September surprises

Looking at my notes, which I jot down as the month progresses to make sure I don’t forget anything, I notice the first word written is ”quiet”. Hmmm…that changed as the month went by then! It obviously referred to the fact that for the first time ever we have had no paying visitors in September…well until tonight when I have B&B guests due! However the month has been anything but quiet really as it turns out & lots of things have happened which have kept us well & truly on our toes.

Although we have not had any paying guests, we have had visits from both of our children. Hazel & Phil spent a night in Paris en route to us where Phil did the romantic bit by getting down on one knee, with the glittering Eiffel tower in the background, to propose! We got a phone call around 11.30pm to give us the good news & that promptly put paid to any more sleep for a while as we both got very emotional! Needless to say we are delighted for them & spent the next few days of their visit admiring the rock (sorry ring!) as Hazel’s left hand went into overdrive! We had a lovely few days with them & got out & about quite a lot including being taken out for our wedding anniversary, (36yrs...blimey!), & going to see a couple more of the Horizons art Installations over in the mountains. We also took them to the big Foire de Cournon which Geoff & I go to each year. It was good to have some different things to look at this year with them though. I was also glad that hazel was there to help me choose a new leather jacket which I’d decided to treat myself to. I never do things like that normally so I was really pleased to find one that I liked & one which fit me! We also began the first chats about “The Wedding” which we now have to plan & sort out for next year. Arrrgh…au secours!
The lovebirds left us on the Thursday & we then had to sort out the gite ready for the arrival of Matthew, Susie & Ethan on the Saturday. Again we had a wonderful time with them & really enjoyed having the chance to see Ethan’s progress. He is rolling over & smiling now…lovely to see. We were also given the chance to have him to ourselves one day for a couple of hours whilst M&S went off to have some lunch together. Quality Grandma & Pappy time :) All of the baby equipment I’d bought ready for Ethan’s visit was appreciated & now I will be able to advertise the gite as fully equipped for a baby stay :)

I have also got back into the habit of going out & about again seeing as we are “quiet”! We had a nice lunch out with some friends at the beginning of the month & the I met up with my “ladies wot lunch” friends Linda, Muta & Tottie for lunch in Chateldon, which is quite close to Linda’s house one day. Linda is doing well with her chemo treatment but gets tired quickly so being close to home allowed her to get out a bit without overdoing it. I also took myself off to Clermont Ferrand one day just for a mooch around & actually tried out the tram system for the first time! It doesn't bother me to drive into CF but I must admit the tram was fun too! Geoff & I also took the tram into CF on Saturday as I wanted to collect my new leather jacket which had been having the sleeves altered & Geoff wanted to go to an exhibition. We are finding these “days out” very agreeable  By chance we also fell upon an outdoor fashion show & we enjoyed sitting in a lovely sunny square watching the quirky creations on show! I couldn't get enthusiastic over some of them I have to admit…especially the multicoloured men’s suits. I suspect my men folk like most of the observers wouldn't be seen dead in anything like that!

One of the nicer surprises this month has been the arrival of my first UK state pension payment into our bank account. I suppose I can now refer to myself as being semi retired …although the mention of that phrase makes Geoff go white! I have to admit that despite all the stories we were told about how complicated claiming this pension would be, it has all gone very smoothly for us. It will also be nice now not having to worry quite so much when we have months with very few paying guests. Our progression with the wills though is still not complete. We thought it was all done & dusted but no…the French will needs to be re-written as the re is now a new clause to be added. Hey ho…one day…hopefully, before we kick the will be finished!

A not so nice surprise was the sudden deterioration of the health of our friend Julie’s father in law & we were very sad to read that he had died. We went along to his funeral which was held in the salle de fetes at Chameane where he had lived & farmed for many years. As the family are all practising Catholics, we were a bit surprised that the funeral mass was being conducted in the salle de fetes, but then realised the church was undergoing renovation. It was just as well though as there were literally hundreds of people there…he was a very well known & liked man who had been maire of Chameane for 36 years. The service was really nice with lots of family involvement but we found it a little strange when we went in as there was no coffin! It turned out that Jean had left his body to science & so we notched up yet anther first for us…a funeral minus a body! Jean will be a big miss for all the family & our dining experiences chez Julie & Jean Luc will not be the same without his presence.

We are now officially into autumn & although we have been experiencing a lovely “Indian Summer” here of late with very warm sunny days, the evenings are getting chillier. We have started lighting the fire now in the evening & we are seeing the leaves begin to fall from the trees. The vegetable garden is coming to an end too although I am still picking loads of raspberries – we have had bumper crops of all our fruit here this year. Sad to say (she lied!) we had to dig up the courgette plants the other day! I have B&B guests staying tonight & some gite guests at the weekend & then the diary is empty…maybe for the rest of the year now unfortunately. Its always a bit sad to say that. However, there is a silver lining…our holidays are fast approaching (15 days…& yes, I am counting down!) & I will at least have a bit more time to plan the wedding & the proposed Christmas trip to the UK. I will update you all with progress made in next months blog I suppose.

Thank you Catherine. I can`t believe i`m still writing this blog after 8+ years & still finding new things to say!

I love your blog posts Christine - they are a real snapshot into your lives xx