We’ve seen a barn.  It might do.  But the thought of marketing our home of 30 years is terrifying.  Mainly because it means a huge life laundry is on the cards.  If I’m not careful.  Parting will be no sweet sorrow but of tragedic proportions.  In my mind……….  I’ll put this thought aside for the moment……

Nick came back from Norway after a week of fjordic fishing.  It had been quite an experience being above the Arctic Circle with a 6-man fishing group – all rather younger than Nick.  They were fishing from “large aluminium bath tubs” with an outboard engine in water up to 500m deep.  This is particularly difficult when you only have 300m of fishing line – but “great fun”.  Nick’s leg rather restricted his fishing ability as it mostly had to be done sitting down whilst all the others stood up.  As a result he saw lots of lovely fish being caught but was not so successful himself.  The best fish seen on the trip was a 51lb cod caught by Pug.  A share of this fish is now in our English freezer as Nick was given the job of filleting it.

We had been planning to cross to St Vaast on the 5th, but we needed a day in Dorset to look at the house I had seen advertised on the internet.  It is far too soon to be thinking about moving……….. in my mind.  We met Stuart and Angela for lunch in the village pub after we had viewed the barn.   Stuart is very clued up about property in Dorset and his input was much appreciated.

We drove back to Godalming and it was all systems go to get our things assembled, the car packed, and various neighbourly matters dealt with.  We are getting good at this necessary preamble to a Channel crossing but when it is an early start it is always stressful squeezing in the last minute bags and other items.  Not to mention the cat who must not be allowed to escape, having been kept in overnight.  It was raining as we trudged up and down the front steps.  When we got away Nick was under a storm cloud all of his very own.

The crossing was a bit rocky but I know I have a good pair of sealegs now so I don’t get sick.  We were greeted at 104 by Marian, Katharine and David who have been staying here this past week.  We sat down to a bread, cheese and pate lunch in the kitchen.  Shame it was not fair enough to sit outside so Marian and I lingered at the kitchen table and caught up on news.

Nick and David disappeared and spent the afternoon dealing with all sorts of ‘hardware’ matters.  Such as our TV.  We can now watch television, dvds and recorded films and use our computer without having to tinker with leads and sockets.  David is an ICT technician and works in Tyneside servicing all the hardware in the local primary schools, which means he is VERY CLEVER with computers.  Every family should have one, in fact we are lucky because we have several in our clan.

Katharine is a zoologist, fluent in French (which proves useful when she later accompanies Nick to the doctor because he is worried about his swollen foot and she can report back to me exactly what the doctor said!) and is currently working as a research assistant on an oak tree project further south in France.  It’s good to catch up with these young and I am able to unite Katharine with my truly home-spun, hand-knitted chunky cream woolly jacket which I can safely say is unique.  That, and the set of Dickens which belonged to my father and his brothers.

Before he leaves David asks us ‘Are we sure we are happy for him to simplify our codes and passwords on our Orange Livebox and wiring etc etc’.  I mean, is Bill Gates a wealthy man?!

We are taking this particular satellite of Planet Bradley out to supper and we opt for Au Moyne de Saire as they always treat us well.  This is a happy choice on all fronts, not least because we find the butcher opposite open so we can buy the breakfast black pudding and eggs to scramble, which we had given up on as St Vaast butchers evidently close earlier.

Before I go to bed I have to try and unscramble the curry soiree I have planned for Friday evening.  I have been trying to introduce the Poulets and the Tuttles chez nous.  Anne has sent me an email asking if we can schedule the following week as she has family staying.  I phone Claire and discover her life is a house of cards, with visitors almost wall to wall and then she has to go back to Paris, and I am planning to go to Jersey for three days.  In the end we abandon an attempt to get together this time as the Tuttles and Lights will have guests in the forthcoming two weeks.  Claire and I settle on a plan to walk together on Monday.

In good B&B style I get up in good time to cook breakfast.  We wave Marian and co off earlyish Friday.  It’s been good to spend time with them.

Nick has a very quiet day on the sofa with his foot elevated.  In fact he sleeps most of the day.  He is catching up on so much lost sleep whilst he was in Norway.  It was almost always daytime.  Katharine has told me that Francois had said Nick must stay indoors for the next two days.

I make the huge chicken curry with the ingredients brought from England.  This will now be frozen and wait in the wings for the postponed soiree.

There are some gardening tasks…..  in fact lots to get through in the next fortnight.  Whilst staying with Charlotte I bought 5 plants for a fiver.  Two pots contained 3 butterfly delphiniums between them and the other 3 pots were stuffed full of Primula denticulata.  When I have divided all the plantlets and potted them up I find I have 18 new plants which cost me £3.

I also find time to test out the hammock, which Barney and Nick have strung underneath and within the Mimosa.  It is a truly shady nook and not only comfortable to read in, but also to doze……….. perchance to wake and watch butterflies flitting round the shrub in my view.  Oh the humble buddleia: it seeds itself in the most barren of sites and is not highly regarded but it is a honey pot for butterflies.  I watch Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks.  It is a long time since I have seen this quartet of beauties together.  I know them well because my father used to take me butterflying in Hadley Woods when I was young, as his father had in turn taken him as a boy.  We’d no more dream of taking children butterflying now than fly…………..

In the evening Nick and I sit outside and share the lobster Daniel has obtained for us.  It is a fitting start to our August in St Vaast.


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