Chenes Lieges 2015


Tues 6th October. Despite late night we set off for St Maxime and did a long walk along the sea front and through the town. Cloudy but mild.

map ste maximest maxime front





Mon 5th October. Start of final week. After our usual walk we went to the Geant Casino to stock up for our drinks party (here it’s called ‘apero’) Decided to try the pool for a swim to save time for our preparations – very cold in comparison with the sea but we did our regulation lengths.   Drinks and titbits went on for 4 1/2 hours all in french. Great fun, lots of wine  and very tired brain at the end of it all.

Sun 4th Oct. Routine day – went to Gigaro for walk and intended to do the beach but sea still rough after storms so came home and went to the market at La Croix croixvm

In afternoon off to Cogolin Plage pm where it was much calmer and sea very warm. Went back to La Croix Valmer for excellent meal in evening.

Sat 3rd Oct. Dry so went off just after 8 for walk at Cavalaire. Expecting thunderstorms later, but fine after that for rest of week. Rain and thunder duly arrived. didn’t realise at the time that it was much worse in Cannes and Nice until we read the news the next day. Power cut and no internet made sure we couldn’t  watch the rugby or see the footy results – just as well with England and Newcastle getting hammered.

Fri 2nd Oct. Heavy rain all day. Indoor activities. Managed to get out for 15 mins in evening. Light supper then likely lads. Then rained most of the night.

Thurs 1st Oct. Into St Tropez by 8.45 to see the boats – 300 ocean going sailing vessels, 3,000 crew: smaller ones with 3 or 4, large ones with in excess of 25!  Unfortunately the gale force winds have cancelled the last 2 days racing. We went for a walk along the coastal footpath for a couple of hours and then, armed with some breakfast from the local boulangerie, boats of all shapes and sizes, including many sight-seeing vessels and the press, went into the still quite choppy sea. Highlight and attracting the biggest audience was Moonbeam IV 100 year old sailing boat used by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace for their honeymoon. Crew of 30. All ropes by hand on 96 separate pulleys. Ate outside in evening but rain started. Likely Lads.

coastal path from St Tropez

coastal path from St Tropez

st tropez4st tropez2

st tropez3st tropez5


Wed 30th Sept. Reorganised living room and brought furniture back in. Went off to Grimaud for walk around beautiful village and surroundings. Coffee at our favourite pub Mr Clems and home for lunch. Afternoon to Gassin our nearest village perched on the top of a hill overlokking the coast. Joined walking tour and learned a few more french expressions. Jean went to bingo. Early night!

Tuesday 29th Sept. On the day of our dinner party for 6 it  is cold and windy and our walk around the port at Cogolin was a bit like Pentewan in November. The sea was spraying over the breakwater and everyone was battening down the hatches! Now – how to fit 6 into  our small living area…..and we did it – av0cado with prawns, grilled marinated fresh tuna with veg, cheeseboard,  cheesecake and ice cream, a glass or two of wine. Finished washing up at 12.30.

Monday 28th Sept. Early start to walk at Cavalaire, mostly along the sea and round the port. Good swim  in the pool and weather starting to cloud over……ended up eating inside for the first time for ages as the rain came as well. Watched the Likely Lads DVD. Very windy as we went to bed.

Sunday 27th Sept. Lazy start. Jean complaining about feeling chilly so went for a long walk along the beach at Port Grimaud. Roasted at the finish with 24 degrees. Long swim in pool. Added crested tit to our garden bird sightings. Our resident treecreeper seems to have move on. Dinner in the evening on the patio by moonlight (below). Got up in the night and saw eclipse, but after totality.


Sat. 26th Sept. Early walk at Gigaro before spending the morning on the beach below. Sea lovely and warmer than the pool.


Friday 25th Sept. Earlier start and into St Tropez for 9.15. Walked though town and along the beautiful coastline for about 2 hours terminating on the famous harbour en plein air with a little breakfast from the boulangerie. Usual swimming and meal on patio.



Thursday 24th Sept. Even later start especially from yours truly, and no internet available again. Coffee morning in aid of MacMillan Nurses and the French equivalent raised some 800 euros. Good swim to restore the healthy living and then a walk at Cogolin Marine to we could catch up on news etc on the internet at Rudolphs. Jean went to Bingo and won a prize, while Geoff watched the Likely Lads DVD and retired to bed. No alcohol for us tonight.

Wed 23rd Sept. After 1.15 am finish not such an early walk, but did mange to get around Port Cogolin before going (again) to the Geant Casino for more supplies for our Safari dinner starter course. Started at 6.30 but 2 turned up at 6.oo which panicked us a bit. However splendid evening  meeting new residents and eating superb food, washed down by fairly large quantities of local wines.

Tuesday 22nd. Beautiful day again and went off to Port Grimaud for our longest walk so far, calling at the Geant Casino for a few more items for our dinner party. Great success – drinks and nibbles at the bottom of the garden and then a great meal on the balcony of marinated fresh tuna and veg, selection of cheeses and lemon meringue pie.

Chris, Geoff, Brian, Anne and Jean.

Chris, Geoff, Brian, Anne and Jean.

One of the highlights was a photo of Brian and I in the church choir at Gosforth Parish Church aged about 12. Could even remember some of the other names as well as my younger brother. Amazing.

view from balcony dinner table

view from balcony dinner table

sun nearly gone down

sun nearly gone down

Monday 21st. Usual walk before breakfast and on to our weekly shop – a bit more than usual due to impending social activities. After a quiet afternoon we went to the pool and then treated ourselves to a meal out. The evenings are becoming a little cooler and we were outside so we were a trifle chilly n arriving home. An epsode of the Likely Lads finished off the day. (one of our friends here has lent us the whole set of DVDs)

Sunday 20th  Time for the boys to depart.

