Paris in July

Browsing through the blogosphere this week I came upon this wonderful initiative. Karen at BookBath and Tamara at Thyme for Tea are hosting Paris in July 2012. They’ve done it in previous years and have lots of loyal followers so I am throwing my support behind it because, after all, who can resist Paris in July, or Paris at any time of the year for that matter?

As the girls explain, the idea is that we’celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening to, observing, cooking and eating all things French.’ I’m thinking drinking French Champagne might count.

My intentions during July are to write a Paris themed post at least once a week, to buy the book on Paris that I have been wanting for ages (regardless of the fact that it is not cheap), to read The Paris Wife and to generally revisit memories of my times there. Who knows what may pop up and inspire me during the month, I’ll keep you posted.

To begin, I thought I’d share a couple of delectable shop windows with you. Now, although the rest of the world is trying to catch up nobody really does pastries like the French, do they?

How can you not walk inside?

Savouries – would you believe it?

Got your attention? Why not drop in on BookBath or Thyme for Tea and sign up to help us celebrate all things French. In the meantime tell me, what do you love best about Paris?

An Award – for me?

I am a recent convert to the idea of blogging. It’s only four months since I leapt into the unknown with my first post, not knowing if this was really me. Well, guess what? It is me and, I have to admit, I’m now addicted.

I even have a few followers who seem to enjoy what I write and it was very exciting for me when one of them, Gypsy Life, awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Although most of us in blogging Land are not here for any form of recognition, we do it simply because we enjoy writing and sharing our experiences, it is really nice to be appreciated for what we do. So, a huge thank you to Pauline at Gypsy Life, firstly for loyally following my ramblings and secondly, for honouring me with this award. This is a lady after my own heart who was just born to travel, you should check out her blog at http://pommepal.wordpress.com/.

Now, there is a catch with this award but I think I can cope with it. Recipients of this award need to share 7 things about themselves and then nominate another 15 bloggers to pass the award to. So, here are 7 things about myself that I know you are just dying to read:

  1. I have the whole set of Agatha Christie novels.
  2. The first 3 records (yes, records) that I owned, at the age of 10, were by Cliff Richard, The Beatles and Petula Clarke (and I still have them).
  3. I’m jeans & T shirt comfortable but enjoy being an occasional dressed up girl.
  4. I’ve just finished reading Grace Knight’s autobiography, Pink Suit for a Blue Day.
  5. I’m still learning to be myself.
  6. My cocktail of choice is a Margarita.
  7. I think that a walk as the sun rises is just the best.

And now for the 15 blogs that I would like to pass the award on to. Some post only occasionally, others regularly, some are well established, others relatively new, all are worth a read. Enjoy.

http://becsmog.wordpress.com/

http://abitravelblog.wordpress.com/

http://babyboomerwrites.wordpress.com/

http://travelwithkat.com/

http://travelspirit333.wordpress.com/

http://bookgrrl.wordpress.com/

http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/

http://meanderingsabound.wordpress.com/

http://cafegirlchronicles.wordpress.com/

http://projecthappy.com.au/

http://ministrydomestic.wordpress.com/

http://authenticwebs.com/

http://nataliereviews.wordpress.com/

http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/

http://blog.annaspargoryan.com/

Scones in Sassafras

As you all know I’m not a food blogger. I don’t review restaurants and cafes or breakfasts and dinners, because I don’t do it well and there are people out there who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to food. But sometimes a place is so memorable that I just have to say something.

As regular followers will know I recently spent a few days in Melbourne. Now I’m not that bright when it comes to choosing my time to travel to Melbourne, the weather is generally less than ideal and so it was this time (could have something to do with me going in winter I guess). The Dandenong Ranges though, with misty rain and the temperature a lot lower than I am currently used to, provided a wonderful atmosphere, evocative of many happy Sundays spent exploring the villages in the English countryside.

