Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Back Home!

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to my blog, but it really has been non-stop since I arrived here, and things are not going to change much until the end of April! At least I have an internet connection!  After staying overnight with my friends near Montreuil, I drove down through France on Sunday 27 March. I did stop to take one photo of a sign that I took a fancy to, but the day was for driving and not photography!!!  Sorry! The French do have exceptionally lovely road signs though! Plenty of blog material there!
I arrived home to discover that the heating was not working! David, my neighbour, had had a repair job done on it a few weeks previously, only to find when he tried to turn it on, so that I would arrive to a warm house, there was a new electrical fault! He had kindly put electric heaters around the house to try to warm it up for me and as soon as I arrived, I also lit the woodburner. This is very effective and warms things up very quickly, despite the thick stone walls. When the heating guy arrived (after a few days!!), he managed to fix the boiler  temporarily with a bypass, but he is supposed to be getting me a quote on the new part that we need. This could be a shock (it's a Viessmann boiler), but I guess it has to be fixed!

I have managed to get all the weeds out of the vegetable garden, but it still needs digging over. On the only really dry day we have had since I arrived, I managed to cut the grass, but very high, so it will need cutting again soon. Needless to say, I have not managed to do the edges yet. 
After the first cut.
There are various flowers in bud around the garden, so I hope very soon there will be some colour. The cherry trees are already losing their blossom, but the apple trees are just coming out.

Apple blossom about to come out.

If any one can tell me what this, I will be very happy. It has large dark evergreen leaves and only flowers in February-March. This was the last flower left. I have had an email saying this is possibly a Bergenia, the photos look right to me, I wonder which species?

We moved this bay tree a couple of years ago and as you can see it is very happy and flowering this year.

The camelia is blooming well

I just caught the cherry tree before it lost its blossom.

Sunday 3 April was the local annual luncheon for the pensioners and a very good time was had by all. Perhaps a bit too much wine was drunk but……….




I am at the back left getting a cuddle!

Later this week,  my roofing man should arrive to help me put a ceiling and insulation into the upper part of the barn. The lounge is in the lower part of the barn and with the extra insulation, I hope this will help to keep the lounge warmer. We hope in time to put two offices upstairs, one for each of us, and another small spare room. I have also arranged for the artisan who made our entrance gates, to put a built-in wardrobe into our bedroom. He is a cabinetmaker who specialises in furniture, so I am sure we will get an excellent job. Although we have many cupboards in the kitchen, we have a serious shortage elsewhere in the house!

The sun is out again and I am off to cut the grass once more. I will be back soon, but bear with me awhile, until I catch up with the backlog of work :-)

80 comments:

  1. You can drink too much wine? ;)

    Welcome home! So good to be there but lots of work. I can understand that. Yet I'm anxious to get home from S Texas, where it might be less work.

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  2. Glad to hear that all is well and that you are "connected" again. You're a busy girl. Look forward to more in the coming days and weeks.

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  3. A sense of how much you love this place shines through every word you write. Thos words are a pleasure to read. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  4. Hi Diane so glad you arrived in your beloved France ok. I am back a few days now from my beloved Italia! I know what you mean about catching up with emails and reading blogs, and replying to readers of your own. I still have work to do on all that, and post about my trip. Your photos are gorgeous as always, the world just seems so much brighter there doesn't it :-)

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  5. Welcome Back Diane - yes, it looks like you've got quite a bit to do before you can settle down to some serious blogging again ... :)

    Please do post some of the French Roadsigns ...

    regards

    Graham

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  6. Bon retour en France! Your garden is going to be lovely – it already is. I got a kick at watching the meal for the “retraités” you showed us. My cousin in France goes to meals like that, where there is good food, wine and dancing – they also go to shows in Paris. Here in Georgia, when I went to a meal for “retirees” it was first a long Christian invocation then beans and chicken with iced water and weak coffee. There was some singing – a couple of ladies singing church hymns – no dancing, no wine and then more prayers…. They would think drinking wine is evil. I never went back.

