Thursday, 30 April 2009

Queen for a day!

It's my birthday today! What a splendid day it's been. I had breakfast in bed cooked by the kids, a single fried egg and a lot of marmite on toast with a pint pot of tea and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Next I was whisked off to La Rochelle for lunch here, back to find the cleaner had been in and transformed the house (I made that last bit up, it's a right tip - they might be able to cook breakfast, but tidying the kitchen isn't something they know how to do yet - or ever!) I had a lovely pair of gold earrings and (fanfare) they've booked me in for a full body massage on Saturday morning with "Jennyfer" at a beauty parlour in Royan. DH says that it wasn't that expensive, as the salon makes it's money by selling tickets for the viewing gallery. I trust he's joking. I don't feel 49, but the mirror is telling me I am.

I've had a lovely day, but I'm ready for an early night now with a cup of Horlicks! Sad, isn't it?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Moody Wednesday

Do you ever feel that life is conspiring against you? I slept well and late, which is rare for me, in fact DH was so worried that I might get to like it that he brought me a cup of tea in bed at 9.30 am! I'd actually woken around 6 am after a terrifying nightmare, but must have gone back to sleep. I came down in a wonderful daze, not, for once, worrying about the time (the kids are still off school) and in the most pleasant of pleasant moods. My mum, who is off on her hols (again) tomorrow (she's going to the Isle of Wight) had promised to ring me up to wish me a happy birthday as she'll miss the actual day (tomorrow!) so when the phone rang at around 10 am (around her time) I answered it with a smile in my voice. First mistake! It was the bank, the same one that lost our cheque for £1500 back in January. Believe it or not, they STILL haven't found this cheque and appear to think it's our fault. I'm afraid that she made the cardinal mistake in customer relations of not letting me speak, so I put her first in the fruit bowl, then in the cupboard so that I wouldn't have to suffer the frustration of trying to interrupt her (in a foreign language). After that, the phone rang again, this time, it had to be my mum. No, it was the estate agent that's been trying to sell the gites for the last four years, ringing for a chat. I like Alison very much, but she'll never replace my mum! Oh well, I decided to take the poor long suffering dog for his walk, with Dear Daughter (10) chattering alongside me. I just walked along the road that runs between our house and the gites and I heard the very pleasant sound of children enjoying themselves. No wonder! When I glanced up, one was inside the tree house which was lying on the ground, and the other was gleefully rolling said tree house up and down the field! We watched them for a good while, marvelling at how a 9 year old girl was strong enough to push her 12 year old brother, until finally Dear Daughter (10) lost her temper and coughed loudly. They didn't react at first, but then suddenly realised what the situation was, and pulled the treehouse back up and pretended to be wiping it down. It could make you weep.

It's now 5pm and we're doing a wine tasting in an hour for said holidaymakers. My mum still hasn't rung.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

That's life!

If you're wondering why the weather has suddenly changed from being 70 degrees in the shade, blue skies and glorious sunshine to almost constant rain, wind and thunder and even hailstones, it's because the Wilce's have opened their gites up for the "summer" season and we now have holidaymakers rusting in the rain. I guess it's good for the gardens (and ducks)!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Tears before bedtime

Is he dead?

We had DD's best friend, Lucie here yesterday. The two girls were just on their way to the swimming pool (they have to cross the road) when they noticed a black thing lying on the road a little way away. Off they went to investigate, then promptly burst into tears, believing this mangled lump with black fur to be the much beloved six month old kitten, Shadow. The said kitten was nowhere to be found, which added to the certainty, since he doesn't usually stray far from home. Tears, mass hysteria and other emotions were rife. Even DH was upset as he'd got very attached to the little fellow, considering he didn't even want him in the first place!

I wasn't convinced, since the poor cat they'd found, although definitely black, seemed a lot bigger than our Shadow, but Dear Son (15) convinced me that I was just in denial, and according to him, when things die, they swell up enormously because of body gasses and such (I stopped him there).

We went on to have a full Christian burial, even to a point of throwing a handful of soil over him and putting a flea collar in his grave for use in the afterlife (he'd taken it off a couple of days ago).

I still had doubts, but when the kitten still hadn't come in for his tea (unheard of) at 7 pm, I started to grieve myself, and I have to confess that I had a lump in my throat, especially when I thought of the €80 I'd spent on having him castrated and vaccinated in the past few weeks. Poor chap was the baby of the family. Pineau (the old boy) had crossed that road successfully hundreds of times in the past 13 years, likewise Blaze (who I swore was grieving!) and Tiger, they were the ones left behind. Our little family had shrunk.

7.30 pm came and went, and Lucie's mum came to pick her up and of course had to hear the sad news. We even went as far as distracting Raphael, Lucie's 4 year old sister in case she got upset (more mass hysteria!) We'd just got started and were preparing her for the worst, when the little bugger strutted back in, bang on cue!

