Friday, June 15, 2012

Flying south

Well, not actually flying, as DH resolutely refuses to set foot in a plane, and the very small campervan hasn’t yet sprouted wings. But we are in a last-minute maelstrom of preparation and packing, prior to heading a couple of hundred miles south to our little cottage in Normandy for the summer.  

First thing tomorrow we will head off, at a slow but stately pace, thanks to the weight that we’re asking the campervan to carry, to visit DS and family for the weekend. From there we will detour to the Cotswolds to pick up my darling mother-in-law, who is coming with us for the first two weeks, then head south to Portsmouth and the ferry to Caen.

The weather forecast for our journey is almost unrelievedly miserable and it looks like we could be unpacking in the rain when we arrive late on Tuesday. After that we shall have to trust that the weather gods remember that it’s supposed to be June and summer and relent enough to send us some sunshine. In the meantime, this is likely to be our theme song. Thank goodness it’s one of my all-time favourites. J



61 comments:

  1. Bon voyage.
    At some point, could you blog about trusty camper van and the joys/perils of same. It's another dream Him Outdoors has to keep him going through our current limbo :-)

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    1. Thanks, Rosie. Your wish is my command and the joys and perils of life on the road is now in my list of potential blog post subjects. If Him Outdoors would like more technical advice than I can give, you can email me (email in profile) as DH recently compiled some advice for friends who were wanting to buy a campervan and he'd be happy to oblige. :-)

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  2. Have a wonderful time Perpetua - look forward to hearing about your adventures in Normandy. I have given up on the month of June, but have very high hopes for July!!! Good choice of song.

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary. Glad you enjoyed the Gene Kelly. June has truly been a washout this year and things are looking a bit iffy for Wimbledon, but surely the sun will shine on the Olympics, says she with fingers crossed.....

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  3. I hope the weather improves for you, and that the trip goes smoothly. I, too, am looking forward to catching up on your Normandy adventures.....the cats etc etc. J.

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    1. So do I, Janice. There are times I envy you the weather in the south of France, but I know DH and I could never have tolerated the heat, though MiL would have revelled in it. :-) I too am hoping that last year's kittens (now cats) will still be around, though I doubt they will remember us, despite all the food. Sigh....

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  4. Fingers crossed you find some sunshine when you arrive even if you have to travel in rain.

    Enjoy your holiday. :)

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. I'm sure it will make an appearance at some point, hopefully soon enough for DH's mother to enjoy it. But there isn't much sign of the heatwave she craves, I'm afraid. Interestingly we never think of it as going on holiday as we're there for so long. More like picking up our life and planting it in France for the duration. :-)

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  5. Have a good safe trip, a wonderful summer in Normandy and try to take the monsoon with you and drop it in the ocean.
    Hope to 'see' you in print and picture soon.

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    1. Thanks, Ray. It's a well-beaten route by now and even bad weather isn't enough to deter us. I'll do my best with the rain, but don't think the Channel crossing will be long enough to ditch it completely. I'll be back once we've unpacked....

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  6. Wishing you a safe journey, and grand adventures to blog about.

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie. We tend to slip into a very comfortable routine once we're there and tend to think we're past the adventurous stage, but you never know.... :-)

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  7. It's probably no comfort to you but even Costa Rica was without sun last week - I think the neighbours were thinking in terms of ark building as it was so wet.
    According to the weathermen it was a depression originating in the Atlas Mountains...but weathermen will blame anything they can.
    Do have a safe trip with sunshine at the end of it...and I second Rosie re the campervan...we thought about it while in France as a way of touring with the animals but Leo became too ill for it to be possible.

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    1. So it's your leftover depression we're enjoying now, courtesy of the jet-stream, is it Fly? ;-) I just wish it would pull itself together and not depress the rest of us. :-)

      Not sure about the sunshine when we arrive, but absence of rain would be a good start. I will definitely start to think about a campervan post, to be published before long. We have friends who bought a van mainly so that they could take their two dogs on holiday without having to worry about suitable accommodation.

