A house is not a home….



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Sealsea- (2)


Three years ago yesterday i moved out of my beautiful house, by the sea, to start this adventure. I loved this house, have always said it was the most beautiful house I would ever have the privilege  to live in. Edwardian, with so many original features….



I had put my heart and soul into it, worked so hard on it renovating and decorating and making it into our home.

We were so rushed when it came to moving day I do not even remember closing the door for the last time, but I do remember sitting in the pub that night with tears rolling down my face. When my book comes out you will understand why the house,  for Rich (and now, as time has gone by I realise  for me also),  had become contaminated; it could never be the home we thought it would be; and as three years have passed I have come to realise that.

So then we found our house on the pinnacle of the rolling hills that are Ambrieres les Vallees, and we fell in love. For me it was bittersweet, it was not the house I had left, it was not the house that had taken part of my soul. But over the three years, despite the well running dry, the crappy cesspit (literally, all over the cellar floor sometimes!!) and the mold on the walls; it has shown me this …….


I sit in my bedrom and I look out at this my favorite tree and I feel at peace


And over the years I have realised that a home is about love, companionship, laughter, and tears; it is not the house, it is the people in it. I look at my husband, and he is happier here. I know neither of us could go back to a house where you could reach out and touch your neighbour, surrounded by people and noise. We are too used to the peacefulness that surrounds us; and I have finally come to realise that I do not miss my old home, it was ONE of the most beautiful houses I lived in; but this is the most beautiful home. It has not taken my soul it has replenished it.


A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight


The late great Luther Vandross..


Have a good Sunday folks.














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‘Nobody on the road,

nobody on the beach

I feel it in the air

The summers out of reach…’

Don Henly..

A week ago a dear friend bought me these flowers from his garden. We had invited him and Matt our young French friend around for a bbq, we wanted them to meet Jenny and Karen and despite the thunderstorm that hit just as we were serving the food a wonderful evening was had by all.

But as with anything in life everything must change, and our holiday has been and gone, Jenny has flown back to England and my flowers have died.

To finish the last few days of Jenny’s holiday and to celebrate Karen’s birthday we visited the vide grenier at Evron on Sunday, and found it’s beautiful medieval church and monastery and a small little bar in the square, a rare thing in rural France to find a French bar open! We were so excited we sat there for a couple of hours drinking in the atmosphere, and ruby beer of course!

As you can see we had a typical French time, beer and baguette!

We meandered our way home and sat in the garden star gazing, and drinking wine (no! I hear you cry!) and had a supper of minted lamb chops, chips, peas and tomatoes …….mmmmmmmmm.

For Jen’s final day we took her to Fourgeries, I did say recently we have decided we should visit more often….. we are looking forward now to visiting this breathtaking city in all seasons, with the different colours that they bring to the old French buildings.

As with rural France in August everything shuts for the vacances, so our plans to eat were scuppered and I rustled up a mean spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread with some help from the girls when we got back home.

And then that was it! After all the weeks of building up Jen was going back home; and we are left with the memories of the last ten days, with the laughter echoing around the garden. It really has been brilliant….

It is as if the weather knows that our mad, crazy, wonderful days of summer are coming to an end; the sun is not showing it’s face until the evening, and, although it is warm it feels kinda sad. Only six days to go and Karen will be on her way, where has that time gone?

But I know that, sad as I am, we have to let go to make way for new things, nothing can stay the same; and as if to remind me, my husband bought me some new flowers for our wedding anniversary yesterday, just as I let go of the old the new came in the door.

There is lots to tell you soon…… and there will be lots of change, so keep reading folks, things are starting to get busy…..



Another birthday, and a reminder that the summer is slipping away…


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Summer soft

Wakes you up with a kiss to start the morning off

In the midst of herself playing Santa Clause

She brings gifts through her breeze

Morning rain

gently plays her rhythms on your window pain

giving you no clue of when she plans to change

to bring rain or sunshine…….

Summer soft, Stevie Wonder

And we are home. The weather seems to feel the sadness that is touching the edges of our world now it is overcast, and the sun is struggling to get through.

We always knew that our little holiday, that seemed so far away, would mark the downward spiral to our mad summer ending; and that Karen and the Dylly monster would then be going home; and now Jen leaves on Tuesday and Karen and Dylly Dyls will be leaving the week after next.

Yesterday we decided to leave Saint Gilles Croix de Vie behind and forego our sardines because you simply could not move for people. All of France tends to holiday in August and all of France seemed to be heading to the Vendee! We thought that we would find a little village to have lunch, but only armed with sat navs and no maps we could not find a route through any pretty villages and eventually headed home.

