Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dinner in the Garden

We had such a nice dinner with friends last Sunday. The tablecloth is made from furniture fabric, two complimentary bolts were out for the rubish. The design is called Tuscan, Al Fresco. The china came from the thrift shop. I love the yellow and blue combination.
I will give you the recipe for the Anti Pasta. I always get compliments on it, every time I make it. The friend who's recipe it was died several years ago, so every time I make it I think of Frannie, who was Italian.
You take a nice large round serving platter. In order you layer these ingredients:-
  • Romaine lettuce (or a nice firm lettuce)
  • Provolone cheese
  • Hot salami
  • Genoa or hard salami
  • Onions
  • Green peppers
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet pickles
  • Capacola or pepperoni
  • Tomato
  • Green or black olives
  • Shake on oregano, garlic powder and Crazy Jane salt (I do not know what Crazy Jane salt is, so I use seasoned salt)

All of the above is just sliced, or cut into smaller pieces to layer.

Cut just as if you are serving a piece of pie. Serve with a cake server after cutting.

Serve with an olive vinaigrette dressing.

(If you find some of the above deli meats to be too expensive, I take the liberty to substitute, and usually do, it still tastes great.)


This is my trifle served along with coffee in my Italian coffee mugs, from the thrift, along with the tray. Milk jug and sugar bowl were wedding presents for Bo's mum and dad, married 1945. Bo's mum died when he was four, so it's special that they were kept and passed onto us.

Charlotte Gray. The Book Verses the Film

The book or the movie?

A Scottish girl recruited by secret service to work with the resistance in France during WWII. Falls in love with a British pilot Peter, who is shot down over France.

Julian is her resistance co-worker in France, who she also likes.

A full one third of the book was dedicated to Peter and Charlotte, which gave you a much closer insight into both of their personalities and why they made the decisions they did. Charlotte was in a way a strong character, making things happen. Peter came across, and he said it himself, as one that didn’t think things through but went along and acted on a situation that came up. He was very much disturbed by loosing almost all of his friends in the Battle of Britain. Which was the first big air fight for control of the skies over Britain. Even the two men who recruited Charlotte pretty much said he and all men who came through there were emotionally disturbed.

Charlotte was distanced from both her parents. The hinted at problem of her child hood with her father was sorted out in a satisfactory way in the book. Referring back to WWI and how it had affected him as a doctor. Her relationship with Julian’s father was tied into her relationship with her father. Both had fought in WWI. I felt so much of the book was about her relationship with Julian’s father not with Julian and not with the children. At the end of the book she felt a need to let him know why Julian did what he did. Traveling up to the internment camp, paying for a guard to tell him. She did not go for the children, although she saw their suitcase on the station platform, what was that about? I don’t think I ever came to a conclusion on that. Was it just that she knew that they had left the internment camp and had been transported. I thought she would act on that knowledge, but she didn’t do anything.

Julian’s father was a painter. You didn’t get the impression that the house was as run down as they depicted in the movie, because Charlotte was hired to clean it. They also had another servant I think and the girl who came to pose, whose house the children were eventually hidden in, not for long though. Julian’s mother did not die young she was around when he was a boy. He spent time with his father at the shore along with other artistic friends. Although he was not a good father, the animosity towards his father did not come across so strongly as in the film.

I didn’t think that her going to France was primarily to find Peter; it was secondary to her need, although part of it. Her relationship with Julian I did not find at all central to the story. Also she was never told by her contact that Peter was dead, was she? She did try to find Peter initially, but the contact was cold and she left it there. The book did go into more detail about how Peter escaped from France. Which builds up more about Peter, and that is why when you come to the end of the book, you have no feeling that she has even thought about staying or going back to Julian.

The two Jewish children, Andre and Jacob, Julian was the one that I think was more especially close to them, and the two older ladies whose house they stayed in, in town. Julian would visit them. Charlotte would go now and again, you didn’t get the idea though that they were constantly on her mind. Also after the children were moved to the country the old lady at the house betrayed them, although they probably would have found them.

I haven’t mentioned the movie too much. The movie gave Hope for both Julian’s father, who was one quarter Jewish and the boys. Also they did not have to face the ordeal alone. The book left you no hope, taking both to their ultimate conclusion. There was no letter in the book. When the boys were taken in the movie, I did think, better they had been taken all at once with their parents, but then they had Julian’s father. In the book they never came to know his father. So I felt they definitely would have been better off if they had been taken with their parents in view of the outcome. If the outcome had been different and they had not been found then of course I would say it was a good thing they did not go with their parents.

How about B. I cannot think of his name. Benoir comes to my mind but I don’t think that’s right. The schoolteacher. There was a lot more background as to why he did what he did, his thinking on how the war would go. Also the fact that many thought like him and did not like Churchill and the British, but would rather have the German’s there with a Vichy government, and get rid of the Jews and the Communists. B’s need for recognition and power. The girl who was the telephoned exchange operator, she was not so much against them.

There were many more characters in the book, all the different resistance workers and a mention of the two groups, the Gaullist’s and the Communists.

The conclusion of the book was satisfactory, with the good outcome with her father. Peter coming to the realization that he truly did love her and he lived to be reunited with her. But as in true life the sadness. The small wish of Julian’s father that Charlotte would like Julian, but he knew it wasn’t so, because she had told him about Peter and knew she didn’t feel that way towards him. No hope for the father and the children.

The book did leave you to think that Peter and Charlotte would go back to France to visit the families and individuals who had helped them. As with Peter and the elderly couple who took him in with his bad leg and shared all they had with him. Julian and Charlotte had a strong friendship, which was more, for a brief moment of need. You felt that after the war Peter and Charlotte would go back to France together to visit.

