Not a bad start to the New Year, bike ride on New Years day helped John clear his head, not many bike rides this month sadly. I stayed on boat new years day and processed my photos and a new album for 2007... Mean time back in the Port it was - what plans do you have for cruising, was the topic of conversation by all in the port... maps out! Many a coffee morning to explore the ports of call we would make over the coming season.
Ryan Air fly in above the port, you get a good view of the canal du Midi from the plane, as you can see in photo above. We had a busy few days entertaining aboard the Moet many guests on board. John & I were busy getting the boat ship shape again, especially after all our visitors over the Christmas holiday. I felt no place to put all our wonderful gifts and xmas presents space is the bane of my life at times like this.
We prepared for our journey back home, taking the xmas tree and lights down a little early this year. We will be away for more than two months this time- longest time we have ever left the boat. We have many family gatherings, celebrations & birthdays to attend, our first celebrating was on the day we arrived back...
My sister Marie above decided it was time to celebrate dad's life, take time out as adults and have the family over to her flat, to say a big thank you to mum - she did a wonderful job of bringing us up alone. It was a sad & happy night, much thought had gone into the planning of this night.
Our dad died 40yrs ago, on 4th Jan 1967 I was 14yrs old - my youngest brother Frank, was 2yrs old at the time. As a family we did not acknowledged the pain or sorrow or anger of losing our dad, aged only 38 years to cancer, dad tried for two years to beat the cancer, but the pain was far too hard to bear, for our family too, especially mum who picked herself up and put us all first. We visited dad's grave the following morning, for me it was the first time. Many tears shed as we put flowers down.
Many happy moments acknowledge over the years for us all - by putting a huge photo frame together for mum, all the memories, dad's last letter to us all.
Sadly my mum was rushed into hospital later in the month and it gave the family & mum a fright, her heart was not beating as it should... we all rushed to be at her side, thankfully she was soon well enough to go home with medication, she was placed on the waiting list for further treatment, we all know how life can change in the blink of an eye. Mum has suffered ill health for many years...but still she puts us all first.
We went for many curries over this month, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester... not sure how we found the time but we did traveling the M62, always happy to try new places to eat. This garlic Nan bread has to be the biggest we have ever been served in Manchester, we needed the energy for the work ahead of us over the next three months.
We where soon in full swing working & finishing off our little Victorian back to back terrace, finding new tenants for when we finished.
We soon moved onto our next project the 3 bed semi we bought in Nov - which needs up dating before we rent it out. We will move into this property till it's ready for renting out.
Soon we were stripping the house to bits, we filled a huge skip, many van & car loads to the tip.
John worked away in Nuneaton - near Birmingham, for two weeks, helping Mick - John became a working plumber again, first fixing some factory units... He said it felt strange not being the boss, especially seeing his old red van parked on the site he was working on, it was like the last three years retirement was a dream and he had not been away at all.
John earned enough money to carry on with renovating our property. John said when he got back "I think I have working for a living out of my system". Retirement is good after all... I had to do it he said!
We had a flutter of snow, but it soon vanished, on the whole the weather was not too bad this month.. It was much colder in Carcassonne we were told by David & Renate who where looking after our boat.
I enjoyed (must be mad) two weeks stripping wallpaper from several rooms, while listening to radio two... I was thrilled with what I had achieved while John was working away.
We were surprised one Saturday when son Michael and his partner John arrived "hi mum come to help strip wallpaper". So I set them to work... it felt good having help. We took them for a curry afterwards to say thanks.
John's brother Steve decorated the main bedroom so we had one room finished and ready to move into, it was nice to have a room finished. We hope to have house ready for renting out in March.
I spent a great deal of time cleaning up after each job - many a visit to B&Q for supplies, also picking tiles, flooring and paint, light fittings and so on... I also dropped in at the odd show house for idea's, it helped remind me the mess wont last for ever.
It was good to look around for idea's and seeing what Leeds has to offer in the housing market it is booming at the present moment. I was lucky to shop in Next staff shop for curtains and paintings with up to 80% off, thanks to Nicky, Mick's daughter.
We are fortunate to have family & friends who helped out when we needed, meal's out, wonderful suppers cooked for us - or just dropping by for a cup of tea with moral support when needed. We totally got lost in our project and we worked 14 hours a day - we had a deadline to reach and we worked till we dropped, on occasions asking ourselves what are we doing!
Sadly our house sale has not gone through as yet so we feel sad... nothing we can do but wait & carry on, hopefully next month it will be our house.
We took time out from working to spend time with John's family in Leeds, I enjoyed cooking meals and inviting John's mum & family around especially after shopping in the farmers market - it was like being back in France.
I was soon settled back into house living, enjoying the extra living space after the boat, we enjoyed working life again, but we both feel never enough time to do all we want, that never changes no matter what we do in our lives.
A toast to all of you, we wish you all the very Best for 2007.