Wednesday, 30 January 2013

My first visit to the Craft Café

About a month ago, I was invited to join a Facebook group that was set up for ladies living in France.  The idea is to link up with other British women in your area; various things are organised, for example lunches, dog walks etc.  There are also simply 'conversations' about all sorts of things and you can ask for help, advice etc.  As I've said before, I am aware that I need to make the effort to get to know people because otherwise life here could become quite isolating.  Anyway, one of the ladies was talking about the Craft Café the other day and I asked what it was all about.  It turns out to be a group of ladies who meet once a fortnight for tea, homemade cake and a natter.... and the common denominator is that they are all keen on various crafts.  They take along their knitting, sewing, crochet or whatever they're involved in and spend a few hours with like-minded ladies.  Well, you know that while I love doing all sorts of needlecraft, my other loves are eating cake and talking!  Sounds like an ideal group for me, eh?!  Add to this, the fact that I am trying to knit a cardigan for my grandson and that a certain kitten called Cali is doing her utmost to stop me (see the picture below) it seemed that I was destined to give this meeting a try!
So this afternoon, off I went to the village of L'Absie armed with my knitting bag!  The Craft Café is held in the same place that I have my French lessons on a Friday afternoon.  There were about 20 of us, women of all ages (I would say that most were older than me but there were a handful of younger ones too!).  Some brought knitting, some did crochet and a couple of ladies were doing hand sewn quilting (something I've long since wanted to have a go at).  The conversations were lively and varied and I felt quite comfortable and welcome.  And the tea and homemade cakes?  Superb!

(And I don't want any mickey-taking comments about me being a little old lady joining a knitting circle thank you!)

One more thing.....
I noticed when I sat down to write this tonight that I have had 1000 page views of my blog!  I only started it a couple of months ago and thought I'd see how it goes.  I'm flattered that so many of you like to read it and to keep up with how we're spending our lives here in this corner of France.  I've found that I love writing it and as long as you're all happy to continue to read it, I'll keep writing it!

A bientôt

Monday, 28 January 2013

Today in Pictures..... An experiment!

Now most of you know that I am not the most technological person around so even being able to create this blog in the first place was something of an achievement!
But today, we took various pictures as the day unfolded and I thought it might be fun to make a slide presentation of our day! 
This is the result.... 
( It's just an experiment and I'll go back to my normal way of blogging next time!)
I've tried to enlarge the picture but I'm afraid that's beyond me.... at the moment!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A busy Saturday!

It's not a hard and fast rule but generally we try to keep Saturdays and Sundays 'chore free'.  The reason is partly to differentiate the weekend from the week (those of you who are also retired or don't work will understand how every day becomes the same without the structure we were used to from  over 40 years of working!).

But today started early, simply because Danny had to drive to a village called Lorigné not, I hasten to add, to see the sights that you'll see if you click on the village name above.  No... because I bought a second hand chest freezer from a lady who lives there.  Danny had arranged to pick up his friend, who was going to help him, at 9am and when they got back here, complete with said freezer it was about 1.30pm.  Evidently, it was a round trip of about 200 kilometres...but Danny didn't seem to mind.  It's a long time since he did such a long drive in the truck and it was a bright sunny day here in Poitou-Charentes so it was a pleasant drive.  Incidentally, a quick word about how I came by the freezer.  There is an extremely useful website, used by most ex-pats here in one way or another.  It's called Anglo Info and one of its uses is a classifieds section.  I recently sold our old dresser via the website and I also placed a 'wanted' ad for a chest freezer.  (I gave away my large chest freezer before we came out here, believing that (a) we wouldn't be able to use UK electrical goods - wrong!! and (b) I thought an upright freezer would be more practical - wrong again!!).  Anyway, I am now the owner of a chest freezer again and I can't wait to start some serious cooking and baking until it's as full as my old one!

