To the tower with them!

We decided on a whistle-stop to the UK last weekend to visit my brother and sister-in-law (R&L). Also, Kate and Heather were in town to attend Heather’s OU degree award ceremony. Our afternoon and evening with R&L was great, after a tour of the light industry area of Aylesbury we got to Princes Risborough for some shopping and the wine bar. To my delight Delia failed to find shoes or a handbag she liked in the first shop, but a brand name handbag (Boden?) in a charity shop. Posh towns have posh charity shops – another time, in Pangbourne we found a watercolour print we liked for £5 and when itemising for packing we found it was worth £150! Lyn fed us copiously and deliciously as usual. Plus, despite the visit to the wine bar and the usual free flowing flow of wine with the meal… I had no hangover though Delia was a bit fuzzy.


We had an early start to catch the train into London, as we wanted to get to the Tower of London early to avoid queues. So my neice was already up at 7.30 and gave us a lift to the station. We met K&H at their b&b – third floor converted servants quarters by all accounts. Then off to the tower. We’re still getting used to just being able to touch-in with our debit cards on the underground (its coming in France but its still unusual). Touching in at the underground (just like an oyster card for you Londoners) it all worked and, having just checked my bank statement, significantly cheaper than buying a travel card.

The skyline at the Tower was familiar including Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, The WalkieTalkie, the Shard. I found it surprising that having seen it from the other side of the river so often I had couldn’t recall ever having been into the Tower itself. Costing £25 each might explain why? Anyway, it was a fascinating visit better illustrated than narrated.

After the Tower we checked into our tatty abode down the road from K&H in a similar converted posh town house (fallen on hard times). It was cramped but functional (just). That evening though we went to a posh pub for some posh fish and chips (Delia had a stacked hamburger – a Tower if you like). Next morning, a full English (or thereabouts, from a Croatian(?) cafe off the Bayswater Rd) and the Stansted express for our Ryanair bus home.

This is now home and shots of my morning dog walk

Bitter Sweet –21 March 2019

Well we signed for the sale of our house on Monday, a very bitter sweet experience. We were happy to be selling to someone who truly loved our house and was very happy and excited to be buying it but it was sad to be selling “our” house, one we put a lot of us into. I had so many plans for our house and garden and now they won’t be happening. This is difficult for me, but Pat is happy to have his weekends back without having to worry about the next project.

We also left a little gift for the new owner, a book of photos that Pat had taken from around our hamlet and she loved it.

So we are now settled into our rental and the spring weather is back to our delight. I do like the ability to walk to the local bakery. We are slowly exploring the area for walks with Siena. Pat has already sorted out his morning walk. We did try one on Thursday, but discovered a slightly aggressive dog, the owner did come out, but we turned around at that point and headed back home.

It is also very nice to sit outside overlooking the fields and drink a cup of tea (or glass of wine) after lunch or in the late afternoon. Now we need to settle into our new routines.

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

Life away from the chestnut groves

Yes we are moved into our new abode for now, at least until November. It’s a pretty place, more open but with lovely rural views and plenty of places to walk Siena. I’ll take some photos when we have some decent weather.

One last visit to the “old” place to finish cleaning, one last trip to the decheterie (the dump) and to say goodbye to neighbours. I have compiled a photobook of Beaulieu photos as a way of thanking them for being good neighbours. We will leave one at the house as a welcome for the new owner too.

The actual final signing is on Monday – we have to do one final visit to read the meters and the new owner has to see what she is actually buying on the day (in case we have stripped out the light fittings, flooring and plumbing – which can sometimes happen apparently). Then off to the notaire to finalise the deal. I am not sure when the money will grace our bank account but I expect there will be a period of limbo when, like in the UK, the money is earning interest but just not for us.

Number 32 has happened – 09 March 2019

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. Pat and I are have now moved (move 32 for me), we are in our rental place – La Jolie Maison (which means The Pretty House) which is a fairly accurate description. We have had our house at Beaulieu all packed up (this happened on Thursday) and today I am heading back to clean – this was meant to be a job for yesterday, but I decided coffee with a friend and art class were better options for me at the end of a busy and emotional week. Tomorrow I am going to sort out my desk area as Monday I am back at work.

Wallis (our cat) is desperate to get outside and I have given him 2 short forays out into the garden – the first wasn’t the best as Siena (our dog) decided to follow the cat everywhere. I did the second one while Siena was out walking Pat. Tomorrow as I’m home all day I will give Wallis the opportunity to get out and about properly. Our landlady – who lives next door – is ecstatic to have a cat nearby as she has wanted one for a while – though I’m not quite sure how their big dog will take to him.

So for now we just will have to wait for our final signing for the house to go through – which should be Monday the 18th March.

I will miss our house here in France, Pat and I have put a lot of “us” into it. I will definitely miss my bath (though I can, at least for the next week, go back to Beaulieu and have one). However part of the sadness around moving is the loss of the plans we had – the things that were yet to be done – such as the spare room and a pond in the garden. And I can’t yet plan for the next house as I have no idea where and what that is, but I am planning on enjoying the fact that we now only have the responsibility of keeping this place clean – that’s it, no maintenance, no garden work, which in some ways gives us our weekends back and we have plans to explore as much as we possibly can while we have our weekends relatively free.

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