When a three day weekend involving a bank holiday Monday becomes something totally unexpected. When the family spring the most enormous surprise. A plan they have cunningly hatched and a secret they have kept from me for two months.
It was a somewhat regular Saturday. The weather was spectacular. I chatted on the phone to our eldest daughter in London in the morning. Later that day we all lay on the lawn, basking in the sunshine watching the puppies take their first tentative outdoor steps on a rug in the shade. Roddy had gone grocery shopping. I vaguely heard him return. Suddenly a bunch of flowers was thrust in front of my nose. I turned and instead of Roddy, standing there was Izzi, our eldest, the one I had spoken to in London just a few hours ago. I was speechless. “Happy Mother’s Day” she said, “I’m sorry it’s a week early, but it makes more sense this weekend with the holiday on Monday.” I opened my mouth but words failed me, tears pricked at my eyes, hugs and kisses followed and then….
she spotted the puppies and fell in love.
Seven puppies for seven of us.
And so three magical days of family fun followed. You may well have noticed that I was so slow in answering comments last week and now you will understand why, I was making the most of every possible second with all seven of us together. But actually we were 8, and we were already in festive spirits as Roddy’s sister was visiting for a week. It was certainly a time to celebrate. What follows is a pictorial essay of Izzi’s stay. Nearly all of the photos are hers, this is our little corner of France seen through her eyes and her lens. Few words will follow, just the briefest of descriptions where necessary. So sit back, enjoy and imagine you were here with us, because we laughed and talked and laughed some more. It was a weekend of pure pleasure in the simplest of forms, which for me is always the best way.
There’s no rest for the wicked and certainly no lie ins. Sunday started in typical spring/summer fashion, with a trip to a local brocante!
But we couldn’t linger, whilst Izzi, Gigi and I were lost in a world of vintage accessories the rest of the gang were preparing a picnic. We were off for a day of cycling on the Île de Ré.
With the first hour and a half successfully accomplished with no mishaps, no scrapes, no bumps and no bruises, we found the ultimate place for lunch.
And then we tried to decide where to go to next.
Refreshed and replete we rallied the troops and set off once more, along the coastal path dotted with seafood restaurants, through vineyards and villages, on and on we cycled until it was time for ice cream!
Hmmm, which do you prefer? The old or the new??
Girl Power for Gigi and Millie! ‘Forever Girl’ and ‘Fight Like A Girl’
It says it all really….
It was a weekend of easy, natural enjoyment
and being France it had to involve good food. Rochefort one evening, aunt and nephew.
Local greenhouse grown tomatoes and organic eggs from our hens at home.
French cheeses, baguettes and bread from the boulangerie and plenty of salad; down to earth outdoor living.
Life in its simplest form.
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84 thoughts on “8 Go On An Adventure”
A glorious surprise to see Izzy. Such a happy long weekend captured with colourful, family photos.
It was the most amazing surprise ever imaginable. She said when I talked to her in the morning she was at the airport and suddenly they made an announcement which is why she had to cut me off, for fear I would hear it and ask where she was and more to the point, where she was going! xx
This was absolutely wonderful. It started my day just right!
So glad, I can tell you it made my weekend just perfect! xx
What an incredible surprise, how did they all manage to keep it a secret?
I have no idea! I think the thing was that no one knew the other one knew, so they kept it quiet from each other too, I literally had no idea. It really was the best kept secret possible and it seems other people outside our family knew too, only I was totally in the dark! xx
What a wonderful Mother’s Day surprise. Feeds us for months when our peeps come to visit.
All of our peeps will be home this weekend to celebrate the upcoming wedding of number 2 Grandson in Aug. with a couple shower.
Love watching the puppies grow, you want to keep all of them. Praying for their new home and the people that will love and care for them.
The bike trip was beautiful, and always love the pictures. I want to paint one of the village streets you post.
Please do paint one of the streets, they would make the most wonderful watercolour, I only wish I was an artist, which I certainly am not! It is just the best when everyone is together again isn’t it. I hope you have a wonderful wedding this weekend, I am sure it will be very exciting, enjoy every second of it xx
I didn’t know your Mother’s Day was this weekend, I had to google it to see what you meant! How amazing, that was the best mother’s Day gift anyone could ever receive.
