30 June 2018

"Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new"

The journey through Eurotunnel, from pet check-in (Rick has his own passport) to driving off the train into the Kent countryside took less than hour.  I am always impressed by the speed and efficiency of this process.

For the first time ever we headed along the M25 (London’s Orbital Motorway) in an anti-clockwise direction, through the Dartford tunnel under the Thames and then headed north into the Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire countryside.  I was pleasantly surprised by the terrain, I had a preconceived vision of flat, monotonous, arable fields.  Although the area was quite flat in the south we were presented with gently, rolling countryside, fields, hedges and woodland.  I suppose the summer sunshine helped but I found the area utterly charming.  The country lanes were quiet and everything seemed very rural and peaceful.  I certainly didn’t notice anyone with webbed feet or hands.

Rick enjoying the garden at Home Farm, East Keal

Trying to find dog friendly hotels at short notice in the UK is not easy but we managed to book a small Airbnb cottage in the grounds of a big house on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.  It was absolutely lovely, as were our hosts who gave us a warm welcome and had left a gift of freshly baked cake and home made marmalade in the house. Rick loved the big garden and was particularly taken with Hickman, the robot grass mower, that ambled around the lawn at random like a giant beetle.  Actually I was quite taken with the robot too, he continually cuts the grass and when he runs out of power he takes himself off to the re-charging point, all by himself.  So clever!

Hickman (his headlights come on after dark)
We spent three days looking at six properties.  One was horrid (black mould everywhere), one was a definite no, and the other four were all quite impressive in their own way.  But one ticked all our boxes - plenty of room, big bedrooms, good sized garden, and quiet village with no passing traffic.

We are now back in Wiltshire.  If everything goes according to plan we should be packing this place up and moving out in the next couple of weeks.  We’ve had a few setbacks so I’m not counting my chickens yet.  But in the meantime we have made a cheeky offer for the property in Lincolnshire.   

25 June 2018


I have been very busy today packing and preparing stuff in readiness for our road trip back to the UK tomorrow.  Rick has just been down to the vets to get his passport stamped.

Sometimes life here can be quite hectic - constant maintenance of the house, looking after the garden and potager, cooking, cleaning, occasional entertaining, dog walking, cycling etc and generally I think we cope pretty well. But after watching Escape to the Chateau last night I feel totally inadequate. In addition to running a wedding businesss from their chateau Dick and Angel also had time to convert a stable into a flat for mum and dad, build a glamping pod on a pontoon, cultivate a huge kitchen garden, make jam and sew designer pillow cases. They always have a smile on their faces and there is never a cross word between them.  Amazing!  I thought I was doing well this morning char grilling peppers, boiling beetroot, throwing Rick's ball and chatting to my daughter on WhatsApp all at the same time!

23 June 2018

Easy Living

Summertime is here at last and, as the song goes, the living is easy.  Blue skies and sunshine, lazy lunches on the terrace, butterflies and humming moths, farmers making hay in the fields.  I love days like this, but...

... on Tuesday we will temporarily be leaving all this behind and heading back to the UK.  We need to pack up the flat and put our furniture into storage and on the way back to Wiltshire we have planned a detour up the east coast to Lincolnshire.  We will spend three days exploring the countryside and viewing some properties.  The house in the Forest of Dean is no longer an option for us so the hunt for our perfect English home is still on.

It’s going to be a hectic few weeks so my posts here will be a bit random.

a scrap of lobelia growing on the steps

19 June 2018


Our two cherry trees produced well this Spring and we enjoyed eating the plump, sweet fruits.  Yesterday Paul came back from a visit to our neighbour, Philippe, with another trug full of cherries.  I filled three more jars with brandied cherries, put four boxes in the refrigerator and then spent this morning de-stoning the remainder to make jam.  I wish I hadn’t bothered, the jam didn’t set and I now have three jars of cherry syrup.  Ah well, I shall use it when I’m baking cakes.

Earlier today we saw Philippe on our way home from our afternoon walk. He waved a bucket at us and said “come and get some more cherries....”