Resuming French Life

Bonjour a tous. As you can probably guess, we are back in France again…and are very happy to be here. We flew out on Monday and we are getting back into the swing of things here in St Aygulf. We are not entirely thrilled with the weather as yet…it’s a bit cold…but we are here for a month so there is plenty of time for it to improve. Anyway, more about this late in the post. There is a lot of March doings in Carlisle to report on first.

We started off the month by eating pancakes, like everyone else, on Shrove Tuesday. We were invited to eat with Hazel & Phil and enjoyed some savoury and sweet pancakes together. Of course Shrove Tuesday was followed by the start of Lent. Geoff has given up chocolate…and is struggling a bit! I started a Lenten challenge to try and set aside 10 minutes each day to reflect on something in quietness…but I have to confess I have not done well with it. I found it hard to fit in 10 minutes each day…what a lightweight I am. I have abandoned it completely Im afraid. Bad girl…I think giving up chocolate would have been easier – especially as I really dont eat much at all these days with this diet I`m on!

We had a nice trip down to Preston at the beginning of the month, to meet up with all the “boys” and their families (this group has grown a lot over the years) for lunch before the stalwarts all went off to the match at Deepdale. It was lovely to see everyone again especially my good friend Betty Stuart who managed to join us and it was lovely to catch up with everyone’s news. Because we had gone on the train the day before, we also had the chance to have a meal with Les and Carol on the Friday night, which was great too. Often at the actual meet up now, there are so many people, it is difficult to talk to everyone a great deal. It was nice too to have all our family there as Matthew and Ethan come every year and this year Hazel and Phil were in attendance too. When the footie lot left, Hazel and I took Xena for a walk at Southport which we all enjoyed a lot. There was also a bonus this year too,because Preston actually won the match!

We have been out and about too of course on our “date days” but not as many as usual, due to other things getting in the way. We did drive down to Coniston one day in the Lake District & had a strange lunch in the café at Brantwood. Very odd menu we thought and as it was tipping it down with rain, we didn`t get the chance to visit Brantwood as we had planned, so it was a bit of a disappointing day. Our other outings have been nearer home, with a nice lunch at Rockcliffe one day and a good walk on Allonby beach with Xena when we were dog sitting one weekend. Our passion for collecting sea glass continues, but goodness knows what we are going to do with it! We enjoyed looking after Xena again for that weekend and she seemed happy enough being with us too. No doubt she won’t be speaking to us when we get back from France though! She hates her old dad not turning up each morning for her walk and lies despondently in the hallway waiting for him most of the morning.

We had a nice day with my brother Alan, last week when he came over to Carlisle for the day. He and Geoff went around the Roman exhibition at Tullie House which they really enjoyed. I opted out of this as I got thoroughly fed up with being dragged to every local Roman site by my dad when I was young…and frankly it didn`t appeal at all! The next day we met up with our friends Linda and Mike for lunch at Upfront, one of our favourite eating places. Linda had realised that we were about to disappear for a month and so they wanted to touch base before we went.

One of the more unusual things we did this month was to volunteer to help at the Carlisle Music and Drama Festival. One of our U3A French group is the chair of this festival and she asked if we would be willing to help. We both really enjoyed the sessions we helped with…I loved the speech and drama classes and Geoff, the music ones. It transported me back many years to the days when I used to compete in all the local Festivals. I did Speech and Drama lessons for years and I won lots of prizes, certificates and trophies at the festivals. I was very pleased, and surprised to discover that some of the “open” classes had people of my age competing, and better still that these classes did not involve actually LEARNING the poem or passage by heart…you can read them :blush: I am now contemplating entering myself next year, as I have never lost my love of reading poetry aloud (I still am recording a poem each day and sharing it on Twitter after all) and I read regularly from the bible, in church too. Watch this space next year folks!

We did get to another theatre performance last weekend when we returned to the West Walls Theatre in Carlisle, with Hazel and Phil to see an Agatha Christie play. It was very good and we all enjoyed it.

I managed to celebrate Mothers Day with Hazel and Phil before we left for France which was lovely. Hazel cooked a superb lunch as always, and she had bought me a book called the Infographic Bible which is the most fantastic visual presentation of elements of the bible I have ever seen. It is fascinating and I am looking forward to studying it in detail when we get back home…it was too big and heavy to bring out here. Matthew rang to pass on his wishes too for Mothers day and he had organised with his dad to get me some beautiful flowers when we got here to the flat, so I have flowers everywhere at the moment. I `m a happy lady :blush:

And so, we now come to the French bit! Our journey out here on Monday went very smoothly as we took the train to Edinburgh and then we flew to Nice as always. We had filled in all the required documents, which of course, no one asked for again. What a waste of time all this paperwork is these days! We stayed overnight in Nice as always and then got the bus along to Frejus the next day…we like to travel at a sedate and stress-free pace these days! The flat was fine…except for a shutter which seems to have got itself stuck, and the car started first time thank goodness. We have restocked the food cupboards and all is now set for 4 weeks relaxation. It is a bit chilly at the moment which will cause us a few problems if it continues, as we have summer weight clothes here and they are not keeping us warm enough! We had to put the heating on yesterday and added the second duvet to our bed! Hopefully though it is set to change again at the weekend, so we are hoping to cope with the poor weather until then. If all else fails, it will be a quick trip to Decathlon for a couple of fleeces! So far we haven’t done a lot. We went shopping yesterday in the big Carrefour at Frejus …and as always spent a small fortune! I love that store, but there is so much temptation there …things keep leaping into my trolley! The bill was double what we spend in Aldi in Carlisle for our weeks shopping! Anyway, we are well stocked up now for a while…I hope! We have also had a visit from a very friendly electrician who seemed to think that our requests were all do-able so we are hoping to get that work done soon…well before we go back home anyway. Not sure if I will have to sell a kidney to pay for it yet, but we need to get this work done so we will have to grin and bear it. Today the sunshine is back but it is still chilly. We are off to have lunch at one of our favourite bistros just along the coast today. We have always eaten outside there on the terrace but I suspect we will be a l`interior today!

So my friends I`ll leave it there for today and you can wait in anticipation for all our April shenanigans in France. I understand some of you may have had some snow yesterday…we will be thinking of you all next week when our temperatures are set to be in the high teens and low twenties :blush:

A bientot mes amis

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