Auvers International Horse Show

In mid-August was the International Horse Show in Saint-Lô followed a week later by the International Horse Show at Auvers, near Carentan, about 40 minutes from home

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This great event was enormously exciting because my sister Sarah came over from England with two of her horses to compete. One of the downsides to doing holiday lets is that we now no longer get the opportunity to travel very much, because the school holidays are our peak season. In the summer the girls spend one month with me and one month with their Dad, so our time together is in short supply. They broke up at the beginning of July, but my holidays only start mid-July, then Granny Horse came over for a week and we spent a week at the beach house. Then after a few days at home it was time for the girls to go off to their Dads.

Very kindly though he let me have them home for a day and a night so we could all go and watch my sister compete. There were lots of famous show jumpers there form all over the world: Germany, Holland, Portugal, GB, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Italy, Israel, UAE, Mexico, Brazil, USA, Thailand.

Apparently a lot of the teams from far away are based in Holland and then do the season in Europe.

Team GB included Steven & Joe Whitaker, Geoff & James Billington, Keith Shore, Mathew Sampson, Sophie Fawcett and Chloe Aston. Now it has been 25 years since I have done any show jumping but it was very exciting and there were so many attractive men! These are in such short supply where I live sadly. It is not clear why, but it is a fact.

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On a short trip out last week, we ended up doing a walk along the coast to Barneville-Carteret for lunch.

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Our Week at Maison Mielles

We were lucky enough to spend a week at Maison Mielles at the end of July, just missing the awful weather that plagued us the previous week – we must of had 3 months rainfall in a week, which was great for the garden, but not much fun for the guests. A week is never enough, but here are a few photos of our week at the beach, without a car, so back to basics with the bicycles.

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There is a house on our street that resembles something out of a fairy tale. They just kept building up and up and up. There was a houseful of people from Paris our first weekend and they built a sand chateau of serious proportions. Is using a garden shovel cheating?

Ellie investigates the Chateau

The Foundations are laid

Seaward Side

Nearly Finished

Seen from above

We went for a picnic at Les Salines, which are the salt marshes a few kms from the house. I am not used to riding a bike – basically because I am very bad at it, but I really don’t remember it hurting quite so much when I was younger.

Picnic at Les Salines

Picnic at Les Salines

Picnic at Les Salines

We spent part of an afternoon at the races, just three houses away from Maison Mielles, there are only half a dozen race days a year, three or four of which are in July and August, so a special occassion.

Cross Country Race - St Martin de Bréhal

Trotters - Race Day, St Martin de Bréhal

Trotters - Race Day, St Martin de Bréhal

Trotters - Race Day, St Martin de Bréhal

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The German Cemetry – Marigny

On our way back from picking up a laminating machine from Barneville Carteret, we passed the German Cemetry near Marigny. A very beautiful and calm place dedicated to peace.

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And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

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Filpkey Excellence Award

Today I got a rather exciting email saying that we had won a Flipkey (the sister sight to Trip Advisor) award for excellence. To quote
“This exclusive award recognizes outstanding vacation rentals based on reviews from past guests. It is clear that you provide a fantastic rental property for your guests and we are pleased to recognize your efforts.” We have now been going for just over a full year, so I’m chuffed to bits!

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Medieval Wonder

We have had a great weekend, my friend Fi is over from San Francisco where she lives her “glam” life in an alternative existence to my bumpkin life.  (The lady in question has also been seen in the garden in past seasons in wellies and a bikini – no need for wellies this year.) Fi, the girls and I went on a mini road trip off to friends of mine near Alençon.  Fi was doing the driving, so I got to take in the full beauty of the area – and it really is stunningly beautiful, with loads of woodland.

Today was one of those days where France just looked beautiful, and on the way home I had promised the girls we would stop of in Domfront for an ice-cream.  This turned out to have been a really great idea.  I had no idea Domfront was so beautiful and for some reason empty, apart for a group of 50 school kids who slightly bizarrely disappeared shortly after our arrival, having practically wiped out the ice-cream sellers supply of the nectar of the gods.

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Domfront is a medieval town with a history dating back to 1010, high on a hill overlooking the valleys on every side.

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Creative Writing

My eldest daughter Elllie, is now 6, and went for a school trip to the zoo yesterday.  Her homework was to write a sentence about her day and here it is.

Translation: Aujourd’hui nous sommes allée au zoo. Nous a(vons) pique-niqués et avons vu des animaux.

It is the first time she has had to write anything, for homework, that wasn’t copying, and it really made me smile.  French is her first language, and while we are a bilingual family, English is my first language and I still find writing French hard to do, so it is comforting to know that it isn’t easy for anyone, at first.  She is very proud to be sharing


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