While Danny was out, I started on the jobs I wanted to do today.  Firstly, to make a prototype tie-back for our (temporary) lounge curtains and secondly, to make some curtains for our third bedroom - the room in which kiddies who visit sleep!   The tie-back turned out really well so I will now go ahead and make the others.  The story about the temporary lounge curtains (as briefly as I can!) is that our lounge currently has a 'peach colour theme', which we inherited from the previous owner and which we did toy with keeping for a while.  But gradually, we came round to thinking we'd like to have the warm pinks and reds we had in our previous lounge (albeit paler and with more florals).  But in the meantime, the windows looked so bare without any curtains so we set about finding some ready made ones to use 'for now'.  We were very lucky to find suitable ones that were in a sale and were very cheap.  They are about a foot or more too long but I figured I could shorten them and use the excess material to make tie-backs.   This is what the completed one looks like....
It occurs to me now I've posted this picture that it says something about our lifestyle.... on the window sill are two baskets, one filled with savoury snacks, the other with sweets!  (Well you need something to soak up the wine, don't you!)  Also, underneath the window sill is an unemptied cardboard box - still there after all these months!  It contains CDs and is waiting while we procrastinate about buying a piece of furniture that we like and is suitable for storing CDs but is disproportionately expensive!!

Sorry, I've got side-tracked!  Having made the tie-back successfully, I made a start on the curtains for the kiddie bedroom.  All the curtain pieces are cut and pinned but by the time I'd achieved that, I was shattered and ready to relax!  I shall finish them during the week and will let you have a picture of the finished article. 

Obviously, with Danny out all morning and me wanting to concentrate on my sewing, I needed to keep the dogs occupied.  Last week we discovered that our local supermarket sells packs of bones for dogs and we treated Finn and Liam to a pack.   I gave them each a bone then let them go outside into the front garden to eat them in the sunshine.  Whenever they have treats like that, they take them to different places so the one can't steal them from the other. This is a video clip I took from the bedroom window....

They were out there with their bones for about an hour and a half!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Apologies for a long absence!

I can't believe that I've let more than a week drift by without blogging (if that's the correct term for posting a blog!).  All sorts of things have been happening, none of which are terribly exciting but all taking up time.  And as the days go by and there's more to write about, I need more and more time available to sit and write! 

So to catch up... I'll fill you in on just the major events of this last week.

My appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon!
I had been fretting about the appointment simply because I didn't know if he spoke much English and I was worried about whether I would understand what he was saying if we had to rely on my limited French!  After a sleepless night of such fretting, I asked a girl I know if she would come with me as she speaks fluent French.  As it turned out, the surgeon spoke pretty good English but nonetheless it was extremely helpful to have a French speaking person with me as even finding where to go in the hospital and what to do when we got there was a minefield on its own!

Anyway, we found the right place eventually and then we sat and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  It was unbelievable!  It was well after 6pm when I was finally seen!  (We have been told since that this delay is extremely unusual!)  I was shown into a consulting room by a lady who put all my documents out on the desk and set up my x-rays on a viewer ready for the surgeon.  Despite the long wait, there was no sense of rushing when we saw him.  He examined my shoulder and discussed the history and how he thinks he can help.  I was expecting surgery and sure enough that will be necessary but it will be keyhole surgery so the recovery time shouldn't be too long (she says optimistically!)  However, before he does that he wants me to have an MRI scan and 15 sessions of physiotherapy.  As I am a non-urgent case, my MRI scan will not be until 4th March but at least it gives me plenty of time to organise the physiotherapy (which I believe will help me in the post-op recovery).

An Appointment at the Bank!
Banks work in a different way here in France with each branch operating separately like a kind of franchise.  We opened our  account with the bank Crédit Agricole  before we moved over here using their English speaking helpline.  But the actual branch is over an hour's drive away from where we now live.  As each branch acts independently of each other, there are occasions when it can be difficult, for example making deposits.  Our local branch in Moncoutant does not have the ability to view our account on their computers so you can't query anything.  This, coupled with the fact that the English speaking helpline has been closed, led us to the conclusion that we would be better off having our account with the local branch.  Don't for one minute think this is a straight forward operation!  Oh no!   Hence the meeting at the bank!  We saw a lovely lady - Veronique! - who had a very limited amount of English but who told me my French is good!  The meeting went on for over an hour, during which time Veronique opened up a completely new current account for us, arranged for us to have new debit cards, internet access etc.  It turned out that some savings accounts can be transferred so various forms were completed and signed to achieve this.  There is no simple way to transfer direct debits so we're attempting this ourselves.  The whole process should take  a month or two and I'm left feeling rather nervous about the whole process!  I'm sure that in a few months, things will be working like clockwork again but I wouldn't mind betting there'll be some sticky times along the way! 