IMG_0857Suddenly it’s rather quiet. Back to normal in fact. They had a great time and so in fact did we!

Saturday 19th  Poor Roger isn’t well but after breakfast the rest go off to the beach and then St Tropez on their bikes. We had our usual walk and swim and went off to Brian’s 65th birthday party. Another late night.

Friday 18th Shopping for the Cornish boys and hope they arrive before bedtime. 8.15 pm the ‘Magnificent 7’ ride in, and after champagne to celebrate Andrew’s birthday, Paul and Wendy’s wedding anniversary and Phil and Zoe’s wedding, the BBQ was lit and tandoori chicken, hamburgers, veggies, loads of bread, washed down with beer and red wine , followed by cheese and finally a brandy. Pics below. Welcome to Chenes boys. Very interesting IMG_0849evening. Cleared up and hit the sack about 1.15. IMG_0844











Thurs 17th Walk at Port Grimaud and a further name spotting search among the many boats. The clear winner of the clever names competition so far is pictured below.nauti buoy

Great swim with pool to ourselves and then a horse-racing evening in the clubhouse. Great fun and coffee at Carol and Johns afterwards. The lads now arrive tomorrow,

Wed 16th Walk to Port Cogolin. Weather cloudy. No swim but great meal at Azure Bleu.

view from la croix valmer

view from la croix valmer


Tuesday 15th Sept. Our early walk turned out to be a little longer than intended. 5K uphill to La Croix Valmer  and then went to catch the bus back. All buses full so had to walk back – a sort of accidental 10K! Rested up for a while then Jean prepared for our guests on Thursday and I did some garden furniture cleaning. BBQ on for red mullet and suitable beverage.

Monday 14th September. Early walk at St Maxime in beautiful calm weather – what a change from yesterday. Back home for breakfast and then off to Dia and Lidl for the weekly shop. Got more than usual as Paul and his fellow bikers arrive on Thursday, and found champagne for 9.99 euros (£7.50) a bottle. Food and drink put away we went to the pool for a swim – had it to ourselves. Lunch on the patio and time to do the blog. The rain has helped the insects make a strong comeback! Quiet evening with meal on the patio and CDs.

Image result for st maxime franceSt Maxime

photo (6)

Sunday 16th September started rather early with a massive clap of thunder at 3.40 am and the storm continued unabated until 10 am. Torrential rain as well as fork and sheet  lightning. Did manage a walk around Cogolin Marine and a later walk at Cavalaire. The sea was quite a sight – huge waves, masses of seaweed and debris everywhere. Had to eat indoors, although our new layout made that a lot easier than before. However, I did cook tuna on the BBQ on the patio.

 A miracle we had electricity!

Saturday 15th Sept. Early walk around Cogolin Plage and after breakfast we prepared for our neighbours birthday lunch – champagne and walking buffet. Good test of our French and went really well. Finished around 4 and after a short rest we were off to the last of our jazz concerts. Good but not a patch on the previous evening.

Friday 14th Sept. Early walk at Port Grimaud, parking at the garden centre so we could buy more plants for the patio. Swim before lunch. Geoff and Chris Osgood (staying at the Challis house) for tea. Then off to the 6 pm Jazz concert which turned out to be the best we had heard in the 5 years we have been coming to the festival. ‘Les Fils Canouche’ was the name of the group the website. Incredible combination of Accordian, Bass Clarinet, Double Bass, and Guitar. We then tried the new wine bar in La Croix Valmer and found it excellent with live music and tapas.

Les Fils Canouche

Les Fils Canouche


Thursday 10th Sept. Walk at Port Cogolin followed by a work day doing the garden, house, interspersed with reading and sudokus. Afternoon swim and off to the second Jazz concert – the Fred Perrard Trio. Great musicians but very modern jazz and improvisation which did not go down well with the audience. Meal on patio to finish. Listened to CDs and Radio Classique.

view from Gigaro

view over Gigaro


Wed September 9th –  Birthday! Early walk at Gigaro followed by beach and swim in sea. Lazy afternoon and then swim in pool. Chorus of Happy Birthday from the French contingent. Off to the Piazzaola for a meal and then the first Jazz concert at 9.30 pm For the uninitiated concerts here are usually early eg 5 or 6 or late like this one. Dinner is sacrosanct here. Bear in mind they never start on time anyway so this evening no music was heard until just before 10 and it was well after midnight when we got home. However it was an excellent start to the festival with some great playing from the Jean-Paul Daroux Quartet.


Tuesday 8th Sept. Great walk at Port Grimaud around the Cite Lacustre and along the beach. Went to Villa Verde to purchase some plants for our poor garden. Since it was nearly a year since we were here everything had perished in the hot summer so it was back to square one. Relax after planting up tubs. Dinner on patio with usual liquid refreshments.

from this......

from this…… this

…….to this

Sat. 5th Sept. Last 450 miles and arrived Chenes at around 5.30 to our newly designed house and a garden that was completely dead. Losing the front door has made all the difference to the layout and space.

Friday 4th Sept.  Did 415 miles to St Amande Montrond and stayed, comme d’habitude, at the Noirlac where we were welcomed like long lost friends. Quick walk around the lake and nice meal in restaurant.

Thurs 3rd September. Leave Rosewood to catch the evening ferry. Uneventful calm crossing to Roscoff.


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