LOOKING BACK AT 2012

 February 2012 Snow!

It was a sad start to the year with the loss of a close family friend.  A funeral in January reminded me very vividly of the loss of my dear mum 15 years earlier at the same time of year and of how quickly the years pass by.  But January also had us negotiating the purchase of our little house in France.

In February Bella turned one.

Bella

And when the Easter holidays came we were en vacance to France to seal the deal at the notaires and become the proud owners of our own little house in France.  And it didn’t disappoint, which was one of my worries as we had only seen it once back in October 2011.

Le Petit Coquelicot

In April my god mother sadly passed away, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  She was a lovely lady and this meant another funeral.  It was a beautiful sunny day and was a real trip down memory lane at the wake afterwards.  Lots of pictures from my old home town and childhood days.

Mum, me, Auntie Ruth and Uncle Stan

It was Cal’s last year at primary school and so there was an outdoor activity week in February and then SATs in May and then Cal and Hubby went for a few days to France while I was marking.   The weather was not so good and it was clear that there can be stormy weather too.

Love that storm

Love that storm

When the summer school term ended it was straight off to WOMAD.

Womad 2012

Then back for a few days and then down to London for the Olympics.  Such a buzz and an event I’m so glad we didn’t miss.

Olympics 2012

Once back home Cal turned 11 and there were a few days to recuperate and then it was off to France again.  This time in 40 degree heat, so it took some getting used to.

Upside down

Boys love water

It was also the year that I tasted fresh figs for the first time!

Fresh figs

Then in september it was Cal’s first day at secondary school.

Secondary school uniform

Then half term saw us back to France again.  Not as warm this time though.  Once back to Blightly I was doing my amateur dramatics thing in 3 episodes of Fawlty Towers.  A quiet Christmas day with all the family over on the Thursday afterwards.  Then new years eve at my good friend Es.

It was also the year that Cal did snow boarding, fencing and started playing table tennis.  What a busy boy!

Snow boarding with Adam

At fencing

And so that was 2012.  Looking forward to an even better 2013.  Happy New Year. X

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Thriller in the Smoke!

So it’s off to London with my old teaching buddy this weekend. Always love a trip to the smoke and this time staying with a relative of mine in Caterham. So boarded the train in Leeds only to be delayed at Retford for an hour.  Reading this book at the moment, set in France just around the corner from where we are, so am finding it very interesting.

The Ripening Sun by Patricia Atkinson

The Ripening Sun by Patricia Atkinson

Made London by 1.30 and did the usual walk up from KC passed Euston Stn onto TCR. Popped into Heals. We were lured in by some sales of mulled wine syrup at 20% off. So it was up to the toilets and cafe. Very unimpressed 3 toilets very poorly appointed and a cafe where the food was on display uncovered for all and sundry to cough and spray spit over. Needless to say we left. Discounted several other sandwich shops to end up having a salad from M&S. Together with pure pomegranate juice. It was lovely. Got our tickets for Thriller on Saturday evening.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Then to the national portrait gallery to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibition of photos. She really didn’t have a bad side. Would have had a tea there if it wasn’t for the flies on the food yuk!  Meal at an Italian in the evening. Meat esters liked their chicken with sundried tomatoes. Bed and very tired but writing this before sleep takes over. Woke early as usual. At home 7am would normally be dog walking time, just can’t shake the habit for waking early.

Saturday 1/12/12
Took us a while to get going and quite a long journey into London. F was good to take us down to the station. Not sure if we will walk back at 11 tonight after the show. And we don’t.
We get to Ladbrook Grove and come across Jamie Oliver’s Recipease.

Recipease

Recipease

Well his toilets were a Crapper but the service was crapper still. We waited over 15 minutes for a cup of tea while the waitress fiddled about drying cups. Complained and were told the drinks were on the house. Made our way to Portibello Road passing a very full vintage jewellery shop on the way.

Portobello Road

Portobello Road

Had some Bakelite bangles just like the Mississippi mud ones I was wearing.

Hirst Antiques

Hirst Antiques

Bangles

Bangles

Portobllo was disappointing but we agreed that this was probably because we were very very cold. Finally made it to the West End via foot and bus. I was no help at all and seemed to take us in every wrong direction possible. Tea at Pizza Express. Every where else full. Then to the Lyric.

Michael Jackson

Thriller was brilliant. Fantastic singers and dancers, their energy and talent amazing. Had all the audience on their feet dancing . This show is a chronological trip through MJ’s musical career. Would love to take Cal to see it. MJ rules OK!

Sunday 2/12/12
F made breakfast for us then took us to Purley station to catch train into London. We are going to meet J’s son at Waterloo for lunch. Lovely lunch at gastro pub south of the thames. I had a chick pea dish with aubergines, squash and onions. Couldn’t eat a pud. Then we were dropped off at the bottom of old bond street where we walked through a Christmas decorated arcade onto new bond street and then onto Oxford street.

Super Christmas street decorations.

F had a really eclectic style in her home and I asked if I could take some shots for this blog.

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F is an artist too and this is one of her pieces.  One of my favourites and just the sort of painting I have wanted for home.

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It also brought a lump to my throat to see one of my mums paintings on her wall.

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Also recommended a must see French film Untouchable about a quadriplegic millionaire and his immigrant carer.

The French Property Hunt Is On!!!

What else can one do over half term?
I like to follow in the footsteps of my trend setting nephew. But this is turning out to be much more difficult than we thought it would be. Set off on Friday after work. Hubby drove all the way to Portsmouth and then onto the ferry. We were in reclining seats and it would have been better (as the Peck had suggested) to take sleeping bags for all of us and sleep on the floor as many people did. Long day Saturday driving down through France to Auch. Also ended up doing a detour through Versailles. Lovely to see the palace but just added time to our journey. Arrived in Auch about 7pm. Super room and then into Auch for a meal at an Italian restaurant. Then bed, oh joy. Up early Sunday for French breakfast and then sorting out the property itinery. Then off to Beaumont to see Garrel 88, Carolyns property. Ok but not my cup of tea. Then off to see Margaret and Stewart (Pecks friends). I think their house may be what we want. New and with few complications. Back to Auch and had a walk around the town and up to the cathedral. A super city and capital of the Gers region.

Tuesday and we have seen three properties one in Montreal one in Condom and one just outside Eauze. None up to what we would expect a home to be to put in an offer. I think we definitely want a new one but well built too if that’s not asking two much. Not necessarily a pool but a pool of some sort would be good, or room for a pool. Also not on a main road. This is like buying on eBay you just cannot rely on a picture though.

Thursday and more houses to see (will it ever end!). Eventually we have found something we actually like. Back to the hotel, if you can call it that, and into Cahors for a pizza. Number one son didn’t eat anything as his chicken nuggets and chips were not up to his standards. I think he is tired. Now back to the hotel. I’m sleeping on a different side tonight so I can avoid the huge neon flashing H sign outside our window.

Friday (Vendredi) seen a new house close to Figeac. Very nice and brand new but not sure about the area it is situated in a valley overlooking a grave yard.

Last stop Limoges in a Bienvenue Hotel, very nice and comfortable. No toy shops in Limoges so number one son not happy. Managed to find a climbing centre and that went down a storm.

Conclusion. Hurrah! We have found our little French house. Offer put in and accepted. Just waiting for rest of paperwork. Update due shortly with pictures.