Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas Update

I can't believe how much time has gone by since I made my last post on here but we have been away on an extended holiday to the UK to visit all of our sons and families and New Zealand to visit our daughter and her family. In addition we have spent a total of 7 days in Penang in Malaysia.
We had a fantastic time with just a couple of little hiccups. We had to get an internal domestic flight from Penang to Kuala Lumpa ready to catch an international flight to Auckland in New Zealand, the transfer time was quite tight at just over an hour, as we had to transfer between the domestic and International terminals but when the plane was 35 minutes late arriving it was nearly impossible, we had to clear passport control and pretty much ran all the way arriving after the takeoff time with everyone else boarded. The staff had to phone the plane for permission for us to board but we got there.
However when we arrived in Auckland there was an announcement asking me to go to the desk.......Our luggage hadn't made it!
The baggage handling company a toilet bag and tee shirt each and $153 ( around £75 ) New Zealand dollars as compensation and delivered our luggage to our Daughter's house in Wellington the next day.
Whilst on holiday there I was using my debit card in ATMs to withdraw cash about halfway through the holiday one of the machine's kept our card! I went to the nearest branch of the bank that owned it only to be told it would have been destroyed by the machine as a security measure. It wasn't a problem to us as I had several other cards with me to use but it is a warning to others that If you rely on only one card you could be in a bit of trouble If this happened ( there was plenty of money in the account so there was obviously a problem with that machine )

I would have liked to post while we were away but didn't want to advertise the fact that we were away from home. Here in France where we live it is even more pertinent as under French law if we did get a squatter in the house while we were away we could not legally evict them during the winter period. It is against the law to evict anyone from November the 1st until the middle of March.

We had a terrific holiday but as always were pleased to be home when we got back, the traffic in the UK particually seems to get worse and worse, I think when you live in it you get to accept it more but the difference to the roads around where we live is difficult to describe. Driving here is a pleasure.

Even though I was expecting it the amount of leaves that had fallen from our lovely line of lime trees and the big acer's on the front lawn still came as a bit of a shock.

It took me five days to clear them all with well over 100 barrow loads of compressed leaves, they are all being composted and eventually will be incorporated into the soil in the vegetable plot. We have established that our soil is acidic and needs the PH levels raised. It won't happen overnight but hopefully year on year it should improve. We are adding as much compost as we can plus a liberal spreading of lime pellets which should all help.

Since getting back home our social life has taken off again, we are very lucky to have a wide and varied set of good friends and there is rarely more than a day or two before we are meeting up with someone or another for a drink/chat/coffee/meal etc. I don't know how I ever had the time to work.

With the winter starting to set in we are starting to make good use of the fir trees I cut down and logged. The wood we are putting into the wood burner now is over 2 years old and fully dried, an essential thing if you don't want to tar up the flue. It also burns a lot hotter with little ash, the ash by the way also goes onto the vegetable plot and helps raise the PH levels.
I am hoping that I have around 3 winters worth of logs in stock now.

It is nice to be looking forward to a New Year arriving once again and already have a few projects in mind including painting the exterior of the house in the spring.

A very happy Christmas and a great New Year to everyone.

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