Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Morning Nature Watch

Every morning we leave the house at 7 o'clock to take son n° 2 to catch the school bus, then MOH and I go onto work. This means we miss all the traffic by going in so early.

Each morning we see a variety of wildlife, mostly rabbits or hares running accross the road into the fields, I have even had a fox run across the road right in front of me, but this morning was the best ever.

We had been driving for a couple of minutes and we were just passing a copse of pine trees when 4 deer ran right in front of us to cross the road. They were all females and were no more than a metre in front of the car.
The last one was a bit slow and we nearly caught it with the car, but it managed to get out of the way in time.

What a lovely way to start the day

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Looking for some ideas..................

Sorry I have not been around for a few days, I have lots to tell you about but first I am looking for some ideas please.
At the weekend I received an email from one of my school friends. 
During secondary school we were a group of seven girls who all went around together, some of us had been friends in primary school, then we added to our group to make the seven who were all together up to O levels. After that we separated. One went into the merchant navy, I went to work in Mothercare,  and the rest went on to take A levels. Over the years we have kept in touch, we were all there for the weddings and kept in touch, some more than others. 10 years ago we all got together again for our 40th's for a weekend and a party.
Now we are nearly all 50 and my friend sent me a mail to say that they want to organise something a bit special.
The plan is that we will all put forward one or more idea for a special something along with the cost then we all vote and go with the majority.
Now you know why I need some ideas.
Has anyone got any suggestions, not too expensive, for something seven 50 year old women could do for a weekend?????
I look forward to hearing from you all

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Planning for the Future

Since my birthday in November, I have been thinking a lot about our future, both short and long term.
 Our long term future is mainly thinking about where will we live when we retire, what will we do etc.

When we moved to France our original plan was that we would try and retire when MOH was 60 - that's in 5 years, then as time has gone on,and it has got closer and guess what we are no nearer to deciding what and how we will do that or if it is possible.

We live in a beautiful big old house with 5 acres of land, surrounded by fields. That all sounds lovely and it is, but as we get older and the boys leave home it's a lot of house and land to look after on our own. 
So that's been the big discussion this last month. What do we do.....

Do we sell and move to something smaller?
Do we buy some land and build our own house, exactly as we want it (my SIL did this and they have everything they want in their house)
Where - France or the UK?

MOH is not keen to move but does see that in the future it will be more difficult for us, also the nearest shops are a 10 minute drive away.
Last week we decided it was time to make some lists 
we started with the house - what jobs need to be done if/when we sell the house (thanks once again Frugal Queen for pushing me into doing this)
we listed all the jobs, little ones that won't take much time or money but need to be done and much larger ones that will be expensive - new carpet and underlay on the landing - (think hotel corridor and you have an idea of the size) and a complete refurbishment of the kitchen.
We also have to take into account our attached buildings that are starting to lean a bit with large cracks appearing. In one of the rooms there is a large crack that you can see through.
I should also explain, that when I say 'crack' that means that the layers of stones, that make up the wall are begining to fall out.
Our house is not made with bricks, but with stones that have been put together with some sort of cement to build the walls. I think the house was originaillay built in the 1700s. We have no foundations as such and no damp proofing. But all that is normal for our type of house.

So the list is made and we now have to start putting these jobs into action.
That will probably be the most difficult.

And we haven't started to make a list for the jobs that need doing outside - like fencing off the garden, we need to get permission to do this and because we live less that 500m away from an Historic Building we have to have special permission - ie shutters have to be a certain colour, fencing has to a certain type and colour.
When we put in the swimming pool, which is behind the house, not seen by anyone - we could not put in a blue liner it had to be sable - sand coloured. In the end we are very happy with this choice as it looks lovely but it just shows you some of the rules.

The building in question is an old monastry that is across the road from us. I have posted pictures of it in the past. It is split into two dwellings but they are very basic, only electricity, one has running water but no sanitary facilities.

Sorry I digressed.
So to get back to the point, we are going to do as many of the jobs this year as we can with the time and money we have available, so that we can review our planning at the end of the year.

I will let you know how we get on.