Yes, Mother’s Day in France is always the last Sunday in May. It really was the best present I could ever receive! xx
Just had a short holiday….. in Charrente Maritime 🙂
You know I had a hunch when you didn’t find time to comment….. But I thought you’d be out as a ‘reduced’ family, showing the JR babes the big beautiful world – you know all the doggies in a large basket, on one of your bikes, taking them places and then play under a tree happy family life 🙂
Never did I think that Izzy would have made it home but OF COURSE, it made sense with that extra holiday on Monday. How totally wonderful – and you really made the best of every minute of this special gift!
And those picnics!!!! I have just taken out every bit of greenery and salad from the fridge for a sumtuous summer salad: 3 coloured peppers, FRENCH tiny toms in all forms and shapes and colours, to go with my organic new basil, a cucumber (French), iceberg, red raddicci & rocket leaves (Italy), carrots (French), tons of herbs, spring onions, echalottes…. CHEESES…. But stop: Somebody there had a serious pocket knive to cut that apple! I haven’t got one – but instead I have this really wonderful front-rounded VictorInox kitchen knife which will do the job. Fresh bread from our lovely bakery, a good gluck of red wine – I can do picnics too!!! 😉
We also have a tiny rest of yesterday’s patato salad – luxury pure and indulgence – how blessed are we?!
Take big hugs and greetings from us – and give cuddles to whom it may concern!!!!! Be generous 😉
Salad season is upon us and isn’t if fabulous. Not from our own garden yet, but that is thriving and won’t be too long I hope. However the cherries and plums are non existent this year due to the hideous winter I guess. But who cares, local produce is thriving and we are making the most of it. And yes, that knife, so so useful, always comes in handy, the most perfect gift from the most lovely people and treasured daily. Our lunch today was salad too with more eggs and asparagus, because right now it is in abundance and just 2 euros a bunch, loving it! Everyone will send you lots of big hugs back. Email to follow after the weekend, which is a very big event here, I’ll explain later. Now I have to run to those courts and watch a ball flying!! xxx
How wonderful… everyone looked so happy and enjoying it including the pups.. 🙂 What stunning flowers in the last pic, that colour is amazing.
Please continue with the blog post for me.. I certainly want to hear all the news!
Thanks so much Susan, it was truly just the best week with my sister in law, followed by weekend with Izzi, family together, just as it should be. xx
I love the île de Re, we went there a few years ago and had two fabulous weeks, which wasn’t nearly long enough. For 14 days we didn’t go near the car, we cycled everywhere. It was as perfect as any holiday could ever be. Now seeing your photos the memories have come flooding back and I want to go again!
I would love to spend two weeks there on holiday, I can imagine it really would be perfect, so long as the weather played ball, it is certainly a place where sunshine and warm weather helps immensely, because one lives outdoors. We only ever visit on day trips as it is so close, just over half an hour, and so we try to visit as often as we can. xx
A lovely post again…and a lovely surprise from your daughter. We are safely home with no train hazzles and thank you for a lovely time again…pity I missed the brocante and meeting your other daughter.
So glad you got home without any adventures! Izzi had the adventure instead, her return flight got cancelled! So we had a very early flight from Bordeaux the next day instead! It was an incredible surprise! xx
What a wonderful surprise, and a perfect weekend for the Hays family. We don’t get to see the rest of our family often as they live on the other side of the country. We hope to be all together in August this year.
We have finally booked our tickets for France – lots to look forward to. Even the weather is gorgeous. Now if we only had Brocants on the weekends…..
It was a perfect weekend and I can imagine how much you are looking forward to August and your family get together. Woohoo, another French adventure, where to this year, aside from the usual in the south? xx
Gorgeous happy family photos, Susan. What a wonderful surprise you had! You really made great memories together. 🙂
Thanks so much, it was such an incredible surprise, I was literally speechless and loved every minute of her visit.xx
Your little corner of France looks idyllic. You seem You seem to have had a wonderful weekend!
It is a lovely part of France and yes we love it here. It has a little bit of everything, bustling and thriving towns and cities, even in the winter, the sea and a wonderful mild climate. xx
It sounds heavenly! I live in the foothills of the Jura and miss the sea so much!
