March Matters

Blimey…that month went by quickly! It seems like only yesterday that I was bringing you all up to speed with February’s news. I suppose this is yet another sign of getting older…so we will pass on now!

March started off with a very busy flurry of house viewings, and then things went very quiet. We still have no offers on the house and my heart rate and blood pressure have gone back to normal. The people who viewed the house first are still very interested according to Aurelia, our agent, but it seems that there is a complicated story attached to their finance as it is linked in with an inheritance buy out, and so could take some time. This is not unwelcome news for us as we are not in a hurry after all, so long as it can be sorted in the long run. Who knows? Meanwhile the visits seem to have dropped off which is also good as it means that I am not having to clean up all the time! Xena is not so thrilled as her extra walks seem to have stopped for the moment anyway. It is also giving us more time to clear things both physically as in clearing stuff out of the house and also mentally in our mindsets. We have made several lists now including which furniture we intend to leave, so that if someone wants to take over the B and B and gite business it will be there ready to go for them. We have also made probable lists of things and furniture we want to take to Carlisle and those which will probably go to Frejus - if and when we get all of this sorted. I am continuing to amuse myself by looking at apartments for sale in Frejus on the internet - just to see exactly what we can afford. Again, I have a check list for this…no stairs (only apartments with a lift considered), 2 bedrooms (if possible), a bath (again if possible) and a balcony or terrace essential! I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at what is on offer so it all looks hopeful…if we get the right price for here that is.

As I have said above, the decluttering continues. Geoff is now a regular at the local decheterie (tip) as he continues to clear out the attic and outhouses. I have added quite a bit to the vide grenier pile in the attic and I hope to go to my first one in April with a boot full of stuff which I hope will actually sell. We will see. I will have to be very disciplined though and not look at other people’s stalls as I MUST NOT buy anything! I was very sad to see a lot of our old camping gear head off to the tip the other day. OK, I know that we are never likely to go camping again, but all that stuff held so many memories of happy family holidays. I hasten to add that our tent went a long time ago to help refugees after a disaster in Pakistan, so it was just the cooking and daily living gear that we had left, but it was still sad to see it go. One of the next projects is to clear out the sports box, which is lurking on the mezzanine in the outhouse. It will be interesting to see if Geoff can get rid of his cricket bat and squash racquets!

The weather here this month has been really nice, with lovely sunny days. It is still quite chilly especially in the late afternoons and evenings, but the sunshine has cheered us up immensely. The garden looks splendid, with all the daffodils and other spring flowers in full bloom and the fruit trees are just starting to blossom too now. We have been able to sit outside on a few days and we enjoyed eating our first lunch outside yesterday. Geoff has a bit of a dilemma now with his potager (veg garden) as it will be time soon to plant it up. He normally moves his compost up there and digs it in ready for planting now but with all the uncertainty re the house etc we are not sure how much we actually want to do this year. Added to that, he tweaked his back the other day lifting something he shouldn’t and so is not keen to be barrowing compost and digging at the moment. Again, it will be interesting to see if he can resist for much longer…!

