Any cheerful news today? (Nothing negative please! 🙂)



Also Poland kicking out the extreme right.
Let’s hope Hungary will be next along with the UK.


01/04/2024 - I’m cheerfully remembering today’s date as the day we moved to France permanently 20 years ago. Thus far we’ve not felt foolish about that.

We’d been here for long periods ahead of that but this was the day after my wife left her job & we arrived here with the two cats.

We didn’t sell our UK house for a couple more years, but France has been our proper home for two decades now :grin: #noregrets


The pubs in Sandwich, my old stomping ground :beers:

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That has made me think about our date. Must be around same time we bought our first place - although were both still working so commuted back and forward every week. The exchange rate I remember - it was 1.58!


Ours was somewhere above 1,60€ to the £… :flushed:

Those were the days…


I’d need to look at the church history, but do know that there were a lot of catholic families in the area, and it’s quite possible this was saved. The woodwork is quite old - as in hundreds of years, not just Victorian. The building itself has a Norman section as well as later additions.

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If the oldest part of the church is Norman, that’s probably the altar area and the rounded? apse (which was introduced to England from France, where it had already been common for a couple of centuries). Rood screens were usually removed because they regarded as a Catholic element that separated the clergy from the congregation. Larger stone ones in cathedrals such as Durham may have been retained because they were a structural element, but they were stripped of their statuary…

Of couse, previously virtually everyone bar the occasional Jew had been a Catholic and many subsequent conversions must have been pragmatic ones. Certainly there are many contemporary accounts of parishioners bemoaning the new bare church interiors.

I’m sure the faith of many was pragmatic, people being what they are. There are ruins of Fermor house in the village that was owned by a prominent Catholic family and some of the locals were known to have sheltered Catholics.

I’m obviously not up on church design history, but have picked up bits and pieces.

Regarding rood screens and separation, it has been interesting to see eastern orthodox and Martoma churches, where the screen is solid with no way to see inside.

Notification that UK state pension has increased, will buy a bit more!

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Happy extra year Stella !!

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My cheerful news is that the internet, en panne for 4 days, came back a couple of hours ago. Yippee!
I had managed to get the the phone fixed up as a hot spot but the speed was soporific. It’s good to be properly back online.


St Peter’s at Heysham in Lancashire has an ancient rood screen.
It also has an original Saxon door and a Viking hog’s back stone,
There are also barrows and open graves on the headland for the disposal of bodies into the sea.

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Really cheerful news today… just spoken on the phone with a lovely neighbour who was rushed to hospital in the early hours, a couple of days ago.

Phew… she’s had a really close call with the grim reaper this time.

She’s much more than “just” a neighbour/friend…
she and her husband “adopted” us on the day we visited and decided to buy the “house next door”.

Our 2 families have shared ghastly sorrows and really good times since then and I’m so glad she’s on the mend…
Her voice is very weak/wavery, so I kept things brief…

There I am sending her our love and telling her to get lots of rest…
and she’s (wavery but firmly) assuring me she’ll soon be home to make us some of her special “le pudding”… :+1: :rofl:

EDIT the cheerful news is that she is on the mend… not that she’s promising to bake for us… (although that is always good/cheerful news :wink: :wink: :wink: )


I’m collecting my 6 month visa tomorrow. Ferry booked from Newhaven on 29 April. A friend walked round our house yesterday to check it. It’s ok and up a hill so local river flooding doesn’t affect us!
Can’t wait to be there .


How was the visa process?

The websites especially the TLS site were awful to use with no real explanation ofwhat to do next!
Friends had done it last year and gave me a list of documents they’d used and a covering letter stating i’m retired, own the houze and promisingnot to work. Handed in pension statements, bank statements, taxe fonciere and habitation bills, GHIC card, travel insurance (extra) marriage certificate (irish spouse name at birth) passport and covering letter emphasising own the house etc. Took 11 days including easter w/e. The ‘interview’ ie handing over the visa form and docs took 1 1/2 hours.
Ang mistakes in the tls form, including mistranscribed visa application refedence number and it is rejected and you leave and start again!

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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL BORN IN 1930’s, 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and Early 80’s !!! First, you survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, your baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints. You had no childproof lids on medicine …medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when you rode your bikes, you had no helmets, not to mention, the risks you took hitch-hiking … As children, you would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun. You drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle. You shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. You ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but you weren’t overweight because… YOU WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
You would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach you all day. And you were OK. You would spend hours building your go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out you forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, you learned to solve the problem . You did not have Play stations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms…YOU HAD FRIENDS and you went outside and found them! You fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents you played with worms(well most boys did) and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. You made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although you were told it would happen, you did not poke out any eyes. You rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing you out if you broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. You had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and you learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.


Today’s good news.
The Swallows have come back Spring has sprung.


Wow, some rant John. I’ll relate one incident to appreciate the innocence of the times.
When I was not much more than 10 and my brother 4 years younger, and before the by-pass was built, we lived on the busy A52 trunk road between Nottingham and Derby.

A lorry broke down directly opposite and the driver. after walking to a phone box to call for help, sat down on the grass verge to await it. Both my brother and I walked across the road (yes, really) sometimes with a cup of tea for the driver, but my brother was more of a chatterbox than me so he became the favourite of the driver.

When he was finally repaired and ready to set off I was devastated because he asked my parents (not directly but through John), if he could go with him for the day, he was going to Kings Lynn and would be back the same way later on. ‘Yes off you go said Mum, but don’t get in the way’, obviously more concerned with the drivers’ sanity than the safety of her second born.

At about tea time John came back in through the door absolutely full of himself about the great adventure he’d been on. I, was not impressed. :rofl: