24 May 2023


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!


  1. So very pleased your Bro could visit. At least the fuller details of his illness explain the slowness of his recovery. You look to have had a great time together. I'm glad you are not spending all of your precious time in France on housekeeping! (says the woman who bought paint for the bedroom last summer, and it is still in the can) Is that white wisteria? There's lots of the lilac variety round here this year delightful. No brocantes - but the local Village Yard Sales start up in June and they are such fun. Enjoy the sunshine! 😊☀️😊

    1. Angela, yes it is white wisteria, a magnificent show of flowers.

  2. Lovely post. Lots to be thnkful for x

    1. Gaynor, you are right, especially regarding my brother. If only we could get the building work finished! At the current rate of progress we worry that it could take all summer.
      Leroy Merlin have been brilliant. Their aircon engineer came to look at the job, the devis arrived, the parts were delivered and he did the work, all exactly on schedule and within six weeks. We now have air conditioning upstairs which is a joy and will make living here much more comfortable in the hot weather. Temperatures are forecast to pick up to nearer normal next week.

  3. Interesting post and I bet you brother enjoyed the trip after all his health problems. Cheers Diane

    1. Diane, my brother was nervous about making the trip but it seems to have given him the confidence that he is able to do more than he thought.

  4. That was a nice post Jean.... and temperatures look ti be going well up!! The new roof over the "wellerie" looks really nice!!
    As for builders taking things away... the flats just as you leave GP towards ours, were re-roofed this winter [finished in Feb] and they were using a big, lime-green, Manitou-type lift/digger... it is still there!!

    1. Tim, it's definitely one extreme or the other with our weather!

    2. I meant to add that I love the term "wellerie". It sounds much better than "well room" so it may well stick!

  5. The colour of your lilac rose is quite something - no wonder you photographed it

  6. It’s many years since I spent any length of time in France. Your photos and descriptions have really reminded me what I’m missing (not the building work though). Note to self must get across the Channel again.

  7. How wonderful to be in France - family illness has kept me away this year. But I shall be there much of the summer and from September we will have more free time - a mixed blessing as my son goes to college. I shall have to brush up on my vocabulary again!