July has been a bit of a mixed fortunes month for us. We have still been quite busy - Geoff with his teaching & document revision & me with guests as usual. But there have been lots of trials & tribulations too. Life is never straight forward here, is it?
We have had another lot of very interesting B&B guests this month starting with Pascal who was making a mega trip from near Amiens to Montpellier on his bike! It was obviously something he
d wanted to do for a very long time & despite several minor setbacks, he was enjoying the experience very much. He gave us the link to the blog he was writing & so we have enjoyed following his trip too. He made it- despite falling off his bike a couple of times & hurting his knee quite badly! Quite an achievement. Pascal was followed by a Parisian couple, who loved our house & garden & then a Belgian family. We also had a young man who was setting off on holiday with his friends He had never stayed in a B&B before. I got a bit annoyed as he was very late in coming for breakfast. He emerged from his room eventually having thought the tea & coffee in there was his breakfast! He soon made up for his mistake though when he saw the spread which was his real breakfast! His friends had to wait for him for a while, as he filled up! We have also had two lovely Belgian ladies who came as a last-minute reservation via Air B&B. We dont get many of those (we are a bit too expensive for Air B&B really) but they were delighted by their room, the fact that they could use our garden to eat in & by the breakfast the next day. They left us a lovely review on the site so maybe we will get more Air B&B clients after that. Unfortunately, we also had some unwelcome “guests” in the form of a swarm of flying ants who arrived twice (always when we have had guests due of course) in the window of our family room, resulting in our having to move the guests to the other room, or the gite for the night. Happily, on both occasions the other rooms have been vacant so apart from a bit of inconvenience, neither sets of guests were troubled too much. Ant invasions are, of course, things I can little about, but which I can do without! These things are sent to try us indeed! At the moment, we have a nice Belgian family in the gite, who are here for a fortnight. The two young girls love Xena & so she is being spoiled to death. She will take it very badly when they go home!
I am pleased to report that we have been “spoiling” ourselves a bit this month. We have been needing a new bed for ages now but as usual my dearly beloved has been avoiding the issue for ages too…after all beds cost money don
t they? However, he eventually gave in this month & so we went off to explore the minefield which is bed buying in France, where you have to buy all the bits (bedframe, headboard, base, mattress & even feet in some cases), separately. We eventually found what we wanted in IKEA & soon had all the bits delivered to our bedroom. Although there were lots of bits (this was an IKEA bed remember) the instructions were good & we soon got it assembled. Luckily, we have a very big bedroom, as we then had to leave the mattress to expand for 72 hours! Not all bedrooms could accommodate 2 double beds after all! Eventually, we took our old bed to bits & got it to the tip. So now we have a very swanky, comfy new bed which is lovely. It also has a very romantic addition of a mosquito net as I was getting really fed up with this continuing plague of flies we have here at the moment. Flies & all other winged insects always go for me & I decided Id had enough of being woken up early in the morning by them landing on me! So, although we don`t really have mozzies, I now have a great fly free zone in my bed which is fantastic & I love it
The other thing which was a bit of a disaster this month was the death of my beloved old Hotpoint washing machine. I have been dreading it dying on me for ages, as its been such a trusty old workhorse & it did everything I have asked of it for many years. Of course, I can
t be without a washer here, & we had guests due the next night, so we had to go & replace it as quickly as possible. My head was reeling as we looked at all these shiny new machines -it has been a very long time since wed looked at washers & boy have there been improvements! Eventually we chose a Seimens model…mainly because it had a good capacity, a short programme (essential for B&B bedlinen), a good spin speed & also because we could load it into the car there & then! So far, so good with it…I am a happy bunny
We have decided to do our summer “date days” again this year. As we are often busy with the B&B at the weekends we are going to take Wednesdays off & go out for the day. This makes us explore the region a bit more, gets us away from the computer (ie makes Geoff stop working!) & means that we have a nice lunch out & maybe a swim somewhere different each week. So far, we have had a nice day at Culnhat where we visited the market, ate in a restaurant overlooking the lake & then had a nice swim. Last week we went to Brioude to wander round the big watercolour exhibition they put on there every 2 years. There are lots of international artists who exhibit throughout the town & I love the event. It is always great to see such a variety of subjects & techniques & I always come away with new ideas for my own paintings. Last Wednesday we missed out as I was flying back to the UK for a family wedding but we hope to continue these days throughout the summer.
