Monday, 29 September 2008

Il y a du soleil

This weekend we hit the beach and did surfin'. Dude!
This was on the Ile d'Oleron - very nice beaches on the far side of the island heading from St Trojan. Not awfully wavy this time as there wasn't much wind. The proper surfers looked like glum little porpoises waiting fo their Big Wednesday moment. Managed to not meet up with Mum & Dad due to arranging to meet on 'that beach near St Trojan' - turns out there's a good 20 miles worth. :^(

Alfie - gnarly. Hell yeah!

Harry - shooting the tube.

We also did a bit of sandcastling - very British - and built the most splendid castle on the beach. That'll learn them.

Men at work.

Stupid dad.

Not cold at all and yet 'some people' still won't come in the sea ...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

... écoutez et répétez - beep!

... so here we are then. Mission accomplished - we now live in France!

We arrived a couple of weeks ago - haven't got around to blogging yet because life, work, fun and technical problems have got in the way.

We're renting a gite a mile outside the village of Le Gua in Charante-Maritime - the area is roughly half-way between La Rochelle and Bordeaux, a good 6 hours drive from Cherbourg. Where we are is about 15 minutes from decent beaches in the area of Royan and maybe 25 minutes to excellent surfing beaches on the far side of Ile d'Oleron.

Our hosts are Jim and Monique who live next door with their 2 dogs Ciara, a while German Shepherd, and Booboo, a Jack Russel Terrier. There are also 3 horses and a donkey (can't remember their names, have to ask Harry). The house and gites are surrounded by fields that the horses roam about in. The rest of the area is pretty flat, almost Fen-like really, and largely agricultural given over mainly to fodder maize and sunflowers.

The boys have settled in nicely to their new school; there was a bit of shellshock when they realised that they would have to go only 2 days after we arrived and that they are the only 2 foreigners attending . Class sizes are rather smaller than we're used to in the UK, probably a maximum of 20 students per class. Homework is given out every day (boo) and the school day is 'til 4:30 (boo) but it's only a 4-day week with Wednesdays off (yay).

Bev is enjoying being a full-time housewife although that may start to become less attractive when the weather gets colder.

I'm enjoying finding out just how cheap it's possible to buy French wine and still find it drinkable. The e1.80 stuff for 1.5 litres isn't half bad actually - I may become an alkie ....

We've looked at a few houses in the area with a view to buy. There's a great one a few miles away, in a small hamlet of about half a dozen houses, half of it has been totally renovated, the rest to do (one large room and a huge garage/barn) so it's liveable in but there's scope for extension. It has to come down a fair bit in price but the market is in a similarly shabby state to the UK so you never know ...

Some random pics ....

Trailer hitched up and leaving Cambridge - 30th August 2008 ...

Leaving Poole - 06:30 a:m 31st August 2008

Action-Man head on tour.

Arrive at Le Gua.

Going over the dunes at the beach ...

Cool moped

Oh look, a mermaid

Harry with Jim and the animals

Sablonceaux abbey - down the road