18 March 2013


Winter, that is.


A château in the Loire Valley last summer.  And sunshine.

We have freezing fog in Derbyshire this morning.

So here we are, it’s the 18th March, the equinox is just around the corner, a quarter of the year is nearly gone and I can barely count on two hands the number of sunny days we have had so far this year.

Actually, we have probably had more than that but when I am at work it could be doing anything outside.  It’s usually sunny when I’m at work and horrible on my days off.  That has been the pattern so far this year and this is one of the main reasons why I am looking forward so much to retiring……….I just need some sunshine !!  Or at least not to have to go to work on the rare occasions when the sun is shining.

The forecast for the next few days is grim.  Very cold and more of the dreaded white stuff.  Nick is currently in India where it is 38°C and sunny (of course, what else would it be).

My theory is that this is why time flies.  During the first two months of the year I feel as if my life is on hold, just enduring the dark nights and the bad weather.  March is nearly always a huge disappointment and life remains on hold until Easter.

Still, I have only 11 days before our next trip to France and only 11 weeks left to work.  If you count the holidays and the fact that I only work three days per week (the sunny ones), that’s only 24 more days to be spent at work.  23½ by tomorrow lunchtime.  Not that I’m counting !!

Have a good week !!

10 March 2013



I took this picture exactly one year ago today, Sunday 11th March 2012.

We had been to London for our big day out on Saturday (to see Vincent and Flavia in Midnight Tango) and on Sunday the weather was glorious.  We had lunch outside in the sunshine.  (I rustled up a quiche from what we had in the fridge.)


This is how the weather is today, Sunday 10th March 2013.

So on exactly the same day, one year later, the temperature is colder by about 20°Centigrade.


Which sums up the one reason why I can’t get excited about snowdrops.  When the snowdrops are in flower there is always the chance of snow !!


So while everyone is getting excited and waxing lyrical about the snowdrops in their gardens, I almost ignore the clumps in our garden……….give me tulips any day.

When the tulips are in full bloom the winter is well behind us. 

Although here in Derbyshire I have known snow well into April or even May, but that’s just about as often as eating lunch al fresco in the middle of March !!

Have a nice Sunday and of course, Happy Mother’s Day !!

8 March 2013


I did have a slight wobble just before I handed in my resignation at work, wondering if it was the right thing to do.  But it was only a brief one and I had made up my mind.

Pauline commented that I would miss my colleagues but not the daily commute and that is true.  The first person at work that I told of my decision was a lady I am very fond of.  She joined the company sixteen years ago and whilst I never see her outside of work, the days that we work together are much nicer than the days when she is not in and I will miss her. 

coffee time

Coffee time in the village square in Le Grand-Pressigny.

I knew that once that letter was in the hands of my boss there would be no turning back and in fact plans to replace me are well under way already, as they need to be to provide continuity in the company.  That’s it, my working life is coming to an end.


Spring flowers in the park at Descartes.

A lady of 84 came in yesterday afternoon, let’s call her Mavis.  

As she was about to leave she said she was looking forward to her favourite grandson coming to see her.  She had to get back to stoke up the fire, it was such a miserable and grey day.  She added that she had brought him up after his mother’s accident and he’s forty now.

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The château at Le Grand-Pressigny.

I said something like, oh dear, was it a road accident?  Well it was, in a way.  When the lad was a baby Mavis was pushing him along the road in his pushchair with her daughter-in-law walking by her side when a car came round the bend too fast and hit them.  Mavis was slightly injured but the car knocked the young woman down and ran over her. The baby was unhurt but the car drove off without stopping.

I looked at Mavis in total amazement.  You never get over something like that and she had tears in her eyes.  I found it hard to believe that I had known this woman for nearly thirty years and never knew that about her. 

The driver was caught because a witness took a note of the registration number and he was banned for driving for eighteen months and fined £78.  I don’t know what that would be in today’s money, being as this happened forty years ago, but even if it was ten times as much it seems such an insignificant punishment for causing the young mother’s death – another cruel blow for Mavis and her family - having lost the daughter-in-law that she said she “worshipped” to then find that her life was worth so little.  Mavis said that when they saw him in court he couldn’t even be bothered to wear clean clothes and have a shave.

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The square in Chinon.

When I looked at my computer later in the day there was a news snippet on my home page with the title “man gets jail for laughing too loud in his own home.”  I didn’t want to read any further.  What a crazy world we live in. 

One of the very few things I will miss when I give up work is the stories, the sometimes funny, sometimes moving and often amazing stories that ordinary people have to tell about their lives.

Bon weekend !!