Thursday, 18 September 2014

My turn to be a guest!

Being invited to a family birthday party provided the perfect reason to go back to the UK, see lots of my 'extended' family and a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my brother Tony and his wife Alyth, with whom I stayed in Northampton for a few days.

Some of you may remember that I gained a new cousin last October (she weighed only 4lb 9oz when she was born!) and although I keep up with her progress via Facebook, obviously I had never met her.  Well I have now! She was at the party and here is a lovely photo of me holding her - what a little doll she is!

At the other end of the age spectrum, I was delighted to find my oldest aunt at the party.  When I voiced surprise she told me in no uncertain terms that she still loved parties!  (I also got a ticking off for not keeping in touch with her so I need to remedy that!).  She will be 93 years old (or should I say 'young'?) in November and here is a photo of her up and dancing with a young gentleman!
It rather puts me to shame as I didn't get up to dance at all!  My excuse?  I was too busy nattering to all my cousins - oh and eating and drinking of course!


On the subject of eating, as I said, I took the opportunity of being in the UK to spend some time with my brother and his wife.  One of the days I was there, they took me to Delapre Abbey, where we enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon tea in the gardens.  I had hoped to be able to go in the Abbey (I love old buildings and part of this is reportedly over 900 years old).  However, it is being restored so I was denied that pleasure!  (You can find out more about the Abbey here).  Still, as you can see from these photos, my afternoon was very enjoyable nonetheless!

The huge tree hides the huge 'me' after my cream tea!
I had a lovely surprise as one of my nephews happened to be in Northampton on the day I arrived and I was able to spend several hours with him.  Unfortunately, none of us thought to take photos!
When I left my brother's house last Wednesday, I travelled down to Essex where I was meeting Danny who had flown over that day. Travelling clearly tires Danny....this is him with Joe's dog, Midgey, who was just as tired it seems!
The very next day we travelled back to France in our newly repaired VW Camper.  Here it is waiting its turn at Portsmouth!

You may recall it broke down on our way over to the UK to a VW weekend, last month and remained there so it could be repaired.  Thankfully, the return to France was a breeze and we had no problems whatsoever.
Back home in France meant a return to normality, which for us meant yet more work in the garden.  (One day we will have achieved the "low maintenance garden" we are aiming at!)  And to bring you right up to date, our digger man was here yesterday and now all of the ground at the far side of the pool has been levelled.  After more than 18 months, it feels amazing finally to be free of the mountains of earth that the hole digging (and re-digging) for the pool originally created.  In addition, we now have an area of 'hard standing' which we will use to store things like our trailers, etc. 
So the ground around the pool is now ready for sowing grass seed and for planting.  This is what the new areas look like...
Our neighbours from Essex arrive here on Monday for a week's visit and we are hopeful that they will help us to rotovate and seed the area which will be grass.  Oh and help us plant the areas which will have shrubs!  Well, they are keen gardeners!
And for my final picture this time.... this is our driveway.  Finally clear after nearly two years of storing building materials, pool kit, pallets and so on.  Turning the car round should be a doddle now!

Hopefully there'll be lots of photos of our improved garden next time.  Until then, à bientôt tous!


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