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  8. A 'Bubble of protection' has been duly requested for you both (& DH's mother) for the travelling - also an 'ask' for some real summer weather and a good time dans La Belle France. Shall miss you - again - for the next few months! Take care, and stay in good health. Much love.

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    1. Thanks, Helva. A safe journey and good weather is all we could ask for. We're used to the fact that the weather in Normandy is very like that in southern England, if a bit warmer, so are going equipped with everything from wellies to swimsuits and sunhats. :-)

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    2. Helva,

      If you worried you will miss Perpetua so much, could you bear to meet me, her Baby Sis, for a coffee with a smaller substitute? There waa some talk of the three of us getting together for introductions to be made, now The Husband and I are permanently ensc onced here, but the time P had available to spend in mid-Wales has passed and it didn't happen...

      I would be happy to meet you in either Llani or Newtown. Just e-mail me on here if you are interested and I will let you have our phone number.

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    3. Email with relevant contact details to follow, Baby Sis, as soon as I get my laptop set up tomorrow. Safer than putting your phone number on here.

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    4. I wasn't going to put it in a public arena, Big Sis, but in a private message, never fear

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  9. PS Will try and make time to get a blog up and running while you're away (after i've finished the GCSE marking!)

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    1. I'll hold you to that....:-) Advice available by email if necessary.

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  10. I'm with him. If there's a road...there's no need to get off the ground. 'course there is that bit about the ferry* but it's a short float I reckon.

    I might be willing to swim to get to that lovely place.

    *I hate the whole flying experience but, I have some irrational issues with boats :).

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    1. You and he are obviously soul-mates, EF.;-) It's actually one of the longer Channel crossings (nearly 6 hours) but we get a cabin and have a shower and a nap and the time soon passes. Once we land it's only 60 miles to the house and we usually arrive around midnight. Yawn.... Do your boat issues mean you never have a river trip? That would be a shame....

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    2. I never have actually and I live near one of the biggest rivers in the world. Not only that but I spent four years in Germany on the Nekar River...beautiful stretch of dirt running along that.

      I'd do it though...long as I can see the banks I'd be alright.

      I've been across the Irish Sea....I just drank and gambled and prayed. :0

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    3. You sound like my DH and his issues with flying, EF. He has done it when he absolutely had to, but would much rather not. Go on, have a Mississippi boat trip - it may convert you to the joys of water travel. :-)

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  11. Bon voyage, Perpetua, and I hope the weather improves for you (and, selfishly, because we'll only be about 3 weeks behind you!). Hope you find that elusive "summer" that's been avoiding us all so far!

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    1. Oh, so do I, CB. Having DH's mother with us makes me hope even harder for good weather, as it's so difficult to get out and about when it's pouring down and arctic, Sigh... Here's to the return of the gorgeous weather we had that tantalising glimpse of at the end of May (and even back in March if it comes to that).

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  12. Actually, the drive sounds much nicer than suffering through the rigors of an airport. I don't fly any longer either due to all the security issues. They make me want to have a stroke every time I go through those lines.

    It is gray here also but steaming hot.

    Have a great trip!

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    1. I agree entirely, Rubye. It's a lovely drive even in the rain and we always enjoy it. From my limited experience the queues for security checks seem to be considerably worse in the US than in Europe, so I can well understand your reluctance to fly.
      u
      A bit of your warmth would be very welcome, though we have plenty of greyness already. :-)

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  13. Hello Perpetua:
    Oh, what excitement it is packing for a long summer holiday away. No matter the weather, we are sure that when you arrive in Normandy all will be well as your lives take on a different pace 'sur le continent'.

    We wish you safe travelling and, of course, that Campervan will cope with the demands being placed on him/her. When we think in our time of what we have managed to pile in and on top of a Mini, we are confident that Campervan will cope.

    Bonnes vacances!!!!

