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News - 2017





Clearly I am now almost into full retirement, so this is most likely to be the last year of such similar ‘diary-style’ entries on this web site.




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  • Christmas with the extended family & neighbours in the Touraine. The end of an amazing year & 28 years of independent work and life through Chelverton House - laughingly referred to as ‘the centre of (my) universe. Thank you all for everything!
  • Maintenance but left for an overnight visit in Chinon with wine tasting at a well-known vignoble.
  • Drove to the Touraine in strong winds; power failure, broken branches in the orchard, algae in the pool. Jean d’Ormesson (Académie Française) & Johnny Hallyday deaths - sad.
  • Visit from a close friend / neighbour with her twin sons and off to a splendid choral evening at St Rosalie’s church - French, Peruvian/Argentine, German & English music!
  • Dinner at favourite at favourite local bistro; tidy up and try to recover from a hectic period.


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  • Back to Paris & some relief except a winter cold
  • Much reading including Alan Bennett, Jackie Moggridge (war-time ferry pilot) and on to Le Carré. Visits from friends for lunch, tea & son on.
  • Repairs to an important lock, leaking radiator and housework as ever. Final root tip extraction by specialist proved painful, infected and a knockout - doc & dentist visits + drugs. Re-organisation of locale for further treatment next year.
  • Update to RAF video.
  • To Paris, local bistro, housework, computer housekeeping & to London by Eurostar with partner.
  • Twinning activity with a Guy Fawkes night in France (18/11/17 - better late than never) & video prep to follow with web site update. More work / planning with IFA.
  • Long emails & calls to friends & partner’s friend from Paris for a few days - local travel trips. Clean up of old school friends list & refreshed with an old contact or two.
  • Tooth root extraction & an ex-colleague staying for 2 days - not on my best form. Slow, tiring drive to Stansted for return flight.
  • To see friends in Portchester & Surrey. Haircut, swim & Club Supper  in ‘my’ London Club ((30 years on).
  • Flew alone Tous TUF to Stansted STN, hire car, overnight in London & to Portsmouth for Old Boys Assoc meeting & dinner - very friendly & a good evening.
  • ‘Newsaholic’ activity continues (as it has for months) with USA divisiveness rivalled only by the Brexit saga in Europe, bombings & shootings.


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  • Video for RAF son of ex-colleague - presentation / memento - included Typhoon & Puma footage & history.
  • Twinning web site updates; occupied with many birthdays of friends, a good country hotel lunch with partner + her sister, Australian cousin’s new baby.
  • Organised a friend to stay in London, videos preparation, holiday photos organisation, WhatsApp usage increase.
  • Expensive ‘Contrôle Technique’ for vehicle in Paris, drove to the Touraine for ‘Indian Summer’ - swimming & relaxing. Pool & orchard maintenance resumed.


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  • New dental crown fitted, admin & backups, implant specialist meet, a day out near Orpington for lunch with old colleague, housework & return to Paris.
  • Off to London by Eurostar. Dentist, shopping, hire car to Portsmouth for more cousins & fabulous Mary Rose Museum; swim in the sea, to Portchester for friends & then home.  Friends in Esher, neighbours in London
  • Mont Royal picnic & walk, Farmers Market (amazing fruit & veg), to Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport (YUL) & flight overnight to Paris CDG.
  • Train to Montreal. To Hotel close to China Town & Vieille Ville; dinner with old friend. Walks of discovery, churches, the Port, commercial centres, art centre, McGill University, Atwater Market, Montreal History Museum (Excellent 3 hrs), Notre Dame, Maritime Museum & hotel pool.
  • Chutes de Montmorency impressive, Abrahams Museum & Port, the Levis, Wendake / Huron village & more of the old town.
  • Train to Quebec (5 hrs) & to Hotel in Old Town. Brilliant atmosphere, antiques & art, harbour & LGBT carnival.
  • On to Ottawa for city visit: Peace Tower, Parliament, Ward Market & relax in Hotel pool.


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  • Baggage problems for 2 1/2 hours but finally met cousin and taken ‘home’. Ontario Lake, St Jacobs, Hamilton Aviation Museum, Niagara, Toronto city & to Gananoque for 1000 Islands cruise.
  • To Paris for a few days, backups, web site updates, cameras; flight from CDG to Toronto Int Pearson (YYZ).
  • Pool & orchard maintenance.
  • Hotel bookings & liaison with relatives.
  • European Credit Card failures with Canada Rail site.
  • Preparing a trip across ‘the pond’.
  • Enjoying summer in the Loire Valley.


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  • Collecting fruit, feeding sheep, geese and ourselves - more grass cutting and a pleasant bucolic time.
  • London for a week with more work on the house & garden; meeting friends in London & Surrey.
  • More guests from Martinique & France; video creation for the Scots; 4 more videos development for the Twinning web site; tractor tyre puncture & repair.
  • Guests / clients from Scotland for a 5-day tourist break: met at the airport,  a great week in hot weather, flight over local Chateaux; excellent dinner out in nearby town.
  • Cleaning the paving with the Karcher (high pressure water hose).


