She's Abandoned Me! 30 June, 2019

July was special last yea. But this year, not only will Sally be with me for Bastille Day, we'll be joined for that weekend, by Natasha, Tom and Serena (daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter).

I'll be there for a fortnight but lucky Sally has resigned from work last week and would like to spend a chunk of the Summer in France. She finished work on Friday and yesterday, Saturday, I drove her to East Midlands Airport to fly out as the advance party.

It was with some trepidation that she headed off on her first solo visit. Would the flight be delayed? Would it be easy to get a taxi to the train station, would she get there on time? If not, would she miss the last train? Would she be able to turn the water and electric on? Would there be maggots in the fridge as there was for me on one of my solo visits?

If things went horribly wrong, this would almost certainly be her last solo visit. If they went well... who knows, perhaps she'll visit a number of time this year whilst I am…

Safely back home - and awash with wine - 22 April 2019

We're back at our 'other home' and the last leg of the journey was smooth as the rest - surprising as I was expecting more of a delay due to Bank Holiday traffic - especially as the weather is so beautiful.

The car is unloaded. Most of the luggage was the wine for the aforementioned 'Uzerche Win Club'.  Last trip we had introduced a number of my colleagues to the merits of Roche Mazet Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - those merits being pleasant wines for just over £2.30 a bottle. This trip orders had increased and some more expensive labels had been requested too. As a result we brought home 70 bottles of wine.

Had we had a car accident on the way home, I fear we risked drowning.

The rest of the Week, 16th - 21st April, 2019

Up early, again, for the IKEA delivery due between 08:00 and 12:00. It arrived at 12:30.

Two armchairs, two beds, three mattresses, bed linen and two toddler bed-guards. Quite a load.
The rest of the week mainly consisted of assembling the furniture and continuing to rubdown, fill and paint doors and shutters.
One  of the prime objectives was to get the ground-floor ready for Natasha, Tom and granddaughter Serena coming over in July. The beds were for them and we had a door and two large shutters to paint - especially the shutters as they were in a state of poor repair and covered in flaking lead paint.

The larger bed took Sally and I a considerable time to assemble, compared top that, Serena's bed was a doddle.

The shutters were prepped, repaired and painted over several days. They were in a poor state - Sally tried to persuade me to replace some of the sections of wood - but that would have been a significant task and could well have resulted in me destroying rather than repairi…

Back in Uzerche for Easter - 12th - 15th April, 2019

Packed the car on Friday morning. Whilst we were not full to the gunwales this time, the packing did take some care as we had to get a long flat pack day-bed in as well as Sally's e-bike. We managed - though Sally couldn't have her seat back as far as normal.

We made good time down to Folkstone, arriving an hour early. We'd booked the first 'cheap' crossing on the Eurotunnel and so expected to be waiting for some time but, to our surprise we were  waved straight on to one of the peak trains.

We'd booked a night at the Haute Aile near the terminal, having stayed there before and having liked it. It was just as good this time and the steak in the restaurant was as excellent as we remembered and a good price too. We sat next to another English couple with a house in the Correze so spent a pleasant evening in conversation.

We were up at 05:30  (04:30 as far as our English bodies knew) and hit the road. The run down to Uzerche, skirting Paris and avoiding the Pereph…

Here we go, here we go, here we go... 8 April, 2019

November was a long time ago and a lot has happened in the UK since we were last at Chez Loakes, including me taking permanent employment again (rather than contracting). Whilst this brings job security and the money is fine, it does mean we'll be limited in the number and duration of our trips to Uzerche in 2019.

The first trip is planned for this coming Friday and will see us staying for a week, including the Easter weekend. We've really missed the house and are very excited about going back - mixed with a little trepidation as the house has been empty for around 5-months over the winter.

When we left you last, we were off to the top restaurant in town  'La Treille Muscate' for a late wedding anniversary celebration and then heading home. The meal was a little disappointing if I'm honest. This time as we'll be celebrating my 58th, we may try La Table de 'M', instead. Supposed to also be nice and we've not tried it before.

The trip home was unevent…

Only Two Things are Certain in Life - Well, Perhaps not Taxes - 30 Oct - 2 Nov, 2018

This is almost certainly our last visit of the year - and a long way to come for just two full days.

We set out at around 6pm on Tuesday night, stayed in Folkstone and then up at 4am to get the 5:50 Channel Tunnel crossing. The trip down was without incident but felt long. We arrived in Uzerche at around 3pm and immediately hit one of the local supermarkets. Then the short drive to the house.

Everything was in a good state - and no maggots this time.

I'd drained the heating system at the end of my last visit - so we were relying on a couple of electric heaters, a butane heater and a new 14 tog duvet.

So why come down at this time of year for such a short stay and when I'd already prepped the house for winter?

There were a number of factors:

We both had leave availableWe were both missing the placeWhilst I'd generally prepped the house for winter, the one thing I hadn't done was to drain the hot water tank (I'd tried but hadn't been able to figure it out - and ne…