Sunday, 19 October 2014


Long time, no see (or read). I don’t understand where the time is going, but I’m certainly not finding the extra hours in the day that retirement promised! Perhaps it’s because my day lacks the structure that it once had? One thing I know is that the unstructured fiddling on my computer and tablet has to stop! I’m going to have to set myself the kind of limits one gives to a child about playing computer games!

We are having a very nice spell of weather. Would you believe the temperature on the terrace yesterday?


The thermometer wasn’t even in direct sunlight! The sun shone all day and promises to do the same today.



Views from another terrace, at the Presbytery in Loches.



Autumn pics taken near Leek, on a flying visit back to Staffordshire. Maybe there will be more about this another time…

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Makes it all worthwhile…

An email from my daughter this morning gave me a good feeling…

“Your name precedes me again!! I went to a CP conference yesterday and the health visitor recognised my name! She said she was the mum of ****, and how upset she was that you had retired before her daughter finished school. She said to tell you that **** is taking all Sciences and Maths at A Level and she thinks he got his love of science from you!! “:) 

Now **** is a very bright lad, and I think that whether or not I had taught him for three years he would have become an excellent scientist, BUT I truly hope that amongst all the scientific concepts and skills he learned that I had a very small part to play in teaching him to love Science.

Those were the days! Look carefully and you might just spot a fleeting glimpse or two of me…





Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Brocante discipline, you either have it or you don’t…

We called in to the brocante at Angles-sur-l’Anglin on Sunday. There were the usual stalls, although not as many as there are for the April event.


Tim was sorely tempted, but didn’t buy this…



However, he is carrying my 4 Euros spend. A beautiful hand painted plate, being sold by a British couple who were selling up and going home, after seven years living near Neons-sur-Creuse. Good luck to them. I shall be very pleased to find a home for their plate.


The weather was certainly more autumnal. Misty and cooler with some of the trees definitely on the turn.


Autumn has arrived in the Touraine!


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Worth a listen…

There are some things you wish you’d thought to say, or perhaps wish that someone had said to you.

Bravo,Tim Minchin. Stick with it. Inspirational!

tim minchin

Friday, 12 September 2014

So far, so good. Retirement, that is…


I started to write this post on September 1st. It began…

Yesterday a few of our friends and neighbours came to help us celebrate our joint journey into the unknown. We were showered with so many generous gifts which we weren’t expecting, wines, flowers and delicious contributions for the table. We are very fortunate to have landed ourselves amongst such warm, friendly people, in fact they are very much like the friends we’ve left behind in Staffordshire…



John, an ex-colleague of Tim’s, and a very good friend wrote a poem to mark the occasion and recall the past 28 years!


The more observant amongst you will already have clocked that today is September 12th. I finally got round to finishing the post!!

BTW A very happy 60th birthday to my good friend Corrie. She wears her years well!!



Corrie is the second from the right. I’m standing next to her, with the tinsel wellies and bin bag… not the one in blue!!



Corrie, again second from the right!

Since my last post

Liz and Jim have come and gone. We enjoyed a very good meal with them, and our friends John and Maureen, at the Savoie Villars in Le Grand Pressigny, followed by a fantastic Jazz Manouche concert at Le Chatelier by an accomplished group of musicians called Caragoss.



You can check them out on this Youtube link.

The last meeting of the Loire valley CCC was held in Braye-sous-Faye at the lovely home of friends Colin and Elizabeth.


A splendid array of delicious cakes.


The theme was a summer picnic and I decided that my theme would be elderflower cordial. Foolishly I picked a recipe I hadn’t tried before which proved to be a disaster, both in the cake and the frosting. They tasted fine, but the look was abysmal. Following a slight tantrum (mine not his!), Tim offered to help put the frosting on the cake. I think he thought that if you can plaster a wall you can frost a cake – wrong! The wall doesn’t usually come off in the plaster. One glance at him up to his neck in frosting, trying to smear it on with his hands made me reach for the mixer and try again. This time I made my tried and tested coconut and almond cake (sans frosting) with elderflower cordial drizzled on, which was so much better. What was left of the overly runny elderflower frosting was taken as an accompaniment. It transpired that I wasn’t the only one to have had a problem. However, I have decided that from now on whatever my chosen cake turns out like I shall take it along anyway!

The original cake was eaten (and enjoyed, or so they say) by our very good friends Steve and Anne. Our lives have been intertwined since Tim met them when they were all undergraduates at Loughborough. They were an immense help with our preparations for the retirement party.


Bill, Ben and Little Weed, or perhaps a rose between two thorns?

Whilst they were here we proudly took them to Rivau, one of our favourite chateaux. It is enchanting. In fact we suggest it as a visit to all of our guests.



