Sunday, 29 November 2015

Church on Sunday...St. Martin,Mosnes

The church of St.Martin in Mosnes, a small town on the banks of the Loire midway between Amboise and Chaumont-sur-Loire is unremarkable when viewed from the front. To get any real sense of its history you have to venture around the back..

Here you will get a glimpse of its 12th century Romanesque origins,with the its original asp and the lower part of the bell tower. The top of the tower dates from the 18th century when repairs were made after a lighting strike.

The current appearance of the church owes much to restorations made during the second half of the 19th century. There is a slight homage to its origins in the detail around the entrance.

Inside is certainly more appealing than the outside with its vaulted nave letting you think you are in a building of a more grandeur appearance.

Loved this curved bench within the choir of the church.

The side chapels which were an earlier addition to the original Romanesque church date from the sixteenth century.

The stained glass windows of the church are by the 'Fournier' factory of Tours.

Where's Joan?

Here she is on her pedestal.

The less than attractive view of the external 19th century extensions.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Passing the taste test...

We brought a couple of bottles of Canadian wine back with us from our recent trip and last night, with our French neighbour over for dinner we decided to get his view on it.Pleased to report that it was well received and we enjoyed it more than the Bordeaux we did the 'taste test' with...all a question of taste.

Canadian wine was a 'Trius' (Ontario's Winery of the Year) Merlot (2013) from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
French wine was a 'Chateau du Curton' (2009) from Bordeaux

Friday, 27 November 2015

Liking the logo...

Noticed the logo for 'Bieres de Montmorillon', featured in my last post, shows more than a passing resemblance to our very own (he was born in my home town) Johnnie Walker - though less of a gent.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Message in a bottle...and a load of Coddswallop

Photo credit:Les Amis de la Brasserie de Montmorillon

When checking out the greniers  of our latest project (it's actually 2nd in the queue at the moment) I came across a box of bottles that intrigued me.

They are marked 'Brasserie de Montmorillon' but interestingly the bottles are marked 'from England' on the bottom.  

The design of the bottle makes it self-sealing with a rubber gasket mounted inside the neck against which an internal glass ball would be held in place by the carbonated contents which would normally be soda but interestingly in this case,we think,it was **beer.

The bottle's design was patented by Englishman Hiram Codd in 1870 and thus the 'Codd bottle' was born.
You can read the history of the bottle here

According to the site this is where the phrase “coddswallop” originated, this was a sarcastic reference to what was inside the bottle. No self-respecting **beer-swilling gent would be seen dead with a bottle of "CODDSWALLOP” (soda pop)!

**You can read a little about about the history of the brewery  'Brasserie de Montmorillon' here and here

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Church on Sunday...Niagara Falls

For today's church I'm taking you back to our visit to Niagara Falls. There was this interesting church near where we stayed.It is called 'St. Mary's - Holy Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church' , a bit of a mouthful but I'm sure St. Mary 's suffices. 

We never got to see the inside but knew it must be interesting and as the photographs from the church's website below show, we weren't wrong.

The parish of the church dates back to 1951 when Ukrainians who had come to Canada after the war (WWII) used a nearby hall to have their church services. It would be 1988 before this splendid building would be built from donations from church members. The people wanted more than just a place of worship but something that would be an example of their heritage.Apparently there were no nails used in its construction.

The ornate carvings  make a great backdrop,would have loved to have seen them up-close...maybe next time.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pauline, Jonah and flights of fancy

I may have to change my name, certainly my recent travel experiences have made Pauline think so! We are back in France but only just!

On her last trip to visit her mum in Scotland Pauline had a bad experience while travelling alone. On boarding her first flight home down from Glasgow to Stansted she was 'encouraged' to put her carry-on luggage in the hold, a practice that Ryanair have now adopted along with their two bag rule. It is, I think, not a bad long as you remember to pick it up at baggage reclaim!! Because she was always used to marching right out, that is exactly what she did...minus her luggage!

This of course meant seeking help as to how she retrieved it asking the nearest company employee proved to be ill advised as he sent her to the opposite end of the airport where she got some other advice to visit another location before finally ending up six feet from where she started. With the clock ticking with regards to catching her next flight it was lucky the original helper wasn't there as he would have had to bear the brunt of her anger. she had to be taken through a 'special' door and go through the 'departure' process again (clock still ticking) which wasn't helped by her 'handler' choosing to 'fast track' her after she had put her handbag on another line, his reassurance that it would be alright didn't sit well with her. She did eventually get reunited with her bag which by this time was dizzy from quite a few rounds of the luggage carousel' By the time I picked her up at Poitiers she had a rather grey complexion,she doesn't cope well with these situations.

Anyway the point is, after this experience she decided making the trip on her own wasn't a good idea so on the next trip I was to accompany her. Although you would think after our recent experiences going to and returning from Canada she might have thought twice about it.

Our two flights to Scotland did however go without mishap but returning proved that I may not be the best choice as a travelling companion. Glasgow to Stansted proved, by our standards, to be quite uneventful although we did have a mother and her 4 month old baby asking if she could exchange her window seat for Pauline's aisle seat so as she could 'walk' the baby if she had to,no problem other than it proved not to be her seat at all which meant I was accused, rightly, by another lady of having her seat  The solution was simple enough with the lady taking the mother's allocated seat,although without at first giving me a bit of a stare! The journey passed relatively quickly with Pauline at times left holding the baby,filling bottles and making funny faces when's like riding a bike!

