I have to start this with an apology. I feel I have been rather distant and remiss of late, but I promise it’s just a start of summer sort of thing. The children are on holiday, everyone has been here, there and everywhere and I have been rather pulled in every possible direction; super busy yes, but absolutely loving it all the same! As you know, last week I was in San Marino with our youngest daughter and wow, what a country! Read more
We are marching at full speed towards July and August, those sixty days of summer when the coast is packed with holidaymakers and visitors outnumber locals. It is the time when anyone in the tourist industry works at 100% capacity while still coping with a home life – typically this means shopping at 8.00am, before the masses stir. And yet, somehow, a sense of calm still prevails; there is still that wonderful feeling that life should not be hurried, and the little pleasures should be enjoyed to the full, complete with sunsets, sand on the kitchen floor, and the perfume of suncream in the air.
Another summer morning, time to draw the curtains, fling open the windows and let the early morning breeze fill the room. Summer always smells warm and enticing as it fills the house each day, and the instant sound of bees in the wisteria and the sight of swallows flitting past in a blur of winged shadow add to the sense of season. Read more
YESTERDAY EVENING, 11.45PM.
It’s dark. Outside it’s still 32ºC/90ºF, but inside it’s comfortable and pleasant without the need for air-conditioning – a good thing as I am not sure anyone in the village has any. Instead, we rely on old technology, whereby the two foot thick stone walls of our house keep us cool. I’m alone in the kitchen, the windows and doors are still wide open and I’m staring out into the stygian blackness. Roddy has fallen asleep in the sitting room; Bentley is with him as always and Evie is with me. She tried to stay awake to keep an eye on Rory the cat, her greatest mate, but she can’t quite manage it; thick eyelashes, black on one side and white on the other, gently close and she too enters the world of dreams. I’m thinking about the wonderful evening we have just enjoyed. I open my laptop, wondering how I can possibly convey this feeling of pure contentment – how I can explain such simple things which make a night so special? Read more
I might be slightly unusual, but I miss the noise of the children. I miss the mess, I miss the chaos and the endless trail of wet footprints throughout the house. But now it’s the weekend and the weather is as good as any day in July or August; everyone’s at home and I’m back to picking up soggy swimming towels and hanging them out to dry; the mat outside the front door is once again littered with flip-flops waiting for someone to trip over them – everything is right in my world again! Read more
Breakfast is perhaps my favourite meal of the day. During the holidays it’s invariably rather late and it’s one of those meals that just sort of happens, somewhat miraculously it all comes together without any planning. The youngest children will usually have been awake for hours, and they will have had an early morning snack, a yoghurt from the fridge or a banana; they know the routine and wait until everyone else stirs before they attempt anything else. Read more
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