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  7. How lovely to see the apple blossom. I bet it's quite an adventure arriving after a long spell away and seeing what has thrived in the garden - we find that in our little cottage but luckily we have Alex and Nicole to keep things in shape - and it's only a miniscule garden!!

    I also bet it's great to be back in France for the summer.

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  8. Great!
    I am back too from Spain!!!
    Much to and pics to sort out!
    I'll be more relaxed and back to my old self in a couple of days! LOL!
    Love, Diane!

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  9. You really are home again, aren't it? Take your time settling in...we will be here waiting for you.

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  10. Gaelyn, yea, maybe one can drink too much but I was still able to drive home though it is not very far! Diane

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  11. Craig it really is busy at the moment. Leaving the house for the whole of winter takes some catching up with, especially the garden. Diane

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  12. Thanks Mary, yes I do love France and I am glad it shows :-) Take care Diane

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  13. Dolly you are so right the world does seem a brighter place. Especially at the moment with blue, blue skies :-) Diane

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  14. Thanks Bo it is good to be back in blogland even if I may not have quite as much time as usual! Diane

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  15. Thanks Graham. There are more French road signs in blogs from mid October 2010, Diane

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  16. Vagabonde, glad you enjoyed the photos of the Repas des Ainés, Georgia sounds like fun LOL!!!! No wonder you never went back :-) Diane

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  17. Jean I am lucky with having David to keep an eye on things for me, but this year he has not been well and was off work for two months. He has certainly kept an eye on things for us, but he was not up to doing gardening. It is wonderful to be back. Diane

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  18. Noushka, sounds like Spain was fun. Looking forward to seeing your photos. Take care Diane xx

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  19. Yep Susan I really am back home and it is wonderful :-) Diane

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  20. Glad to hear you are there and safe. I know it must feel good to get back to France. Too bad about the heater but great that you have someone you trust to repair it for you. Beautiful blooms on the apple trees. Take care.

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  21. Welcome back to blogland! Good to hear you are settling in well, I have missed your posts. Enjoy the wine, I know I am again! x

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  22. Must be great to be back again... can't wait to see what you get up to!!

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  23. Welcome home Diane! What beautiful flowers of Spring! An absolute treat for the eyes! Glad to see you among nice folks enjoying life with them. Wish you all good health and happiness! Cheers!!!

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  24. What a comforting feeling it must be as you draw closer to your lovely French home. Now, how soon can Nigel come home for even a visit?

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  25. Diane,I am happy that you arrived safely and you blogging again!
    OMG! You already have a real spring!
    Wonderfully beautiful photos.
    mmm I am sure that the rose wine was divine:)

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  26. Beautiful blog. Looking forward to following you around your blog
    Cruise Picture

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  27. Hi Becca, the apple tree is well in bloom now and looks beautiful as does the quince. Still waiting for a quote on the heating but thankfully it feels pretty much like summer at the moment - long may it last! Take care Diane

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  28. Froggy it is good to be back though my time is limited for the moment. Looking forward to when you visit here, Cheers Diane xx

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  29. Welcome home. Your garden blooms look fantastic. Hope your heater doesn't cost too much to fix. :-)

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  30. lostpastremembered it is going to take me a few weeks before I catch up properly and go viewing places but I will get there!! Diane

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  31. michelangelo it is good to be 'home' again and to be back blogging, I missed you all. Thanks for the kind comments. Diane

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  32. Mya Nigel arrives on the 15th for a couple of weeks including Easter. I am hoping he will get the chance to relax and unwind. Only hope the weather holds, it is beautiful at the moment. Diane

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  33. Olga I am so happy to be back, and yes spring is very definitely here and the weather at the moment is beautiful. Diane

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  34. Sailor thanks so much for your visit and great to 'meet' you. I am looking forward to sailing the world with you as well. Diane

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  35. Thanks Joyful, it is good to be back. I also hope the heater is not too expensive but I fear it is not going to be cheap!! Diane

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  36. Ah, at least the wood burner sounds romantic. And the wine lunch sounds like lunch.

