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As I sit here this morning in the Spring Sunshine looking out at this view and listening to the birds welcoming spring with their song, I feel both at home and also sad; because the rooms in our house are echoing with the memories of the last week that we have had with three good friends, who I have just waved goodbye to as they start their journey home, leaving the rooms forlorn and empty.

I always feel like this when people leave. Yes, part of our adventure is that we do not see people we used to know often, but, for some, that would have been the case in England; I think what makes it so different out here is that when they leave the distance between us is palpable.

So last week Karen and the Dyls monster arrived

With two other good friends, Jenny, who we had not seen for four years, but who has always been so supportive of our choice to go on this adventure;

and Russell who I had lost touch with for twenty years!!

But, as life does, my mini bus trundled round and Russ got back on board in recent years (take a look at my post ‘The mini bus of life’)

As is always the case with three Welsh Terriers in the garden, with four cats (Tilly has sadly not returned) and six chickens, mayhem ensued. Welsh Terriers are known for their naughtiness and stubbornness so the cats set up a cat flat in our bedroom, and just starting to decamp now. One of the themes of the week was ‘Where’s Dylan?’ Or hearing people say ‘You Cow!’ You just knew that they were talking about the dog!

On arrival the olives, cheese (soft cheese with fig in it, Sheeps cheese, blue cheese, goats cheese, you name it) and of course the wine came out. Much was consumed and we forgot about the spaghetti Bolognese I was going to make and ended up with sausage sandwiches instead!

After a day to recover from the journey they were off on their adventures, sometimes with me in tow. At the beginning of the week we visited the pretty little village of Fontaine Daniel, four of us (sadly Rich was unavailable) and the three Welshies, bundled into a Peugeot; and despite the April rain we were determined….

But eventually the rain turned into a downpour and we decamped to,our local town of Mayenne for some coffee and patisserie

Over the week they went off on their own, with the sat nav and hand drawn maps, depicting how to find the local shops, and visited the pretty town of Lassay-les-Châteaux,

Later in the week, with me in tow we visited the beautiful pilgrimage village of Pontmain with it’s stunning church and stained glass windows. It is said that the Virgin Mary appeared in the village, and stopped the advance of the Prussian forces in 1871.

Then with Rich in tow we took them to the beautiful, and one of my favorite, medieval villages in France, Sainte Suzanne. A fortress village, that is perched high on a hill it is quite stunning, and after a lunch of tornados de boeuf, (a cut of steak) and the obligatory dauphinois potatoes we walked it off with a walk around the village and it’s reinstated medieval gardens.

We have taken them to our hometown of Ambrières-les-Vallées, and after having a drink or two in the bar, returned home to have dancing in the kitchen, copious amounts of food and wine, and huge amounts of laughing.

We have Sat in the garden, as the weather started to get warmer,and watched the Welshies doing zoomies around it, and the time has gone way too fast.

So now I sit here with two exhausted Welshies, who are also sad because the puppy has left, the washing machine is on, the chicken’s are waiting for brunch, and the cats are slowly leaving their flat! This is the normality of life for me; and I am, once again, reminded of how fleeting life is and how blessed I am. Enjoy every moment.

Have a safe journey my friends, the chapter five go mad in France is over……..

Moisy…