Beach Life


I love to walk around in our little village and find new streets that I haven’t noticed before.

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These vines are blooming everywhere right now. I used to see them in Provence too.

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Did a macro of one of the flowers which made it look lit up from within.

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I found a little cottage with the yard decorated in a nautical style and full of interesting things. This was the top of the gate with found debris from the sea glued to the top. The light was funny so I didn’t get as good a photo as I had hoped. I’d love to see the inside of this place. I bet it’s great with that shabby chic, seaside feel.

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This was on the wall in the same yard.

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Sweet metal heart on a door.

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The name of a very short street where a house with the name, sans nom resides. Most of the older cottages and houses in Chatelaillon have names, often the names of the daughters of the owners. This home must have had a child that died before it was named which is sad.

You are never really alone on a beach but in the early morning or late evening it can seem like it.

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All alone this morning, until I turned in the other direction and saw people ahead of me. It’s getting hot here everyday now and I try to get out early before the sun is high in the sky to avoid the heat. I’m sort of a delicate flower and wilt in heat.

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I saw this sand shark sculpture one evening as I went out to the beach to watch the sun set.

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Love these blue and white striped huts. I don’t know why I am so attracted to blue and white stripes, but I am. It’s very nautical. My favorite shirt used to be blue and white stripes and I wore it until it developed a hole. It was by J Crew and I had it for years. Time to buy another one.

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See-you think you are alone on the beach and then you see that the sea gulls have been there before you.

It’s always a pleasure to hop on our bikes and head to our market a few blocks away from our apartment. During the summer it gets really large and the street is blocked off for blocks. Food isn’t necessarily the most exciting thing to photograph but I do it anyway.

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The cherry season seems to be over but the melons are abundant and are very juicy and sweet.

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I hadn’t seen this lady before with her huge pans of creole food. I didn’t get any even though it looked really good as it is usually too spicy for me.

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Veggies all lined up.

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Potatoes only grown on Ile de Re, a nearby island. They are usually a little pricy and, to tell the truth, I can’t taste the difference between them and the usual potato.

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A canine helper in the fresh flower booth. The other day I saw a lady walking her dog-without a leash, something I was never able to master with my dogs-and her cat was also on a walk with them. The cat didn’t look happy or relaxed, just determined not to be left behind.

It seems like I spend a lot of time cooking here at the beach. We very seldom go out to eat, there’s a market just down the road and, when it comes down to it, I like to cook. It’s a creative act. I do get in ruts and repeat recipes a lot but I love to find new recipes that are keepers. I find a lot more new things to try thanks to the internet, along with new to me drinks.

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This is a French aperitif wine made in the Bordeaux region. It’s sweet with a tinge of bitterness and can be used as a mixer for cocktails but we had it on ice before dinner. I like it but I like Pineau better, probably because it’s a bit sweeter and has cognac in it. Anyway, Lillet is a fun drink to have with hors d’ouvres before dinner or, in my case, it is often just my dinner.

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The covered section of our market has a boucherie which sells kebabs all made up and ready to cook. I bought these because they had the intriguing addition to the beef, which was filet mignon, of chorizo sausage and sliced dates. It was really good and I think I can make it myself if I can find some good fillet mignon. The vegetable along side is a recipe I found on the Jamie Oliver site. It’s broccoli chopped into small pieces, boiled or microwaved until texture you like-I like it soft-and then fried bacon and shallots are added along with a vinaigrette of vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and mustard. I didn’t have the white wine vinegar called for so used lemon juice and it tasted too tart so I added just a bit of sugar. It was a really good dish and different way to eat broccoli than the usual butter or cheese. Maurice wasn’t as excited about it as I was but he ate it all.

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The ingredients to a very good and fresh tasting tomato soup which I have posted about before.

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I had to put the hollyhocks in the foreground of this photo of the fishing houses on the shore around here. They lower big nets into the water when the tide is high for fish.

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A view of a storm on the way. We have had cooler temps along with wind and rain but mostly sun here on the coast.

Well, I’m not sure what happened but I was unable to post yesterday. I called the server and finally found that I was able to get to the administration part of my blog this morning. Whew! It feels really strange when I can’t post. I think it’s a habit after all of these years.
I was going to write about the heat here in France and we certainly had it. It got up to 95 degrees which is fairly rare. We managed pretty well though by opening windows on either end of the apartment and turning on ceiling fans. When Maurice and I first moved to Paris I made him buy a portable air conditioning unit. The next year was that horrible summer where it was over 100 degrees for weeks and we certainly used it then. I now don’t usually feel the need for a/c anymore unless it is stuffy in a room like at my Mother’s when it’s too hot to open windows and she keeps the house about 80 or I’m on a metro or bus where the only way to cool them is to open the windows and then that is hot air. Anyway, it rained last night and it’s going to be 20 degrees cooler which is perfect.
I was also going to write about our trip to our local casino. Our neighbor, Madame L wanted to go. Her husband doesn’t really like it although he ended up going to. Maurice doesn’t like it either but will stand there and watch me. I love black jack. I only play until I lose (and I usually do) twenty Euros. Madame L likes roulette so we sat there and did that. An English guy sat down at our table too and bought 100 Euros worth of chips. His method of gambling was, right before the ball dropped, to basically cover the board with chips and he started winning really big. Madame L and I, both conservative just bet on if the number would be in the middle or bottom of the board and just about each time we’d win a little something. I was sort of being inspired by the English guy so I started putting chips on numbers and at the end of the night I ended up with a staggering win of 45 Euros. So that was fun. I was sort of the entertainment for those around me as I would show excitement when I won. Madame L sat there like she was bored and Maurice and her husband stood there and laughed at me. Maurice said I added ambiance. Whatever. I think Americans basically are more fun people.
A few photos taken in the city of La Rochelle.

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These cups on the table of a place selling crepes are for the famous Brittany cider which has a low alcohol content. I keep looking for some to buy but haven’t seen any around here. It’s just sort of fun to have them when drinking cider.

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The Hotel d’Ville is being renovated and is beautiful.

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I loved this boat on the side of the building.

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There is a small hippodrome, or horse race track, on the outskirts of our little city, Chatelaillon. We decided to go have a look the other day. I’ve been to horse races before. In fact, little known fact, my Dad had part ownership in a race horse once. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Sea Biscuit. I remember going to a few races when I was a little girl. I have no idea why my Dad did this. He had seven brothers and I am thinking it is something they did together. They owned a “race car” too, a hot rod. I don’t think either project lasted very long. Anyway, it was fun to find myself at another race track.

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A close up look at the track. Notice that the rider is on a little two wheeled cart, a sulky, behind the horse, not on it, very European. The run is called a trotter. The horses can’t gallop just sort of do a very fast walk. There wasn’t a starting gate either.

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Good old number 3, Big Bang. I bet and lost two Euros on him.

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Here are the horses crossing the finish line.

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There was some entertainment between races too. Ancient, local costumes and dances.

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That’s some hat on the man. I could swear they played a tune like one I danced to as a girl, Put Your Little Foot. It was a fun day but we didn’t stay for all of the races after losing that two euros.

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