The Best Laid Plans – Guest Post!

 

This week’s blog is brought to you by our daughter Millie – she has a hankering for adventure, as you may know, and her latest story is certainly interesting enough to share! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…

The idea of doing long journeys under my own steam is something that has always really appealed to me, and some of you may remember my blog post in 2016 when I sailed with some friends down the coast of France from the UK. Since then, I’ve always had a longing to hike along the Pyrenees, high up where the paths lead from one horizon to another and you camp in a tent or a hut each night. The obvious time to do this is this summer as I’m now an adult (scary times lie ahead) and heading off to university this autumn. However, such a strenuous undertaking requires some preparation beforehand, and so this half-term I thought a quick 3-day training hike around the Île de Ré would be a good idea. The island is a bit of the Charente Maritime that lies a bridge away to the west of La Rochelle and I thought the planned 3-day adventure and would be simple – 75 kilometres on flat land with a campsite each night?  Easy. 

As it turns out, I was hilariously wrong. Here’s what happened… Read more

Adding a Little French Vintage

P7380025I am quite sure that anyone who lives in an old house, centuries old as opposed to decades old, has asked themselves at least once “Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a nice new modern house?” A house where everything worked and nothing leaked. A house where the drafts were kept out and the windows didn’t rattle. You see, these old ladies, whether grand old dames or more modest affairs, take an enormous amount of upkeep, they tend to be something of a drain on one’s resources and as my mother in law always told me, we live with them, always aware of the next thing that needs to be replaced or repaired, the next job around the corner. Read more

Spring, why are you being so Shy?

P7370535I am itching to get on with spring, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas. I’m planning which vegetables we will grow this year, dreaming of picking tomatoes warm and ripe from the sun and peas and beans, peppers and aubergines. I’m quite desperate to get out into the flower borders too and put some new ideas into action –  alas, so far I’ve really been reduced to writing down my thoughts on paper. This typically involves lying in bed while I imagine the end result, which I then realise “won’t work” when I come downstairs in the cold light of dawn to stare out of the window through the sheets of rain; with my plans scuppered, I have to come up with other arrangements, and although I am no artist, I have most definitely now learnt to appreciate the benefits of taking photos and sketching diagrams on paper!

Read more

Dreaming of Chocolate, by Bentley

IMG_0332As you all know our two Jack Russells are very much a part of our family life, so much so that they actually insist on writing their own stories from time to time. Bentley, the elder of the two, is nudging 70 in human years; he’s getting a little grey around the muzzle and he’s not quite as fast as he was, but his mind is still as sharp as any young whipper-snapper and he’s proven himself to be quite an aspiring and somewhat amusing author. So how could I say “No” when he pleaded with me to write another short tale? Read more

Spring Optimism

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Spring is awakening, it is a time of rebirth and growth and surely brings with it a level of optimism in us all. I have learnt to love winter, with its cosy evenings around the fire, steaming bowls of soup and hearty casseroles simmering in the oven. I even like the crisp cold days and the starkness of the garden as it lies in dormant hibernation. But then something happens; the nights start to lengthen out, February rolls into March, and suddenly I am thinking about warmer weather. January may see us making New Year resolutions but spring is when I find myself bursting with energy and making endless plans. It’s that time of the year to banish the winter blues and start afresh, even if the weather seems to have other ideas. Read more

Friendship

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Last week, amidst the current upheaval of countries and people, and sandwiched in between the world’s political circus, melting icebergs and the demands of my media-savvy clutch of children, I paused for thought. In my somewhat chaotic lifestyle two things happened to make me stop and wonder at the meaning of friendship. First, as can often happen, two people we had not seen for nearly a year came to dinner with their infectious smiles – it was as if we had seen each other every week and as is the way with best friends, the intervening months melted away within moments. Read more

What is the Fascination with France ?

IMG_9873I’m starting to think about visitors and spring and holidaymakers and travel, everywhere we go there are little signs that the tourist season will soon be well underway and I have this nagging question that I cannot ignore but I cannot answer it alone and so I thought who better to ask than all of you. Read more