30 September 2016


We have arrived!  And it’s cold!  No shorts today.  It will be warmer tomorrow though.  We have just had breakfast (delicious pink grapefruit) and Paul is sulking because Sarah has given him coconut milk with his cereal (this is a vegan household).  We have met Buddy for the first time and we awoke this morning to find him asleep in our suitcase.

Our journey was not without incident.  Three hours into the flight, without warning, I blacked out and totally lost consciousness.  The cabin crew (Cathay) were wonderful but I spent the next few hours stretched out across three seats feeling rather poorly.  Low blood pressure I expect.

Smoggy Hong Kong - view from hotel room
Luckily we were spending one night in Hong Kong so by the time we boarded our flight to Sydney I was feeling fine.  However, I felt extremely apprehensive, scared silly that the same thing would happen again.  I decided some light entertainment was required so watched the Eddie the Eagle film and it was just the distraction I needed, it was so funny.  Two films later (The Dressmaker  and The Intern) we had arrived and I was still alive and breathing.

Straight through automated passport control and immigration, half hour wait for our luggage, through customs and finally a very emotional reunion with daughter Sarah and the Bearded One (otherwise known as Andy).  The fun begins...

27 September 2016

All Packed

Ten o clock in the morning and the suitcases have been packed, unpacked and repacked.  The taxi isn’t due until half one.  I am always ready far too early.

Thinking about what I’ve forgotten to pack.  Are four pairs of shorts enough?  Paul sighs and reminds me that there are shops in Australia.  Did I pack the bread sauce?  Yes, my daughter has requested packets of Colmans Bread Sauce mix.

Fidgeting, watching daytime television.  There’s a consumer programme presented by Julia Somerville, Angela Rippon and Gloria Hunniford.  Paul wonders what their combined age is.  I’m wondering how much hair spray they’ve used on their bouffant hair do’s.

Can’t settle.  I’m just going to go and clean the bathroom. Yup,  I’m nervous about the flight.

24 September 2016

Back to Blighty

We shut the house up yesterday morning and drove north to Caen to catch the overnight ferry to Portsmouth.  This is just a collection of snapshots from the journey...

Paul doing his yoga exercises. Actually he was turning the water supply off. The bags are full of polystyrene which are placed in the cavity to prevent the pipes from freezing over winter.

Busy French motorways...

Sweeties for the journey

A quick stop for a cheeseburger, fries and coffee. You can't beat McDonald's for speed and consistency.

Sailing into Portsmouth Harbour at dawn.

The Spinnaker Tower

Photo of HMS Victory taken through the misty cabin porthole - reminds me of a painting by Turner.

21 September 2016

The Last Ride

It was our last ride out this morning.  We set off at about 8.30 a.m. and it was cold but sunny.  The heavy dew sparkled in the sunlight. I was concentrating hard as I pedalled up a steep rise, focusing on the road and trying to avoid fallen chestnuts. A sudden movement to my right caught my attention and there, looking at me in wonder (what was this puffing apparition in pink lycra?) were three young deer standing in the meadow just a few feet away.  They were so sweet, their dark eyes and black little noses.  I stopped and we just looked at each other before they eventually bounded away into the trees.  

We cycled past the lake, the water levels still very low.  There were some baby coypus playing along the grassy banks and a heron took flight as we went by.  It was all very bucolic.

We climbed Les Chenes for the last time this year and suddenly the peace and quiet was interrupted by a procession of four- wheel drive vehicles careering along the lanes.  All the occupants were wearing orange Day-Glo caps and jackets.  Autumn is a beautiful season in France – gorgeous countryside in a blaze of autumnal colours but it also heralds the start of the hunting season.  I hope my pretty trio stayed safe today. 
spiky chestnuts scattered on the road, not good for cycle tyres

20 September 2016


wonderful grapes this year

This morning we cycled.  Our last ride will be tomorrow and then the lycra and the bikes will be packed away until next year.  I will no longer be able to regale you with tales of cycling but just wait until I get on that surf board!  This morning we once again met the jogger with his uncontrolled and ill mannered dogs; fortunately they were more intent on chasing a car today than trying to savage two cyclists.  

Paul pruning the wisteria
In preparation for our imminent departure Paul has been pruning anything that moves in the garden.  The climbing roses have been cut right back and the barn looks very stark.  The wisteria has also been pruned and it’s rather sad to see the flowers scattered across the gravel.  But this treatment will ensure an abundance of flowers next Spring.



I rescued some of the roses, they have been given a reprieve for a few days.

autumn crocuses

18 September 2016

Bad Hair Day

This morning Paul asked me to cut his hair so that he will look handsome and dashing when he walks out of Sydney airport next week.  Unfortunately I forgot to put the comb onto the end of the cutters so he now has a dashing streak up one side of his head. (I have been forbidden from taking a photo.)

I then decided to press my white linen dress ready for packing.  Clearly I had enjoyed my sauce laden lobster a bit too much last week and discovered a huge, orange blob.  I have spent the morning trying to remove the stain.

The day is going well.