Thursday doors #100

This week is the start of a series of doors from Frejus which we visited during our staycation last summer.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Dan’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Cee’s Flower of the Day #15

Because I photographed so many flowers last year, this is yet another challenge I’ve decided to take part in on week days.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Challenge Your Camera: #3 Industrial

Bit of a tricky challenge this week. While I take photos of lots of buildings, they’re rarely industrial. I’m definitely going to have to sort through my archives. As you can see from the photos below, I’ve had to be pretty liberal with the use of industrial to cover repurposed buildings and industrial looking structures.


Atomium building in Brussels constructed in 1958 for the World Fair, now a museum.


Sydney Harbour Bridge: heritage-listed steel bridge carrying rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.


Former railway station Gare d’Orsay which now houses museum of the same name


Properties formerly used in the leather and wool trades line the Agout river running through Castres


Eiffel Tower constructed as the gateway to 1889’s World Fair


Part of the city of arts and sciences, Valencia


Le Carreau du Temple, Paris, repurposed as an exhibition space in 2014.


Dredging on Jumeirah Beach, Dubai

As a way to brighten our weeks, each week Dr B from Buddha Walks into a Wine Bar is selecting a single theme to point our cameras at or to encourage us to display a few photos from our collections.

If you would like to join Dr B in #challengeyourcamera then here’s what to do:

1. Follow Dr B (link above) to discover the chosen weekly theme.
2. Select or take a few photos related to the week’s theme
3. Post your own photos that week, on any day you like.
4. Include a caption with each photo so we all know what/where it is
5. Include a ping back/link to Dr B’s blog in your post so that he’s notified, can follow you back and can appreciate and comment on your choices.
6. Include the tag #challengeyourcamera

In addition:

1. Dr B will follow you back
2. He will encourage other posters to follow you
3. He will list each blogger in my weekly post

It’ll be fun, why not join in?

40 years of memorable moments: we move to France-Part II

I was sure I’d written a post about our permanent move to France, but I hadn’t as I discovered some days  ago when Aiva from Our Crossings asked me about it as did Amanda from Forestwood.  You can find Part I here.

We first had to decide where to live. Initially, my beloved favoured the hill towns such as La Colle  sur Loup, Vence or Tourettes.  I preferred the littoral largely because it’s always sunnier. Furthermore, I wanted a renovation project, while my beloved wanted a large pool and garden.

It wasn’t long before reality dawned. I really didn’t want the day-to-day hassle of maintaining a large property, garden and pool. Remember, I’m married to “the man who just turns up” and has no competencies in DIY, gardenening or housework. We looked at six properties in the afore-mentioned locations which just confirmed my preference for a home within walking distance of the beach, a croissant and a sea view.

As is so often the case in our property searches, my beloved found our current home. He spotted the picture of the 50 metre pool advertising a large flat on the coast for sale with a fabulous view. It does have a beautiful large communal garden – much appreciated during lockdown – and afore-mentioned outdoor pool. But thankfully someone else looks after both while we get to enjoy them.

We viewed the flat and discovered that a couple from Paris had already made an offer which luckily the owner, a retired GP from Corsica, hadn’t accepted it. We topped their offer and, as cash buyers, were very much in the driving seat and able to move quickly. The ex-doctor was moving to Chile to be near one of his children and matters were swiftly concluded. This was our second property in France, we were old hands, we knew what to do.

The previous owner had bought the apartment from the developer, moved in and had done absolutely nothing to it, apart from hanging some truly hideous 70s wallpaper which subsequently proved a nightmare to strip off. The bathrooms and kitchen still had all the original fixtures and fittings, long overdue an upgrade.

We had looked at seven properties in total, more than we usually do, and we’d found our forever home. A massive renovation project with a fabulous view, just a 10 minute stroll to the beach and our nearest croissant, with that all-important (to my husband) pool.

We exchanged in November with completion in early January 2005  and my beloved thought we would be able to move in around Easter. I did keep telling him that redoing the electrics, three bathrooms, the kitchen and laundry would take longer. He honestly had no idea of the work involved.

The layout of the flat which occupies a corner plot, with a wrap around terrace, had already been reduced from eight to six rooms – French property adverts typically talk about the number of rooms excluding kitchens, bathrooms, launderies etc. In order to get a decent sized kitchen, I reduced it further to five. We now have a very spacious two-bedroom, three bathroom flat with an office.

I already knew which kitchen I wanted and, armed with a detailed floor plan of the flat, had my order placed by early February. I had worked with the company on a simpler ie easier to clean, example of one of their bespoke, painted, solid oak kitchens. I used the electrician recommended by the kitchen company to rewire the apartment, put in an alarm and the internet.

I contacted the plumber we’d used to make some changes to the bathroom in our holiday flat and worked with him to acquire everything we needed for the new bathrooms and toilets. The advantage with this plumber was that he did both plumbing and tiling so I wouldn’t need any other contractors, though we did seek the assistance of the building’s on-call plumber, as he was fully conversant with all the block’s eccentricities.

