Return from Oz

Hello stranger, long time no speak!  Apologies for my absence, I’ve no excuse – just lots of distractions. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things now and be a little more regular in my writings, but then again I often say that – time will tell.

Summer has been wonderful – it’s not been the sunniest Summer but has been one of the most fun; we’ve been to France and to Spain which is a lot more jet-setting than we usually manage, in fact last year we didn’t go on Holiday at all but this year we’ve been FOUR times! It feels a little like we’re enjoying a slice of somebody else’s life.

We went in August to France for a long weekend with my cousin Matt, his girlfriend Helena and a few of their friends and it was wonderful! A very lazy long weekend of sitting in the sun in the garden of my aunt and uncle’s idyllic house drinking gin and tonics. Matt and I even had a morning of horse riding with the women who keep their horses on the adjoining field – a treat like no other and something I haven’t done since I was about ten.

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As you can see we were lucky enough to be adopted for the duration of the holiday by a very sweet cat who we named Pat, she fell completely in love with Dave and slept on his bed each night that we were there. We also had the lovely Freddie for part of the holiday – Freddie is the little son of Jonny & Cat and he is endlessly entertaining; the photo of him holding out an empty bottle of beer is him saying cheers which he does on demand.

Then a couple of weeks later we were off to Spain! This was again with family but on a much bigger scale – my parents and both brothers came as well as Bruno’s girlfriend Julia and so did my Aunt and uncle along with Matt, Helena and Tom – twelve of us in total! It was the BEST holiday ever!

We stayed in a villa near Iznajar which looked out on valleys of Olive groves as far as the eye could see; quite a surreal landscape and incredibly beautiful. The villa was amazingly cheap and had a swimming pool, a garden full of fruit trees with lemons and dates ripe for picking and best of all a dog! Cain (pronounced Ca-In) was a bit of a highlight of the holiday – he was (is) a huge and incredibly sweet natured German Shepherd which the owner of the Villa, Andres, keeps in an enclosure in the garden when guests are staying. We were very keen on him though so kept him out for most of our time there. Andres was also totally lovely and amazingly he spoke Spanish slowly enough for us to hold real conversations with him! He told us all about the olives and the recent drought and picked us lemons and onions.. Basically the Villa and everything that came with it couldn’t have been more wonderful.

The week passed in baking heat with endless swimming, drinking, laughter and delicious food. We hadn’t all been on holiday together since I was two so it was long overdue! We had a few jaunts locally, spent a day in Cordoba, saw the procession of the virgin in Iznajar (which was amazing and bizarre and beautful) and spent the final day in Malaga where we met up with Seb and Dasha who had been with us in France!

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So much fun! We are still really missing living with everyone, it was a very harmonious and humorous group. In fact the only thing that stopped us from having serious post-holiday-blues was immediate house hunting! We came back from Spain and three days later went to view a block of flats which we’ve been waiting to see for months – seriously exciting! The flats look perfect so we are now waiting with baited breath to see if we will be allocated one; they are part of a shared ownership scheme which tends to be fairly competitive so there are no guarantees that we’ll get one. All fingers and toes are crossed.

Today I finally got back down to a little bit of art! We did a bit in Spain but somehow everything I did came out awful – I think it was knowing that everyone else was extremely good and would probably look at my drawings – guaranteed to make you draw like a five year old. So it was quite a relief today to knock out a few that I actually liked! Nick sat for me while he was watching football so I did three of him in a row with charcoal, then pen and then pencil during the first half and enjoyed it so much that I did three of myself the same way in the second half. Quite liberating to draw lots in quick succession and interesting to see the pictures side by side like that.

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