And while I'm talking about banks, did you know that out here we have to pay for our debit cards?  There is an annual fee and there are different 'levels' of cards you can have.  Naturally, the bigger the annual fee, the more benefits you get.  For example, we have gold cards, which gives us the ability to withdraw more cash per week (there isn't the daily limit like you have in the UK), spend more per month using the card and they also give us inclusive travel insurance.   There is no such thing as a credit card with the bank but you can have a card that gives you what they call 'deferred payment'.  I don't know how long the deferment period is but would guess it's nothing like a credit card gives you.

A change in our healthcare
I'm not sure if I've already talked about why we currently qualify for French healthcare.  There are various different ways in which people qualify, for example, if they work here and pay 'social charges' which I believe is something like 14% of income, then they qualify.  For us, the length of time for which we would qualify was dependent on our National Insurance contributions in the UK over the last couple of tax years.  We've come a bit unstuck as a result.  Goodness only knows we've paid a fair whack of NI contributions over the years but unfortunately, not in the last few years.  Danny has been getting his pension from Fords for several years now and topping it up with a small salary.  I retired in July 2011 so I didn't pay much NI in that tax year.  You don't pay NI on pensions so the bottom line is that our qualification time is fairly short.  I believe (and indeed hope!) that this changes again once we get our UK state pensions (still a couple of years away).  Anyway, the bad news is that Danny no longer qualifies BUT the good news is that I will still qualify for another year and I am entitled to add him as a dependent.  We think then that we are going to have a gap of just over a year in which we will have to pay for private medical insurance from around this time next year.   I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!  Suffice to say, this change involved a trip to Niort this week, to the office that deals with such things but we think things are underway to ensure Danny will remain covered.

And finally - the Weather!
So far, where the weather is concerned, I think we have been luckier than our friends in the UK but not as lucky as our friends in America, Australia or Israel!  We have had some snow but it's only lasted about a day at a time.  We've also had yet more rain and even a few days when the sun has been shining and we've seen blue skies. 


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A dusting of snow...

We were expecting snow by the end of the week but we've had a smattering of it today.  It was only fine snow and luckily it hasn't settled.

We have a Velux window in our bedroom which is pretty much directly above the bed (I often gaze at the stars through it before I drift off to sleep).  But when I looked up at it this morning, I was greeted with the view of a layer of snow!  Danny, as excited as a schoolboy who's hoping for a day off school, leapt out of bed to look out the window.  "It's snowing!" he cried enthusiastically.  I was not so happy.... but then when I got up and let the dogs out, I saw it was a very light snow that was melting on the dogs' backs as quickly as it was landing on them.  Now, some hours later, it's all gone although I suspect it will be back!

Here are some pictures of how it looked earlier....

Now I'm going to make one of our favourite Winter dishes for dinner....West Indian Main Course Soup...... Mmmmm, that should warm us up!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What a difference a day makes.... (and other odds & ends of news)

What a difference a day makes #1

Look at these photos taken on Sunday....

Boy, the weather was gloomy.... grey, damp and foggy.   Then look at these - the very next morning!

I apologise to those of our friends and family, struggling with the English snow at the moment, but yesterday we had sunshine and blue skies yet again.  I'm not saying it was warm - oh no!  We still need the warmth of the wood burner and I'm still snuggled up with polo necked jumpers, socks, vest etc! But it's so good to look out at the sun!

What a difference a day makes #2

I think I've told you that we've been concentrating on some work indoors now that it's too cold to do anything outside.  Danny's been rearranging things in his hobby room and now has shelves up for his computer games and disks.  Here's a picture of how it's coming along...

The day before this, he had a plain wall with just the picture that you can see in the centre.  You might think that putting up a few shelves is hardly an achievement for one day but the 'wall' you see is plasterboard on a timber frame fixed to the original stone wall of the house.  Although the previous owners gave us pictures of this room being renovated, they did not include one of this particular wall!  If you look carefully above the shelves on the left, you'll see a small hole.  Danny had to drill several of these to determine where the wooden frame was so that he could fix the shelves securely.

