Sunday, August 16, 2015

Château on fire?

I thought that they were just marks on the postcard but it seems that something (smoke? ectoplasm?) is coming out of the window....

Monday, August 03, 2015

Catching up with the children

Olivier returned to his bank town just a week ago. He enjoyed two weeks holiday and the weather was good. We didn’t see too much of him as he was out with friends or in their swimming pools. What we did see was good, he’s got the first year of his Master’s degree under his belt and he enjoys where he’s working. He went to his first wedding this summer – yes, even his friends are starting to get married. He also showed me pictures of babies: two of his friends are now proud fathers.

 It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I met up for an afternoon with two of my ex bank colleagues. We all had our first babies within a month of each other and managed to get together when they were around 6 months old. They were all 28 this year!

Dom and J-M are coming over to see us tomorrow. They will be moving to the UK in a week or so as Dom will be starting a post as lecturer at Essex University in September. They will be living near to Colchester and I’m really looking forward to exploring the banks of the River Colne, as I’ve already looked on Google Earth. We’ll be visiting them in September, as well as Christian & J.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An educational Friday this time

My appointment with the dermatologist was last Friday morning. I was having my many moles beauty spots checked but I was more nervous about finding the Doctor’s office at the clinic complex. It it opposite the vein Doctor that I see. I hadn’t noticed it before because the writing on the wall is so big, not easy to read close up.

 She checked me all over and all of my moles and beauty spots are fine. I had a mole removed from my back 25 years ago so she asked me questions about that when she saw the scar.

 She told me that I have some kind of infection of the hair follicles – which is why I lost my eyebrows several years ago. My hairline is slowly receding, so now I have a prescription for some gel to apply.

 When she asked me if I had any questions I asked her about a little piece of skin on my nose, which never seems to heal properly. It’s an Actinic Karatosis. I’ve wondered about it for several years. In October she will remove it using Cryotherapy. 

I was in the dermatologist’s surgery for less than 15 minutes, learnt a lot and was reassured about my beauty spots.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Another interesting Friday

One of Rob’s colleagues is married and his wife works at the Napoleon and African Museums on the Ile d’Aix. The Ile d’Aix is very small and no cars are allowed, especially in the summer months. The ferry ride is about 20 minutes from the mainland.

Last Friday saw us catching the ferry to pay a visit to our friends. They actually live in the south of Charente Maritime, but while she is working she lodges in a little house behind the African museum. The family passes their time between two homes. The Ile d’Aix is a wonderful island and their other home is in a small town where artists have taken over the old fishing huts and painted them bright colours. What amazing memories their 8 year old son will have when he grows up.

 The little house is situated in a large walled garden, well away from the public eye and I was fascinated to see this dovecote placed over a well in the grounds:

They had other visitors too and we all started off our visit with a walk around the island. It takes a couple of hours and the day was very, very hot. There’s plenty of shade and between the trees you can catch glimpses of little coves and azure blue sea. Out hostess is a good guide and she pointed out places of interest and told us about the island as we went round.

Lunch was eaten under the trees, which was lovely and delicious and I picked up some new cookery ideas.

After lunch we were taken around the Napoleon Museum. Napoleon slept in the house, which is now the museum, for one night on his way to exile. Unfortunately, I was suffering from too much sun so didn’t really appreciate the visit as much as I’d liked to. I had to go back to rest. Strange to say I visited the museum on a very hot day when I was expecting Christian nearly 30 years ago and was unwell. I’ll have to try to visit in winter!

 Rob and his colleague visited the African museum which was actually the one I wanted to visit as it contains the famous dodo that I got involved with on Wikipedia. The talk page has been cleared over the years but here’s the post I wrote on my postcard blog. I now know that the dodo is not a real stuffed dodo.

After a rest and a drink of water I was fine again. The ferry was pretty full on the way back to the mainland. It was a lovely day – but hot!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

We survived!

Despite the hot weather and a very early start to the day.

Bordeaux was quite quiet and cool when we arrived at about 8.45 in the morning. It even rained a few drops when we stopped for a cup of coffee on the way to the auction house. We ate inside at lunch time as it was windy and that is always dangerous in the noonday sun.

