Christmas Newsletter from Alan and Beryl - 2014

This Christmas newsletter is a rather abbreviated one as I am late in preparing it. We are still living here in Le Plan de la Tour, where we have been for the last 16 years (!) and in good health apart from the usual old-age related problems. Beryl started the year with her usual trip to Florida to see her sister, Pam, recently widowed at the time, so was able to give some sisterly comfort. While she was away, Tommy, the Hungarian builder and his men returned to make some improvements to the new guest bathroom, re-laying a part of the floor tiling to put a slope on it. A short while after Beryl got back (after quite a travel saga caused by bad weather in the NW USA), Paul and Shawn arrived for a flying visit and the (obligatory) curry evening, which was well received.

March was taken up with coping with the BBC/ITV broadcasters changing their satellite TV feed to a new satellite which only illuminated the UK - all us expats across Europe watching Sky TV were affected so thousands were spent replacing dishes with bigger ones. April was filled with local activities and spring jobs to do, and Beryl's sister Pam and her friend Colin arrived at the end of the month for a brief stay. At the end of May we paid a flying visit to Bordighera to have lunch at our favourite restaurant, spend the night at the Parigi hotel and then hit the market the following morning. June brought the arrival of our family from Canada, all of them this time, although they split up and went on to Ferrara for a while before returning to us in July and then home.

In August we were delighted to welcome our nephew, Rupert, and his niece, Philippa, who has been in France for a year studying the language. We had a great time with them until they left to return home in September. A week or so later Chris Marwood arrived from Perth, Australia for her annual escape - again a most interesting and enjoyable visit. She went off to Aix to spend a few days exploring that area, including Avignon, then back to us for a flying visit to Bordighera for lunch, and overnight in the Parigi hotel and the street market the following morning, before coming home.

After Chris left us it was time to catch up on various jobs around the place, including stocking up with fireplace wood, changing the front flower bed around, and so on. This work was slowed down by torrential downpours of rain, to demonstrate that the rainy season had arrived with October. The following week we had a few days in Camogli which were enjoyable but the weather was not so nice and many restaurants were closed, so we resolved not to leave it so late in the season next time. Later in the month we welcomed Shawn, Paul and Camille for a working visit, which included a curry evening. That took us into November which was fairly quiet, just as well as it was a very rainy month, albeit mild. The two months of October and November produced a total rainfall of 1071mm, about a normal annual rainfall in two months. Because of the large number of rainy days, we did not venture far from the comforts of home, so managed to catch up with indoor jobs. Then it was December with a low run-up to Christmas and the social events which mark it.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year, and will be thinking of you all.

Love from Alan and Beryl