29 June 2021



Not long now!

25 June 2021



This is the view if you are first onto the train at Eurotunnel.

Well, all is in place but we are on tenterhooks.

The PM has put Spain and the Beleriacs on the green list but left France on the amber.  This means that the hordes of people desperate for a foreign holiday can now jet off to Spain, Majorca or Ibiza without having to quarantine on their way home - which was pretty impractical to do if all you have is a fortnight off work, not to mention the cost of all the PCR tests.  We pensioners are better placed as ten days at home on our return is more or less what we have got used to.

This is good news for us.  In the short term, France being on the amber list (with the quarantine, palaver and expense of testing on return) is diverting thousands of holidaymakers from France to elsewhere and might just mean that Macron keeps the border open.  

With the Johnson variant running rife through the UK now (we might as well credit him with the Delta variant as his incompetence is why we got it), the leaders on the other side of the Channel Tunnel are getting twitchy about letting us in again.  If they get too twitchy the best we could hope for is that they might insist on a quarantine period as well as the vaccination record and Covid tests.  The worst case is that they close the borders to travellers from the UK but the prospect of fewer Brits travelling to or through France might calm things down.  Putting France on the green list some time in September would be handy, so that we wouldn't have to fork out for all those tests and quarantine on our return.  

For now, not knowing if we'll be able to go when we planned is just too much.  

At a push we could make a run for it while we can, as long as we could rearrange the Covid tests and the AHC appointment for Hugo at a suitable time, both of which could be tricky.  There might be a run on Eurotunnel bookings as everyone else does the same but we'll take any crossing at all.  Anything.  Anything not to spend the next two weeks worrying about whether things will change.  We just want to get there and get all this stuff behind us for a while.

19 June 2021



19th June 2019
Looking at my photo album I see that my brother was over for a holiday and we visited Château de L'islette.

There is much to see and plenty of shade at Château de L'islette.

Hugo was looking forward to his second birthday.

Daisy was making the most of her newly built perches.

They make jumping down from the barn roof less tricky and the view is great.

That evening we ate outdoors as usual.

I made a cherry flan for dessert using cherries from our own tree.

The blog may go to sleep for a while.  Next post from France I hope - we will have been away for exactly ten months.
Until then, bon weekend and night, night!

17 June 2021



Since we were able to think about making firm plans to go to France this summer I have felt positively energised.  Buoyant in fact.  Which is just as well as there has been a lot of stuff to organise.

Crossing booked with Eurotunnel, midweek so that we can shop en route - tick.

Vet appointment for Hugo booked, to get his Animal Health Certificate, timing critical as it has to be dated within a ten day slot before travelling - tick.

Covid tests appointments booked , timing very critical, as they have to be done within 48 hours before travelling - tick.

Documents printed out and compiled - Covid vaccination records, French Engagements sur l'honneur, Eurotunnel Declarations - tick.

Travel insurance policy to cover 90 days and amber listed countries organised - tick.

Care and support put in place for Dad while we're away - tick.

Tasks remaining.

Order dog food to be delivered chez nous as we're not allowed to take any into France.

Rearrange UK house insurance to cover for 90 days' absence.

Print out travel insurance policy and put EHICs in travel folder.

Order number plates for the car and trailer for taking a different car.

Write an inventory of items we're taking with us, the max allowable value being 300€ each.

Amount of time taken so far in organising all the above, hours and hours.  Days in fact.  Much of it is over and above what was required PB and BC (pre-Brexit and before Covid).

It will be worth every second once we're there.

5 June 2021



Well, fancy that!

Almost as soon as France pulled up the drawbridge, the EU let it down again.

Within the next few days France will be allowing visitors from the UK and the US into the country as long as they have proof of two vaccinations and a negative Covid test result within 48 hours of travelling.

The gates are open once more for us to go to France.

At a cost, of course.

