Saturday, 13 August 2016


I’m not going to attempt to explain my absence from blogging over the past four months. We’ve been busy with a wedding, but perhaps more about that and other diversions in future posts.

Following a wonderful evening at Les Tilleuils bar in Barrou listening to Angie Palmer (a link to Jim Craig’s Loire Valley Experiences blog) perform, enjoying a lethal punch, steak frites all washed down with a nice rosé, we were up and about early for a walk around Le Petit-Pressigny.




We’d decided that if there was to be a walk today it would need to be an early one. Temperatures are set to soar over the next few days and Celine at the boucherie assures me that by Monday we can expect 34C, followed by storms on Wednesday!

Walking just after 7am the temperatures were cool and refreshing, although warmer in the sunshine. Everywhere was quiet, but even at that early hour there was a lot of activity at the fishing lake, with even a queue for the toilet!!

A few reflections along the way. For how much longer, I wonder, will we see the Union flag alongside the EU flag as we see the Tricolor outside the salle des fetes? I am desperately disappointed (to put it mildly) about how things have turned out with the referendum vote for Brexit… 






Something new has appeared in the smaller lake. Certainly not the one that got away…


A closer look…



Look closely and you will see someone lurking in the roses…


It’s days like these that make you count your lucky stars just a bit more carefully…


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Test and a blast from the past…

Long time no see, write, read or hear.

I like the sentiments expressed in this photograph I took at the Law Courts in Westminster.


As Jean pointed out in her blog Windows Live Writer is no more, and her husband, Nick, has researched Open Live Writer is an alternative. Although I’d noticed this on the forums it seemed like a faff, but to know that it works made all the difference! I instructed my IT technician (aka Tim) to sort it.

So here goes…

Sunday, 31 January 2016

R.I.P. Sir Terry...

Sadly Sir Terry Wogan passed away today. For many years I arrived at school with a smile on my face listening to his breakfast programme. 
Tears of laughter listening to his Janet and John stories turn to sadness today for the man who helped raise millions for Children in Need.

Check this out...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

R.I.P. Glenn Frey...

The wonderful music of the Eagles has been with me since the early 70’s. Together with Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Neil Young, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell they got me through my university days, and have stayed with me ever since.

In the pace of eight days we've lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman and yesterday we lost Glenn Frey, a founding member and, together with Don Henley, a creative genius of The Eagles. So much wonderful music and lyrics that it would be easy to sit here and weave this post with one-liners from the songs which form the soundtrack to much of my life.

We saw The Eagles perform live three times. They were fantastic celebrations of their music, the harmonies they could produce live on stage on a par with anything from a studio recording.

Hotel California would be on my Desert Island Disc list, but I could choose so many other Eagles tracks. It would certainly be a close contender for my final choice. The lyrics were written by Glenn Frey. You can see a post on Hotel California here.

I’m so sad at Glenn’s passing at the age of 67 and my thoughts are with his wife, children, family and friends as they come to terms with a life without him. I'm sure they are very proud of him and all he achieved through his music. I've listened to and read tributes from many people, but this tribute from Don Henley says it all…

"He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry -- and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn't quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved is wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year 'History of the Eagles Tour' to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I'm not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some."

One of the concerts opened with this song. The music lives on…

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Out with the old...

2015 was a very good year for us. We are very fortunate to have enjoyed good health, and the year has been characterised by fellowship with family and friends. It was a year in which as I tried to get to grips with retirement, Tim slipped from retirement into semi-retirement, and ended the year almost working full time. We weren’t able to spend as much time in Le Petit-Pressigny as we thought we might, but the compensation was that we were able to travel.

Time spent with family and friends has been very important. We didn’t dream that we could have made good friends in France in such a short time. If ever there is a problem someone has the answer and is prepared to help out with tools, advice or just a listening ear. Friends have also been very generous with their hospitality. Just a selection of the photographs we've taken this year of friends or their cakes!!. 

Our travels took us first to Switzerland, with our very good friends Stephen and Anne. They were at Loughborough University with Tim in the 1970’s and we have been firm friends ever since - best men, godparents to each others children, holiday companions both in summer and winter for most of the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. We almost  (but not quite)  persuaded them to buy a house in Charnizay!

The weather in Switzerland was fantastic, especially if you want to ski! We had a mix of heavy snow falls and bright sunny days. I am a fair weather skier, and to ski at my best (which isn’t actually very good) require gentle slopes, perfect snow conditions and the kind of light which highlights every imperfection in the snow!! However, I feel that I come alive in the mountains.

Tim turned 60 in March. This was followed by just over a month in Japan, which was amazing. It was good to spend time with Tom and experience Japanese life. The scenery was wonderful, with so much to see. We were there in March/April for cherry blossom which was just as wonderful as the guide books show. Our favourite hotels were the traditional Japanese Ryokans.

Rhiannon went back to university to study social work, graduated in July and is now a qualified social worker. She works very hard in a demanding job, but is making a difference.

In August Tom came back from his two year stint teaching English in Japan to return to university.

Tim visited Shanghai as part of his work, but his visit coincided with a week of almost torrential rain.

Torrential rain has been very much a part of the UK weather this year. We are fortunate not to have been affected, but so many people have had their lives and homes devastated by floods, many of which could have been avoided. Our hearts go out to them as they try to restore some semblance of normality.

Christmas was lovely, and, as we look forward to 2016, I’ll quote from Rhiannon…

“ For the first time in quite a few years (so long none of us can remember when it last was!!) We've spent a magical Christmas all together as 'The Brotherhoods' in our family home, with a couple of added extras!! We have eaten, drunk, laughed, and been truly spoilt with both gifts and love. I can't think of a more fitting way to celebrate my last as Miss RhiBro. Who knows where 'The Dales' will end up in 2016; but I am so excited to find out!!”

So there we have it. So much to look forward to. For us 2016 will herald a wedding, another graduation, and my 60th birthday. However, I also hope it brings with it much happiness, good health and peace for you all.

The New Year is the time of unfolding horizons and the realisation of dreams, may you be able to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer and face the challenges that may come your way. I hope that in 2016 we can also remember, and, do what we can, to help those people with lives that have been torn apart by conflict or natural disaster, and are needing sanctuary or a share of some of the wonderful things we take for granted.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Season's greetings...

... from our home to yours. 

We are celebrating at home in the UK with both Rhiannon and Tom,  for the first time since 2009. We shall be joined by Rhiannon's partner, Stuart, my brother and three dogs!

After a couple of glasses of sparkles!

However you mark the day we send you our very best wishes.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Trentham Gardens...

A couple of weeks ago we used  a windfall (procured on my behalf by my wonderful daughter!) of Tesco club card vouchers to buy an annual pass into Trentham Gardens. I regularly go to the garden centre and shopping village so it makes sense to combine a trip with a walk around the lake (which takes about 40 minutes of brisk walking) and a browse through the Italian Gardens.

We've been three times in the past couple of weeks and usually treat ourselves to a cup of tea and a scone afterwards. Unfortunately I'm not certain that the walk is a sufficient energy trade for the scone (on an energy in v energy out basis), although I suppose we could always walk around the lake more than once!!

The lake and Italian gardens

An otter carving on a diseased tree

We love the detail on the eye

The Italian Gardens aren't looking at their best at this time of the year, but I shall post some photographs later in the year. 

Wirework fairy

Intricate wirework dandelions

The wonderful metal sculptures were created by Robin Wright and his daughter, Amy.
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was employed to create the gardens and the mile long lake between 1759 and 1780, and 2016 will celebrate the tercentenary of his birth.