Taking the Ferry to Portsmouth

Early Tuesday morning and we were making our way up to Caen to the ferry.  It was dark, very dark and wet…

It was a relief to get there, although we thought it a fairly straight forward journey.  By around 7.30 it started to get light and the rain had eased off…

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It was a 6 hour crossing to Portsmouth, so we just sat back and relaxed!

Coming into Portsmouth, an English woman started telling some American visitors all about the boats in the harbour, with some authority…  ‘…and that’s the Victory…’ (it was actually The Warrior!) and when the Americans looked blankly at her, she said ‘…it was Horatio Nelson’s ship – you know, ‘kiss me Hardy’…’  – priceless!!

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Lunch and shopping

On dry land, we decided first things first…

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Yep!  Fish and chips in Portchester!!

Then we made our way up to St Albans, where we were staying for the night, prior to my meeting at the Royal Entomological Society (RES) the next day…  We’d made a list of bits and bobs we needed too, mainly things we haven’t yet found in France or which are quite expensive, so on the way we stopped in Reading to do a bit of shopping… What a nightmare – soooo much traffic in Reading!  Made us realise how easy it’s been to become used to quiet roads and less populated towns and villages….

We arrived a the hotel around 8pm, after a fairly successful shopping trip, despite the traffic!

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We can certainly recommend St Michael’s Manor Hotel – a lovely elegant building and inside the rooms and suites are very comfortable and luxurious – we made the most of it!!

The RES, a catch-up with friends then back home

I enjoyed my meeting at the RES, they are always interesting and it’s like meeting up with old friends.  It was also fun having the opportunity to tell them about our adventures in France!

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 RES HQ – The Mansion House

After the meeting, we headed back towards Reading but avoided the town, instead meeting up with my old school friend, Anne, and her husband Steve at their house in Caversham.  We haven’t seen each other in ages (2, 3 years??), so it was lovely to be able to catch up with them, exchange news and just enjoy their company.  Anne baked her ‘signature’ brownies, which are to die for and which we managed to squeeze in after a delicious dinner!  Generous to a fault, Anne gave us a ‘pack up’ of the homemade sausage rolls, cheeses and brownies, for the journey home – how lovely!  We’re hoping to return the hospitality when they come to France to stay with us 🙂

The journey home was uneventful.  We caught the late night ferry, arriving in Caen at 6.45am, local time.  We’d not been able to upgrade to a cabin, as they were all taken, so hadn’t had a good night’s sleep during the crossing – we shall be wiser next time!

Back at the cottage, Jim, Mouse and Colin all seemed pleased to see us, or perhaps they were just hungry!!

And the good news?

I almost forgot, on Wednesday morning, we received an email from the estate agent, Lauren, confirming that we will be signing for completion of the house purchase on 21 October – yey!!!!  Now we’re really excited 🙂

Some new friends

Last night, I responded to an advertisement on AngloInfo where some herbaceous plants were being given away…. Knowing how much land we shall have to make borders, etc. I was hoping to get lucky.  Well, we did, in more ways than one!  We met Mike and Hilary who are keen gardeners and have been sorting out their borders for the winter – We’ve acquired some beautiful white asters and some chocolate-coloured leaved Lysimachia – they will make stunning additions to the garden and we are very grateful to them both.  They were so friendly and welcoming – we had a cup of tea with them and seemed to be chatting for ages!  A lovely couple and we hope we shall be able to invite them over to our new home for tea or coffee before they head back to the UK at the end of the month….  We have been very lucky with the people we have met via AngloInfo and Le Bon Coin…

A beautiful morning

Today we were keen to get over to the house again – it feels different now, knowing that in less than two weeks, we shall be living there….

It was a beautiful morning, slight mist coming off the fields and the sun coming up through the trees….

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I took the back roads to the house, avoiding Mayenne, to enjoy the lovely drive through the countryside and past the huge lake which stretches from Ambrières les Vallées to La Haie Traversaine… it was like a mill pond….

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The house feels more like home each time we visit and now even more so – just sitting outside watching the wildlife is so relaxing and thrilling!

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We have a group of starlings that come to visit every now and then – they sound quite tropical when they are chattering away to each other…  They were having a good old natter on the high wire this morning 🙂

It’s always hard to leave and we are looking forward to being able to enjoy watching the sunset from the terrace after a day’s work in the house.  Instead, we enjoyed the spectacle on our way back to the cottage….

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Just 12 sleeps to go!!

Plans for tomorrow?

As it’s Saturday tomorrow, it means the Emmaüs will be open!!  We have decided to see if we can find the one at Alençon, which will become our nearest when we’re in our new home… Edward is hoping to find a set of drawers for his workshop – we both have some birthday money to spend, so we hope it’s a good one!! ♥