Friday, 16 May 2014

Settling back


We’ve been back here in Caunes for 2 weeks. I can’t believe it has only been 2 weeks. Obviouslly, we knew we would be busy getting the house straight(ish) after it had been locked up for 6 months…but although the days have flown by because we have been so busy, it also feels as if we have never been away.

Mark has played golf a few times…even won one match, I’ve managed to visit 3 vide greniers…2 more planned for this Sunday, I’ve been on what turned out to be a 15k walk with a great group of women ( there was one man…but he was ok ! ), been to a book launch and signing, eaten in a few of our favourite restaurants, cleaned the pool and planted the vegetables.

Other vide grenier purchases include an excellent doll's pram for Izzie and Clark to play with when they visit

We only got a little bit lost on the walk at La Clape

Some of the walk was quite steep

Wendy Gedney's book launch and signing in Pieusse, near Limoux. Wendy lives in a nearby village and organises wine tours. I have been on a couple of them.  Her book is a brilliant read...and tells you all you need to know about wines in this region. It is beautifully illustrated by Jenny Baker, who also lives in Caunes.
The house and garden in Pieusse where the book launch took place.... a fantastic B&B called Maison Laurent
We also went to the races ( previous blog), supervised the debroussaillage of the land behind our house, went in search of the perfect poppy field, managed to get our French TV working, sorted out a leak in the washing machine, and with the help of a friend managed to replace a burnt out element in the oven that would normally have had Mark and I rushing to the nearest white goods store to buy a new oven.

The debroussaillage has taken away the jungle that existed behind our house and left us with a fire risk safe zone....and provided a great area for kids to have adventures.




I’ve been missing Jess quite a bit, as she is on her final teaching practice at the moment, has final essays to submit and is applying for her first teaching job all at the same time. I’d like to be a bit nearer home to offer support…..but she seems to be coping well. In fact she organised getting her broken down car fixed….all by herself….well, with the help of a very nice AA man. It was also her birthday this week, and I do seem to be making a habit of being out of the country for her birthday. ( We did speak on the phone 4 times though, so perhaps I’m forgiven ).

Its also been great to skype all the kids and the grandchildren. Matthew and Sarah are mainly responsible for the launch of a new Junior Parkrun which starts this week in Huddersfield, so they are very excited about that. 

skyping Izzie !


Anyway….the sun is shining, I’m experimenting with some interesting recipes for dinner tonight…all using fruit conserves in some way, the house is more or less dust free for now, and blogger seems to be working well…what more could I want ? 

Maybe I'll have a sneaky little glass of red with my lunch when I've posted this.

17 comments:

  1. Hello Janice:

    Well, you really do seem to be living a very varied, fun, and interesting life in your corner of France and, hopefully, enjoying rather better weather than we are currently experiencing. It is, as you say, amazing how quickly the days pass ostensibly when one has nothing that has to be done in the way of work.

    As for the glass of red wine with your lunch, hesitate not for a moment!!

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    1. It is so easy to just have a glass isn't it , and then carry on being busy doing nota great deal !

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  2. Oh Janice, it all seems so beautifully civilised!! I love Spain, and especially where we are, you know that, but I do miss a bit of what I remember of French life that you seem to have such an abundance of there!! (Not meant to sound as daft as it does....you are in France, right?) But you're really enjoying the good bits - glorious countryside, beautiful architecture, great wine, interesting vide greniers, book launches and lunches....It sounds really good. Enjoy, enjoy - I am only being very greedy in my gentle envy! I( can't complain too much about life here either!) Axxx

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    1. It is lovely Annie, but it has also started to feel normal too. I was really enjoying being back in England, doing things again and worried that the somewhat more laid back life would not be as attractive this year. I've settled right back into it, and knowing that as the spring turns into summer, Caunes is just full of things to do....marble festival coming up, Le Tour, of course, and les Vendredis Classiques....the weekly concert at the abbey, with the gorgeous village meals beforehand......cherries, figs, onions, apples, almonds......and grapes !
      You, however, have so much going on in your life at the moment, I'm surprised you are finding time to blog or to read other blogs.... dont work too hard ! Jxxx

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  3. Dear Janice - the fields of poppies are another one of natures wonderful spectacles at this time of year - they speak to me of hot sunny days, buzzing bees and the sweet scents of the countryside.
    Maison Laurent looks a wonderful place to stay, look how beautiful, but simply achieved, is their exquisite garden.
    Definitely needed walking boots for that ramble over the rocks with your fellow women and the token man. I am sure that he gallantly lent you all a hand over the difficult bits.

