Tuesday, October 31, 2006

more pics

It was still hot enough to sit out in the evenings with our drinks.

I think Alice was impressed.

More morning 'steam'. One night we had a thunder storm. I have NEVER, EVER heard anything as loud with the thunder reverberating around the mountains, it was incredible. I think this cloud might have been the morning after. We only had all this water vapour on one day. Because there was a main road at the bottom of this valley (way, way, down) we could hear all the cars hooting as they came up the various roads on each hairpin bend as the visibility was zilch down there in the depths. The problem for the people on the other side of this mountain was that they were in the shade for much of the day. There was a reasonably large (three shops and a supermarket) town about half an hour along the valley. We went there one day for a mooch around and although the sun was shining on the mountains, the town was in a shade, bizarre. I think it would be depressing to be in the shade for most of the year.

More views.

To be honest I was quite surprised by the ruggedness of the moutains. I was expecting more 'Sound of Music' - vast green valleys with lush grass and stuff. None of that. Though there were lots of goats, sheep and cows with various sizes of bells around their necks jingle jangling around the place.

Blogger's had enough now - maybe you have too.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I'm back! Boy, the Alps are high.

That 'steam' is the cloud coming up from the valley in the morning!

There was a lot of 'support vehicle' work on this holiday.. ......

Driving to the beginning of significant rides to drop Andy and his bike off.

And here's the man himself after doing the 'Col de Galibier' (the highest Col in the Tour de France) - I touched snow!

Alice took this photo through the window of the car as we went up the col 'croix de fer' to pick Andy up. The colour of the lake was so amazing.

Holly standing in front of our village. It was lovely but I could never live in the mountains! Half an hour down and half an hour up to the nearest shop! Luckily we had a fantastic auberge only two doors up the road which served fabulous (and not too typical 'assiettes de viande' food).

I want to post some more pictures....but blogger isn't having it. Perhaps I will try again tomorrow!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bye for now folks

Hi folks. Sorry to frighten you earlier with my half finished post! I'm not leaving, I'm just off on holiday tomorrow for a week. Off to the French Alps. Andy is going to climb 'cols' on his bicyclette while me and the girls sing 'Climb Every Mountain' and make clothes from our curtains. Hang on, that's Austria. Oh, so we won't be doing that then. Maybe just enjoying the mountains, visiting Italy (yeah!) and Grenoble (I've never been there) and looking at high mountains and eating fondue or raclette. Actually, I'm not exactly sure what the regional dish is there. I DO know that Heidi enjoyed toasted cheese - so it's likely to be something like that with a little Gewurtztraminer (sigh, perhaps I SHOULD do my regional cooking and drinking homework before I write my posts). It's not a million miles from the Rhone, so possibly some nice Rhone wine....oh actually I have no idea. I'm sure there's a supermarket nearby that sells wine from all over the place! (Sorry, I'm rambling).

Well, that's where we'll be going tomorrow after work and school. Hopping into our car, driving to Dover, taking Le Tunnel sous la Manche and wending our way down through France and hopefully arriving at our Chalet on Saturday evening. Would you like to see a picture of our chalet? You would? Then here it is: Except it won't be snowy (we hope).

I'll be pleased to get away. It'll be nice for us as a family to have some time together. We just seem to be SO busy these days. I can't understand it!

As for the house purchase. That is all going along nicely. We have appointed the same solicitor who was dealing with it before it fell through last week so she's got all the papers in place and is ready to exchange contracts. All we are waiting for is our mortgage application papers to come in the post for us to sign. Typical, they were sent on Monday and still haven't arrived. We are going on holiday tomorrow - the vendors are pressing for an exchange date next week when we are on holiday, so that won't happen! Andy's panicking that the vendors will change their minds! Somehow I don't think so. But he does worry!

Finally, here is a picture of the fruits of my labours, or something like that

PTB Blogger isn't having it...well imagine a table top of potatoes, sweet corn, carrots and courgettes and then divide it by about 10!

Here's a funny video

I'm outta here......see you next week. Have a great week you lot.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Well, I can finally direct my energies to something else - well soon anyway, got to move first - and all that entails. The vendors want to exchange contracts in fourteen days, not sure if this is 'do-able' given the fact that we are going to France next Friday for a week, but still it's a starting point. If it happens we will be in before Christmas. My parents are coming for Christmas (bringing the turkey, the trimmings, the wine, the everything as we will be completely borasic (sp?)). If all goes to plan it will mean that we've been in this house exactly one year and have witnessed all the seasons, which has a kind of synchonicity about it. (is that the right word? I have another word in my head but it won't come out).

But what a relief eh?

What I'd really like if anyone is up for it (Geena?) is a revamp of my blog! I tried to change my profile picture but couldn't - it wouldn't accept the photo. I'm thinking if I can't even do anything as simple as change my profile picture how can I change anything! Well, I suppose I should try..... does one just lift html from other people's blogs? Is that how it works? Or from dedicated websites for bloggers? I need a masterclass!

