France May/June 2010

Leave 16th May on overnight ferry Plymouth to Roscoff and the journey to St Tropez should take 2 days. Hope to update with pics and news then – hopefully while basking in the sun!                                 

May 21st                                 

First view of our new house


Our new home is called La Maguellone – it’s near the sea in a wooded area with a swimming pool and is very small compared with Dunelm!  The first day was wet and not very nice but the summer weather has now arrived and it’s 25 degrees or so and rather pleasant.                                 

The pool


We had our first visitor today – flew in from Cornwall –
Wendy and Daisy May together with Zoe and Olivia.
Daisy May with Granny
23rd May
Hot weather forecast to last for at least another week Plenty of swimming in sea and pool. Today was market day in local village. Really pleasant without the hoards of visitors we’re used to in Aug/Sept. Food and wine excellent although sample tastings are on going. Should point out that the sumptuous swimming pool above is for all club members – not just for us, although very few of the residents seem to swim. 

Wendy and Mum in Med


May 24th                             

All good news but one big problem – how to convert a piece of land that resembles a neglected corner of the Gobi desert into a garden. After all the hard work of the last few weeks I had to go to the garden centre and actually BUY some plants. With the prices over here I would only need a plant sale every 3 or 4 years to do the business!!                             

It's a start anywayRome wasn't built in a day!


May 28th already.
Took Wendy and Daisy (and Zoe & Livvy) to Nice Airport. Just the two of us again.
A cloudy day at last and a little rain to cool things off. Went for walk out in the country near a place called La Mole – 5 miles or so – work off all the bread and wine.

Happy memories - at the pool


 June 3rd                          

So relaxed I forgot to update. Is there another level of relaxation before one loses consciousness?  We tried 2 days without any wine and felt like  aliens surrounded by vineyards and cheap bottles of nectar. Christian (Bannier) once told me that there was no french word for a teetotaller – I thought he was joking until I looked in the dictionary – it’s true!!                          

Weather superb – hot but a nice breeze near the sea. It’s certainly different – no TV, no phone, no computer connection (I have to visit the clubhouse to connect) – trying to find a balance between being on holiday,  and at the same time finding out what it’s really like to live here. Got a radio and a CD player though – well used.  There is the odd downside – mainly the noise caused by all the helicopters. The St Tropez Hospital is only 200 metres away so there’s the air ambulance as well as all the sightseeing trips over St Tropez Bay – at times it could be a sound track from MASH. There’s also lots of insects which bite if you forget to spray. Besides that it’s pretty well perfect.                         

Dining balcony (wine cellar below)


view from dining balcony


June 4th – Jean thinks the remarks about the noise are highly exaggerated – in fact she thinks I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about it like temporary traffic lights in Cornwall. It’s actually been quite quiet since I wrote it of course.
June 5th  Did our 6 miles to St Maxime this morning. Some of our favourite walks often involve harbours full of rather expensive looking yachts and motor yachts. The background is always stunning with the sea on one side and the hills and mountains of Provence in the other.

Cavalaire harbour


Went shopping for garden pots this pm and found 4 beauties for the front of our garden. Will plant them out tomorrow and take some pics
7th June  –  Decided to do some serious gardening to prepare for new pots. Unfortunatley we picked the hottest day of the year so far. I was still 82 at 7  in the evening. However it looks  splendid as you may be able to see in the pics. Went to garden centre to get some more compost and found they close from 12.30 to 3.30 for lunch on Sundays!

choosing plants


cleaning pots


that's better!


 Went to Agay today to the scene of many family holidays on the beach and at the Esterel Caravaning. Breakfast in the Mocca cafe. Down memory lane in fact . Viewed EB6 our van for 2 holidays – things hadn’t changed, maybe a bit more modern with a balcony – but guess what – problems with the drainage and water. Things definitely haven’t changed.            

Agay from the coast path


EB6 20 years on


June 10th – time flies by! Having the Challis’s round for a meal and it’s rather windy today and very warm. The excellent rose wine will make up for any shortcomings I’m sure. Exchange rate working in or favour at last – got 1.21 for our pound from nationwide. Barclays are only giving 1.18 and commission and handling charge  on top of that – rip off!!            

We wish RCB good luck with Saturdays Concert at St Johns. Just heard it’s been cancelled.           

Went to St Tropez market on the local bus. Waited for ages for the bus – we asked a local at the stop if it was often late – her reply ‘C’est normal’ – only 20 minutes, she seemed surprised. The market was busy and hot, but Jean found the dress she wanted. The bus on the way back appeared to be ‘en panne’ but after several conferences between driver, mechanics, managers etc it was declared fit to go – only 10 mins late. Great fun! Played bingo in the clubhouse in the evening. Tonight is the AGM for club members followed by an aperitif.           

