A round up of what I have been doing the past year since my last interview in May 2011.
Working with the chefs at St George on the new menu for Frame Bar and Restaurant. Athens, Greece
COSMIC CHRISSIE AND HER FRIENDS, AND THEIR ADVENTURES IN THE UNIVERSE AND BEYOND. EP.1 THE SICK SEA….
Charlie the cat jumped onto the lily bed and started biting Cosmic Chrissies feet. “Wake up” he purred, his green eyes bigger than ever “There’s an urgent Starrygram from Kris the Knowledgeable one” http://www.krisdevanorth.
Cosmic Chrisssie fluttered her eyelashes three times and was awake. “OK, you can lay off the feet now Charlie it tickles, what does it say?”
Charlie stopped biting long enough to say “ I know I’m a clever, but I’m not old enough to read yet, and besides I’m hungry- what’s for breakfast?”
“Let me have a look then, and anyway it’s your turn to make breakfast – and please, remember that I don’t really like sardines and jam on toast. Cosmic Chrissie read the telegram quickly. “Kris the knowledgeable one says we have to go and see him on theWhite Mountain– urgently there’s an Emergency on Planet Earth”
She jumped out of bed and after brushing her teeth and a very quick shower, put on her special cosmic cape with the go faster stripes.
“No time for breakfast Charlie, make sure Cloud Nine is full with special Ultra Violet Light – the purest one, we have to go now, we can always make a pitstop at Planet Organic on the way.”
“Oh, okay” moaned Charlie, he could be very grumpy when he was hungry, and slunk off to refuel Cloud Nine.
Minutes later they jumped aboard Cloud Nine and took off from Strawberry Space House at Ultraviolet Speed in the direction of theWhite Mountainwhich was at the edge of the universe and sometimes beyond.
As they flew through the cosmos they waved hello to the Big Dipper, who was looking more and more like a red teacup everyday. He dipped his handle in return.
“Look” said Cosmic Chrissie, “There’s Laughing Larry at the flyby for Planet Organic, lets go and say hi, he’s always happy and we can get something to eat as well.”
Laughing Larry was Levitating over his Yoga mat.
“Hello, Cosmic Chrissie and Charlie the Cat” where are you going in such a hurry?”
“We’re off to see Kris the Knowledgeable one…..er why are you imitating a spinning tree?” asked Chrissie.
“It’s very good for controlling the balance,” informed Larry. Chrissie and Charlie got dizzy as they watched Larry spin around with his arms out to the side – 21 times. “Try it with me, he said it’s fun too.
So Chrissie and Charlie spun with Larry and found themselves laughing so hard they nearly fell off Cloud Nine. “Thanks, that was a great way to start the day” said chrissie and charlie. But we have to get something to eat and get going. So they went off to the cosmic café and ordered cucumber sandwiches which were cosmic chrissie’s favourite food and smelly sardines which were charlies.
Back on Cloud Nine they flew off to theWhite Mountainwhich unusually was covered by a black cloud that day, something must really be wrong.
Charlie docked Cloud Nine on top of the Wu-Tang waterfall and jumped down into the clear sparkling water and swam to the riverbank at the edge of the healing forest. They climbed out and shook themselves dry in the Yellow Skylight.
“You’re here at last” boomed a deep happy voice, It was Kris the knowledgeable one.
“Hello” said chrissie and charlie and gave him a big hug, everyone in the universe loved cuddles.
“Whats so urgent?” asked chrissie
“Well,” began Kris, his voice became more serious. “the two baddies, Braer and Broosh have launched an attack on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean and it was carrying lots of oil – which is now leaking all over the sea and hurting the fish and birds, I need you to think of a way to stop it now before it gets really serious.
“Oh no, that’s terrible” The Two Baddies were always up to no good, but because the people who lived on planet earth were brainwashed by boxes that told them lies they didn’t know any better.
“Let’s go and ask Fernando the Fisherman” suggested Charlie, “he loves all animals and will surely know what to do”
“That’s a very good idea Charlie, you really are a very clever cat” said Kris the Knowledgeable one.
