Friday, November 24, 2006

Settling in

Well folks here we are again. Sorry for the long silence but internet installation problems, and getting the house in order have kept us pretty much occupied for a while. Fortunately we found enough time to receive our first visitors, explore the beautiful countryside and to just enjoy being here. we've taken lots of few photos to record our day to day happenings– so here we go!

We arrived in Brantome on a rainy day but the sun was soon shining again and has done so mostly ever since.

Our goods from the US arrived a few days later in a huge 20 foot container – major overkill as it was less than half full and struggled to negotiate our narrow country lane and driveway. However, the guys who unloaded were great and we were soon surrounded once again by boxes. Then it was down to work unpacking, assessing what needed doing on the house, finding tradesmen, sorting paperwork to get us into the French medical system, shopping for electrical appliances and a used car, etc., etc. But, no, it was nothing like "A Year in Provence" because we've found the local people very helpful and welcoming, the tradesmen prompt and competent and everyone appreciative of our willingness to do our best to communicate in French – and our first visitors - French, English and American have all been delightful.

Yesterday we gave a Thanksgiving dinner for seven of our French friends. Jeanne cooked the tradition turkey dinner and Dan made apple and pumpkin pies. A good time was had by all as we ate heartily, drank good wine and conversed merrily in fractured French and broken English. And with just a little translation help from one of our guests, Dan even managed to tell his talking dog joke in French!!

Unexpected problems with the roof are being dealt with by a local English builder so our guest room is now watertight. The rest of the house is taking shape slowly but surely and we already have an attractive living room, a well functioning kitchen and a comfortable bedroom. Next week we begin work on refurbishing our offices– so maybe by the end of the year we will not only have attractive work spaces but also the time to get back to our writing.

Watch this space!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Our house

Sneak preview of house - front, back and view from bedroom

Nous sommes arrivees

Well folks, it's catch up time again! After ten nice days with Jeanne's daughter and granddaughter in sunny Eastbourne (but no access to wireless or dsl)we arrived "chez nous" in France to two days of rain. No internet at home for another two weeks or so but now limited access at local computer facility. Will put on more photos and news soon but at present snowed under with essential stuff - like unpacking boxes (yes all arrived safely) buying fridge, washing machine etc, and dealing with opening bank account, electric co, telephone, gaz supply etc ......However the sun is now shining, the countryside is beautiful, the French neighbours welcoming and helpful and the house much to our liking. There are of course the usual little snags and necessary improvements one always finds on moving in to a new place - but nothing the dynamic Jeanne and Dan duo can't deal with in time. So we are happy to be here.

Keep watching this space for more news and photos - Jeanne has now got her laptop set up on dsl at the computer facility so when we have a few spare moments (when!)we'll update more fully.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Catching up again

Despite planning to cover all contingencies with our computers we didn't anticipate cable connections with no phone line. So sorry folks no pictures again for a while.
But we can still write!!
We left DC for Virginia late in the evening. Our only time driving in the dark on the trip so far. In the middle of nowhere we were stopped by a highway patrolman - who eyed our loaded Jeep suspiciously, told us our rear licence plate light was out and asked to see our car documents. Well, we knew we had them somewhere, but where? We grovelled around between the seats for a while until Jeanne remebered they were safely stowed in the biggest suitcase. The officer watched patiently as we rifled through our well organised but bulky filing system from which we produced everything anybody could possibly want to know about the faithful Jeep. Satisfied, he sent us on our way with instructions to get the light fixed next day! We arrived at our friends late but relieved not to have got a ticket.
The next afternoon we were recovered enough for another book event, then had a couple of days being tourists again in the Virginia countryside.
Onwards through North Carolina - pausing to view the world's largest frying pan - to an overnight stop in South Carolina - accommodated for free in a resort hotel suite at Myrtle Beach, courtesy of an old school friend of Dan's. Unfortunately no time to enjoy the amenities other than the huge corner bath.
Next stop - Tybee Island, Georgia, where we spent an interesting and instructive few days with yet another of Dan's longtime friends. Highlights included a well attended book party, a tour of old Savannah and a couple of boat trips through the Tybee marshes. During one of the latter we were left stranded for an hour or so when the boat broke down, but fortunately were towed home before dark - and more importantly before the ebbing tide left us stranded all night. However, if we'd not got stuck we would have missed seeing the spectacular sight of a bald eagle flying back to it's nearby nest.
Next day we reached Florida and now here we are in Orlando. So, all you folks who doubted our old Jeep would make it can eat your words!! It's still going strong and we are passing it on to the friends who are hosting us here in their fifteenth floor downtown condo. We've stayed away from the tourist attractions and been content to be shown around the many attractive Orlando area neighbourhoods. The weather has been hot and humid but fortunately the threatened hurricane "Ernesto" has reduced to nothing worse than heavy rain here.
On Sunday we fly to the UK to stay with Jeanne's daughter, Juliet, and granddaughter, Iona, and hopefully also catch up with her son, Adam. Then on 14th Sept we fly to France to await the arrival of our belongings. They should be arriving in Le Havre on 21st - how long to clear customs we don't know - so we will be camping in the new house for a while and keeping our fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More DC pics

Washington DC

After a day at leisure in in Wiliamstown we scooted down to DC for another book talk (this time a well attended house party) and a few days being tourists. There seemed to be security alerts wherever we went. Massive turnout of police, ambulances, firetrucks, hazmat teams and even FBI for a "suspect package" at Union Station and an almost equally impressive show of how well we are protected from terrorists when someone became trapped in a metro elevator in the more leafy suburbs where we were staying. A large group of police motorcyclists however were having a great time over by the Capitol showing off their skills in a competition based on riding around traffic cones and tossing footballs into cardboard boxes!
We walked our feet off seeing the sights - the photos are a summary of what we saw.

Williamstown MA

Dan had a well attended signing here - for film buffs. We also had time to wander around the rather English feeling town and visit this amazing museum exhibit by Zhan Wang - a Bejing landscape created from shiny metal kitchen pots!

Here we go again

Jeanne's computer back on track so here we go again.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Williamstown, MA

Well, SORRY, FOLKS, but though Jeanne's patience didn't run out her computer connection acquired a sudden GLITCH. So, more as soon as we can have that attended to. . . we hope!

Rockville CT

A fun reading and showing of excerpts from Turnabout video in Rockville at the home of Brian, George and Jim. A interested audience and dinner by the pool afterwards.

Catching up on photos

Able to download photos at last so here we go! All the way from Connecticutt to Georgia if Jeanne's patience doesn't give out.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


. . . just haven't had the right computer hookup available to post photos since early August, but we'll get to it soon. To briefly update: last time we posted we were heading for New England (from Pennsylvania). Well, we made it to Danbury, Connecticut, visited cousins there, then had a great talk at a private home near Hartford. After that, on to Williamstown, Mass for another well attended talk (mostly by Dan) at a local cinema. Then straight down to Washington, DC and one more house party talk, and we did a LOT of walking around the city. After that, another talk at the home of good friends in Virginia, a night's stay by the ocean in Little River, South Carolina - and now we've arrived for a few days at Tybee Island, GA, where we have yet another talk on Saturday August 19.

Pictures and comments on same to follow. . . stay tuned.