Marching into Easter

Happy Easter …Joyeux Paques …to you all. We realised today that this is the first time in many years that we have been in the UK for Easter Day, as we are normally in France. It was really nice this morning to go to our own church here to celebrate, sing some rousing Easter hymns, and help to decorate the beautiful symbolic floral cross which will now be placed outside the church for all to see. It is nice too to eat a bit of chocolate…although I am missing all the wonderful chocolate creations we used to get in France. Not many tortoises or fish here!

Normally I comment on how quickly February goes by but this year this comment has definitely applied much more to March. I know it’s a sign of getting older but frankly, this month has flown by. Maybe it’s the thought that we are off back to France again in a week’s time…who knows?? We have been fairly busy this month but in a strangely low-key way … for us anyway. There have been some things which have made us think and some things to celebrate too.

We started the month off by being very pleased to receive a photo from our old neighbours back in Chabanol which showed the new street name plaque for the little road up to our old house. As most of you (especially those of you in France) will know, all streets in even the smallest villages and hamlets in the countryside now have to have a street name. We were thrilled that they have named our little road “Impasse des Hirondelles”, Les Hirondelles being the name we gave to our house and B and B business when we first started our lives in France. What an honour that our legacy still lives on

The next weekend saw us travelling down the M6 (my favourite motorway…not!) to Preston to meet up with all the gang at the Fleece for lunch, prior to Geoff’s old school friends going off to Deepdale for the Preston North End match. This year our family attendees were a bit depleted as both Hazel and Matthew had double booked the date and had other things to do. However, it was good to see all our friends…especially Betty who still loves to come and see everyone. Betty will celebrate her 100th birthday in July and it is always great to see her looking so well too After lunch, as the guys and gals who were going to the match departed, I drove off to Southport for a reunion of my own with a long-awaited meet up with a friend from my childhood. When I was about 7 years old, my parents started to take a holiday in a farmhouse (bed, breakfast and evening meal!) near Castle Douglas and we returned there every year for many years, as we all got on so well with John, Jessie and the girls who lived there. My brothers made friends with the older girls and I struck up a friendship with Jennifer, the youngest. We have kept in touch off and on for all these years but actually meeting up in person has been a long time coming. However, since Jennifer now lives in Southport, I thought it was time to rectify this and we spent a great afternoon chatting and reminiscing, until it was time to head back to Preston to collect Geoff and drive home. I think this might be a regular meet up in the future now when the boys go to the match


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I had a nice Mother’s Day and was really pleased to get some good gifts and cards from the kids…not to mention being treated to dinner at Hazel’s in the evening. Matthew had bought me a jigsaw board, as I had really enjoyed doing some of Susie’s jigsaw the last time we were at their house. I have always loved doing jigsaws, but had given all of mine away as our flat here is very dark and it was very inconvenient having to use our dining table to do them. However, this board makes all things possible again…so it was off to the charity shop the next day to re-stock! And since then, jigsaw solving has begun to take over my life again! Great fun though

One of the big events this month was my participation in the Carlisle and District Music and Drama festival again. I had started with a very nasty cold over the weekend before the night my classes were due, so I was a little worried my voice might not last out, but all was OK on the night and I won all the poetry and bible reading classes I had entered, so I was very pleased. I was also awarded a prestigious trophy for best overall performance in those classes too which was very humbling. I have found places for all the trophies but am not looking forward to having to get them all engraved! It will cost me a fortune!

We have also continued to lunch out each Wednesday as usual. We had a very wet visit to the Lakes one day and sat watching the torrential rain come down in the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere while we ate lunch! We had a very nice lunch in Jacks Surf Bar at Allonby one week too…although our wait for our food was a little long as it turned out that the poor chef had dropped Geoff’s carefully prepared dish as he took it out of the oven and had had to start all over again! These things happen, don’t they? That day we also enjoyed a nice walk on the beach…but were not as impressed by the grey sea of the Solway as we are by the blue sea of the Med! We also enjoyed a nice lunch with our friends Mike and Linda at Hidden River where we caught up with all their news from their latest trip to Australia. Linda and I are really missing our swimming sessions and chats now, but our schedules are just not coinciding much at the moment.