Someone asked for more pictures of THE house.....well, there are n't that many. However, (Dons) I'd love some advice on interior decoration - one of the owners of the this house is in the pub trade and some of the rooms have got pub carpet which is just hideous as you imagine - they must have got a job lot. Also, lots of the rooms have pub chandeliers in them too! Yuck. I suppose we could just turn the place into a pub if we get too short of money.

The next hurdle we have to cross is the 'dog' hurdle. I've promised the girls a dog. Andy's been keeping quiet - he really really doesn't want one. We really really are going to get one. He's now saying that if our mortgage is going to be so horrendous we can not possibly afford a dog!

Anyway, here's a picture of the dog we are GOING to get!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(well in principle anyway...subject to status blah blah blah blah)

It's the morning after my birthday and I'm up at 6.30am! How is that? Am I now officially an old person, the sort that gets up early on a Saturday? No! But I just woke and couldn't get back to sleep again......thinking, thinking. No news about our house situation but there will be news today because I've set an ultimatum to the estate agent who's trying to play games. I told him that I can't be playing a waiting game, we've made an offer on this other house (the semi) and will make a decision on it today so the people in the BIG and LOVELY house will have to get back to us today instead of 'waiting to see what offers come in', which is what he told us they were going to do. Well, I told him, I'm not going to lose both houses. We made a good offer (not the asking price, but then we are in such a fabulous position - nothing to sell, blah blah, and offered to take the same solicitor as the previous buyers to hurry things along).

Sadly, Andy and I have decided that if we don't get the BIG and LOVELY house, we don't want the SEMI either and will pull out of that because we can't live with the small kitchen/garden. Sigh..... please think positive thoughts everyone for the BIG and LOVELY house....

I will try and post a picture up of it now. Here goes.

YES! It worked. And here's a picture of the kitchen.

And now the coach house:

Pure torture really! Anyway, change the subject.

I had a really really lovely birthday. In the morning before I went to work I had loads of texts messages, emails and blog wishes from friends which buoyed me up for the day - not to mention Kitty's story.

At work they gave me a card they'd all signed and I'd taken in a big tin of chocolates (so that was nice). Straight after work Nicola had invited me and the girls over for a cup of tea and she'd made a birthday cake and put my name and my age (cough) on the cake and lit some candles. Another friend, Louise was there and so were Nicola's children so I got 'Happy Birthday' sung to me and I had to blow out my candles (which was lovely). Nicola bought me a lovely pressie, really thoughtful for a gardener such as myself - she got me two big clay pots and filled them with compost and wallflowers (for next year).

After this I had to take Holly to her swimming lesson. I have a friend at swimming (just the one!), called Caroline, her daughter swims too and she has a younger one just a bit older than Alice - Alice and Emilia just run about and have fun, Caroline and I talk the hind legs off a donkey for an hour and a half every Friday evening! To make it festive I'd bought two tiny bottles of champagne along for us to drink! - some pink lemonade for the girls and some nibbles. Sadly, we were shoo-ed off the poolside, glass is banned so we had to go outside and sit on the steps - but it was a lovely evening, the weather was so warm and the pool is at a private school in the countryside, so the setting is glorious.

Then, home to hubby who'd tidied up (of course) and set all my pressies and cards out on the table with a bottle of cava, nibbles and chocolate cake that he'd bought in London and carried home in his rucksack on his bike unscathed!

I opened all my cards and my pressies - a wonderful pressie from Lettuce! A peg bag (at my request - good memory there Lettie) woven by the talented woman from plastic bags. The wonderful Lettie had also put some pegs inside (as I only have about three). Thank you Lettuce. A wonderful, wonderful, pressie. There were other presents, but I won't go into those - apart from a watch that Andy got me - an exact replica of the one I lost on a Brittany beach this year!

I think we were all a bit tired so we retired to the sofa at about nine and watched Galapogos with the children - and here comes the sad bit - all four of us fell asleep, me, Andy, Holly and Alice!!!!!! How's that for a birthday rave! hahahahahha. I have to point out that last Friday when our friends came to visit we were still sat at the table chatting at drinking at 2am in the morning (ah, that makes me feel better).

So, perhaps that's why I'm up early. I've had plenty of sleep!

Well, so long. If there's news later (and there will be) I'll put in up here....fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Help me everyone. I need advice and I need it QUICK. (PTB BLOGGER ISN'T UPLOADING PHOTOS)

Last night in our desperation to be in a house by Christmas we revisited a house that we'd seen about six months ago. We decided to make an offer on it because

a) it was in the right area, on a lovely friendly road of semi detached Victorian houses in a prime location near the park, walking distance to both schools. The reception rooms are of a reasonable size but the whole house needs updating - the bathrooms are a bit manky, you know ordinary family bathrooms but even so, they need updating. It has five bedrooms and three bathrooms. It is near the top of our budget but not quite. They did not accept our offer but came back with a counter offer that we are considering.

