Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A change is as good as a rest.....

As the title says, this Christmas was such a change for us and of course we missed all of our family, but we didn't realise just how good our friends were.  We were invited into their beautiful home for Christmas and we stayed the night so that we could have a little tipple without worrying about the drive home.  Below are just a few pictures of our stay with them, I'm sure there will be more Christmas photos to follow on another day.

Table set and ready for the feast
A beautiful hand-made gift waiting on my pillow
A gift for Richard and me - a Christmas cross-stitched picture

For me - hand knitted socks in amazing bamboo yarn
Richard also received some hand knitted socks, (not in the bamboo, but wool) but they are in the wash so I couldn't take a photo of them, but they are so warm and snuggly.  The bamboo yarn is amazing, it feels almost like velvet.

The beginning of the most amazing meal
I have to say that this Christmas Helen has been an inspiration to me because the hand-made gifts were so special I really do need to do more myself.  New Years Resolution is to try and make some during the year, although I'm sure I have said this before, but really, can it be so hard???  Watch this space.......

The next photo is just to make you smile because our little Sophie climbs onto the window sill in the kitchen to try and get closer to the birds that feed on the bird feeder attached to the window.  One day she will learn that they are the other side of the glass!!  Now, our Sophie wears a collar with a magnet attached so that she can get in and out of the cat flap and no other cats can.  We have had a problem with the neighbour's cat, and seeing we have been away for a long time, we wanted her to feel safe in her own home.  Well on this particular bird watching day, she managed to pick up the lid of a Haywards pickled onions jar and she wore it proudly for a while - my little medalion cat.

I think she was quite proud of this!!
I hope you have all had a very happy Christmas and I look forward to catching up with everyone in the new year.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sun and Friends

What a fabulous day today although very, very frosty this morning which looked very pretty.  I'm afraid I didn't get a photo of that though as Richard and I were listening to the Archers drinking our tea sitting in our bed watching the birds on the feeders.  Well, it is Sunday after all.  Oh! before those of you who listen to the Archers think we were still in our beds at your 10am, our 11am, we were catching up with the Omnibus from last Sunday on the computer, before I listened to this weeks.  I know I'm sad, but hey ho!

After lunch we went over to some friends and took advantage of the lovely weather and went for a walk, we stopped to wave hello to you all.

Just thought we would stop and wave hello
The views round and about are just stunning and my friend Helen went armed with some scissors and a bag because she knew where there were some bushes with loads of lovely red berries on them.  Unfortunately when we got there, the birds had had them so we just had to make do with the greenery.

Caught in the act!
Beautiful countryside

Back home then after a lovely day of sunshine and good friends.  You can't really get better than that can you?  These friends have invited Richard and I over to their home for Christmas day and we are really looking forward to it.  We will be stopping the night so at least we can have a drink and the 4 of us can raise a glass and toast both of our families back in the UK.

Once again, keep warm, stay indoors and snuggle under blankets.  My lovely William, I do hope you are feeling better, Nannie is still sending you virtual hugs and kisses to you and your girlies.  I love you all.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

OK my girls, it's done

Well we have finally got around to looking out our Christmas decorations and seeing what we have got here.  The trouble is, since we have been here in France, we have never put up any decorations because we have always gone back to the UK to be with the family, so it was a bit of job and even now, we haven't found all of them.  As I am typing this Richard is trying to fix the old lights we have, I say old because they were from when I was a child so HUGE sentimental value.  I will be so disappointed if we can't get them to work, but because they don't at the moment, we haven't put up a Christmas tree but we still have some twinkly lights as you will see.

Nativity scene in the bread oven

Twinkly lights over the fireplace in the lounge

My very own choristers made by my lovely friend Di and myself

Fireplace in the kitchen, excuse the aprons
At least it looks a little festive and to be honest I wasn't sure I was going to put anything up at all because this year is rather strange for us, but at the end of the day, it is still Christmas and needs to be celebrated.  Perhaps tomorrow I may even make some mince pies and crack open the mulled wine, I will let you know on that one.

I have to tell you, I am so excited, but I have won the most adorable present and you can see it here  Thanks so much aims I can't wait to receive it.  Now I just have to decide what to do with it.....

We are slowly getting the house back to normal again but we still have mice.  They are very clever little things and avoid the trap and go straight for the food!!!  Can't blame them really because secretly I'm quite relieved they live to fight another day, just not in my kitchen!!!!!!! or bedroom!!!!!

Well I will say cheerio to you all and much love to all my family and friends.  Thank you for all your good wishes for my birthday which was on Monday and I had some really scrummy presents.  Of course, being a "nannie" I particularly loved having Happy Birthday sung to me by my grandchildren.  Talk again soon.  God bless one and all.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Oh my goodness, what a mess

We plucked up courage today and went into our barn to see the damage that happened while we have been in the UK.  We were told a beam had come down but oh my goodness, what a mess, where on earth do we start.  The beam is HUGE and we were so lucky that it missed our sit-on mower and various other bits and pieces in there.  We had to go in because when my dad was over here a couple of years ago, my dad and Richard moved all his tools and benches into that barn and made it into a wonderful workshop.  Since we have been back this time, Richard has wanted to do various little jobs and of course, he has no tools that he can find so we had to brave it and go in.