We have been doing a bit of dog sitting too, for Hazel and Phil, as they have been going down to Somerset a bit more than usual due to Phil fulfilling his duties as Best Man at a friend’s wedding. Geoff is missing all the dog walks just now as Xena has gone off on her holidays with them for a fortnight. He is still going out for a walk…but says it is not the same, sans dog!

Last Monday, Geoff and I drove across to Durham for the night, where we met up with two of my friends who, many years ago, I did my midwifery training with in Edinburgh. I do see Rose quite a bit but I haven’t seen Madeleine for a very long time. She lives in London and is heavily involved in promoting and working as a volunteer for The English Touring Opera and as they were performing in Durham that night, she had invited us all to go to the opera with her…and also of course spend some time together. I have to say at this point that I really do not like opera, but as Madeleine was paying for the tickets. it would have been churlish not to go! Geoff was very excited as he DOES like opera! Meeting up with the ladies was great…but the opera was not! I hated every minute! However it was an experience….I shall say no more! Although the meetup was brief, it was lovely to see Rose and Madeleine again and also great to be back in Durham, a place I love and have many memories of visiting both as a child and as an adult. I am the daughter of a Durham coal miner after all!

One of the other things we have turned our attentions to this month, is sorting out and updating our wills as the ones we have, do not reflect our changed circumstances now. We now reside full time in the UK and have grandchildren…big changes since we drew up the wills originally. We have more or less sorted things out now, but there are things to re-check with a notaire when we are back in France. We do have a “sort of” French will which was drawn up when we lived full time in France, but again that needs looking at again now, so that we cover our French property etc. There is nothing more sobering than drawing up a will is there? It’s a clear sign of our mortality and has made us really think hard about the fact that we are getting older! Lots of food for thought there!

We ended the month with a lovely day yesterday meeting up with our son Matthew, Susie, Ethan and Hadley. We went to Penrith to do a bit of shopping, have some lunch and then we went to Brougham Castle and Brougham Hall for a look around and have coffee…and cake too of course! We had never visited either of these places before and we really enjoyed them both. I think we will be going back!


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So, my friends, on that happy note I will close for now. We are off to our lovely bolthole in St Aygulf next week for a month, so I have lots to do before we go. Geoff has been busy sorting out visits from the agency who look after our flat building and our insurers following the little leak from the roof that we had, when we were there last; and booking the car in for a service etc, so it looks like we might be busy, but I’m sure there will be lots of time to relax too as always. We are also hoping to see some friends from our Auvergne days too which will be lovely. So, until next time….

A bientot mes amis…


I don’t wish to appear rude but I can’t help noticing that this item does not seem to attract many, if any, reactions. Yet a considerable amount of effort goes into writing it. I find this curious.


Hi. The reactions & comments vary so much each month! I never know why either! I do get more comments on both Facebook & Twitter where I promote the blog & curiously the reader numbers have gone up recently on both this site & Wordpress where it is also published. I have often thought of stopping writing it but so many of the “regulars” still really enjoy it & always say how much they look forward to reading it…so I continue. I do also enjoy writing it too each month. But the lack of interactions is sometimes a puzzle to me too!

Well I just looked but skimmed it as it seems like a personal diary entry and not of much interest to me. Interesting maybe, but only for those who want to know the detail of what other people get up to. A bit like those Christmas newsletters that one gets from apparently happy families.
Please don’t misunderstand me as I don’t want to be rude but it’s not the sort of thing that I personally look for on this type of forum. I don’t know what others think but maybe the lack of response is the answer.

Hi Christine

I enjoy wandering through your blog… it’s a gentle stroll.

and, depending on where you’ve visited… you awaken my own happy memories and I always end up smiling.


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Not northners Christine.

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Nor us… but we were adventurous at holiday times… so many memories :slight_smile:

One year Dad rented a cottage at Whittington , quite by chance… and that was it… we were hooked… often used it as a base/starting point… to go further and further afield… right up to Hadrian’s Wall and beyond…


Ah…each to their own. But at least you tried it :slight_smile:

Thats my home country! Next month will be mostly about France :slight_smile:

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