November already



Three weeks holiday in the UK…



and this is what it does to us!

No, seriously we had a wonderful time. This is Lotherton Hall where we went with the daughter and grandchildren – the children don’t stand still enough for photos but these folks did!

We went to London to see the poppies – we couldn’t get this close as it was incredibly crowded – this photo was taken a few weeks earlier by our friends who sensibly got there a lot earlier – but what a fantastic sight.



And then we went to rock in the isles to some really good music! What a production!



We met with friends, had real English fish and chips, and drank good, PROPER beer…

IMG_2484We went to Scarborough, and even on a dull autumnal day, it is still a great place.

We had a wonderful evening, courtesy of our friends in Golcar, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse where we saw the brilliantly performed ‘Kite Runner’.

We went to the cinema to see Turner – Timothy Spall was his usual brilliant self!

It seems we have had all our years culturing in one visit – but that’s the way it is – we expats know what we miss!

So having caught up with our daughters and grandchildren and loved seeing them – its back now and its on with the writing course and making soups and preparing to return to Galway and visit my sister next week!

I know what you’re thinking – ‘Life is one long holiday for her now she’s retired’ – and do you know it feels like it is too – isn’t that great?

Work is great too, when you are younger and energetic – because how else could we afford this – and know to appreciate it?

IMG_0515This is sunset over Lough Corrib taken by my nephew – I’ll be there next week, all being well, as the mother would have said.

Todays quote has to be:

”Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. ~Gene Perret – or maybe even:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.’ ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894


rhyming poem….

My creative writing course has started – yippee.. now there’s a real focus for me to sit at the laptop.

Here’s a bit of rhyming nonsense I wrote nearly a decade ago! Now I am determined to take it more seriously – well a little – and be more disciplined.

This writing Lark

The fire is lit and the flames are roaring

near me on the sofa, Sammie cat is snoring

I sit with pen in hand on my 13th cup of tea

waiting for the muse to come, for a writer’s what I’ll be.

I’m on my second breakfast, or perhaps by now its lunch,

Oh what the hell, I like to eat, I’ll call it morning brunch.

The words are there within my head, perhaps that might be true

but there they stay, well hidden, apart from this stuff I write to you.

So I go and wash the kitchen floor and clean the bath out too

How come when I hate housework, I can find so much to do?

I have my health and loads of time, as I sit here by the fire

I thought I’d find it easier when I knew I would retire.

My pencil’s neatly sharpened; my pen is full of ink

and from this mighty task I know I shouldn’t shrink.

Is that the time already? Good grief it’s nearly dark,

Suppose I’ll go and make the tea, and give up this writing lark!


the greatest plans of mice and men…

well never mind the mice and men what about my plans? I have waited since summer for my writing course to begin – I have even tidied the loft in anticipation – no small feat when it contains everything from a sewing machine to forty thousand bits of paper needed for filling in tax forms, an old lap top still sort of working, a new laptop with no instructions that could possibly be hurled through the window at any moment…

and why? because I want to put a photo in here of the loft looking its best and do you think i can find it? No, I can’t – so much for iPhoto – this old granny is beaten by technology again. On the old one I would just have gone to photos 2014 – looked through and found it but on here there’s photos, events, last 12 months – which doesn’t mean they were taken then, oh no – but put on the computer then.

and as if to finish me off completely yesterday I came down with the mother and father of all colds and just want to be under the quilt with paracetamols and a hot water bottle – how are the mighty fallen. Two hours writing every morning – I was so looking forward to it – now two minutes and I feel dreadful…
IMG_0075this is the loft before I tidied it in preparation for the writing course – it looks much better now – well this table does…but the photo is lost in the bowels of somewhere or other – and the other table is a disaster area…

if the loft looks better than this – great for the loft – I feel a whole lot worse and this macbook is driving me nuts – its back to the old and very slow windows one from the year dot.

