Wonky Pots

Week Two of Mud Slinging went better than Week One.

After a great deal of concentration, an aching back from leaning over the wheel and sore muscles from man-handling lumps of clay, I produced four very wonky cylinders, one definitely more bowl-shaped than it was supposed to be.

Bottom to top…from start to finish
With a bit of careful cropping, they look much better!

Despite the uneven shapes, I had progressed from Week One and staggered off home, exhausted on a Monday night to ease my aching back.

Mud slinging… harder than it looks on TV!

Mud Slinging

Last week I went to my first pottery class.

I met some nice people, had a bit of a laugh and threw some clay around. Literally. It would seem throwing on the wheel is not a natural skill and may take some time to acquire.

We started with wedging. This is basically kneading clay to get the air bubbles out. Sounds easy except the more you wedge the clay, the more air bubbles seemed to appear.

From there it was rolling the clay into bowling balls. Again, removing the air, again it seemed, adding air.

After that it was time to sit down at the wheel and make cylinders.

This all seemed to be happening far too fast as it was literally the first time I’d touched clay. It was very hard to see the demonstration as throwing clay involves covering it with both hands so I was working blind. We were attempting to centre the clay before trying to bring up the sides.

It was all very challenging as one of my balls went flying off the wheel. 

By my third attempt I’d managed to make a very rustic and stumpy cylinder. Luckily it was time to clear up as I was covered in clay and the whole process seemed a bit hard.

Let’s see how tonight goes…


Getting Crafty

After going to Fragonard in Grasse, I’ve been feeling inspired by embroidery and so with a small investment of eleven pounds and an old handkerchief, I decided to see what I could remember from my primary school days.

All things considered, it wasn’t too bad. 

These days there are self-threading needles (genius!) I remembered the old classics like chain stitch, satin stitch and backstitch. I taught myself French knots (hurray for the internet) and now I’m off and running.

 Watch out for embroidered napkins and hankies for Christmas (unless the novelty wears off!).

The New Guest Room

With Big T’s Dad arriving to stay for a week, we needed to finish the bedroom on the main floor. There are fewer stairs, a private bathroom and close proximity to the kitchen and garden. Perfect!

Big T had painted and perfected the room with several layers of paint including a new colour for the woodwork. All very lovely!

We did a ridiculous drive from Antibes to Le Rouret with a double mattress sticking out of the back of the Mini. Having done this before, it didn’t feel seem strange to us although other drivers seemed a little concerned.

We moved the newly painted free bed in and made up the bed. It won’t be staying permanently as the headboard is too high for the window but in the meantime, it looks very pretty.

New guest room

Birthday Dinner

This year’s birthday dinner was a trip to our local restaurant in Roquefort les Pins; Auberge du Clos des Pins. We’ve eaten there a few times, the food and prices are good and the dog is allowed to sit under the table so we’re all happy!

This year we started with a lovely glass of Champagne by the pool. 

You couldn’t have told me last year that’s where I’d be sitting on my birthday, it was quite a change since we had lunch on the canal in King’s Cross last September!

A very nice view

 A very nice way to spend my birthday!

To Grasse

I had never been to the perfume museums in Grasse and so for my birthday, decided that it would be a nice way to spend the day.

It turned out we are only about ten minutes away from Grasse, the world centre of perfume and home to Fragonard among other brands. Built into the hillsides, Grasse has stunning views across to the Med and with light winds and sunshine, it was a perfect day to explore the town.

We arrived at the museum of Fragonard and took a short tour of the factory. The smells were incredible as we were immersed in scents of lavender, olive, jasmine and more as the distilling process was explained. It was really quite similar to gin making!

From the factory we explored the gift shop where beautiful packaging inspired me and I had to resist buying everything I could just because it looked pretty.

Venturing out into the town, we found the ultimate in gift shops as there were Fragonard homewares, kids and apparel shops in the nearby area. It was my perfect world and I suspect there may be shopping in Grasse in the near future.

We strolled around the old town discovering squares with restaurants and cafes before eating baguettes in the place overlooking the Med.

Lighting the Fire

On Sunday afternoon the weather turned cold again and we decided to try out the fireplace.  

Before long we had a roaring, crackling fire warming the living room as we ate a late Sunday lunch. It was very cosy, a bit smokey but it gave us a lovely taste of winter…literally!

The fire didn’t last long as we were burning wood from the garden and before long the sun came out and it all warmed up again.  

 Still, we ordered logs to be delivered so that we’re all ready for the cold weather as we’ll be spending our first Christmas in France this year.

Runaway Dog

After the rain Sunday morning was cooler and clear. We set off to walk in the Bois Communal along a trail to an old roman camp. 
Up we went until we came across four men on horseback. Agnes had been off lead and obediently staying close until she saw the horses. After that it was chaos.
What we did wrong: let Agnes off the lead after the horses galloped away. 
What Agnes did wrong: run like a bat out of hell after the horses. We saw her little brown furry bottom disappear over the horizon and that was the last we saw of her. 
We called, shouted, walked and ran. Eventually we found her only for her to run away again. After a lot more shouting and running, we caught up with her again and this time managed to get her back on the lead. What a bad dog! 
We continued on our walk, dog on lead this time as she definitely won’t be trusted again. 
We reached the top and could see the stunning panoramic view from Nice to Cannes as we stood on roman walls. It was a lovely walk in the end, would have been better without the added stress!

The Birthday Weekend

Arriving back into Nice on Saturdaymorning, I was tired from a 5am start. I’d been out the previous evening and, of course, slept badly in anticipation of sleeping badly!
The season has started to change in France and on Saturdayafternoon, the first heavy rain arrived. It was our first taste of Autumn and it was nice.
The rain fell relentlessly for a few hours. Watching rain fall into a swimming pool is so much nicer. We sat inside watching it until eventually we ventured out in search of food. 

Extra Curricular Activities

As we’re moving rapidly in Autumn, it’s time to get into some extra-curricular activities as before we know it, it will be dark at 4pm!

This week, along with the excruciation of French Conversation, I ventured back to Yoga having taken an extended break over the summer. It was also excruciating but in a different way. It was a week of breaking the ice (or the confidence as it turned out).

In a week I’m embarking on my new hobby, Pottery, as I start a twelve week evening class throwing pots (probably at the wall) and I’m researching upholstery classes as that’s my next project for the Spring.

Keeping busy…