Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Adieu

It's a very, very cold morning here but that didn't stop a huge crowd turning out in the village to say goodbye to Robert Bordes who died recently aged 87. His wife, Alice, died 5 years ago and he never really recovered from her loss. Alice and Robert were our neighbours when we lived at the top of the village and were the very first people to welcome us into their home. They were the kindest, gentlest, people and we were lucky to have had them as our friends and neighbours.

For the last couple of weeks I have been busy laying out the January edition of the Mayor's bulletin and on Monday I went to print the 120 copies we need. Of course, the copier was doing something strange and I had to call the engineer. A wasted  morning and a boring afternoon waiting for his visit. Yesterday I manage to get them printed and this afternoon Kevin and I will deliver them. It is one of the ways that we can support the village and contribute to the strong sense of community that exists here. As well as being involved with the bi-annual bulletin municipal, we have been part of the fête committee for years, I am on the church flower rota and am on my second round as councillor.

So why talk about our village activities today? Not to show off but because listening to the eulogies to Robert I kept hearing the word respect  - a value he prized highly. One of the reasons we decided to buy another house and stay in this village was because of the people like Robert and Alice who welcomed us so warmly to the village and made us feel part of a caring community. The phrase 'giving back' has become a bit clichéd but it really is how we feel about this small, rural village and we get so much support, friendship and love that we are willing to give up a little of our time to contribute - even if waiting for the photocopier repair man was very frustrating and boring! - and in these small ways we try to show our respect for our adopted country and the village we are proud to call home.

Adieu Robert - we were blessed to have known you.



Saturday, January 16, 2016

Where did the last few months go?

I just don't seem to have had time to write the blog for the past few months - there must be a new Year's Resolution clue in there. So here's a quick catch up.

An early Birthday


Kevin was going to be away for his Birthday so we celebrated early

Caught up with these cuties

Just before Hallowe'en so there were some spooky treats in Granny's case. Ellie was moving round like lightning and I was right to think she'd be an early walker as just a couple of months later she's on her feet and taking steps. Bethany and Charlie were a delight and we loved catching up with everyone.


The land of the long white cloud

Mid October saw us leaving for a long dreamed of trip to New Zealand.  Nothing about the holiday or the country disappointed and it really was an amazing trip. Kevin got to be a maori chief, we took a helicopter ride to walk on a glacier, marvelled at the amazing waterfalls of Milford Sound saw seals, dolphins and whales and so much, much more. I took a zillion photos but here are just a few.

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We were so lucky to have such great house sitters while we were away. For a whole month they looked after the animals, kept the house and grounds immaculate and impressed the locals by their hard work. Thanks a million Laura and Tim - the dogs, the cat and us would love to see you here again soon ( the chickens are still deciding!)








The annual Salon de Chocolat

With our Kiwanis friends we once again pulled off an amazing event and made boodles of dosh for needy children. Our best friend Gima got enrolled in the order of choclatiers.




A special friend's special birthday


We are lucky to have built up a special group of friends over the last 14 years - there are ten of us, four French couples and us and we have shared some lovely times together. We are all from this village or the neighbouring one and these friends are always there to lend a hand as we are for them. Jacquie's 70th birthday saw us gathering together to surprise him and we made up our own Haka for the event.


Bye Bye Bamboo


We have finally got round to giving the bamboo grove our full attention. First the birthday boy, Jacquie, came with his big tractor and together with our gardener, Christian, and Kevin they had a great time cutting and burning. Then it was time for the big guns with Michel and his digger taking up all the roots and the huge poplars. The water source is fully visible now and is currently draining before Michel comes back to landscape it all - at the moment it looks like a big bomb landed at the top of our garden!

Getting started with a little help from our friends
       
Bringing in the big guns
Cassoulet at Caumont


I finally met up with two of my online friends at the annual tree planting exhibition at the Conservatoire Végétal d'Aquitaine. Penny and I share an interest in vegetable growing and through her I came across Kate Hill who is the queen of cassoulet. It was lovely to meet them both and we were invited back to Caumont, Kate's home for lunch. Yes it was her famous cassoulet cooked in one of he famous cassoulet pots. If you fancy cooking up a bit of south west France yourself then check out Kate's book here - it really is the cassoulet bible.


A night in Bordeaux

With cheques vacances to spend before the end of 2015 we decided to go to Bordeaux and stay the night to see the Christmas markets and this lovely city lit up at night.


Christmas celebrations in the village
Every year we invite the oldest and youngest residents of the village to pass the afternoon in the Salle des Fêtes where I run a Christmas craft workshop  for the children and there are songs and a show (this year a magician), presents for all and a drinks and chocolate to get us into the Christmas spirit.



Merry Christmas

No little house guests this year but it was delicious to have my daughter and her wife here for a whole week. Alison was queen of the quizzes as usual and after she has finished reading her new book I am sure Karen will be the queen of tidying!

Christmas morning chez nous  - buck's fizz, presents and reindeer noses!
Christmas evening chez nos amis - good food, good wine and good company.
Warm winter walking


The weather has been extraordinarily mild. No cold winter walks with a blazing fire to hurry home to for us. The sun was out and it felt like Spring


Happy new Year


We brought in the New Year with three special evenings  of friends around our table and it was lovely. Invitations to share La galette de Rois (the cake of kings eaten around the epiphany) were gladly accepted and celebrations will end finally on the 17th January when all the commune is invited by the Mayor to share galette together.








We hope that you enjoyed your festive season and that 2016 
brings you everything you need to be happy.



A la prochaine