April..and off we go again
After the very quiet months of February & March, everything has really started up again this month, I’m pleased to say. I hate it when we have no guests...& worse still, no money is going into my bank! So it is with great relief that I can report that we have at last started to take bookings for the gite for summer, have actually had a family staying in the gite & have taken lots of B&B bookings since I last posted a blog. And, yes...I am smiling again! The family who stayed last week in the gite were lovely. They had 2 small children & as they live in a small apartment, absolutely loved the space they had in the gite & the fact that the children could run about safely in the garden. Unfortunately the weather was decidedly iffy all week but that did not stop them thoroughly enjoying their week with us. We really enjoyed watching the children play in the garden too...although my poor flowers did take a bit of a battering at times!
We have had several B&B guests too, including a couple on honeymoon, which was nice. It is always a bit difficult to get started again & as the gite let was very much at the last minute I had a few days of frenzied activity trying to get it cleaned & ready after its winter lay off. Fortunately, when we reconnected the water, all was well J - we had been a little worried as this was the first time we have totally cut the water off for winter. I am now very much back into the normal routine of cleaning rooms & washing & ironing bedclothes once again. It is nice to have folk staying with us again though!
As well as having guests staying with us once again, we also had a lovely visit from two of the granddaughters of the couple who did most of the original house & gite conversion work when they lived here. It was really nice to take them on a grand tour of the place & listen to all their stories of what they had done when they stayed here with their grandparents. A lot of the original fittings are still in place here & we have some of the things their grandfather made (he was a bit of an eccentric artist) stored in our attic. They were delighted when I gave them a couple of these artefacts to take away with them as souvenirs.
As I have already mentioned the weather this month has been pretty awful. It has been really cold, very wet & last week we had really scary high winds which made the whole house rattle. Our wood pile is diminishing rapidly too as we are still having to light the fire in the evenings. Fortunately, though, we have escaped any major damage here but other parts of the region & several areas of France are either having floods or have no electricity. So I suppose I shouldn’t grumble. I still don’t like it when I have guests staying & the weather is miserable for them.
The poor weather has also put a downer on several events here. It is such a shame when that happens as there is a lot of work put into organising these events & the committees lose a lot of money when they are cancelled. Easter was a total washout as we had heavy rain nearly all weekend. The big vide greniers weekend at nearby Sauxillanges only managed one day of reasonable weather – the Sunday was a total disaster. There was also a garden festival event at Ambert which I had intended to visit in order to replace some of the plants which the extreme cold in February killed off. But that visit too, had to be abandoned as there was snow & fog on the summits between here & Ambert,...not exactly tempting weather for a visit to an outdoor event! I am only now beginning to be able to get into the garden to start cutting back the dead stuff & replant which, even for us, is a bit late really. Geoff has still not had his potager dug over so again the planting of our veggies has not yet begun either. We need to get going now though otherwise there will be no plants left to buy soon!
This month has seen some more unusual things happen to us too though. I am getting a bit worried bout my dearly beloved, who has regressed into the rebellious teenager stage he obviously missed out on when he was a real teenager! Since turning 60, he seems to have decided to do things, before it is too late perhaps! To this effect, he arrived home one day with a rather unattractive stud in his ear! He had just suddenly made up his mind (& summoned up the courage) to have his ear pierced & have an earring! It has been very amusing to see & hear the reactions of our kids to this highly uncharacteristic action! Talk about role reversal! They disapprove, as you can imagine & are a little worried about their normally staid & upright Dad! I was just relieved it wasn’t a tattoo! Two days before this event Geoff had bought his first senior citizen’s rail card. Was there some kind of connection between the two things I wonder??
Yesterday Geoff also did another “first”. He drove a Lamborghini around the circuit at Issoire! This was his 60th birthday present from the children – the chance once again to do something totally out of character (i.e. drive really fast) & exciting! He had a great afternoon & really enjoyed the total experience very much. Although he was a bit nervous & apprehensive at first, the instructor got him to reach the dizzy heights of 200k on the straight bits of the track & he really enjoyed driving that car! It was great to see him after the event, almost glowing with pleasure. Great birthday gift kids..well done!
Soon it will be my turn! The “big” birthday is approaching (rather too) rapidly. My treat from the children is to spend a couple of days with them in Paris at the beginning of May. Geoff is coming up too for the day on the Monday (he has then to get back home for the dog & also to work) so I will have the whole family together in one of my favourite places. I’m very much looking forward to that- much more my style than fancy cars! More about it in next month’s blog