Wednesday, 11 November 2015

À bientôt, au revoir but not adieu...

(Photographs will be re-sized)

Last few days...

The overwhelming memory of the last couple of weeks has been of fantastic weather. Sunny, bright and warm. We've been able to prepare the garden for winter and in all will have taken 27 of the very large (1 tonne) builders bags full of garden waste to the déchèterie! Hedges have been trimmed, shrubs cut back, fruit trees pruned and mountains of leaves raked and bagged.

On Sunday we took some time out for a walk around Le Grand Pressigny...

We've also hosted our annual curry evening for around thirty neighbours and friends. It marks the end of our year at Le Pré Vert and helps us to use up food from our fridge and freezer and beers (and wines) from our cellar. Of course we are helped by friends who bring delicious desserts, nibbles, naan and cheeses, not to mention wines and gifts. Thanks to support and help from friends the evening runs smoothly; aperitifs are handed out, plates collected, dishwashers stacked, and special thanks to Elizabeth and Jean for this, and for coming early to make sure we were ready. This year I even managed to get the quantities of rice and Bombay potato about right - last years mountain would have fed a hungry army!! Unfortunately I didn't manage to take any photographs of the evening or food which are worth posting. Next year Simon has promised to bring a 'man's curry'. Watch have been warned!!

The following evening found us at the trough again at a Fondue Savoyard at Le Bon Coin. Our table of 17 was an eclectic mix of French, Dutch and Brits. Again good food, wines and conversation flowed.

So, I'm signing off at Le Pré Vert until 2016, although hopefully, between now and then, I'll sign in from wherever our travels take us...

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween 2015...

The day started with a trip to the market at Le Blanc. The weather was wonderful; bright, sunny and warm. In fact, as we ate lunch in the outside seating area of a cafe we had to ask for the sun parasol to be opened, to give us some relief from the heat of the sun - not something you often have to do on the last day of October!

Tim had been busy carving the 2015 pumpkin.

We arrived home from Le Blanc just in time to light the candles in the pumpkin and prepare the bonbon stash ready for the village children to visit, dressed in their Halloween costumes. They were very sweet and all thanked us in English!

Today was also a day to remember for a special group of people. Congratulations to the New Zealand All Blacks for winning the Rugby World Cup. The experts say that this current team is the very best rugby team of all time. With their record of only three losses in the last four years it is hard to argue with their verdict. Well done to their opponents Australia for making it a final to remember. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

New in Le Petit-Pressigny…

We were excited to find a wonderful, new, 5* hotel in LPP, and it is just what the village needs.






We love it, but hope that it works well for its special inhabitants…

Friday, 9 October 2015

Another trip around the sun...

** Problems getting Windows Livewriter to work with Windows 10. Is anyone else having this problem?**

On Thursday I completed yet another trip around the sun, which makes it 59 so far. This year's journey has been amazing, so I'm hoping the next trip will be the same, and with Rhiannon and Stuart's wedding coming up how can it not be! For the first time in many years I wasn’t able to spend my birthday with any family members, so we celebrated my birthday and Tom’s going back to Uni with a meal last week. 

I am in France, and they are all in the UK, busy with work and university. Of course, with the help of technology I was able to communicate with them, and friends via a mixture of Facetime, Skype, email, text and Facebook. I received some lovely cards and gifts and was invited to a delicious lunch by Colin and Elizabeth. They had made some fabulous apple roses, which I'm sure they will blog about at some stage, and celebrated with a glass of sparkles, 

Having a bit more time on my hands I did some research. If I were to believe in astrology, (and I don’t!) I discovered that these are some of the characteristics of a person born on the 8th of October…

·        placid, well mannered with a strong belief in equality, fairness and justice.
·        persuasive with diplomatic temperament.
·        good at negotiating as well as avoiding arguments.
·        naturally shrewd, farsighted and witty.
·        great at organising.
·        not neat and tidy.
·        loyal, affectionate and creative.
·        skilled with the use of words.
·        levelheaded with sound judgement.
·        usually not afraid to tactfully speak their mind.
·        charming and curious.
·        sensitive and on occasion a little detached.  
·        tendency to sometimes overspend with an impulse buy.
·        a bit too aware of what others around you may think.
·        feelings can occasionally run hot and cold.
·        occasional difficulty in dealing with stress.
·        worries affect confidence.
·        patience and  attention to detail.
·        to be tolerant and calm when necessary.
·        pleasant impartiality, dependability and persuasiveness accentuate the power to negotiate and make progress.
·       sense of humour and fluent communication let you get along with everyone regardless of surrounding circumstances.
·        main strengths are imagination and capable creativity, shrewdness, fairness, and a tactful even temper help keep a clear level head.
·        main weaknesses focus on the coolness of your responses and an increase in your untidiness, obstinate or bossy manner.