We had a light lunch and as it was approaching time for our gate to be allocated I suggested we start walking to gates 40 to 59 where we always fly out from. Anyone who knows Stansted will know it is quite a walk to these outer limbs of the airport so to find on arrival that no gates were allocated for the Tours' flight meant we had to return,rather promptly against the flow of departing travellers back to find out what gate we should be at...this is when Pauline probably began to think me being with her wasn't such a great idea. We should have taken the shuttle train to gate 33!! If any of you had someone you know at the airport yesterday let them know we offer our apologies for getting them the least concerned by the image of two old buddies dashing around trying to get close enough to a screen to confirm the'exact' gate,must have been a little alarming for some! Now this flight never leaves from anywhere else! Mrs Craig,who was that funny colour again, let me know that (between breathes) it was not unheard of and that we should have waited the couple of minutes until the flight was announced, she was of course right.

Anyway we made it, as I had tried to reassure her that we would (even though I have to admit a slight feeling of panic as we waited for the shuttle train).Once on board we again had a bit of seat juggling (is it us?) as a group of young travellers although booking and travelling together had been allocated random seats throughout the aircraft,maybe they expected trouble if they were all together,who knows? The charming young lady,with the window seat (why don't we ever get one) asked if she could swap for the aisle seat as there were a few empty double seats around that the flight attendant said she could have but only after take off as moving would upset the balance of the aircraft...I found this a little disconcerting as there was nothing of her.

She did get to sit beside her (I think) boyfriend but only after telling us they were taking advantage of the low fares and a friend's house in Loches for a weekend's break. We made good time and got to the  "crew 10 minutes to landing" but then the twist...the 10 minutes became 20 before our friendly captain let us know that wind conditions at Tours meant we would not be able to land and may have to divert to Limoges, he said we would try 'holding' at 5000 ft and see if conditions improved - they didn't. Fortunately we were diverted to Poitiers rather than Limoges but this meant 'bussing' us back to Tours where we could be reunited with our car. The landing was very bumpy, probably due to the fact that the young lady failed to return to her seat and the 'balance' wasn't restored!.

The day did however end well with friends Peter and Jane having prepared a lovely meal along with a great doze of hospitality for us to arrive to.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Strength in togetherness...

We are always anxious to get 'home' to France after a visit to Scotland,much as we love it here catching up with old friends and family. On this visit Mark had come over separately to join us and then he was followed by Paul and Michael who helped us continue celebrating our 40th anniversary courtesy of a bottle of pink Champagne left by Pauline's sister Eileen for that purpose.Mark doesn't dink (wise man) so didn't miss out. Their gran is always pleased to see them and loves their company.

This visit has been a difficult one as we have some very dear friends who are going through a very tough time in their lives and however stoical they may appear to be, their situation is one that with all they have had to endure until now, can only be described as 'unfair'. Then, we often hear that life 'isn't fair' and the truth is it is not. How we handle this unfairness however makes us who we are and through handling it, life miraculously becomes a little fairer. Yet there are situations,we don't have to look far for these,when the unfairness cannot seem to be handled and we mere mortals cannot comprehend the rational as to who is 'chosen'.I certainly don't have any answers but I am comforted by the strength of character shown by our friends and other people who seem to rise above their situation.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The right choice...

This notice greets you as you visit the nursing home where Pauline's mum is being cared for here in Ayr. It is rather reassuring as the home is in the running for 'Scottish care home of the year' and has reached the final 3 in the competition (winner will be announced November 20th). It's not perfect (and it's expensive) but they do a difficult job well.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Church on Sunday...St. Paul's Ayr


As we are in Ayr and it's 40 years ago this month since we were were married there, thought I repeat this post from a couple of years ago!

Today we visit the church of St. Paul's  in Ayr,  it was built in 1967 to cater for a then expanding population.

The church is very 60's in its design but has stood the test of time rather well

Here's a couple of newly-weds standing by the front doors (Oct,1975)

The inside is quite plain but airy and bright.

The glass in the windows has been replaced by modern stained glass.

Found these facts on the church's website, to buy the land in 1966 cost £240 and the architect’s fees were £8.8s.!! ...a bit like today's market...not!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

From High Street to low street...

I remember when Ayr High Street was a delight with the feel of a tight, friendly community...sadly today much of it is boarded up,such a shame. Apparently Ayr now has 130 shops lying empty with nearly 30 vacant units in the High Street.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

I said it would be a temporary fix...

We will be going back to finish our Barrou project on our return to France part of which will be replacing the downstairs loo, the wooden handle of which had broken just days before we left. My trusty 'mole grips', which I bought as an apprentice in 1970 came to the rescue. Will probably still be there for a few weeks after we go back!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Free cash?

In Scotland for a couple of weeks...left sunny skies and 20+ degrees in France to wind and rain here.
Still at least there are some benefits!

You'd expect a large queue here on Ayr High Street ...but it's not what it seems.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Church on Sunday...Christian Baptist Church,Newmarket,Ontario

Today we visit another church in Ontario Canada. This time in the town of Newmarket to the north of the city of Toronto. The Christian Baptist Church has had a presence here since 1822,the church we see today is the third church on the site,built in 1874 in a Gothic revival style,complete with fake buttresses.

The tower, with its large polygonal steeple, is centred in its Latin cross plan 
Its exterior was originally brickwork but covered in stucco,circa 1900.


It has a lovely interior with ornate roof trusses.

Above the main entrance is this fresco.


 Stained glass features on every wall of the church in a variety of window designs.


The church describes itself as "every bride's dream! A long isle and sloped sanctuary gives everyone a great view. With seating for over 200 people"...would have to agree that it would be a lovely place to get married.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Wines and vines

Went over to Charge near Amboise on Wednesday with friends Mike and Liz  to 'Plou et Fils' to stock up on  their delightful wines.

Their new set up is impressive.

Took a walk up to the vineyards on the high ground to check out the autumn colours...

...glad I did!