The Pot of Gold at the end of The Rainbow

A couple of nights ago a friend in Provence sent me a photo of an incredibly vibrant double rainbow that was arcing high over the Luberon, with a simple message saying – ‘A double rainbow of hope . All will be well’.

Then another message from a friend in our hamlet of a rainbow seeming to strike the lane not far from our house and arching above Caseneuve in the distance, with a message to say she hopes we can be back soon.

The images came at a good time, as this week we have both been feeling a bit flat, missing Provence, and missing really getting on with starting our new life there (which had been the plan when we went back in January).

We find it hard to believe it was ten weeks ago today that we were in the car with the animals, heading back on the long drive through France to return to be with the boys during the crisis. We knew we wouldn’t be able to get back quickly, but we are still really not able to plan when or how we will be able to return.

We want to be able to tend the roses we planted and pull out the weeds

The thing is that we’re great planners, we like to know what we’re doing and when and so are finding the current situation, exacerbated by the shifting sands of information, more than a bit of a struggle.

This was to have been a month of adventures, firstly driving Fifi down to start her new life there too … Although we have managed to get her fully serviced and the drive down with very little in the way of functioning brakes could have been rather interesting…

Fifi getting an overhaul ahead of what will be quite an adventure

and then in a week’s time we would have finally set off on the cycle ride we have talked about for so long, riding from Exeter to our house via the places that we have visited and come to love over the years…. Saddlebag of Memories Ride

My cycling has come on a bit since those early days that cemented our love of France

They were both to have been slightly fluid trips, without us being too certain of the roads we would take on the way, but they would have been amazing adventures too and something we had really looked forward to doing.

Both of these though are now on hold, the maps put away in a drawer and the plans tucked away in our minds waiting for the time we can dust them off and put them into action again.

Of course we know we made the right decision to come back and be with the boys, who are generally very happy to be left to their own devices whilst we are away, but were understandably worried about us being so far away and potentially unable to get back should they have had a problem here….

Millie and Pusscat have been relaxed being back

But it is strange realising that this will be the longest period we have spent in the UK since we bought the house.

Being back in Devon for the lockdown can hardly be described as a chore, with the River Exe on our doorstep, it’s meant we have been able to go for long walks along rarely used paths running along the Estuary,

Our morning walk… A quiet path, rarely seeing other people

We’ve been able to hop on our bikes and do a loop out around the pretty seaside town of Budleigh Salterton…

Pretty Budleigh Salterton

And more recently have been heading out to explore the peaceful and rather hilly back lanes of Mid Devon (although as Andy keeps telling me ‘riding up them is good for the soul)

Meeting new friends in pretty Mid Devon

It has also meant that we have spent Spring here for the first time in 5 years and this year it has been quite spectacular. The weather has been incredible and it has been nice to see Spring take hold.

Spring bluebells at Powderham

When we first started walking along the little path we use between the Estuary and The Ship Canal, the Cow Parsley was hardly visible. Now it’s head height and we have to force our way through in places, usually spending the rest of the day with our shins tingling after brushing through heavy banks of Nettles.

Early days on our walk…. You can hardly see the Canal for the wildflowers now

We’ve seen the Martins arrive, swarming over the marshes, swooping to drink after their long flights back, and more recently the Swallows, skitting across the water and gathering nesting material for their new homes, built in the most unlikely of places.

A Swallow gathering nesting material near Turf Locks

The Swans too have built their nests, with the Cobs fiercely protecting their Pens that have been sitting on the eggs patiently waiting for them to hatch, with (happily) minimal disturbance from passers by.

A peaceful spot for a nest

Some have now hatched and the parents have been proudly taking their Cygnets for their first tentative glides along the Estuary and surrounding wetlands, searching for food and introducing them to their new world. A sight that always brings joy.

Showing off the new family

Then there has been the blossom, which has been spectacular this year. From the Apple Trees growing in the orchards and hedgerows, filled with flowers, scent and birds…

Apple Orchard near Crediton

To the May Trees turning the banks Candyfloss shades of pink and white with their flowers, for a brief but beautiful period.

