Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Friends to dinner

I love having friends round for a meal - I love cooking, I love eating and I love seeing other people enjoy things I have made.

Our good friends Maggie and Alan came round on Friday for a joint celebration of our 13th wedding anniversary and their 30th anniversary. They were staying the night as well, which meant that Alan could have a drink and relax.

We had asked them to come at around 5pm so that we could have to start with. I had made some parmesan spiral and we had bought some anchovies in a provencal sauce, some wasabi coated peanuts and some rice crackers.

I made a prawn cocktail to start, which seemed to go down well. For the main course I stuffed chicken breasts with Boursin cheese, coated them in breadcrumbs and baked them in the oven. These were served with loads of roasted vegetables - red and yellow peppers, squash, onions, garlic and courgette, roast potatoes and garlic green beans. Dessert was a strawberry fool, with home made lavender shortbread and a chocolate dipped strawberry. We had bread and cheese later in the evening when we had room in our tummies!!

Mags and I drank champagne and Ian and Alan started with beer then went onto red wine.

As usual we put the world to rights during the evening, and had a brilliant time. It is funny how chance meetings can turn into great friendships. Maggie had phoned a couple of years ago after seeing my hairdressing advert in a magazine. We clicked immediately and kept in touch almost daily by email when they went back to the UK at the end of the summer. Now they live out here permanently and we are still in touch almost every day. We are so lucky to know them.

Monday, 31 August 2009

13 years ...

.... Unlucky for some, but not for me.

It is our 13th wedding anniversary today. Where has that time gone. The weather today is gloriously warm and sunny, just like on our wedding day - ok, I know I am in a different country now. We are not going out for a meal tonight as it is Monday, and most restaurants are closed here in France.

I am really lucky to have a husband who shares the same values I do. We have a similar sense of humour and like lots of similar things.

We will go out tomorrow I expect, and we have got Maggie and Alan coming over on Friday night, they are coming late afternoon and staying til the next day. That way they can both drink and not worry about driving. They are brilliant company and we always have such a laugh when we get together.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Holiday time

What a lovely time we have had for the past 2 weeks. Ians mum Eileen and our 12 year old niece Jenny have been with us. The weather for the entire 2 weeks (apart from 1 day) was roasting hot with temperatures in our garden reaching 38 degrees. Needless to say we have been in the pool almost constantly.

It was too hot to go on day trips, we would have just roasted, and in any case, Jenny didn't want to stray far from the pool!

Jenny and I went to my friend Maggie's for the day on Friday and made fabulous padded hearts for hanging. We had such a good time sewing and chatting. We had a day shopping in Limoges and an afternoon at a place called Tarz en Arbre. I'll post some photos of this, because a description doesn't do it justice. Basically it is a woodland area with zip lines and and cables suspended between trees at varying heights. You wear a harness and are clipped to the lines at all times. There is a route to follow and you negotiate you way around the course. There are five different levels and heights. White and green are for young children and to practice on. They are about 2-3 metres off the ground. Blue is higher and the highest one Jenny was allowed to go on. This must have been about 3-4 metres off the ground. Then comes red and finally the black. These are really high (almost tree top). The zip lines on the red run must have been 300 metres long and go down a hill!! There are cargo nets in the trees for you to swing onto like Tarzan. Well worth going to.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Mistys first day out

This was a big day for Misty. She has been wanting to go out for the last few days, but we wanted to be around to 'supervise' her.

Misty and I got up around 8am, she had a light breakfast and then .... she was allowed out into the big, wide world for the first time in about 5 weeks. First of all she looked warily out of the door, as to make sure she was really allowed to go out. Then she took a step outside and had a good sniff of fresh air.

She climbed all over the pots outside the kitchen door. I took this great picture of her sticking her head out of an acer.

She has explored everywhere. The garden, the flowerbeds, the potager, the decking by the pool and the wood pile. I worked in the garden all day to keep an eye on her, she was very good and when I couldn't see her, she came running when I called her.

I spent the day removing grass and weeds from a long stone path that goes down the garden. It had completely disappeared in some places, and has taken most of the day to dig out all the weeds and pressure wash it all.

Of course I took a break for an hour to watch the last hour of the Tour de France. This was the final day in the mountains, finishing at the top of Mount Ventoux in Provence. It was estimated there was between half and one million spectators lining the route up the mountain. It was the first time there had been a mountain stage before the final day of the Tour. Brad Wiggins retained 4th place overall. He gave the most awesome performance. He deserves the Maillot Jaune for being such an incredible rider and making the phenomenal trasition from track to road cycling. Our other British star Mark Cavendish won his 9th stage victory yesterday, the first British rider to do so. I will be glued to the sofa tomorrow as the Tour reaches Paris and the victor is crowned

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Rainbow Bridge

Sadly my parents-in-law, John and Eileen lost their beloved golden retriever, Sophie a short while ago. One of their friends sent them this little tale. I cry everytime I read it, as I have lost 4 cats and a dog over the years.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends, so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Misty Mitten

Misty is now out of her cage and being let out of our bedroom. Actually, she hasn't been in her cage for a couple of weeks now. While we are in the house we leave our bedroom door open so that she can wander around the house, but not outside yet.

Her leg is still weak and I think that she knows it. She tried to jump onto the kitchen chair the other day and couldn't make it. It seemed to shock her and she ran back upstairs! We are making sure she gets lots of excercise by making her chase her toys and playing hide and seek with her - yes honestly, she loves hide and seek!! I am really wary of letting her outside, but we will have to let her go out soon. Maybe this weekend when we are here all day long and can supervise her excursions.

Photos at the Tour de France

This is Juley and me waving like loonies at the Tour de France. The picture was taken by her husband Paul, and Ian is hiding behind us!

Isn't it funny, we only live 10 mins from each other and would have never met if we hadn't joined the same book club! Juley and I get on like a house on fire and have a similar sense of humour. Every time we get together we have such a good laugh. We are so lucky to have such good friends over here.

This is Juley trying to attract Lance Armstrongs attention!!

Actually she was grabbing as many freebies as she could, as we all were. The bloke on her left in the striped top had originally started on our side of the road, then when Juley and I moved over to where she is now and started getting some goodies he followed us over.

For those of you not following the Tour this year, the British rider Bradley Wiggins is now in 3rd place overall and looks set for a podium finish this Sunday in Paris. There is a time trial this week which he should excel at as he already has Olympic gold medals and world records at this. He has made the transition from track rider to road rider amazingly well. He is one of the worlds best cyclists and the whole of Britain is behind him.

This is wonderful Brad in action.