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Jane and Lance. I will pass them on to Campervan who is at present sitting outside in the rain looking depressed. :-) I'm sure s/he will cope (odd, have never tried to assign a gender, unlike my car) though this is a heavy load. Not as heavy though, as the time we took an entire kitchen across, including the worktops! DH had grave fears for the suspension that time.....

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  14. Lucky you...a house in Normandy...sigh. You and Broad both make me turn green with envy. I suppose since DH won't fly, there's no chance of a house swap with me any time soon is there? Does he swim well perhaps?

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    1. A small, still unfinished, cottage might be a better description, Astrid. Each summer we do some more work on it, but the end is still not in sight after 9 years. I would LOVE to visit Hawaii, something DH did as a teenager in his travelling time before going to college. He arrived on a cargo steamer from Japan and went on to San Francisco by boat (travelling steerage!) so that his only plane trip was from the East Coast back to the UK. He has only done one short return trip by plane in all the years since....

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  15. Safe journey, I hope the sun decides to smile on you :D As someone not expecting a break at all this 'summer' and who adores Normandy I am of course quite green with envy.

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    1. Thanks, Annie. I know just how you'e feeling. For years we hardly managed any proper holidays as DH and I could never seem to get time off together and money was needed for more urgent things. Retirement has been a revelation. :-) Fingers crossed that Wales too gets some summer.

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  16. Safe travels and here's hoping the sun comes out for your arrival in Normandy!

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    1. Thanks, Antoinette. With all these hopes and crossed fingers surely something sun-related must happen? :-)

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  17. I suspect your campervan would sprout wings if it really had to - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style! Have a good journey and we'll all keep our fingers crossed that the weather improves. If it doesn't perhaps your trusty van would like to head on down here, where the sun always shines! Axxx

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    1. Thankfully we've never had to test your theory, Annie, though it has certainly come up trumps in the load-carrying department lots of times. :-) Sun-seeking in the south of Spain sounds very tempting as I look out of the window at the grey dampness of this summer evening, but DH might be more reluctant, being one of those who starts to melt when the temperature goes above 25C!

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  18. Have a wonderful time - I hope the weather improves for you.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. It's raining yet again this morning, but it has to stop sometime soon - surely?

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  19. Hope you and yours and your van make it safely through the rain. Somehow one doesn't mind rainy holidays too much when one's in Scotland - fine weather is a bonus - but rain in Normandy is not much fun. I don't think French houses are designed to be as cosy as Scottish and Welsh ones, for one thing. So all in all, I do hope that the sun comes out for you while you are over la Manche. (Suddenly I see you as Plantagenet monarchs, with demesnes on both sides of the Channel and a foothold in Scotland too!)

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    1. The van is very waterproof, thanks, DB, as we have proved on many a wet journey before. :-) There's a good reason why our bit of Normandy is so green and we've seen plenty of rain there too, but when the weather is good, it's glorious, so fingers crossed, espeically for my dear mother-in-law. I don't think I'd better let DH see this comment about Plantagenet monarchs - it might give him ideas above his station!

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  20. What a wonderful summer experience! I almost can't imagine. I'm glad to read above that you will still have some ability to keep in touch! I would miss you if you couldn't let us know all the delights of your time away! Pictures, too...I'm very bossy! Debra

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    1. LOL, Debra! Your wish is my command. After all that's why I got my laptop. :-)

      We feel verty fortunate to be able to do this in our retirement, after so many years of being too busy for proper holidays. Mind you, we shall be working too, as there's still a lot to do to the house, even after 9 years, and the grass never stops growing. Perhaps I should do a post about what it was like at the beginning, to remind myself how far we've come....

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  21. I am just now catching up, Perpetua, so you will most likely read this at some far off point in time, but, I do wish you and DH safe travel and, hopefully, some good weather. I'm know there will be some work involved once you reach you Normandy home, but, here's hoping that there is some play to enjoy and a lovely time with your mother-in-law.

    If only, somehow, a bit of that rain could be transported here. We are dry as a bone in Illinois, especially in our farming areas.

