This month has been quite a sad one for us, due to the death of Geoff`s Mum. Although it was not totally unexpected, as she had been getting more & more frail & the dementia was becoming worse, the death of a parent (or parent in law) is always very hard to deal with. Fortunately, & sheerly by chance, Geoff went to the UK to visit the kids & to see his Mum the weekend she actually died. He went with Matthew & Ethan to see her in the nursing home on the Saturday afternoon, & although she clearly wasn’t well & didn’t really interact with them that day , he was very shocked when the news reached him that she had died early on the Sunday morning. They say God works in mysterious ways ,but it was almost as if she had been waiting for him to visit her for the last time before finally giving in. In any case, Geoff was very relieved that he had had the opportunity to see her that last time & that thought has helped him immensely over the last couple of weeks. He flew back home as planned the next day, as he had work commitments & the funeral couldn’t be sorted for over a week anyway. We spent the following week sorting out flights back to the UK & care for the animals etc so that we could both return for the funeral. As always it was not easy…we live in a wonderful part of France but getting back to the UK from here without breaking the bank is never easy! However we did eventually get everything sorted, & we flew back last week for the funeral. It was a time of mixed emotions really. We stayed with our son & so had the chance to see & play with our grandson again & had a lovely family day together with our daughter the day after the funeral too…all bonuses for us. The funeral itself went off very well & although we were all very sad, I think we gave Mum a good send off…& one she would have approved of. She always saw funerals as a time for a good meet up with people you don’t see very often, & the chance to talk over a good meal afterwards…& so we went along with tradition for her. She was so right about meeting up with people you haven’t seen for a long time. It was good to see cousins,an old uncle of Geoff’s & some friends again. I really enjoyed chatting to one such friend, who is actually the mother of one of Geoff’s school friends & was really thrilled when she said how much she enjoys reading this blog each month! So if you are reading this now Betty, it was lovely to see you & I loved catching up with all your adventures in person
The day after the funeral, we went as a family(Matthew, Hazel, Ethan & us) to Lytham, a place that Geoff``s mum loved to have a drive out to. We ate fish & chips, walked along the promenade, & had huge ice creams…all things she liked to do . It was a good way to celebrate her life. We flew back home the following day, sad but content that things are finally at a close for her & she is at last at peace.
And so …life goes on. Geoff has been mega busy trying to fit in extra lessons to make up for those he missed whilst in the UK. This has been good for him…it keeps his mind occupied & stops him brooding too much. We have had some B&B guests too this month but not too many. Business is definitely winding down now. We have welcomed back a couple who are rapidly becoming one of our most frequent visitors, as they stop off here en route to & from their house in Spain. They have actually just left this morning as they travel back to the UK today. We all get on really well & so it is now just like having friends to stay. We also had a full house one weekend which is very unusual for September…but nice The night we returned here, we had B&Bs too. They were the son & daughter in law of some friends who live in the next village, & we had left a key with them for the couple to let themselves in as we weren’t due home until late! And again due to another friends recommendation we have probably our last B&Bs for a while staying with us tonight, so not a bad month really business wise. Plus of course we still have our young couple staying in the gite. That is all working out very well & they were a godsend for us when we went to the UK as they looked after the animals for us. September has also been a very expensive month with one thing & another so this money coming in has helped immensely.
Part of the reason for September being such an expensive month was that we have been having fun & games with our car yet again. This time it was our trusty old Ford car…which really is past its sell by date now. Unfortunately we are caught between the devil & the deep blue sea as we don`t have the cash to change the car just now, but it is beginning to cost us quite a lot of money to keep it going. Classic catch 22 situation. We have known for quite a while now that the catalytic converter was not working 100% but had hoped that it might just scrape through its CT (control technique – the French equivalent of the MOT) …but no. The emissions were just above the levels required, so it failed. I do have to wonder how some of the old cars & vans which pump out obnoxious smelly fumes that we see frequently round here, ever get through these CTs mind you! Anyway we forked out quite a bit to change the part & happily it has now passed the CT & is legal again! Phew…and so we put off the inevitable yet again…for a while anyway.
As if all this was not enough, we received our Taxe Fonciere demand last week, the water bill & on the same day we had to pay the balance for our holiday too. It never rains but it pours as they say! The holiday is very necessary though especially after all the trials & tribulations of this month & we are really in count down mode now – only 27 days to go
We haven’t had much time or been in the mood to do a lot of socialising this month. We normally look forward to our annual trip to the big Foire(a mix of Ideal homes, Good Food show & Car show) at Cournon but as this was the week after Mum’s death, we just didn’t feel like going. We did go out for a meal to celebrate our wedding anniversary though. We went to one of our favourite places , the Auberge de Margot at Usson where we ate really well as per usual. We had to laugh as we were telling Sophie (the owner) why we were there & she asked how many years we had been married. We told her 38…& she said a very naughty French word in amazement! She obviously thought this was a great achievement!
And so September & all its sadness is past. It is becoming very autumnal now, the days are still quite warm but the mornings & evenings are distinctly chilly. Our big old lime tree is changing colour rapidly & the it gets dark quickly in the evenings now. We have also just had the chimney swept & that is definitely a sign that autumn is here! Geoff has been agitating for a few days now to light the fire in the evening but I have managed to get him to October & that is good! For most folks October is truly autumn…but for us its when we go on our “summer” holiday! Bring it on! I’ll tell you all about it in the next blog post
A bientot mes amis