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Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Our friends arrive for a 10 day stay tomorrow so I will not have time to post my weekly French Idyll blog till after they leave so thought I'd do a further post on our adventures tonight. Then during the time we are busy with visitors I can just do a quick photo post perhaps and not need to take the time needed to do a French Idyll post.


I left you last time as we were setting off for our new life.

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

We decided to invite some of our friends - who we knew from our renting time - to lunch one Sunday a week or so after our arrival. All was going well till I opened the sideboard door and reached inside for the dinner plates. There was such a crash as all my china fell out onto the tiled floor. The noise it made terrified the poor cats and I stood there looking at my broken stuff all round my feet and burst into tears! It seems one of the pegs supporting the shelf was missing and this was the first time I had removed all the weight from the opposite corner causing the shelf to tip. However we were now living in the porcelain capital of France so we could surely find some more china couldn't we? Have you seen the price of the fabulous Haviland, Bernadaud, Deshouliers or Medlard de Noblat porcelain? No - well let me tell you you would need a mortgage to buy a dinner service! We did however find some nice china which has a French look about it and is indeed made in France not far from Limoges!

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?

Those poor cats - they did find life a trial to begin with what with the china falling and terrifying them, not being allowed outside for a week or so (although they had fun exploring the sous-sol - the basement area which is common in French houses - and the pile of logs down there) and then one day Bambi was sitting looking out of the large patio doors towards the field next door which had been empty since our arrival. There was just a wire fence and a small narrow chemin (grassy lane) between us and the field and this particular day there were some Limousin cattle in the field right up by the wire fence and almost in our garden it would appear. With eyes like saucers she went to tell Thomas about these huge creatures and he sauntered in to sit by the window and see for him self. Oh my word - his eyes popped out on stalks, his ears went flat and he slunk carefully away from the window with his belly almost on the floor and shot down the stairs into the sous-sol and hid in its furthest recesses behind the log pile!! He had seen dogs before but never that big he said when I went to find him. He said his mother told him "Never mind being brave if in doubt just run away"!!

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!


  1. All I can say is - what an adventure! I feel quite pedestrian - I have lived in my little cottage for over 20 years now, and seem to venture less far every year!

    Pomona x

  2. I am really enjoying reading your stories about moving to France. Sounds like bringing along your lovely cats just added to the adventure. I am not sure I am brave enough now to move to another country - I was lucky to move countries when I was young and carefree!

  3. Just popped over for my first visit...... I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about this adventure and fully intend to visit on a regular basis!

  4. What an interesting story, shall have to come back and read more... what a beautiful house, it sounds perfect. One day we might join you...

  5. Have a lovely time with your visitors! Rebecca x

  6. I really like reading about your french idyll, have a nice time with your visitors!

    Anna x

  7. Wow France looks lovely, thank you for your comments adn i love your blog!!
    Lucy x

  8. I really enjoy reading French Idyll - your house and garden look delightful, I love the photo of Tom deciding whether to venture outside - wondering where those 'big dogs' are! Very funny.

    I look forward to more of your adventure.

    Have a lovely time with your visitors.

    Jeanne x

  9. It all sounds so dirrerent to the life we lead, so I lover reading it all.
    Hugs JaneXX


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