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  37. Indie.Tea, the wood burner is magic and the spare room leads off the lounge where it is. Guess where I have been sleeping while here on my own? Diane

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  38. Good to know you are back working and socialising Diane :)

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  39. Hi Linda, working is the right word. I have only a small strip of vegetable garden left to dig over. Came in just now as I had done more than I started out planning to-do!! If I do not do it then Nigel will. I want him to rest! He plans on laying a base for the greenhouse as it is! Hope all well over there. Diane

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  40. Sorry about the heating problem. We had that problem a while back so I know how uncomfortable it is. The signage is very nice, neat design actually. I love those blooms! We are far from having ours, we had snow yesterday arrgh..

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  41. chubskulit, snow yet again !!!!!!!! think we are well rid of that but we are having almost a heat wave at the moment. Well 27C (about 81F!) for April is very good. Trouble is it is deceptive and we are sure to get another frost to surprise all those gardeners!! Diane

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  42. Phew - sounds like you have been busy since you got back! welcome home and hope you won't get too lonely on your own - although you will be far too busy to be lonely I'm sure!

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  43. Hi Diane, thank you for the St Patricks day greetings. As you know we were down under for the day. Glad to see you made it back in one piece to France and look forward to following you through the summer. Hope your roof installation goes ok. Regards to Jan & Nicole from us D & D xxx

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  44. Welcome back Diane. It is always a blessing to have a friend to keep an eye on your home while you are away. I love the pic of the flowers, the pink color look so vibrant. Take your time to settle in, and blog when you are less busy. I will be around stalking you! You don't mind me do you? LOL!

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  45. Welcome back home. Thank goodness for wood-burners!

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  46. Welcome back, Diane. Sure miss you a lot! Gosh, another batch of wonderful pics to share with us. I'm loving those flowers. How I wish I have a garden. Sounds like everyone having a fabulous time at the party. My hubby is not much a dancer. I actually hope he'll dance with me in public someday. haha... Have a great day.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  47. Welcome back Diane !!!
    I hope that to be happy in France !!!
    Your photos are beautiful, your home, your garden !!!
    Your flower is Saxifraga or Birginia.
    I have the same in my garden too.
    Good works in your home and many greetings and kisses
    Bonjour !!
    Magda

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  48. No such thing as too much wine! Its great to have you back - and in France too. I love the French road signs. I would love to stop off and explore every place that they advertise! Can you believe we were in Oxford just a day apart? x

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  49. Hi Roz, been up in the barn all day today putting up new ceilings and insulation - how I hate insulation!!!! Diane

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  50. Hi Deanna, sorry about the delay in reply. Frantic day today doing the ceiling and insulation, this looks like it is going to continue well into next week with only Sunday left to do the garden before Nigel arrives! Saw Jean today gave him your message. Take care Diane

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  51. Quay Po Cooks great to hear from you, not sure when I am going to have time for another post but I will catch up eventually!! Diane

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  52. Jan you are right, without the wood burner the first few days I was here I would have been very cold. Now of course I do not need it! Diane

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  53. Hi Kristy, pretty frantic here and I have missed you all. It is going to be another few weeks before I get back to 'normal' blogging :-( Diane

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  54. Thanks Magda for the kind comments and the flower identification. They are unfortunately in the wrong place so will have to be moved, hope they survive. They seem pretty hardy. Diane

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  55. Diane it was such a shame we missed each other in Oxford. Maybe we can meet up in France instead :-) Take care Diane x

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  56. Beautiful home. I like all the colorful flowers and the French Wine,

    Thanks again for the visit and the valuable comments.

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  57. Sounds nice. Lovely photos of the flowers.:-) Hug Stina

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  58. Thanks Sailor for the comments and the visit. I think we have a beautiful home, but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Diane

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  59. Hi Stina, I just love this place and there are more flowers each day. Just too much work at the moment to get out there and catch up! Diane

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  60. Coming home to a cold house is no fun... it sounds like your neighbor David is a great guy. Your flowers all look beautiful.

