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 gap......it 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....

19 comments:

  1. Hi Janice,
    I think I'm beginning to know just how you feel. By mid September we will have had a round of six different groups visiting us, and in the middle a retirement celebration for 40-50 people to cater for. Our groups are smaller than yours, mostly couples.
    I sympathise with your thoughts that a two hour turn around isn't anywhere near long enough!
    BUT...isn't it wonderful that family and friends want to spend their precious holiday time with you?
    Lovely photographs of memories to cherish. xx

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    1. Now I'm not so exhausted, all I can think about is the lovely time we have spent with the children.....they are just gorgeous, all so different, but just , lovely kids. I'm not sure I envy you catering the retirement do......I hope you will have help with that....I bet you are enjoying the thought of not having to be back in the UK for the start of September. I love September and October here in Caunes.

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    2. Loads of help...people are so kind and generous. The celebration was lovely and hopefully the last one!
      Retirement day 3 - so far so good... xx

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  2. Wow what a whirlwind. Nonetheless, it's great to reconnect with family.... And I can relate to the needing a break after this past summer. You look great! Happy and healthy!

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    1. It has been a whirlwind....but an excellent one. I can now spend all of the autumn sorting through the photos ! Hope the start of school goes smoothly for you.

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  3. There is no way that I could cope with such a large volume of people these days - I have just had one part of the family for a few days, it was lovely but I couldn't manage doing it for three weeks.
    You must give yourself a break, recharge your batteries, and simply relax.

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    Replies
    1. I am sure I used to be better at catering for large groups......I used to take it in my stride....now it seems a bit more like hard work....worthwhile, fun to look back on, but pretty tiring too. Its only taken a couple of days to feel normal again though....and I'm missing them already.

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  4. Nomatter how much people help, there is always the washing!
    We used to have gites and turnaround day was a non stop gallop...still, at least family don't break the loo and say nothing.
    We have the descent of the hordes in September....I'm so looking forward to seeing them all, though there are so many of them thatI did wonder at one stage whether I should bring hammocks....
    You've all clearly had a wonderful time and only the washing machine is complaining.

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    1. ...and the washing machine has coped brilliantly....all done, and piled up ready for ironing.....that may take some time. I am looking forward to hearing about all your visitors in September... I am assuming you mean visitors to Spain rather than Costa Rica....... hope it all goes well.

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  5. Phew, I feel tired just reading that, Janice, though your sheer pleasure in it all shines out of every word. You've obviously had the most wonderful time, as have your visitors, but three weeks of non-stop company is hard work at any age. Once all the washing is finished, you can relax and savour the memories.

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    1. I'm just relaxing into some jam making P......according to your recipe and instructions....figs have just spent a good 12 hours soaking up the sugar......I hope you have recovered from your very hectic and difficult days marking your return from France.

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  6. I'm exhausted just reading this, Janice, but, smiling, all-the-same, for your time spent with so many loved ones, especially the children. As Perpetua says, "Phew".

    It is, at times, hard to have family, especially the grandchildren, living so far away, but, the reward is the longer periods of time spent when they visit.

    Rest up. Penny

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    Replies
    1. It is different when you don't see them for a while... in the winter when we are in England we see them every week......our 6 months in France means we have to cram seeing them into a few weeks within the school holidays, but it does make it more intense....better in some ways, but certainly harder work !

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  7. It's so lovely to read this look back to a lovely three weeks. Exhausting, yes, but so wonderful to be laying down tnese great memories for your gorgeous family. Now you can concentrate on your garden, casting an eye on thise little fingerprints from time to time. Axxx

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    1. The finger prints are still there.....they will be the last things to be cleaned up....and a couple of times I've gone to wipe them away, and have stopped myself, and gone to sit by the pool and read....no rush !

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  8. What an exhausting time, but absolutely wonderful. These days it is so rare to get families together for any length of time so it must have been well worth the extra work.

    The photo of Clark is just adorable xxx

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    1. Clark was playing around the trees in a square in the village while we ate at one of the restaurants here in Caunes.....it is set in a lovely square with huge 200 year old plane trees and a fountain ( which Dexter managed to fall into....another story). He just curled up in the roots and pretended to fall asleep. I think if we'd left him there much longer he would really have been asleep.

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