23 January 2022


Just a catch-up.

We have completed our online visa application and have an interview in Manchester on 14th February.  We have asked for a start date of 7th March but have no real idea of when we will actually be going to France.

One of the reasons for not going sooner is a forthcoming wedding for which I have been asked to do some baking and to make the bride’s necklace.  Both a total joy to do.  The dining room has turned into a jewellery factory and the living room is disappearing under mountains of recipe books.

I’ve done a dozen necklace designs for the bride to choose from and Daisy has taken a keen interest in the beading!  I have discovered that those lacey food covers are excellent for keeping her from gently pushing the whole lot off the table!  

My brother has offered to come and stay at our house for five days of the week every time we're away in France.  He's been working from home for nearly two years, just having to do occasional site visits, so "home" can be anywhere he has access to the internet.  Knowing that he will be only five minutes from Dad's flat especially over the weekend, and more especially on Saturdays when the restaurant is closed, is a huge relief.  

Dad now has carers to help him with showering and from this coming week others will be going to give him his tea three times a week.  He gets lunch in the restaurant but had stopped eating anything in the evenings and was losing weight.  Fresh sandwiches were always there in his fridge but he simply didn’t eat them, saying he wasn’t hungry.  We decided to take it in turns to go at teatime every day and found that if we put them on a plate in his hand he would wolf them down.  Having carers to do this for three days will free us from having to plan our whole life around being home every day at 5pm or thereabouts.

This post has been written on my iPad, a first for me I think, the laptop being currently hidden under piles of beading and recipe books.  The annoying thing is that although I can read other blogs using the iPad, my comments don’t appear.  They just get lost.  This happened once before and I thought I’d fixed it but can’t remember how!  I can’t work out how to resize the photos either!

Normal service will be resumed post nuptially!

Just out of interest, do you go for one space or two?  I was amused by something posted on Facebook recently saying that nobody needs to put a double space between sentences nowadays, that it’s an unnecessary and outdated practice.  Decades of typing has hardwired the double space into my writing so I would have to think hard to stop!

Mind you, I’m also a bit picky about spelling and the erroneous use of the apostrophe.  Which probably makes me a dinosaur but I don’t care!  Now I’m officially in the dinosaur age group I'm luxuriating in not having to care about a lot of extra things!  (Double space there.)  How about you?

14 January 2022


The view from the château in early spring.

4.30 am.  The phone rings.

It can only be one person.  I stagger out of bed to answer it.

Me:  hello


Me:  hello Dad, what's wrong?

Dad:  nobody's been

Me:  it's four thirty in the morning

Dad:  well nobody's been

Me:  Dad, it's four thirty in the morning.  Have you got up?

Dad:  yes

Me:  well go back to bed, it's the middle of the night


Our lime tree after its last haircut in February 2015.

The announcement yesterday that the French will now allow entry into France from the UK is great news but the timing is all wrong.

We have a number of commitments next week that might result in further appointments and until we know that we are not in a position to book a crossing.  It's now looking rather like we will be going in mid March as usual, after a full six months away.  Again.

Sadly, had we been able to travel in late December when we planned to, it would have worked out fine.  We had hoped to be there for a couple of weeks in order to finally put the house and garden to bed for the winter and, hopefully, oversee the pruning of our lime tree which is now overdue.  We have been in touch with our new gardener (the previous ones having crossed us off their list of clients last summer) but apparently the timing isn't right and the weather is all wrong. 

I have to wonder what has been achieved by closing the border to the UK for three weeks, other than pissing off a lot of people on both sides of it.  British holiday makers and the French hotels and other businesses that lost out on their custom.  

Another timing issue is when to apply for our visas, the VLST's that will give us freedom to come and go as we always used to.  They require an interview at the French Embassy, Manchester being our nearest office.  And they cost £150 each with all the add-on charges.  And we will have to go through this cuffing palaver every year unless we become French residents and go through all the palaver associated with that.

Brexit.  How to complicate life for so many for virtually no benefit to anyone.

Still, it looks like time is running out for the elitist tosser currently in number 10.  Who declared that a "close family member" conveniently tested positive so he could justify going into hiding.  Although even that is his own bending of the rules for his own purposes, which currently say that fully vaccinated contacts no longer have to self isolate!  Let's hope enough people will now realise how they have been taken for fools for too long.

Bon weekend!!

3 January 2022


 It snowed chez nous in January 2016

From today UK citizens will once again be allowed to travel to Germany, dependent of course on negative tests etc.  We have fingers crossed that the French will soon follow suit and lift the ban that only allows for "essential travel only".

The virus is all around us here in the UK.  Estimates vary from one in fifty to one in thirty people being infected but most of them experiencing no symptoms.  Those that do mostly have something similar to a cold or at worst mild flu.  

We know of whole families that have been infected, only one having symptoms.  In our own family a nephew and his fiancée have caught it twice since they were double vaccinated, him after having his booster.  Again only mild symptoms.  Those worst infected are the unvaccinated.  Many of those being people who have declined the vaccine by choice rather than circumstances.  

I overheard a conversation between three people the other day, in a shop doorway.  A couple in their fifties were talking to a much older woman who said she wouldn't have the vaccine because you have no idea what's in it.

I have wondered what I would say if I got into such a conversation.  Would I accuse the person of being selfish, of putting not just her own health at risk but also that of her friends and family, not to mention every person she breathed on?  Or would I feel obliged to respect her view?

I think I might be tempted to say "well I hope you get away with it if you do get infected".  Or maybe "you don't know what's in most of the food and drink you have been consuming all your life either, not to mention all the other tablets you have taken when you were ill, or the ones that undoubtedly keep you alive".

More than likely I would simply end the conversation and step back to a safe distance for her sake and mine.  My understanding is that it's hard to dissuade the misinformed these days.

Today in our part of the UK the sky is blue at last.  Weeks of grey cloud and endless drizzle have only been bearable because of the distraction of Christmas and New Year.  For once it hasn't rained overnight and the forecast is for a dryish spell and very cold temperatures.  Nick will be able to resume his woodland walks with Hugo - they both enjoy an hour's trample through the woods and fields every morning but not when they come back covered in mud.  The washing machine has been going every day to cope with muddy clothes and dog towels.  Lately their usual walks have been so awful that they have resorted to the paths and parks that are good under foot in wet weather with the disadvantage that every other dog walker in the area is doing the same thing. 

And so we keep our heads down.  To catch the virus and have a mild dose of it would be bad enough but to have to self isolate when there is dog walking to do and Dad to look after would be very awkward.  If the French drop the drawbridge back down and we have the opportunity to go for a couple of weeks to finally sort the garden and house for the winter it would be tragic if a positive test result stopped us from going!

Fingers well and truly crossed here!