But you do live in a wonderful area. I love he mountains when we go there, we always head south to the Pyrenees, but I also love the call of the ocean and the taste of the salt on ones lips, it’s a difficult choice! xx
I welled up when I got to the moment that Izzy arrived. I know how hard it is as the birdies fly and make their nests far away. And I know just how precious it is when they make the time to come back. As a surprise I can’t think of a better. Well done to all for keeping it secret from you and what a delightful time you all had together (together I think is one of the most beautiful words in our language, by the way). Izzy is so obviously an artist – her pictures are fabulous and drew me in so that I was (almost) with you. Keep doing what you do – it is pretty much perfect xx
Isn’t it just the best when our little birdies come home, even if it is just for three days, which in this case turned into four, courtesy of Ryanair cancelling her return flight two days beforehand! Not a problem as such, we got to spend another night with her, but it did involve a 5am start and a drive to Bordeaux the following day, whereby British Airways would not allow her to take a bag as cabin baggage, her handbag and a brown paper bag containing a large round loaf of local bread, given to her the night before by our boulanger who is a good friend, she was taking it back to work for everyone at lunchtime to go with the French cheese, safely packed in the bag. She pleaded and tried, but still they said NO! The bread came home with with Roddy. How they kept the secret of Izzi visiting I will never know, even people outside of the family knew so I found out! Now we have a very chaotic weekend ahead with a lunch for 25 on Sunday, after that hopefully things will calm down a little and I shall finally reply to you! xxx
What absolute blue meanies vis a vis the bread. I can’t believe it! But bonus onn the extra night even though it meant such an early start the following day. Lunch for 25? That requires some planning and help in the execution but I am certain it will be chic, delicious and wonderfully relaxed xx
I was astounded at BA, it was just a bag, but there was no shifting them, unbelievable! Now lunch is taking some planning, I pray that it doesn’t rain, because if it has to move indoors then it will not be nearly so much fun, in fact it will be a nightmare, because it is a long story, but we don’t know over half of the people! I will explain, but right now we are planning the menu, cold, simple, bubbly to go with aperos and small individual pavlovas for dessert, because they are so easy to make and look impressive!! Plus I can make them the day before. But it is a weekend with so much going on it makes me giddy just to even think of it, roll on Monday, if I am still here and breathing!!! xxx
You will cruise it … think swan (and keep a bottle of bubbly stashed for personal use only 😉) xx
Ha ha, that bottle of bubbly might just, well almost certainly might, be needed, lunch for 25 doesn’t phase me particularly, but making conversation to 25 strangers does!! So if bubbly loosens the tongue it will be a necessity! Now just hoping the weather is ok, today we woke to grey skies and it bucketed all day long. Fingers crossed! xx
I’ll send you some warmth over the ocean … we have 32C booked for tomorrow and wall to wall sun – I can spare some for a lovely friend throwing a beautiful (and I suspect rather important) luncheon xx
Thankyou! But guess what we didn’t need it! Saturday we had big storms in the afternoon after a wonderful morning and lunch and then Sunday, showers were forecast on Saturday but by Sunday morning it had changed, sunshine was forecast all day, we kept our fingers crossed, knowing how changeable it is at this time of year. It was a perfect day, not too hot, in the mid 20’s, just beautiful, all went according to plan and the last people left at 7pm! I think we can call that a very successful day! Besides there is nothing like kicking off with a glass of bubbly standing on the lawn when everything really does look its best. Lots of work but all so worthwhile and a lot of fun xx
I’m delighted to hear it – a deserved triumph! Xx
I can’t tell you how happy we were, having everyone inside would not have been much fun and not the same at all, this way everyone was free to wander around the garden, and it really was just perfect being outside. It ended with lots of people playing table tennis, and a couple were swimming with our children! Big success, but also happy it is all over now and I feel I can actually breath again and relax a little this week, it has been totally manic! xx
How lovely! But certainly not to be oft repeated … whilst the seamless hostess hat becomes you beautifully there is a life to lead also! 😉 xx
Oh no, I can tell you this was actually a business lunch, although it was great fun, but it is a once or twice a year type event, the weekend was Exhausting! But very beneficial and worthwhile. Family and friends with around 12 people is far more my style with everyone mucking in and nothing having to be perfect!! Hope you had a good labour day weekend holiday. xx
Worthwhile is good. We were at home for Memorial this year and spent most of it working in the yard. It’s coming on a treat and our curb appeal is definitely on the up which should pay forward nicely to next year 😉 xx
Woohoo, sounds super good. Sometimes the best thing to do is spend holidays at home. Plus it’s a wonderfully satisfying thing to do when you can see good end results. Our garden is turning into a jungle before our eyes, a combination of plenty of sun and also plenty of rain and it’s gone crazy! xx
As always, your photos fill my gypsy heart with such color and beautiful composition. Absolutely exquisite. And what a wonderful surprise Miss Izzi provided. Well done, one and all!
