The year that was – 28th December 2019

Whilst it has been a tough year it is very easy to forget about the good stuff that happened during the year. So this blog is about some of the good stuff that happened this year.

January – we got to go to Paris – it was cold but a lovely clear day with some medical appointments for Pat (this was for his Australian Visa) but we had a great time, found a wonderful restaurant (which we visited later in the year). I got to go to the Musée de Rodin and we both got to go the Eiffel Tower.

February – we had a quick trip back to the UK for Pat’s brother’s birthday, it was a lovely weekend and we had a really great time.

March – We moved into our lovely gite, and again a trip to the UK for a quick visit with R&L and K&H complete with a visit to the Tower of London – which I had never seen.

April – We had a night out in Limoges – we stayed overnight at a nice hotel, went out to dinner at a very nice restaurant – ate good food and drank good wine. It was a lot of fun.

May – We had a weekend at the seaside – we got to explore a different part of the coast that we like and we got to visit our favourite beach. I must admit I always love a weekend at the seaside and Siena adores it.

June – We went to our old neighbours for a piano and cello concert – friends joined us – it was a lovely afternoon and enjoyed by us all.

July – we had the first of visits from friends – M&S joined us for some lovely weather which was great. I also had the Vernissage for art class, we had a wonderful lunch at a friend’s house, mum arrived and we explored an international watercolour exhibition spread throughout a local town, so while July had some really hard bits, it had a lot of good bits.

August – T&R came for a visit which was a lot of fun and we got to go and see the amazing Chateau Hautefort.

September – L came for a visit and I got to see a lot of art and do a few things that I hadn’t done for a while. Pat and I had our 11th wedding anniversary (yes it has been that long) and we got to go to B&S’s wedding at the end of the month – that was a really fantastic day.

October – Aunty B came for a visit – which included a day trip to Paris (and lunch at previously mentioned restaurant from January). Dad arrived and we got to go to Champagne for my birthday – now that was a lot of fun and interesting.

November – Another trip to Paris to catch-up with K who was heading back to Scotland via Paris from a conference. It was a wonderful weekend, with some art and fabulous hot chocolate.

December – We’ve had a few nights out, or course there has been Christmas (where we got to consume one of our bottles of champagne, which had been purchased in October). Hopefully this week – the last Star Wars movie (once we find out what time and date when they are showing original language version).

So as you can see, there were a large number of good things that we got to experience this year.

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

Only 2 more shopping days before Christmas

Well not counting today (Sunday) when it turns out, at least in St Junien, most shops were open this morning; or so Delia has reported after coffee and Lidl there with a friend.

Yesterday, also in St Junien – this time to go to the factory shop of a glove maker, who apparently the “discrete supplier for luxury brands”, for Delia’s Christmas present. I have to say it looked unprepossessing, faded sign, with just a piece of paper stuck inside the glass of the door saying “Ouvert”. Things seemed hopeful as another few people had arrived at the door with us. They rang the bell but no-one answered. Eventually after several minutes, someone – a departing customer – opened the door and in we went. No expense spared on shop display (an I mean none) – just a long shelf with trays of gloves. No complaint though, the gloves were all wonderfully crafted and about half the price that we had seen on the web page. Still and opportunity to top up on a handbag and a purse just in case we were in danger of saving money :-/ Delia loves them all though and that’s what matters.

On into town through the Saturday market. The market in the top car park was shutting down though so we had just a few stalls to stroll through. But we did manage to buy some of the best made patisseries in Nouvelle Aquitaine to go with our lunch.

On into town through the Christmas market. The artisan market in the top car park was shutting down though so we had just a few stall to stroll through. But we did manage to buy some of the best made patisseries in Nouvelle Aquitaine to go with our lunch.

This afternoon we have been invited to an “apero” (late afternoon drinks) with our former neighbours in Beaulieu. We haven’t been back since the concert in summer so it will be nice to see them again. They haven’t seen Delia since she lost her hair, and though it is growing back, it still makes quite a statement, short as it is.

So happy holidays to all our readers.

Xmas is coming

A christmas market at St Laurent sur Gorre. We ran into so many people that we knew, mostly from my conversation group. And we had a hot dog french style (ie with a baguette). Also this week we had a lovely visit from my brother and sister-in-law. The weather hasn’t been too photogenic these past days but we did manage a couple of fine days.  On Thursday, R&L and us went to a restaurant near the hospital immediately following Delia’s midday radiotherapy session. The restaurant (Restaurant La Villa) was set beside the river Vienne and, on hot summer days you could enjoy the shade of the riverside patio. Not in December however, since it was not warm, albeit it was sunny. The food was lovely, I had a terrine en croute (essentially a fancy pork pie) followed by lamb cooked two ways (small chops slightly pink as they should be and a piece of confit shoulder – almost falling apart). Dessert was a nut macarron with citrus sorbet. We all ate very well and scarcely felt hungry again that day.

Afterwards we went into Limoges to show R&L some of the sights of this lovely city. The Christmas market was on too, and not being spread out in the main square due to building works, was charmingly spread out through the side streets.  We enjoyed our wandering about.

Here’s a taste of what it was like from a couple of years ago at the same time.

The next day we were able to take Siena for a sunny but cold walk around Lake St Mathieu.

On Saturday, R&L were due to fly back but, due to the general strike that included the Air Traffic Controllers, their flight was cancelled. Notwithstanding the steady drizzle that had set in that morning we drove into Limoges again (following the same route that Delia has to endure everyday, except weekends). We visited the Museum of the Resistance. A first time for R&L, an interesting experience for them showing a different French viewpoint than one usually gets.

Back home that evening for a lovely shepherd’s pie cooked by my sister-in-law as a thank you for the extra day (courtesy of the air traffic controllers). R&L taught us Gin Rummy which made a change from out usual Sevens when guests visit. Lost of sparkling (and otherwise) wine drunk and good company what more can one ask for.