Thursday, 31 May 2007

Happy Birthday to Una!

Many happy returns for today to my sister Una. I did warn you that we 'litter' May with family celebrations!

Last year, Una and her husband Mike drove down to see us on their motorbike - their first long 'tour' on two wheels for some time. When they arrived, they were so stiff and unable to stand up straight (think jockey riding a horse - but missing the important animal!) that they decided a rethink was in order when they got home.

They have since traded up to a '2 armchairs on 2 wheels' machine - more comfortable, but receiving a lot of stick from friends and family! We are looking forward to their next visit in July and will keep you posted on how they survive the journey.

Last night our friends Riet and Albert came round for a celebratory drink and nibbles. Sitting out on the terrace (remember our gorgeous view?), enjoying ourselves in the sunshine - then what happened? The heavens opened and we were hit by a sudden rainstorm - and I mean rain! Not until you have experienced it here in the South can you imagine such a change in weather in seconds. There is even a strange thing called the 'La Sesquiere Phenomenon' - bright blue sky, not a cloud in sight and rain drops falling on your head ...... I kid you not! The experts tell us it is because of the shape of our valley and the unusual wind patterns that we experience. The rest of us just say its odd.

Today we are off to talk 'prices and offers' with the Immobilier for the apartment in Lamalou. It is a slightly unusual situation. The whole house contains 10 apartments and is owned and run as an incredibly successful business by an elderly couple who have decided to retire (so successful that there was only one morning in May and one in July when it is not occupied by tenants during the whole season!). A Geometre is therefore involved legally splitting the property into different entities and deciding boundaries, access rights, etc. This means that although we are seriously interested, there is not the usual rush to beat other offers because nothing can be finalised until you know the exact number of square metres you are getting both inside and outside. Apartments in Lamalou go like hot cakes, and ones with their own entrance and outside space (both front and back) are as rare as hens' teeth. The plus point for us is that the 'professional investors' prefer established co-proprietes so are not jumping in as cash buyers. If only we had more money - we would buy the whole building!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

This will probably be the first and last time you see a picture of me on this blog, so make the most of it! I intend to wield the camera and avoid being in the pictures whenever possible.

Well today is a milestone for two reasons.


First it is my birthday (44 and counting backwards from now on!).

Second, I have finally succumbed to the prevailing fashion and set up a blog.

After too many years of working in the IT industry and insisting to our indignant children that computers are an aid to efficient working practises and not something I want to spend all my spare time on - I have had to admit I enjoy reading some (but not many!) of the blogs written from the South of France. So here we go - we might as well have one as well.

The children will gloat and poke fun at me when they find out - but only until they realise I can get my own back by posting embarrassing pictures of them! And we have lots!

It has been a busy month for us because all our four birthdays fall within one week, and most of my family's birthdays fill in the remaining gaps in May. We need a holiday I think....

Eldest daughter (LeeLee) is at Lycee this morning and then spending the afternoon hanging out with friends. She owes me big time since a frantic call at 9:00am informed us that CRUCIAL research papers left forgotten on the table this morning were needed by 10:00am - and could I set off pronto with them in the car. It is all well and good living in a small hamlet away from major civilisation - but having a typically forgetful teenager means you spend a lot of time on the road. And I thought I left all that behind on the M25!

Youngest daughter (Nic) does not 'do' Wednesday school, and is also recovering from her birthday party on Monday - so has just emerged from her bed looking fairly groggy, slightly sunburnt on her face from her rugby tournament yesterday and stating that she is hungry!

Our plan to go out for lunch at our favourite seafood/seafront restaurant with friends was scuppered by a party invitation to Nic for today! So if any of you are at a loose end, we can recommend the Brasserie Du Port at Valras-Plage (04 67 32 58 13). I can guarantee they have a table for six free at 12 today!

Oh, birthdays are so special as you get older....NOT!