I'm so often asked what we think of France and whether I think that we made a good decision in fleeing our native land that I've created a special page to cover that topic. If you want to consult it, go here. The Brexit decision has serious potential repercussions which are currently unquantifiable - but we will take all necessary steps to ensure that we can stay here, even if we are somewhat poorer.
I was once accused on a group website by a French national of imposing myself on a country that I neither know or care about. This was so wrong that I wrote this in rebuttal.
The first part of 2016 was fully occupied with the organisation of a birthday lunch at the Relais des Bastides, a traditional French restaurant at Saint Pastour; invitations and place cards to prepare and travel and accommodation to arrange. The result was a most enjoyable celebration where a mix of French and English people enjoyed traditional food and wine and got on very well together. There's an album of photographs of the event here.
Peter's Spanish girlfriend Karen is a Valenciana and had whetted our appetite for the city. We did a leisurely motor tour across the Pyrénées and through lovely, deserted roads to Valencia where we stayed in an hotel convenient for the Valencia public transport system. There's an album of photographs of our tour here.
Callum is the elder son of our friends Allison and Neil; we've known him since he and his brother Tyler used to play in the woods at Tessel Bas some 13 years ago. He and his French bride Sasha were married in the Charente Maritime and a reception was held in the Chateau de Crazannes. There's an album of photographs of their day here.
We've cruised on the Nile and on the River Douro in Portugal - the same company (CroisiEurope) that ran the Douro cruise also has boats on the Rhine, with the same deal; good service and gourmet food with all-inclusive booze. In addition the journey was by coach that would pick us up in Villeneuve-sur-Lot. A low-stress holiday and everything taken care of once you're on the coach - what's not to like?
Well, the 1000 km journey to Strasbourg was somewhat onerous, and the weather could have been kinder, but on the whole we enjoyed it. There's an fuller description here and a short video below.
Once again we took a three-day trip to Chelmsford so that I could join MOGS Christmas lunch before all the old geezers drop off the perch - sadly some notable names were no longer there. It proved to be quite a painless trip, thanks to Ryanair, "First" buses and the County Inn – we even managed to catch up with Simon and family in the evening!
We spent Christmas away in Berlin, enjoying life in this big, happening city - a total change to SW France! It was our third trip to see our son Peter and his Spanish GF Karen, so we'd seen much of the touristy things. However this time we did manage to see the Reichstag Dome - a fascinating structure with an ever-changing panorama of the city as you climb the helical ramp, mirrored in the light collector that spears the ceiling of the debating chamber for the Bundestag. As an extra big-city treat we "did a show" at the Friederichstadt Palast.
Our journey was much easier now Ryanair have opened up a direct flight from Toulouse, so it's not necessary to route via Amsterdam.
There are a couple of photos below.
|70th Birthday girl then…||70th Birthday girl now…|
|May: squid & prawn paella in Valencia||October: Rhine cruise…|
|October: Rhine cruise (video)||Dec: Marconi Old Geezers lunch|
|Berlin show||Reichstag dome|
The start of the year was dominated by Christine's 70th celebrations, then a hot summer was bracketed by the Motor Tour to Valencia and the Rhine cruise, then the year ended with a busy visit to Berlin. So we had a good year, despite the awful political calamities of Brexit and Trump and the demise of so many familiar celebrities.
May you all have a happy and prosperous 2017!
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