Settling in

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The weather is gloriously spring like and Himself decided to make the most of it by digging over the old vegetable patch at the side of the house. Into this we will be planting onions, beans of various persuasions (haricot, broad and runner), peas, carrots, beetroot, leeks and a variety of herbs…for starters. The soil is actually very good which given that we live on the side of a mountain came as a nice surprise. All we need to add is a bit of compost and we’ll be off and self sufficient in vegetable goodness by the end of the summer.

The pups have also settled well. Boy Dog spends his days pottering about the garden, “escaping” through the gate, wandering up the lane to do his business and sitting by the third tree along waiting for one of us to go up and carry him back. Girl Dog just basks her little brown and white tummy in whatever sunshine is available and has hi-jacked the chair by the fire in the evenings.

We’ve also been hugely sociable (we are so not in England now!) and had friends stop over for the night last week, they were on their way to the Gijón-St Nazaire ferry run by LD Lines which cuts out the whole of the tortuous drive down through France to Spain. As it was also our wedding anniversary (that “our” refers to all four of us) we had an even more fun time. These are the only other couple we know who share our anniversary (albeit a few years apart) as April 1st is not a date one often chooses for a lifetime commitment…at least that’s what my Mother said at the time.

We also had lunch with the neighbours…homemade piccadillo (spicy pork mince)’ own chicken eggs, chips and flan….good conversation and laughter…yep, we ended the day fuller than when we started it!

Not only did we have friends to visit, No.1 Son and his Girlfriend cooked for us in their flat. This was huge for us as it was the very first time one of our offspring entertained us in this way! To see No.1 so happy and content warmed the cockles of my Mommy heart. Now, for everything to be perfect…grandchildren would be nice before I get too old!

 

 

What is the French for…?

We are having a few days holiday at our friends lovely home in Brittany. The weather has been just right, warm with a breeze during the day and cool at night. The area we are in centres around Chateauneuf-du-Faou, about an hour from Roscoff, which is situated next to the Nantes-Brest Canal. Just how lovely is this?

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Or this?

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And just to show you a geographic reference

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We first came to Brittany 25 years ago when The Eldest was three, with a rough plan to buy a property and set up a small business. Life had other ideas. We have been over to Morlaix on business a few times but have never really taken much time just to chill out and explore the area. We are so glad we decided to stay a few days.

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Just to sit and watch the world go by.

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However, I have found myself sadly lacking in the linguistic department and am struggling to remember even the most basic French as my default second language is now Spanish, which can lead to some very confused conversations, on the positive side it does mean my Spanish must be improving. Luckily, from my point of view, there is a lot of English spoken here, possibly due to the high concentration of ex-pats and second home owners. Himself has perfected one key phrase which he trots out with a charming smile and a deprecating shrug: “Je suis desoleé, je ne parle français” and it works like a dream, particularly with women!

Best of Both Worlds

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It’s been a busy few days catching up with the kids, friends and various bits of business. Whilst Himself has been occupied on important matters (motorbike ride on Dartmoor with his mate) I have been running hither and yon working my way through a rather large shopping list of items to take back to Asturias with us.

Funny what you miss. Cheddar for example. The best one I know of, which has become a cult favourite with our neighbours, is Worthy Cheddar* a mature waxed cheddar from Glastonbury with a round, smooth, tangy taste.  Also sausages. Try Kernow Sausages….nummy! Thankfully I was able to pick up a truckle or two and a couple of packs this weekend as the makers were in the big white marquee on the Piazza in Truro. The marquee is a regular monthly sight and is run by Deborah Martyn Events* and is not just full of gorgeous food (Hayley’s Bakes* bring tears to your eyes they are so good) but also really high quality arts and crafts. My absolute favourite is Finishing Touches Jewellery*, beautiful handcrafted silver beaded and semi-precious earrings, bracelets and necklaces…I just can’t resist! (Nor can I resist Trenance* Chocolates Turkish Delight…but that is another story).

Can you tell I am a fan of these events?

This “hit and run” has been most enjoyable. It’s been wonderful to see Cornwall in the sunshine (something of a rarity these past few years) and to catch up with friends, although my BF has actually been out of the county for this visit and I don’t get to see her until September and have missed our long, girlie, gossipy lunch…just saying!

Anyway, this time next week we’ll be heading for the Spanish border and our Asturian home. We really do have the best of both worlds.

P.S The photo is of a rather attractive patch of weed in the front garden that I valiantly saved from the gardener’s strimmer…well, it is pretty!