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    1. Thanks, Penny. Travel so far has been safe, if wet and it's raining again as I type. We are with DH's mother and will be sailing in Tuesday, when, hopefully the weather will have improved. I've often wished that there was somew way of exchanging weather with parts of the world afflicted with too little rain when we have too much or vice versa. Here the farmers can't make their first cut of silage as the weather is too wet, while elswehere crops are failing for lack of rain. Sigh...

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  22. Dear Perpetua, like Penny, I wish you a wonderful trip with no problems and with sunny skies. And may your stay in Normandy be restful and rejuvenating.

    Thanks so much for the video of Gene Kelly and the singing in the rain routine. I always find myself smiling throughout the whole song. He was such a wonderful entertainer and dancer. Peace.

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    1. Thanks, Dee, as usual you have said what I'm thinking. :-) The sun did shine earlier, but didn't stay around for long, but I'm hoping this was a harbinger of better weather to come.

      I'm glad you're another Gene Kelly fan. This is one of my favourite films and I could watch this sequence endlessly. Such skill and ease, born of very hard work....

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  23. Hope you have arrived safely. I think we have sucked in all the good weather for thousands of miles. It's unseasonably hot here. Touched 40 degrees C yesterday in the shade which is crazy for June.

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    1. Still en route, BtoB, but will be catching the ferry tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately the forecast for the UK for the next 10 days is fairly dire, but that for southern Normandy is looking quite promising. We're all doing the happy dance here, even though the temperature will still be only in the lower 20s. The thought of 40C in June makes me shudder.....

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  24. I'm sending you lots of sunshine and warm temps from sunny Gib and Andalucía.

    I loved the Portsmouth - Caen crossing, it passed in no time, but maybe that was because we were off on Our Big Adventure to Live Abroad. The food was good too. However that was nearly eleven years ago.

    Hope you have a great summer.

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    1. Thanks, roughseas, all contributions gratefully received. :-) It was warm and sunny yesterday, but sadly it didn't last. Cool, cloudy and wet again today.

      The crossing passed very quickly this time, but that was because I was asleep for most of it, having woken at 2.30am!!! and not gone back to sleep again. Hey-ho, back to the unpacking after which I may have chance to catch up with a few blogs....

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  25. Glad to hear that you have all arrived safely at your Normandy cottage. Looking forward to the first blog post from this side of the Channel :-)

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    1. Thanks, Ricky. After my first really good night's sleep for almost a week, I can actually think straight again and am already mulling over ideas....:-)

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  26. I do not know northern France very well at all - though this summer I have hired a house near Verdun / Metz, in the Lorraine region. Looking forward to it very much. Enjoy your travels.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I only really know this area well, after 9 years of visiting for ever longer periods. I've occasionally visited other parts of France, but Normandy suits us both very well. I've only travelled through the area you will be visiting on the way to Oberammergau, but did spend the night at Metz on the way home. Have a lovely holiday when you get there.

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  27. Even with the weather not always being sunny I’d love to go to Normandie – we used to go on holiday there when I was growing up. I have not been there in years and would love to drink a nice glass of cidre, then have some of the good cream and butter – so many good things to eat in Normandie. Have a good time while there.

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    1. Thanks, Vagabonde. The weather seems to be giving us alternate days of sun and rain so far, but you're certainly right about the food. :-) I know now from experience that Normandy is a favourite holiday area for Parisians, as there are several Parisian-owned holiday homes not very far from us. I think you would find that the region hasn't changed beyond recognition from when you visited as a child. It's still very green and quiet and beautiful.

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  28. A Roving Retirement sounds like something to which I could quite cheerfully aspire. I'm glad you visited, as it give me a chance to meet a new blogger, and from what I've seen this evening I know I want to follow. I'll be back.

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    1. Hello Pondside and thanks for visiting. I too am glad I followed that link. :-) We didn't set out to plan a roving retirement - it just sort of happened - but we really are enjoying it enormously while it lasts.

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