Wow…September went past very quickly. As predicted at the end of last month, the phone has stopped ringing & e mail enquiries have almost completely dried up once again, so business wise it has not been a very busy or profitable month really. I hate the way the season ends so abruptly here – especially as the weather has been really nice with lots of warm sunny days. But hey ho…`twas always thus I suppose. We have had a few B&B guests this month & a jolly interesting bunch they were too. We had one lovely couple who were trying to piece together some family history, which as you can imagine was right up my street! Mr W`s grandfather had owned & lived in one of the houses here in Chabanol & had been a farmer. The house now belongs to some of our neighbours, who have it as a very well used holiday house. Mr W remembered staying there as a child & was very pleased to be able to have a look inside & see all the changes. The rest of the story was really fascinating as he wanted to try & find his grandparent’s graves. His grandmother was easy...a trip to the Marie at St Etienne sur Usson resulted in a copy of her death certificate & he found her tomb in the cemetery without any problems. She obviously belonged to a local family here with a frequently occurring surname in the cemetery. However there was no joy with his grandfather who doesn`t seem to have exsisted! He had a different surname & had been (as was Mr W`s mother) a child of the DASS (the Fr social security outfit which placed unwanted children with host families in days gone by). Apparently, it was unclear whether the grandparents were ever married & because Mr W`s mother was never formally adopted by them, the house etc was inherited by some of the G`mothers relations. It would seem that the G`father died in a local hospital & was buried in a paupers grave as these relations would not pay for a funeral. Unfortunately a visit to the hospital & the Marie at Issoire did not bear fruit & so they were unable to find out where the G`father was buried. Thinking about it after they had gone, I suspect that the hospital in question could have been the now Maison de Retraite in Sauxillanges, so perhaps if the couple ever come back they could continue the search there. They did however enjoy their visit to Chabanol & it obviously brought back many happy memories for Mr W. I was able to give him copies of some old photos we have of our house & he really appreciated that.
We then welcomed a family of randoneurs who live in another part of the Puy de Dome but who were doing a 3 day hike with their daughter who was on a visit from her home in Canada. They were also a lovely family & were thoroughly enjoying their walking holiday. And then there was the couple with the dog…!I really get a bit tired of people arriving with dogs, when we clearly say we do not accept them in the B&B. Bounty does not really appreciate other dogs on his territory …& definitely not in his house! This dog was an inoffensive little old poodle who was blind & deaf & who seemed to spend all his life in his “mummy’s” arms. Fortunately, the gite was empty so I was able to put the couple (& dog) over there so all remained calm, but she did bring the dog to the breakfast table each day which I was a bit cross about. Happily the other family was very tolerant & didn’t seem to mind the canine presence at breakfast! Sometimes you just have to smile through gritted teeth!
Now for all the gadding about I’ve been doing! It started with a visit to the big Foire d` Auvergne at Clermont where Geoff & I spent a day enjoying all the exhibitions, ogling at leather sofas & leather coats (well, I was anyway!)& generally having a good day out. We got in free too courtesy of a couple who gave us some complementary tickets so Geoff was a doubly happy bunny! We also had a great afternoon at the bar St Thomaswhere John & Pat had decided to invite all their friends & regular customers to a Lamb Roast lunch. It was a shame it was raining that day but everyone was in good spirits & didn’t mind being squashed into the dining room instead of being outside. We all enjoyed catching up with old friends & a really good time was had by all. My only "complaint" was that my ever loving (& radin) husband, decided that we would take this meal out as our wedding anniversary meal, the said anniversary being the day after! He doesn`t change does he? However after 35 years I have become used to it...& him!
Then it was time for my trip to the UK. I tried out the new Ryanair route from Clermont Ferrand airport to Charleroi (Brussels) & then on toManchester & all went really smoothly. I hope now that they don’t axe the route as it will make travelling to the UK so much easier & cheaper for us in the future to go this way. I spent a few days with my son & DIL inManchester & got my eyes tested & new glasses ordered. I also got taken to the Lowry Theatre to see a “different” production of The Mikado which was a real treat. Oh how I miss the theatre living here…& as for G&S...well, lets just say I sang along (very discretely you understand) all the way through! I managed to drive my son’s car out to Marple where we used to live & met up with a couple of old friends there. Normally on these trips to the UK I manage to fit in the family visits but never have any time to see friends, so this was also a treat. Mind you I do not miss driving in the Manchester traffic…agggh! And to think I used to do that every day once upon a time! On the Friday I headed up to Carlisle for a weekend with my daughter & her boyfriend. In return for treating me to lunch, they gave me the thankless task of visiting all the charity shops looking for some Hawaiian shirts so they could dress up for the charity Dragon boat race they were doing on the Saturday. Let me tell you, there does not seem to be much demand for Hawaiian shirts in Carlisle in September really, so it took a while to find something suitable! I got my revenge in the evening though, by making them both help me make some Hawaiian garlands out of crepe paper as I’d refused to pay the price demanded by the Fancy Dress shop! The Dragon Boat race was in Bassenthwaite in theLake District, so we all spent a very good (& entertaining) day there on the Saturday. Sunday saw us heading over to the NE to meet up with my mother & 2 of my brothers for Sunday lunch & then going on to Durham to see the Lindisfarne Gospels Exhibition at the cathedral there. I have always loved Durham so it was a lovely & nostalgic visit for me & yet another great day out. I travelled back to Manchester on the Monday & then flew home on the Tuesday…& again all went very well indeed.
I had just enough time to get more or less back on track at home when we were off again, this time for a weekend visit to Aix en Provence. Geoff had decided last month, when he won a good contract for his English teaching, that we would treat ourselves to a w/e away & as he loves the paintings of Cezanne & as there was a big exhibition on in Aix, this was the logical place to go. We had a great w/e…I loved Aix & he loved the paintings, so we were both happy! We stayed in a B&B about 10 minutes drive from the centre of Aix which was “interesting”! It was clean & adequate (& cheap of course which is important to Le Radin) but was certainly not up to our standards! I particularly disliked the idea of a DIY breakfast each morning. The proprietor went off to sell her art on the markets very early in the morning & as her daughter worked late in the evenings, she did not want to get up to do breakfast & so left coffee to heat up & bread in little plastic bags! As I said…"interesting”! My clients get a lot more personal service than that (not to mention fresh bread & croissants!) I can tell you! Anyway, that apart we thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away & I hope we can now do a little more of this sightseeing stuff…although I have my doubts! It did make me realise yet again though just what a fantastic area we live in, here in the Auvergne. I enjoyed seeing the Luberon again & thought it was very pretty countryside, but it is nowhere as attractive or dramatic as our surroundings here. I just wish we could attract more people here to see it for themselves.
And now, feet firmly back on the ground after an eventful month, I have to think about doing something to try & get more people here really. I need to revise some of our advertising strategies – a job I hate doing, but needs must. We have a visit pending from the Gites de France people to discuss possibilities of joining them (not looking forward to that at all really) & I also need to change some of the advertising sites I use, as a lot of my old “friends” are just not bringing us much traffic as they used to. That should keep me out of mischief for a while…well at least until our next trip away...our holiday proper, the cruise ![Big Smile](upload://u0KW9eG5dkuqBb0pxX9pE4iFHdP.gif)