So 2014 is almost at an end…& what a year it has been! We have said hello to many people this year & goodbye to quite a few too. This month has been no exception as we did our final preparations for Christmas – it does tend to come & go very quickly doesn’t it? We said many hellos to people we did & didn’t know at the annual carol service at Clermont Ferrand, which we enjoyed very much. We have also said hello & goodbye to 2 lots of B&B guests & we have another couple arriving tonight. The first of these were a father & son who were on their way to a big motorcycle meet up in the mountains. They spent a cosy night here before setting off into the grey murk & snow which was the weather that day to sleep in their tents! Rather them than me I can tell you! The second couple were very much last minute guests who were off to eat at La Bergerie (our local Michelin * restaurant) where they ate like kings apparently :) It was a nice end to what has been a fairly poor year for the business really, so I am hoping to say hello to a few more B&B & Gite guests in 2015 than we did this year. Fingers crossed!
The lead up to Christmas always sees us sending off all the cards I have made over the last few weeks. I really enjoy making these cards & we are really lucky that I have the gite where I can spread out all my card making stuff & not have to clear it all up again each day. It does cost quite a bit in postage, but as I love getting cards from folk I rarely see now & catching up on their news, not to mention having the cards to decorate the room, I always think it is a good tradition.It is also the only way I keep in touch with some people these days.So I do get cross when I get a message saying “thanks for your card but I no longer send them. I prefer to give to charity instead” as is what happened several times again this year.This is not the idea folks in my opinion! My list will be a bit shorter next year sadly…& I suspect several contacts will be lost. More goodbyes then…& not by choice :(
In the middle of the month, we had arranged to meet up with our friends Linda & Mike & go to a really good Marche de Noel which is held in one of the fortified medieval villages near here. The village converts all its caves & outhouses into little “eshoppes” & local artisans sell there wares there. It is a great atmosphere with some people dressing up in medieval costumes & there are some lovely things to buy. Unfortunately on the day Linda was feeling a bit too tired so Geoff & I went on our own…only to find we had the time wrong! We met Linda & Mike for lunch instead & felt we had had a lucky break not dragging them there at 10am as arranged! Geoff & I did go the next day…when it WAS open…& enjoyed it, but there are so many people crammed into the very narrow streets. It is often difficult to get into the caves at times & I’m sure “elf & safety“in the UK would have been having a fit! Still, this is France after all!
Talking of Marche de Noels brings me to another goodbye. I have taken a decision (reluctantly) to stop being a volunteer for the Croix Rouge & so did not take part in their Marche de Noel this year for the first time in 8 years. I have not really felt happy at the depot for quite a while now, as most of the ladies I liked so much resigned last year after a big row. The atmosphere has changed so much & all the things I liked about working there have gone. There are some days when I arrive to help to sort out the donated clothes & no one talks to me! The changes in the layout of the depot, which were done after the “big row”, have made more use of the space but leaves the “sorting out” room in total isolation & so there is no contact with the customers (which I loved in the past) at all. Also I have been getting increasingly cross at not being invited to take part in things recently, so the time has come for me to leave. I am very sad about this, as I made some really good friends through the Croix Rouge when we first came here & by going & joining in the chat that was always part of the afternoon’s activities, I improved my spoken French enormously. I need now to find something else to get involved with I think & that will be a project for next year.
Before we left to spend Christmas with the family in the UK, we “Ladies wot Lunch” managed to squeeze in another meet up… & another lunch of course! Tots was very excited as she was hoping to say hello to a new dog very soon (Rosie has now arrived & is settling in nicely), Muta was glad to have a break from packing up & saying goodbye to her house,(she is hoping to move in the new year)& Linda was getting ready to say goodbye to the radiotherapy department where she has been receiving treatment for the last 7 weeks. So we all enjoyed having a natter – with much laughter as usual! Heres hoping our lunches continue in 2015 ladies :)
Our trip to the UK all went according to plan & apart from the long drive there & back, it was a good break for us. The cottages we had rented were lovely (once we got them warmed up a bit!)& we spent a great family Christmas all together. We had time to meet up with my cousin & his wife which is always a bonus for us, as we miss seeing friends & family on our whistle stop visits normally. Our future son in law’s dad joined us for Christmas Eve & Day, & we were able get my MIL from & back to her house on Christmas Day, without any bother which was less tiring for her. And of course, we got some time to play with Ethan & to see all the progress he has made. It was wonderful to see him open his presents (& to play with them!) on Christmas Day as well. So all in all we had a very good Christmas :)
Et voila…we arrive at the end of 2014.This year we have said a big hello to a beautiful grandson who is a joy to us. We have also said a renewed hello to our now official “soon to be” son in law, Phil, (although we have known him for a while now!).I have said a very welcome hello to my UK state pension at last…it does make a difference! I have also said a very sad goodbye to my mother who died in July. It was very odd not having her with us at Christmas but I felt she was hovering & smiling down at us all.
And now I will say a happy Goodbye to 2014 & a big Hello to 2015. I hope it will be a good year for everyone. Happy New Year to you all & thank you for continuing to read my ramblings!