Sorry, I am getting back to the point of this post. On the Sunday we took a drive up into the ranges and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Snooty Fox in Olinda but, after browsing through some quaint antique shops and pretty gift shops in Olinda and Sassafras we felt the need for a cream tea. Scones, jam and cream seemed like a perfect way to end the afternoon. The cafes were busy and, after popping our heads into a few, we settled on The Black Kettle, mainly I must admit because they actually had a table for us. As I said this was a memorable experience, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

We placed our order and settled comfortably near the warm fire for what turned out to be an interesting episode. Ok, it was busy when we sat down but really, a nearly thirty minute wait for two cups of tea, two scones and a piece of chocolate mud cake? After what seemed like an inordinately long time this is what happened:

 

  • One pot of tea arrived, with one cup and one saucer – we pointed out that we had ordered two. Off went the young man (a pleasant young man I must admit).
  • The second pot of tea arrived a few minutes later but with a cup half the size of the first one (more like an espresso cup).
  • The cake and scones arrived. The two scones were on a very nice rectangular plate with little pots of jam and cream.
  • Sounds good but – no individual plates. We asked for some.
  • Plates arrived, except – they were saucers.
  • Could we have cutlery maybe? Please? Knives to spread the jam?
  • A knife arrived. ONE knife. Could we have two please, oh, and maybe a fork for the mud cake?
  • Once we had the required crockery and cutlery we set to the pleasant task of consuming what turned out to be very nice scones.
  • We never did get napkins but we didn’t feel like we should push our luck any further at that point.

The strange thing is that no other table seemed to be experiencing the same issues that we were having. They even got napkins. It had obviously been a long day in café land and luckily we were in the mood to see the funny side of the situation. Hopefully this was an isolated instance but seriously guys – not good for business.

Crystal Goes East

The inner child in me emerged recently, encouraged by the incorrigible inner child of my daughter. There is this child within all of us that we tend to keep well hidden but, just occasionally, it pops out and surprises us. So it was when my granddaughter’s teddy bear Crystal needed restorative surgery. Now, to say that the said granddaughter is extremely fond of Crystal would be an understatement. Dramatic as it may sound, life for this just turned nine year old has no meaning without her. Three years ago Crystal was a present from her aunty and cousin who live in Melbourne, Crystal had a recorded message implanted in her and when her paw is squeezed, as it is on regular occasions, she miraculously talks to E in B’s voice. She is E’s constant companion and sleep is elusive if Crystal is not there in bed with her. So, we had a problem, tears were shed and life became devoid of meaning. Would Crystal never talk again?

Ready for take off

My daughter had a fiddle (it’s a bear remember) with Crystal, tried changing the batteries – no luck, she remained silent. Perth did not have the facilities necessary to restore this bear to her former health so, she would need to go back to Melbourne for a message transplant. And so it was that my daughter dressed Crystal in her finest and solemnly handed her over to my safe keeping for the plane trip to Melbourne. At least Crystal’s timing was spot on, I was going to Melbourne anyway so the expense of a special mercy dash across the country was avoided.

Unfortunately for Crystal, Virgin Airlines do not provide suitable seating for small purple bears. The staff, however, were very accommodating and, after Crystal had tried out my seat, they did not object to her making herself comfortable in the magazine holder. It meant that she was flying backwards but it didn’t seem to worry her and, in fact, I believe she managed to sleep most of the way (well, it was an early flight and we’d both been up since 4.00am).

Now, I would like to say that she was whisked straight from the aircraft to the bear shop for immediate surgery. But, I can’t tell fibs and I must admit there was a slight delay of a couple of days while I saw a few of the sights and did a bit of shopping, but I don’t think Crystal was adversely affected. The creation and insertion of a new message was accomplished without the need for anaesthetic and Crystal came through it all with a minimum of fuss. As a reward for her bravery she was even treated to a new winter outfit. An enjoyable few days were then spent lounging around in B’s bedroom making herself familiar with her surroundings. All too soon it was time to leave but Crystal was looking forward to her return to E with all trace of her malfunction erased.

 

Enjoying a treat at the airport

As we know purple bears are tough little things and not much fazes them. Crystal was in high spirits on the return leg of our journey and none the worse for her bout of laryngitis and subsequent implant.

Tonight Crystal and E will be reunited and I know of one nine year old and her mum who will have smiles all over their faces.