What we all realised when we got back was how much we had missed the peace and quiet. Dylan had missed doing zoomies around the garden because as soon as she was let of the lead she just ran and ran.

It was good to be home.

We all agreed though that we would return to the Vendee but for three nights next time and earlier in the year, before French holiday season kicks in; and that our favourite part of the trip had been the day in the beach bar; even the dogs were chilled.

But today is a new day and a new adventure is waiting. It’s Karen’s birthday and we are all of to a vide grenier, and the little treasures that will be waiting there. Followed by an afternoon and evening in the garden with mojitos, prosecco, minted lamb chops and chips!

I know, live each day, and don’t think about the end, it may never come!

Enjoy your Sunday folks.


Time flies when you’re having fun


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I cannot believe that we are on our last day of our sojourn to the Vendee in France already; or that Jenny is now a week into her stay.

Our first night in the Vendee was just a bit too busy for us, so yesterday, after numerous coffees and a chaotic breakfast, we prepared for an adventure to the beach, or Grand Plage.

The temperature has cooled slightly, it only hit thirty two yesterday! But we walked to the far end of the beautiful promenade and found a boho beach hut and bar. Shabby, welcoming and not many people going past we spend a blissful five hours there. The dogs were chilled, the ambience was chilled, the cocktails were great

We were on holiday for the first time in four years! The vista was breathtaking, and the breeze was cool; and boy did we catch the sun!

After lunch of mango curry chicken burger, we made our way back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool, drinking wine, and having nibbles. It was such a chilled day we finished it off by eating takeaway Pizza on the terrace.


More to come, I am off to enjoy sardines by the beach.


We’re all going on a summer holiday


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No more working for a week or two (or a day or two!)

Fun and laughter on our summer holidays

No more worries for me or you for a week or two ( or a day or two!)

So we have arrived in the Vendee, an area in France where the French holiday. After much driving down dirt tracks, courtesy of the sat nav! Much swearing from my husband and a McDonalds (we’re on holiday! It has to be done when in a road trip, other burgers are available!) we arrived at our pretty little Ibis, with it’s indoor pool, and the sun is shining.

So off we went, without our map, and got lost! So back we came and opened the wine, fed the puppies, ate crisps, painted our toenails (yep Rich has gone for a pale pink!) and are sitting on our terrace.

We are soon to shower and change for a venture into the town, and a lovely fish dinner by the church in the square.

More to come folks…..

Keep reading


We have some plans afoot….


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Today will be a busy day. After a day of relaxing in the garden where we all virtually suffocated in the heat (over forty four degrees on our terrace!) we are all geared up for what today brings.

We have some plans afoot, and to get them moving we have some appointments today, and a BBQ tonight with some of those that may be involved in the new stages of our adventure. (And that is not counting the kitchen!)

But first it’s off shopping, and a shoe shop may be involved!

Look out for more, it’s all top secret at the moment! So ask me no questions I’ll tell you no lies!

Fingers crossed folks, fingers crossed……..There may be a new and exciting blog to follow……


A new member to the gang, hot steamy weather and lots and lots of furniture!


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‘It was a hot afternoon

On the last day of June

and the sun was a demon

The clouds were afraid

One ten in the shade

and the pavement was steamin…’

Bobby Goldsboro

Our new compadre Jenny has joined the gang, and yesterday we spent a lovely afternoon doing all the classic things you do when in France, eat cheese, drink wine, and dip in the pool. We sat long into the evening listening to the barn owl hoot, and it’s baby reply, watched the stars in the clear sky, with not a hint of any light pollution totally chilled.

As you can see there was lots of furniture in the garden because we have visited the Emaus again and have completely refigured our kitchen all for less than one hundred euro!

The weekend was manic, after purchasing our second vintage sideboard Rich and I worked hard into the night emptying the cupboards in the old unit (which will be repainted and put in the living room, but that is another story, for another day!) and reconfiguring the whole kitchen. All before picking Jen up from the airport the next day. We simply ran out of time and all the old furniture was just dumped in the garden.

My kitchen now looks huge and I cannot wait to paint the beautiful sideboards and give them a new start in their lives. There is something about old furniture with the beautiful detailed workmanship on it that cannot be replicated and I know they will look stunning.

I also have the top of one of the units that is going to be hung above my kitchen sink. Word of advice: Open shelving and the countryside don’t mix, unless you want to wash everything three times a week, and find dead heeby jeebies in your bowls every time you come to use them!

So this will be painted white, with the detailing dry brushed in blue, and lights placed in the centre, and it will look stunning but it is safe to say we have our work cut out!

