Monday, August 15, 2011

What's Going On?

Julius Leblanc Stewart, The Goldsmith Ladies in the Bois de Boulogne in a Peugeot "Voiturette", 1897, Bordeaux Museum of Art, France

What has been going on?  My poor blog has been woefully neglected lately and I have been a terrible blogger.  Even though I have been keeping up with everybody else's blogs my commenting has been very thin on the ground, for this I can only apologise, I have been suffering a touch of bloggers block, everything I wrote suddenly seemed trite, even on the commenting front and time after time I found myself hitting the delete button.  To new followers and people that have sent lovely and encouraging e mails I will be in touch. I think my blogging equilibrium has now returned, so things should be back to normal soon, I have had quite a busy Summer so far, lots of guests, constant cleaning, tidying and gardening and in between a few interludes...

On Bastille day, good friends invited us to a luncheon party, interrupted by the Tour De France which was passing the end of their road on the Pyrenean mountain stage, the atmosphere was fantastic, we all trotted up the road, glasses of wine in hand to wait for the heroes of the cycling world to pass, I snapped this picture, the pace was quite slow and relaxed here, no doubt they were saving themselves for the gruelling mountain climbs ahead, after they whistled by, we returned to the party for more fine food, wine and chat.

MG persuaded me to accompany him on a bit of a road trip to the Silverstone Classic for the full three days, he tempted me with the fact that 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of my favourite car; The E Type Jaguar,  the first UK customer car was delivered in July 1961. At Silverstone they were trying to break the world record by having the largest number of E Types ever gathered in one place, there were around 1000 from all over Europe.

   I do love a road trip and I got to choose the accommodation, thanks to the blogging world, I knew that the lovely Victoria from A Life Reclaimed offered quality accommodation and she is only 10 minutes from Silverstone racetrack. Those of you who follow Victoria or her daughter Sasha aka Liberty London Girl, will know that Victoria is at present in the middle of moving and it was lovely of her to let us stay, three weeks before her move.

  When we arrived at Victoria's we got a very warm welcome and when she showed us to our beautiful room I was in heaven, I thought to myself, stuff Silverstone, I could just stay here for three days and pamper myself, go for walks with Victoria and the dog's and explore the beautiful countryside and architecture of Northamptonshire a stunning county previously unknown to me.  Victoria is moving to a cottage up the road, she told me, even though she is downsizing, once she is settled, she will still have a spare room and bathroom and hopes to be able to continue offering quality hospitality.  If your looking for a quintessential English home, charming host, fine cooking, stunning countryside, with good road access to London and surrounding counties, look no further.

Dreaming about my future new classic car, in 'old English white', one day...

Meanwhile back at Silverstone, the highlights for me were indeed the E Types, I decided I would love to own one (Series 1 and definitely soft top) and after perusing all the styles and colours, it would have to be in this colour which MG informs me is 'old English white' MG also informed me that if I ever did buy one he would do all the necessary maintenance on it, provided he got to drive it occasionally. 

 I enjoyed my brief return visit to Britain, discovering a gorgeous county that I had no previous knowledge of, in the evening, after being advised by Victoria we motored along the Northamptonshire country lanes stopping at country pubs, in charming villages, to consume gorgeous meals, it really whetted my appetite and made me realise that there is still a lot of Britain unknown to me and that Britain is indeed beautiful, I quite fancy going on a one month road trip, around all the parts of Britain that I don't know, who knows maybe next Spring...

The other highlight for me was Jamie Olivers Fabulous Feasts when we got off the overnight ferry at Portsmouth we drove straight to Silverstone, we were starving, we looked around the many outdoor catering vans at Silverstone, I ordered a BLT from one of them and MG ordered a bacon roll from another, terrible, my idea of a BLT is light, crispy bacon, heavy on the salad and tomatoes with lots of seasoning encased in some form of delicious wholemeal bread, what I got fell well short of the mark, I found myself asking, why, out of all the food stalls and vans there, nobody seemed to be offering healthy, tasty food, it was not until day two that I discovered Jamie's tent.

I have a couple of Jamie Oliver cookbooks in my collection but have never eaten in one of his establishments.  Recently he seemed to be everywhere I was worried at one point that he could be suffering from overexposure so it was great to discover, he does indeed practice what he preaches, he has gone into outdoor catering and has tents at many British events and festivals, good for him, the food was; marvellous, served quickly and efficiently by genuinely happy, cheerful, well informed staff, ethically sourced and included vegetarian options. I went for the roasted summer veggie and goats cheese bap, it was sublime, the next day I had the Great British salt beef, dill pickle and mustard, into the stratosphere, I am still dreaming about it now and find myself wishing we could get salt beef here in France!

Wishing you all a fabulous week...


  1. So good to see you pop up on my reading list today, and happy that you are feeling productive again. I think it happens to all of us from time to time. I, too, have spent the summer feeling uninspired and blocked. I think sometimes when life is too busy we all feel like we have nothing interesting to say and we just draw back for a while.

    Hope to see you more often now. have a lovely August!

  2. Lovely to have you back, my dear Dash!
    It's really hard to get back into the swing of blogging again after a break, I often feel the same when I return from India.
    I adore E Types, they are my must-see car when I go to vintage rallies, too. Jamie's menu sounds delicious. x

  3. Oh I am glad to see you back posting!

    How was the Tour de France? I found myself fascinated by it on the tv this year but I don't know how it would to watch it live. Even if they're not zooming past, surely it's all over and done with pretty quickly? Ah well, excellent excuse for a picnic I suppose!

  4. Hi Alex, yes, even when they are going at a fairly relaxed pace, they are still pretty quick, you spend about twenty minutes waiting for them, the excitement builds and then they are gone.

  5. E-Type Jags and Jamie Oliver's cooking - my goodness, what heaven!

  6. I like MGs myself....but the Jamie Oliver menu had me drooling...and not expensive.
    I have been in the U.K. recently and was delighted by the high quality of food after dull rural France and rice and beans Costa Rica....unless, in both cases, you eat at friends' houses, when it all goes up several notches.
    Lovely to see you back.

  7. Love the art illustration…vintage cars and great hats - made for each other!

  8. Welcome back Dash!
    Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

  9. Your summer sounds and looks divine; My only and highly regrettable experience in an older, restored Jag involved the engine catching fire. I hope you get your wish and have a wonderful time driving.

  10. Dash life is for living ... and then blogging.. whenever.. I have been useless myself for so long.. but dipping in and out xx

  11. It's so hard to keep up with everything. I do miss everyone but there's not enough hours in the day sometimes. Your trip sounded wonderful. I love E types and Victoria's place and the food sounded just the thing. Have a lovely weekend xx


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