I have been concentrating on clearing the last room that was still full of cardboard boxes from when we first moved in.  This room adjoins the kitchen and is the room whose window is the furthest on the right when you look at the house 'front on'.  (Our predecessors used it as a fourth bedroom).  It's attached to the smaller barn on that right hand side of the house.  We originally planned to remove the wall between this room and the kitchen and have a large kitchen.  But we've changed our minds and now plan to keep it as a separate room, using it as a dedicated utility room.  We also plan to have a door from the utility room, through to the attached barn.  (I'm hoping against hope that our builder will do this next month!).  Those of you who have already been to visit will remember the room being crammed to the ceiling with precariously balanced boxes.  This is what it looks like now......
I have put the dresser up for sale as it really is superfluous (although Danny now says that if we don't get an acceptable offer for it, he'd rather use it for firewood!)  Notice, incidentally, that Charlie, our ginger tom cat, couldn't resist exploring the room while I was taking the photo!  Also, incidentally, the coloured plastic boxes are for our recycling stuff.  These will eventually go in the barn - one of the reasons why we want a connecting door!  Anyway, I'll keep you posted on progress (or otherwise!!)

Other bits and pieces of news....

We were invited out for dinner at the home of some 'new' friends on Sunday evening!  I have spoken before how sometimes we can feel quite isolated here.  It's hard to start a new life in another country where you know virtually no-one and in our circumstances, it's not easy to meet people.  If you emigrate and you work in your new country you will automatically meet people.  Similarly, if you have children, you'll do so.  But for us, we need to 'put ourselves about' to meet people.  I happen to think we're doing pretty well in getting to know people but obviously it's a step further for acquaintances to become friends.  (I was particularly lucky earlier in the year as I met and became good friends with a lovely lady - but unfortunately she's back in the UK until April).   Anyway, having enjoyed a wonderful dinner on Sunday, I think we can safely add Les & Maureen to our (short) list of friends here!  And how did we meet?  Well, Les is the man who hung our barn doors and our side gates..... as well as being a really nice guy, his work is wonderful and I'm compiling a list of jobs for him!!

It was that dinner on Sunday which leads on to this next bit of news.... I hope it will amuse you!  The meal was SO good and you know how much I love my food so I was a complete pig and overate.  Rather stupidly I was wearing tight jeans and even with the top button open, I don't think I've ever felt so uncomfortable!  So yesterday, I asked Danny to set up our X-Box and I've started doing Zumba!!  Now it's just a question of keeping it up!

And finally....
We went shopping today and were shocked to learn that our local Lidl store is closing at the end of the month!  This is where we get Danny's cheap beer, food that the dogs really like and all sorts of bargains!  Luckily there is a Lidl's in Bressuire, a nearby town about 15/20 minutes drive away.  (Anne - take note - strange to think it'll be gone by the time you're back here!)

Well, that's about it for this update.  Except to say that I love hearing from you in return.  Many of you send me your newsy emails and I know I'm not very good at replying - hence this blog and the newsletters.  But please keep them coming.... it is good to keep up with what is going on in your lives too.

Stay warm.
A bientôt!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The sales are on!

Not only are the sales on here but we found some 'new' shops.  Well, they're not new at all and in fact, unbeknown to us, we've been driving straight past them without realising they were there!!!  In other words, they are new to us! 

Niort is a large town in the Deux-Sevres department of France where we live and  I guess it is the English equivalent of a county town.  (Click here if you'd like to know more about the town).  It is about 60 kilometres from where we live (around 45 minutes drive) and it has a large shopping centre which we've been using to buy things like electrical goods, DIY products and it is home to the fabric shop I mentioned in an earlier post.  When I say 'shopping centre'... it is like a huge retail park of individual stores as opposed to a shopping mall.  Also, we have had to go to Niort to sort out things like our health cover, registering vehicles in France etc.  Whenever we've been there, on our way out of the town we drive past what I knew to be a large supermarket called "Géant Casino" but I didn't know it is more than that.  Have you been to Cité Europe in Calais?  It is a large shopping mall with a huge hypermarket called Carrefour (which is actually a chain of supermarkets here too).  Well, it turns out we have a miniscule version of that in Niort, with Géant Casino being the hypermarket and a number of other stores, some that will be well known to those of you in the UK, like H&M and Claire's Accessories.

But we found something else too!  Being the first day of the sales (more about that later) the car park at Géant Casino was packed and we had to park a little way back.  But there were MORE shops where we parked, and these I had never seen before as they are not visible from the main road.  There was a big shop called "Babou", which sold all sorts of housewares, art and craft goods and clothes.... not to mention some rather "naughty" DVDs....only in France, eh?!!!  There was also a pet shop, called Animal & Co, which is remarkably like the UK's 'Petsmart' except that they had pedigree puppies for sale for exorbitant prices (and it wasn't very nice to see them in display windows). But best of all, there was a large C&A store!  Remember them?  We used to have C&A throughout the UK but they closed down some years ago.  We've come across them in Europe before but didn't know we had one practically on our doorstep!  Okay, it's not like finding a Next or an M & S store but it's pretty damn good nonetheless!!  We both treated ourselves to a couple of bits while we were there..... well, it would have been rude not to!!

