Roman and Tuscan holiday

Fortunately our house move did not clash with our holiday.

We flew to Rome and stayed there for two nights.

We got an early flight, so were able to visit the Vatican city on the Saturday. 

Queues for the Sistine Chapel, glad we booked ahead
Chapel gardens
Need to work on my painting technique








View from roof of St Peters Basilica

On the Sunday we visited the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Although we had booked tickets in advance we still had to queue for the Roman Forum.

Roman Forum


We returned to the airport at Rome by coach to pick up a hire car. The next stage of our holiday was a stay at the friendly Agriturismo Poggio Pistolese in Montaione.

Agriturismo booking information

The owners were really friendly and helpful but it would have been useful to have been able to speak Italian. I would certainly recommend the Agriturismo concept. We were staying on a working farm where they made their own wines and olive oil. We were able to book homemade Italian meals in the evening. There were also excellent restaurants in the scenic village of Montaione.

In hindsight it was quite a long drive from Rome, but the countryside was beautiful. Italian roads and motorways are a bit crazy, Richard had to have his wits about him. They have strange convoluted motorway junctions where you needed to really accelerate when you joined the motorway. Not easy with our chosen little hire car but very Italian. 

Our mode of transport, great fun when you are 6ft 2!

Slide show of days out in Tuscany. If we returned to this region we would love to visit more of the less well known villages.



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Tuscan Food

The food in Tuscany is an obviously a highlight of a visit to this lovely region. Of course we enjoyed excellent pasta dishes but also great fish and meat. We experienced biscotti served with Vin Santo at the agriturismo and have had to make them at home. The gelato is fabulous, much nicer than ice cream. It is denser and made with more milk so is also lower in fat. The flavours are more intense and the number available is incredible. 
Information about gelato



The May be move?

We arranged to to Cornwall during the early May Bank Holiday, to maybe visit the house we hoped to buy. 

I handed my notice in at work (have to give a whole terms notice), got home and the house chain had fallen apart…………….

The joys of moving house.

We had a lovely weekend in Cornwall though.

Flushing and ferry
Flushing village
Walk through bluebell woods

We put our house back on the market and waited.

New Year, new story. A move to the Cornish Coast.

This should be a life changing year. 

We have put our house on the market and are planning to move to the Cornish coast!

Excited, apprehensive, guilty for contemplating living further away from loved ones. All of these emotions and more!

Why now?

We have always hoped to move to Cornwall one day. We love this beautiful coastline. We have realistic expectations, we have lots of experience of Cornish rain. 

Not getting any younger. Need to fulfil my teenage ambition of being a beach bum before everything sags any further. 

Richard would be nearer to his beloved boat.

Job has become overwhelming. Richard’s job could finish anytime. We would like to continue working, but could try something new and have time to become part of the community before retirement.

Although we live in a lovely part of the country, when we have free time,  we always yearn to be in Cornwall. 

Family would visit as they love it there too. Being Granny by the seaside is appealing.

People we know that have done it absolutely love it! 

The map below shows how much smaller the world has become. We can return to Northamptonshire in less than 5 hours. We could fly from Newquay to Birmingham. The youngsters could decide to move themselves somewhere further away, they certainly enjoy travelling.

How travel distances have changed, Isochronic Passage chart for travellers.
Royal Geographic Society 1881

January 2018

Another art class, a little “Monet Madness”. I quite like this dotty style of painting. 

Those water lilies
Slightly different style, idea from a Monet painting.


Another visit to Cornwall but with a purpose.

House hunting. 

We had a good look around the Falmouth area. We visited two houses, both with sea views and parking. Not in love with them though.

Our house sold subject to contract.

Cornwall in February, unfortunately saw no views as good as this one.

Marching on and the search is narrowing.

I am now a Granny. So need to find a seaside abode.

We have started to like Flushing, opposite Falmouth  and the warmest place in England (apparently). Two pubs and great community. Beaches and a ferry over to Falmouth. 

We made an offer on a house.

The beach on a grey Easter day


Lots of work and box packing. 

Early winter

I enjoyed an art class “Wild watercolours” by Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art, Wakefield, Towcester.  There are a variety of craft courses such as painting and drawing, jewellery making, glass fusing. Details can be found on their website

Views of Maisie Cat after art class inspiration

Pencil drawing

Winter walks

We continued our walking of the MacMillan Way from Flore to Moreton Pinkney.

