Friday, 24 February 2012

Withdrawal symptoms ...

We are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. No, we haven’t given up chocolate and sparkles – or in Tim’s case beer - for Lent, but we haven’t visited Le Pre Vert since October!

These photographs were taken when we visited in February 2011. I believe that had we visited this year we would have been in the midst of the 'big freeze'!

A walk around Le Petit-Pressigny.

The Chateau at Bordes.

The plan d’eau at Le Petit-Pressigny.

Near Champagne in the Creuse.
The day was too grey to see the wind turbines.

The wine list at La Promenade in Le Petit-Pressigny.

Roll on Easter …

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Oi, Oi, Oi ....

On Saturday we were in Birmingham for a Max Boyce concert at the Town Hall. The Town Hall is a wonderful venue, used in conjunction with the Symphony Hall and the ICC (International Convention Centre).

The Hall was packed, mostly with Welsh people and the majority in their 60's and older. Max Boyce was in his prime in the 70's and 80's although is still fairly 'big' on BBC Wales. It was a good night to be Welsh, and for the English (Tim!) a night when you knew that many of the jokes would be at your expense. Max was funny though, from the minute he strode on wearing his dragon waistcoat waving a Welsh flag. In fact he didn't just poke fun at the English, every other rugby playing nation got their fair share. The Welsh didn't escape either!

He was supported by his band, another comedian (definitely not PC) and a singer called Beverley Savarin who sang everything from Adele to the Magic Flute and La Traviata!

Here's a bit of Max Boyce ...... perhaps an acquired taste !

P.S. Most of you were along the right lines although the prize (your choice of a leek or a daffodil) is awarded to Pauline.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Oggy, Oggy, Oggy ....

Can anyone guess where we are going tonight, and why?

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow ...

Friday, 17 February 2012

What are we?

 We came across these birds on a walk through the fields at the back of our house …

At the risk of revealing that we are a pair of ignoramuses (the dictionary tells me that ignoramuses rather than ignorami is the correct plural - so much for my slog through Latin forty years ago!), can anyone tell us what they are? We've looked in our bird book here in the UK but our better guides are in France.

The birds were really well camouflaged against a frost covered gravel pile.

Perhaps we are more used to seeing them plucked and oven-ready...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Icicles ...

Saturday was crisp and very cold.

However, nothing like the temperatures experienced in France at the moment. Martin and Denise who ‘look after’ our house, report that out toilets are frozen and that the tennis balls we placed in the pan haven’t had the desired effect! Perhaps it has been just too cold for too long. Luckily our water supply is turned off and Martin will return when the thaw is underway to check for leaks etc.

We are pretty pleased that we decided to spend February half term catching up with jobs at home. Although we have a wood burner and a large, relatively efficient (albeit old) boiler, Le Pre Vert doesn’t have double glazing and has ten sets of French windows. In the winter my electric blanket is an essential item!

Our friends Chris and Sally have braved the journey, trying out the new Manchester to Tours service operated by Ryan Air. Last night they were shivering at their house near Angles sur l’Anglin …

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A must have?

Last weekend Tim bought a dremel at B&Q. When I queried whether we really needed to spend the best part of £100 I was told that it was essential for all sorts of DIY!

I'm wondering why, in the 34 years I've known (and loved!) him, he has never found one to be essential before ...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Just what we needed ...

We’ve had an enjoyable weekend. Good food, wine, company and we made some progress with our bathroom renovations.

The early morning sun glinting off the windows of Sandon Hall.

Saturday began with an early breakfast, and a long walk around the fields at the back of our house where there is an old troglodyte settlement. More about this another time, when, by way of comparison, I can take some similar photographs of some troglodyte dwellings in France.

Old troglodyte dwellings at Tinkerborough.

Following the walk we went to out to buy a mirror and a bathroom cupboard, having decided to rethink our original plans. When we married nearly 31 years ago our friend Eric made us a beautiful pine corner cabinet. Eric died a couple of years ago, so besides being a piece of craftsmanship it also has sentimental value. We haven’t found anything else which will fit into the space so Tim has sanded the cabinet is painting it white. My preference would normally be for a natural wood finish, but it fits the space and looks good – or will do when it has had another coat or two of paint. We still need the mirror! I'm a Libran and find it nigh on impossible to make up my mind!

At the DIY store when we were looking for a mirror we bumped into our friends Barbara and Kevin who enticed us for tea and what was left of their delicious Christmas cake. By 4.15 we needed to leave as we were expecting friends for supper. However, by this time the road conditions were treacherous so we had a conversation with John and Maureen and we decided that Saturday supper should instead become Sunday lunch! It just wasn’t worth the 20 mile round trip when it was still snowing.

For supper Tim and I had ‘left overs’ of the beef and lentil casserole now being kept for Sunday lunch – good job I’d prepared too much – and watched another LoveFilm thriller; Russell Crowe in what I think was called ‘Three Days’. It was excellent!

This morning we woke up to about 10 cms of snow, which due to the fog and cloud was already beginning to thaw. We’d been looking forward to our morning walk but the snow scenes were disappointingly ordinary.

Over lunch we put the world to rights, and ate dessert in the living room as we watched Wales beat Ireland – although it was a close call! Sorry, no photographs of lunch, but I have been asked for my recipe for 'hot cross bun and butter pudding' so I'll write a post next week.

A fairly ordinary weekend, by many people’s standards, but it was just what we needed...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A thrilling diversion from a tough day at work ...

Monday was a tough day at work. I found myself in a situation which in 33 years of teaching I have never been in before. Everything has been sorted, my colleagues are very supportive and it isn’t really a problem, but it has unnerved me.

I can’t, through these pages, say what the issue was, but it has left me feeling frustrated, angry and upset.

Last night, as a diversion, we watched a streamed DVD from LoveFilm. Yes, after a few emails back and forth, Tim managed to get the system to work. We also think the streaming option will work out cheaper. Currently we pay £13.47 for a package of unlimited DVD’s, three at a time + streaming, whereas the streaming only package is less that £7.00. We haven’t yet found the ‘catch’, but it's probably there in the microscopic print!

I can thoroughly recommend ‘UNKNOWN’ starring Liam Neeson. I won’t spoil the film by giving away too much of the plot but it is a real thriller. You can view a trailer here.