Monday, 29 July 2013

Where is the bottle opener this time ? charge

All the grandchildren, and their parents, and Carole and Peter ( Mark's ex wife, my friend, and her partner), have been with us for a week. Tomorrow 2 grandchildren and their parents leave, Jess and her friend Freni arrive and the day after, Mark’s sister and her husband will be here. So…the full house syndrome continues.

Today, they have all ( except for me ) gone to the beach. Herding 4 x5 and unders, buckets and spades, rubber rings and snacks for the journey as well as ensuring booster seats and child seats were locked into position in the right vehicles, and that appropriate parents were positioned next to whichever infant needed them…….was, to say, interesting.

I have the day to myself, to try to put the house back into some semblance of order, before Jess arrives. Not of course that Jess would worry about a bit of chaos, as she is well capable of causing it herself.

My plan is to sort out toys, reorganise fridges, mop a few floors and generally put things back in the places you would expect to find them. After a week of everyone being here, nothing is in its right place. The kitchen scissors were discovered on the boules court, the bread knife vanishes every time a baguette needs cutting up and “bed time bear” ( Izzie’s) and “Ted” ( Liam’s) can be found anywhere from the pool house to the potager…but no one can ever remember exactly where they were last seen. Bottle openers and the gas thingy that we use to light candles are also items that the Borrowers must have uses for, as they are never where anyone left them.

Carole gets blamed for tidying things up, Kieron gets blamed for not seeing what is right in front of his eyes, and the kids just carry on regardless. They have endless energy, love going up the slide the wrong way, are desperate to discover hidden ( and forbidden and dangerous) parts of the garden and are becoming more and more fish like as they spend hours playing in the pool.

It has been a great week, and I’m not just saying that because at this particular moment, all is peaceful. I can hear birds chirping outside, I can even hear the longcase clock ticking away…something I haven’t noticed for the last week as there has been far too much else going on.

The 4 children have “got on” really well. Izzie, the youngest at 17 months old, has sometimes seemed to be in charge. The bigger boys have enjoyed including her in their games, and Clark, who is still only 2 and a half has been incredibly inventive with his games in the 3 bears house. I found him setting the ironing board for a meal yesterday, as the table was full.

So,  I feel a little sad that I am missing their day at the beach, but intend to enjoy my day of peace and quiet. It seemed a good opportunity to post a blog and I thought I’d share just a few photos from the last week, with our gorgeous grandchildren.

a moment for discussion between Clark and Izzie

an attempt to get them all jumping in at the same time....Clark deciding to wait a little longer

storm watching

cute cousins
3 men in a boat...and Clark trying to make it 4

A Liam throwing contest


Liam and Dexter posing for nana 


Images from our visit to the lake in the Black Mountains
Clark having a quiet cup of tea in the 3 Bears' house
Bunting made to celebrate and welcome the children to Caunes. I will have to start work on Flynn's flag, as he is due to be born on 21st next year there will be 5 of them.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Calm before the storm

After 2 glorious weeks in England, we flew back to Carcassonne a few days ago. The house in Caunes had hardly noticed we were gone. The automatic watering system I had installed ( ok, we had installed ) worked, the vegetables were not dead, the figs and grapes had developed well and the pool had not turned green. So all was well.
We’re just having a few days by ourselves before the 2 older kids, their spouses, their 4 children, and Mark’s ex wife, and her partner arrive. A few days after that, daughter Jess and her best friend for the last 21 years 7 months will arrive too. So there will be a houseful.  Needless to say we are making the most of the peace and quiet.
We went for a 5K walk yesterday morning. The heat of the day makes longish walks impossible, for me anyway, so we began early when the morning still felt a little crisp, the blue sky had not quite arrived and things were ever so slightly misty. It was lovely. We walked along a disused railway track which gave us some beautiful views of the Black Mountain foothills, glimpses between vineyards and of parts of the village.


and finally back into Caunes in time for a coffee in the bar


Sunday, 14 July 2013

No Wars of the Roses in this house

I feel dreadful that I have lapsed with my blog following. I have missed a few posts from some of the people I love to follow, and am trying hard to catch up. I have read others and sometimes not commented, and that leads me to feel that I am not joining in the continuing dialogue that I love so much, and is so much a part of this blogging experience.

So apologies all round, and I will catch up, but it may take some time.

I am about to go back to France after a quick 2 week visit back to Yorkshire. I had 3 hospital appointments....a scan, the results and a session with a counsellor.

All went well, I am still “ all clear”, which was good to hear.

So, here is a very quick record of the last couple of weeks.

Daughter Jess ran in a 5K Race for Life event in Sefton Park in Liverpool. Jess is not an athlete at all, and had never run 5K before. I was so proud of her, for making the commitment to do it, for completing it with such style, and for raising about £250 for cancer research.

some of the 4000 women running in Sefton Park

It was an emotional wig was removed for the first time in public, and the event itself was brilliantly organised. It helped that the weather was so lovely. Watching 4000 women run, raising money for a cause that has become incredibly close to our hearts was very powerful.
Jess and her wigless mother.

Jess, warming can tell she has done drama can't you ?

Jess, 5k runner

The next bit of excitement was being able to stay at Jess's new flat in Liverpool itself. It is a first floor flat in a renovated factory building, with fabulous high ceilings and large windows. I was thrilled to find out it had been originally built as a workshop and place of education for blind workers in 1908....hence the huge windows, to let in as much light as possible.

This is the building where Jess now has her flat.
It was turned into apartments 10 years ago, and is close to China Town and to the new Liverpool One developments, and only about a 5 minute walk from the docks. It has an underground car park, and we have discovered that actually having a car parking space in the city centre is pretty amazing....even if it is a very tight spot, and has already led to a little damage on her car !

Inside the flat....not very tidy ! Clothes horse on the right.....she'll realise she's not in student accommodation soon I hope.
We watched Andy Murray win the Wimbledon men's singles final in the flat, with Jess, her friend Emily, both their boyfriends and Jess's boyfriend's parents. Actually, Jess's boyfriend's dad didn't watch much of it as he was busy constructing an IKEA wardrobe for Jess, while we cheered Murray to victory.
We stayed overnight in Liverpool, in order to be able to be up bright and early the next day, for Jess's graduation.
proud father with Jess

proud mother with Jess

Jess with Matty, outside the drama building, with the Anglican cathedral in the background...which is where the graduation ceremony took place

Excitement as Jess opens her graduation gift from Matty
more excitement from our very own drama queen
shattered, feet hurting from the ridiculous high heels, Jess and friend Caitlin, walking back to the flat

aaahhhh.....Jess and Matty........she had a great day !

So, what with all this excitement in Liverpool, and a few hospital trips in Yorkshire, some great sunny weather and visits with the grandchildren it has been a busy 2 weeks.
We used to live in Todmorden, which at one time was the border town between Yorkshire and Lancashire....the county border line actually went through the middle of the town hall. We always knew that the conflict between these 2 counties may have been important in the past, but for us.......well, we love Yorkshire, and we  have a pretty good relationship with Lancashire. ( Liverpool isn't technically in's in Merseyside.....but it used to be ! )