Where the beam had rotted and snapped
What a mess, where do we start
We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and neighbours around us and 2 of them, Paul and Ester came round today and helped Richard clear out a lot of the rubbish that had come down from the first floor and also make safe the beam.  We are now able to get at the mower and this is used all the time with the trailer to get rid of rubbish etc.  I think there may be quite a few trips down to the tip in the next few weeks.  To be honest we had never been up onto the first floor of the barn so had no idea just how much rubbish was up there.  So much straw so very, very dusty and an awful lot of other junk.  Just our luck though, nothing worth anything.  Why do other people find "stuff" that's worth hundreds of pounds??  Wouldn't it be good to have a lot of money, if we did, we would fly our son-in-laws out and some friends who are fit and strong and get this barn into shape in no time; that's if they were willing of course.  Ho hum, there you go

Last photo is of the peanut butter cookies I made for us all to have with a well earned cup of tea.  An industrious day and probably the busiest one we have had since we have been back.  Poor Richard is rather tired, but the trouble is, being back here there is such a lot to do and he is like a pig in muck when he is doing something.  Still, slowly slowly.............

Take care one and all, keep warm.  We were lucky today and were able to be outside in t-shirts.  Long may it last.

Oh by the way, we caught a mouse in the bedroom last night so that's another one.  I wonder how many more of the little blighters there are.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Home at last

We have made it at last and now the fun begins.  We had travelled through the night, something we said we wouldn't do again, but pleased we did because the snow may have stopped us otherwise had we not got through when we did.  After a very quick look around and unpacking a few things our time was spent cuddling our little Sophie, who, after just a few minutes, couldn't leave us alone.  She is such a people cat and to be honest we thought she would ignore us for a little while, for leaving her for so long, but no, she was fine.

I had put the electric blanket on for the bed to air, and once we had a bite to eat we decided to go to bed very early and catch up with our lost night's sleep.  It was quite funny really because we walked into the bedroom and apart from there being quite a few flies to sweep up, we moved a piece of furniture and a mouse ran out.  Welcome home!!!  Never mind, we will face those problems tomorrow.  We were lying in bed and started to giggle because we had forgotten just how dark it is here.  Not a light for miles and of course where we had been in the UK, all the streets have lights in them.  We couldn't see the hand in front of our faces.  The same kind of thing happened in the morning when we woke.  We said, "What was that?" Of course it was nothing, absolute silence and that hadn't happened to us for quite a few mornings.  Richard made us a cup of tea and coffee and we sat in bed and looked at the mountains in all their winter splendour and noticed that the birds were sitting waiting for us to fill up all the feeders.

On close inspection after we got up, our poor house needed quite a lot of TLC, after all, we have been away for nearly 6 months.  With having mud walls and floors, the damp comes up through the floor.  When you are living in the house all the time, the house seems to breath and you don't seem to notice it, but not being lived in for that long, quite a lot of our drawers and cupboards were rather mouldy and musty.  Food thrown out, drawers washed, windows cleaned etc and it is starting to feel more like home although there is still such a lot to do.  Slowly slowly we need to take our time.  On the second day, the chimney in the kitchen blocked and the log burner had to be taken out and the chimney cleaned.  Of course we had taken the whole of the previous day cleaning the kitchen and washing all the pottery to put back on the dresser, so very pleased it happened the day after that............... !!!!!!  Eeek!  Are we still smiling??  Only just.  On a good note, Sophie caught a mouse in our bedroom so that is one problem solved but I'm sure there are a few more.  I lie there at night time and hear a few things but luckily I'm not scared of mice, I just don't want to share my bedroom with them.  As you can see from the photo, apart from the fact that Sophie is very pleased to have us back, she is in the right place to listen out for the pitter patter of mousy feet - that's if she stays awake long enough.

At the moment we are taking a break and I am typing this sitting in front of the fire in the lounge, after having a lovely walk at lunchtime.  It is very cold but the sun was lovely and we promised ourselves we would try and go for a walk every day.  I need to get my colesterol down and Richard needs to build himself up again and of course I am fighting with my weight all the time so the more we can do to help that situation the better.

Well I had better stop now and get on with some more work.   I hope all our friends and family in the UK are keeping safe and warm.  The snow looks dreadful, so mum and dad, should you read this at Hilary's, please stay indoors and keep warm, I know what you are like dad, you will be out there clearing the snow away so you can feed the birds, but please don't.  Hopefully I will be able to blog on a regular basis again now so I hope to catch up with all of my fellow bloggers in the next few days.  Bye, talk again soon.