Author Archives: Deborah Harmes

Breathtaking Brittany — Multiple Posts Coming Up!

We’re on the road in Brittany right now — taking a much needed holiday. I’ll have a whole series of posts from Dinan and Morlaix and the Finistere and Quimper. From ancient towns filled with half-timbered or stone buildings to pre-historic standing stones to gothic cathedrals — this part of France is simply stunning.

Just a tease or two — so shhhh — come back soon!

Rooftop Jumble in the historic city of Quimper in the Finistere Brittany, France.

Side entry of the Cathedral in Quimper, Brittany, France.

Standing stones near Camaret-sur-Mer

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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UPDATES on the Ad Lib Artisans website

Interesting how quickly time slides away — and we’re a bit shocked to realise that we are leaving the house that Mark has been working on since November in TWO WEEKS!

We’re headed over to the other side of Normandy for another reno — but it also looks like we’ll be leaving France in mid-June to have some adventures in other countries. Sooooo — it was time to update Mark’s online work portfolio with a LOT of pictures.

Gallery 1 has the images from here in Normandy over the last 5 months. And Gallery 2 is full of the pictures from that huge renovation he did on the Mid Century ranch house in Australia in 2014 through mid-2016.

Want a peek? Then go to Ad Lib Artisans to see what I’m talking about. DOZENS of photos showing the range of the work that Mark does.

Mark inside the Calvados house from the 1400s.

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Photo Of The Day — The Woman In Red in Vimoutiers

Seriously — it’s moments like this that make you smile.

This tiny little woman in a red jacket wouldn’t have even been shoulder height on me. And there she was on a Saturday afternoon, dressed in her bright red wool jacket and making her way through the French town of Vimoutiers in Normandy. I hope I’m still getting around that well when I’m her esteemed age!

Old woman in a red coat walking in front of a historic church in Vimoutiers, Normandy, France.

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Time For A RELAUNCH!

I mentioned this bit of news in my last post — so it’s time to show you what I’ve been up to since the Christmas holidays.

Rather unexpectedly — and happily — my freelance writing and editing business has taken off — so I did a total facelift of my writing, editing, and photography website.

The interesting thing about the photography is that it sells in fabbo spurts a few times each year. But what stays consistent is the writing and editing work.

The refreshed and relaunched website at deborahharmes.com

The refreshed and relaunched website at deborahharmes.com

Just CLICK ON THIS LINK for the new and improved website!

Give me a few days (I hope!) and I’ll tell you about some of the amazing clients I have had in the last couple of months — everyone from advertising agencies to CEOs of interesting international organisations to medical practitioners to artists and creators. It’s certainly never boring!

Back soon…

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Refresh — Regroup — Relaunch

You may have noticed a significant absence of posts for the last three months — and that’s because Mark has been working away like a busy little bee over in the 1400s house. And I’ve been carefully building a base of clients for my writing and editing business.

We took a much-needed weekend escape at the end of February — over to the far western side of Normandy in beachside Brehal. We didn’t do a lot — ate, slept, read, watched movies, and had a few outings in the icy cold weather. But it was a good break and we came back feeling refreshed.

Mark looking out to sea in Brehal, Normandy, France

Mark looking out to sea in Brehal, Normandy, France

A moules (mussels) farm at the seaside in Normandy, France.

A moules (mussels) farm at the seaside in Normandy, France.

On an afternoon drive along the seacoast, we stumbled upon this medieval chateau ruin from the 14th Century in Regneville sur Mer and had a quick walk around. It’s a tiny but very pretty village facing the sea.

The corner of a 14th Century chateau ruin in the seaside village of Regneville sur Mer, Normandy, France.

The corner of a 14th Century chateau ruin in the seaside village of Regneville sur Mer, Normandy, France.

What was meant to be a short hop back over to England for Mark’s parents’ 40th anniversary party ended up being a two week visit instead. It’s always wonderful to visit with them and see all of the other assorted family and friends, but everyone in the house ended up sick as could be with whatever lurghi was hanging around England at the time and I ended up in A&E getting meds for a chest infection when our local GP couldn’t see me. Aarrgghh!

Margaret & Brian Harmes at 40th Anniversary Party

Margaret & Brian Harmes at 40th Anniversary Party

We arrived back in France exactly 4 weeks after our icy cold visit to the seaside in Brehal — and everything here at the farmhouse in Notre Dame de Fresnay had burst into bloom!

View of the Normandy countryside through the bedroom window in Notre Dame de Fresnay.

View of the Normandy countryside through the bedroom window in Notre Dame de Fresnay.

Daffodils beside the old well.

Daffodils beside the old well.

Down by the duck pond.

Down by the duck pond.

We’re preparing to move on from here in three very compressed weeks. But we’re headed to the OTHER large house belonging to the owners of this house — and we’ll be there for 6 weeks whilst Mark does renovation work on it. I’ll send pictures of that project as it progresses.

The REGROUP and RELAUNCH part of the title refers to us regrouping, going over to England for several weeks at the end of June, and trying to decide if we want to settle down or continue to work and travel for awhile longer. That’s a longer stand-alone post about the turbulent social and political factors at play here in Europe right now, so we’ll save that for another time.

I have to be truthful, it’s one of those things that sneaks up on you a bit as you get older — the mental cushion of a home base. And right now our ‘home base’ is a huge storage unit full of our possessions in England — one we refer to far too often when we reach for something and then realise that it’s in the $%^&£@! storage unit!

In the next couple of months, we will be relaunching ourselves away from here. And I have ALSO just relaunched my personal website — but I’ll leave that for a follow-up post.

Back soonish!

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Christmas Lights in Calvados, Normandy, France

It’s the first week of January in an icy cold winter and we had a short ramble around Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives on a Friday night after Christmas. It was only 8 PM and we were rather surprised at just how few people were out and about. The streets were practically empty — but that did allow me to get some good photos of the Christmas lights.

Enjoy!

Christmas lights in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in the Calvados region of Normandy, France.

Christmas lights in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in the Calvados region of Normandy, France.

Christmas lights in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Christmas lights in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Christmas lights on the town hall in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Christmas lights on the town hall in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

A cold and wintery night outside the medieval market hall in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in the Calvados region of Normandy, France at Christmas time.

A cold and wintery night outside the medieval market hall in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in the Calvados region of Normandy, France at Christmas time.

The only place in the village that was busy on a Friday night -- the kebab shop!

The only place in the village that was busy on a Friday night — the kebab shop!

And finally — my favourite image — Mark in silhouette as he walks down a narrow street near the market square.

A man walks down a darkened street in northern France in mid-winter.

A man walks down a darkened street in northern France in mid-winter.

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A Farmhouse Christmas in Normandy, France

Just a few quick pics today of our quiet just-us-two Christmas in France.

Back soon!

Festive touches in the French farmhouse.

Festive touches in the French farmhouse.

A bit of Christmas in the French farmhouse.

A bit of Christmas in the French farmhouse.

A tiny bit of candlelight for dinner.

A tiny bit of candlelight for dinner.

Pull that cork, Mark!

Pull that cork, Mark!

Prosecco on the way...

Prosecco on the way…

Bubbly in the farmhouse...

Bubbly in the farmhouse…

Selfies in the kitchen as we cook...

Selfies in the kitchen as we cook…

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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