Our new home in France

While looking for a house to rent, somewhere to base ourselves while we hunt for the right property, we found the perfect house in the perfect spot -and with the help of the lovely people at Cle Rouge Immobilier in Duras it is ours! This blog is primarily for our friends and family to follow the ups and downs of the adventures. However if we don't know you, I hope you'll enjoy the story too, and that one day you may consider booking into our lovely home as a paying guest - you'll be made very welcome!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

December 2012

The gap between blogs seems to be getting longer and longer - sorry!

We are coming to the end of a wonderful year at Vue de Duras. We have had fewer guests over the last couple of months, so we have managed a couple of trips away. In the first week of November we headed south, to the lovely little fishing village of Collioure, close to the Spanish border, for a couple of days.
Lunch on the beach
..and what a lunch!
The harbour wall
One of a series of 'frames' at beautiful viewpoints - sculptures in their own right.
 From Collioure we headed further south to Barcelona. We discovered 500m from the Spanish border that our sat-nav didn't cover Spain! Luckily Barcelona was sign posted from there, and we bought a very detailed map which enabled us to find our hotel with no problems. (Expert map reading from me, and driving  and listening from Hugh!)
Barcelona had been on our 'to do' list for a long time, and we thoroughly enjoyed four nights in the city. The Sagrada Familia was just amazing, definitely worth the money and time. We included audio tour and visit to one of the towers - stunning.
The Sagrada Familia

The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed wandering around the city taking in the sights, especially the Antoni Gaudi buildings and the Park Guell.
View from Park Guell

The stairs at Casa Mila - courtesy of  http://www.lapedrera.com as we didn't get any decent ones! 
We went to the Spanish village near the Olympic Park and found ourselves in the middle of a film set. Apparently it was a coffee commercial - and I managed to stay out of camera shot!
This poor girl did at least a dozen takes, in high heels, being chased around the same corner, again and again!
This girl seemed to have the easy job, just looking down on the chase and drinking coffee
It was a lovely trip.
At the beginning of this month, we took another week and headed back to the UK. It was a whistle-stop tour to see all our offspring and granddaughter, Orla. We managed to catch up with a few friends, although not as many as we would have liked. It was good to see Hugh's old work friends - thank you to all of them for turning out on a cold Tuesday night. I am sorry to all of those of our old friends that we didn't get to see - maybe next time - we'll definitely take longer for our next trip!
We loved spending some relaxed time getting to know Orla, who will be one next week. 
Orla and her Dad, sharing a book - in French of course!
What lovely blue eyes - and Orla's too!
 Thank you Rob and Susie for a lovely weekend with you, and Tom too.
While we were in England, a storm brought down a tree just over the lane from the house, blocking the road and missing the roof by just a few centimetres. It was cleared up pronto by the landowner. I'm pleased it missed the house - especially as we have already replaced the roof there! But wish we had been here - I reckon there was a couple of months worth of fire wood there!

He's taken down the other dead tree too, just in case! 
A big thank you to Taco and Anne for looking after the chickens while we were away, and also for arranging the removal of the fallen tree so efficiently! Thank you! 
Back home now, fires lit, looking forward to a visit from Ellen for Christmas and then from our good friends Denise and Andy in the new year. Apart from that, a bit of hibernating, waiting for the weather to reach painting temperature, so that Hugh can finally finish the shutters! 
In the meantime.....
     on Sunday Duras held it's Christmas Market...
The donkey seems to be a regular visitor
 Then we went to the Christmas Market at Castelmoron d'Albret, also known as the village of the creches.
 The village was full of little nativity scenes. Every window and nook had a different scene, from all over the world. Some were made by artists in the area - the village is well known for its artisan potteries.

 And so to home - the Christmas tree is up, the cards are written and sent...
We wish all our family, friends and guests  
A Very Merry Christmas 
and a 
Happy and Prosperous 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

October 2012

It's that time again .......a quick round up of the last month at Vue de Duras.
At the end of the month, autumn is definitely in the air. The temperature has dropped, we have had a drop of rain and the woodburners are lit on a regular basis.

The mornings can be misty

The pond was cleared on a sunny, autumnal day
 We've had a couple of visits to Bordeaux...
A rainy Sunday afternoon in Bordeaux

We've had visits from friends...
Geoff, Judith, Lesley, me and Dave on the above, damp Sunday afternoon! 
We also had some lovely weather in October - breakfast on the terrace.
 and family.....
 with Vera, Mike, Anthony and Emily in Bordeaux on not such a rainy day!

with Denis and Margaret, on a warm , late October day
Picking the La Periconne grapes by machine, in the sunshine, at  the bottom of the garden 
La periconne merlot
A Duras balloon
Hugh and the newly painted shutters!
Checking the guttering - note the un-painted shutters!

A spectacular sunset
 And as usual, a quick round-up of wildlife spotted this month.....
A praying mantis on the wall
Thanks to Denis for the next two photos.
The gite toad doing its job!
A close up of a very small tree-frog
 and missing from the wildlife photos is one of the cranes, making their autumn migration southwards - we're still trying to get a decent photo!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Two blogs in September!

I know the last one was titled August but I posted it in September, and here we are .....another one!
First some photos from some of our guests, Paul and Lorna
The bridge at Bergerac
Old Citroen van

St Emilion
.Another visit from Vince, Julie, Steve and Joy...

Steve and Joy enjoying the fruits of their labour ( well, last year's labour!)
Hugh and Vince after a morning's grape picking at Domaine Gourdon
Vince and Julie enjoying a vineyard lunch
Lunch - thanks Lesley

We three........!

The pips and stalks
The grapes without pips and stalks

One bunch of grapes on our very own vine
We had lovely weather for another canoeing trip....
post picnic, pre canoeing
Nicole, 'busy' painting her nails, in the hammock

Nicole gave up her place in the hammock to Adam...or is she about to tip him out!?
And then this happened......
An amazing thunderstorm

with enormous hailstones
The weather has improved again since then with some lovely weather, enjoyed by our guests
Liz and Mike - it was lovely to see you again - hope to see you again soon.
Another of our guests wrote this poem for us .....thanks Mike...
Poem by Mike Shires
And finally - a blog wouldn't be the same without a wildlife photo! 
A wasp spider - again, this time clearly showing the stablimentum
"Wasp spiders build an orb web with a vertical zigzag pattern of silk in it called a stabilimentum. The purpose of the stabilimentum is unclear but it is thought that it helps attract insects. Previous theories have suggested that the stabilimentum makes the web more stable or deters birds flying through the large webs". BBC science and nature