May Trees and Cow Parsley along the Exe Trail

Over the last few weeks our days have slipped into a gentle routine of a morning spent either walking Millie

Peaceful morning walks

Or pottering off on our bikes…

Self isolation on the bikes in Mid Devon

Before returning for coffee and a mound of toast and marmalade, which has become our default lunch, especially as Andy has now perfected his bread-making skills to such an extent that he could give Paul Hollywood a run for his money.

Andy’s bread is just superb

The garden has been weeded, plants have been moved and we’ve almost finished decorating the house too, so we have been productive in our time back here.

That said, it isn’t Provence and the simple fact is that we miss it more than ever, which in many ways is a good thing as our time back here has simply confirmed we’ve made the right decision to relocate there lock, stock and barrel as soon as we can.

Really missing this now

Our lives don’t differ much between the 2 countries, but Provence feels more like a second skin and for reasons we can’t even start to explain, it feels more comfortable for us both.

It’s been great to spend a sustained period with the boys before they really do fly the nest once and for all, with George already working full-time (and more over the last few weeks due to the surge in bike-use) and Tom heading off to University to start his training to be a Primary School teacher. It has felt as if this has been a time we wouldn’t have had otherwise and that has been rather lovely.

Millie has been enjoying being back with the boys…. And their love of sausages

So back to the Rainbows, the image has become such a positive symbol of hope over the last few weeks, and these photos came at just the right moment…

This week there has been a bit of a cloud over us, tinting everything grey and making it hard for us to see things clearly or with any degree of colour and seeing the vibrant arches just made us smile….

Especially seeing the end of the Rainbow hitting the Hamlet, where our own little pot of gold is sitting, waiting for us to return.

The pot of gold is here

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    Hopefully, you’ll be able to get back here soonest. Lovely photos, Devon looks so pretty but not as pretty as Provence!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks that’s really kind of you and we hope so too. It almost feels churlish wanting to be somewhere else as Devon is truly beautiful and we know we’re lucky to have been locked down here

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sheree says:

        I quite understand!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Geoff says:

    Good morning.
    I love reading your posts. The photos and your descriptions are wonderful.
    I have been following your blog for two or three years, ever since I spoke to him
    Andy in a café in Budleigh He had arrived on his bike and was having a coffee.
    He told me about your travels in France and told him of our enjoyment of France.
    He told me about your blog and I have been following it ever since.
    I think I saw you a few weeks ago in Budleigh taking photos of the beach.
    Your deux chevaux is marvellous.
    La Bretagne me manque.
    Best wishes
    Geoff

    Like

    1. Hi Geoff,
      Thank you so much for your lively message, Andy remembers the conversation and I’m so pleased you are enjoying the blog.
      It probably was us in Budleigh taking photos…. It’s been a regular ride for us over the last few weeks… Although it’s not quite the same without a teacake in L’image.
      Let’s all hope we can get back to enjoying France again soon.
      Thanks again
      Julie

      Like

  3. Carole Handel says:

    I finally got around to reading this post today. It’s a long weekend in Sydney Australia and a great time to catch up on bits and pieces. Winter has set in here and it’s cool but sunny.
    It looks like you are keeping busy and hopefully you will be able to return to France soon. Thanks for showing us your other home and activities.
    Andy’s bread looks amazing. Perhaps he could share his recipe on the blog.

    Like

    1. Thanks… It just feels very strange to have spent so much time in the UK… Its the longest we’ve been here since we bought our little place 4 years ago. We’re lucky to live in a pretty part of England, right on an Estuary so have been our walking and cycling every day. It’s not the same though and we dreadfully miss Provence and realise that is where our heart is and that is where we need to be. We’ve had glorious weather, but it’s changed slightly over the last couple of days to be cooler, which is nowhere near as pleasant. Andy’s bread is keeping us going, although the recipe is a bit of a moving feast and usually involves adding flour until it feels right, so it’s not easily written down… Slightly different each time, but utterly delicious… Hope you keep well and take care… J

      Like

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