So we woke this morning to a steaming hot day, real feel thirty six and not a breeze to be felt; and what are Rich and the girls doing? Moving the furniture into the barn! Les Anglais eh?!

My kitchen cabinet, that I painted all those years ago, has been moved for now, it never really fitted the kitchen anyway! And it made me giggle remembering how many things have I had in this space now: My log cabinet, when it was a cupboard, butchers block, chest of drawers that I painted pink, which is now green and in the bedroom! And my nineteen thirties cabinet! Poor Rich, he has the patience of a saint and a wife whose mind changes like the seasons!

I could not help with the moving because I cannot carry heavy or awkward things easily now due to the osteoarthritis that I have in my hands, so,bless the girls, they helped Rich carry this furniture to the barn, and unload the beautiful cabinet that was purchased a couple of weeks ago from his van. Off they went like the Marx Brothers, Karen being Groucho and coordinating the walk, left right, left right, left right, Rich being Harpo and acting the clown! Our neighbours were finding it highly amusing, and clearly think we are mad.

So after all the exertion we plan to have an afternoon of spa like activities and getting in the pool. All to take place after a few errands are run, and Croque Madame has been consumed…..

Followed by a banana split.

I’m the chef, it’s the least I can do!

Have a good day folks.


Mops, mice and memories

Love this one, for all dog lovers ❤️

Dylan's Welshie World

Our summer in France is going far too fast.

I can hardly believe we have been here since June.

As I write this Dylan is doing zoomies round the garden with her cousins Harley and Wiglet, and she’s smiling.

I’m listening to the birds singing, and looking at the never ending fields that have already been harvested, the huge rolls of barley taken away.

All is quiet.

Well apart from the excited barks and grrs of three Welshies who are racing around. They have made us laugh everyday – how special is that?

Now they are playing tug with a mop head.

Yep no prizes for guessing who started that little game!

Must admit though seems a Vileda mop is made of strong stuff, as it’s holding its own against these determined terriers!

As you can tell, Dylan is back to her usual bouncy self after her many visits to…

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Tell me the lies that I long to hear


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There have been a few things over the past few weeks that have inspired me to write this post. For those new to my blog one of the things that I find from this adventure is that I now have time to think; and since taking up writing I now have the freedom to say what I think, and this is one of those posts. So for those who do not like to reflect, who do not like to ‘Think too much’ (I always love that one!!) then this is not the blog for you and you may not want to continue. For those who do continue then I hope this is a post that gives you something to contemplate over the weekend.

Image result for quotes about lying to ourselves

This is a post about how we all lie to ourselves, and the damage that we do in the process. I do believe that it is a true saying that ‘What you don’t know cannot hurt you’, but when you are lying to yourself you do know, surely that is a dangerous place to be. There have been a few things over the past weeks that have inspired this blog, let me explain some of them….

As I have been editing my book, and reading other’s posts, I have come to realise how often, when we are angry at others, we are really angry at ourselves, because we have lied to ourselves and we know it.  To explain here is something about me…

Eleven years ago something happened to Rich and I that nearly broke us;  this inspired me to write my book because now I have (we have) travelled so much further down the road from the people we were then.

As I have written my book, and read what I wrote in  my journal all that time ago, I now realise that often the anger that I felt at that time, and after, was really an anger that  I felt about myself. I had lied to myself when the facts were all in front of my nose; I had chosen to ignore them, listened to the spin doctor inside my head tell me that I was imagining it; and I had listened to it because it was easier than facing the truth.

As part of my research I have read many other blogs, other people’s stories. Some, in fact many of those people are still lost and still hurting, badly.  Most of them are very very angry. As I have read their posts, with  the benefit of hindsight and eleven years of realisation and understanding behind me, I can see that when they are angry they are often angry with themselves because they do not want to see the truth, often the truth about themselves and how they had lied to themselves; they do not want to accept where they are now, and so the pain foes on for them.

I know it is futile because I learnt a long time ago that you cannot change what has happened, you can only learn from it. So I know that they are there, where they are, and that is the only thing they have.

I know that going over and over the past is not going to make it any easier and I know that eventually the only way to deal with it is to accept the truth, about where they are, about their partners, and about themselves.

The constant revolving questions of how long something has or had been going on, the, often, denial of some that any of their actions may have been a contributing factor in the build up to what happened, the stories that they tell themselves I know them all, but keeping that journal stopped me from telling myself those lies, it shut the spin doctor down. From it all I learnt two things: if you don’t have yourself you have nothing, and a question that I often say – how do you know it’s the truth, you never will!

When I look back at what happened to us I can see a person (me) who at times only seemed to care about the house that she had; who knew that someone loved her so much but she would make them prove it to her over and over again.