Anne was soaked by an errant sprinkler from the automatic watering system. She was not amused, and Stephen should know better than to laugh!!



A few more Flowerpot Men!

Tim went for a day trip to Loches and Montresor with Claudette. Claudette is the car!!


Sue and Dave arrived for a couple of days as part of their holiday. We had a lovely time eating, drinking and generally being merry! Sue and I worked together for about 25 years and we are hoping that soon Dave will be joining us in splendid retirement! We take nearly all of our visitors to Angles sur l’Anglin, and Sue and Dave were no exception. Our journey was via the brocante at La Guerche.


Why oh why didn’t I think to keep all my old perfume bottles AND sell them?



480 Euros for the snake skin. Who goes to a brocante with that sort of money?




Colin and Elizabeth got married, which you can read about here. I think you’ll agree that the bride looks beautiful and that Colin is a very lucky man. To be fair, it must be said that Colin scrubs up well,too! I think Elizabeth also knows how fortunate she is. Congratulations to the happy couple.

That brings us nearly up to date. Yesterday we drove to Perrusson, near Loches, in our first foray into the workings of Le Bon Coin. We needed a tall larder fridge (to chill our drinks!) and we picked up a nearly new one. A quick clean and it’s already in use. 100 Euros well spent and a real bargain!

Besides all of this we’ve been gardening, walking and cycling, reading, sitting in the shade and generally trying to fill our time constructively. Tim has managed this very well, but I must admit to feeling less motivated. The store (a sun blind) now works by remote control with a little anemometer to wind it in automatically if the wind exceeds a set limit. There would be a photograph, but the camera is out of battery charge!

Until about ten years ago we used to cycle more, especially on holiday. Owning an apartment in the Alps took all the enjoyment out of the bicycle. I’ve always thought that Holland would be the perfect place to cycle, although we did once find what could be classed as a small hill, somewhere near Arnhem! So far we’ve ventured along the river valley (see any resemblance to Holland?) to Charnizay and to Le Grand Pressigny. Both have small bars where a reviving drink can be purchased.

I apologise that this post has become little more than an on-line diary, but I’ve promised so many of my friends back in the UK a catch up email and this will be it! I hope it finds them all happy and well, even if they are suffering the stresses of the day job. If you think work is tiring you should try retirement!!!


That’s all for now.

If the internet starts to work again this might just post! We really are well and truly fed up of the flaky connection. Orange will send someone out for between 80 and 159 Euros, as they can tell from a phone call that the problem is ours and not theirs! I wish I could be so sure…

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

TW3 (3)…

The last week has certainly been the week that was. All is quiet here now, possibly a bit too quiet, but it does give us time to remind ourselves of some of the wonderful memories from a week which ended with as big a surprise as it started with!

It was fantastic time to spend together. I know you’ll forgive me if the essence of the week is best captured with a few photographs.







Tim, admiring the intricacies of the spiral staircase…


A glimpse of Le Grand-Pressigny dressed up in it’s finery for the Comice Agricole. We didn’t get to the parade, but you can read more about it here and here


All together again…


The book fair at Angles-sur-l’Anglin. Rhiannon was buying hard backed books with decorative covers for a new crafting hobby. For the evidence, see the photograph at the end




Having a very British cream tea with beautiful china and some of the best Earl Grey tea I’ve ever had…


Extra helpers to put up the store. We almost didn’t manage it!




At the Zooparc du Beauval. Can you spot the famous inhabitant? This is the best Zoo I’ve ever been to and well worth a visit if ever you are in the area.


A close up…


A drink with friends…


Tim and Tom…



Tom getting an opportunity to play a good guitar again. He has been teaching Tim some of the songs from the soundtrack to the film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. If you like music you must watch this film. We downloaded it from i-Tunes, but will be buying it to watch again, and again.

Click here for a clip from YouTube. You won’t be disappointed!


Brother and sister…


Dressed up for an evening at La Promenade. Tom must have packed with expectations of a visit to Cuisinier Dallais, as he’d brought decent trousers, shoes and a shirt!



Only a few pics of the fantastic food we were treated to. Again it was a gastronomic extravaganza, lasting nearly four hours.





On our way home Rhiannon and Stuart went to take one last look at the floodlit church and bridge near the Maire. They arrived home with the second surprise of the week… AN ENGAGEMENT!! CONGRATULATIONS TO RHIANNON AND STUART!!




Celebrating with some pink sparkles…




Hugs and tearful goodbyes over, the car wouldn’t start. Dad to the rescue with the jump leads and a lecture on how to use them safely…


Waiting for the TGV at St Pierre des Corps.



It was an absolutely wonderful, special week. Rhiannon’s precise measuring and folding of the book pages, shows that we were left feeling thankful that we are a…