Charlie purred with pride, it was always lovely when people said nice things about you.
“Come on then Charlie, we’d better get back to Cloud Nine and make wakes for The Good Ship Pisces which was where Fernando the Fisherman lived.
Charlie and Chrissie gave goodbye hugs to Kris and make their way back to Cloud Nine.
As they got closer to The Good Ship Pisces they could hear the sound of a trumpet. They smiled to each other – Fernando loved music, especially Jazz as much as animals.
The Good Ship Pisces was one of Cosmic Chrissie and Charlie the cats favorite places to visit. You never got bored of watching all the beautiful fish in so many different colours going happily about their simple lives. Parrot Fish, Angel Fish, Starfish and of course dolphins crabs and lobsters. In fact each time they visited they always saw a fish or sea creature they hadn’t seen before. And there was always the bonus, that Fernando would play them a trumpet tune, he was very talented.
Fernando popped his head out of the companionway. “Hallo cosmic chrissie and Charlie,” greeted Fernando, “what a surprise, a good one too.”
“Save the Fish” chorused chrissie and Charlie. Fernando liked it when he was supported. His job was to teach the people in the universe how to respect and care for all the animals and fishes.
“I’m afraid we’ve come with some bad news, Fernando and we were hoping that you could help us” and cosmic Chrissie explained to him all about the Emergency on Planet Earth.
Fernando looked sad when he heard what was happening, especially as all the fish he lived with had relatives in the Sea on Earth. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then Bing! His third fish eye opened and cosmic chrissie and Charlie could see his plan in it.
“Yeah, yeah, – we knew you could think of a something, and they all danced around and were so happy that they nearly fell into the Pisces training pool.
“I’ll go and get my space frogsuit” said Fernando. “don’t forget the Teaching Trumpet, you can play us a song on the way” reminded Chrissie.
Fernando blew goodbye bubbles to all the fishes in the pool and jumped onto Cloud Nine which was capable of expanding to accommodate whoever wanted to be on it.
“Steer a course for earth Charlie, we should get there about lunchtime” said Chrissie.
So as they settled comfortably on Cloud Nine as it sped South to Earth, Fernando explained a bit more about his plan.
“I’m going to play a song to Wilbur the Blue Whale and see if he will come and help – he’s the biggest Fish in the sea and can do lots of clever things.”
And Fernando picked up his trumpet and started to practice so he could make sure it was right later on.
“Charlie, I just remembered, we need to stop quickly at “Cycle Moon” that bag of sardine cans is starting to get a bit smelly.
Cycle Moon was where everyone in the universe took their rubbish and the clever moonbles made all sort of useful things with it. Sometimes when they had a sale on you could get really good bargains.
So after their detour, they were soon entering Earth’s Atmosphere through a big hole which let in too much sun in certain parts of the earth and very little in others.
Charlie stopped Cloud Nine near the leaking ship so that they could get a better look at what was happening.
It was scary – the sea which is normally quite blue, looked like someone had thrown a black oily blanket over it. It was spreading as far as they eye could see, and Fernando looking through his third fish eye said that it had almost reached land.
“Quick” said Fernando , I’ll play and you and Charlie sing, the louder the better.” So they all began together.
“Wilbur, Wilbur, where art thou?
We really need your help right now
Because your home in the sea
Its starting to get really messy.
Wilbur, Wilbur we need a plan
Before the damage gets to land.”
And all the fishes that had gathered around under Cloud Nine(where the water was still clean)joined in the singing and soon the whole sea around was humming.
After a short while, there was a loud splash and a voice boomed. “Ho, ho, whats all the fuss about, who’s summoning me when I’m on holiday?” Cosmic Chrissie and Charlie looked around, and saw the biggest whale ever. They giggled a little, he was wearing Hawiaiin print shorts and pink sunglasses.
