A lot of water has gone under the bridge, or at least under the ferry, since I last posted, almost a month ago. How did that happen?
At the end of April I returned to the UK for a very quick visit, bringing my brother back with me for a holiday. The two remarkable things about this are:
1) That I used the Dieppe - Newhaven ferry for the first time. They had a very good price for a five day return, a fraction of the cost of using the tunnel. But I wouldn't use that route again without an overnight stay, which makes the cost less competitive. The boat was comfortable and not too busy but the four hour crossing, plus the two hours they want you to arrive before sailing and the one hour it took to disembark, made the journey just too long to do all in one day. It was hard work.
2) That my brother felt able to come and visit. He only recently found out that the reason he was so terribly ill and in intensive care for so long last year is because as well as his pulmonary embolism he developed sepsis as a complication. Goodness only knows why this information was not given to either him or his family at the time but it certainly explains a lot.
The brocante at Le Grand-Pressigny was on 30th April. There were fewer sellers than I remember from previous years but the weather was great and it was good to see the village come alive again.
The rape (colva) was in flower at the beginning of the month, a joy to see so much colour around.
Our lime tree is looking better this year. There is a lot of new growth.
The display of tulips at Paulmy was truly fabulous.
Although work on the roof terrace was still going on and we were basically living in a building site, we went ahead with our afternoon tea party to celebrate King Charles the third's coronation. The weather was decidedly iffy but the sun came out for long enough to hold the event outdoors.
We were thrilled to have my brother to stay and even more so that he was able to do as much as he did.
He was keen to visit one of his favourite places, Angles-sur-L'Anglin again. It's one of ours, too.
We had a lot of rain in May, and low temperatures, but there were enough fine days to take my brother sight seeing to several of his favourite places, one of which is Chinon, where we had a lovely lunch at a bistro in the square. It is of course still our most favourite place in the whole of France.
There are a lot of Bank Holidays in May in France! On most of them there are usually brocantes (or vide greniers) and my brother enjoys a good brocante. This one was at Montrichard, a place he had not been to before.
This one was at Candes-St Martin where we also managed to get a nice lunch.
We went to Chedigny in advance of the rose festival which is actually this coming weekend. The place was in full bloom and the weather was kind to us, sunny and not hot. it It was a joy to see all the roses and we had a lovely time.
My brother wanted to tick a château off his holiday wish list, preferably one that was new to him, so we went to Valencay. We hadn't been for quite a few years either. We had the place almost entirely to ourselves, a total dream for anyone who likes taking pictures.
Chez nous, we are still living in a building site. The garden and drive are a mess and the work is still ongoing on the roof terrace. The work that has been done so far is fantastic but the other week, for example, there were only three hours of work done on our place. Bank holidays, wet weather and other things have delayed progress. Our builder thinks it will be all finished in another two weeks but there is still a lot to do.
The weather in May has been very disappointing but our lilac rose is loving it and we are having our own little rose festival chez nous.
With my brother safely back home in England I joined the walking group on the Monday walk which took in lots of wildflowers and I was chuffed to get a picture of this butterfly.
It was all hands on deck chez nous so I was glad to be out of the house. There were two builder's vans, a car, the digger and a truck, the aircon engineer, the electician and the gate specialist's vans all parked on the drive. I left Nick at home to project manage.
Afterwards, on a rare sunny evening we went into the village to enjoy an apéro in the sunshine. It's been a funny old year, weatherwise, so far.
And of course the house is completely upside down again, for the umpteenth year.
We have shelved all our plans for other home improvements as we have reached our limit for tolerating the upheaval and mess! The important things are done and the rest will stay as it is!