Thanks so much, it was the most perfect surprise, we all loved every minute of it, and of course she fell completely in love with the puppies and one in particular, I think it was harder for her to leave them than us! One of them became equally fond of her, every time they were out of their box it would toddle over and climb on her lap! xx
Seven puppies for seven Hays – how perfect is that!
I thought exactly the same, it was absolutely perfect, one each! xx
What a wonderful surprise for you Susan, and lucky you going to the Ile De Re, I will get there one day, I’m quite determined now having seen your glorious photos! The weather here in Paris is very hot now, forecast to be 30c at the weekend, so presume it will be similar for you also. Only 5 days left to go, it’s flown by! xx
It was the best surprise imaginable. The weather has been gorgeous here, in the high 20’s every day and lots of sunshine. You have to get to the Ile de Re, it is fabulous, I can imagine it would be the most perfect place for a holiday, but it is quite weather dependant, not so sure I would want to spend a week there in the rain! I cannot believe how quickly your time in Paris has flown by, hope you have had lots of fun. xx
Too fabulous- great photos – love to all xoxo
It really was fantastic, the best few days ever. Huge hugs to you all too xxx
Never want to lose your blog. How I enjoy it!
Thanks so much, I am so happy you are enjoying it. xx
Looks like a perfect family day out. How lovely.
It really was, we had planned to go there on the Sunday with my sister in law, long before I knew Izzi was coming, although I guess everyone else knew! It is always such fun and always involves plenty of giggles, just as it should be! Hope you are enjoying some lovely weather too xx
Yes we are doing well at the moment and waking up to lovely sunshine.. Lets hope it continues x
It has been fabulous here until today when the heavens opened and we had a weeks worth of rain in a day! Let’s hope your summer continues and it really is a good summer for you, I think England is more than due a decent one again! xx
Sadly we woke up to rain again but yes please we really do need a good long spell of sunny days and warm evenings. x
It has been rather thundery here, plenty of sunshine but also some real downpours. I really feel you are due for a wonderful summer, so I shall keep my fingers firmly crossed for you. If not, you will simply have to cross the channel and come over here!! xx
Sunshine here again. Happy days. Im still recovering from a bad fall 18 months ago. Loads better but still not up to what Im used to . Would love to be out on my bike but still a little too risky so walking and swimming are my best physios. A trip across the channel is definitely a future plan.
Oooh poor you, that sounds really nasty, hope you continue to recover quickly, not at all fun. How did you fall, on your bike? Sunshine here today, but a bit of a mixed bag this week, but then I have to remind myself it is still only May! xx
No I was walking down my wooden painted stairs in socks and shot up in the air, a lot of soft tissue problems in my back plus whiplash symptoms.. a lot of constant discomfort but its gradually easing and im getting stronger and feeling more myself.
OMG, you know I always tell the children don’t run up and down the wooden stairs in just socks, you might slip, because that is what my parents said to me, but I have never heard of it actually happening to anyone, I am so so sorry, how horrible and I can just imagine the pain thinking about it. You were lucky it wasn’t even worse, hopefully your recovery will not be too long now, you have my utmost sympathy xx
Thankyou. I cant believe how long it is taking for my body to heal and come right but i am getting there thankfully. As you say it could have been a lot worse in fact my great grandmother died after falling downstairs and ive heard quite a few stories that have made me grateful that im still here to moan and groan and tell the tale.
