Rain in Rouen

 It may be quite a way south of Norfolk, but Normandy seems to enjoy much the same weather as we do in Norfolk, so while the garden at home was getting nicely soaked after a long dry spell we were enjoying torential downpours and thunderstorms too.  In fact, after a frantic trip outside to deal with a blocked downpipe which threatened to divert the entire deluge in through the conservatory roof rather than into the drain, Tom and Tim looked like extras from a Hornblower movie. 

So, on our last day, it was entirely apt to head off to the coast to look for seasick sailors. I was determined to do this having read Thomas’ blog post here, and wasn’t going to let a bit of rain put us off.

Normandy is beautiful, and full of contrasts.  High plateaus of fields and agriculture, and beautiful green valleys, leafy lanes and timbered houses.  Hard to appreciate though through the steamed up windows of the car. 

Our destination was a cliff top church at Varengeville sur Mer,  the burial place of, among others of the artistic and literary elite, George Braque a contemporary of Picasso. 

I was looking forward to seeing the inside of the church, which Thomas had described as being lit by the sun through the beautiful stained glass windows, but when I stood in the doorway on this dark and dismal day I might as well have been standing at the mouth of a cave.  Below me all I could see  was the Madonna lit by candles.

This was another time to be grateful for my camera, as I could actually see more on the display than in reality.

Here was the pillar I’d heard so much about…

That poor sea sick sailor…

and the woman of his dreams, the mermaid.

Outside in the church yard I was fascinated by the enormous tombs, so different from our grassy English churchyards, and the amazing china flowers decorating some of them.

Moss had added a new dimension to this one…

Monet had seen the church rather differently…

So it would be nice to go back one day in the sunshine.

I missed out on the garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll  at Bois de Moutier, because of the rain.  I could have happily wandered round with the trees dripping down my neck, but my companions had only just got over their soaking from the night before and obviously thought I was mad. 

Back in the car, the windows even more steamed up because of our wet coats we retraced our steps back to the village where my daughter-in-law has promised me a shop  I would like.

How well she knows me! The photographs I took inside are rubbish, I’m embarrassed to show them.  I was far too excited about everything I could see, and I can never get over the feeling that someone is going to think I’m some sort of spy and get cross.  (I know lots of other bloggers take pictures in shops.  How do you get round this?  What do you say ?Please let me know)

It’s a cliche to say it was like an Aladdin’s Cave.  There were beads, barrels of beads and shells and little tin dishes to collect them in.  Bundles of brightly colour ribbons hung from the ceiling and draped across the shelves.  A huge rack of turned wooden bobbins were wound with Liberty print bindings.  Baskets of trimmings and printed tapes. Necklaces and bracelets made from metal charms and glass beads. Bolts of linen, natural and dyed, striped and checks.  Bales of flowery Liberty prints, baskets of fat quarters for patchwork, embroidery silks and cottons.  And for those who wanted to by things readymade two rooms filled with table linens and teatowels, crafts and soaps and…and…

I usually leave these shops empty handed, overwhelmed by the choice and completely unable to make up my mind.  With a supreme effort, and with the image of husband and son losing the will to life out of the corner of my eye, I chose a few little pieces.

This ribbon, blue like the flower of the linen…

Tape, perfect for Planet Penny…

Pretty, pretty flowery binding…

and a fat quarter of ballerinas.

Alas, no website, but if you happen to be 9 kilometres from Dieppe in Varengeville call in, I promise you, you’ll love it.

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About penny

I live in Norfolk, England in a cottage on the edge of the Norfolk Broads where it can be peaceful and beautiful, or wet and muddy, or occasionally wild and windswept. With me is husband Tim, Henry the elderly and opinionated tabby cat, and Higgins, the miniature dachshund with a massive personality. You’ll find me chattering on about wool and textiles, knitting and crochet, recipes, books and patterns, exhibitions and shopping and of course, the adventures of a small dog! Planet Penny has a Facebook Page, you can find me on UK Handmade and I am featured on Channel4/4Homes Favourite Craft Blog List.

6 thoughts on “Rain in Rouen

  1. thomas

    Hilary, I’m sure you’d love it too:)

    Mum, it’s sweltering here now. Oh well. Great pictures, despite the poor conditions, and thanks again for finding the time to visit us in Normandie one last time and bring presents, yummy things to eat, helpful waterproof step-fathers, etc.

  2. Geraldine

    I rather fancy a Capodimonte flower or two on my headstone …. one day . Meanwhile , a visit to that craft shop sounds tempting too .
    Your ballerina material is perfect !

  3. Rachel

    “A fat quarter of ballerinas” – brilliant – what more could a girl want?!

    Shame about not seeing the garden – I think they look best in the rain. Would love to see that garden.

  4. vanessa

    Isn’t that pillar fascinating, the sea sick sailor actually being sick! Your photos are very atmospheric Penny. And what wonderful buys, all that scrummy haberdashery. Looks like you had the perfect break. Love Vanessa xxx

  5. Pingback: Reasons to be Cheerful 11 | planetpenny.co.uk

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