So, just a few words about the sales here in France.  Like so many things, sales are state-regulated and generally run during two periods of the year; once just after Christmas and the other in the Summer.  Both run for five weeks and with a few exceptions, the dates are pretty much fixed in stone.  The winter sale began yesterday, on the second Wednesday of January.  Why do the French regulate their sales?  The reasoning behind the Government's ruling of sales just twice a year, at the same time for all retailers, is to control competition and it is said that it keeps the big retailers from driving the smaller stores out of business with their ability to bulk buy and hold sales at the drop of a hat.  All the stores, big and small, clear out items from the previous season, gradually slashing prices over the course of the five weeks.  We are told that prices are reduced by 20% to 50% to start with and as the weeks go by, they are further reduced by up to 70% or even more. 

In addition to these two sales periods, store owners do also have the right to schedule two weeks of sales during the year with the only caveat being that it must be finished more than a month before the official sales begin.

Having told you all this, I have to say, I've never really been interested in "the sales" unless I am looking for something specific.  Not for me the queues outside stores or poking people with my umbrella to get to that 'must have' bargain!  Perhaps I'll go along to some of the shops in week five just to see what's left...... I suspect there'll be very little of interest by then!!!  Ah well, c'est la vie!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Resolutions and Reservations!

Well, here we are, eight days into the New Year and we're still keeping up our resolutions!  One was to devote much more time to learning French and we're both doing that.  A friend of mine gave us a copy of the Michel Thomas course and Danny is doing really well with it.  More importantly, he's enjoying doing it and I think that's half the battle; if you don't enjoy doing something, you're going to find every excuse in the book to avoid doing it and therefore you're not going to learn it.  I am going over and over things I was taught in the last few months and doing my utmost to commit them to memory. 

We're doing well with another major resolution too.  That was...(wait for it..)... to get up early and get on with our day!  For those of you who know me well, this will come as a surprise because for over 40 years, I always got up early and have always been a 'morning person'.  For many years, I started work at 7am, even when I worked in London.  And even on non-working days, I used to be up and about early with the only concession being that on Sundays, I didn't rush to get dressed or do anything in particular.  When we first retired, we planned to continue to get up early, get all our 'chores' done in the morning then spend the afternoon doing what we wanted to do (as opposed to what we had to do!).  I suppose it all went awry because as soon as we retired we were busy getting our house ready to be put up for sale then, as it sold so quickly and we knew we were moving to France, we were into a frenzied time of packing up our belongings.  Then, last year was pretty upside down, first living in the gîte, househunting etc, then moving into our house and getting straight.  So we've never really established a "routine" for our retirement.  You may think this is not important; that we spent our whole working lives living by a routine.  But what we've found these last months, is that we've stayed up later and later in the evenings, we've been getting up later and later (and even later!) and then somehow the days have just drifted by without us having spent time on our hobbies. 

Well!  That has stopped and we are making a point of getting up much earlier (not 5am like I used to for work.... that would be ridiculous!!!).  We've stopped sitting around for ages in the mornings, drinking cup after cup of tea!  Instead, after a couple of cups at most, we're getting on with whatever chores need to be done so that by lunchtime we're ready to stop, have some lunch then settle down to enjoy whatever we choose to do.  And I have to say, we both feel rejuvenated by it.  The days seem to be so much longer and fuller too.

Take today, for example.  This morning we loaded up the car with our recycling boxes (items for recycling are not collected in our corner of France; we take them to a designated area at the local déchetterie or "tip" as we'd say in the UK), then went on to do our weekly shop which we do in two separate shops;  Lidl (yes, I did say Lidl!) for the beer and dog food then our local supermarket "Super U" for the main shop.  While there, we chose a nice baguette for lunch, came home, unpacked the shopping and by a little after 1pm we were enjoying our baguette, leaving the afternoon free for me to blog!  (It would be unfair of me not to mention that in addition to the shopping, Danny not only did his daily chores of cleaning out the woodburner, fetching more wood in for the day and making up the fire but also did a pile of ironing!)

