Thursday, 29 January 2009
I have to say that I have not got very far and did not particularly expect to, but I have been very ruthless in getting rid of stuff. I began by sorting videos and DVDs. We had nearly 200 free DVDs (from our newspaper) and I managed to whittle it down to 170. The rest I knew we would never watch. From those that are left there are a number of very good costume drama series, classics and wildlife plus some good old films. Some of the good series we opted to send away for at a small cost rather than take a trip to the local store with a coupon every day.
Added to that dozens of bought DVDs, either by us or for gifts. We have begun to copy the videos that I want to keep onto disc, taking up less space and preparing for the fazing out of video recorders. Alan tells me that never in my lifetime will I watch them all. Whether I do or I don't it is nice to be able to choose something that fits the mood. My favourites I will already have seen at least once.
With that finished I began on our store room. Now if there was ever an opportunity to be ruthless this was the place. I cannot tell you how many bags went to the charity/thrift shop. We have decided to sell our stamp collection which I began as a small child and Alan took over when we married. This frees up one whole shelf. The albums have not been touched in years. We are fortunate to have a Pastor friend who deals in stamps so we know we can trust him with valuing our collection.
I have also decided to call it a day for knitting. I am having some upper back pain and knitting is not helping. Clearing out all my wool and patterns and needles has freed up 2 large drawers. This has all found a home in our school. I am hoping that in doing this I will be inspired to finish all the embroidery that I have started.
I have also recently given away everything pertaining to my watercolour painting, silk painting and calligraphy, keeping only the craft items I use for making greetings cards. That in itself takes up one whole wall of my art room.
We had a surplus of language books and tapes, Russian, German, French and Spanish and are keeping only the current ones in use. Alan is the linguist, not me.
Above the many shelves that line the walls of this store room, we have all the cupboards from a previous kitchen. Wonderful to have but how easy it is to fill them up ' just in case'. Why do we need so much picnic stuff now there are only two of us for instance?
It feels very satisfying to have some space and to know that what is left is what we use. I completed the job last night by shampooing the carpet in there and afterwards enjoyed watching the second half of one of my Christmas presents - a DVD of my favourite book as a teenager - Anne of Green Gables. Must get Anne of Avonlea now as I loved it so much.
In the midst of this mammoth task life has gone on as usual and last Sunday I cooked dinner for 15 as I was playing host to those that could make it from our house church.
The weather since New Year has been pretty awful with lots of rain, frost and ice but occasionally interspersed with a little sun. Severe weather has been forecast for this coming week with snow and winds from the Arctic. Maybe I will get to start on some 'deep cleaning'!
We were able to walk for miles directly from the farm and enjoy routes like this with nothing more than dragon flies and birds for company. We walked across fields just full of wild Thyme and other fragrant herbs. It would not suit me as an everyday lifestyle but wonderful for a holiday.
We stayed in the farmhouse for most of our visit but the gite was vacant for our last 3 days so we opted to stay there and give our friends some space as one of their sons had come to visit. I would not dream of invading their privacy by showing the inside of the farmhouse but here are a few pictures of the gite that was converted from part of the barn.
Friday, 23 January 2009
The English style garden
Here we are visiting Chauvigny, the walled upper part of the town set on the hillside. Full of history. Theseignory and consequently barony of Chauvigny belonged to the bishops of Poitiers from the 11th century - a chauvinois family provided Poitiers with 3 bishops at this date - up until the French Revolution of 1789. During the hundred years war the French King, John II, stayed in Chauvigny on the eve of his ill-fated battle of Poitiers-Maupertius against Edward II, the Black Prince, in 1356.
Monday, 19 January 2009
It is about an hour's drive from where we are staying and by sheer coincidence an artist friend of ours is running a 2 week painting holiday here, so we made it our first port of call on this trip. Phil was also my art teacher for a while so I begin with a photo of one of my paintings, not done in situ., but from a photograph at home.
Monday, 12 January 2009
We are staying with English friends who now live in France some 45 kilometers South East of Pottiers. Tony and Ruth bought a small farm and dilapidated farm house and have spent 10 years converting it to the lovely place we see here today. Initially Tony moved to France with one of his sons doing the work himself while Ruth, who is a doctor,stayed in the UK to earn the money with which to do it. At the time the only way up to the top floor of the house was via. and outside step ladder. Once the house was in order they then worked on turning part of their barn into a Gite for rental. This small Hamlet of just five dwellings is about 5 kilometers from the main road.
We will be out touring the area but for today I will take you around the grounds.
The Barn and Gite
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
These particular photos are none too clear as they were taken in 1996 when the tunnel first opened and before I had a digital camera, but I did not take any on subsequent trips so these are the best I have.
We have had coffee in the terminal building, checked in before passing through customs and security etc., and here we are waiting in the queue for the next train. Much, much busier these days.
We drive down the ramp and onto the train. These trains are so long that they have different entry points. As you can see, the train goes straight into the tunnel and the beauty of having all the customs, security and imigration taken care of before the flight, we drive straight off the train and onto the motorway on arrival.
You can stay in the car or get out, but as there is nowhere to go most people just stay in their car. The journey takes 40 minutes, 25 of those under the sea bed.