Like the Queen, I had a big birthday in June and, also like the Queen, I managed to spread the celebrations throughout the whole of the month of June. Unlike the Queen I at no point wore a tiara or lime green outfit and I didn’t turn 90 – but one day I just might.
Anyway, that’s my excuse for not blogging myself, not commenting on some of your blogs as much as I usually do and generally being out of cyber circulation. In order to get myself back in the swing of things and start posting again on a vaguely regular basis, here is a brief whizz through some of the things I got up to.
I flew over to Bristol and met up with Mr. Tialys in the beautiful city of Bath , with its Roman baths and wonderful Georgian architecture, where we stayed for 3 days in a delightful ’boutique guest house’ called Dukes which is run by the most charming people and, if and when I am next in Bath, I will refuse to stay anywhere else.
A bouquet of flowers (from himself) and a bottle of something sparkly (from my friend) were waiting for us when we got into the room.
Here’s something I can cross off my bucket list.
The left hand pillow was not crumpled when we arrived but Mr. T. couldn’t resist flinging himself on to the bed when we arrived and I forgot to straighten it before the photo. But you get the idea.
After a lovely weekend of eating good food, visiting the American Museum (mostly for the quilts but it was all interesting), admiring the city generally and avoiding the Euro 2016 matches being shown in almost every pub, Mr. T returned to France to take over the dog wrangling from my friend who was house and dog sitting and I took the train up to London to spend some time with Mlle Tialys the elder who has just finished University and therefore not averse to hanging out with me for a bit.
We went to Camden Market and did five circuits of the street food market before we could decide what to eat but, on the actual day of my birthday we went to one of my favourite places (Brighton) and had fish and chips on Brighton Pier with a glass of sparkly.
I couldn’t eat it all😦
…. and I certainly couldn’t go on the helter-skelter afterwards.
My daughter wore a dress she had made herself which had a foxy print and people kept complementing her on it so she was very pleased and encouraged to keep on with her sewing.
We went to Ditto Fabrics (as I always do when I go to Brighton) and I was very restrained and bought three pieces of fabric with a specific purpose in mind. The purple jersey on the left (obviously Liberty but not priced as such), will be a sleeveless skater dress for my other daughter. The middle navy and white cotton will be the backing for a quilt I’ll be making for Mr. Tialys and the one on the right will be a skirt. Does anybody recognise it from the penultimate episode of the Great British Sewing Bee? When I bought it the assistant told me it would be on the show that week but I thought she’d got it confused with the African Wax Fabric section in a previous week – not because it is wax fabric but because of the pattern – but then it appeared.
We went to see a girly film – Me Before You – because we knew nobody else would ever want to watch it with us – and had a weep, along with the rest of the (almost uniquely female) audience.
I then went to see my Mum and had dinner with an old friend who I’m hoping I can persuade to come over to France for a visit now that her son is off to University. I’m talking to you Alyson!! We didn’t get anybody to take a photo – I refuse to take selfies – but here is one of us both in Brussels from back in the day when we both worked for an airline and got ‘staff travel’ so could zip off to European cities for a day trip at weekends for next to nothing.
We looked everywhere for that bloody Manneken Pis – expecting it to be much bigger (these were the days before Google!) – and were mightily unimpressed when we found it. I have no idea why we are both wearing cords and something resembling a hacking jacket but it probably made sense at the time.
On the Saturday morning of my flight home, I had booked myself into a Tilly and the Buttons workshop on Freestyle Machine Embroidery. I have messed about with it a bit myself but wanted to learn from scratch and pick up some tips and I do love a workshop.
We were given a choice of two designs to work on – a pair of scissors or a cat – but I went off piste and did my own for which I had a good reason – to be revealed at a later date. It was good fun and we had a lovely, enthusiastic teacher called Sophia Palmer of Jessalli. I will definitely be playing around with this technique on some future projects but am also hoping it will be useful with my attempts at free motion quilting.
I flew back to France with a planeload of Welsh football supporters who were coming over for the Euro 2016 match against Russia – which was fun!
Then I had a birthday lunch with some friends here but the photos the waitress took of us are too terrible to be displayed in the public arena. They were made worse by the fact that it was a hot, sunny day and we are all bathed in the blood-red light caused by the scarlet parasol shading the table so we look as if we are all having a hot flush at the same time – which could have happened actually but that’s beside the point.
The following Thursday I treated my friend and house-sitter to dinner at the amazingly beautiful l’Abbaye-Chateau de Camon and we were a little early so had our aperitif on the terrace in a bower of lush greenery.
Then, my birthday present from Mr. Tialys finally arrived home with him from the U.K.
This is a sculpture by U.K. artist Christine Cummings which he had ordered back at the end of April in order for it to be ready for my birthday but, what with one thing and another, he didn’t actually receive it until a couple of weeks after my birthday so he wasn’t best pleased. However, as I had used the fact as an excuse to keep on going with the celebrations until I had my present, I wasn’t worried at all! Isn’t he gorgeous? If I could ever bring myself to buy a dog from a breeder – this is the dog I would have. As that isn’t going to happen, I will content myself with one that doesn’t dig up the garden, poop and bark at inappropriate moments as I already have three who fulfil that brief adequately enough.
My liking for these dogs goes back to when my daughters were tiny and I used to read this book to them.
Which I still have – obviously! Along with most of the other books we read together. Some things you just can’t part with.
Anyway, I might not have had as much pomp and ceremony as June’s other birthday girl but I enjoyed myself and, according to my mother who knows about these things, managed to spread it out even longer than I usually do. I can’t think what she means.