Now that the festive period is over and everyone's life has gone back to normal, it seems that some of you at least have started thinking about their holidays.  Nothing unusal in that - when I used to go back to work after the Christmas break, I immediately booked leave for Easter!  One of our friends and her family have already "booked" their stay with us in August and two of Danny's sons are starting to make plans for their next visits.  So I thought this might be an ideal time to say that if you want to come and visit, it might be a good idea to start thinking about dates so we can at least pencil them in the diary.  We hope to allow a few days rest between visits if we can as it did get a bit manic last summer!

We are still hoping that our swimming pool will be installed around March/April time and I know that will attract a lot of interest!  Personally, I can't wait!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Reminiscing... and a celebratory lunch!

I guess you've all got the message that we've been in France for a whole year now!  Danny suggested that we went out for lunch yesterday to celebrate this auspicious occasion and naturally I agreed!  We went to a restaurant that we'd not been to before, called Café des Belles Fleurs, in a village called Fenioux about 32 kilometres south of where we live.  It was a nice meal, not outstanding but we enjoyed it.  You may not know that in France, restaurants have to display their menu outside the premises and also have to offer at least one "formule", which is a set meal, usually with a couple of choices for each course, for a set price, which more often than not includes a glass of wine.  This usually makes eating out, especially at lunchtimes, relatively inexpensive.  Yesterday, we chose paté, followed by salmon and rice, a selection of cheese and dessert of apple cake.  And a "pichet" or jug of red wine to wash it down!  We had coffee to follow and the whole lot came to 24 Euros!  You'd be hard pushed to make all that for less at home !  Incidentally, in France, the cheese course is eaten before dessert, something which takes a bit of getting used to!

Anyway, after we'd eaten we stood and chatted to the owner (who is Welsh) for a while.  This restaurant has a Curry and Quiz night every couple of weeks and also has music nights with different bands performing.  We fully intend to try these out, partly because they are the sort of things we enjoy but moreover, to try to get to know more people.  I'll keep you posted!

As the title of this post suggests, we've spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of days, reminiscing about coming over here.  It really is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since we left everything we knew and held dear in England to start a new life here in rural France.  I know some of you will have seen some, if not all, of these before, but here is a photo record of our journey from Basildon, Essex to Verteuil-sur-Charente, the village where our rented cottage was situated......


The camper, outside the kennels where we were picking up Finn & Liam.  Then Liam, curled up behind Danny in the truck!  He settled down there without any problem as if he made a 13 hour journey every day!!

Mile after mile of open, and mostly empty, French roads.

One of the French motorway services where we refuelled the vehicles and ourselves!
All of the vehicles safely at Verteuil.... this is the 'morning after' before we started unpacking the belongings we'd brought to tide us over for those first 3 months.  Everything else we owned was in storage in Kent and we wouldn't see it until April.
And finally, we treated our wonderful 'helpers' Paul and Joe to a good meal at the local restaurant, the Café Portebleue, the night before they went back to the UK, in the Mondeo which Joe was to have as his own car.
I have to share with you that this is a very poignant picture for us.  I think I tend to focus on the highlights of our life in France in this blog but in our musings over the last couple of days, we recalled that after that night out with the boys, they left the next day around lunchtime and it was only then that the enormity of what we'd done really hit us.  Danny especially went through some very dark days, missing his sons terribly and both of us felt that we'd been cast adrift.  Of course it did pass, partly because we had to immerse ourselves in so many things, househunting in particular.  But I have to say, even now, all this time on, whenever our guests leave, we are always left with a sense of loneliness.  Fortunately, it passes quickly now!



Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Bonjour 2013!

Well, here we are, two days into the New Year!

I haven't got much to say, especially as I wasn't well yesterday and did pretty much nothing the whole day!  Before you go jumping to conclusions, it wasn't a hangover as I didn't drink very much on New Year's Eve.  I think it might have been a 24-hour bug but whatever it was, I feel fine today.

I wanted to share this picture with you.....

It was the view from our bedroom window this morning.  I'm not sure if you can see the frost on the field beyond our barn but you can certainly see the layer on the roof of the truck!  But look how sunny and bright it was!  It doesn't look like a January morning should look! (Not that I'm complaining!)
Also, those of you who came to visit in the summertime will notice how bare the trees and bushes are.  In the summer, you could barely see the field beyond.  
Anyway, that's all I wanted to say today.  For those of you who get my newsletter, I hope to send the latest one to you on Friday.... the day that marks the first anniversary of our epic move to France!