He was so shocked by the reaction, he turned on his heel and ran off (don't worry, he didn't get knocked over.)

As they say, all's well that ends well - but he'd better not pull that trick again!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A Rare Evening Out

Last Friday, we talked ourselves into a "Social Evening" with the local AFA (Association Franco-Anglais) in Royan. There was a fairly good turnout of 17 in Thoma's CafĂ© where they do cheap-ish food. Not very good quality, but fairly cheap. If luke warm paella at €8 or undercooked barbecued ribs €12 is your bag, I recommend it. There was enough material there for several posts but it doesn't warrant that much output. The group almost entirely made up of retired English people in their late 50's to 80's with secondary homes here who had been on a 6 week or so visit to open up their holiday homes for the summer to come. They were all going back to their main homes in England during the past week.

What struck me first about this so-called Social Evening was that everybody was sitting at a long table with their backs towards the wall, already in groups and there was no room for us, so we had to sit at a table with another couple of outcasts, but we'll say no more about that. As usual, nobody looked up or acknowledged us, so we made a point of walking the length of the table and saying hello to everybody individually just to wind them up.

Rumour had it that there was somebody in the main group who lived in our local village, so DH set off to find out more. After he'd left our table, the lady I was sitting next to hissed "Does he realise she's FRENCH?" in a stage whisper using the same tone as if the woman in question had had leprosy. "There's a lot of them around." I replied, which made her blush bright red. I didn't mean to upset her, but I obviously did since she didn't speak to me after that! Instead, she went and found herself another holiday home owner to talk at. Trouble is that once you mention that you have three children in schools here and that you're running a business and that you've been here 13 years, the other person loses interest! Dunno why!

Another thing that struck me was that nearly every woman there had grown out perms and grey roots as they aren't confident enough in their French to visit a coiffeuse here. Sad really.

What was funny was that DH struck up a conversation with "the FRENCH" woman who lived in sheltered housing on the edge of our village. She was about 10 years older than him, but in fair nick with her bottle blonde hair in plaits (I'm not kidding) and resembled Edith Piaf with her overly made up face. He was gone for quite a while but it didn't matter, I nipped off to the loo and left him to it. We decided to leave not long after, so as we were going by the main group, he introduced me to "the FRENCH" woman. She gave me a look that would have killed. I have a fair idea that she assumed that he was on his own and looking for company. Ha! Poor bloke is so naive, he had no idea why she suddenly went all cold on him and said that "Non" monsieur, she wouldn't after all be calling by for a coffee next time she passed!

You have to laugh!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Is there anybody out there?

A couple of Sundays ago, 22 people looked at my blog, including one in Malaysia! Were they all killing time whilst the roast chicken cooked? Who were they? There are only two named followers, did you look at my blog 11 times each B & L? Are you addicted? Fat chance, the way I ramble on! If you are following my blog, click on the follower's widget - it might encourage me to write for a wider audience and certainly encourage me to write more regularly, which might not necessarily be a good thing, come to think of it! You can still remain annonymous. Over to you ....

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Happy belated Easter

Hope you didn't eat too many choccy easter eggs. We had a nice, quiet, family time this Easter, barbecuing steak and playing games such as Joker Poker and Rummikub. The weather wasn't brilliant, but we Brits will barbecue anyway! We drew some strange looks from passing cars as the smoke billowed out of the barbecue! It almost rained a couple of times, but speaking as one who has regularly held an umbrella over a barbecue, that wouldn't have bothered me!

I've just read a tutorial on how to link with blogger, so I thought I'd give it a try, but I'm having a job thinking of something to link to! Here is a link to the website of the Charente Maritime for you. If you've got nothing better to do, click here! Let me know if this works by commenting, if you've got even more time on your hands.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The customer is always right - crap!

Can anybody tell me why a person would look on a website where the prices for our gites are clearly shown, book three gites for themselves and two friends, ring up, ask for a reduction, be refused (we have to eat!) and then book the gites anyway, put the owner to the trouble of sending out a letter and three booking forms, not to mention marking the gites as unavailable and turning away bookings for the gites in question, only to then not send the deposit, and not reply to emails.

I'm giving you notice, EMMA BURCH (stupid name!) and "friends" that if you don't either send me money and booking forms or reply to my emails YOUR HOLIDAY IS CANCELLED!

Like she gives a s**t, she's obviously got something else cheaper! I hope she has a crap holiday.

Does anybody have a wax effigy and some pins? I bet she's 35-ish, cocky, smart, new-womani-sh with long blonde triple colour highlighted hair and two kids under 6 who spend more time with the childminder than their mother and their father doesn't know what they have for breakfast. She's probably patting herself on the back right now, feeling like she's taught us a lesson for being 'too expensive' (I know this is not my usual happy go lucky post, but I feel better now!)