Sat 12th June – only 1 week to go.    3 miles of coast path + swim in sea + ice cold perrier = BLISS   Really hot today – shouldn’t grumble really              

Sun 13th June.  Hiked up in the hills to the reservoir supplying St Tropez and area. Amazing number of insects and butterflies. There’s a beetle here that has a luminous emerald green back  in great profusion, plus lots of furry and rather large caterpillars which hang from trees like a thread and then sometimes land on your head or back. The reservoir was disappointing for the bird life but we saw a red kite as soon as we arrived at the dam. After returning we went to Grimaud, an ancient hill fortress and village, and did the tourist route around the area. Pics of our expedition:       

Reservoir near La Mole


Grimaud village street



Grimaud windmill ripe for conversion


 Thurs 17th June   

Haven’t updated for a while, but you’ve probably read the papers and heard on the news about the storms down here. We’re OK but the roads, electricity, water are all affected. It was mainly the storm on Tuesday night – we’ve never seen rain like it – but also another storm last night (Wed) with a lightning strike on our patch – 10 metres from where we slept – thunder and lightning were simultaneous although we didn’t know about the tree that was struck until the next morning. From the papers this morning it would seem we got off lightly compared with other places up in the mountains and the death toll is past 20 I think.   

We leave here on Saturday to start our journey home – just as well if it stays like this !   All blue skies and sunshine again at the moment of course.    

Friday 18th June – all packed up and ready to go first thing in the morning. Weather back to sunny and warm but still wet up in the mountains. Death toll up to 25 I think, but several still missing. Thank you for following the blog dear reader! A bientot.  

11 Responses to “France May/June 2010”

  1. This is great! Hope you have a wonderful time. WE are headed to the Baltic on the 26th so will update you with all that too.

  2. Have a great time. Sorry I missed you. Bon Voyage

  3. Come back to UK, where the temperature is even higher – yes, after frosts last week. And send over the rain – the ground is parched.

    Enjoy yourselves

    Judy and Alan

  4. Lucy Key Says:

    Hi M&D, pleased you’re having a good time. The photos look fab … wish we were there too! Can’t believe you’ve been buying plants, but pleased to see you’ve limited the ‘garden’ to a manageable size! I planted all my bedding at the weekend so BG is looking rather nice too.

    Weather here is possibly better than it is there – 29 degrees on my way home from work today and not a cloud in the sky :0) Only thing is we have to work and go to school here – wish we had a pool to jump in – its ssoo hot!!

    Anyway, take care and speak soon,

    LOL xxx

  5. Jim Jiwa Says:

    Lovely photos. Fancy having to go out and buy plants for your garden!! Anyway, they are looking nice. Getting ready for France. 8.00am departure to-morrow. Weather forecast for La Baule not very good for the weekend. But, I am sure we will make the best of it.


  6. Hi Geoff and Jean
    Glad you are relaxing and enjoying the local food and wine.
    Weather here is ideal, sunny and a little rain to keep your garden here damp!
    Dunelm greenhouse is fine and growing a pace.
    No swimming here. I did have a sea dip at the w/e – freezing!
    Saw Wendy and Lucy with families at the w/e. Daniel and Alfie enjoying a game of football and cricket.
    Av wil get results tomorrow re Chemo dosage. Hope for the best.
    Continue to enjoy France.
    Jude and Barr

  7. Dot and Robbie Says:

    Hi Geoff and Jean
    Enjoying your blog and seeing the pictures looks and sounds just perfect.
    I am glad you are keeping your hand in with gardening,don.t overdo it!!!
    We had a wonderful time in France all the club send their love and best wishes. it was not too hectic this time ,weather poor on Saturday but we were lucky with the BBQ on Sunday.I expect you have had sll this news and heard about Michells eco friendly modern house where we had the BBQ. Ver y interesting! Very comfortable journey both ways.
    We also had a very good w/e in Wales there were 15 of us ,Have run out of space, to be continued

  8. Dot and Robbie Says:

    2 The w/e in wales was saddened to see John Moore looking so ill,but he was overcome to think we had gone to see him. The journey was good too. We were very sorry not to have seen Maggie as the y left the day we arrived back. I came back with my dreadful cough i had all w/e. I really was a nuisance,anyway with anti-biotics I am on the mend.Tomorrow we go to Malpas for the PLC. WEather very good and warm,have no swimming pool though!! R sends his love along with mine Bye for now Dot.

  9. Pots look good – just hope we can keep them alive when we’re there! We were talking about Agay the other day and thought we might go there in August. I think we got the boat from St.Tropez to Agay once(?!) so maybe we’ll be able to do that.

    We got a letter yesterday telling us that one of Daniels poems is going to be pubished in a book as he entered a competition with school – fame at only 6 eh! He’s getting really into the world cup – keeps telling me its only 2 more sleeps etc.

    Amy is fine too – walking around with fairy tatoos on her arms – rewards for going to bed/sleep nicely which seems to be a challenge for her at the moment. She doing really well on her ‘ride on’ bike – can’t walk anywhere now!

    Bit wetter here this week, but still warm. Just come in from a run to Chalfield so best go and have a shower!

    Love you lots,

    Lucy xx

  10. Can’t believe they painted EB6 – I wonder if it still has a sewage problem!!

    L xx

  11. Pleased to hear you’re OK. Not good up in the hills! Have a safe journey back.

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