Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poppies are on their way!

The first poppies are appearing in our garden, a little earlier than normal, encouraged by the early warm temperatures and sunshine.

Soon the area will be a blaze of red, the poppies replacing the spring blossom. 

Le Chene is ready to receive her first guests of this years season , a couple from Australia who are here for nine weeks. This is the third season and we have just completed a round of redecorating  and the garden is also now getting nice and established. 
Book now for 2012!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Summer comes early

Like much of southern Europe we have been basking in unseasonably warm temperatures resulting in  the flowers and trees to producing early  blossom and buds and some wonderful produce  to our tables!
We took advantage of a free Saturday to visit the market in Apt which was already pretty busy.
Juicy red tomatoes in Apt market yesterday

White Asparagus from the Gard
Sun dried tomatoes
strawberries from Carpentras

gorgeous green asparagus......

Even melons are early!
and fabulous artichokes

And so for Sunday lunch  Karen produced Asparagus with poached egg, shavings of parmasan...
and in the evening a cote de boeuf with green beans, roasted potatoes, garlic and onions. 

washed down with a little white and red.........
and for desert

a little cassis is added to the strawberries

and some creme fraiche to top!

And so to work off all this great food some exercise beckons!

back in the pool, a little fresh at 20 degrees but a necessary evil!

It is amazing how quickly the pool has warmed up with the warm weather, two week ago it was just 11 degrees, now topping 23 in the day.

Our cherry tree in full bloom

The Luberon, early evening.

Karen's Mum, Joan has been with us for the last week enjoying the balmy spring temperatures and sunshine.

And our first guests have arrived in Les Cypres, an Australian couple , setting off what should be a very busy season.

We have spent the last fortnight working to make sure the house meets our clients expectations so have carried out several improvements which we hope will add to the pleasure of the house. Over 30% of this years clients are repeat guests so it is important maintain it for them.

Rather unexpectedly  we have had to replace the pool liner which is being carried out tomorrow, we hope a crisis averted! Property ownership is not without its stress and expenditure!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

What a week and we have a winner!

I am not sure why it is that when I had a 'normal' 'conventional' job that I used to fit most things in! And now when theoretically I have more time I seem to struggle to find the time...............maybe it's age!
Any way, it has been quite a week, so much so that I am going to have to recite it in reverse order! 

As reported earlier on my blog last night saw the final of 'Miss Arrielle Creation 2011'. 
A competition put on by the hairdresser in the village for the best haircut.
Karen was one of the five candidates, and voting took place at the salon over the last month.
Over 310 votes were cast , and a 'grande soiree '  was organised with wine & food laid on, the Marie was present and the weather set perfectly.

The atmosphere builds as the tension heightens!
Arielle leads the ladies to the stage for the announcement of the winner
She introduces each contestant........
And in the tradition of Miss World, her assistant Caroline, opens the envelope to reveal  the winner

Wow, It is so wonderful!
I am so proud, for lots of reasons,  that  Karen has won this competition, especially as non locals!
So I present Miss Arielle Creation 2011!- My wife!

I speak for Karen to say it has been an enormous privilege to have been invited to take part in the competition  and we would like to congratulate Arielle for organising such a professional, well run event. 
And so back to real life! 
Last week we were preparing Les Cypres for the first guests who arrive next week.

The pool has been emptied for cleaning and some repairs.

And the wonderful Spring weather has allowed us to prepare the garden.

The house is booked right through summer but it is very important we keep on top of everything, and this garden seems to demand lots of attention!

Meanwhile the garden outside our gites is thriving, planted in 2009 everything is looking very healthy after 
a mild winter and warm spring.

Lunch on the terrace, a beer is strictly limited to weekends!

Waking up to this view in the morning is so good for the spirit! 
I think we have found paradise!


We were fortunate to live just half an hour outside London when living in the UK, now over 5 years ago,  and yet we visited so rarely, and when we did we were always under pressure to get back etc. so a recent opportunity arose to spend 3 days in London, where we could be tourists!

We took a flight Sunday morning from Marseille to London and were in our Hotel by lunchtime, pretty good, eh!
Our 'Town house ' Hotel in Marylebone

We lost no time getting out to see the sights starting in Trafalgar Square.

We were amazed at how busy London was!

Thank fully we missed the riots the day before, which left their mark in all sorts of places!

The National Gallery, where we took in the Bridget Riley exhibition who happens to live in Saint Saturnin Les Apt.

Reflecting on the scene..........
There is a great atmosphere, people from all over the world congregate on one of the most famous squares in the world.

Karen taking in the fun of the day.

Spring daffodils set the scene on our second day.
Reminding me of my jury service at the Old Bailey in 2001.

St Paul's with spring flowers in the foreground.
Busy, busy, busy.......

it is lunchtime and the perfect place to take a picnic...

The Millennium bridge attracts a huge crowd

Karen and the millennium bridge

Enjoying a rest at St Pancras station in the champagne bar of course!

The longest champagne bar In Europe!

Celebrating the forthcoming Olympics.

Just celebrating - no excuses needed!

The newly opened St Pancras Hotel looks magnificent and is highly impressive.

It was certainly wonderful to visit London as a tourist, it is vibrant, fun and exciting.  There are so many fantastic buildings, restaurants and shops. So much history, richness and culture. Service has come on leaps and bounds. It is truly one of the best cities in the world - to visit - to live - that is another question?