My workshop at La Cascade is over and what a week we had! Even tho it was brutally hot, everyone was a real trooper and everyday was a joy. Treasures were found at the markets and in Albi and many beautiful pieces of jewelry, bowls, figures and books were made in our studio time together.

I had such a great time with you all.  My thanks and love for your adventurous spirits and joy to Ray, Rae, Sara, Carla, Carolyn, Kathi, Sue and Camille. I hope our paths will cross many times!

Right after the workshop Dan and I took off for a short vacation which turned into automobile hell. We had a first great day in a small village east of Avignon. We attended a music festival and the Michel le Grand trio played. He is a legendary musician and composer who wrote songs such as Windmills of Your Mind, Summer of ’42 and the score and songs for Umbrellas of Cherboug. (One of my favorite films- see it!).

He is now 86 and tho quite frail as he walks, his playing is incomparable. The energy just pours out is fingers and soul. What an amazing night.

But starting the next day- car troubles. It was a real challenge to find mechanics in Avignon- a big city we don’t know well AND on the weekend AND in August (the month when most go on vacation) AND in some of the worst heat I have experienced. What should have been a relaxing vacation turned into a real test of remaining calm and positive.

Off to the next adventure.





In just a few days my last workshop will arrive at La Cascade. Really looking forward to sharing a week with wonderful friends- new and old. I thought I’d share a few of my fave pics of life at La Cascade.

the studio
the waterfall behind La Cascade
Welcome apero on the terrace
Nese, chef and owner, and me
ready for dinner
front of La Cascade- built in 1680- three stories tall
Terrace dining table for summer evenings
the salon-living room

Camping in France

Almost every town (and many villages) of any size has a campground- either a municipal campground or a private one close by.  It’s very popular in France to just take off and sleep under the stars.
The French campgrounds are just great. Most of them have grassy areas shaded by big trees, a swimming pool, modern toilets (a personal requirement of mine),  a cafe, a small store and sometimes even a restaurant with evening entertainment!
Last weekend we went for the third year to Ambialet for their annual Blues Festival.  Ambialet is an especially lovely village and the campground there is our favorite.  Large trees shade plush grassy grounds bordered by rose bushes. Two other couples joined us and we had a grand time.

One couple had turned their little white truck into a cool camping car. The other couple were trying out their new tent for the first time- we called it The Palace as it has a big enclosed foyer/porch along with two separate rooms-all inside the tent!

Ours was called The Doghouse which is about the size of it. Basically big enough for two sleeping bags and that is about it. Needless to say I did not sleep great.
Ambialet is situated on the Tarn river as is the campground. It’s a short 10 minute walk along the river from our campsite into the center of the village. The festival features three bands each night along with a great meal- Confit de Carnard or grilled Toulouse sausage with fries- Yum!! 6Euros for food- music FREE! The bands were good and happy people dancing the night away!

Short Getaway #2

A couple weeks ago we read about a tour of the new national theater in Albi. It is quite impressive architecturally and we thought it would be interesting to possibly get backstage.  Little did we know that we were in for over two hours of tortuous, complicated , indecipherable, speed-dial French.

I was feeling pretty positive that my comprehension of French has greatly improved over the last couple years and felt I was up to the task of at least getting the gist of a lecture. O mon Dieu was I wrong. The lecture went on for over two hours and was incomprehensible for me. It didn’t help that the speakers were quite boring. That tone of voice is universal.

Dan and I could not escape fast enough. Immediately we started our trek thru the Montagne Noire mountains to get to the Occitane and Arabe festival in Carcassonne. We had some trouble finding the somewhat obscure community center where it was taking place, so we stopped to ask for a few direction at a small epicerie.  Within seconds there were four Frenchies- all with different opinions on where the place was and how to get there-trying to help us out. Finally we arrived to a wonderful gathering of all ages to celebrate the music of Arabia and the old Occitane songs of the Languedoc. It was a treat.

The next day we were off again to the Amphoralis a museum I have wanted to visit for a long time. This is a museum that overlooks (literally sits above) the excavation of a large pottery workshop that existed only between the 1st to 3rd century AD. Over 70 potter families lived and worked here. Here they mass produced (by hand) the thousands of amphorae that were needed to ship wine all over the Roman Empire from the port of Narbonne about 10 miles away. They have excavated 14 large kilns, living spaces, and many many amphorae. You can learn about the daily life of the potters and even visit a garden with more than 900 plants which existed in the Gallo-Roman period.