In the movie Charlotte sees Peter, tells him it's all over, too much water under the bridge. After the war she goes back to France, to see Julian, and their future is together.

Which did I like more, well I liked both, but the movie held out more hope.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Monte Carlo, Monaco and Ville Franche. Saturday 3rd May 2008

I would have been happy to stay in Ville Franche, but when the boys realized we were so close to Monte Carlo, it was a forgone conclusion that this would be our destination, especially finding out that it was very easy to catch the local train.

Ville Franche early in the morning.
Walking to the train station in Ville Franche, to catch a train to Monaco.

The view of Monte Carlo, not far from the Grimaldi Palace, where Grace Kelly lived, after marrying Prince Rainier.

Patricia a girl from San Paolo, Brazil, living and studying in Reims, France. We met Patricia on the train going to Monaco. She spoke French and had already worked out the local bus to ride around Monaco. She stayed with us the whole time we were there on our whirl wind visit and shepherded us around. I even got to mail myself a card from the Post Office there.The Grimaldi Palace. A yacht marina.

Walking back down from the Palace through these gardens to Monte Carlo, where the Grand Prix was to be held in a week or so.

Part of the Grand Prix circuit.

The Monte Carlo Casino.

The gardens to the casinos.

The train station at Monaco.

Looking out of the train window on our way back to Ville FrancheThe beach Ville Franche
The boy taking a paddle, Ville Franche

Our ship on the horizon. Norwegian Gem.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Chimney Sweep's Cat

This is how Madame Tinkerbell came home this morning. A splodge on her cheek, her nose, her head. I can only think it's because they're resurfacing the round outside our house which of course is a very dirty job, and smells of tarmac, even before putting down the new surface. Madame has obviously ventured into places she should not have been visiting.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Grape Harvest

The last time I made wine, Rob was a little boy. We had two grape vines which we planted at our old house. I have three I planted here. A concord,a black grape, which I believe is native to the States, a Montserrat,a white grape, which is truly a wine grape and I forget what the third vine is, but I know it's white.

I think we will have a bumper crop this year.

My Vision for the Pergola

Bo putting together my Pergola. I bought it last year at the end of the season, it was the floor model, consequently no instructions. But he did alright.

The boys ribbed me about the Pergola, and I must admit I had my own doubts after putting it up. First we had it standing one way, but it over lapped the house too much and didn't look right, then we turned it around, that looked better. But on these things one must have vision. they don't come together instantly.

This week I dug up my climbing hydrangea, which was planted by the back fence under the oak tree, it's been there about six years and has never flowered, not the best place to thrive and do justice to it. Now it's climbing one corner of my Pergola and I think it will like it there. I also dug up a very srawny rose bush, that did not like it where it was. I was going to buy a rose bush, but couldn't find one in the price range I wanted to pay, so I thought I'll put my energy into revitalising this one. I'm envisioning roses and clematis on other corners, so will gradually work on that. Maybe it will eventualy become a leafy bower.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh! Joy of Joys, Bliss, Bliss, Bliss, since the storm it has only been 80 degrees farenheit and Low Humidity

Little Red Devil

I have a little red devil. It's red and it's a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner, an upright. Rob said "mum stop." We were just coming up to the traffic light. Rob wanted the weight lifting bar and weights that were left out to take, or for the rubbish man/ trash man. Right beside them was the vacuum cleaner, or as we say in England, Hoover, although Hoover is really a brand name. "Oh! mum, why do you want that?" But is was so cute and red. So I took it home, plugged it in and it whirred to life, great. I cleaned it, plugged it in again, then realized the beater bar wasn't turning. So I thought, maybe it's just a belt. So at Sears I picked up a new filter and a belt, $15.00. Bo put it in for me. It's just the right size for my house, does a great job on the rugs, as my other Dirt Devi is a canister. So I have a little Red Devil.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Le Cinque Terre, Friday 2nd May

This was my day. Many went to Florence, but I have been there before and thought it would be very crowded, and especially after our day in Rome, I did not want to be in a crowded city, so I chose to see Cinque Terre. The boys decided to stay on the ship and then to take the shuttle bus in to Livorno, for a day in town and visiting the market.

Well instead of a crowded day in the city, it was a crowded day on the Riviera. It seems that the locals take off Friday and make it a four day weekend, so it was very busy. And many older folk did not realize how many steps there would be on this trip. I can tell you my feet were hurting. A culmination of many days of walking.

The scenery though was spectacular, you can see for yourself.

Golfo della Spezia, and is also known as the Golf of the Poets. But I'm not sure why, because there is a hugh Italian naval base here, that's been here for a couple of hundred years, or something like that. This town would have a beautiful beach, if it had not been swallowed up by the navy.

The "Cinque Terre". The five hamlets are located on the west coast of the Riviera, the villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, either clinging to the cliff face or are concealed in miniature inlets perfectly blending in.
This area has been turned into a National Trust Area and proclaimed heritage of mankind by UNESCO. Vineyards have been hewn out of the cliffs, generations of work. It's amazing to see.
This is the train station at Manarola.
These are some of the cliff paths we walked. It is said that the young men of the villages, while courting made these paths, to cut off hours of walking from one village to another.

The train station at Riomaggiore.
We took a boat ride along the coast, dropping us off at one town, and then getting the boat again to our last stop, to meet the bus. Taking the boat was great, because it gave one a wonderful view of the coastline.

This white marble is quarried out of these mountains. It was used to build Rome in the time of the Romans. I think it's called Cabrera marble.

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