Last one of 2018

I uploaded my last blog to my old site d’oh. Anyway, today we went to Site de Peyrassoulat to see the “original” of the artwork we have bought as a souvenir of our time in France. So when we get to Australia, probably in November 2019 visa permitting, we have something other than all the various  christmas tree decorations we have bought on our travels. No we aren’t hanging the picture on our tree next year!

I was up in Paris this Friday getting my biometrics done. Finger prints and digital photograph to accompany my visa application. It was a 6am train from Limoges for the 3 1/2 hour trip to Gare d’Austerlitz.  I had planned to walk along the Seine past Notre Dame, then across past the Louvre and north towards Montmartre. But it was bitterly cold and all I really wanted to do was get on the metro and then find a warm café before having lunch at a Brasserie. Which is what I did and then spent 40 minutes queuing with all the others (who were actually applying for UK visas at this joint UK/Australian visa handling centre). Two minutes for my appointment and I was done.  I am next due on 18th January for health check. Delia’s coming then and we’re squeezing a trip up the Eiffel Tower into the day trip.

I shall miss France – Europe in fact. It shouldn’t make any difference to my work – a digital nomadic life is all the rage now! Plus I will be available anytime before noon (European time).

As for Peyrassoulat – it was quite magical. The sun came out and the sky was blue. Autumn leaves covered the floor the ancient woodland and two huge 200 years-old plane trees were kept company by four over-500 years-old yew trees. 

Number 32! – 22nd December 2018

On the 22nd March 2014 I wrote the following in my blog (back in the early days!)

“…I’m looking forward to never moving again, well at least hopefully not moving for at least 20 years!!! So what number move does this make, well it will be house/home number 29, but move number 31 – as I’ve been back home a couple of times – this also includes 3 overseas moves.”

Guess what, move 32 is now going to be happening! This will be a surprise to a large number of you. But to let you know what is happening, back in October Pat and I had a big discussion about our future and where we wanted to be and what we wanted to be doing. We ended up coming to the conclusion that for me being near my family and saving for my retirement were 2 very important things so we made the decision to pack and up move to Australia.

This was not an easy decision to make, as I really do love being in Europe and travelling to all the wonderful places that are here. But it is time. With the decision made we put our house on the market and Pat has started his Visa process. We figured that the hold-up would be the sale of the house. We were wrong! The average for selling houses in our part of France is around 2 years and with all the Brexit stuff happening that really has extended out to 2½ years. We had an offer in around 8 weeks, surprise to us but a good one. We’ve signed the first part of the paperwork which is good; the 2nd part should be signed in early March.

So we are now madly trying to decide what needs to be packed up and what we don’t need to keep. We have started to sell some items on-line – like our cement mixer, scaffolding, yesterday we sold my bike (I’ve had it for 5 years and the guy buying it asked if it was new – sort of shows how little I’ve ridden it).

We’re now need to find somewhere to rent, (consider France or UK if you know of anywhere). Why? Pat’s Visa is now the hold-up, this can take over a year, but we are hoping that it will be simple as nothing needs translating and we have been married for over 10 years. But we will see, Pat has to head up to Paris next week for his biometrics and then in January for his medical tests (I’m heading up in January with him – just for the day – so that I can go to the Eiffel tower – which I’ve not yet been too).

We would like to be back in Australia for Christmas 2019, however – there are also a large number of places that I want to make sure that I get to in the next 12 months. We also need to do all the paperwork for importing our pets – yes Siena and Wallis will also be making the journey as-well. Not sure how much they will like it, but I can’t live without my fur babies.

One thing I am doing is putting together a list of places within Australia and nearby that are must visits – so far we’ve got Queensland (to visit Pat’s son), Singapore (it’s changed so much since I last visited), Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Adelaide hills, Tasmania, might even get to New Zealand finally. Would love suggestions of places that are worth visiting.

So for now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia

Almost Christmas? – 8th December 2018

The Christmas tree is up and our Christmas stockings are out and there are already a few presents under the tree. I do love Christmas, though it does feel strange to have it in winter after growing up in the southern hemisphere and having Christmas in summer. Our newest addition to the Christmas tress decorations is this small Venetian mask – which we both loved and I feel does a good job of representing Venice. I really like our tree decorations now as they do all represent places we have been which is lovely and as we got to reminisce about the places we have been to together.

I loved Venice and it was hard to get back into the swing of things back here at home once we got back, especially as it has been wet, cold and grey for most of the past two weeks. Work has also been very busy, which sort of spoils the holiday feeling.

Back to France, today I met a friend for coffee and we then went to the local Christmas market, I was looking for stocking fillers for Pat, not a lot there really, but I did get a couple of items. Pat and I are only doing stocking filler gifts this year as we want to put our money towards travel next year. So far Amsterdam and Berlin are on the list – I would like to add Prague as Pat has never been and I’ve always wanted to go back. However, there are so many places I want to see and to do too many returns just seems a little silly, but when a place is amazing and a deeper exploration needed then one must return. But as all this travel costs money, things may have to wait a little while.

So for now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia


One from Delia’s must-see list. Like Rome two years ago, I was amazed how much I enjoyed the visit. Venice is unique, the atmosphere so… atmospheric. No cars, bicycles, not even skateboards; only feet and boats – I can understand the person we saw on a recent documentary about Venice, who asked when Venice closed, as if it were a theme park.

The airport bus felt like a prison transport, the windows semi opaque due to the layer of plastic on the outside to advertise. Inside was dark and until we got off the bus we had seen nothing of Venice itself. My first surprise was the colour of the “canal” water – light green and not a shopping trolley or old tyre in sight – the Grand Canal was not like the Grand Junction Canal in North London.

Our walk to the apartment we had rented was short, Delia had planned well and guided us straight there. We spent the afternoon wandering before and after meeting with our friends Kate and Heather from Aberdeen for a delicious lunch. The lunchtime cafe was pricey, I had read that eating out in Venice was going to be expensive anyway. Everywhere else we found to eat, we found the costs similar to France, however the pizzas were more delicious.

Its impossible to detail the experience: the wading through the aqua alta (especially high (neap) tide), the Grand Canal by vaporetto (water bus), the churches, the food. For all the day trippers, who experience Venice by crowd shuffle only, you miss a truly immersive experience (perhaps rain and colder but worth the difference) – and Venice by night is truly not to be missed. Here are some of the multitude of photos.