I have decided to split this blog into two parts. The first part will be an overview of my four week stay in Brittany. The second part, will focus on what our leaving the EU means to me and my many European friends.
When I began writing this blog nearly fourteen years ago, I made a commitment not to talk about politics. However, back then none of us had any idea of the madness we would find ourself in today!
After my recent trip, and then the commemoration of D Day and everything it stands for, I am moved to write on a more in depth personal level.
First the overview.
Separated by the English Channel, this map shows our close proximity to northern France. I took the EuroStar train (one of my favourite forms of travel) from London to Paris which takes two hours and twenty minutes. From Paris Nord the metro to Paris Montparnasse where I caught the TGV to Lorient. My dear friend Elisabeth was waiting to take me to the cottage at Lamor-Plage . Everything on time, and very comfortable and if you book way ahead of time, inexpensive.
Elisabeth – in the cottage gardenI first met Elisabeth when I was living in Crickhowell (AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon) Wales almost thirty years ago and subsequently really got to know her when I had an exhibition in Brittany in 1995. She is an amazing woman involved in many different areas always helping other people. She is a good friend.
The poster from that exhibitionI can’t feature Elisabeth without showing her dog dear little Nouchka. Nouchka is very special…..I love her:)The lovely cottage I stayed in came about because of Elisabeth. When I was with her in March 2018, we had lunch with her friend Nicole, who just happened to mention that her son had a cottage for rent……the rest is history.And to add icing to the cake – I arrived at the cottage to find all sorts of goodies, courtesy Elisabeth and Nicole…..a lovely welcome During my first week, French actress Patricia Pekmezian joined me and was kind enough to sit for several portrait studies. We had a really lovely time together and talked at great length about the arts and life in general……
watercolour watercolour/gouachePatricia in the cottage gardenTowards the end of the month Alice Johnson arrived from the States….Another good friend and artist. We go back many years. We enjoyed painting together and everything else on offer….
Happy times were experienced at the Lamor-Plage beach. Here is Alice waiting to enjoy another delicious French lunch.
Meanwhile, it was so lovely to spend time by the beach and to experience the wonderful fresh air. Patricia and I spent a day on L’ile de Groix – an island I would love to spend more time on. There are miles and miles of amazing coastal walks to be enjoyed and of course so perfect for sketching and painting.
Patricia waiting for the ferry to take us to L’ile de Groix.The beach at Lamor- PlageAnd then there were the wonderful musical concerts. Brittany much like Wales is known for its love of music and we were not disappointed on this trip. One of the concerts featured a Welsh and Breton choir….bringing home our deep connections and similarities.
Elisabeth’s partner Herve…is involved with Les Gabiers d Artimon. As a choir they perform all over France plus more recently in Quebec, China and Russia. Talk about wonderful ambassadors. During Alice’s visit we were fortunate enough to attend a big concert in the Lorient Theatre with its one thousand seats….all filled. The concert was uplifting and moving, and again cemented the positive ties that we in the UK have with so many of our European brothers and sisters.
Les Gabiers D’artimon performing at the Lorient Theatre. Then of course there was the food…..Oh La La…….Eaten with Breton salted butter this bread is divine……...And the glorious patisseries that can be found in every village, town and city in France….There is so much interesting history surrounding the area…especially involving WW2…which I will write about in my second half.
I could go on and on, but key to all of this was the amazing hospitality of the Breton people. Beautiful people living in one of my favourite regions of France.
I will be away for the next week or so to enjoy a very special wedding. I plan to write the second part of this blog after I return around the 21st June.
Don’t forget the magical hummingbirds….watercolour.
I will catch up with blogs and messages after I return from the wedding. Suit case will be packed away…and I am here for the summer.