I sometimes wonder why we don’t just stay in one place! We seem to be doomed to have accidents and mechanical failures wherever we go. This time we were just north of Orleans, bowling along at seventy when we were struck in the windscreen by something (we’re not sure what), which fell off a lorry travelling in the opposite direction. There was a huge bang, and I thought for one horrible moment that he had hit Ann’s door. A million thanks to Eduardo Benedictus, who invented toughened glass in 1903. We wouldn’t be here without him. We managed to get where we were planning to, but we were both very aware of how close we had come to disaster. The screen is quite badly damaged and has to be replaced. It is now 3pm and I have been trying to get in touch with the international department of our insurance company since 10am. Four people have volunteered to phone me back within minutes, and none has. We took out the insurance in Spain, so no chance of getting anything done anytime soon. The local garage wanted 700 euros to fix it but the insurance company won’t let us use them. We are both hoping that this doesn’t turn into a lengthy saga like the caravan window.
It was nice to get back to our “home” again. It chucked it down with rain last night, and I enjoy listening to it drumming on the roof. Ann slept thirteen hours straight, and is still tired. It’s strange what a big rush of adrenalin does to the system. We could certainly do without the hassle.
All the best, Andy
Hi All. Can’t believe our four weeks in England has gone so quickly and we are catching the ferry back to France tonight. The past week has been just as busy as the first three! Many thanks to David and Mhari for organising a reunion lunch for our friends in Steyning last Sunday. It was a really pleasant afternoon with great food. I thought we were going to have steamed lamb at one point, but David showed his customary sang froid in coping with a sudden downpour while he was barbequeing. Great cheesecake, Sarah! Worrying how we are all getting old so fast, though.
Thanks to Nikki and Gavin for letting us stay at their house while they were away for the week. No CATastrophes, but neither of us has been well, and we do wonder whether we are allergic to cats. We managed to catch up with quite a few people and had a pleasant supper at Steve and Chris’s house following a drink at the Bull Inn at Goring, which will not be getting our custom again! Five pounds for half a pepsi and half a lime and lemonade! Rip off Britain at its best! Also met up with Paul Gough our tenant. We have already bought one of his paintings and will probably have several more when we eventually get settled. He is a really good painter, and his website is well worth a look. In case you are wondering I’m not getting a discount for the plug! Also good to catch up with Mike and Janey at the Henty, who had recently returned unscathed from visiting the Walrus.
We have both piled on the weight since we have been back having done little but eat and drink, so don’t expect any photos of anything apart from heads for a few weeks. Our plan now is to spend about three weeks house hunting in the Dordogne before returning to the rented villa in Spain for six months. We hope to have bought something in France by June next year, but if anyone fancies a few days in Spain over the winter please let us know when asap. All the best,
Hi All, We are now staying with Roger and Svetlana in Fetcham, and are being very well looked after. We had a very pleasant stay at Ann’s sister Ros’s house in Sheffield. Many thanks to her for lending us her entire house. We also gleaned a useful piece of information to pass on, namely that the water in Sheffield is very soft, and that when you combine that in a large bath with a somewhat excessive quantity of bath foam and the agitation of a Jacuzzi, you end up with two bubble covered heads emerging from what appears to be a giant Pavlova, and a tide of froth that threatens to take over the world! Be warned!
Went to Polesden Lacey yesterday and had a very pleasant walk around the house and gardens. It is a beautiful place with lovely formal gardens, great views and an interesting house, built with the purpose of entertaining ultra rich maharajas, royalty, and various other members of the profligate ruling classes. Svetlana took some good photos and will hopefully post a few on Facebook. It was also good to get one visit out of our National Trust membership this year!
Ann is still struggling to walk very far without pain, and we were really sorry to miss seeing Peter and Tatiana before they went back to NZ. His professional input was much appreciated in France, and would have been useful again.
Off to see my sister Jan for lunch in a few minutes. barbecue tomorrow and then to Sussex to babysit Nikki’s cats for a week, try and reorganise our garage and catch up with as many people as we can. Looking forward to lunch with Helen on Monday, and hope her birthday goes well today.
We are both feeling a bit unsettled and rootless, and will be glad if everything works out so that by this time next year we have a home.
Congratulations to Abi on getting her new flat. We both hope that the three of them will be happy there.
We will be back in Spain for six months from the beginning of October, so if anyone is thinking of coming out. please start thinking about when you would like to visit. All the best, Andy
Andy, Nikki and Gavin took to the stage at the open mic night last week. Great singing and lovely friends. Thank you for a brilliant evening.
Hi All, Sorry we haven’t posted recently but we haven’t been in one place for long enough! A nine hour drive across France was followed by a night in the car, a tremendous thunderstorm on the ferry, and an unexpected diversion to a hotel when our accommodation plans went I very awry. Goodwood week, so not many rooms about and all at premium prices. Premier Inns, who advertise rooms for 29 pounds were charging 116 per night! Simon and Shari then very kindly stepped into the breach for four nights, and we had a great time catching up with them and getting some of our more important jobs out of the way. We then moved to Nikki’s house for a couple of nights. It has been great to see the grandchildren again and we are sorry that we couldn’t find more time to spend with them on this trip. They are growing up so fast! We then went on to a very pleasant stay with Sue and John Martell. If Boris loses interest, John could be the next on the list to run the country! We went to an open mike night with them and Gavin and Nikki, which was much better than we thought it would be. Gavin sang, and Nicky backed him on one song which sounded really good. Great that they have a really nice group of friends now, and it would be fantastic to hear them singing more harmony together.
We made a quick detour for a coffee with Jan and Christie who have their usual house full of itinerant Antipodeans and after a horrible drive round the M25 and up the M1 we are currently in Sheffield, staying at Ann’s sister Ros’s house. It has an amazing Sybaritic bathroom, with whistles, gongs, stereo sound, Jacuzzi and pressure jets in the shower. We won’t be going out much! We had dinner in the garden with Ann’s mum last night. She seems much better than she was, and was in excellent conversational form. Looking forward to a few days chilling out before going on to Roger’s.
So, what have we noticed after being away a year? Everything seems to be incredibly expensive, with a round of drinks costing about the same as a three course meal for two with wine in Spain. The roads are unbelievably busy, and drivers less considerate than ever. There seem to be more people speaking and acting aggressively towards each other, there is more money about than before we left, and technology seems to have moved on about five years. Television is still rubbish despite the screens getting bigger, people are still obsessed with the price of property, and I’ve lost the taste for warm beer. We are enjoying being here and seeing everybody, but I don’t think we feel it is home any more. We are both looking forward to buying a place in France so that we can use it as a base for more travelling. All the best for now, Andy.