Wilbur, contined, ‘there I was hanging out with the cute pink dolphins in the river amazon(which was inSouth America) and I heard Fernando the Fisherman’s trumpet. “What’s going on Fernando, it had better be good to drag me away from my pink ladies.”
Fernando was sure that it was a good enough reason and began to explain what was happening.
Wilbur slowly took off his sunglasses, his eyes were really wide. “I don’t understand it, the two baddies are always causing trouble , just for once it would be nice if they could do something good” said Wilbur.
“Well there’s no time to waste, I’d better get the blowhole brothers in to give a hand, together we can help stop any further damage.
So Wilbur bellowed for the blowhole brothers, who were already close by because they liked singing with the fishes too.
“OK, boys, here’s what we are going to do, we’ll each face a different direction in the sea. I’ll face North, Barney you face South, Blimpy East and Bumpy West. Then we’ll all take big deep breaths from in our bellies and breathe in all the oil that is laying on the sea. Then we’ll dive deep to the sea bed, and get the crab colony to dig us a hole to the Bubbling Springs where we can put all the oil.”
Cosmic Chrissie thought this was a wonderful idea and explained to Charlie that Wilbur was sending the oil back to where it originally came from. It would be happy there and could help feed the earth so that the trees and plants grew faster and the people and animals would have cleaner and fresher air to breathe.
Everyone watched with baited breath as the Four Whales breathed in all the oil from the Leaking Ship and all around. It was so beautiful to see the sea getting blue again, and the sun came out and smiled and warmed the back of everyone’s necks.
Oh, I almost forgot” said cosmic chrissie “ill have to patch up the hole in the ship so no more oil can leak out” So Charlie moved Cloud Nine to the hole in the side of the ship and chrissie sprinkled some cosmic dust, which was very special and strong over the hole. Slowly the hole grew smaller and smaller until it was gone, and no more oil leaked from it.
As the whales prepared to dive down to the sea bed, Charlie the cat pressed the yellow button on Cloud Nine and Cloud Nine turned into a submarine, which could take them down with the whales.
Down they went to the bottom of the sea, where the crabs were busy digging the hole to Bubbling Springs. When the whales arrived looking a bit pink from holding their breath too long they breathed out and started to fill the hole with all the oil they had collected.
When all the oil was gone, cosmic chrissie sprinkled a little more cosmic dust over the hole and they all watched it grow smaller till it was gone.
“Good, now the two baddies won’t be able to fight over it anymore” said Fernando.
All the fishes cheered and clapped, the sea-lions bounced their balls even higher than ever before and the crabs and lobsters pinched each other with delight.
Everyone when back up to the surface – where the birds had heard the good news, and even the old Albatross who was normally grumpy had a smile on his beak.
The special envoy dove was waiting for cosmic chrissies starrygram to speed away to Kris the knowledgable one, to let him know that there was harmony on earth again.
“Well,” said Wilbur, “congratulations everyone, because we all helped a little and pulled together – we got the job done.” No if nobody minds, there are some pretty senoritas waiting for me down south with mango milkshakes on ice.” And with a flip of his tail was gone.
All the fishes that had relatives and friends on The Good Ship Pisces gave Fernando gifts for them and lots of hugs.
Charlie and cosmic chrissie and Fernando waved goodbye to all the sea creatures and promised to visit again, soon and zoomed off – course Strawberry Spacehouse.
When they arrived quite late that evening, they were all hungry and tired. Luckily cosmic chrissie had baked an angel cake the day before, so they had big slices washed down with chamomile tea.
“Why don’t you stay for the night Fernando, you can sleep in Charlie’s room” we’ve got a spare inflatable lily bed somewhere” said a yawning chrissie.
“Thanks, I’d like that” said Fernando “I’ll go and have a look for it. By the time Fernando had blown up the spare bed, Chrissie was already in her pyjamas after brushing her teeth and ready for bed.
Fernando picked up his trumpet and played a song about Flying to the Moon, but before he could finish chrissie fluttered her eyelashes three times and was asleep.
