get to see here in town. Some nights I would wake unexpectedly, pad across the tiled floor and go to the open window just to breathe in the sent of the cool night air and feast my eyes upon the starry sky.
The week was a very busy one, with a full itinerary of places to go and things to see. We started each day together around this table enjoying a truly scrumptious breakfast. The ripest, juiciest peaches, warm flaky croissants, fresh rustic bread delivered from the local bakery each morning, spread with creamy farmhouse butter and fruity preserves. And lets not forget the coffee. Ohhhhh the coffee had me in raptures! A shot of rich espresso topped with lots of hot milk, I adored it. Me thinks I definitely need to be a super-good girl and write a letter to Father Christmas to beg for one of these. Pretty Please Mr C.
I took a heap load of photos last week, hundreds of them. I tried hard to capture the beauty of the landscape which day after day took my breath away. The landscape in Provence is just so rich and full and alive. Beautiful fields planted with row upon row of grape vines, cherry and apple orchards, lavender and olives. There is something so pleasing about gazing upon rows of planted stuff, whatever it may be, it made me feel so happy just being surrounded by it as we drove around.
It was remarkable to stroll amongst these ancient trees, it felt exactly like stepping into one of Van Gogh's paintings. We were actually having a picnic here, just imagine that! Sitting eating a picnic lunch inside a famous painting! It blew my mind a little every time I thought about it.
I need to tell you about the picnics we had last week. Oh boy. Such a feast for the senses. Eating this type of food happens to be amongst my all time favourites (alongside Spanish tapas and Greek meze), and we often picnic this way as a family. It speaks to me of relaxation, good company and happiness. Crusty fresh bread. A selection of local cheeses (ooooo do you see the little round one wrapped up in vine leaves? It was smelly and delicious!), a little paté, some simple salad and the most beautiful, sweet sun ripened tomatoes.
The above scene was our view across a picnic lunch on another day, near to the incredibly beautiful village of Roussillon (more of that divine place to come). See how blue the sky is? I can tell you that spending a week in Provence in October is really exquisite in terms of the weather. Hot enough to laze around comfortably in a light summer dress and to feel pleasantly warmed through to ones bones without breaking a sweat.
More cheesy delights too, gosh I ate a lot of this stuff last week, couldn't get enough of it. A mixture of sheeps cheese, goats cheese and cows cheese, it was all quite strong, ripe and whiffy and not the type of cheese I usually eat (we mostly eat local cheddar and Wensleydale up here in Yorkshire), but I loved it. The whole Cheese Appreciation thing struck me as being a very French experience. I loved that when we ate out in restaurants, there was generally a course served in between the main meal and the desert which consisted of a bowl of fresh green salad and a selection of cheeses. What fun! I am going to try this at home for sure, I'm think the Little People would enjoy it.
So.....I've talked a lot about landscape and weather conditions, views and fodder, but hey, what about the hooky time?? Well truthfully there wasn't a huge amount of time each day for dedicated crochet, but we did always carry it with us Just In Case. I think there is something extra special about crocheting in the Great Outdoors, it's as if the memories of the time and place, of the light and landscape get captured within the stitches. It was pure pleasure to sit in a sun warmed field after a delicious lunch, chatting and laughing with yarn and hook in hand.
I really, really enjoyed watching other people at work with my yarns, colours and designs. Once I got over my initial nervousness about the whole thing (oh dear, I really was soo nervous!), I realised that my project was bringing a lot of fun and enjoyment to everyone. It was the best feeling. The best.
We did crochet at the villa too of course. The living area was comfy and spacious and we enjoyed many mornings and evenings sat here with a coffee/glass of wine, chatting, laughing and creating. On the very first evening when I introduced my project, I turned the coffee table into a yarn palette so that I could rabbit on about my way of using and choosing colours. I found I was able to verbalise a fair bit of what I do instinctively with colour, and I did really enjoy talking about it and discussing the use of colour in general. If you are interested in this sort of thing, I have written about it before here.
If you look back at the first picture in this post, the picture of the villa, you will see this amazing balcony that runs across the front. It was a beautiful place for us to sit and work, and I have such lovely memories from my time sat in this peaceful place.
By the way, I'm not deliberately keeping you in suspense about the project we worked on in Provence (honest!), I just need to take some more pictures first. All will be revealed very soon I promise.........
....it was great fun I have to say.
Would you like to come on a trip with me tomorrow? Yes? Great stuff, I'm going to take you to market! See you soon, don't be late...