Sunday, 1 September 2013

En Vacance...at home.


Hello! We are home, surrounded by washing, piles of post, overflowing in-boxes and general untidiness. It's cold, grey and windy here and quite autumnal. It feels as though these photos were taken much longer than a few days ago. I hope you don't mind me sharing a few pictures of our break. It helps me continue that holiday feeling for just a few more days...


We stayed in the Charente region of France, near a town called Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire. It's wine country, with fields filled with vines, sunflowers or maize. Our home was a charming old farm house with two converted barns. The owners live in one building and have their own pool and the other two buildings and second pool are for guests. Think low doorways, creaking floorboards and huge inglenook fireplaces. It was more space than we possibly needed - we had reception rooms that were never used - but the kids had a huge amount of fun riding their scooters up and down the metres of tiled floor. 


We settled into a routine of going out first thing after breakfast and spending the morning browsing local markets or going for walks or paddling in the lake, then coming home for lunch and an afternoon by the pool. Lunches were long and indulgent - as they should be on holiday - and often went on until three pm.


The children - Bella and Angus, and their cousins Alicia (5), Jennifer (5), Jeremy (4) and Eleanor (3) - were in and out of the pool constantly. It was exhausting for the first few days but once they realised the pool would still be there the next day they relaxed more, and so did we. We bought these brilliant floats (the kids call them "noodles") which they tuck under each arm while they swim.


Barbie swam too. 


When the pool was too much for the little ones there was the trampoline...


...or swing. Exhausting.


Skies were fabulously blue. I never tire of a sky like this, it lifts my spirits every time.


There were plenty of sun loungers, even if there wasn't as much time to laze on one as you would like.


I bought this basket in a market on the first day we arrived and it became my pool bag, containing essentials like sweets, magazines and crochet.


Sometimes there was Pimms.


The evening was always my favourite time of day. I loved being out by the pool when it was still and quiet.


The sun was still very hot but the light was softer and so pretty.


All the swim suits would be hung up, dripping in the late sun.




We'd give the kids their tea earlier, around five or six, then bath them and put them to bed (although they were usually wide awake for another hour at least, thanks to the sunny evenings and lack of blackout blinds or curtains in their rooms) then us grown ups would congregate in the kitchen, open bottles of wine and start preparing some food. We took it in turns to cook and ate late, staying at the table until long into the evening. We ate well.


I love this photo.


 We'd stay outside for as long we we could, braving the mosquitos.


And admiring the truly spectacular sunsets.


I have a thing about sunsets. When I see one I feel like I really need to take a photo of it. Does anyone else do that? I'm just captivated by them. Where we live in Leeds is very built up and hilly and you can never really see the sun setting from our house or garden. By the time the sun is low enough to be really colourful, it's long since sunk from view. But here, in France, the open landscape of fields made for the most incredible free open air cinema. 




Thank you for indulging me. Tomorrow's post - out and about.

36 comments:

  1. that looks like an amazing holiday - the blue of the sky is just fabulous, and I'm totally with you on the sunsets!

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  2. It's so good to see you safely back - your holiday looks and sounds just wonderful.

    I love all your photos but the one of the drying swimming cozzie really says 'holiday' to me, is that odd? Talking of which, did Barbie forget to pack hers, the brazen hussy?!!

    Looking forward to seeing your 'out and about' pics.

    Hxx

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  3. Looks like it was a great holiday.
    I love sunsets too. I'm so lucky - our house has an open aspect to the West, so I often get to see an amazing view. I never tire of it, and always wonder at the beauty. (However, as the prevailing wind is South Westerly - it also has its downside. I need to remember the beauty in the middle of winter!) x

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  4. Aaahhhhh. I'm relaxed just reading this.
    Looks like you had a super time.

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  5. Oh I want to go, I want to go ;) ... it looks just perfect ... so glad you had a lovely time Gillian ... Bee xx

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  6. Hi Gillian, welcome home. All your photos are gorgeous, especially the sunset...I always reach for my camera too :0)
    Look forward to your next holiday post.
    Jacquie x

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  7. What a lovely place to holiday! Your evening picture with the silhouettes at the table with dangling swim wear just made me inhale a little with a pang of nostalgia. Such sweet good times.