Oh my goodness, well thank heavens it wasn’t that bad. Keep healing and make sure you wear shoes down the stairs at all times! xx
I was doing OK until I got to the food photos … and then I once again found myself questioning why on earth I’m living in a city, and whether it’s too late to make something of my life. 🙂 Thank you — once again — for so generously sharing the beauty in your corner of the world.
Hey you know what even in a city you can grow things, Izzi in London has a tiny balcony and I am getting her hanging cherry tomato plants so she can step outside and pick what she needs all summer long. I am hoping she won’t read this as it is a present and she doesn’t know about it!! City life has lots of bonuses too, I lived in London for seven years and loved it, now I love it here with the children! Most of all I hope you have a really lovely weekend and that the sun shines! xx
In just a minute I’ll return back up and ‘do’ the whole journey again still smiling . . kind’of ‘borrowing’ all of you and pretending I am there. Do hope I have checked and clicked in the right spot to still be accepted . . .there are a few places on the ‘right hand’ side. Actually have a few friends blogging from Europe on US servers who have been quite upset by the new regs: I paid little attention initially until worried mails began arriving . . . oh why do the Powers-that-are make matters more complicated than they need be . . . . have spent the last three weeks in Italy following the Giro . . . it is just a tad tiring to live physically Down Under and stay up all night to watch delightful bottoms cycling around the country: oops! We are ‘doing’ the High Country for the next two night ere Sunday in Rome . . . hug and bye . . .
Ha ha, it’s rather a fun sport to watch I think, of course we see them all over the place here all year long but now the weather is good they are out in force, lots and lots of lycra! You should receive everything no problem, I guess it is a good thing as it is protecting everyone, or so they say, and our online privacy. Or maybe it is too late and everyone already knows all there is to know about anyone who uses the internet, who knows! Hope you will come and join us in person sooner rather than later. xx
What a most beautiful adventure with the family!!! … Thanks for taking us along. I enjoyed each and every photo of beauty and great fun. Also, I received the beautiful blue enamel pitcher/jug. I so love it and it will be in a post next Wednesday!…Thank you so very much!
Thanks so much, I am so glad you love the pitcher, that makes me really happy and thanks for letting me know. Hope you have a wonderful weekend xx
Your mother’s day surprise made this old blogger get all teary eyed. What a wonderful long weekend. As always your images were grand, but the one of Roddy catching the apple. Brilliant!
It makes me get bleary eyed when I replay her arrival in my head, it was so so unexpected, I was astounded and amazed and it really was the best surprise ever. How she didn’t let on when I spoke to her that very morning I have no idea. I love the one of Roddy catching the apple too, but then Izzi is an artist and works in design, I love her arty photos. xx
What a beautiful family. And so wonderful to see your part of France through Izzy’s eyes. The best times are with family. I look forward to several days next week with our two daughters. Bu the best part of « Izzy’s » blog was her beautiful heart shaped smile. Who’s heart wouldn’t melt at that. God bless!
The best times are most certainly with family, I agree. So hoping you have a wonderful few days with your daughters next week, enjoy every second. xx
Best surprise for you Susan and beautiful photos.
Thanks so much, it most certainly was xx
I’m not sure about a link??? But please keep sending me your posts 😊
PS The puppies are adorable! Thanks for sharing your life.
Thanks for reading and commenting, I love sharing our life here and yes the puppies are beyond adorable! Have a lovely weekend xx
The posts will keep coming, don’t worry! Have a lovely weekend xx
Keep up coming good post
Thanks so much, I certainly will xx
I am new to your blog having just found it thanks to Living Magazine that we picked up last week whilst on holiday near Cognac. You write to beautifully and I just loved this day you spent on the Ile de Re. We never got there and I now wish we had, it was a toss up, a day trip there or a day of wine tasting and this time the wine tasting won! But next year hopefully, because we will be back, we had do much fun, beautiful area, you are very lucky to live here.
So glad you found me and also I hope you enjoyed Living, such a wonderful magazine with so much information inside and so many interesting articles. I think it would be a hard choice for me too, Ile de Re or wine tasting, well possibly I would like to do both!! I am sure you had fabulous weather in Cognac, such a lovely town. Where are you planning to stay next year, I am so happy to hear that you will return to the area, did you know it already, or was this your first visit here? xx