Time to ‘chillax’

Chilling on the terrace

Sometimes you just have to stop and remember why it was you bought a place in the sun to begin with. It’s easy to forget the tranquility in all the rushing around fixing things up.

Every time I arrive at my place, I have a list of things I need to get through to get the place up to scratch again – clean floors, fill fridge, cut grass and weed, weed, weed.

So, after a couple of days hard labour getting the house and gardens back to as normal as state as I could manage, I decided it was time to just down tools, kick back and stretch out in the sun. In short I decided to sunbathe, that ancient ritual of lying on a beach towel for the sole purpose of getting an all over tan.

It was fantastic, as it brought back all the reasons I originally bought the place but had forgotten in the intervening years. Shamefully, it’s the first time I’ve used the terrace for sunbathing, but, having experienced it once, it is definitely going to be the place to head to from now on.

Can’t believe it’s been there for three years and I’ve only start properly sunning on it now. I’ve promised myself that I need to make more effort to relax at the house instead of running around all the time.

Happily, I think it’s something I can really get into and I think you should try it too.


Wheeler at Waterstone’s

Top billing

It’s a warm and sunny evening in London and the Kensington High Street branch of Waterstone’s was the place to be for the signing of author Karen Wheeler’s latest installment of her life in France, Tout Soul.

As fans of Karen will now be aware, such events are marked by her insistence on standing everyone who comes along a deliciously ice cold coupe de Champagne – and make that quality bubbles too, Karen just doesn’t do cheap.

Karen Wheeler chats to fans at the signing of Tout Soul.

It was a great evening, made more enjoyable by the fact I finally got to meet some of her fans, who come from all walks of life, and who I reckon are as interesting as any of the characters in her books. Many came from quite far. I was very pleased to meet a distinguished chap, originally from Montreal, but who now lives in Berkshire, who also happens to enjoy a bit of PoitouTV now and then. I think he definitely has a book or two in him.

It was also a pleasure to meet a lovely Californian woman, who has also made the UK her home, and who told me she wants to take her daughters to France to expose them to the wonderful subtleties of another European culture. One of Karen’s keenest fans was a delightful lady who made the journey to Waterstone’s despite still brandishing the bruises of a serious fall down some stairs. Dedication indeed.

I was really proud that Karen’s books seem to be inspiring people from all walks of life in so many different ways. I don’t think there can be a better reward for a writer really. But of course the pressure’s now on for KW – as fans left, I could hear them promising each other: “‘See you next year at the launch of ‘Tout 4′”!