All the contractors were probably much amused by an Englishwoman giving them very detailed and precise written specifications, in French. At no time, thankfully, did they ever have any contact with my beloved.

Good workmen everywhere are always hard to find, usually very busy and often unwilling to work outside of their geographic area. France is no different and there’s no shortage of work here. In addition there are quite strict rules as to how, when and where work can be undertaken in blocks of flats. No noisy work during July or August, week ends or Bank holidays, just week days 08:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 18:00 and any major works have to be pre-approved by the building’s management company.

I did everything by the book (of rules) even going on a charm offensive with my new neighbours before the work started. I made sure a note was left in the entrance hall with all the relevant contact details in case they wanted to complain. I had plenty of calls but funnily enough none of their complaints related to my works but to others who had not been quite as assiduous.

Plus, I closely managed my contractors lest they were inclined to use their own initiative. I also discovered, much to my relief,  that French workmen don’t need endless cups of tea with biscuits to get them to work, nor do they constantly stop for idle chit-chat.

We finally moved into the flat in August. It had all of the necessary services but had still  to be decorated, largely because the decorator I’d found was too busy to start until the following year. His father turned out to be an excellent carpenter so that kind of killed two birds with one stone.

Decorating proved a much slower process than anticipated because my decorator had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the project – nothing to do with me. Meanwhile, his father did an excellent job on all the mouldings, radiator covers, storage, dressing rooms, book cases etc

The entire renovation project took two years and some, at which point I never wanted to see another workman anytime soon. Since then I’ve replaced the windows, blinds and shutters. And, of course, 15 years down the line I’m now looking at redecorating but I’m waiting until my beloved retires, not before. I have some quite radical plans which I can work on until we’re ready to start. You all know how I love some planning and preparation.

 

Cee’s Flower of the Day #14

Because I photographed so many flowers last year, this is yet another challenge I’ve decided to take part in on week days.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Wordless Wednesday #69

In 2021 Wordless Wednesday is going to feature photos from my trips to Australia.This is from 2016.

Come along now…….

 

40 years of memorable moments: we move to France-Part I

I started this series of posts about major events in our lives once we’d been married for 40 years. We’re now well past that point but somehow the title still seems fitting.

I was sure I’d written a post about our permanent move to France, but I hadn’t as I discovered some days  ago when Aiva from Our Crossings asked me about it as did Amanda from Forestwood. So here goes, it’s a two-parter.

I had always thought that we would retire abroad, most probably in either southern Germany or Austria, largely because we both speak the language and had already spent a significant amount of time there. My husband had spent over six years based there since the early 90s. But no, the acquisition of a holiday home back in 2001 near Nice proved pivotal.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact triggers for our permanent relocation. Certainly there were more than one which prompted a re-evaluatation of our priorities. For my part, it was most probably the dawning realisation that while I loved the things my job allowed me to do, I was bored  stiff by the job itself which frankly wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Indeed, it was becoming less interesting by the day as departments I had previously successfully managed were outsourced to others or even to other group entities. Furthermore, I was totally on board with these changes, they made perfect sense in the overall scheme. However, when I sat and thought about where all this was leading, I didn’t like the answer, or did I?

I was fortunate that my idiot boss decided to conduct a third-party evaluation of the effectiveness of his executive team. He most certainly didn’t like the answer to that one but it rather played into my hands. He feared I was after his job, I wasn’t. In fact I was probably the only person on the team who wasn’t. This was because I realised he was only temporary, just keeping the seat warm until another oft-discussed takeover went ahead and a prodigal son returned to the fold as CEO.

Also, there were lots of things I still wanted to do – and no, riding a bike wasn’t one of them. It was time for a radical change. Initially my plan was to resign, sell up in London and base myself in our French holiday apartment with regular trips to Germany to visit my beloved. He had a global role and I had planned to travel more with him.

While changes were underway for me, they suddenly were too for my beloved. A US company had acquired the German family concern he was working for and he decided to head for the exit. I did point out that it probably wasn’t a good idea for us both to be out of work at the same time! But, hey ho!

My beloved rapidly secured a position with a company that had previously been one of his major customers. This role would still allow him to circumnavigate the globe. He could be based anywhere he liked, so long as it was close to a major airport.

I’m not an accountant for nothing! I worked out where it would be most tax advantageous for us to be based: UK, Germany or France. And, surprise, surprise, it was France. That’s even without taking account of the weather, lifestyle, food, the French – yes, I know I gently poke fun at them but I love them really.

I now had two apartments (UK and Germany) to pack up and ship to France. Based in our former holiday flat, we began the process of looking for a more permanent location, our forever home.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #13

Because I photographed so many flowers last year, this is yet another challenge I’ve decided to take part in on week days.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #73

These photos are from some of our more recent strolls around the ‘hood when the sun was shining.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge was hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encouraged us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It was a one day challenge without prompts which I have continued to pursue. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #12

Because I photographed so many flowers last year, this is yet another challenge I’ve decided to embrace, although only on week days.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers