~In jeder Sprache wohnen andere Augen.~

mercredi 8 mars 2017

The Wild West ---- Wonne im Bauch

'Wonne im Bauch' ---- Only my own word creation from childhood ---- it means more than butterflies in my belly....

Here we are, here we go. I am fully geared up to face that house in Wales. I have been to the hairdressers and donated 30 cm of my hair for cancer charity. It is obviously a bit of a shock for my environment but the dog still welcomed me as usual, so it can't be too bad.

When I was  a naughty child, and I was certainly a naughty one, my mother always took me to the hairdressers when she could not manage me anymore, pretending that the cutting of the hair had a good influence and a lot of mischief was eliminated then. At least for a wee while. It grew all back, the mischief - as did the hair. Today, I feel not less mischieveous but I feel a lot lighter, haha, around my head that is. Hopefully, this light-headedness is going to disappear because I need all of my abilities to be sure in my intuition.

I'll take my hat of confidence, my trusty solid boots and my raincoat. My camera and Barbara's ever so good advices:

 Go with a positive attitude first. Look at it with heart.
Then go back later and look with head,
having had a large coffee/gin/other in between

Those were the lines I had put together on Thursday and then a couple of unforeseen actions had to be taken quickly before leaving, hence I was not able to publish them on my blog then.

But here we are back from a very exciting, almost enchanting weekend in Bristol and Wales. Wee granddaughter has grown a lot and is now thrown into bubbly city life as her mum got a new job, well deserved and we are all proud of her!

After another nearly sleepless night, we were off to beautiful Ceredigion. I never have been on the road to Cardiff or further West and even Port Talbot had some kind of beauty to reveal to me as it was a dry and sunny journey. Every mile we got closer, I got more excited.

Eventually, there we were. Past Cardigan, up North on the coast. Every bend of the coast is stunning and we made mental bookmarks where we wanted to look before heading back to Bristol. New Quay for sure. Newcastle Emlyn. Aberaeron. Aberystwyth. 

The house feels good. Sound and grand. Much 'younger' than our farmhouse, as it is Edwardian, built in 1907. Many of the same period feelings than EG's family home in Cheshire. I am still trying to figure out how it can be improved to our (spoiled) standard. 
But we both continue reminding us that the farmhouse was not looking 'good' when we first came. In fact, it was almost inhabitable. This one is not! One can move in straight away and won't lack of anything, everything is functioning, in place and operational. No structural mend will have to be done. When we moved in here, we had a leaking roof, no central heating, no kitchen or hot water, no bathroom, just one toilet in the 'laiterie' (=dairy). One oil oven warmed one room and that was it. Did it matter? Certainly a bit in the beginning and we were both happy when we could go back to the jobs, into our warm offices or cars.
Some compromises will have to be done as not all of our belongings will fit or find space but so what? All in all, we seem to be able to imagine ourselves there.

Having had well Barbara's advice in my head, we went to explore around and stayed over night in beautiful Aberaeron. And went back next day, to remember how the house really feels and to check if we could confirm our first impressions. That was a great advice, Barbara, thank you so much!

Next step will be to make an offer. We shall see. At the end of the day, it is all as it must be. If the offer is not accepted, we will continue searching. We are in no rush, which is very comfortable and we still love so much our old farm...And the whole nightmare of removal to another country will be early enough to be faced. 

Whatever will be the outcome, that area of Great Britain, the Wild West, is definetely worth for visiting :-)

Here are some impressions - whilst we had rainy weather and pictures are a bit dull.



Welsh for beginners

Can you hear the sound of the waves?

A graveyard next to the sea, mostly seafarer's graves

New Quay

Until next time....

vendredi 17 février 2017

Cottage or Castle... Wales or West Country?

Here we are in 2017, the year of change.

Whilst winter was so long and rather cold, not a lot of things got done. The reliable antidote to the cold: Glühwein (mulled wine) - not sure if the Iphone picture shows the cups steaming content.

The househunting ground seems to be small then and the area on the virtual map gets extended in desperate search of THE forever home. All is in limbo since January. Everyday's news start either with the capital T or the capital B or regional political corruption or threat of the nuclear power stations or ... bird flu.
Suddenly, a phone call. Then a friend's visit. And it all seems as if the sky breaks up and the sun shines brightly down on us, just on our little spot. The phone call triggers an avalanche of exciting events and marks the starting shot. Everything is happening at once. A totally unexpected  e-mail on top of that gives us the sure indication: this is another sign! Now this will be our year of leaving! Nothing ties us anymore, The road is clear ahead.