The auction went really well and we managed to get some good postcards as well as keep cool. They handed out cups of water to everyone there. Some of the collectors are quite elderly and need reminding to drink.

I wasn’t looking forward to the wait at the station, but it went really well. This weekend is the start of two months holidays here, so I expected a lot more people to be around. It was a reasonable Friday evening there. We got a seat in the bar and looked at our postcards for an hour and then wondered around the station shops and listened to the piano being played. Rob bought me a handbag in the sales; it took me quite a while to choose one. He was patient – anything to kill time waiting for a train.

They were handing out free bottles of water at the station so we had one each which was good timing as our supply was running low. Our train set off ten minutes late which was fine as we expected the worse. Overhead electric cables were dangerously low because of the heat all over France. It wasn’t crowded either so we chose a good seat opposite each other to eat our picnic.

I slept so well on Friday night

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Trying to drink lots of water and keep cool.  It is hot enough to break previous records here.

Yesterday evening we went for what we thought would be a cooling walk.  We were met by a blast of hot air when we went outside and there has a hot breeze blowing.  Fortunately we have shutters which we keep closed all day with the windows open inside.  I feel like a mole shuffling around in the half light.

On Friday we have an auction in Bordeaux.  Bordeaux is often the hottest place in France.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monday 17th June 1985

Was the day that we were married at the town hall in La Rochelle. 30 years means that it is our Pearl wedding anniversary. This is what I wrote on our 25th anniversary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Going down to London town

The best day was our visit to London. Christian and J only live an hour from London by train so we played tourists.

We visited the Bank of England Museum. I chose that one as we had all worked in banks at some point in our lives. It was fascinating! We did go into the British Museum but didn’t stay long as there was so much to see we decided a visit would have to be planned in order to get the most from it.

We had lunch at Borough Market. Venison burgers to be exact and they are delicious! In the afternoon we visited Liberty of London and spent an agreeable hour or so just taking it all in. We could have spend an agreeable amount of money too, but we aren't that rich. We also stood outside Buckingham Palace and watched the WI filing in for a garden party.

My shadow outside Liberty of London

Before our train home we ate at an Italian restaurant which wasn’t too expensive and the food was great. I've written a revue for TripAdvisor.

I hadn’t been to London for about 30 years and was amazed by the lack of traffic. Where we went wasn’t too crowded and the underground was fine too. I slowed us down when there were lots of steps to go down but they weren’t too deep so I didn’t suffer too much.

Needless to say we all slept well after a day like that.

Monday, June 15, 2015

UK revisited

At the end of May we went off to the UK for a week. The weather was typically British for the whole of the time we were there, with the exception of the last day of which we spent mostly in the bowels of Stansted airport. Other than that we had a good week.

 I met my grandpuppy at last, who is the handsomest, best behaved young dog we have ever met.

Are you my Grandma?

 The main reason for our visit was to see M-I-L in her new home for the elderly. It’s in a beautiful old house with incredible grounds. She has a room which is not too small or too big and looks out onto part of the gardens. She looks better that we’ve seen her for two years at least. The food is good and varied and what we saw looks very tempting.

 We managed to get into Worcester and had lunch at the Cathedral. The special on that day was toasted bacon, brie and cranberry sandwich which was to die for. The exhibition of school’s art and crafts was up already in the cloisters (I thought that I would be too early to see it), so we looked at that too.

 The free bookshop is still near to the cathedral, so I had two of those and Rob chose three so we put in some money as we didn’t have any to exchange.

To be continued...

Friday, May 22, 2015

One of life's mysteries

A couple of weeks ago I had to pick up something that I’d ordered online. As our local shop was on holiday I went to the florists in the next village. There was quite a queue, mainly people picking up parcels – not buying flowers. I didn’t mind waiting amongst the flowers and the plants.

Then I realized, I couldn’t smell the scent of a single flower! Is it because they are grown in poly-tunnels or do they just sell flowers with no perfume nowadays?