We are getting organised to go as soon as we can.  There is a lot to work out and get done before we go.  The PCR tests can be done at a centre about forty minutes' drive from home at a cost of £120 each and we can get the return tests done (day 2 and day 8) in the UK for £175 each.  That's nearly £600 worth of Covid testing in the UK, plus the cost of the test required in France before returning.  I have no idea how much that one is or where or how we would get it but we should have plenty of time to work it out while we're there - unless France goes onto the "green list" during our stay, which would save a lot of money.

I'm sure that at £600+ per couple a lot of people will be put off travelling to France or any other country on the "amber list".  

Daisy can travel at no extra cost on her French passport but we will need to get an AHC (animal health certificate) for Hugo.  We have found a new local vet who offers them for £65, which is a bargain compared to the £150 quoted elsewhere.  Once he's there we will get our French vet to issue him with a new French passport so that in future he won't require an AHC and both of them can then travel for free - or rather, for just the cost of their ticket as before!

We have yet to work out what we can and can't take with us.  Ham sandwiches for the journey are a no-no but lettuce and tomato (no butter) should be ok.

The clincher has been being able to avail ourselves of new travel insurance which, for an extra premium, still covers for travel to "amber list" countries where travel is not advised, as long as that advice is only for Covid reasons.  For another additional premium we can extend the usual 50 day duration of stay to 100 days, to allow for us to take the whole of our Schengen allowance of 90 days in one go.  Normally we would have split that 90 days into two halves and return to the UK for a couple of weeks half way through, but with the cost of each trip now costing so much extra we decided to do it just once.  You can get a lot of nice lunches for £665+.

There is so much to think about that it's exhausting!

There is still much to do.  We have to rearrange our UK house insurance for the longer absence, finding a policy that allow for more than the 60 days we have had before.  No doubt that will cost extra too!  Getting the Covid test before we go and making sure the result arrives in time is the biggest worry and timing the crossing so that it all dovetails together has taken some doing.

Oh for the days when all we had to do was to book the crossing, pack the car and off we went!  And when we could take the unused contents of the fridge with us and some ham and cheese sandwiches for the road!  Still, considering that only two days ago there was serious doubt that we would get there at all this year, I'm not grumbling.  I'm so excited, like a little kid on Christmas Eve.  Our house in France is calling to us and we'll be there before very long!  We just want to make sure we get there before either government changes its mind again!

Bon Weekend !!
(All the pictures were taken in the medieval town of Levroux, in June 2017.)

3 June 2021



Over the winter in the UK several home made nesting boxes appeared on the trees just over the fence behind our neighbours' garden.  They are all slightly different but all painted a nice dark green.  The neighbours have also built a hedgehog house (but we only get a glimpse of that from a bedroom window so have no idea how successful it has been).

Having a wood at the back of our house is a mixed blessing, but mostly good.  We enjoy watching the antics of the birds and squirrels but they do make a hell of a racket!  The dawn chorus now starts at close to 3.30 am !!  And the pigeons make a lot of mess.  But it is mostly a real delight to have all this entertainment just over the fence.

Sitting on the patio the other day we heard a tapping noise.  At first we thought it was Woody the woodpecker tapping the bark nearby but realised it was too slow and irregular for him.  Then we noticed a bird repeatedly visiting one of the neighbour's bird boxes.  A great tit was doing a bit of DIY, taking moss into the box and tapping against the wood inside to make a bed.  We await the results !!

2 June 2021


2nd June 2019.
We were safely installed chez nous for the summer.

Hugo and Daisy were settled into their summer home.
The roses were in full bloom.

It was the last time we spent a whole summer there, able to come and go as we please, to pop back to England for a couple of weeks then go back again, unhindered by complicated and expensive travel arrangements.

The picnic shelter was up and running, the venue for long, lazy lunches and convivial gatherings of friends and family.

Today the news is of zero UK deaths from the coronavirus.  That's good news.  (Zero on top of the 128,000 so far, that is.)  Yet still, we are not welcome in France.  Congratulations to those who made a run for it in the last few weeks.  

If you have any doubt about how we got to where we are with coronavirus read this enlightening article by Jeremy Vine.  And if you want to know what danger lies ahead, try this one by Simon Wren-Lewis.