The down side of it is that is had the tiniest of kitchens (see picture),the most hideous conservatory and really not much garden to speak of (once Alice has her trampoline in it!). I was willing to put up with this though.

However, something has just happened. The agent has just told me that the BIG and LOVELY house with the COACH house (see pictures) has only a few hours ago come back on the market!!!!!!!!!! Now, I don't know what to do! The BIG and LOVELY house is near town but on a busy road, one could walk to the park and to the schools but it would be quite a walk (about 1.5 miles). Since we lost that house Andy has been kicking himself he didn't offer more and now it's back on I'm in a total quandary. I made the mistake of phoning a friend - Nicola. Who clearly wants me to live near her (the other house is on the same road as hers) but quite apart from that she argues that I like living around people in a neighbourly area which I wouldn't have in the other house (well I might but it's different).

Please don't tell me to draw up the pro's and con's - my rational self says to go for the semi detached smaller house in the right area but my heart says "I want a walled garden, a 30ft kitchen and coach house, even if it does mean driving the kids to school (heck I've done that for a year already and they won't be so near their friends (but still pretty near, heck this is Ipswich not London)

I'm going to take a vote - voting closes at 4pm tomorrow. Please leave your vote and I think you don't need to put your reasons because in my heart of hearts I think I prefer the BIG and LOVELY house over the SEMI in the RIGHT area even though that one might be BETTER. That's why I can't decide.


Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm being mentally tortured by my estate agent. I would be no good in an interrogation situation:

Gestapo officer: You do want to live in a too expensive house in a style you don't really like
Me: No, no I don't, ........do I?
Gestapo officer: You DO want this house, the market is going up, you are being silly about your needs.
Me: No, I'm not.... uh....am I?
Gestapo Officer: I already have a lot of people lined up and interested in this house but I'm offering it to you, you would be a fool not to have it.
Me: Oh, I'm flattered, I'll certainly think about it, I'm such a fool dithering aren't I? It's just that the house needs so much work and we won't be able to afford it.
Gestapo Officer: But you have to look at the big picture, you'd never lose with a house like that!
Me: Oh you're right of course, we will certainly look at it again.
Gestapo Officer: (Thinks : "hahahahahahahahhahahahahaha, we SO need to make a sale on this house, we are SO not doing very well, this will make me a tidy profit, it's in the bag.
Me: (Thinks: "I'm not such a mug you stupid effing 'been on too many 'how to sell to women' courses' - they won't wash with me you smooth talking bastard!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hello, I've posted the picture as everyone is interested but just to let you know - we went to see it last night again and decided it just needed too much work and we couldn't afford it - after all you're paying for the location and the garden more than the house, so we've left it (unless the price comes down by about 50,000!!!

Morning all,

I've been a bad bad blogger recently. Life has been busy but busy with nothing much happening, if you know what I mean. I've woken up really early today (AND it's my day off - tch) - actually saw my husband this morning before he disappeared off into the darkness on his bike to the station - blimus it was cold this morning - time the guinea pigs came in from their semi feral existence in their run and back into their hutch.

Well, I have some house news but don't get excited. The BIG and EXPENSIVE house that we wanted decided to remove itself from the market. (After they had accepted our offer, because they couldn't find anywhere to buy that they liked).

But the agent phoned me the day before yesterday with a house for us to view, before it actually comes on the market - first look if you like. It's so difficult this house hunting lark. This house is on a massive, massive plot yet it's in a prime location, has a garage, and in and out drive, a summer house, a garden the size of a field - everything we want. The house itself is a 1930's job - has the sort of metal windows with curves on - the sort you'd see in Poirot. The big downside of this house is that it doesn't have a kitchen as such - the owners who've only been in the house one year have moved out - all very suspicious and it looks like they've shoved a kitchen in the utility room quickly to get a sale. I can't get to the bottom of why they were only in the house for a year, should I be suspicious? So basically, the house is, once again at the very top of our budget and it needs a large kitchen extension and new bathrooms and a general freshening up of the decor. Otherwise it's a nice house - not massive though - you don't get that feeling of palatial grandeur. Wish I had some pictures but it's not on the market yet. (Is this really really boring for you reader? - it certainly is for me!)

So, the long and short of it is, this house is perfectly located with loads of outside space but is too small inside without an add on at the back - which we couldn't afford. However, you'd never lose on a house like that, so putting up with a kitchen the size of a utility room - could we? Andy can't. PTB PTB PTB.


UPDATE UPDATE! Pictures have arrived. I just posted them to blogger, it's says they're on but they are not showing! PTB. Maybe they'll update themselves later...that happens sometimes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I took a couple of pics down at my allotment on Sunday. The sunflowers are really wonderful and make excellent cut flowers.

The pumpkins, I feel will never get eaten - but carved for Halloween - which is this month! Blimus.

I was given some of these: Can you guess what they are? Answers in any language (I'd like to know what they are in German - I think I know them in French and Spanish! - The spaniards eat these in another form (hint).

That's all folks.