Saturday, 29 August 2009
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
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!
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
What's this lurking in my airing cupboard? Well you remember that lovely soft tops which I planned to spin into a fantastic rainbowed coloured yarn? I got the spinning wheel out the other day and tried to remember how it went and produced this!
"Could do better " - MUST do better I think! I can't remember how to ply the stuff whilst keeping the colours separate and not getting this wasp style yarn suitable only for a pullover for Dennis the Menace (although I think he favoured red and black didn't he?) So somewhat disheartened and it being time for tea anyway I put the wheel away and went on to the next thing as is my wont!
Yesterday I had a thought - I do occasionally you know! - and got some of the blue tops out and had a go at making some felt balls with a little more success than I had had with the spinning I must say! So the first picture is my little balls drying in the airing cupboard.
I wondered if I might use them together with the blue flower I made earlier - not yet finished off naturally - to make a corsage or bag ornament - what do they call those things you hang from your bag handle? Memory is going I'm afraid. I envisaged adding them hanging on cords or maybe a ribbon or 2. Might also felt some of the green tops to make some leaves.
At this rate there will be none left to practice spinning with will there? I enjoyed playing with it though and must have the cleanest hands in Christendom now after all that rolling of the soapy wool to get make the balls.
You can see why I never get anything done can't you? My visitors will be arriving the day after tomorrow and I am still faffing about with felt balls and nothing in the freezer nor beds made up or anything! Better go.
Later this evening::
Just finished off the bag thing-y. What do you think?
Sunday, 23 August 2009
I think last time I left the story we were enjoying (or sometimes not!) our time in the rented cottage. Well eventually we came to the end of our stay there and left for home. I must say I was elated to be going home but it was difficult to know whether that was because I had been in rented accommodation without any thing much to do and without our 2 cats and towards the end of our stay Thomas had been hospitalised for an op on his leg and I wanted to get back to be with him but we had friends already booked to come over so couldn't leave early. Glad to say all was well with Tom who was pleased to see me again. I remember as we left the Eurotunnel on the English side I punched the air and shouted "Yesssss!" I was really glad to be back and very soon settled back to life in Surrey with all my friends.
However one of the friends we had made during our sojourn e-mailed in the summer to invite us to stay as it was her husband's 70th birthday and they wanted us to attend the party. Whilst we were with them we were passing an estate agent's one day and stopped to look in the window as you do. Before you could say "knife" our friend was in there making an appointment for us to view a couple of properties! To cut a long story short the seed was sown and although we didn't like either of those properties the idea of moving to a home of our own - this time in or near a town so that we would have facilites on our doorstep - re-surfaced and we went back later to have a proper look. After looking at about 30 properties all told - including during our period of renting - we came upon the one we bought and just fell in love with it.
It was a sunny September afternoon when we first visited the house and when we went inside and saw the view from the back where a new extension had been added with huge patio doors opening onto a terrace and this amazing view we just had to have it!
Actually these photos were taken after we moved in and at the time we viewed the shutters were painted white and the view was slightly obscurred by several pine trees but even so we could see that from the back we had no houses between us and the 8 km distant little town of Oradour sur Glane. To one side we had a field of Limousin cattle and at the front was this garden space fronting onto a little chemin (grassy lane) off the road to the village. Blissfully peaceful but with neighbours to one side and in the village.
Buying a house in France is not quite like here and once our offer had been accepted we had to meet with the vendor - a very nice widow in her 50s - at the estate agents and we both had to sign numerous papers in which we promised to buy and she promised to sell. We then had a 7 day cooling off period and then the agreement would be binding on both sides! The French rarely have surveys done and as the house was only 25 years old and not a tumble down wreck we decided not to either!
