A Sweet(heart)September

What a glorious month this has been weather-wise. We are having a fantastic “Indian summer” with temperatures in their 30s. We are still eating outdoors most evenings although we have to time it right now so we are finishing as the sun goes down & before it gets chilly. We are still swimming in the lake too – although the water temperature has dropped considerably & our French friends think we should be certified! There are not many other people swimming now & it is rather wonderful though to have your own almost private very large swimming pool! According to French meteo, this weather looks set to continue into next week too which will be very good for our next gite visitors who arrive today. They are friends of ours from Marple & we used to make up a very mean pub quiz team so I am looking forward to some entertaining quizzy type evenings this week. They will also see the Auvergne at its best as all the trees are just beginning to don their autumn colours & with the sun on them they look stunning. Their imminent arrival meant that we had to say goodbye to our surprise gite let visitor, Nicholas today. He (& his girl friend) is one of the “sweethearts” of this month’s post. He arrived out of the blue in our garden 3 weeks ago looking for somewhere to stay as he had quit his job to follow his lady love to the Auvergne. He was supposed to be looking for a job & deciding if he wanted to live here & so wanted somewhere to “chill” while he thought things through! He certainly did a lot of thinking…& sitting…& reading… but we didn’t see much action on the looking for a job front! However he was a nice guy & he & his girlfriend when she came to visit were no bother at all. They seemed very happy in the gite & for us it was 3 weeks extra let which we hadn’t expected – albeit at a very low price (I always was a softie) but some rent is better than the gite sitting empty! I shall miss seeing him sitting on the terrace - & Bounty will miss his play mate too!

The B&B has continued to be busy too especially at the start of the month. We have had lots of retired couples this month who have been released from grandchildren minding now that school has restarted & who wanted to have a break. Things are definitely quieter now though so it looks as if the season is beginning to wind down at last. We seem to have been working flat out since March this year with the B&B and we are enjoying having the house to ourselves again now and the opportunity to get out & about a bit more too. We even managed to go out for a meal to celebrate out Wedding Anniversary – not on the actual day mind you – we were doing a meal for visitors on that night, but even so it was a rare treat. We went to one of my favourite restaurants up in the hills near here where they use a lot of flower oils & flavourings in their cuisine. Their geranium ice cream is superb! It was nice & romantic - sweetheart ref number 2. There were only us & another couple eating & it was warm enough to sit on the terrace watching the sun go down as we ate. We old timers can still do the romance bit even after 33 years!

The slow down in business has also meant that I was able to take one of my whirlwind trips back to the UK. I travelled on the new Flybe route from Clermont Ferrand to Manchester via Southampton & found it a real delight. It just now needs to come down a bit in price, & to run again next summer & I will be a very happy bunny indeed. I am not a good traveller (ask my daughter!) & to be able to have a hassle free trip was a pleasure. It was also a pleasure to see the kids, inspect their new flats, sing in a Gilbert& Sullivan concert with my daughter, meet up with my brother & an old friend who I haven’t seen since we moved here & visit my mother too. See what I mean about the whirlwind trip – I was only there for 5 nights! And bonus…it was warm & sunny all the time I was in the UK, which was a bit of a problem seeing as I’d been told to take jumpers & coats. I was very hot most of the time.

Finally for this month, just to give some of you a good laugh, I have to admit to becoming an Avon lady. Yes, you did read that right! I am the most unlikely person to be a cosmetics rep that you could ever imagine! I don’t wear make up or use creams, get my hair done only when strictly necessary, & wear nail varnish on high days & holidays! So how did this come about? We went to the big Foire at Clermont Ferrand as we always do. Its a big event – a cross between the Ideal Homes Exhibition, Motor Show & Good Food Show all rolled into one. I was delighted to be given an Avon bag of samples at the entrance (it was Ladies Day) & on tracking down the Avon stand, foolishly expressed my delight that Avon existed in France as I have always liked some of their stuff. Before I could breathe I was given a card for what I thought was my local representative & this nice lady took my name & address so that I could get a catalogue & place an order…or so I thought! Next thing is a phone call & then a lady arrived at the house (which remember, dear reader, is in the middle of nowhere) who then proceeded to enlist & sign me up as an Avon lady! It could only happen to me…& I had to get Geoff to translate a lot of the spiel as this woman spoke so fast it wasn’t true! I have now received my ”kit”- which incidentally cost more than the pittance of a commission I got for my first order! I have no idea if it will work out or not. It is one thing to be able to put out catalogues & collect them on a street in the UK but it is very different here in the French countryside! Also my French, although very much improved now, still does not have sentences such as “I will call back in a couple of days time for your order” exactly tripping off my tongue with ease! I will update you next month on the progress… or more likely the lack of it!!

James…we love living here. Definitely the best thing we ever did moving to the Auvergne. Im glad you like the blog..I started writing it when we first came here & still enjoy sharing our at times barmy experiences with everyone. Catherine - Im sure you are right re the French…but it is quite hard still to go & try to explain what Avon is all about!

That’s so funny - exactly the kind of thing that happens to me! Seriously though you will find that if you start doing the Avon stuff your French will come on in leaps and bounds. Good luck! Xx