9 January 2010


We travelled to France on Boxing Day, i.e. 26th December, having fulfilled our Christmas responsibilities by cooking Christmas lunch for my Dad, my brother and my niece. As soon as they had gone home, full of Christmas pud, we got washed up and packed up for a very early start the next day.

There had been huge problems for travellers trying to get away the week before because of the snow, notably with Eurostar. We would be using Eurotunnel, which was by now supposedly running normally. Even so, when we left home at 5am, we were well supplied with flasks of coffee, loads of sandwiches and blankets. Also extra blankets, water and dog biscuits for Lulu. In fact, the sandwich-and-flask method of travelling has been adopted for each of our last few visits and is very advantageous, saving lots of money that we would otherwise have spent on snacks at motorway services and, more importantly, lots of time.

As is often the case, although there were maybe 2-3" of snow on our road, by the time we got to Nottingham, there was none !! Feeling like complete idiots, dressed for the arctic conditions up north, we arrived at Eurotunnel, Folkestone in record time, not a flake of snow anywhere. So what was all the fuss about ?

When we got to Calais it was a completely different scene. There were piles and piles of snow by the roadside, reminding us that they must have had tons of the stuff at the same time that we did in England.

We had managed to get on an earlier train than the one we had booked so made excellent progress on the quieter-than-usual motorways. There is rarely much traffic on the northern autoroutes at the times that we are travelling and on this day they were more or less deserted. However, the Boxing Day holiday does not exist as such in France and all the shops are open so we were able to stop at Leroy Merlin in Rouen as we had hoped, and pick up another electric heater. This was to replace one of our scruffy, old and inefficient ones in the cottage. It had been left behind by the previous owner and was better than nothing so far but if it had been any good, she would have taken it away along with all the other fixtures and fittings when we bought the house.

We arrived at the péage south of Tours to a beautiful sunset and a crisply cold evening. When we got to the cottage we found it lovely and warm and with our outside light on to welcome us home. What wonderful friends we have there. Nicole had been in the day before - Christmas Day, no less, to put heaters on low in the living room and bedroom. Barrie had been in that morning to light the wood burning stove and put lights on. There were Christmas cards and mincepies waiting for us, too, even a card from fellow blogger, Martine. What a lovely welcome.

It didn't take Lulu long to make herself at home.

We had dinner at GrandMa's with Barrie, having first fitted and switched on our electric blanket. We had a nice meal there, chosen from his festive menu, and talked with Barrie about the possibility of going to the celebration evening at the salle des fêtes on New Year's Eve. The chef/patron of GrandMa's, Henri, was putting it on and there was to be a supeb dinner and three bands. It was pricey at 75 euros a head, although that was quite reasonable for a St-Sylvestre event. We decided to think about it.
It was going to be a very busy week for us. There were several outings already booked and we were DETERMINED to finish decorating the large bedroom - we had started it over a year ago and it was time it was finished.


  1. Hi Jean
    What a great idea...to go boxing day. I bet you were bursting with anticipation. I could feel the excitement.
    I look forward to hear how you got on.

  2. Hello Jean, I'm glad your operation went well. I hope the pain isn't too bad. On the bright side, you can also add that you don't have to go out with all this snow and ice on the roads :). I've started clearing the snow dune that has formed in front of my garage, hoping that it won't snow again overnight ... Take care!

    Martine x

  3. Ken - we had a super week, lots of socialising and eating and we..... well, you'll just have to wait and see.!

    Martine - the snow is lingering way too long for our liking. And it's snowing again now. Poor Nick has me to look after and my dad to sort out as well - he hasn't been outside his house for over a week. We banned him from walking in case he falls or from driving in case he has a mishap. So we (Nick) are doing all his shopping and trying to keep him entertained.