NOTES *

*Deborah Martyn Events http://www.dmevents.co.uk

*Worthy Cheddar http://www.worthycheddar.co.uk

*Kernow Sausages http://www.kernowsausages.com

*Hayley’s Bakes, Caffé Nova, Stithians Lake, Redruth

*Trenance Chocolate http://www.trenancechocolate.co.uk

*Finishing Touches Jewellery http://www.finishingtouchesjewellery.co.uk

On the road – stage one

We’ve made it to Brittany!

The trip to Poole was easy and painless and we pitched up for the night at Hunters Moon Caravan Site which was convenient for the early morning start for the ferry port. It’s a lovely little site, well appointed, well maintained and friendly. We plan on going back for a longer stay at some point.

The crossing was smooth and uneventful and the dogs were very comfortable in the car. Unfortunately we had underestimated the length of time it was going to take to get to our friends in Brittany – it was only around four inches on the map- however, in real terms it took about six hours with plentiful stops to view the countryside and exercise the dogs…oh, and a little nap for Himself.

I have to say there are some truly beautiful things to see, Mont St Michel is one and beats the pants off its opposite number at Marazion (heresy from a Cornish woman). We also want to go back and spend some time looking around St Brieuc, Utah Beach, Sainte- Mère Église nd the military cemeteries. Sat Nag held up well until the last 30k when she turned left into a parallel universe and got us totally lost. It was with a great deal of relief when our friends mounted a rescue mission and came looking for us as we were both getting a wee bit edgy.

Food, wine and sleep was never more welcome.

And the sun is shining!

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A Breton lane!

Get a move on will ya Ma

‘Sick leave’ is now at an end. I’ve had my post-op follow up and saw the ‘After’ X-ray of my troublesome left knee and it looks absolutely fantastic – all high grade titanium – I could see the new covers on the bone ends and knee cap in lovely, crisp, high definition. Such a difference to the sorry article I had X-rayed in November. That knee was a disgrace to its name. This new one however is lovely and shiny and working well. It is one to be proud of – with the added bonus of setting off security alarms in airports!

Himself is delighted that all is well as it means he can now delegate tasks and chores without fear of me overdoing it (‘As if that’s ever likely to happen!’ Himself) so next week is set aside for general tidying, cleaning and painting before we leave for Asturias at the end of April. This is not soon enough for No.2 son who is literally hopping from to foot in anticipation of a summer free of maternal nagging.

However, apart from Junior’s disappointment that we are still here, everything is going to plan: the dogs have been boostered and anti-rabied, the car and caravan have had their MOTs, the lists are being ticked off and the days counted down. 

We’ve had some lovely news from our Spanish friend who rang up to let us know our neighbours had had a little boy on Sunday. Both mother and son are healthy and dad is tired, happy and very proud. We can’t wait to meet the little chap for a cuddle!

In the meantime I am ensuring I get to spend enough quality time with friends, so have been indulging in some pretty nice lunches and hardcore gossip, enough to keep me going for the duration of the summer. 

There is a new haiku on the Writing page.

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Photo: Statue of Eugenia Martínez Vallejo, La Monstrua, in Avíles

 

As Time Slips By

Funny how quickly time goes when you’re not really doing anything with it. Since being trapped in the house for extended periods of time and heavily reliant on the goodness of Himself in taking me out, I have noticed that one can potter around all day and not really achieve anything at all.  I mean, once I’ve checked my emails and Facebook for anything interesting and then read the paper online it’s time for lunch. A little trip in the car in the afternoon and maybe a gentle amble along a sea shore – by the way, I recommend Swanpool in Falmouth, nice flat walking around the nature reserve then treat yourself to a  hot chocolate and flapjack from the Beach Cafe (very yummy and very good value) – and it’s almost time for dinner.

However, all of this leisure time is coming to an end. I will soon be able to drive again and we are making plans for our trip to Spain. Which this year has involved the purchase of a 4 berth caravan to make the journey better and less stressful for our dogs. Seriously. They are getting older and find the 24 hour crossing from Plymouth to Santander on the ferry just too much.  So the plan is to use the caravan. Bear with me, it will work.

The plan is to take the ferry to Roscoff, it’s 6 hours. The dogs are allowed to remain in the car, which they like. We stop off to visit friends in Brittany and then take 3 or 4 days to travel to our home in Asturias. We all have a big adventure and the dogs are happy! Can’t wait!

Weed or flower?