25 December 2022



The year is almost at an end.
We are now back in the UK until the spring so the blog will go into hibernation.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year!

23 December 2022



October and November vanished in a blur of activity.
The new windows were installed.  We decorated the main bedroom and the carpet was fitted.
We arrived back in the UK on the day that my brother was discharged from hospital.  He had been there for twelve weeks, four of those in intensive care.

22 December 2022



As we were well out of step with our days, in other words I had spent so much more time back in the UK than Nick, I returned to France ten days before he did.  The weather was glorious.

Hugo and I enjoyed our walks together.  There had been some rain so the grass was less parched.  The trees were beginning to turn autumn gold.
September is our favourite month to be in France.

Breakfast for one.

Even before Nick arrived I started work on clearing the upstairs for work to begin on the roof and windows.

It was a huge job.

There is never a shortage of jobs with an old house.

The gate was causing us trouble.  The gatepost on the right was gradually falling outwards which meant the gates didn't meet in the middle properly and the electric opening mechanism often wouldn't work.  They also needed painting and the thought of spending a whole week painting a pair of tatty old gates did not appeal!

We spoke to the builder and plans were made to have a new gate and gateposts.  It would be half a metre wider which would make turning in easier, especially for delivery vans and builders lorries, of which we seemed to need more than we ever thought!

Meanwhile, back in the UK, my brother was still in intensive care.

21 December 2022



Another heat wave.
The blistering heat of summer continued.

It was also windy.  The desiccating breeze spelled disaster for the garden plants but was good for drying the washing.

We bought a gas barbecue.  Not quite the cave man style that we were used to but excellent for predictable entertaining and fewer crozzled sausages!

For the last few months we had been preoccupied with problems on the other side of the channel but we were making up for lost time.  Eating out, entertaining and enjoying ourselves, in spite of the tremedous heat.

At the Paulmy brocante (the second in the year) we didn't linger but stayed long enough to buy this set of little bowls and a plate.  All for 2€.

On the day we had arranged to have a lovely lunch at Le Cerafus in Saint Savin the temperature was nearing 40°C.  

It was nice and cool inside but we decided to postpone our visit to the Abbey until another time when it might be cooler and more comfortable for sight seeing.

There was entertainment in the village square on warm evenings.

Our tomato plants managed to produce a few fruits in spite of the heat waves and drought.

With our visas due to expire on a date in early September we had to be out of the country on that day.  Our plan was to leave France in the third week of August and return in mid September, using the rest of our 180 days with the Schengen rules.  Brexit had made life very complicated.

We also planned that my brother would join us in September for his first holiday in three years.  September is a lovely month to be chez nous.  In the middle of August he was having symptoms that suggested he might have Covid.  It turned out to be a pulmonary embolism instead and he was admitted to hospital.

After a truly horrendous journey back to the UK on 21st August, taking nineteen hours, we arrived home at 6.30am.  Two hours later we had a phone call from a doctor at the hospital to say that my brother was now in intensive care.

20 December 2022



I had only spent one week of June in France.  We didn't get back again until the last week of July, arriving at the tail end of yet another heat wave.  

Even in the UK my trusty old Peugeot told me that it hit 42°C, unheard of in Derbyshire. 

It felt really good to be back.
Daisy decided that her favourite chair was one of the new ones.

She was recovering well from her operation, although the ability to close her left eye was slow to come back.

We spent many an evening just sitting, enjoying the peace and quiet, reflecting on the year so far and planning how we would spend the rest of our time there.

We were allowed to spend a total of 180 days in France and because I had spent so much time back in the UK, we were out of step.  Nick would run out of days well before I did.

19 December 2022



June was hot and dry.  There had been no rain for weeks.
The garden was suffering.  Our tomato plants were not thriving but we managed to grow a few flowers.

Less than 24 hours after I arrived back in the UK Dad had a fall in the early hours of the morning and was admitted to hospital.  After two weeks of hospital visiting and negotiating with doctors, nurses and social workers for Dad's care, my brother suggested I returned to France, leaving him to keep an eye on things.

Back in France the harvest was in full swing.  It was a hot and dusty affair.

I was uneasy and convinced I would not be in France for long so we had a kind of holiday, visiting many of our favourite places, including Angles sur L'Anglin.

Another brocante and more old stuff.
The three tier stand is made of cast iron, painted.  The little door hook was later put to good use in the house.  The tiny dishes have been added to my collection for apéros with friends and the multi coloured ramekins are the perfect size for Daisy's daily treat of "mouse" - titbits of raw meat.

We ate outdoors all the time and made good use of the bbq whilst waiting for news.

After just one week the hospital phoned to say that Dad was being transferred to a care home.  I flew back to the UK the next day.

In my absence, Nick took Daisy to the vet for the operation to remove the tumour from her face.  They were both very brave.

Dad was transferred to a care home where he lived for just one more week.
He died on 2nd July, just a few months short of his 94th brthday.

18 December 2022



We tried out our new plan for sharing our time between France and the UK.  The cost of a return trip in the car for all of us, including the cat and dog, is now so enormous that we decide to travel individually.  Nick flew back to the UK at the end of April for two weeks.  

While he was away I found this lovely Gien jug at the Paulmy brocante.

Breakfast for one chez nous.

Being in sole charge of dog walking for a couple of weeks I was distraught when Hugo was bitten by another dog while we were on our favourite walk around the château.
The owner blamed me because Hugo was on the lead and his dog apparently only wanted to "play".
 He nevertheless agreed to pay the vet's bill.

By the time Nick returned from the UK the weather was hotting up.
It was too hot to linger for long at the brocante at Ciran but long enough to pick up a couple of nice Veuve Clicquot glasses, a Camembert baking dish and a recipe book.  All for less than 6€.

Our old outdoor chairs finally started to fall apart so they were "mothballed" into the barn.
Nick thinks he might repair them one day as they are only twenty five years old!

We treated ourselves to some new chairs for outdoor relaxing and dining.

The weather got hotter and hotter and the ground was beginning to look very parched.
We were pleased when our lime tree, trimmed rather late in the year, came into leaf.

One of the reasons for our regular trips back to the UK was to check on my dad.
He was 93 and had dementia so we decided to install CCTV in his flat to keep an eye on him.
Odd things had been happening and we needed to know what was going on.

While Nick was in the UK I took Daisy to the vet for a biopsy on the lump on her head.  It turned out to be a sarcoma that would have to be removed.

A few days after Nick returned we checked the CCTV at bedtime to find Dad in distress and trying to call for help.  My brother took him to A&E where they spent the night, triggering a chain of events that ended with his death.  
The CCTV had revealed some surprising and upsetting things.  His carers were doing a dismally bad job.

On the Bank Holiday we tried a new restaurant not far from home and it was very good.  It's surprising how many places there are around where we still have not eaten, even after fifteen years.

We spotted our "resident" again, possibly enjoying a spot of lunch himself.

I made a coconut and lemon cake for an event at the Salle des Fêtes, handed it over and left in a hurry, dashing home to make plans for my early return to the UK.  I flew back to the UK on 31st May.