Thursday, 25 December 2008

Joyeux Noel

Hmmm 5.15am and I’m typing this!!! Not sure if I’ll have the peace to write later so I’ll do it now whilst it’s just me n bubs.

A very, very happy Christmas/Winter Solstice/Festive Season to you all and I hope that you get a minute or two to really enjoy it. Thank you for all the lovely cards that you have sent – it makes me miss you all so much.

It has been very hectic here as we have had workmen here from the day after we got back from the UK (2nd Dec) until yesterday, Christmas Eve, and every single room in the house is affected. I have absolutely no idea where anything is as all our boxes in the grenier keep having to be moved from one place to another. Before we moved I made sure that I had labelled everything so that Christmas wouldn’t be a panic (as usual) but sadly the best laid plans n all that….. So, in a way, Christmas only just started for us last night – felt that way anyway!

The boys are up to high 90 with excitement and it’s a joy to behold. Brodie is excited about all the junk food he can have - I bought 2 – yes 2!!! – family bags of crisps and he’s been watching over them. He checks the cupboard every day and rattles the packet. They are both looking forward to stuffing vol-au-vents tomorrow/today – not so sure that I am! Rowan on the other hand is excited about the mechanics of how Father Christmas will get around the world, down the chimney, back up (he’s worried about that), and take off safely with the reindeer on our steep roof. He came shopping with me today to get the turkey – yes we now have an oven! - and Father Christmas was in the shop walking round and handing out ever so nice praline chocolates in very generous proportions. Rowan got extra when he told Father Christmas in French that we were from Scotland. He confided on the way home that he knew that it wasn’t the real Father Christmas because by this time the real one would be “in the southern hemisphere covered in soot from all the chimneys he’d had to go down”. He is word perfect on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and I swear will be gutted when Christmas is over and he can’t sing it at least three times EVERY waking hour! Brodie likes to sing “Jingle bells, Santa smells a million miles away, Father Christmas lost his knickers on the motorway…” and belted it out repeatedly very loudly at the swimming pool last weekend. Good job we’re in France!

Ben and I had to stifle our laughter this evening as about 9pm (when we wanted them off to bed) Ben went out to check if there was any sign of them – the Santa website said that they were almost at France (yikes and still presents not wrapped!). His tambourine came in handy and Rowan nearly exploded with excitement when he heard the ‘sleigh bells’ in the distance. Brodie on the other hand got all scared and wanted to go to bed – job done.

I’ve just been looking up Delia Smith to see how long to cook the turkey for. Up until now we’ve always had one of those ready prepared turkey breast efforts from Tesco but this year I’m ‘doing it for real’. Crikey and how expensive are free range turkeys here!!!! 34 euros – just about 34 quid with the new wonderful parity exchange rate! – for a 3.5kg job. Hope I don’t mess it up! Seriously I hope I don’t mess it up as it has to feed us for the next 3 days cos the shops are shut. No problem we thought, we’ll go and buy a chest freezer (a nice very energy efficient one – Dad please note) and stock it up a bit as we currently don’t have anything more than a tiny ice box at the top of our freezer. So we squeezed one into the back of the Bongo, Calyx had to sit on Ben’s lap as there was no floor space left, and I raced home with it. Only to find that it’s too wide to go into our cuisine d’ete (one of our little outhouses) so it’s junked in with all the other junk in the not-so-spare-room with no hope of being stocked until Francis comes back on 5th Jan and widens the door of the cuisine d’ete.

And back to Christmas lunch… we couldn’t find chipolata sausages anywhere – not that I like them anyway – so my shopping helper (Rowan) decided that frankfurter hot dogs would be just as good. Hmmmmm, that’ll be for them then. No, no chipolatas but they do have another, totally unrelated thing, called a ‘pain surprise’ which made me marvel. It’s a whole load of ready made sandwiches that are stacked up to look like a cake. So just when you thought “Ah now for something sweet” some awful joke is played on you and a tuna sandwich smiles at you from the ‘cake’ space. How unfair!

Last minute shopping at Christmas here is a lovely experience, not the blind panic, bad tempered, elbowed out of the way affair that it was for me in the UK. Every supermarket has a horse and sleigh outside that the children (and adults) can ride round the carpark on for free. There’s not a queue of more than 2 folk either at the checkout or the sleigh ride. Father Christmas wanders the aisles giving out freebies and the store manger ambles round the store with a microphone, jibbering away, pointing out special offers, making grotty jokes and laughing at all of them (the jokes, not the special offers). And this is in ALL the supermarkets, not just one.

Oh now there’s a slight breeze blowing so maybe our internet connection will fail and this email won’t go off today L We’ll see.

Friday, 21 November 2008

No Regrets Yet

Still loving it here and have not a single regret. We have only had 5 days of rain in TOTAL since we got here, we haven’t yet had a frost, “windy” means that the leaves rustle in the trees, and yes the trees still have leaves on them and it’s almost the end of November! Without heating (it’s not installed just yet – hopefully the end of this month) the house sits at 16 or 17 degrees – Butterwell will be about 8 degrees at the moment without heating and will struggle up to 16/17 with the heating on full!!! Nope, no regrets.

And it’s not just the weather. We went off to Pescheray (an enormous animal park that houses all the species that are or were indigenous to this area) and there was only us and one other couple there. Fantastic autumn day with us all having fun kicking through the crispy leaves, feeding the goats popcorn, and hoping that the wild boars ate apples (we have loads of them from our orchard – more than we need). The boys just loved it and Rowan was really interested in the pre-historic bit where it tells of finds that have been made in this part of France.

We have met some really fine artisans that are now working on our house. Our kitchen is slowly coming together – we now at least have the new sink plumbed in and some cupboards. Hopefully the woodburning cooker – an ESSE -, also acting as the heating system boiler, will be fitted the first week of December. We haven’t needed any heating up to this point but December may be different! We’re having the beams in the sejour (living area) replaced next week and the whole ceiling will have to be pulled down – yikes. So masses of dust so we’re moving out for the week…. And coming up to Scotland J

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Our Arrival

Well we’re are a wee bit more settled now and have finally found the computer under all the 200+ boxes so I can get an email out at last.

Ben’s trip with the cats was remarkably good as far as the cats were concerned – Meg was sick within the first half hour but after the first hour of all 3 of them howling, they settled down and went to sleep for the duration. However, the trip was not uneventful in other areas and he got stopped by the police on the motorway for being in the 3rd lane with a trailer – unbeknownst to us, a prohibited combination in the outside lane!!! Sadly 3 points and a 60 GBP fine L Fortunately he made the ferry with time to spare and arrived at LPM about 12.30am so good timing really.

Our trip over the next day (the boys and I) was thankfully uneventful and we were all home in time for tea!

The removal guys arrived the next day (Monday) and had to hack down a tree in order to get the road-train in! Unpacking was swift and they left the following afternoon. Everything made it in one piece – not a single broken pot, glass, nor plant (at least as far as we know – there are some boxes that will no doubt not be unpacked for 5 years!!). Amazing.

Now we are surrounded by a sea of boxes and sofas. Still, the sun has shone everyday since we arrived so life seems that bit sweeter as we can just go and eat outside to escape the chaos in the house.

Anyway, Ben is hounding me to finish this as we don’t yet have an internet connection here at the house (major sore point) so Ben goes off to MacDonald’s and makes the most of their free WiFi offer.

Signing off.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


Well "Hello/Bonjour" and welcome to my blog. I figured it might be easier for folk to log on here and see what we were doing rather than clog up email boxes with my rambling emails when folk might not want to receive them. So here goes....