A Country Girl at Heart

I love all seasons in the countryside
but autumn brings warmth to my heart
and fresh air on my face!

At this time of the year, it's wise to grab the beautiful days as they appear.
Another little train journey
but on a country train this time!
My destination is 'Apples'
and you can see the name painted on the carriage.

Through the train window, I saw the vineyards slowly turning yellow.
The train stops at every little village
I love it!

Here's the village station with a fresh coat of green paint.

Now the walk begins
past pastures and trees and grazing Swiss cows!

A tractor
busy sowing seeds in the freshly turned earth.

I'm heading towards these lovely woods.
I love the feeling of space
adore the silence
and the lack of crowds...

Some leaves have started to fall and decorate the slopes.

Moving forward
Down a little and up again

Going round one bend towards a range of low mountains

Up higher just before the entrance to the forest

A soft path through the trees
surrounded by nature
not a car to be seen or heard.

Coming out of the woods towards glorious fields

Down the hill towards the village again.
This time on a backdrop of the Alps with the lake below.

The little three-carriage country train
which has just come from the village of Bière
(which really is the French word for 'beer')

Goodbye Apples with your green-framed station clock!

I notice a sign up inside the train
This one advertises a Train Fondue
Now that's given me an idea for a future outing!


I am definitely a country girl by nature,
but since giving up my car this year,
I have learned to appreciate the practical side
of living in a town... although I often yearn for the calm of the country
I know I can get there very easily by train and by bus.
The public transport is excellent here
and very reliable.

A Steam Train Journey

I've been wanting to do this for sometime and this steam-train experience
was finally organized!

Here is a photo of our steam train waiting for us to climb aboard
in London's Victoria Station.

Look at the comfortable plush armchairs and the white cloth and napkins
on the table ready for us to have breakfast!

Each carriage had a name painted on the side
the one I was in was called 'Amethyst'.

Here's the locomotive. Isn't she grand?
Look at all that steam.
This was at a station during one of our numerous stops.
Steam trains need a lot of pampering
including long stopovers for water, oiling various parts
and screws tightening up and the metal wheels checking over.

Here's the engine driver in the cabin of lovely burgundy coloured locomotive.

The name of our train is Princess Elizabeth

This is a plaque to give a little royal information.

Look at some of the workings of this marvellous machine

Puff, puff, puff
Here she comes after a rather long overhaul.

Champagne before the meal!

We were travelling from London down to Cornwall
on the west coast of England.
I took this from the train as we neared Devon

This is the Brunel Bridge which spans the River Tamar
from Devon into Cornwall

Here's a view down on the river from the train which
is going across that bridge.

Now we're travelling alongside the sea.
It feels quite exciting.

We arrived quite late at night after dinner on the train.
Here is our hotel on the outskirts of Newquay.
We stayed here for three nights.

We were so lucky to have a sea view
and excellent weather.
There were different outings organized each day
if we wanted to do them.
I chose to visit two gardens,
one of which is called The Lost Gardens of Heligan
a most wonderful place to visit.

As a parting photo, here is a pink sunset taken from my hotel room.


Here is a short video of the very train I was on
during the 17-20 September period

Let the Sun Shine in.

For as long as I remember,
I've loved windows and sheers
and how the sunshine illuminates the patterns and creates
folds and curves.

Open windows have a special charm
and they allow the sheers to move in the breeze

and we get a glimpse of greenery outside
transporting us to another outside world

There's a dreamy, romantic feeling to watching these lightweight
transparent curtains move back and forth

I could watch them forever
observing the play of sunlight outside which changes constantly

Who would have thought that open windows
and the breeze blowing curtains could hold such fascination?

The sunlight shines its filtered yellow magic
as if there is a hidden source of light within the trees outside

When the sun lowers in the sky
it leaves behind it a memory of luminous moments
of stillness and peace.

Looking at these window captures
reminds me how 
 peaceful observation
becomes a joyful meditation.

A September Evening Cruise

This was my first evening cruise
and September seemed the perfect month to do it.

Coming into port to let the daytime cruise passengers off
and allow us to embark.

I do love the big chimneys on these paddle steamers
and the captain is surveying things from his perch above!

Gazing down at the gorgeous reflections as we queue to go aboard.

You can see the paddles in the water right under the name of the cruise boat.

We had reserved seats in the lovely restaurant for the Cheese Raclette Cruise
See more about raclette below.

Off we go.
It's a wonderful evening and the sunset should be lovely.
I can't resist being outside on the deck.

This is our window-side table.

Look at the beautiful wooden panels shining in the early evening sun.
I love the draped curtains.

Almost impossible to take these shots without reflections.
There are windows on both sides of the boat.

The view across the lake onto the vineyards in the early evening light.

The light changes as we move forward

The waitress brings a good red wine to accompany the raclette

The sun has almost disappeared from the sky leaving a yellow glow

Balancing on the horizon

and the sky turns orange and creates warm reflections on the water's surface.

Since the raclette is a long drawn-out meal,
I have plenty of time to go outside with my camera.
The reflections are just wonderful!

The outside lights are turned on against the darkening blue sky

and the crescent moon rises high.

The boat turns round and we cruise towards the sunset
as we admire the view through the open window.

We have disembarked and watch the boat edging its way into mooring.
What a lovely first experience of an evening cruise!

About cheese raclette:

This is what raclette looks like.
It's usually served with boiled potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions.

The actual cheese is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese.
It's usually fashioned into a wheel of about 6 kg (13 lbs).
It is most commonly used for melting.
The word 'raclette' comes from the verb 'racler' which means to scrape.
The melted cheese, which is done on a special apparatus,
is scraped onto the plate with a wide-bladed knife or special instrument.

An extra note:
"Raclette was mentioned in medieval writings,
in texts from Swiss-German convents dating from as far as 1291,
as a particularly nutritious meal consumed by peasants in mountainous Switzerland
and Savoy (now part of France).

Traditionally, Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them
when they were moving cows to or from the pastures up in the mountains.
In the evenings, around the campfire, they would place the cheese
next to the fire and, when it had reached the perfect softness, scrape it
on top of bread."

With thanks to Wikepedia for this extra information.