I see myself in a few and would like to see myself in others. Some are uncomfortable, and others, frankly laughable!! Others, like a complete inability to make up my mind, don't appear on the list! My friend Janet was born on the same day. Although, as she would no doubt point out, she is four years younger. I see Jan in quite a few of the positive traits.

I’ll let you decide which are which…

Friday, 4 September 2015

The return of the prodigal son...

After two long (for me, at least) years the prodigal son has returned home, and whilst we haven't quite killed the fatted calf, we are very pleased to see him! 

Rhiannon and her fiancé Stuart are also excited to have him home as he has a very important role to play at their wedding, with 'play' being the operative word!

Taken before Tom went to Japan...

He has left behind some amazing people and places, but has brought back wonderful memories. A lot of these memories involve the fantastic children he has taught, ranging in ages from 5-14. He won't miss a few aspects of Japanese life, but his experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. He came back armed with boxes of gifts, letters and good wishes. He was very nearly undone when some of his students and their parents turned up at Kagoshima airport to say a final goodbye, which proved to be very emotional, especially when they gathered round to sing the school song to him just before he went through security. I think a tear or two was shed, but I would be more worried if he hadn't immersed himself into his Japanese life to the extent that leaving was such a wrench.

Just a few of the mementos ...

At the minute the jury is out on whether he would rather be here or back in Japan - he is suffering from culture shock, perhaps a bigger one than when he first arrived in Japan!

This photograph taken by Matt, an American teacher who is Tom's replacement, is symbolic. Whilst he isn't exactly riding away into the sunset, he is making a significant change of direction.

Tom won't be with us for long, as in October he begins his studies at Oxford for a MSc in Comparative International Education (your guess is as good as mine!), which will open up a whole new set of experiences ...

Thursday, 6 August 2015

August 6th 1945 at 8.15…

I make no apology for reposting a post from April when we visited Hiroshima. Today we remember the bomb which devastated Hiroshima seventy years ago, but for the victims, survivors and their families they re-live this day, every day. Sadly, in wars attrocities are committed by all sides and certainly millions of people suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of the Japanese army. However, this was a most terrible price for the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to pay, and I can’t help but wonder whether things could have been done differently to achieve the surrender of Japan, which was being negotiated.

Our day started with a trip into the city, mostly rebuilt after 1945, where the Sakura (cherry blossom) was beginning to come into full bloom.



We began with the castle, which was devastated in the nuclear bombing. One tower was rebuilt in the 1950’s.


Words cannot adequately describe the feeling of visiting the A-Bomb Dome, Peace Park and Museum, so I’ll let a few of our photographs speak for us. The testimony of the survivors was very moving.

The dome is in the process of being surveyed…





Part of a beautiful cylindrical mosaic inside the memorial. Each tile of the mosaic represents a person who died in the aftermath of the bombing.




A young girl who developed leukaemia following the bombing believed the story that if you  were to fold a thousand paper cranes your wish would come true. As she struggled with her illness she folded over fifteen hundred. Sadly her wish didn’t come true and they were given out at her funeral. They have now become a symbol of peace and every person entering the Memorial is given a tiny paper crane.


It didn’t seem right to take any photographs inside the museum. The reconstuctions reminded me of Oradour sur Glane.


From the BBC

From CNN...

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Done or DONE…

It was the Paulmy brocante today, in beautiful surroundings around the plan d’eau.


We managed to pick up some glasses (25!) for Rhiannon’s wedding…


Another set of portes couverts…




and these hideous dishes…


Now this is where I was done! Not done in the sense of sealing the deal, but DONE. Usually I get the deal I am happy with for the object I really would like to have or I walk away. Today none of these things happened! I paid an over the odds 10 Euros for dishes I don’t even like very much, half of which are chipped and touched up with gold paint. DONE!!!

If you subscribe to the ‘some you win, some you lose’ idea then last weeks enormous brocante at Le Celle Guenand was a triumph.


I picked up this fine Kaiser china tea set for 20 Euros – which only serves to underline today’s mistake.

Oh well, c’est la vie…

P.S. Would anyone like to buy some gorgeous, much sought after, rare dishes for the bargain price of 12 Euros???