What a difference a day makes

The routine with Hugo is becoming established and we try to manage 3 walks a day, one of them a long walk, usually in the afternoon. He seems to have bundles of energy and never tires…until the end of the day when he just crashes out. All around the village are numerous lanes, tracks and virtually empty roads, so we have a huge amount of choice of where to go, and as much as Hugo likes a routine, I enjoy the variety of somewhere new. The walk the day before was a new route which took us out of the village, along an old track and through the next hamlet, making a nice round-trip of about 6kms. To say that it was cold would be an understatement. The easterly wind felt like the Russian sabres were out and cutting my face. The fact that it was a beautiful sunny day gives the impression that it wasn’t so bad. In fact the frost never went all day from some of the hedgerows.

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dscn2545These are the kind of things you miss seeing when driving…just beautiful!

dscn2543Leaving the village

dscn2549Looking towards the village

dscn2547Dormant vines waiting to spring into action

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Twenty-four hours later and a swing in the wind and we are positively basking in a balmy 16c. The coat is off, the gloves, scarf and woolly hat set aside and we have been able to walk with just a sweat-shirt on today. (Well, I did wear trousers as well; it’s not that warm)! Long may it continue I say, but realistically, winter isn’t over just yet. However, spring is just around the corner.

A bientôt!

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Frustration in a box

All of my well-laid plans to keep a regular blog from my arrival went totally to pot! Not from any fault of my own I hasten to add. It all stems from the lack of internet and the frustrations of dealing with French companies. If you are reading this as a new arrival in France, it may be of some help. The village doesn’t recieve a very good signal for mobile phone at all. In fact if I go to the end of the garden, climb on the wall, hold one finger to the rising sun, lift my other leg at right angles and poke a wire coat-hanger up my bum, I might get a weak signal. (I’m not joking…well, I am about the coat-hanger)! Internet is another kettle of fish entirely. It’s all satellite. Apparently fibre-optic is arriving this year, but I am reliably informed that they’ve been saying that for the last few years. I really can’t wait for sometime/never, so I contacted a suggested company for wi-fi. They sent me the modem and a rectangular box (the antenna). I will say here that the previous owners had the same company and have the exact same antenna already in place. Anyway, they said that someone would phone me to install the antenna and all would be good. No ‘phone call. Just how long do you wait I wondered? Several days later I spoke to them again and was told that the intaler would call within FOUR weeks. WTF!!! But luck was on my side beacause since my initial call it was now only 3 weeks to wait. WOOHOO. (I was SO excited about that bit of news, I can tell you). Time passed and the days rolled into weeks and I have to admit that I wasn’t keeping track. All I knew was that I was getting very frustrated. Nothing to lose so I called them again. “Oh you have to phone one of the agreed installers.” Grrrrrr. So why didn’t they tell me this in the first place? Obviously some of the staff have no idea of the process. Oh, I was also asked if I had told them that I had already got an antenna. DUH…yes! So, after phoning several of the companies ( one of whom had no idea how to install the box) I got an appointment. The old box was removed, the new one put up and the signal activated. Great…..but no wi-fi. I was told to wait approx 2-4hrs. Nothing, Zilch, Nada, Rien. Another ‘phone call and the very helpful guy said it was normal to wait 3 days and just hung-up on me. Well, merci beaucoup for nothing. After 2 days I was now very impatient and ‘phoned again in the hope that I got someone helpful and pleasant. “But there is no problem Monsieur, it is connected.”…….and 5 mins later I was transported into the glorious 21st century. Hurrah. This is the innocent, unassuming box.

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I can tell that you are all suitably impressed with my box, if you’ll excuse the expression! Let the blogging begin.

A bientôt!

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Bonne Année 2017

The start of a new year and a start to my new life here in France.I’ve actually been here now for 3 weeks and geting settled is all part of the adventure. I think that not a lot has happened, but in reality I have managed to do a fair bit and I am already feeling fairly well established in some sort of routine. The previous owners had left an old Christmas tree in the barn, so that was ressurected and decorated ASAP. Can’t have Christmas without a tree, can you?

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Frugal my Christmas may have been but it was fun. Various people invited me for meals and lunches, and I was made very welcome.

Just a few days before Christmas I ended up going to Bergerac with a new friend, Sandy. She directed me to the SPA (Société de Protection des Animaux) where there was an abandoned dog waiting for my approval. I have wanted a dog for so long, but with work and living in a small appartment in Brisbane it wasn’t possible or practical. So, off we went. It was a great day out, stopping off for lunch in Riberac. We took the ‘Plat du Jour‘, usually good value and home cooked. The omelette was nice and tasty. The next plate arrived…Tête de veau.  It turned out to be a plate of very little veal, a few vegetables in a lovely creamy sauce, and a HUGE amount of pure fat, and virtually raw! We both killed ourselves laughing, and wondered how anyone could survive a plate of soggy fat; cholesterol 0n a plate! We just couldn’t bring ourselves to eat it and mopped up everything else with copious amounts of bread. Madame enquired if all was OK…”Mais Oui, Merci

The apple and cinnamon dessert was lovely as was the local wine. So, as we were leaving Madame asked again if all was OK. Yes, we said, but explained that there was too much fat and that we weren’t used to it. She was horrified and almost cried “Sacré Bleu“. She explained that it wasn’t fat, but gelatine from over the brain!!! Really, as if that makes any difference.

Anyway, we had places to go and we eventually found the SPA. And there he was…..my new dog. Oh what a delightful, happy and loving dog he was, tail wagging and the first thing he did was to jump up and put his paws around my neck. SMITTEN! (Me, that is)! There was no way I was going to be leaving him, so papers signed, money handed over and he hopped into the car. So. I present to you…….Hugo.

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How anyone could have abandoned this lovely boy is beyond me. He is just adorable, friendly, docile and all he wants is hugs and some love. So far he won’t leave my side and I have a constant shadow. I guess he’s worried that he will be left again. He’s a 12 month old Labrador cross, but what with I have no idea…possibly Pointer. He is underweight and needs feeding-up and some exercise, which he’s getting plenty of.

So, my life has changed already, and for the good. Lots more to tell but that can wait for the next post. So, until then, Happy New Year to one and all

A bientôt!

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Au Départ.

And so it begins……my move to a new life in France. I’m just 2 days away from leaving Brisbane, Australia. The removal company have packed up everything and I’ll see my belongings in 3-4 months time. It seems like an interminable amount of time to be parted from my possessions, but I am sure that I will survive. I have to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to be the guys doing the packing and carrying of my boxes. It was 38c and really humid and I was sweating just watching them! (It is very hard being a spectator). It’ll be about 30 degrees colder when I arrive, but I’m looking forward to the colder weather. (Ask me in a few weeks if I’m still enjoying the cold). Hahahaa.

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These last few days are rounds of lunches and dinners with friends…always hard to do ‘goodbyes’…but they can always visit, can’t they? So, not a lot left to do now. As the words of the song say “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go”and I just need to make sure that I am at the airport in time for my long flight to France.

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A bientôt!

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