Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Cleaning?

What happened to the plan to write my blog more frequently? It is now the middle of April - 3 months since the last post and there has been plenty to write about but I just never got round to it somehow.

The Moulin du Clout has now been finally sold and handed over to Bernd Kaiser but not without problems and last minute dramas. Our sadness at losing it has been ameliorated by relief at not having to worry about pipes freezing, EDF billing us for large amounts etc. However, we can't quite let go and we have plans to go back to the area in June, staying in Den and Caro's farmhouse in Lassal, a neighbouring village, for a week. Maybe we shall call in on Bernd and see how he is managing.

Jim, Lincoln and I went down to the Auvergne with a transit van to collect things that we didn't want to leave there. A busy couple of days including a pleasant evening at Den and Caro's who kindly asked us over for supper.

Taking a last stroll along the Nature Trail - Matthew, Lincoln and Jim
The packed van - what have we forgotten?
Supper at Chez Caro - Lydia, Caro, Self and Den

Joni was ten in February and I had the task of making a birthday cake in the shape of Merida, heroine of the Disney film Brave. She had a party with her friends in an archery and hawking centre. 

At the end of March we spent a few days with Matthew and Co in Antwerp. During our stay we saw a performance of the Picolini Circus with the children from Bo and Tess's School. Bo was an acrobat and Tess a Pierrot Clown.

Tess right

Tess centre

The Acrobats
Bo standing on head right
The Stilt Walkers

The Unicyclists

Bo centre

Saskia, Bo and Tess's mother received a well-deserved accolade for designing and organising the making of the costumes.
A lovely show which we thoroughly enjoyed.

This is Poes - now an acrobat on three legs - she is doing well after having her leg amputated following a fall which badly broke her leg:

I found that I was getting applications for 'Workawayers' as I still had my host page on the site, so I removed it, but then I had the great idea of updating my profile instead to that of our home here in Cowbridge. We had/have several chores - mainly decorating and a little gardening that we felt we could have help with. I have been inundated with requests! Over 35 in about three weeks! I have made a small selection and during the last two weeks we have hosted Giovanni, a physics graduate, from Messina in Sicily. Naturally we asked him if he was acquainted with Inspector Montalbano but no luck.
Giovanni has painted our front door and railings and tidied the garden and helped Jim down at the Market Theatre with painting the set. He also helped on performance nights in the kitchen and bar. He said he found the experience interesting and having watched the play - The Business of Murder by Richard Harris, - five times in all and he just about understood the plot at the end. What a way to improve your English!

Giovanni and Jim - Bartenders at CADS
We took Giovanni on a couple of trips to see our Welsh scenery. Firstly a trip up to Brecon via the Rhonnda valley. We gave him a run down on the demise of the coal industry as we went and contrasted the affluent Vale of Glamorgan with the industrial landscape of the valleys. 
The view from the Bulch was a bit of a let down muffled as it was with a scarf of mist but Giovanni said he liked the British countryside for it's greenness. My comment was that another couple of weeks after all the rain we were getting and the rise in temperature he would see an explosion of green.

For Giovanni's last day with us we went to Ogmore and showed him the sea. We walked along the coastal path for a while as Rufus explored the rabbit burrows.

Giovanni was due to leave for a placement on a farm near Salisbury. He was looking forward to this but on the morning of his departure his host rang to say that due to a family crisis they were unable to take him. He later contacted another host in London who agreed to take him and he left to make his way to Walthamstow. We wish him luck with his future career.

I was not involved with production of The Business of Murder as no costumes were required but of course, I was on hand to provide the food for the Rotarians night and the Saturday night party. Jim did sterling work with the set successfully trying out a new thing using a semi-transparent gauze wall which when lit from behind revealed another room. The play was excellent and all praise to cast and crew.

Jeff, Rachel and Gethin in The Business of Murder

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christmas Past

Glob made by Bo out of Plasticine
We are over half way through January now and the Festive Season is well and truly over. We know this because the time has come to fill in our Tax Returns - or else! I shall put it off another day at least so that I can write this blog.

We had a splendid Christmas after recovering from the cough and cold that so many people seem to have had. Christmas itself was spent at Graig Fach with the family.

After breakfast comes the present opening:

Identifying the recipient
This one is mine!
The room quickly becomes a sea of paper as the presents are unwrapped -

What can that large one wrapped in brown paper be?

Ben quickly makes a start with his Lego kit. He works unaided following the instruction book exactly until the truck his finished.

Joni needed to expert help to finish her Palace but that's what Modelmaker Dad's are for.

A Nut Roast for lunch followed which was excellent and then we played some games . . . 

. . . the excitement proved too much for Grandpa!

At the weekend we had a visit from our friends from Aberystwyth Gill, Brian and Ruth.

After New Year Matthew and family arrived from Antwerp for a few days. So we have Christmas all over again.

Bo had a microscope and some slides - "Cool" - she said.
We all have a meal together
Then a walk along Southerndown shore -

Tess looking cool at Southerndown
During the week Matthew and Co visited Claire where they made some little films.

 Twelfth Night we spent at the Sain ley Berry's reading The 39 Steps. A very funny play and one we saw at Pitlochry this year. Peter plans to read it again at CADS AGM to provide the entertainment.

Here is Sonny Goy who read the part of the Paper Boy and very well he did it too.

On the 9th of January we went to Troserch Woods to join Lincoln and Jan at a working party. We helped to clear an area of bluebells covered with brambles. Tough work. It was also a useful occasion to get the three dogs Rufus, Brie and Floyd acquainted on neutral territory. Lunch at The Morlais Tavern.

We have heard that Joni has got a distinction in here Grade 1 ballet exam with 79%. Well done Joni.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Season's Greetings!

This is Petrouska - she is over fifty years old and has sat atop our Christmas tree most years. She has even spent some time on a narrow boat during the weeks we enjoyed Christmas afloat. Her hair is made from Claire's baby clippings, her frock was made by myself years ago and her crown by Joni last year. I hope she will see a few more years yet.

We will be spending a couple of festive days at Craig Fach with Lincoln's family and Matthew's family will be joining us in the New Year so we have good times to look forward too.

The 'beach' along the Nature Trail

The sale of Moulin du Clout will be completed in February - we have to go down there for a few days to clear out our chattels and take a last walk around the Nature Trail. Let us hope that the weather is not too severe as that will cause problems all round.

I feel rather sad when I look at my photos of the place which has so many memories of events there during the last nine years. We shall miss it although not being committed to France for our holidays is giving us plenty to think about. Where shall we go now?

Recent events back home include the successful performances of Dangerous Corner by JB Priestley put on in the Market Theatre over three days and directed by myself. Many thanks to the cast and crew especially, as always, to Jim for the great set he produced.

Camilla, Cat, Caron and Rachel

Chris, Andy and Cat
Chris, Camilla, Peter and Caron
Cat, Peter, Rachel, Andy and Caron
Joni took her first ballet exam in December - here she is in rehearsal:

If ever I should make any New Year Resolutions one of them would be to write up this blog more frequently to record some of the things that I may wish to remember when I am old. I used to write the French one (www.cantalcapers.blogspot.co.uk)  nearly every week and that is now a precious account of the three summers we spent at the Moulin du Clout.

Until the next time have a good Christmas and a promising New Year.