Heading away from Flore church

December snow

Autumn changes.

As the seasons change and the daylight hours reduce, Richard and I have been considering the Autumn of our lives. 

The most popular options considered by people changing their lifestyle are:

  • open a coffee shop
  • go travelling
  • open a bed and breakfast.


When I started this website I was going through a coffee shop phase (great to be so predictable eh?)

 I read a book about coffee shops which quickly identified the pitfalls including the ever increasing numbers of coffee shops. I think I would enjoy letting rooms if a property offered a degree of privacy. We have enjoyed many a good bed and breakfast during our travels and have met many lifestyle changers who have successfully chosen this option. Being able to let a property completely would enable us to do more……… travelling!
Next year we are visiting Rome and Tuscany. I have downloaded my Italian speaking course in readiness. I hope to visit Vinci as am still having a Leonardo moment.
I have recently been having a dabble at watercolours. 

First water colour attempts. Helpful criticism welcome!

I would like to pursue something more creative, but initially will probably continue my present occupation in a new location.

Back in Cornwall

It was great to spend a few days near Falmouth, even though the weather was not great.
We had planned to walk some South West Coast path and drove to the North Coast to walk from Port Isaac to Rock. But it was so grey and dismal  we drove there instead.
We visited Trelissick and went inside the house for the first time.

Grounds and gardens of Trelissick

We enjoyed a unexpectedly sunny sail around the creek to St Mawes and Falmouth.

Working boats on the Fal estuary.

St Mawes

We enjoyed a walk around the Lost (but definitely found) Gardens of Heligan.


Happy pig

We then drove on to Mevagissey and wandered around the harbour.

Boats in Mevagissey harbour

Walking the MacMillan Way

In early September we walked from Maidwell to Great Brington. The weather was a bit grey so we only walked 11 miles and were glad to reach The Fox and Hounds for a well deserved beer.

Green fields

Entrance to Holdenby House

Later in October we continued our walk to Flore (just five miles). We drove back to the Fox and Hounds for an enjoyable lunch.

The building of a train line caused a detour as our path was blocked by a giant hole.

Summer sailing- Falmouth, Salcombe, Guernsey, Sark, Guernsey, Ile de Brehat and Trebuerden

We had a great two weeks sailing along the English coast from Falmouth to Salcombe, the Channel Islands and the North French coast.
We could not believe our luck weather wise, a perfect sunrise welcomed us as we set sail early Sunday morning.

Mylor sunrise

Eddistone lighthouse off Plymouth

We sailed along the English coast to Salcombe.We arrived during the regatta week with small sailing vessels cutting across our path at every angle.
Salcombe arrival

Busy Salcombe

Our next destination was the Channel Islands. We were welcomed to Guernsey by our 4th pod of dolphins. We have never seen so many dolphins in one sailing holiday.
St Peter Port, Guernsey
Walking along the Guernsey coast

From Guernsey we visited a surprisingly quiet Sark. This small rugged island seemed a little out of sorts compared to previous trips. After a steep climb from our mooring we enjoyed exploring this eccentric island.
Our Sark mooring
The causeway to Little Sark built by German soldiers after the Second World War

A rocky cove
Sark Henge (seemed to be made from old fence posts)

From Sark we travelled to Jersey. The Port at St Helier is guarded by Elizabeth Castle.
Sailing towards the harbour and marina, St Helier Jersey

We wandered along the coast towards St Aubin. The pictures show the terrific tidal ranges experienced for most of this holiday. Every departure and arrival had to be carefully planned.
Tide out looking towards Elizabeth Castle, lots of green seaweed

Walking along beach to St Aubin
Tide in and the aquatic bus was still ferrying passengers.

From Jersey we sailed to Ile de Brehat on the Northern Brittany coast. We are fond of this french island. It is very popular with French tourists who arrive daily aboard vedettes. It never really feels crowded though and the day trippers depart early evening.
Ile de Brehat
More massive tidal ranges

Galletes (in a cardboard box??) et boule de cidre.
Le Moulin (water mill)
Leaving Brehat. The white specks on the tree are egrets (birds)

We sailed along the french coast to Trebuerden.
Trebuerden marina
Walking along the coast, tide out
Trebuerden sunset

102 mile journey home (20 hours)
The English Channel looking like a millpond
Water was so clear, here you can see the bubbles created by the dolphins blow hole
Sunset over glassy sea
Tanker floating between sea and sky
Back on home mooring