What she didn’t see was the person who she loved struggling, she didn’t know how insecure that person  was with regard to their relationship; and she didn’t support that person at times. (Big clue to what my book is about, but for this post, and for the people that I know are going to read it, then I need to say it.)

At the same time she had lost herself and she chose not to see the glaringly obvious things that were right in front of her, the phone permantly being attached to her husbands hand, the fact that she never heard it ring, the little touches between people, how worried her husband looked all the time, the lies, the coincedences, the behaviour that changed, the phone call to the house, the gut feeling that was screaming at me;  and that is why I was so angry with myself all those years ago.

It has only taken eleven years for me to realise however the anger that I felt, all those years ago was really an anger with myself. when I realised I could see so clearly how some of the people who are going through what we went through are angry but have not stopped and admitted that they are angry with themselves as well – after all they are the victim here why should they be angry with themselves?

The journal I kept, and writing down the thoughts that were whizzing round and round my head and driving me insane, enabled me to make sense of the things that had happened. Only when I stopped lying to myself could I survive that time, and I coninue to keep a journal to this day, because I realised that when I needed clarification very often the clarification was me being honest with myself; when you write a journal you cannot lie to yourself, (well you can but it is fucking difficult, end very, very sad) and that is why so often people cannot write journals!

Enough about me now, this realisation, combined with the books that I read has enabled me to see how often so many others lie to themselves. Seriously if you believe in your own lies then you are in a very dangerous place.

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I see people tell themselves that they are happy in relationships, because that is so much easier than breaking up the house,the money, the belongings. So much easier than not having enough money, or not being able to live comfortably, but ultimatley  they are so miserable. Nothing that they buy or do can make them happy, they moan about everywhere they visit, and anything they do, nothing seems to satisfy them, so they buy more things because that will make them happy, for five seconds! If that is you (because you have carried on reading!) then you have continued reading for a reason.

Did you know that more people leave therapy because they have got to the place where they know that they have to make change, and the thought of that terrifies them so they leave the therapy instead!

Is this resonating with anyone?

I have to say here that all of my questions are rhetorical, nobody owes me an answer, I am just trying to help people to think…….. where difficult things are concerned

Since moving here having time to think, living a simpler life has enabled me to see others, that I used to get on well with, lie to themselves, about how much they drink, or why they drink that much; about the amount of material things they amass – you can see why it is easier for them to buy but it is interesting that they never seem to stop and wonder why they need that rush that a material ‘thing ‘gives you. So they just by more, and more.

I have said many times before that I don’t need that anymore, I understand that it does not give me happiness, if I don’t need it I don’t get it.

I see how people judge others, because their  way is right?! Except when you stop, and just watch you  can see how unhappy they are, and money cannot put it right! You can see how people lie to themselves that it must be the fault of someone else, couldn’t possibly be them right?

Only recently I have seen people not want to engage with the simple, but pure things, over here. I have seen them not want to enjoy where they are, behave differently because we, and others, may be leading them to question where they are, and where they are going, for some it reminds them of the courage they do not have. So they put down what others have, show disinterest, because that will make them feel better. Will it?

Tell me the lies that I long to hear!

So here are some quotes from the great M. Scott Peck I will leave you to contemplate them over the weekend….

“What happens when one has striven long and hard to develop a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that the view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and usually unconsciously, is to ignore the new information. Often this act of ignoring is much more than passive. We may denounce the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality.”
― M. Scott PeckThe Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual

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The fields of gold


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One of the things that I love about living here is the clarity of the seasons. Surrounded by countryside as we are,  the ever changing fields and trees tell you the season you are in and how quickly those seasons pass.

Live each day…

This year the fields have been sown with barley, eight weeks ago I wrote about the deluge, and the barley was green..

Only a few weeks ago, as we watched the blood moon rise over the fields they were fields of gold that surrounded our house stretching down the valley to the river; it was a sight to see at any time of the day.


But this hot summer has brought the barley to fruition much sooner than normal and a few weeks ago they were baling the gold up ready for the autumn and winter.

Just another reminder for me that you should live each day and each moment, sieze each moment because then it will be gone.

Something that this summer is reminding me everyday.

So the other evening Rich and I sat in the garden and as the sun started to set the gold bales began to reflect the setting sun and turn the most beautiful shade of red….


Every morning I have looked out of the window at the sea of hay bales and every day I have counted my blessings.


Now, today, the farmer is collecting the bales and reminding me that autumn is just around the corner. When I look out of my window tomorrow the view will have changed again.

Remember the only constant is change…

The leaves on the leaning cherry tree in the corner of our garden, now acting as the support for our hammock chair, are starting to turn brown; and, just yesterday, a walnut fell from the tree!! It is as if summer is whispering to us that her work is nearly done.


