The cats were very very good - I had visions of catawauling (pardon the pun) for the next 8 hours but they quickly settled down and although Thomas wet his bedding before we had left England it was no more than expected and I had brought plenty of clean old towels and bedding for just such an eventuality so was able to put the wet stuff in a bin at the services and set him up with fresh. After a few "Are we nearly there?" miaous they both settled down in their individual baskets and behaved impecably. We stopped for refreshments en route of course and when we did we let the cats out of their boxes to stretch their legs and they were happy to see what was happening outside the windows - good job it was February and not July as we couldn't have opened the windows! They had their sandwiches too of course - well not really but we did feed and water them when we stopped for our own refreshments.
We finally arrived at our house in the evening - it is a long, long way from Guildford to Limoges - and a friend was there waiting for us with the heating turned on and a casserole all ready for our supper. She had also brought along a couple of deck chairs on loan so that we could sit down!
We were exhausted, not unnaturally, and decided an early night was in order so after our lovely welcoming casserole we decided to blow up the inflatable mattress another friend had loaned us. After nearly an hour we gave up on that - seems there were 2 holes, one to let the air in and one to let it out and we should have plugged the out hole first! We laid out the old duvet we had brought for the cats to sleep on along with the other bedding - from the boot of the car in the garage left a couple of weeks earlier - and settled down. Have you ever tried to sleep on a concrete floor on a thin old duvet and sharing your "bed" with a husband and 2 cats?! I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I spent the night in one of the deckchairs instead.
The removal men arrived as promised at lunchtime the following day and I have never been so pleased to see anyone! Our bed was soon set up ready for a proper early night and the world looked better already!
So began our new life - once we had recovered from the journey it was fun to sort out our things and to decide where to put everything.
Tom surveying his domain
I tried to take a photo of our china to insert here but the light wasn't good enough
Bambi in the front garden - have you got your magnifying glass?
One day I was out in the garden and there was such a coccophony overhead and I looked up to see a "V" of huge birds going over. This was the migration of the cranes which fly north for the summer and return again in the autumn. Monsieur next door who was also in his garden at the time told me that the cranes flying over signals the end of winter. Those cranes must have been new to the job I think as we had lots of snow the week after and winter continued for several weeks longer! That is something I miss now that we are back in England the sight of those majestic birds with their 6 foot wingspan all flying over in their hundreds twice a year. They used to often choose just over our house to regroup and you could hear them arguing amongst themselves as they decided whose turn it was to be at the front and who could be behind where it is easier in the slipstream. Then suddenly they would reform into the fantastic V and be off again.
I will leave it there for the moment but rest assured that by then we were settled into our new home enjoying having a real log fire in the evenings and our life in France had begun.
I am sorry that I don't have more pictures of this time to illustrate the saga. You will just have to use your imaginations I am afraid!