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  8. Beautiful holiday photos, thanks for sharing! I love the shadow pics - worthy of some wall space! Chrissie x

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  9. Sounds like my kind of fun holiday Gillian, something for everyone, including those sunsets. We have been having a few pink ones here lately and I have wished that I had my camera with me x Hope you are still filled with all those happy holiday memories for a little longer. How privileged I always feel to experience another culture just on our doorstep x Lovely to have you back xox Penny

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  10. Welcome home, Gillian!! I am so glad you enjoyed a wonderful holiday! Your photos are lovely. And your late evenings with wonderful food, and wine, and gorgeous sunsets sounds just magical!

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  11. Gorgeous blue skies and sunsets, sound like such a lovely holiday, how nice to get all the family together!
    http://ahandfulofhope.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Bliss! Your photos are wonderful. Sounds like such a wonderful summer holiday. Lots of memories made I'm sure. Welcome home! xo

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  13. Lovely photos particularly all those of the evening light. I always love seeing those of sunsets because it's too built up for me to see them here too. Looking forward to being out and about with you. x

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  14. Love your photos. Such wonderful memories of what looks like an incredible holiday.

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  15. Lovely photos - did you find it expensive??? Also did you drive over there?? How was that?? sorry so many questions x

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  16. Perfect thankyou for sharing. x

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  17. Fabulous pictures, especially the shadow ones and the sunsets. Sounds as though you had a great time and very relaxing. Hope that you keep the memories a while and don't get too bogged down in the domestic chores back at home.

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  18. Hi Gillian,What a charming little place to have a holiday in!!!Looks like you had a great time!!!Why do holidays have to end with piles of laundry and so on??!!!Have a great day!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  19. Pool and a trampoline, I bet the children slept soundly each night!
    Your days sound like a perfect mix of holiday activities to keep everyone happy.
    Great photos, bit worried about Barbie, hope she didn't get any sore bits!
    Lisa x

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  20. Wow your place looked Amazing!!! We felt that the best thing about going to France was exactly that, enjoying the late afternoons in and savouring those glorious sunsets, something we seldom see in the UK. Those French baskets are wonderful, I bought one a few years ago and now I use it all the time. You shared some wonderful photos. Welcome home, enjoy the last of the holiday feeling. Looking forward to the next couple of posts. Xoxo

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  21. Oh it looks like your very own piece of heaven, Pimms, a pool and endless blue sky - perfect!

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  22. Looks like the perfect spot for some serious battery recharging. And the sunset thing? I do that too.

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  23. Wow, that is an amazing house! Sounds like you had the most amazing time.
    I love the 2 pics with the shadows, especially the second one, raised glasses and wine bottles, perfect!
    See you tomorrow for the rest!

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  24. I adored our time in France and it looks like you did too. I love the late evenings and the setting sun too. Perfect days spent with people I adore

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  25. It looks fabulous, I can tell you've had a wonderful time.

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  26. Wow looks absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful place to stay. Look idyllic. Really does sounds like you had an amazing time. I love the Barbie photo made me smile x

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  27. It looks a full and happy vacation. I'm glad you had such a nice time.

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  28. Oh that sounds like an utterly wonderful holiday. So glad you all had a good time.

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  29. Beautiful colours Gillian and happy Summer holiday dreams.

    Nina x

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  30. Ooh pimms in the sun, yes please. I loved the pool shot with your feet . The water looked so like a Hockney pool picture ... Fantastic. Yes afraid it's got considerably colder here! Xx

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  31. How gorgeous!! Looks like the perfect holiday!

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  32. Your photos are amazing Gillian! Yes, I always take photos of Sunsets (and Sunrises) too. I'm a bit obsessed. I know there is something about enjoying the moment instead of photographing it but what's the harm when a simple click of the camera only takes a second, leaving plenty of time to watch and enjoy :-) xxx

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  33. Beautiful, beautiful photos! I have been visiting your blog for a few months now and really love it!

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  34. Your holiday looked so amazing! Sounds like a fab time was had by all! x

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  35. Have just come blog-hopping and am enjoying reading about your French holiday.
    If you like sunsets, why not join in with the weekly Skywatch at http://skyley.blogspot.co.uk/?

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Hello there! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I read them all avidly and I always try to answer questions.