So far, last autumn, we had visited 2 houses on the Welsh border. The first one, in pouring rain (very useful to see a house when it pours down, you see clearly the defaults 😀).
The second house however, left us in awe. The house so cosy, the flow perfect, the kitchen and utility just like what we are used to, the many rooms bright, every box could be ticked.

Those made us arriving late to our viewing appointment

Outside, the walled garden. To dream of, enough acreage for to start an orchard, a barn for all the vintage cars, a stream with fishing rights.... However, after careful analysis, it turned out that there is only Air Ambulance coverage, no hospital very near and the stream too close for our taste - having seen the devastating forces of water in last June here.

When we visited Wales in November, it became very obvious that we both are totally in love with. However, there are many very secluded and lonely places in Wales and that would certainly not be our cup of tea now. Suddenly, the possibility of being close to the sea became an option. So there was another add-on to the wishlist.
Hence, one goes with the finger on the map along the coastline, after all, the UK is an island and has plenty of coastline. The prospective of ending up in a milder climate is enticing.

We have been so often in the West Country, traveled the coast of Dorset, went through Devon and spent several times in Cornwall. Beautiful area, a great place for holidays. When we went to Dunster and Minehead, I could not imagine us living there. There are steam railways. National parks. A lot of coastline to look at. Some places are just too dear and out of our scope. As it is an attractive place for holiday makers, the idea of a holiday let could be envisaged. Oh dear, here we are, another item on the list.

That remembers me our mutual list we wrote many moons ago, when we were still a part but had the deep desire and eventually the outlook of sharing a home together. Most conversations were held via e-mail (still called 'cc mail' at that moment). My wishlist had three items:
A kitchen big enough to dine in
A bathroom with a window
Roses round the entrance door.

EG's list was long of one and a half pages. I don't remember all of it but it certainly started with
A cellar
A stream
A large garden
Many garages/outbuildings for the vintage cars (I did not know then how many or what they looked like)
A fireplace or a provision to build one
(at one point, there was also a mention about  'a decent bed' as I had only a matrass on the floor)

By buying this place here, we could tick all the boxes or were able to do so after a while.

But back to today. In general, Wales offers more acreage for the money. When we re-visited last November we were somewhat surprised how mild it was close to the Irish Sea. The possibility to find our forever home over there seems more likely. The possibility to realise all wishes and even more seems affordable over there.
Especially since EG had a viewing on a house this last Wednesday. He happened to have several good reasons to travel up North and I suggested that he made the wee detour in order to inspect the place...

My wind turbine *tick*
His dream for self sufficiency *tick*
Close to the sea *tick*
As spaceous as here *tick*
Easy maintenance *tick*
Close to amenities and hospital *tick*
Space for some odd cars *tick* (tough negotiations will be ahead of  who might come)

So far, so good. But I haven't seen it yet. I wait impatiently for EG to come home, which might be Sunday night and then we will be in high need of a house sitter for the next journey across the channel.

mardi 15 novembre 2016

Croeso y Cymru

A part from many common, shared or tolerated passions, Wales has always been one of them between EG and me. Since our childhood and so many happy memories there, Wales is engraved in our hearts.
As we commemorated not only Remembrance Day or Armistice but also celebrated our very own 'remembrance day', we drove over to Bristol to get the 'granddaughter fix' and went then further North.
Many times, we have been in the UK in November, be it, because at home the garden is going to prepare itself for hibernation and less demanding or just because the flow of tourists has come to a halt.

Since we have now a season ticket for the ferry and no boss to be claimed anymore for a holiday request, we are in the luxurious position to be spontaneous. So we leave the flaming garden, the beautiful house, take the dog and sail....

My first Bonfire Night in Victoria Park, Bristol. Very cold and very convenient having the big fire burning behind us but a pity that none of  the mulled wine was left anymore.

Sunday morning we headed off to North Devon to the fleamarket event in South Molton, where I met with lovely Niki. As always, it was wonderful to see her again :-). A great time was spent and a lovely drive through gentle Devon was enjoyed.

Then we drove off to the North. The Country House to which EG brought me many years ago, when we found out that we would not want to be separated off each other anymore, is in Criccieth, North Wales. Sadly it was closed in just that week.

But we found a lovely little hotel  (http://www.themoelwyn.co.uk/ )    just on the seaside where the dog was also welcome and where we were the only guests. We had a wonderful stay awaking to this impression:

first morning wake-up

second morning wake-up

We drove round the Llŷn Peninsula to Abersoch. How strange that for both of us in our memory that place had been much bigger when we were children. 

We also had a stop in Porthmadog and despite the rain, enjoyed it. Then further down the coast to Barmouth where we walked the dog who, for the first time in his life, run on the beach. He was as excited as a child and all three of us enjoyed the wind and drizzly rain and the fact that the beach belonged only to us. (Courtesy EG Iphone picture)

On our way back to Bristol, we tried to cover a maximum of Welsh countryside. Still now, I am totally in awe of the beautiful landscape and the totally deserted roads.