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    1. The walk really did require boots...and poles and maps and compasses ! As for the garden at Maison Laurent...you would have loved it. Apparently they only created it 4 years ago, and it is really beautiful. Fabulously shaped Rosemary and lavender and salvias blooming beautifully. alongside things I have never heard of...just beautiful.

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  4. Having the two cars must make life easier too....no 'school run' to the golf course!
    That walk looked a bit hairy...not sure my knees would cope with that these days...but such fun to walk in company.
    You must be glad, after the problems of last year, to be having such a relaxing, satisfying life in Caunes.

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    1. I do not miss the run to the golf course at all !
      Yes, the walk was fairly serious. If I had known how serious I would probably not have gone along, but I am so pleased I did. I thought I would hold everyone up, and not cope with the climbs....but I was fine. I suspect if it had just been Mark and I, I would have been more feeble and claimed it was beyond me....but with this great bunch of women, we just supported each other brilliantly...and felt we had really achieved something at the end. It hardly seems possible that just a year ago, I was here, days after finishing treatment, and could hardly manage 100 metres.

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  5. Hi Janice,
    This all sounds idyllic but also very real. Is this how you imagined life would be when you embarked on your 'journey'?
    I hadn't really thought about the need to have a debroussaillage, but it is probably really important.
    I can empathise (as well as sympathise!) with your feelings about not being there in person to share the birthday celebrations. To say it is difficult is probably an understatement! I was heartbroken not to be able to spend Tom's 21st birthday with him as he had just started his year in Colorado. I am getting used to it as I also missed out on number 23, but I suspect we miss our children more than they miss us.
    You seem to have made friends and I am so envious of the walk, the book signing...and, of course, the wine with lunch. Mine is a white!! Xx

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    1. I honestly don't think I had any idea of what living in 2 places would be like Gaynor, and being ill last year added a complete new dimension to life anyway. It is good to feel "at home" though, in both places. As for kids and birthdays.... I missed Jessie's 21st, her 22nd and now her 23rd. But I think you are right, they have their own lives and friends and I wouldn't expect to spend whole days or evenings with her on her birthday even if we were in the same country.
      The walking group is lovely.....I am enjoying their company. And as for the wine, I'll just pour you one now, ok ?

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    1. and to you BtoB....good health. jx

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  7. Exciting to see all your activity, Janice - and the forest behind you. It looks like quite a lovely spot for children and adults alike.

    I thought I'd commented about your day at the races, but, must have done something to stop its posting. We've been have some technical difficulties lately, so, may be just that. At any rate, I enjoyed that post as well. We have similar races here with buggies attached and I've had the opportunity to attend a few. Fun!

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    1. I just know the children are going to love playing "on their own" up in the forest...and now we can keep an eye on them. Before the clearance we would never have been able to see them and quite frankly they could not have played there at all, it was so dense.

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  8. I often tell Mr N what I read on my favourite blogs and he wonders why you spend Winter in West Yorkshire and Summer in the South of France? His dream would be to do things the other way round...

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  9. Simple explanation...we want to spend Christmas with the children and grandchildren in England...they want to spend the summer holidays with us in France...it works well ! I like Yorkshire winters.....and to be honest winter here in the Minervois can be just as cold. I've been here in February a couple of times and we've been snowed in. Jx

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  10. Gosh, you've been busy, Janice, and are obviously enjoying yourselves to the hilt. Lovely pictures and please wish Jess well in her final essays and job-hunting.

    I've often been asked the same question as Nilly posed and have given the same answer as you for the same reasons. Normandy's winter weather is at least as cold as Mid-Wales and Christmas is for family. :-)

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