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  • Update to Twinning web site: personality of the month.
  • Technical issues with cassette music transfer to MP3 but overcome; clean up after fallen pear tree & repair to  central heating system; manual water pump maintenance & swimming pool minor underwater leak repair.
  • Celebration retirement dinner with partner at a local chateau.
  • Inauguration of renovated Aeolienne & Fete de la Musique in local village.
  • Last visit to old favourite local restaurant (30 years a client); TV aerial extension and return to France.
  • Good weather, orchard grass cutting on the tractor, check-in and flight to London; brief Doctor visit /  check-up, collected required Inland Revenue  tax details, house maintenance and decoration; Gas & Electricity Smart meters installed but gas cut off temporarily.
  • More genealogy R&D


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  • Bought the upgrade to the software I am using for this web site; immediately followed by the hacking of my credit card for the purchase by the fraudulent of foodstuffs from the Manchester area. Easily cancelled the card and bills however.
  • Relaxed Bank Holiday, trying but not succeeding in ignoring all the politics of the UK (Brexit etc), France (Presidential elections) and the US / North Korea / Russia stand-off. Swimming, good food but mainly my partner’s good company saving me from the worst the press and politicians can offer.


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  • Flight back to the Touraine and easing off on the hyper-activity: new lights for the pool and conservatory, some genealogy, more emails to those met on the tour as well other friends who have been a little ignored because of my travels.
  • Met with friend and client from Egypt with two of his children - super day by the Thames; also to Esher for lunch with friend / ex-boss  and to my Club with another friend / ex-supplier / ex-client. It is good to keep in touch!
  • Hire car direct to Grantham and Scarborough to see close family members; back to London to check the house, Spring Cleaning, see friends and new neighbours and finally to have the roof leak and pipe fixed - only 4 months delay!
  • Drove my partner to Vichy for her spa treatment, stayed a while and returned to the Touraine to cut the grass, clean the pool and fly to London.
  • Checking out the bills and financial state and preparing for  my next trip to the UK, video editing and Twinning web site updates.


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  • A short stop and south to the Touraine for the UK visitors and the final Twinning Ceremonies. Prepared the house and orchard, new camera (from San Fran) at the ready and many events to attend in the village, in Tours and at home. Edited and uploaded Twinning speeches videos to You Tube and managed some tidying up of the world trip photos too.
  • Air NZ flight via Auckland (brief meeting with ex-colleague) and on to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. The latter found my lost luggage and repaired my partner’s with 31 hrs! Visited commercial districts & markets in Kowloon, the Island and its Peak and back to the airport for the final Cathay flight to Paris. Home & bed.
  • Cardroma Pass to Wanaka, Makarora & Haast and later to Fox, Franz Josef, Harihari, Hokatiki (dangerous swim in rip), Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch.
  • On to Milton, Taieri mouth, Miller’s Flat (amazing fresh fruit), Roxburgh lake, Alexandra, Clyde dam, Cromwell & Arrowtown. Queenstown of course for the Skyline Gondola to see the Remarkables mountain range & Lake Wakatipu.
  • Collected old V6 Datsun (205,000 Km) for a 2-week tour via Ashburton to Geraldine, Fairlie, Lakes Tekapoand Pukaki (magnificent), Oamaru & to Dunedin - a very Scottish experience and a train trip up the Taieri Valley. Otaga Museum and galleries and the peninsula to see the Albatross (Wow!)


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  • China Airlines to Christchurch NZ (South Island) for 3-day visit to museums, gardens and New Brighton Beach as well as thenew temporary Cathedral - earthquake devastation very evident.
  • Virgin Aus to Melbourne for a first ever visit - very impressed with the city, the harbour and the youthful upbeat atmosphere. Lovely evening with an old friend and her partner and an excellent meeting with another ex-colleague.
  • Virgin Aus to Adelaide to stay with an old school friend before taking the ferry to Kangaroo Island (the Aus ‘Galapagos’) - excellent visit to many animals, birds & wildlife; swimming too. Adelaide museums and commercial centre as well as my friends family and a Vietnames connection of my partner.
  • Air NZ To Sydney (via AUK) and a super break with the extended family and a visit to Manly to see a retired ex-colleague. Monuments, Blue Mountains and the Rocks of course.
  • Three days tourism including China Town, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard, Coit Tower, commercial and financial areas, galleries and a club - reciprocal to my own in London. Also Castro suburb for rainbow pedestrian crossings and interesting housing.
  • To CDG Airport for Air France flight to San Francisco and then a shuttle to the hotel in the financial district


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  • Work on the Twinning web site and a failed attempt to get a new camera before departure.
  • Back to Paris, dinner at an old favourite place and returned to the Touraine to a broken down boiler and a freezing house: -10C overnight and 0C inside, eased somewhat by burning wood in the relatively recent fireplace. 
  • Heavy lunch with financial advisor following the conclusion of current arrangements.
  • Dental checkup, collecting presents for Australia visit and a short trip to the south coast to see friends and family.
  • Good meals and discussions as well as the discovery of a leak from the roof.
  • To London to deal with the usual administration, a curtain rail and to welcome a UK ex-colleague and an ex-colleague from Belgium & his partner.
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