Feeling kind of "crabby" in Annapolis


"THE CRAB IS IN" - I need to get one of these signs for the front door of our house in Annapolis because I'm convinced that it has a much better time hosting United States Naval Academy families and troupes of professional actors from NYC than it does when Stéphane and I are in residence. Whereas our visitors spend their time kayaking, biking, playing games and praising the house for its historic charm, Stephane and I walk through its rooms muttering ominously about aging pipes, warped wood and everything that we have to do to make it look better. At less than half of our painted lady's age, I certainly wouldn't like to hear people whispering conspiratorially about my wrinkles, stomach flab and grey hair!

Nonetheless, in an effort to give our Southern Belle a face lift before the arrival of her next guests, Stéphane and I had to make a quick decision about which colors would best enhance her features. As you can tell by looking at the photo below, it wasn't a straightforward process! Worried that we were going to go with some new-fangled Parisian fashion, like yellow with grey spots, neighbors suddenly found compelling reasons to drop by and ask about our color selections.

The grey spots are filler. After careful consideration, we decided to go with the lighter green paint on top. If you don't like it, please don't tell me! We already had to buy more paint after we changed our mind about the bottom color. We also decided on red for the door, black for the shutters and natural wood for the front porch.

In between trimming overgrown trees and washing all of the bedding...


Stéphane and I took a bit of time off from our chores last night to have dinner with some of our neighbors at Reynold's Tavern. After hearing about St-Germain, a delicate French liqueur of elderflower blossoms, while I was staying with Carolyn in Boston, I was pleased to see that their August special is a refreshing Elderflower Champagne Cocktail. Here's the recipe:

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Fill a tumbler with ice. Fill three-quarters of the glass with dry champagne or prosecco. Add thinly sliced cucumber and fresh mint. Top off with St-Germain.

P.S. Please let me know if you need some fresh mint because I've been ripping large bunches of it out of the overgrown flowerbeds. The good news is that the air smells wonderful!

Cheers - to a delightfully refreshing summertime drink.

Comments

  1. Please tell me that neither you nor Stephane is doing the pruning in the backyard. And I'm assuming you're not painting the house yourself--oh what a chore. Your color choices are very traditional, very appropriate for the era, and I know I've told you what a red door means, right?

    As for the mint--it should always be grown in pots so that it doesn't overtake the garden. Now you know.

    I hope you make it to Queenstown--that will make it all worthwhile. And maybe you'll find a replacement pair of shorts for Stephane.

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    1. I'm so pleased that you realized that our red door is attributable to your post!

      Stephane's pruning the trees and I'm pulling the mint, etc. in the back yard and we love it. It probably sounds strange but yard work is one of the things that we miss while living in Paris. Plus, it always feels so good to see the end results. But since we're trimming so much, I arranged for someone to haul away the debris.

      Even though I'm a really good painter and did all of the interior work, professional painters are doing the outside. There's no way that I want Stephane or me going up on a ladder to paint our third floor. It's a long way down!

      You're right. I should really grow the mint in pots and would if I was here to water them.

      As for a trip to Queenstown, that's on our list. Stephane was pleased to have found some more of his shorts in the basement in Paris right before we left. I think that today's selection have lighthouses on them.

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  2. neither nor is, neither nor are? you is, you are? oh grammar rules.

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    1. Perhaps my Swiss friend, Heidi, will read your comment and let us know. She's an excellent English teacher and is much better at grammar than me. :)

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    2. I'm afraid I don't know it either! And, honestly, I'm too lazy to look it up in one of my clever grammar books. Summer has finally arrived in Switzerland and with the temperatures approaching 35 degrees celsius (close to 100 F?) it's much too hot to think about these things! Let's stay in the shade, sip a glass of chilled white wine and take it easy :-)
      Have a good vacation!
      P.S. neither you or Stéphane are...(plural), I think.

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    3. I knew that I could count on you for a sensible answer, Heidi! Of course, you're right that it's preferable to stay in the shade and sip chilled white wine (not prosecco?!?) rather than worry about grammer. We can discuss it after the temperature has cooled down and we're in London together in October!

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  3. I'm feeling rather frustrated because too much paid work is stopping me doing yard work in Blois at the moment! Enjoy it.

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    1. I will! Good luck finishing your paid work as quickly as possible so that you can get on with the stuff that you really want to do -- your yard work. At least it looks as if you're getting in some cycling time while in Blois. Your photos are stunning!

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  4. That drink looks mouthwatering! Thanks for the recipe, I'm going to try it.

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    1. The general consensus at our table was that it's the perfect summer drink. Come to think of it, there was one dissenter who felt that the cucumbers ruined the flavor. I really liked it...but then I also like it when restaurants serve cucumber flavored water.

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  5. Mk! you already know what i think about elderflower. i might just buy some for our 2 week vacation in cap ferret and make it the official Lancelot Vacance Cocktail!!! I hope all the house stuff went OK. Sir L owns a flat in London and we rent it and it is in massive need of some attention (that we keep putting off) but as you know... after a certain amount of time... paint and carpet etc must be taken care of. Hope you find more time to relax while you're stateside.

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    1. Ha! I love the idea of Sir L and you having an official Lancelot Vacance Cocktail in Cap Ferret! I don't know how everyone else, including my kids, know about elderflower. I'll have to get a bottle of St-Germain for la rentrée.

      I've been making kale salads for lunch to keep my energy levels up and thinking of you. I'm so excited that the date of your first harvest is fast approaching and that I'll be able to buy kale in Paris!

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  6. Well you cannot leave us in suspense. What is the meaning of a red door?

    Love the green. I am sure it will look beautiful when finished.

    Love Denise

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    1. While red doors can mean lots of different things, I learned from Joseph's post that people were allowed to paint their doors red as soon as they had paid off their mortgage.

      The following is from wiki-answers:

      A red door means "welcome". However, now that I'm getting into a bit of staging, I've learned that there are many meanings to a red front door:

      In Feng Shui, a red door symbolizes the mouth of the home. By painting our door red (or any bright colour that stands out) chi (positive energy) is drawn to the house. It is the entry point in which abundance and opportunities find us.

      The Chinese consider red to be the lucky or sacred colour. Many doors are painted with a fresh coat of red just before Chinese New Year to invite good luck and happiness.
      In Ireland, a red door is supposed to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.

      In Catholicism, a red door represents that the blood of Christ has been smeared on it and that the area beyond the door is holy and sacred.

      Also, according to the Old Testament, the Jewish slaves in Egypt smeared their doors with lambs blood as a sign that the required sacrifice had already been made, and those homes would be passed over by the Angel of Vengence.

      Supposedly red doors were used as part of the Underground Railroad, and homes with red doors were "safe houses".

      Albert Einstein painted his door red because he couldn't recognize his house without it.

      And for homeowners, a red door announces that the house is paid for, free and clear.

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  7. The Elderflower Champagne Cocktail is now firmly on my tipple list. I can't wait to try it!!

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    1. Please let me know what you think of it! As soon as I get back to Paris, I'm going to get a bottle of St-Germain and make some.

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  8. Would love to see some photos of the painted lady painted! I wish I had that cocktail in my hand right now, it's insanely hot here!

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    1. I can't believe the fantastic weather that you're having in Norway! Both times that I went there, it was rainy and cold. I'm not sure that they'll be finished sprucing up our painted lady before we leave on Saturday. After weeks of drought, it started raining earlier this evening. I just hope that it stops before tomorrow morning.

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    2. Back in France now, Norway was warm but not hot (low-mid 20s), i.e. perfect! It's far too hot here, although I think it will be getting a bit more bearable tomorrow. Good luck with the weather your end

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