Back in Angleterre again

Here we are again in cold wet Carlisle again with the great month we spent under blue skies and sunshine of the Cote d`Azur already fading into our memories. We flew home on the 12th October leaving Nice where the temperature was 25c and landed in Edinburgh where the temperature was 8c…a very big shock to our systems! We have had a couple of weeks now to get readjusted but I am still looking at photographs on a FB page about St Aygulf of blue skies and people still swimming in the sea, with more than a little tinge of green! Ah well…we will return next Spring. For now though, let me bring you up to date with the end of our stay in France and all that we have been up to since we got back.

We continued with our relaxed way of life for the final two weeks of our stay…lots of swimming, soaking up the rays on our balcony and catching up with some more friends. We invited Gisele to eat with us which proved fun, as I attempted to make a lasagne in our little kitchen, which still at that point had very limited lighting! We all did enjoy the evening though and we are very happy to have Gisele as a friend in our French town. She is a font of local knowledge and we think she will be a great “go-to” person for us, in the future too.

There was also a lot of knitting done on our balcony, as I tried very hard to finish the little jumper for my granddaughter and add some more toys to the stash I`m building up for the craft fair, which is coming up back home. I try to knit the things and then take them back home for assembly…the bit I hate the most! We do sit on our balcony a lot really and we were astonished one evening to see a lot of bats flying about. We used to see bats frequently at Chabanol but have never seen them in St Aygulf and we wondered where on earth they roost there. Lovely to watch them though. We also enjoyed watching all the big racing yachts taking part in the “Voiles de St Tropez” event a bit further up the coast. Our binoculars worked overtime that week! When it got too cool in the evening to sit outside, we retreated to our salon and enjoyed watching French TV again. We are always amused by how many of the series we always watched before, are still going…including my favourite soap opera Plus Belle la Vie, which I had not expected to see anymore, as it was due to be axed last time we were here. I was very pleased to be able to catch the last throes of the goings on in the Mistral as the very last episode will now be aired in November. Goodness only knows how I will cope when we get back out in the Spring! It has been a big part of my life, ever since we first moved to France and was the way I really learned a lot of my spoken French. Very sad to see it go.

We continued to visit all the local markets, but find that we buy less and less at them as they are definitely not a cheap option any more. However, there are some things like prunes and olives which are still on our market shopping lists. We also continued to eat out on the Wednesdays we had left, making two visits to Mandelieu, the first to explore the rivers there and the second to meet up with our friends Carolyn and Mandy for lunch. It was lovely to see them again and to catch up with all their recent adventures. We met up with another couple, Angel and Regine, who had been our guests a couple of times in our BandB at Chabanol. Again, it was nice to see them and we spent a lovely afternoon swimming and enjoying the beach at St Aygulf.

Finally, we managed (at long last) to get the electrician to do the work we needed done in the flat…on the very last day of our stay! It was a very long day too, as we had to stay out of their way all day and they didn`t finish until after 6pm! However, they did a wonderful job and we now had a modern fuse box which I can actually reach, more plugs in the kitchen, the live box moved off my limited kitchen work surfaces and joy of joys, lights in the kitchen! We were worried that we would have a lot of mess and no time to clear it up as we were due to leave the next day, but the guys were very efficient and there was virtually no mess at all. It has been a real problem, to actually get an electrician to come and do this job, as they have so much more lucrative jobs around here that a lot of them were not interested in our work. We were very pleased to have it all finished at long last.

The very next day we set off on the first part of our journey home. It was wonderful just to be able to turn off the electricity without having to climb aloft to do so! We caught the bus along to St Raphael and then another to Nice as usual and checked into our hotel close to the airport. We spent our last evening at Port Lympia, the port of Nice where we had a nice walk around ogling all the fancy yachts before we ate our last moules/frites of the holiday! The flight home the next day went smoothly, and we soon caught the tram and then the train back to Carlisle where we were picked up by our daughter…who was very pleased to see us back, not least because the dog walker would resume duty the next day, as would the ironing fairy!

Since we got back, we have slotted back into all our normal routines again. I have been back to work in the Op shop, Geoff has played pickleball with his group, we have done an U3A French speaking group session and we have both been welcomed back to church…and given quite a few jobs too! We have had lunch with Mike and Linda and got caught up with all their holiday stories from their trip to Australia. We have been to the theatre too a couple of times. We really like the West Walls Theatre in Carlisle and we went to see their production of “The Odd Couple” and again to see a touring group of actors who performed a hammed-up play - “Doing Whodunnit” - which was very funny indeed. It is so nice to be in a theatre full of folk, laughing!

Last week I went with Hazel and the little one to Walby Farm Park to pick our pumpkins (and do other things too…it’s a great place!) ready for Halloween. Last week we also went to the Lakes for a couple of nights away, which was really lovely. Our children and grandchildren had bought Geoff and I a voucher to stay in a lovely hotel (The Howbeck) to celebrate us both turning 70 this year and this was us actually getting round to taking the break at last! The weather was very typically Lake District weather, but this didnt mar our trip at all and we enjoyed exploring areas we dont usually get to. We particularly enjoyed our trip over the Windermere ferry, wandering around Hawkeshead and then spending the afternoon at Grizedale Forest…all places we don’t often visit. The final day was great too as we met up with all our family in Bowness for lunch and then we went with Matthew, Susie and the grandchildren to watch the kids enjoying the treetop nets experience, which we had bought them for Christmas last year! They had a great time and were totally exhausted after leaping around on those nets for a couple of hours! Success!

I have also been back to the eye clinic which was not such a happy experience as my eyes are still not improving and I have to go back again in November to restart the jolly old eye injections. My blood sugar level is still a bit raised after our French stay. It always goes up when we are in France despite me eating more or less the same stuff as we eat here. I am convinced that there is a lot of sneaky sugar in French food…especially the “Greek” yoghurt which I eat every day for breakfast…which is actually Greek style yoghurt I think and as such has sugar in it. I need to get the levels back to my usual stage before the next lot of treatment on my eyes…and they are now coming down again thank goodness. It is very depressing though, as I feel we are taking a backwards step but I have to go along with their advice. Not looking forward to all that again I can tell you :frowning:

Tonight is Halloween and we are off to have some fun at Hazel and Phils house as usual. This year I see that there are more decorations there than usual! I will drop off all the craft fair contributions to my craft group en route ready for that next weekend. In fact, we look as if we are in for a busy November what with some dog sitting stints, craft fairs, activities at church (including a certain person re-visiting his favourite role as a jolly red & white clad gentleman!) and Linda and I are off to a Christmas art workshop day too. It looks like next month`s blog could be a fun filled one!

A bientot mes amis