5 June 2009


The 3.20 am train

We have just had a wonderful week in our little maison and a great time it was too, if a little busy. It all got off to an uncertain start because I completely mis-remembered the time of our train. All the previous week I was telling people we would have to leave home at 4 am to get the 9.30 train on Saturday. Just as Nick was leaving for work on Friday he suggested we check the booking and to my absolute horror I discovered I had for some unearthly reason booked us on at 11 pm Friday night. OMG "what a mistake-a to make-a". (A quote from "Allo Allo" for those who don't know.)

There was no way we would catch that train as Nick didn't usually finish work until 5 pm and the journey to Folkestone was likely to be extremely busy. So I managed to rearrange the trip to the best available which was 5.40 am on Saturday, meaning we would have to leave home about 1 am. (For the alteration Eurotunnel charged us the exhorbitant extra fee of £80, too.) We got all packed and went to bed at 9 pm with the aim of getting a few hours' sleep. We were both still wide awake at 10 pm so we decided to get up and set off. We arrived in time to get the 3.20 am train and after a short snooze somewhere in Northern France, got to Le Grand Pressigny at lunchtime, having called at Intermarché in Descartes for some shopping.

Lulu finding her way around her new home.

It was so lovely to be back. The sun was shining, the temperature was very "agréable", the birds were singing, our neighbour was pleased to see us and we were just so glad to be "home".

Since our last trip at Easter, Alex and Nicole have been very busy at our place, fixing the driveway, fitting shutters to our new window, planting our little garden and mowing the new lawn. This takes all the sting out of owning a holiday home abroad - the prospect of having to spend half a day gardening as soon as we got there each time did not appeal to us. Nicole has designed our little garden and filled it with lovely plants so that all we have to do when we turn up is relax and enjoy it all.

Not only that, Nicole had been in and left some lovely flowers to welcome us home. How thoughtful is that ?

In the evening, we bumped into a few other familiar faces outside the PreHisto, all waiting for their pizzas to be cooked at the pizza van by the church.

The Saturday pizza van. Rumour has it there will also be one on Tuesdays.

We of course were there to do the same and even remembered to take our loyalty card with us to get it stamped - buy 10 pizzas - get one free. And very tasty they are too.

Our pizzas attracted attention from someone who had actually already had their dinner.

On Sunday we had a visit from our friends Jacob Jan and Annie from Holland. They had come with their friends Leo and Dinnie, with their two gorgeous motorcycles. They were staying in one of Alex and Nicole's beautiful gites.

A fine pair of motorcycles "chez nous"

From the left: Annie, Dinnie, Leo, JJ and Nick

I first met JJ and Annie nearly 25 years ago on an Italian campsite and we have got together many times since then. They really enjoyed touring in the Loire valley and agreed with us that it is a wonderful area to see "à moto". They did a huge number of kilometres and declared they would be back soon as there was so much to see and do in an area of France they had never really explored before.

Our hosts for the party

On Sunday evening Alex and Nic held a BBQ party for all of us, also inviting the rather bemused Australian couple who were staying in one of their other gites. It was great to get the feeling that summer must have finally arrived - outdoor eating is so much fun.

BBQ party, Chez Ania style, in their fantastic outdoor dining room (barn!)

On Monday our friends Mike and Jackie arrived - they are also our neighbours at home in the UK. They were on Mike's big BMW motorcycle, Jackie currently being unable to ride her lovely blue Suzuki due to having a problem with her wrist. They were on their usual French tour and called to see how we were getting on with the "doing up". Mike actually was a great help and fitted the little door over what we can only describe as the loft hole above the kitchen.

One of those jobs for which you need a tall friend who is not averse to going up a big ladder

The finished job

We had found the little door amongst all the junk left in the cellar when we bought the house. It had obviously been tailor made for the opening but, as with everything else in the house, the job had never been finished by the previous owners.

More about our holiday in the next blog........then must get back to the "raison d'être".......the story.


  1. Oh my,how wonderful your house looks ^0^ It just happened to me to pass by your blog but can't hold back from commenting :) Beautiful^_^ Oh and also how cute a dog you have!.! Lovely! France looks the ideal place for a great holiday :)

  2. Hello Elfen, welcome to my blog. Glad you like it - we think our dog is incredibly cute, too. (She's not spoilt or anything..!) Call again sometime - there will be more soon.

  3. Hi Jean, Love to hear that you've enjoyed your holiday ! What a nice house and fabulous friends you have!

  4. Ladybird, we love our little house and having friends there is just the icing on the cake. I still keep pinching myself to make sure it's not all just a dream.

  5. So glad you're having fun in your cottage.

    We bought ours nearly 10 years ago and it was a real haven which we used when ever we could.

    You'll know this anyway I'm sure, (we learnt the hard way) but make sure your holiday cottage is really insect proof. If they can get in, they will.

    Our friends have just come over to France to find their holiday cottage full of wasps, with us, it was ants.

    You'll have such a wonderful time though as you've already discovered!


  6. GG, we do worry about insects and mice. The house is full of little holes and places where all sorts of creatures could get in so we are gradually dealing with it and hoping for the best. Having Alex and Nic turning up to do the jardin regularly helps as they keep an eye on things and alert us to any problems - eg the burst pipes after Christmas, which they also arranged to get repaired for us. The worst thing so far (apart from the burst pipes) was that the two new sofas got nibbled by mice in our garage at home in the UK whilst they were stored, fully wrapped, for 3 weeks before we could bring them over.
    The interesting thing is that in France we worry about insects, in the UK we worry about burglars. Same thing, really, I suppose.

  7. Not only insects, but, depending on where youare, Pine martens too. They will get in a small hole and make a foul mess of your attic.
    You are sensible to have people looking after your home. We bought a cottage in Brittany 15 years ago and were lucky to find people to care for it while we were back in UK. We came over permanently about 5 years later.
    Nice to read your posts.

  8. What a lovely blog! Great pictures of the house, the friends and hungry cute furry friend..

    i was so drawn to the pictures..it looks a wonderful place to be.

    from One Day At a Time/

  9. Silver, it is a wonderful place to be - I can't wait to go back. There's still lots of stuff to do though. It never ends with these old houses, nothing was finished by the previous owners.