Thursday, 28 August 2014

The washing machine is whirring

( Please forgive me for not responding to comments on my last post.....possibly, this post will explain why I have been so bad at keeping in touch with you all ).

Our 3 weeks of hosting all the family is over. As always, it has been a fabulous time spent with the people we love the most. We have managed to have adventures with them all as well as  spending time, here at the house in Caunes, which I think they love as much as we do.

They didn’t all come together….but in waves.

The first wave was relatively calm…. 2 adults, 3 children…..and us. We swam in the pool, we built lego models, we played in the 3 bears house ( and one of us, 3 year old Clark, …got stung by various wasps.....he was very brave). We saw knights in Carcassonne, we swam in the sea at Gruissan and in the lake at Carcassonne, we built sandcastles, saw some real castles and explored playgrounds throughout the area.

Wave 2, after a week, involved our daughter Jess and her partner, Matty. They spent a couple of days of their 2 weeks with us, in Sete ( birthday present to Jess from us), and it was a treat for us to take them there, drop them off and pick them up a couple of days later, stopping to have an amazing sea food meal with them.

Wave 3… the day after Jess and Matty arrived, involved Carole, Mark’s ex wife, and her partner, Peter.

Life was more complicated by this stage as we now needed 2 cars to go anywhere if we all wanted to go….so beach trips, and even trips to restaurants started to take on a trek like feel.

Wave 4 ( 2 weeks after wave 1 began) was really complicated….. Matt and Sarah-Jane and their 3 boys left on the 10.55 flight to Liverpool, which had arrived in Carcassonne at 10.30, carrying the 4th wave. Good old Ryanair..... one plane bringing one bit of the family, and taking another bit away. It was just a shame that the cousins couldn't meet to have a chat on the tarmac.

There was a 2 hour gap between one set of occupants leaving for the airport….and the arrival of wave 4, which consisted of Jodie and husband Kieron, 2 of their friends and their 2 children.

I think, in future, we need to organise more than a 2 hour wasn't really long enough to restock the fridge, wash and dry bedding, and generally regroup.

So…. I do hope you are managing to keep up with this….. for meal times…..breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all snacks between times….there were by this stage 10 adults and 2 children…as opposed to the 8 adults and 3 children that had been involved in the previous stages.

We managed some expeditions with the 2 cars full to bursting….a trip to the lake at Carcassonne must have looked as if we were heading off to the other side of the world for a month, with towels, tents, blankets, pic-nics, buckets and spades, balls, beach chairs, a table, water cannisters etc etc.
I think I look tired....but incredibly happy in this photo....hugging the gorgeous Izzie.

I can reflect now, that despite meals out, several guests taking turns with cooking, and lots of help with setting tables and washing up…… I am very glad I do not run a gite. I have no idea how people cope……and I'm too old to learn !

The washing machine has been whirring away for the last 2 days, the mountain of washing is nearly clear. The toys have been picked up, the last of the lego models will be dismantled tomorrow, and I will slowly get round to wiping the finger prints from all the windows. I may leave them for a little longer......the last of the evidence that those beautiful children were here.

So…..please don’t get me wrong, we have had a wonderful 3 weeks. It has been lovely to spend time with our adorable grandchildren, it has been brilliant to spend time with our children and their husbands/wives/partners/friends.....and I cant wait to do it all again.

Actually…that is not completely true. I need a brief recovery period ! I want to do it all again, but I need a little bit of a rest first. 

Clark....doing exactly what I fancy doing....

Saturday, 23 August 2014


Having 2 lots of grandchildren staying with us over the last 3 weeks has been lovely......but I would be witholding the complete truth if I didn't say that their parents have our complete admiration as we see them  deal with the under 7s on a daily basis. Matt and Sarah Jane have 3 boys under 7, and Jodie and Kieron have a 6 year old and a 2 year old.

 It is hard work  ( I wonder how we ever did it ! )

Friends from a nearby village, Jane and Steve, gave us their children’s lego collection. We’ve met one of their children, Verity…now in her mid 30s, and she didn’t seem to mind too much. I did say that if she felt the urge to play with it, she should just say, and we would arrange it !

Anyway, our grandchildren have been thrilled with it, and despite all their playing in the pool, and on various beaches, in the 3 bears' house, at local playgrounds and with the many vide grenier toys I have collected over the last 3 years, they have somehow found time to create some wonderful masterpieces. In the words of the latest Lego movie....they are masterbuilders.

So...thanks Verity and Charles. 

We have had some peaceful times during the last 3 weeks...not many, but lego has certainly played an important part in the quieter moments of the grandchildren's stay with us entertaining them , and........ in keeping us sane.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Quick update : Team Pattison are here.

It is quite tempting to say that I’m too busy to blog…..but in a way it’s nice to just find the time to post a quick update on what has been happening here in Caunes, or in our part of it, during the last few days.

Just the start of the lego marathon

“Team Pattison” arrived on Tuesday.Matthew, Sarah-Jane and 3 amazing little boys, arrived, all eager to have a good time.
Clark in the 3 bears' house

They’ve been here a couple of days. Most of the toys have been played with, the pool has been in constant use, a huge number of stunningly good lego models have been made, and many many photos have been taken.

3 little boys...2 wearing Tour de France give away sun glasses
Other bits of life continue….our French lessons are really enjoyable. I think we’re making progress, and the cafĂ© des langues is now in its 5th or 6th week. All have been different, some weeks with only 5 or 6  trusty stalwarts, and other weeks with new participants who have found out about us by word of mouth, or from the flyers we have put in the Mairie, the Tourist office and the bar.

So…just a very brief post….. loving having les petits enfants with us….as if you needed me to report that !