Thursday, December 24, 2015


Well, we're ready!!

Dave and Annie came round an hour earlier to do the sausage rolls and make the mulled wine for our French guests. There were so many bottles on display that you would doubt our tea-total status.  In fact, other than the youngsters, we were the only alcohol-free couple. I've not included the photos of all the drinks on offer, but it was an education in itself finding out about the preferred tastes of the rural French in terms of drink.

Starting to bring some things through.

 Dave preparing the the mulled wine.

Not keen on these, but the French love them...along with the nuts, crisps, olives, cheeses, chocolates, cake and yes, the mince pies.

These are all blurred photos but they are all we have to remember the evening.
Sophie, Isabel, Pascal and Bev.

Pascal is a retired architect who now keeps bees and produces the most amazing honey. 

Pierrick rears horses and seems to have a finger in every pie.  My painting entitled 'Young Guns' was from a photo of his cows. He's been a really good neighbour to us and lives in the next hamlet.

Isabel and Sophie no doubt talking shop. They both work at the animal rescue centre.  Sophie lives next door to us and also rears horses (and other animals). Isabel is Pascal's wife. 

Marthe is the deputy mayor of Cruguel and we gather at her house in St Yves every Thursday afternoon for French. Quite a character...we love her!

Karen and Hubert ('oobare). Hubert lives in St Yves (a mile away) but grew up next door. His dad was Joseph (sadly no longer with us). Karen, his wife, is English. Also in the picture is Colette who lives just out the back of us with her husband Martin.

The photos of our other guests are just too blurred to use, but it was really nice to have Therese and her family with us along with Pierrick's lovely family.

Finding space between the general chat was difficult, but we managed some prepared entertainment. In this shot I think we were finding things out about each other that weren't common knowledge....hilarious!

I played the guitar and we had traditional songs from our guests along with some carol singing in English and French. The whole evening went like a dream.

Aperatifs are supposed to last an hour or so, but our last guests left just before ten.  The evening should have concluded some time after 7pm.

I guess they were enjoying themselves.  I know I was!  In the words of one of our guests..."A perfect start to the Christmas festivities".

We slept in this morning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Blog Journal Entry... Bev's Week.

We started the week in Josselin to watch another film.

 I like that I can understand more French these days

Bev getting into Christmas baking. There is a reason for the newspaper wrapped around the tin...but I can't remember what it is.

It's gonna be good!

She also finished her quilt...or whatever it's called. Looks great!

And she even had time to up-cycle a tired shelf, but only after completely redecorating the main bedroom...the whole room!! In TWO days!!

My final commission finished!  Time to get ready for Christmas.

Bev's birthday present arrived from David and Eileen. We can hardly lift it!!  Works perfectly on top of the stove. I love presents that benefit me as well:)

The cards are beginning to arrive for our first Christmas here.

We've already been to Rennes, Josselin and Ploermel shopping this week, but we also took in the incredible atmosphere of Vannes... boats trimmed and flashing, musicians, displays, etc! The streets were crammed with diners taking advantage of the balmy evenings.  I managed to get Bev's present but had difficulty pressing through the crowds to meet up with her again.

On our way to Roche Bernard for an evening concert (an amazing experience), we dropped in at KFC. The concert was excellent as previously stated but KFC isn't what we're used to in the UK. It just isn't the same! How can they call it KFC?

We managed to get to the carol concert at the chapel at St Yve last night. They sang traditional songs from around the world.  We were impressed, although there were one or two 'Marguerite' moments (you'll know what I mean if you saw the film).

Last night was our "Soiree de Talent" and it marked the end of a busy seven days. 

It was a really good evening even though I was one of the acts.

Tonight we have archery in Josselin and tomorrow is our big day!  Nous invitons nos voisins Français pour des apéritifs le mercredi 23 décembre de 18 h. We've invited about 20 French  locals as well as our immediate neighbours for 'nibbles'.  It'll be the first time we've entertained a large group of French people and we are beginning to get a little nervous.

I'm going to have to entice Bev to sit down and watch a movie or something.  She's ironing the settee covers as I type. She hasn't stopped for weeks.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

We're ready!

Can't believe all our Christmas cards are written and en-route. This has to be a first!

It will be our first Christmas in France.

Our new fire framed with Christmas cheer.

It's a beautiful bright fresh morning, but cosy inside.

Stairs lined with garland and bows...

...which reminds me :

Last night was archery night.  It looks cosy, but the actual archery bit is outside standing under a shelter in case it rains. We've been using bare bow technique, but will progress to my preferred classic style with sights and stabilisers when we are ready. Are you reading this Gary Telford?? I think my draw weight is 35lb for a hunting bow, but I'll be able to confirm in the coming weeks. Let me have a quote if you are still going to make bows. A Telford black beauty would be just fine. Can't wait for Summer and long warm afternoons to indulge in various types of shooting again. The last time was the 1960's.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Farewell, Dot!

In 2007, we had a 'This Is Your Night' just for Eric, Florrie, Elardeo, Joan and Audrey, but it was a special night for Dot also. We didn't expect her to see Christmas that year, and it was a surprise party to honour her, too.

Here we all are, waiting to include unsuspecting Dot into our little secret.

Yes, you Dot!!

We had a really good evening (too many photos to include here)

Well, thankfully you blessed us with quite a few more years.

We loved you then and we love you still.
We'll miss you...your courage, kindness and strength. You are, and always will be in our thoughts, and we are proud to have been a part of your life.

God bless you!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The season of a thousand wasps.

We began the week by going to the cinema in Josselin to see "Margueritte" a French film. We also dropped in to see Rod and picked up the last of the roof tiles we bought from him. He invited us in to see his woodburner but it was a huge gleaming motorbike parked in pride of place in his living room that took our eye. We also found out he was an archer and told us the archery club (that have ignored my emails for a year) was actually still meeting in Josselin, so we checked it out.

Tuesday we tried the archery club out. It was cool! We'll go again next week and get measured up.
Wednesday was our French club meal in Pontivy. I must have had half a dozen plates of food...then the desserts!
Thursday was French.
Friday was gardening time. It was a beautiful day and was warm enough to eat outside...still stuffed from Wednesday, though! We managed to get a lot done.
Saturday we were in Ploermel shopping before dropping off at the tip to get rid of our rubbish.

Our French club Chinese meal.

Our newest grow box...still work to do.

 Leaves are half collected.  I've created this cage so we can have leaf mould next year. There's some grass cuttings in there as I managed to get the lawns cut while it was dry.

The water drains off the roof of the bread oven into this container with the overspill flowing into a second container.  Sorted!

I'll cut the top off this split upturned water butt and empty grass cuttings into it from the back garden.

The studio is ready to use again.

The little window opening (straight ahead) is filled in and all the stonework pointed. The light is fitted and working and the heater has been wired up.  I'm sorted and will be painting in here tomorrow as it's virtually draught proof and spider free.

Our final job was to incinerate about a thousand wasps that had made a nest above our dormer window and had made their way onto our landing to die.  There are thousands still up there.  When I think they are all dead, I'll take the ceiling down and remove them and the nest containing the queen.  I was quoted 200 euros to get rid of them, but saved money knowing they'll die in winter. All I needed to do was leave then in peace and wait. Not looking forward to taking that roof down, though.