We went home and put our house in Surrey on the market and luckily we got a buyer with nothing to sell and all went smoothly there. I can't really remember the details now but it was quite stressful what with the sale in UK and the purchase in France but eventually we got the money sorted and transferred to France and we went over to sign the papers which we were given to understand had to be done in person. We drove over with a car loaded up with items for our first night - the rest of our stuff was to be dealt with our removal company and we hoped to fly back to finish off in UK and to leave the car loaded with our belongings in the garage of what would by then - we thought - be our house. We had organised a bridging loan so that we didn't have to vacate our UK house until a week or so later when the sale on that was finalised.
Well... of course we should have known some spanner would be thrown into the works and so it was. The estate agent informed us that our money was stuck in the notaire's account in Paris and so the signing could not actually take place until it was with the local notaire. So the house was not ours yet. Luckily the vendor had already moved out and was agreeable to our leaving the car in what was legally still her house. We flew back exhausted and frustrated having given the estate agent power of attourney to sign on our behalf. So why couldn't we have done that in the first place I wonder?!!
The papers were signed the following day when the money came through and all was well. Now all we had to overcome was the actual removal from UK to France.
Of course all was further complicated by the fact that it was by now Christmas time and solicitors were not available till after the new year! Still we were able to kill 2 birds with one stone and before all our stuff was packed we had a Goodbye/Christmas/New Year party for all our friends. We had a brilliant firm of removers who although not cheap were so professional and kept me from going completely barmy by knowing just how to sooth the troubled breast or whatever!!
Cats were all set with their passports by now, baskets at the ready and the house was emptied of all but a double bed we had sold to our buyers and a garden bench. We spent our last night in our old home camping out but we were so tired we slept like logs ready for our early start the following day. It was sad to say goodbye to our daughter who by this time had moved out and was living in a house share not far away so she came round on that last evening.
Moving day arrived bright and clear and we set off.....
To be continued
Or of the quote by Samuel in which he says that "when a man is tired of London he is tired of life". How could one get tired of London with all its variety? The London Eye shown here gives another dimension to the view - we didn't go on it yesterday but I have done so and the views are amazing!
And so to Waterloo - which is full of memories for me and I love it. I remember it in the days of steam trains when it was a dirty bustling place but now it is clean and light and still bustling with throngs of people of every nationality speaking in so many languages. It is what London is all about really - coming and going, mixed races all together, poverty and wealth, a real melting pot and its all MINE - that was one of the things I missed in France and the fact that I was an immigrant and none of it belonged to me!!
Have just had breakfast in our conservatory and even though I loved some of the lovely houses we saw in Notting Hill and even though I enjoyed the hussle and bussle of London with all the things there are to do - we could never see it all however long we lived - I know that I would miss this view each morning! I am so lucky that I can have it both aren't I?!!
Friday, 21 August 2009
Thursday, 20 August 2009
The other day - when I was down in the dumps - I went to a charity shop and discovered a pile of old Country Living magazines for sale at 20p each so I bought 5 of them (all last year's when I was living in France so didn't have access to British magazines that often). Brought them home and later that day I sat down with them, cup of tea to hand and having given myself a good talking to I resolved to enjoy my five mineute peace and quiet. I dare say many of you will be familiar with these pictures already but I just love the photography in CL magazines s don't you?
Autumn - not far away now I feel and aren't these rosehips just so beautiful and evocative of country walks well wrapped up in wooly scarves and jumpers?
I could almost smell the perfume of these lilac blooms. By the time I had finished my tea and browsed my way through a couple of my new/old magazines my world was already looking brighter.
Along with the magazines I also picked up this pretty tablecloth which I hope to do something with - cushion covers, bags, coat hanger covers - any ideas?
I wonder who embroidered it - what stories of tea times long past it might tell.
I am off to my patchwork lesson this afternoon - this is the result of the last session. I think I will make it into a cushion cover rather than make sufficient blocks for a full quilt - I am rapidly coming to think that this isn't really my metier!!
All for now.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Decided that this one might be improved with a button centre so got out my button box and found these beauties.
Or the black woven silk one?
Or maybe this fancy metal one? What do you think?
Here it is in close up.
Here is a close up of the flowers and leaves etc.