If anyone can tell me how I drag and drop a photo when I can’t see iPhoto and this page at the same time – I will be eternally grateful…and why don’t they tell you that the option key on a mac is called alt?


quotations and cliches…

It seems that’s all I can write!

today’s quote is from a song by Natasha Bedingfield

“no one else can speak the words on your lips, drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open, today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten”

I thought this was fitting because today my online writing course starts!

And as for cliches – well I just love Paris –


and have just spent a great weekend there for our 37th wedding anniversary. Himself and the GPS fought with the traffic on the peripherique and got us safely into the underground car park of the hotel near Bercy Village – its a good place to stay.

Now where is this? A good view from the top of the bus, anyway.


And now let the writing begin! First I have to master signing on and all the other technical details and then, well…who knows… I may still end up writing rubbish but it’s exciting having a purpose to switching on the laptop every day, and not just to do freebie jigsaws either (although I am just a teeny weeny bit addicted to them…just one more piece before I walk the dog, hoover the rug, make the tea….)

Whether or not anyone can help me not to write in cliches, only time will tell but in truth – at my age life is becoming more and more like one big cliche anyway!

If anyone can tell me how to put the accent on the word cliche – I shall be very grateful.


autumn ish


these are possibly called petit marrons or potimorons. They are like small pumpkins but, I believe, totally different in taste and texture. Don’t know what we’ll be doing with them tho’

So there you have it, I am back to the blog after a lovely summer – sometime in Provence, sometime near the Med at Valras Plage along with the mosquitoes that finally drove us back to Provence – a little too much eating and drinking, and lots of relaxing and sitting in the shade knitting! oh yes and some swimming in the campsite pool – not bad eh?IMG_0379

Now the grass is cut, the washing and ironing done and life will get back to its simple and usual rhythm. I will make lists of things to do and then feel cross when I don’t do anything on them – so I will add what I have done on to the bottom and then cross them off!

I will sit here in the loft and pretend I am a writer – writing long rambling emails to friends and I will potter about thinking about sewing something… or knitting cashmere dog coats for the french and their bijou dogs and selling them online…

I will waste time reading old poems I wrote way back when… and the time will pass pleasantly enough – oh yes – bring on the autumn and winter – but not too quickly!

And at the end of October we shall go back to the UK and re aquaint ourselves with our family – the daughters we abandoned to become expats.. and the gorgeous grandchildren.

And in between…well watch this space – who knows?

IMG_2424 IMG_0383

I just love eating outside…and well, there’s always the sea. This is the beach at Givrand near St Gilles Croix de Vie on the vendee. There’s miles and miles of it!


wild life

What is it about us and critters this year?

First there were the campagnoles, hungry little french voles that ate their way happily through the onions; then dorifores – colorado beetle in our first language, that himself had to pick off one by one and squash by hand;  then a sangliar – wild boar, that is, that took a fancy to snorting and snuffling through the strawberry patch and turfing all the black plastic and a few plants upside down… and now to cap it all we have had mice in the camper van! YUK and double yuk. So instead of packing and getting it ready to leave tomorrow we have been cleaning and disinfecting.

I don’t mind mice as mice at all – providing they stay in the barn where the van lives and don’t invade the van, its the thought of them peeing and pooing all over it, that I don’t like at all.

Oh yes and for the first time I have had a tick bite!

attack of the voles


Little furry critters with big teeth have invaded our vegetables. They are called campagnoles in france and voles to the rest of us.

There seems to be no way of getting rid of them – maybe a few cats down there or an owl or two? If we had cats they’d be on the sofa or stretched out in the sun, rather like our dog – I can’t see them parading down in the vegetable plot. One web site suggested fox urine….

Campagnoles have five litters a year so don’t think I am exaggerating too much when I say they have eaten an awful lot – including our onions!

Himself has put down two humane traps – but the wily creatures are just by – passing them. They are probably too fat and well fed to fit in them now and far too clever!


See that hedge at the bottom well that’s probably where vole city is.