We are spiralling far too quickly towards autumn. I don’t want summer to be over, not yet. If only I could press pause for a while. The crowds are here, the tourists are here, and for once I am glad. So much of life here in the Charente Maritime is based on the tourism industry, and not just here but throughout the country. It’s been an horrific time for France of late, and I am so pleased to see the holidaymakers and tourists out enjoying all that this beautiful part of the world has to offer. There are cars from all over France here right now, along with the ever-present Dutch and a few British vehicles, a smattering of Swiss and German drivers and who knows how many other nationalities in other rented vehicles. They are filling up the hotels and guest houses, the gîtes and Chambre d’hotes. Read More
There is a place where the land, the sea and the mountains are one. A place that gets its name from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenean range. It’s a department bordering Spain and home to the Béarn and Basque country. Welcome to the Pyrénées Atlantique.
I remember when we first arrived in the village; a couple of weeks later our two youngest girls started at the tiny local school, a pleasant five minute walk from our house, past the 12th Century Church, past the old Presbytery with its time-worn wrought iron gates and along the narrow winding lanes flanked by ancient stone cottages. Read More
The Olympics in Rio have started and are now dominating the headlines. Being a very sporty family the games are a big event. My background is in horses and riding, having competed since I was a child, so I will want to watch everything equestrian-related. Then there is the sailing and of course the tennis. But we don’t want to waste these beautiful summer days inside watching television, thank goodness there are highlights every night!
I am rarely the first person up in our family, I leave that badge to Roddy or the youngest girls. I prefer to remain in bed a few minutes longer where I like to lie and gather my thoughts; often Gigi will come in for a snuggle and I will plan my day, but yesterday I broke my own rules and I was up and out before the rest of the family had stirred. I wasn’t going anywhere special, there was no important meeting in my diary, I just wanted to capture the early morning light. I’ll do this every now and then; everyone wonders if I am feeling ok, but once in a while it’s fun to be the first to rise. I unlock the front door and open the french windows in the kitchen and let the cool morning air rush in.
A visit to the weekly French market is the best way to buy food. But don’t be fooled into thinking it is just about fish and meat, fruit and vegetables. Because it’s also most certainly about the people and their passion for the produce they are selling. It is an experience not to be missed and it is also one that simply cannot be hurried.
If anyone had told me I would be writing about Pokemon on the blog a while ago, I would have laughed, but it has taken France by storm. Yes it may all be rather silly, but there is so much tragedy in the world and so much horror that I thought something light-hearted from the school summer holidays, (rather like the hanging umbrellas in Rochefort) far removed from everyday normality, might be fun and if that means getting involved with the children and helping them find some rare Pokemon then so be it! Read More
Millie was somewhere out there in the English Channel, bobbing about in a sailboat. I scarcely slept a wink and awoke groggily, my first thought was to grab my phone and see if there was any word, but nothing. Walking into the kitchen, I opened my laptop. We were able to track the location of their boat via the AIS satellite tracking system. When we had gone to bed last night, she was still off the south coast of England having just passed the Isle of Wight. Now we saw she was about 40 miles west of the Channel Islands, obviously they were reverting to plan B and not stopping there, but heading straight down to Brittany. Read More
Today I am going round in circles! One train of thought has led to another and then another, but stick with me because it does make sense – sort of! Today is the 14th July; today is La Fête National, the French National holiday, more commonly known as Le quatorze Juillet, the fourteenth of July.