Sunday, 13 November 2016

Thinking of 2017

November is nearly out and its time to think about 2017 although I am sure many of you will be having a busy December. The summer of 2016 was certainly a scorcher if a little late in starting. We had the best part of 3 months solid of dry sunny weather which was great for all our guests. However this gave me and Maureen a real task trying to maintain the 400 plus flower etc we planted April/May, fortunately we have an excellent well where we can pump sufficient water to keep things going.In 2014 the cottage garden was in the finals for the best 'gite' flower garden in the region, we have entered in 2016 and await the results normally announced in December.

The flower plants in April 2016 before they went into the garden and all the pots etc

A tiny selection of the flowers in the garden 2016

The 'secret' garden inspectors will have made three visits over the year so I hope they came when the flowers and grass were looking great.

So what can we all look forward to in 2017

We are very pleased that the troubles in Calais have been sorted although we have personally never encountered any trouble possibly because we always used the tunnel and this road went off before the old 'Jungle' camps location. Let us all hope that is now in the past although in our troubled world very little these days is certain.

2017 will bring no change to life in central France. Its like living in a time capsule with little changing year on year. In fact our little hamlet has changed very little indeed in the past 50 years. A few houses have electric panels on the roof but other than that its the same relaxed lazy pace that makes rural France such a relaxing location for a holiday. 

Prices in cafes and restaurants remain much the same. A full 4 course lunch menu including wine in our local 'Les Routier' restaurant has increased 1 euro (circa 80p) over the past three years and is now 12.5 euro up from 11.5 in 2015. Wine is still much less expensive than the UK, bottle of excellent champagne is 18 euro, great local fizz 5.25 euro and a very drinkable red can be found for 3 euro. 

We have been asked many times about 'Brexit' and to be honest it has not made one jot of difference other than the weaker pound. The vast majority of our friends in France are French as of course are all our neighbours and everyone is as friendly as ever, they wonder what all the fuss is about.

To only real impact so far has been on the exchange rates but I do note that the pound has strengthened significantly in the past week so hopefully it will be back to around 1.27 or more before the new holiday season commences. The exchange weakness has made no difference to the cottage hire rates which we have maintained at 2015 prices and in pounds sterling.

Look forward to seeing you in 2017