Tuesday, 16 December 2008


After a bit of a frost last night, the day has turned out absolutely magnificent, one could imagine being in September or April! Brilliant sunshine, skies of a blue that almost hurt one's eyes, and a temperature of somewhere in the region of 13, with no wind at all.

I went to the gym for nearly an hour mid morning, then took Oslo straight to the beach at Kerleven (pronounced Kerleeveene) next to La Forêt Fouesnant. I forgot my camera unfortunately to prove how lovely it was. I was wearing just a T-shirt and a light jacket and I was quite warm. We strolled at the water's edge for an hour, Oslo paddling in and out of the water, while I picked up nearly a kilo of cockles for my lunch tomorrow, a few interesting shells (a piece of a large sea urchin) and pieces of sea glass. Heaven!

Wish you were here!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas is coming so fast...

Although Nicholas is the only one coming at Christmas, and we've decided to do things rather simply, I seem to be in a rush. I've finished making all my presents, I've sent everything off, but I haven't got a Christmas tree yet. I decided not to use the enormous fake one I bought 2 years ago, it's very impressive, but a real pain to get down from the attic and last year it took me a whole day to set it up and decorate it, and then another day to take it all down again! So this year it'll be a tiny real one in a pot.

This is the finished result of all that spinning and knitting for Grama. It's not bad, I had a good time doing it and I'm quite pleased with the result, but I think it's going to be too thick for her and there are goldy bits she's not going to like. Never mind.

I've started putting a few things on e-bay again, I haven't done that for ages. I still have far to much stuff here, loads of paintings, and no walls to put them on.

The weather has been pretty miserable for the last two weeks, but nothing compared to the rest of France. No snow and not really very cold. My woodstove is working well and does not use much wood. I haven't used a quarter of the quantity I used to burn in Le Mée. I saw an ethanol fireplace on the television yesterday. No chimney, no smoke, and apparently they heat fairly well. Bit of a pain having to fill it up with fuel all the time, but you can put them anywhere, hang them on the wall like a picture, or against the wall, anywhere. Might be a good idea to keep the cold coming up from the veranda.

I did a day at the German calligraphy studio near here on Saturday, entitled "Illumination" (manuscript type!). It wasn't really illumination at all, but it was good fun and a very tranquil setting and atmosphere. I managed to make a sort of Christmas ornament star, all decorated in gold leaf. Quite pretty, and I learnt a few techniques.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Flippin' cold in Brittany!

Who said it never freezes in the Finistere? Very cold this week, the terrace behind the house is lethal, I'm afraid Oslo will slip and fall down the stairs.

I've finished spinning and plying the wool for Grama, here's what the skein looks like. I've knitted part of it, I think it'll be a bit thick for her, but never mind, at least she'll know I've made an effort and done something special.

I've also joined a new swap, it's getting to be quite a habit, but I rather enjoy it. This one is a birthday swap - 12 people each with their birthday a different month. So each person gets 11 parcels for their birthday. And since I'm January, I get to be first!
I booked my train tickets to go to London the weekend before my birthday yesterday. Took a long time, the site kept going wrong, then my card wouldn't work. Anyway I've done it, and it's worked out cheaper than the plane, because there's a special offer on Eurostar. It's also Chinese new year that weekend, might be fun in London.

The time is going by really fast, Nicholas will be here for Christmas in 10 days now. Must think about getting a little tree. I'm certainly not carting that enormous fake one down from the attic this year. Should have sold it on ebay, too late now for this year. And then, the person would have to come and fetch it, it's so huge. I wonder how many people in Quimper look at ebay for christmas trees?

In pottery this afternoon, I finished the little twisted sculpture of and Indian? touareg? woman with a baby, quite nice. And I almost finished the wall clock for the kitchen with a crab on it. More complicated than I thought, making the housing at the back for the clock mechanism.

