Over to you, La Galerie ..

I thought I’d hand today’s blog over to La Galerie, our gîte in Loubillé, France .. and it can let you know how it’s getting on. (What do you mean, a gîte can’t write? I’ll have you know our gaff does its own ‘Gîte Tweets‘! ..

‘Hi Martin, and thanks for letting me take over your blog today. It’s a great opportunity for me to tell you how busy I’ve been lately. At the moment I have an English family staying with me – they’ve been here for quite a few weeks now as they’re in the middle of buying their own house in France. It’s been lovely to give them somewhere to call ‘home’ whilst they get everything organised, and such fun to host their pets, as dogs are always welcome here. Next week I have a French family staying with me. A couple from Normandy are staying for a week with their parents from La Rochelle. Really looking forward to meeting them, and I’ll soon be buying wine, bread and other goodies to make up their Welcome Basket.

I’ve had a bit of ‘tarting up’ done in my front garden, and now have a lovely private gravel drive for my guests to park on. A new set of garden furniture and a lick of paint on my walls and shutters is on the cards too, now that the weather’s perking up. (It’s going to be 26 degrees later this week. Good job I have a cooling ceiling fan in my spacious lounge!)

Yes, spring is making itself known all around me. At the moment I’m surrounded by gorgoeus fields of yellow rape-seed, and buds, blossom and fresh lime green leaves are appearing everywhere. It won’t be long until I’m back to my full summer loveliness. Lots of wildlife is reappearing, too. Hundreds of cranes flew over my head on their way back north, and a hoopoe called in yesterday. I have goldfinches, skylarks, black redstarts and long-tailed tits twittering above my head and birds of prey hovering in the fields around me. The swifts and house martins are back and, for the last two mornings, I’ve heard a cuckoo calling from the nearby woods.  I often spot deer and hares in the fields, and lots of butterflies are starting to enjoy my garden.
 
My friend ‘Entre-Pote’, the local bar in the village, has thrown some great party nights recently, to which my guests are always welcome. They do a great line in lunchtime meals, too. I’m so lucky to have this lively place just around the corner.

My owner (Yes you, Martin) had a busy day recently when he staged a ‘Photo-Walk’ around the village, teaching keen amateur photographers how to use their cameras. The photographs here are some that my owner took yesterday. Don’t forget he offers One-Day camera workshops for anyone that stays with me. What a great way to spend a day of your holiday.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by some gorgeous chateaux, and they’re all busy dusting down and opening up after their winter breaks. The cycling’s getting good too, now that the weather’s improving. If you don’t want to bring over your bikes, don’t forget I can organise ‘wheels’ for you when you’re here. 

My bookings are looking good for the summer, although I still have some dates available. Check out my web-site for availability.

Thanks again, Martin. Maybe I can give you another update in the summer? Ciao for now. La Galerie x’

Brilliant. Thanks for the update and yes, catch you in the summer. Have a great Spring!

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All at sea ..

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It’s all getting very real! Our move to France has stepped up a gear now that we’ve started getting quotes from removal companies to ship all our gear across the Channel. Another two months and all our worldly goods will be boxed, packed, wrapped and on a big lorry heading for South-West France.

This, of course, brings up the big question of what exactly we take over with us. Do I really need that old copy of the NME from 1985? Yes, of course, it’s got The Smiths on the cover. And that advertising brochure for the Nikon FE2 from ’83? Naturally! That’s part of my photographic history. And so it goes on. I have managed to throw out one or two things. There are only so many copies of The Face and Spin magazine that a man needs but, apart from that, I’m finding it very, very hard to part with any of my past. Perhaps I might start thinking differently once the quotes start coming in ..

Get in there ..

Doreen couldn’t have expressed her feelings any more clearly when she married Graham on Saturday and do you know what? .. that’s exactly how I felt yesterday when I got my first ever booking for a shoot in France. Yes, I’m booked for a job in France! Bloody brilliant!..

Anyway, first things first. I shot the Wedding of Graham and Doreen on Saturday and had a blast. They were so much fun and much to my relief we managed to get all our shots done outside despite the threatening thunder rumbles.
Check them out here ..

And then yes .. I got my first booking for a shoot in France, and will be heading over again next month to photograph three gîtes for website and advertising purposes. I am so thrilled. This is where my work needs to take me as I aim to be living there full-time by September. So thank you Doreen, for expressing my feelings exactly ..