Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Spring is turning quickly into summer – as its too hot today to do much else I’ll catch up on these words of wisdom….

On April 14th Judy and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary – yes she really has put up with me for that long.  It was a fairly low key celebration, as a few days later we returned to UK. We were meeting with our niece Leslie from California and her family – and it would be the first time we had met one of her sons. It was family do at Langan’s Brasserie in Mayfair – and it was very enjoyable. And yes, that was Michael Parkinson on the other table.

We had flown from Brive on the new Ryanair service. More convenient for us, and they are actually getting slightly better to deal with. Mind you Stansted will never be anyone’s destination of choice. Be nice when it’s finished. As we landed quite late we found an excellent B & B a few minutes from the airport, whose owners also own a pub just down the road. Perfect.

We then stayed a couple of days with our friend Romney who runs a fantastic B & B in Buscot in Oxfordshire. 

We were able to meet up with lots of old friends in the area too. From there to Shropshire where we stayed with more old friends, Fred and Di. A lovely area and a very pleasant visit. We also met up with Jane and David, more old friends who are (still) renovating an old watermill near Welshpool – to be fair they have built a lovely house next to it!

Cross country to Leigh on Sea and a night with Nick and his family. Back to Stansted and home, not forgetting to pick up Bertie from the kennels. We needed a rest to recover from the holiday!

As I mentioned in my last missive, we were swapping our UK driving licences for French ones. We were given temporary French licences, and I was hoping that we would get the new ones in the post before our trip to UK, as I wasn’t sure if the hire car people would accept the temporary ones. In fact there was no problem, and when we got back we went to the licensing office in Brive, to ask where the licences were, and the answer was they were there waiting for us all the time! Silly old me.

Our English Library continues to run fairly happily. I say “fairly” as we had a couple of very ill-tempered resignations from our committee, and to be honest we are still not sure what the kerfuffle was all about. One thing it has reminded me is that it is not wise to send e mails when you are really worked up – we decided not to respond and things appear to have calmed down. We did have a fairly peaceful AGM, followed by a quiz night which seemed to go very well. The pie and chips refreshments may have helped.

We saw an edition of "Country File" a few weeks ago that had a segment on dangerous cattle - and they said that the Limousin was one of the worst breeds for attacking people. it must be the English air, because here they are the gentlest cows I have ever encountered. at a recent cattle show in Objat they were all tied up and everyone just walked around them. Must be the French air...

We have had a couple of friends to visit – very nice to show people around this area we love so much. Posy is an old friend from my (brief) university days. She seemed to enjoy herself, and being a professional gardener se was more interested in the flora than the architecture. She was staying a further week with friends near Carcassonne, so we drove her down there and her friends very kindly put us up for a couple of nights in the superb house they were renting. 

 On our way back we stopped off for lunch in one of our favourite villages, Puycelsi in the Tarn department. Being on top of a hill the old village ha survived untouched - it's highly recommended.

Bertie came with us, but he hasn’t been too well lately. He had a bad stomach upset, then managed to do something to his leg a few weeks later. He was hopping around on three legs, so the vet gave him a couple of injections and he was better that evening – I can’t believe he likes going to the vet that much.

After Posy’s visit we had a couple of days before friends from UK, the Hulses, came for lunch. They bring their caravan over to France for a few weeks, and weren’t far away in the Dordogne. We then had an old RAF friend stay, Terry Anning. He has a holiday place in Normandy, so it wasn’t quite so far for him. He was telling us one evening about a distant relative, Mary Anning, who was a very early archaeologist, recovering fossils from the cliffs in Dorset. The next morning she was the Google anniversary person for the day!

A couple of weekend ago our local town, Objat, had their annual Fete de Petit Pois, Lots of folk dancing, displays, and yes, peas. On market days Objat always has some music played over the speakers in the town centre, so we had an interesting mix of Beatles from the speakers, folk singing from one street and American line dancing music from another. Just had to sit and have a coffee and let it wash over us! Each year some very tame oxen wander through with their owner as well.

Going out one morning I discovered that  the car had a puncture. I drove very slowly down to my local garagiste, the sainted Jean-Louis. Nobody there so I left the car and called him later in the morning, to be told that he was already repairing it – it was all done by lunchtime. That day we went out for our post- bowls lunch, and it was our turn to choose. The café we chose is in a small village near Objat, and we found that the dish of the day was tete de veau, yes veal head. Not quite as bad as I thought, but not voted a success!

Had another good day out, visited a Papeterie – a paper factory at Vaux about 30 minutes from us. It is a fascinating place that used water power to run a continuous process to make paper from straw, and was in use from 1861 to 1968.  Sadly it doesn’t run any more, but all the plant is still there and the staff do show how paper is made.

As I said above Bertie has been very unwell recently – not eating, which is not spaniel like behaviour. The vets investigated yesterday and removed a large tumour, and he seems a lot happier and his appetite and energy are returning. We thought we were going to lose him, so are really hopeful about him making a good recovery.

Ah well, back to World Cup…….

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoy these, Dave. You have a nice way of telling the story, and the posts are always full interest. Have you thought of branching out into additional posts on how things go in France, as opposed to in the UK. Could be interesting, funny, instructive etc?