We really enjoyed our trip back to the UK this month. We flew over to Manchester and spent a couple of nights in the hotel close to our sons house which gave us opportunities to see (and babysit) our grandchildren which was brilliant. Geoff, Matthew, Ethan and I drove up to Preston on the Saturday and had a great meetup for lunch in a local pub with Geoffs school pals (and some significant others, including my friend Betty) before the boys all went off to the PNE match at Deepdale. I went shopping…in the rain! Geoff flew back home on the Sunday and I headed north, using my brand-new senior rail card, to spend the night with our friends Linda and Mike in the Lake District. It was great to catch up with all their news and Linda and I gossiped, drank numerous cups of tea and generally put the world to rights, before I left them to catch the train to Carlisle the next day. I stayed with my daughter and son in law for the next few days, being very well looked after - in return for a bit of gardening and ironing as usual! On the Tuesday, I took the train to Hexham and met up with my good friend Rose for lunch. My brother, Alan also came to this meet up as it was his birthday that day which was nice. I dont often get the chance to see him on his birthday and give him his presents in person. Again, we all had a lovely day and Rose and I caught up with family news and gossip which was great. After Hazel and Phil left for a long weekend away on the Thursday, Linda came and picked me up and we spent the day being ladies what lunch in Carlisle, visiting some of the little shops there that I like…and gossiping again, of course! On the Friday, my friends Gill and Charles, who had been spending a few days away in the Lakes called in on their way home (I love using my daughters house like this!) and after lunching again in Carlisle with them, I caught the train back to Manchester and spent the last night of my visit, at Matthews, sleeping in Ethan`s room. I was delighted to be woken up by a small boy creeping into my bed the next morning, telling me he had looked at his clock and it said 6.50, which for him is very good. However, when I looked at the clock it actually said 6.05…right numbers, wrong way round! Hey ho…at least it gave me a bit more time with him and Hadley :blush:. Mind you, I was pretty well exhausted by the time I actually got home late that night! All in all, though, I had had a fantastic week spending time with the family, relaxing and catching up with my friends.

One thing which I really enjoyed whilst I was in the UK was buying a newspaper again -essentially to continue doing the cryptic crossword each day. Mind you I had forgotten what a pain the size of the Daily Telegraph is and I was a bit astonished at the price too! Anyway, I did enjoy reading all the little articles and columns and one which really caught my eye was a little article on tolerance…or rather the lack of it in our daily lives at the moment. It supported my outlook on this subject completely as I see more and more instances of intolerance - to fellow human beings, to opinions expressed and to anything which is a bit “different”. It seems these days that if someone does not agree with something said, or the way someone dresses, or if they have a different outlook on life, it cant be tolerated or discussed. It is just rejected …and sometimes very rudely. I really dont like this at all and unfortunately, I am seeing it more and more these days, both here in France and in the UK.

Apart from the hectic social life I experienced in the UK, our social activities here this month have been a bit limited. We went to have lunch with a couple, Steve and Cathy, who we had met on one of our cruises, and who have bought a holiday house in the Allier, one Sunday, which was nice. Steve has had a bit of a torrid time in the last few years, having had several operations and treatment for cancer of the tongue, but now seems well and is enjoying his retirement. This week, using Geoffs poorly back as an excuse, we treat ourselves to a trip to Royatonic, where we enjoyed our first swim of this year…albeit in very warm water which is not normal for us! However, it was lovely to float around in the outdoor pool in the sunshine and the steam room and bubble beds seem to have helped his lordships back too. I really love that place…but it is a bit expensive and so is only for the occasional treat. And last night we were invited to eat with some friends in the village which again, was lovely. We were thirteen at the table all people from the village and Yvette had made a lovely meal for us all. There was much laughter and discussion and we all had a really great evening. Yvette was one of the people in our commune to make us feel welcome when we first came here and it was with her help that my spoken French improved immensely. She almost made me cry last night though, when she came to talk with me quietly to say that shed heard we were selling up and how sad she would be to see us leave, and she hoped we knew that we were regarded by everyone as really belonging to the village. Another indication for me, of how lucky we were when we chose to come here to live. It really will be very hard to leave all these lovely friends behind :frowning:

And so off into April we go. I am hoping to have some guests in the gite next month if all goes to plan…in fact I need to get their contract done once I have posted this. Maybe we will have more news re the sale of the house next month too. Fingers crossed good people!

A bientot mes amis


I find it somewhat amusing that The Telegraph is talking about tolerance seeing that Boris Johnson writes for it!
Perhaps there will be more viewings now that the weather is improving, I hope so for your sake.

LOL! I am selective about what I actually read…& his column is not one of my choices! We are not in any hurry to sell the house but more viewings would be good :slight_smile:

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Have you tried donnons ? Much more environmentally friendly than taking stuff to the tip!

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Donnons? Not heard of that…but willing to learn…

this is the main site… just click on the “je fais un don”

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Thanks Stella!

Thank you ladies…i will have a look & see what we can do

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