July in France
I knew I’d been absent from the blog but hadn’t quite realised how long it’d been… So from June to thoughts on July, just like that!
To be fair, I’ve not been in the right headspace for blogging. I even wondered whether I ought to continue with the blog, or just stop it altogether. I am mostly busy on Instagram, as the simple, visual beauty of the accounts there seemed enough for me this month. It also helps to follow other accounts and realise that we all tend to go through similar thoughts at some point or another.
So what’s happened since June… Well, lots! If you follow me on Instagram you will know it all, or most of it anyway. Taking time to reflect on July makes me realise just how busy it’s been! But boy has July been a good one! Find out why!
Where to start!?
I was pretty down in the dumps after June, and struggled a little to pick myself up.
Martigues in July
Barry went back to Bristol for a bit for a course for his new business. Whilst he was gone, my parents took the kids and I for a few days to the Mediterranean, close to Martigues. My brother used to play for their football team, so we’d been there a couple of times. The last time when Siena was a tiny, beautiful, squidgy baby! We arrived to the sound of the Cicadas, ate our body weight in fresh fish and seafood, scuba dived in creeks and swam everyday in the pool and the beaches nearby. It was lovely!
July Action Plan
It was during those days that I decided to stop being down in the dumps and take action. I therefore found and booked a gite for two weeks in Charente and got busy emailing all the estate agents I could think of!
We picked up Barry on the Tuesday and drove down to Charente. We decided to make the trip over two days this time, and so we stopped off at Vulcania that afternoon. Hugo has been obsessed with volcanoes for quite some time so he and Siena really enjoyed it. Nestled in the gorgeous Auvergne, it was informative and fun. There were quite a few rides Hugo was too small to go on, but we made the most of the few hours we spent there. A great excuse to go back next year!
Back in Charente
We arrived back in Charente the following day. I have to say, despite only discovering the region back in March for the first time, it always feels great to be back.
A new gite
This time we stayed at the gite Le Quereau cottages. Just outside Saint Macoux, a beautiful rustic gite (one of two) which opens up to a huge garden, wild meadow, with the borrowed views of sunflower fields. The sunflower fields! We thought we’d missed them for this year but they were in full bloom when we arrived…. absolutely stunning! True happiness in a field!
The gite owners happened to have children the same age or thereabouts than Siena, so our two disappeared off in the garden whenever we were there. Between running around, the trampoline, feeding the many animals there or just sitting around the table all talking French… they have absolutely loved it! It was also great hearing them all speak French to each other, despite all being English. The wonders of being bilingual.
Saint Macoux also has a lake with a slide, so we made full use of it on a hot day!
We also discovered the town of Saintes with his Roman amphitheatre. It was a gorgeous hot day (37 degrees…. it seemed overcast that morning so we thought it would be perfect day for sightseeing… oops!)
July in France obviously means Bastille Day. It so happens that one of my great friends in Bristol, has her parents who live in Charente. They invited us to spend Bastille Day with them, at their village fete. A picnic had been organised. Now when I say picnic, remember this is France. There were long tables set up under the trees, with bunting and lights in the trees. The French all came prepared with their picnic, including their Opinel, actual plates and cutlery, and proper glasses. Made us look so amateurish as we had none of this and a slightly more rustic picnic!
Then they brougt out their homemade Pineau and quiches. Fresh bread and cheese. All sorts of salads. All A la bonne franquette, where everyone shares what they have with their neighbours whether they know each other or not.
During this time the kids made friends with the local children and they ran around all evening, through the fields, the playground. This is taking some getting used to having left the UK where you felt you couldn’t let them out of your sights… But the kids simply adore this freedom, the option of being kids and running around freely.
The evening was finished by a firework display in the field next door. All done the French way, aka no barriers put up, no security line. Just common sense applied and watched from a safe distance.
It brought back so many memories from growing up in France, it feels amazing everytime I realise that the kids will have similar memories as part of their childhood from our move to France.
We celebrated Hugo’s birthday as well as Barry’s big 4-0!
The main point of us coming back in July, was to find a house. Desperately wanting to find one before the end of the Summer, we must have seen another dozen houses or so!
None of the houses gave us butterflies. I was starting to wonder whether we would know when we found the one, or whether we ought to pick one that would work and the rest would come. We saw some lovely ones, from old Medieval priories, to new builds, to old Post relays with a gorgeous huge barn. We were starting to despair and househunting became tedious, albeit necessary.
Then this house came along… I sent the link to Barry with the words “looks nice might be worth a look”. As soon as we got there, and walked around, we got it. The butterflies were there and we started moving in in our heads. I remember Barry giving me a discreet double thumbs up as we were walking through the house. It seems that the owners were garden designers in the UK and the house was decorated in a very similar style to our house in the UK. It had previously been sold but the buyers lost their UK buyers so it was put back on the market… It seemed very much meant to be!
It also had all the items on our initial wish list, including a two bedroomed gite! It’s also just 10 minutes from Ruffec and Civray, and close to where our friends live.
We’ve signed the paperwork and the owners sign tomorrow… Can’t wait to move in now!
Not to go all woo-woo on you, but shortly after writing down what job I would like when journaling, I received a job offer for pretty much just that! The same happened with the house: I made a clear list of what Barry and I wanted in our next house, and we found it soon afterwards!
I’m very excited to be starting work in an estate agent, which will make use of my languages. I’ll be on the admin side, and therefore office based. I’m ridiculously excited about being part of a team again, wearing office clothes and using my office skills once more. The plan is to keep the creative juices flowing on the side, through the blog and at home.
We’ve carried on exploring the area throughout July, from the chateau in Verteuil-Sur-Charente, the town of Rochefort (where my dad did his military service), La Vallee des Singes, we swam in the river, had lots of ice creams and generally just enjoyed where we were.
After July, What Next in August?
July was pretty good, and I can’t wait for August!
We’re back at my parents this month, as my sister and brother in law are over from Australia, and so we’re having a family reunion at my parents! The first one since we got married nearly three years ago 🙂
We then head back to the gite in Saint Macoux so I can start work. We’ll also sign the kids up for school and get ready for September. Hopefully it won’t be too long after that we can move into our new home. This makes me so happy!
How was your July? What have you got planned for July?
If there are any topics about moving to France you would like me to cover on the blog, let me know and I can look into it for you.
I hope you had a great July, and wish you a great August!1