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  61. I have been working a lot, with not too much time to leave comments.
    I still have to finish your trip through Africa. I am hoping someone could write a screenplay.
    Good luck on all the chores; but life is good anyway!

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  62. Pam, David has been my saviour since moving here in so many ways. He is only in his mid 30's and he will do anything for this 'old girl' to help out. He has a lovely wife and two of the best behaved boys I have ever met. Diane

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  63. Good to hear from you Nadege. Screenplay, not that's an interesting thought :-) There is an article going in Land Rover World in the next few months which I am looking forward to reading. Take care. Diane

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  64. When you're having fun, is there really such a thing as too much wine? I think not, as long as you can still walk.

    As to the boiler, you're lucky it's not the dead of winter. We had one go down in the winter of 09/10 when it was 15 degrees out. Even we have 2 boilers, half the house was just frigid. It was not pretty. We paid through the nose to get it fixed...in no small part because we called "after hours", but we do need our heat, don't we?

    You are far ahead of us in spring, but I have high hopes for more sunshine and no more snow! Glad to see you back!

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  65. Response to your comment in my Cruise Blog.
    There are lots of cruise lines which offer cheaper rates. I used to work with P&O Cruises long time ago and they used to have most of the passengers above 50 years old in average.

    Life is not about having cruises. Let me tell you it is almost same as you go in a small boat. After working so many years in a cruise ship personally I wont go for a cruise. I am pretty much bored now.

    Thanks for the visit and the comments.

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  66. Welcome back Diane!
    I look forward to reading more about food, fun and life in the Charente...............

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  67. Looks like the flowers are welcoming you home:)

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  68. Margie we are having what is more like summer at the moment but I am sure we are going to have another cold spell yet. We can get frosts in May so I am being careful with what I plant. I only hope that we don't get it so cold that all the fruit gets knocked off the trees!!

    I am still waiting for the estimate for the boiler so it good that it is not cold at the momenmt!!!! Take care Diane

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  69. Glad to see you back on your blog. this is my first reply to your blog. Before i just kept reading.
    One more thing i need to say you are a born photographer. Nice pics. Keep it up.
    Market Research

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  70. Thanks GarynorB for the kind comment. I will keep up to date when I can but until early May it is going to be quite frantic! Diane

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  71. Keats The Sunshine Girl - Thanks for visiting and yes I feel like the whole place was welcoming me back. :-))) Diane

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  72. Maneesh Thanks you so much for your very kind comments and your visit. I wish I had a better camera, the one I have is just very cheap from a supermarket. Mind you if I had one that was complicated maybe I would not know how to use it :-) Keep well. Diane

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  73. Hello Diane, is good to have you back in France ! The first picture remind me when I was nine yo. I spent one year in the city "Eu" from wich the forest takes its name !!! I was boarder in a catholic's school !!!

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  74. Hi Diane! Glad to hear you arrived safely back in France! Your garden looks really good, way ahead of ours here! Good luck with the boiler and I'm looking forward to many great posts of yours from France. By the way, there may be no such thing as too much wine!

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  75. Sébastien it is sooooooo good to be back in France. Each time I have been away it makes me realise just how much I love it here. I hope the 9 year old memories I brought back were good ones!! I have been working so hard since my return with putting in ceilings and doing the garden, I have had little time to socialise other than last Sunday. Nigel arrives on Friday and I hope other than a couple of jobs he wants to do we will get to relax for a couple of weeks. When are you coming to visit? Take care, chat soon, Diane

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  76. Pam it does seem the spring weather here is ahead of America but I am sure we are going to get hit by another cold spell before summer arrives!!. I am worried about all the fruit being ahead beacause of the warm spell. As soon as I get back to normal, what ever that may be, I will get back to the computer a bit more and a few more blogs. Have a great day. Diane

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  77. Gorgeous spring blossoms and great sign on top.

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  78. Is the sign a warning sign?
    A party with too little wine would be a strange party:)

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  79. All is looking beautiful..I am sure it is nice to be back home..
    Welcome back, but sorry for all the things not working. Funny how homes do not like to be empty..

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