I went to the gym three times last week, haven't been once this week. I'll go on Friday, tomorrow I want to go back to Ikea to return the stool I bought two weeks ago that I don't need, and to see about shelving for my bedroom.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas is coming...

No goose this year, that's for sure. But I'm preparing ideas for nice little menus for Nicholas and me. I've ordered a lot of Christmas presents from Etsy, I've certainly honoured my handmade pledge. And the rest, I've made myself. I've hardly bought a thing. Very proud of myself.

This is what I have been spinning for my old Mum. I ordered a beautiful set of batts from the Felt Studio UK on Etsy and they have spun up wonderfully - all by hand, on a drop spindle. There is something very restful, reflective and primaeval about spinning that way. Something women have been doing for millennia. Anyway, I've spun, plied and washed two thirds of it, and am ready to start knitting as soon as it dries (this evening?). I'll put finished products here.

And here are a couple of photos of the terrace in front of the house, my winter arrangement, and the "bonsai" in its new tray that I made in pottery class this autumn.

It appears I don't keep my blog up to date...

Here's a link to a site where you can win the Nabou illustrated above! Try it, click on the link. Names will be drawn on 1st January next.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A few of my latest creations

I take photos but most of the time, no one ever gets to see them. So here are a few of the things I've done over the last months:This is a Norwegian cardigan I did for Marius before going to the States in September. He's 2, I did it size 4 years, and it's only just big enough.

While I was in the States, I knitted a scarf for Cécile in Koigu, a wool I can't get over here. It's very fine and knits like cotton, but it's silk and wool.

I've been doing lots of things since I got back, but I can't show photos because they are Christmas presents. I'll take photos before I wrap them up and put them here in January! I sent off an enormous Christmas stocking that I knitted for Marius last week, but I forgot to take a photo beforehand.

And then I've been doing pottery and sculpture. A bit weird most of the time. I love my monster, but it is very difficult to photograph. And my fat lady, except that I decided to to her extremities pointy, and the points sort of curled a bit during the firing process. Never mind, that's why I go to classes.

The monster has only one eye, and a beaky nose/mouth, and is resting his chin on his hand. He looks very sad and tired and wistful. He just grew out of my hands and I love to reflect on what I had inside me at that moment that created a piece like this!

This is a bowl in the shape of a shell, that I've planted up with succulents.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I went to the beach with Oslo yesterday, Tréguennec, the Atlantic beach with the blockhouse. It was not very promising weather when we left home, but at the beach there was brilliant sunshine. Oslo swam in her little pools around the blockhouse, and I ate two spring rolls I bought after leaving the gym (yes I've joined the gym just five minutes away, and I try to go three times a week). Not a very handy thing to eat on the beach, spring rolls, complete with dipping sauce, but I managed to make a little table on a rock out of the wind. I shared my Chinese almond cake with Oslo, but she dropped her share in the pool, and got water in her nose trying to retrieve it from the bottom. It was all soggy and sandy anyway.

This morning I have repotted my large bonsai in the new dish I have made for it, I'm rather pleased with the result. I can't show a photo yet, it needs trimming and to settle in to its new home. It looks a bit strange and artificial for the moment. It was nice weather earlier, it's cloudy and grey now. I'm off to pottery class in half an hour.

Monday, 17 November 2008


About time I came back to blogging and related my new life in the Finistere. It's been over a year, I have so much to say that for months I have not known where to start.

I'm delighted with my new situation. The last posts before moving were a bit dejected, but actually, once here, I never looked back. I find it hard to believe/remember I ever lived in Le Mée, although I spent the major part of my life there. I don't miss my beautiful house (well, not often), or the garden (well sometimes). I occasionally miss neighbours, I do miss the few real friends I had there. But we keep in touch.

I love my funny little house here in Quimper. It wasn't exactly the ideal choice, it turns out, there's lots wrong with it, but I've made it comfortable, changed some things that really needed changing, it's warm and cosy, cheap to run, and living on the edge of town is quite good fun.

And of course there's the sea. I'll tell you more about that another day.