We have also been enjoying watching the Tour de France along with most of our friends here. This year was very good, with another win for Froomie but we were also watching the progress of our local boy Romain Bardet who comes from Brioude. We also loved seeing the tour go through the Dordogne areas we used to visit with our children on camping holidays. It was great to see the cyclists go through La Roque Gageac & past our son
s two favourite castles, Beynac & Castelnaud. Happy memories 😊 I spent another frustrating Wimbledon fortnight having to listen to the tennis via Radio Wimbledon on the computer which is not the same as watching it by any means! However, I did get to see the mens final, thanks to my friend Julie, who has BBC TV & who let me sit in splendid isolation in her living room for the afternoon. I was very happy to see my favourite, Roger Federer win, even though the actual match wasn
t that good in the end. It so frustrates me that there is never even a mention of the tournament on French TV ☹ Another “sportive” event this month was our daughter & son in laws skydive, which they did for charity in Cumbria. I spent a bit of an anxious day hoping they would be OK, but that was nothing compared with poor Phils day, as he was terrified & poor lad, had to hang around from 8am until 5pm before the skies cleared enough for them to jump! Apparently, his face was a picture as he eventually left the plane! I am proud of them both as I would not do that for all the tea in China!
We haven`t done much socialising this month but we did enjoy going to a friend’s 60th birthday party which was held in the shade of their huge walnut tree, in their garden. And last weekend saw us eating lunch here with our friends Linda & Mike on what might well be their final visit before they go back to the UK. Things are beginning to sort themselves out for them in the UK at last, even though they are going to have to evict their tenants to get their house back. We will miss them when they go.
Last week I went over to the UK, mainly to go to my niece Clare
s wedding but also to see the family & spend a bit of time with my grandchildren of course. I flew over via Schiphol this time (Clermont Ferrand to Schiphol & then on to Manchester) Schiphol was a good experience, no changing of terminals & all very easy. Much easier than the Charles de Gaulle route coming back! Waiting for 4 hours in terminal 2G at CdeG is not my favourite way to spend time really! I had a really good time…hectic as usual ..but I managed to cram in seeing some friends as well as the family, which was nice. I also had my eyes tested & ordered new glasses which will be a treat when they arrive as my old ones are not good now. The wedding was lovely & it was great to see all my brothers, cousins & extended family again. Hazel came with me in lieu of Geoff, who was left holding the fort chez nous & looking after the gite & B&B guests. We all had a really good day…& the bride (who looked beautiful) & groom were even blessed with the appearance of a full rainbow during the afternoon. How lucky was that? It was also good to spend some time with Hazel & Phil - & to see their sky dive videos…& yes, Phil did look terrified! The train journey back to Manchester was “fun” due to the presence of a huge group of obnoxious adolescents who charged up & down the train sitting in any vacant seat to “chat” to fellow travellers & act big! I was slightly amused to be called “babe” by one of them…I almost pointed out I was old enough to be his Grandma, but resisted! Long time since I was called babe! Then I got some time to play Grandma for real with Ethan & Hadley which was wonderful. It is one of the downsides to living so far away that we dont get much time together, but I made the most of it, sending Mummy & Daddy for a rare night out, so I could babysit. Great Saying goodbye on Sunday morning was as difficult as ever but we will all be together again in September when we have a few days in Venice as a family. Can`t wait!
And so, its goodbye to July & hello to August now. It is going to be another busy month for both of us I think with lots of gite & B&B work for me & still a bit of teaching & document revision work for Geoff. Hopefully we will have some good weather & can take some breaks along the way
A bientot mes amis