26/10/11 Anchors away..its holiday time

It seems very strange to be talking about anchors or anything to do with big boats here in the Auvergne which is quite a few kilometres form the sea, but its that time of year again when we set sail for our own holiday. A week of total relaxation, being spoiled rotten, eating ourselves silly, & having someone else clean up after me for a change. Pure bliss  We are driving across to Lyon tomorrow morning & then flying to Venice where we are staying for two nights before boarding our nice big cruise ship. Of course, we are not actually staying in Venice – Geoff is far too “radin” (tight) for that - but on the Lido, so we will have the pleasure of taking waterbuses into Venice which all adds to the fun. The posh frocks have been dusted off for their yearly outing, the cases are packed & we are just sorting out last minute bits & pieces now. Our son & his girlfriend arrive tomorrow evening to house & dog sit. As usual they too are looking forward to their break. They love it here & enjoy having the house at their disposal to chill, eat cheese & drink Dad`s wine! Its a win/win situation…they get a cheap holiday & we get the animals looked after so everyone is happy.

We have been very kind to Matthew & Susie too & have not accepted any B&B bookings while we are away. Things have really quietened down now but we have had a few people staying in the B&B this month including two separate couples who arrived with dogs which made me a bit cross. I don’t accept dogs in the B&B rooms for two reasons. Firstly they always leave dog hairs everywhere which are a menace to get rid of & I’m always aware that some people who follow their visit, may have allergies etc & secondly our dog Bounty does not like other pooches in his house & so is an absolute pain when they are here. Both of these couples “forgot” to mention they had doggies when they booked. Personally I suspect that more & more establishments say “NO” these days so perhaps not mentioning it is best! Because I’m a big softy, I let them stay, with their precious pooches, but I made it quite clear that I was not best pleased & they took their own risks with Bounty!

At the beginning of the month we had what I suspect might be the last visitors of the year in the gite…some friends of ours from Marple where we used to live. It was lovely to see them again & we spent several great evenings together introducing them to the delights of French TV & catching up on old times. They had a great week weather-wise & managed to fit in lots of good days visiting all the great places near here. We finally decided to shut the gite up only yesterday, but now it is looking all forlorn again with its shutters closed & the terrace clear of garden furniture. I hate seeing it like that! The weather this month has been very mild again & we have had some lovely sunny days. We continued to eat outside for most of our friends visit, although fleeces had to be donned in the evening once the sun went down. The trees still have lots of their leaves but they are starting to fall now. We enjoyed a great autumnal picnic & walk around Lac Pavin (one of our favourite places in autumn) last weekend & managed to take some wonderful photographs of the lake & the trees. They are on the Les Hirondelles page on Facebook if you haven’t already seen them. The first frosts have now begun to arrive unfortunately & some of the plants in the garden have begun to suffer. We removed the last courgette plant only this week (thank goodness!)& there are still a few tomatoes on the frost stricken plants. However I fear their days may be numbered now. We have had a good long growing season though this year so we can’t really complain.

We have not done a lot socially this month although we did have a nice meat fondue meal with our friends Julie & Jean-Luc the other evening. The meal was a bit delayed as they had lost a cow & so had had to spend time searching for it before starting the food preparations. Its all go here in the country! Poor Jean-Luc always gets to a point in the evening when he just can’t stay awake any longer so we always know when it is time to go home! Other than that we have been keeping a pretty low profile, mainly because of the rugby world cup. It is very rugby round here with the Clermont Ferrand team supplying several of the French team’s players. Spirits went up & down corresponding to the French team’s progress & it was certainly very much the topic of most of the conversations with our neighbours for a while. Geoff had to suffer lots of ribbing from his students when France beat England - I can tell you he was not a happy boy! Serves him right – I told him not to wear his England rugby shirt! But its all over now (thank goodness) & most folk here seem to think it was a good tournament.

That’s me done for this month. I’m just off now to remove the cat from her chosen sleeping place in my case, calm the dog down again – he has twigged that we are going away I think - & to make a meal for the kids to eat when they arrive tomorrow. For some strange reason Rod Stewarts “I am sailing” is going through my head. Wonder why??