My beautiful pointed hydrangea,  are known as Vanilla and fraise (vanilla and strawberry) because as the season moves on they change colour from white to a deep pink, acting as barometers for the season.


And that is one of the things that I love about living out here, it reminds me, every day to live each moment because the only moment is now.

As I have said before this summer is moving too fast, I know that you have to go with the flow and have been reminded of that more than ever over the past few weeks; watching people who have visited from England put things off because of their ‘plans’,thinking that their plans would come to fruition and what they could have done or eaten at that time was not necessary because they ‘planned’ to do it later.  They have waited only to find that their plans have not come to fruition and they have missed the moment! And then they have moaned!!

It really reminded Rich and I of how much we have changed, we have learnt the importance of going with the flow. In fact yesterday we sat and mapped out what we had ‘planned’ for the week and then laughed because we knew that those plans would change, and they have, in fact they had by yesterday evening.

In the last week I have supported a dear friend whose plans lie in chaos at the moment, because they were clearly not what life intended; and I have tried to help them to remember that they need to go with the flow, that life NEVER works out the way we plan – because we ain’t doing the driving!!

What we need will come, it is when we try to force it that it never does.

So this beautiful summer I have reminded myself to go where life takes me, and to live by my mantra that life will show me the way. We still have much more to come, not least our dear friend Jenny coming to visit on Sunday for ten days; and a small holiday in another part of France to look forward to, four amigoes and three Welshies!! And whilst I am excited and will enjoy every moment, it does not stop me enjoying the moment right here and right now; with the Welshies running around the garden barking at the farmer and my beautiful old cat sleeping in the sunshine.

Twenty two years ago my family and I were going through a very difficult phase in our lives and I will always remember my mum saying “here is to next year, it can’t be as bad as this one.” She died four months later!

Seeing the fields of gold, and then the changes that they went through, and the changes in my garden reminded me of herm whilst I have been writing this post;  it’s title especially has reminded me  of her, the importance of not planning too far ahead; and this beautiful song that always makes me cry…

“Fields Of Gold”

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of goldSo she took her love for to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I’ve broken
But I swear in the days still left
We’ll walk in fields of gold
We’ll walk in fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

Written and performed by the fantastic artist: Sting
Enjoy this day, enjoy this week, enjoy this month, enjoy this summer. Don’t wish a moment away because the only moment you have is now…….



Moisy  Continue reading

Vintage finds, medieval castles, good friends, aperitifs and stars…..


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Last weekend we decided to take Karen to an Emmaus. These are charitable organisations in France where anything (and I mean anything!) is donated to the charity, and the things are sorted into certain categories to be sold in huge warehouses. Now if you are a vintage freak, like me, or if you love old things, and the craftsmanship, the details, and the fact that nobody else would have an identical thing to these old things, then you would love the Emmaus.

So on Saturday off we trotted early in the morning to find some treasures. My husband found roof bars for his van, I found glasses, a vintage mirror and this stunning 1930’s cabinet.

After a morning of treasure hunting we then took Karen into the beautiful medieval city of Fourgeries. Situated in Brittany it is less than an hours drive from our house. As we walked through the tiny streets we questioned why we did not come here more often,…

With it’s boutique shops, beautiful cosmopolitan squares, and medieval castle, we made our decision to visit more often, whatever the weather. Something to look forward to, as I am sure it will change drastically with every season.

It was too hot to take the puppies, so we decided, after Karen and I saw the sign for moules and frites, (mussels and chips) to have a quick lunch. We found a tiny restaurant on the cobbled street that leads down to the castle; with a medieval dovecote behind us, and the vista of medieval roofs what a place to have lunch.

Sadly we could not stay for desert because we had arranged to meet two wonderful ladies at our home. So off we raced, working our calories off walking up the steep medieval hill back to the car, and arrived home to find the lovely ladies ensconced at our table and chairs dozing in the sun.

The British tradition of tea and cake took place, and it was a joy to spend time with some of the few nice British people out here; we have been blessed, we have found some amongst the sea of shit!

As they waved goodbye we then had to rush about as we had an invitation to our lovely French friends for aperitifs. Off we went still in our shorts with only time for a quick change of tops, to be greeted by our wonderful friends and their family. It was Michel’s seventieth birthday, and we were offered champagne, quails eggs, cheeses, melon, and radishes. Two hours on the dot, everyone got up to leave, aperitifs are only ever for two hours and no more.

By the time we got home we were worn out, and sat in the garden with the puppies, with a vin rouge watching the stars.

This summer gets better and better.