Fernando smiled, tomorrow they could all go for a walk in theAncientHealingForest. And as he climbed into his bed he wondered how cats could snore so loudly.
© ChristinaBridgeOctober 2003.
At less than an hour South East of Paris lies the Chateau of Vaux Le Vicomte. The dream of Nicolas Fouquet who was Louis X1V Finance Minister in the 17th century along with inspiration from Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Notre came to fruition with this Chateau which today is the largest privately owned house in France. It nestles amidst 33 acres of French style gardens, adorned with fountains, waterfalls and statues, watched over by an impressive Dome that can be ascended to offer un-paralleled views of the entire estate.
A delightful adventure offers the opportunity to unravel the medieval mysteries of the Court of the Sun King , assisted by animated life-style figures, you can discover what befell Fouquet, his brilliance unearthing jealousy in his King, and the role the Musketeers had in his downfall from grace.
A Golf Cart Drive around the gardens is a sublime and exciting way to admire the first ever style French gardens(the inspiration for Versailles came from here). The Round Pool, The Skillet Canal with its Grottos flanked by two river gods, Tiber and Anqueuil, to the gilt lead statue of Hercules. Hit the brakes and admire the reflection of the entire chateau in the Great Water Mirror even though it is 400 metres away. Brilliance in perpetual evidence. A visit to the carriage museum which was owned by Fouquet has an exhibition of old-horse drawn vehicles, which are brought to life with horses, coachmen and passengers.
As dusk settles 2,000 candles start flickering to life recreating the atmosphere of the 17th August 1661, a ‘fete’ in honour of the King and his court. The perfect time to savour a glass of Henriot champagne on the terrace, at a very reasonable E10 before taking a seat at the Restaurant les Charmilles for dinner ‘al fresco’ .
Chef Laurent Asset’s menu with it’s various formule ranging from 30E for and Entrée+Plat to 45E for a coupe de Champagne, Entrée, Plat, Dessert, and un Verre du Vin is exquisite.
Choose from Entrees of Terrine of Foie Gras aux deux Asperges, Salade de Saint Jacques et Coques au Pampelmousse, Les Plats of Canon D’Agneau, Pave d’Espadon and Pennes a la Crème de Truffes Blanches with Homard Flambees, and to tickle that sweet tastebuds, and Entremet Chocolat Framboise, and a selection of Glaces et Sorbets. There is also a menu Enfant to keep the little ones happy.
The wine list is well thought out with the most expensive a superb Saint Emilion Chateau Bellevue Figeac 2008 at E36.00, at the other end a Rose de Provence cave de Saint Tropez 2009 at E16.00.
The atmosphere is relaxed, and much laughter abounds in-between savouring the delectable dishes.
After coffee take a stroll to walk off the calories up to the Chateau itself, most of the rooms are still lit by candlight so you can really feel what it was like in the 17th Century. There are audioguides available in seven languages or you can organise you own Tour Guide(must be booked in advance) Allow about 90 minutes, giving you time to stop and watch and listen to the animated displays, so lifelike ,you can almost feel their eyes watching you. A visit to the jail in the cellar almost smells genuine, and round into the kitchens with its great displays of pans and utensils used to create the amazing feasts that were held on many occasions.
After descending and ascending the numerous stairs and passageways, weary legs will appreciate the chance to sit down on the Chateau steps just to admire the full length of the gardens lit so hauntingly by the sparkling candles, it truly is a beautiful and thought provoking experience. Suddenly at 11pm the sky explodes in a riot of fireworks, just as it did on that August evening in the 17th century. The blazing rockets illuminating the sky to gasps of amazement.
Feel your star come to life, Vaux Le Vicomte was the setting for major films like Moliere, Marie Antoinette, Jean de la Fontaine, The Man with the Iron Mask and Moonraker, as the last firework spirals away.
Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 64 1441 92
Candlelight Evenings: Every Saturday from 7 May to 8 October, Last admission 23h.
Restaurant Les Charmilles: Three sittings, tables must be reserved in advance.
Transport direction by rail, car, and bus.