Stopped in Llagollen with its steam railway station:

From there we went down to Oswestry, Shrewsbury and joined the A49 to the Welsh borders, crossed the Shropshire Hills over to Knighton where we found a lovely pub with welcoming log fire, went through Presteigne (again ;-) ) and then Monmouthshire passing Tintern Abbey - another landmark in our own map of Love. It was dark by then and Tintern's skeleton was illuminated in flaming red, just magic!

This time, no houses were inspected, just a general 'tour de reconnaissance'. So much to chose from, so many lovely places could be ours! A house near the seaside is so tempting, especially as we are spoiled with our own 'little Baltic sea' just in the middle of the garden. The wishlist is so big, the possibilities seem endless. Cymru am byth!

samedi 1 octobre 2016

In Autumn

Wilhelm Busch:

In Autumn

The lovely summer has been leaving,
and with its wealth arrived the fall.
The spiders are all kindly weaving
the garments for the festival.

They're weaving for the celebration,
with hindlegs practiced in the trade,
the veils of elves as decoration
for hill and dale and mead and glade.

Yes, thousand silver threads donated
into the wind to turn and bend
are softly drifting where they're fated
toward the unconscious, settled end:

They're drifting toward a fairy landing 
where love extends its shy caress 
and softly ties, with silken banding, 
the shepherd to the shepherdess. 

P.S. For me, it should say in Awe-tumn :-)))) I am in awe that a poem so quintessentially German could be translated so perfectly into English. (translation by Walter A. Aue)
More to follow soon, just waiting for the rain to nail me to the computer, downloading thousands of pictures and posting again. 

Lighthouse of  Falshöft

mercredi 15 juin 2016

Meeting Elise

The French Family pram in new glory

all those tiny details made with lots of grandmother love

One of the Bristol balloons from the wedding 

every little bow knotted with love

Baby quilt ready since long

legs as long as her father

photo of the stork in the printer draw (memory board)

Looks perfect to me for to play the piano

Utter joy.

mercredi 1 juin 2016

Mon Piano de Cuisine...

...that's what the French call it, whereas the British call it RANGE COOKER and in German there is just this so appropriate saying:


which means something like a cooker of your own is worth gold.

Many many years I have been dreaming of a range cooker. My dear SIL in Cheshire got one after many years of longing for an AGA and eventually got hers and never stopped praising it in the highest tones.

On a musical note, mon piano de cuisine really deserves to be related to music. Kitchen music at its best! I never knew that I could cook so virtuosic. I never knew that playing the piano in the kitchen can make you dance. I never knew how much fun it was to get huge applaus after a great piano performance and people afterwards having fullfilled, happy faces (and tommies).

Those who know me, if I want, I want it all! It had to be the biggest, nicest and most multiperforming cooker. My kitchen is now a concert hall and my piano fills it with music with equally as many note keys than on a baby upright.

Of course, as always, when one wishes for something so badly, there are many obstacles to pass before one can get it. My first obstacle was: I wanted gas for the cooking but we don't have city gas. Then I saw that there was a brand who provided modifications to the gas burners so that Butane gas could be used. Once I saw the possibility of realising my dream, I went out searching.  Last year, I finally found a shop here in Belgium - which was in fact in France - but it was advertised as Belgium. Because  here, we have always the worst deck of cards for choice, price and customer service. To cut a long and disappointing story short, I never ended up with my heart's desire but had big troubles to get my money back for a non-delivered furniture.

Then happened the slight incident with a bottle of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial to be opened by EG to celebrate the fact that our next grandchild is going to be a girl ---- by opening the bottle, it slipped out of his hand on the ceramic top cooking field ---- luckily the bottle stayed intact! Only the glass on top of the hob broke. So it had to be replaced.  I was no more into making music in my kitchen, as I had postponed my dream to the next house. I just looked for a replacement of the old ceramic top in our online-shop. Then I saw it;

There was a whole collection of range cookers to chose from! And they had the very model I had already gone for a year before! And it was SALES period! And it was in stock!!!

I called EG in his office (still working then) and told him: NOW YOU ARE COOKED!!!

The rest is weeks of work of modifying the kitchen and the dairy, as there is not enough space to lodge the gas bottle for the cooker in the kitchen.

And as one thing leads to another, after some weeks of work, EG meanwhile being retired and able to concentrate on that job, the transformation took place, the piano took place and the whole kitchen is tiptop now.

Hymne à la joie - Beethoven!!!




Sheer cooking pleasure!