New Year’s Eve – time to look back on the last twelve months. Here at Les Fragnes we’ve had the usual ups and downs of everyday life. We’ve faced some unexpected challenges but we’ve also had some unforeseen bonuses too. There have been low points but wonderful high ones as well. The nicest things with the children have been Caiti starting lycée and doing really well, Ruadhri settling into his new school happily too, and Benj landing a tough but well-paid summer job and then turning 18 this month.

On the animal front, Lulin’s birth was brilliant, as was little Aisling’s, although we had the sadness of losing her when she was just a fortnight old. Amelie the alpaca came to join us and Gabby battled back to health after her illness in the summer. We have restocked the lakes with beautiful, healthy fish, some of them enormous, and done a lot of work on the big lake.

We have moved into what was the gite and are in the process of transforming our old house into beautiful holiday accommodation. We had a swimming pool for the first time this year, and had a fantastic sunny summer to make the most of it. Chris’s surgery back in March seems to have sorted his knee out finally after years of problems with it. Plenty to be grateful for. And of course there was the excitement of being snowed in just before Christmas – I don’t expect it will be the last time for this winter.

And as for 2010, well, one thing is certain. It won’t be dull. We have the renovations next door to finish, miles of fencing to construct, a smallholding to increase (with pigs and broilers), German exchange students to welcome and, all being well, our busiest year yet with our gite, fishing and llama trekking.

Thinking back to 1999 – we went to a candlelight church service on New Year’s Eve to see the old millennium out. It was very moving. And it’s made me realise just how much our lives have moved on since then. Ruadhri is here now, the biggest change by far! And we’ve moved to France in that time and started our new lives here. I’m kind of hoping the next ten years won’t be quite as eventful …

Wishing you a great 2010 too!