29 July 2018

Bath Time

Rick's spa bath (no filters required)

This morning we had clear blue skies and sunshine; we took Rick out early for a long walk while the day was still fresh and cool.  The scenery through the chestnut and pine forest was spectacular but the flies were a bit annoying. 

Back home, after coffee, we decided it was bath time for Rick.  We tried to entice him into his brand new paddling pool but he was having none of that nonsense.  Give him a muddy pond or a river and he would jump straight in.  Paul carried Rick across and placed him in the pool and he stood there bravely while we shampooed him and rinsed him off.  Afterwards he jumped out, shook himself off and went to dry himself off in the sun.  He seemed pretty relaxed by it all.

wet dog

He is now clean and fluffy and smells absolutely delicious.

sunning himself

28 July 2018

Moon Gazing

“I’ve found the moon!” Paul came puffing up the stairs to tell me late last night.  We had been eagerly waiting all evening for the moon to rise so that we could go and be dazzled by this special eclipse and amazing blood red moon. I followed him outside into the courtyard.

“Where is it then?” I said, peering into the darkness as Rick charged about barking at the bats.
“Between the trees.”
“What, that pale pink pimple?”

We were totally underwhelmed.  It was a very small, distant moon and the faint cloud cover dimmed any redness into pale pink. At least the barn owls put on a display for us, swooping out of the pigeonnier and wondering what all the fuss was about.

26 July 2018

Back to the Good Life

creeping wisteria and flowering mint

We left our Paris hotel just after 6.00 a.m. on Wednesday and we were back home by midday.  We have only been away for four weeks but the garden has gone a bit mad; the wisteria is attempting to creep up the steps to the house.  The courgette plants look a bit scorched and we have lost one cucumber plant but overall things don’t look too bad.  One of our peach trees is laden with ripe fruit and I have picked a whole bowl of blueberries.  The ferns and hydrangea bushes look a bit unwell but they may revive.  The weeds have thrived of course.

pesky weeds

The temperature is up to 33 degrees today, I put a load of washing outside this morning and it was dry within the hour.  All the shutters are closed and we have taken refuge inside the house to watch the Tour de France this afternoon.  Rick is stretched out on the terracotta tiles. It’s good to be back.

Rick's favourite spot at the top of the steps

24 July 2018


It was a strange day yesterday.  The removal men (more like skinny boys) took all day to load our furniture onto their vans and take it off to storage so I actually felt relieved when it was all finished and we finally shut the door to our coach house.  Wiltshire has been my home since 1980 so it feels quite strange to think we have now departed from that part of the UK. 

We had decided to stay the night with my Dad in Sussex en route to Folkestone and the Eurotunnel. He has lived in Broadbridge Heath all his life and I was born in a small cottage in the village and spent my childhood here.  Paul and I (and Rick) were tired when we arrived but Dad had prepared a ham salad for us and proudly presented a Black Forest gateau for dessert.  Rita, his partner, was out playing bingo.
“I don’t know why she goes,” said Dad, “she never wins anything.”

I hadn’t stayed in my old bedroom since my mother and I left the house when I was twelve years old.  “It’s your same bed,” said Dad.  Paul looked a bit aghast.  The pink, rose sprigged wallpaper had long gone but a large picture of John Wayne watched over us all night (my Dad became a cowboy in the 1980s).  It was all a bit surreal.

We woke early and took Rick for a walk around the village, visiting a few of my old haunts.
Rita made us some sandwiches for the journey and then we said our farewells and set off for Folkestone mid morning.

showing Rick my old primary school

the cottage where I was born (I hate the replacement windows)

the common

Rita won £90 at bingo.  Dad is 88 years old.

20 July 2018

On The Move

The ‘phone call from our solicitor came as we were driving home after visiting friends – “you’ve exchanged!”  We gave a little yelp of excitement but the feeling was more of relief than celebration.  We contacted the removals company without delay but Derek gave a big sigh and said “we’re fully booked all next week, it’s a busy time of year”.  Eventually he relented and they are sending a smaller van to do two trips first thing Monday morning to put our furniture into storage.

I shall feel sad saying goodbye to this flat.  It’s been a good place to us over the ten years since we bought it.  We have good neighbours and it’s a pleasant area to live in but toy town feels very noisy and crowded in summer and I’m craving for more space and quiet.  We shall head back to France on Tuesday and enjoy the remainder of the summer out there.  If all goes to plan we will be heading towards a new life in Lincolnshire in the autumn.

Here we go again!

16 July 2018

Departure Lounge

It feels like we have been stuck inside an airport terminal for weeks, waiting for our flight.  A departure lounge with no air conditioning.  In actual fact we are just ‘trapped’ inside our flat, half packed waiting for the news of an exchange date.

Our coach house is an ideal winter bolt hole, warm and cosy and comfortable.  It is not so great during an English heatwave when we have to leave all the windows open and Rick barks at all the noises of the estate.  He is pining for his garden. The solicitors and estate agents are leading us a merry dance.  Three weeks ago we were told we would be exchanging on ‘Wednesday’ so we rushed home to start the packing.  Since then three Wednesdays have gone by and we are still waiting. We are fairly confident that the sale will go ahead (apparently there is a problem with deposit money coming from abroad and having to go via the UK tax office) but we dare not book the removal company until exchange is confirmed.  So we are stuck here and getting extremely bored and frustrated.  And hot.

Fortunately we managed to sell and complete on our rental property within five weeks.  The solicitors expressed surprise when we said we wanted to exchange and complete on the same day but why wait when the house was empty and the vendors were temporarily living in a camper van.  It all went through incredibly simply.

As soon as we get the long awaited ‘phone call on this place we can finish packing in 24 hours, put everything into storage and hot foot it back to France to enjoy the remainder of the summer.