Wednesday, 23 July 2014

There’s nothing like…

setting yourself up to fail!

My big plan was to do a blog post every day. Other people manage it so why should I be any different. I understood that some days the post might be ‘silent’ and merely be a photograph from our archives.

My reason for the increased posting plan is to keep family, friends and neighbours up to date with our lives. I managed to squeeze a post in on the day I retired, in between work and a celebratory BBQ with friends, but unfortunately forgot to take any photographs!

The rest has been abject failure, even though in that time we’ve done a lot of living! The following has happened:

  • A visit from Liz who moved to France with her three children nearly three years ago. She’s back for a visit with her five children! Henry and Daisy were born three months early. Liz won’t mind me telling you that she is a survivor of breast cancer. Doesn’t she look fantastic?



  • My wonderful TA’s (teaching assistants) took me out to Weston Hall, for afternoon tea. The cakes were delicious, (four cake stands full, between eight of us, and we’d already eaten some off this stand!). I really enjoyed their company. They have supported me, and my department incredibly well over the years.



  • We’ve packed the car to set off for France. As usual, we couldn’t fit in everything we needed, although I seem to have managed four coats and twelve pairs of shoes/boots (and those are just mine!) and six large boxes of Shredded Wheat!  Make sure you don’t tell Tim!! Luckily Rhiannon and Stuart are visiting in August so she has a list of things to bring over – and some to take back!
  • We met my brother and his wife for a fantastic lunch at The Green Man in Thriplow, near Duxford. It is always good to catch up with them.

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice a resemblance to Billy Bragg and Sue Perkins (of Great British Bake Off fame)?


  • We spend a relaxing evening with our friends Anne and Steve, near Maidstone. They are very hospitable, and Steve is always prepared to get up at 5am to send us on our way with a cup of tea.



  • We got a great deal on the 7.35 am P&O ferry from Dover. The cost was £39, which also included a food voucher for £20, which we spent on a waitress-service breakfast in the Brasserie!


  • We’d decided that as we are now people of leisure we wouldn’t bomb off down the motorway, but save the toll fees and come along normal roads. This wasn’t really as successful as we’d hoped. Sometimes life is just too short! To be fair, the congestion in and around Rouen probably didn’t help. At a rest area we ate our lunch next to a couple we’d recognised from the ferry. They were driving to Majorca for two weeks!
  • We arrived, unpacked, had a bowl of soup and went to bed. I have made a mental note that we need more shoe and coat space, and , lots more coat hangers!
  • I started a spring clean, which quickly became downgraded to a surface clean. I’m going to spring clean a couple of rooms at a time. After all, for the first time ever THERE IS NO RUSH! We don’t have a journey home booked yet.
  • Today, I went up to Loches to stock the fridge and freezer. Luckily we have two fridges!
  • Came back and Skyped with Tom, who is off on his bike island hopping again. I’m wishing he hadn’t told me about the snakes and that he is taking a tent! Two questions come to mind…can you pitch a tent on sand and do snakes like sand?

So,now you are up to date. I haven’t mentioned how pleased I am to be here, but perhaps that goes without saying.  We are looking forward to catching up with friends. In the next few of days we’ll be celebrating a 60th, an 800th, having moules frites with our neighbours in the village and hunting out bargains at the brocante at La Celle Guernand.


A swallowtail butterfly taken off the terrace, with my new camera. I am delighted with it.

If you think work is hectic, you should try retirement…


  1. You did, Colin. You did!!!

  2. Replies
    1. I'm sure things will settle down, especially when September arrives.
      Pop in for your tea and mayo if you are passing.

  3. Your story touches me so much in so many ways. Lots of hugs from those me and others who love hearing about your life. There is no rule that you HAVE to blog everyday. I am a mega failure not having blogged in about a year

    1. I've noticed that you haven't blogged for a while. On my side bar it says 10months.

      I think you need to be in the mood. Recently when I've had time the last thing on my mind has been to sit at my computer!

      For me, setting blogging targets is the surest way to failure. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't...c'est la vie!!

      Hope all is well with you.

  4. My friend in France does a Photo a day , , she and her husband retired over there, , I have family around the world and we have no idea what they get up too , no one blogs except me , and no one in my family reads it , There is no rule to blog every day , don't put pressure on your self , I feel your excitement in your writing :-) I too would be overjoyed to live over there , maybe Italy , too, Enjoy !

  5. Hi Gaynor forgot that you follow my friend in France ,she has three blogs , two about France, My life in the Charente, :-)

    1. I read Diane's blog and have recently signed up for the photodiary. She takes such amazing photographs.

      I remember reading on your blog that you'd been to the Charente to visit.

      Best wishes...

  6. Welcome home and we are raising a glass of Touraine Sauvignon to you both and the start "proppa" of your next life!!

  7. You vont coathangers? Ve got coathangers! A box of the darned things, taking up space in our guest room. No matter how many I take out, there's still a boxful.
    Cheat's blog: set up ten entries with a picture and schedule them one a day for ten days. Then you can get on with your life. However, your readers will catch on. Darn!

    1. Thanks. I'll take you up on the coat hangers. Usually when we visit we bring clothes for either warn or cooler weather. This time we'll need both, hence the lack of hangers.

      Good advice about the pre-blog. We'll see.

      In retirement I expect to be buying fewer clothes! They used always to give you the hanger, but this happens much less nowadays.

  8. If someone blogs every day I am bound to miss a post or three, as I don't read blogs every day. If someone blogs every few days I have more chances to catch every post.
    I'm glad your retirement has got off to a great start and that you haven't worn out your carpet slippers yet!
    See you later..........

    1. Thanks, Jean.

      Good advice. I think I'm already leaning towards posting 'as and when'!

      Looking forward to later... ;o)

  9. Why be competitive with your self or anyone else? I love your postings and quality is better than quantity, although some bloggers that I know can do both! My stance is that I blog for me!
    Welcome to France!

    1. No competition really, just want to keep in touch. Have decided that it probably isn't for me!

  10. last...those wonderful words...return journey not booked. i, too am amazed how the idea of blogging each day...or even fairly regularly, just fades away as a distant dream, when there just seems so much to do when you don't have to go to work ! Have a wonderful summer...and take your time over that spring'll only need doing again next year. Jx

  11. Thanks, Janice.

    Whenever my house is in need of a clean I'll remember your wise words! We are just ramping up for a storm here. That's the washing put off for another day...;o)

    Enjoy your summer in Caunes. Xx