Er...Spring…where art thou?


Having just re-read the last paragraph of last month’s blog post I realise that my hopes were totally unfounded for this month. Spring seems to have packed its bags & left the country yet again. We have had yet more snow, a couple of days of spring like weather & now we are in the midst of cold damp nasty stuff once more. I think everyone is thoroughly fed up now with this weather now. We have a family staying with us this Easter weekend & I felt really sorry for them as they set off this morning for a visit to Vulcania, all muffled up to the eyeballs to try & stay warm. I am also champing at the bit to get out in the garden & “do things” but frankly it is not an attractive prospect at the moment. We have got some flowers out…the crocus carpet made a good effort to resist the snow, the primroses are beginning to emerge & the daffodils are at last beginning to open but somehow it all seems a bit low key as it is too cold to get out there & enjoy it. Surely it has to improve soon...Geoff has heard the first cuckoo after all!

We have had a pretty low key month all round really so we have made the most of being confined to barracks to do quite a bit of planning one way or another. The preparations have continued for Matthew’s wedding & I have now finished all the table decorations - place names & favours all done. I had a great afternoon last week playing with flowers to try out the flower arrangements I intend to do for the wedding breakfast table. They turned out very well & all the flowers are now ordered for the big day itself. We have also sorted out his wedding present/honeymoon surprise more or less anyway. Can’t say what that is just in case he actually reads this…some hope! There have been a couple of “significant” family birthdays this know the ones ending in a 0. My “baby” brother turned 50 & my cousin 60 so there have been cards to make & a surprise to plan for my brother who will be going to watch the British Grand Prix in June courtesy of all the family.

The other thing which has helped to fill in my time during this non event month has been catching up on more family tree research. I sometimes envy the French people who do genealogy as it must be very easy to do, when most families stay linked to their birthplaces. My ancestors moved around a lot in search of work (they were miners) & Geoff’s lot did too, which makes research very difficult, especially when doing it from a distance. However someone gave me a helping hand this month & I have at last made some significant progress on Geoff’s family tree. I am looking forward to being able to show my MIL some of this when we stay with her for the wedding. She will be pleased to see that some of the family myths were actually true, including the fact that one of her ancestors did actually live in Chillingham Castle in Northumberland...working as a housemaid I hasten to add! I love doing all this stuff but it does take an extraordinary amount of time, so is only possible when the weather is bad or when we have no guests.

Now what other exciting things have we been up to this month? We went to the bank AGM (see how desperate we were for things to do!) & the free lunch which occurs afterwards. There is no such thing as a free lunch though is there? We had to sit through 2 hours of mind blowingly boring presentations from the bank before hand! We also went to the village lotto & actually stayed to play our own cards this year (we normally give them to someone else to play for us). It was another afternoon of total boredom. I really marvel at all those folk who make a habit out of going to lotto every week…its very tedious! And of course we didn’t win anything!

I am glad to report that our summer bookings for both the chambres d`hotes & the gite are continuing to progress nicely. Geoff also has had a very good month with his teaching work & has acquired several new students which is really good news. After 6 years of trying to get some work out of the more important & larger companies in Issoire he has at last managed to get his foot in the door, so he is very pleased about that. We will both be kept quite busy work wise from now on for quite a few months I think.

The month has ended on a good note too with the visit of our daughter, Hazel & her boyfriend Phil. They have just set off homewards after several days with us which they & we, enjoyed very much. We have had a good week visiting places such as a very icy Lac Pavin (see pcture), Ambert & Puy en Velay with them, eating out quite a bit (Le Radin`s wallet has taken a bit of a bashing his week!) & generally enjoying their company. One of our outings took us way out into the countryside to the atelier of a young lady who has set up a business making hats & fascinators. Phil was very amused by he fact that she is called Fanny (a fairly common name in France but very unusual in the Anglo Saxon world where it has very different connotations) & that he actually went into a workshop called Les Chapeaux de Fanny! I was very pleased that we did though as I now have a very smart titfer being made for me to wear at the wedding. As always it was sad watching them drive away this morning, but we will see them very soon at the wedding of course.

So, March is now at an end & we can look forward to a very busy April in lots of ways. European summer time started today so hopefully (there is that word again) it will soon warm up a bit so we can enjoy the extra daylight hours & ditch the jerseys & fleeces at long last. Fingers crossed eh?