Happy New Year from No.fifty6 As We Welcome 2019

Posted on 31st December 2018 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Happy New Year from No.fifty6 As We Welcome 2019

As the dawn of a New Year breaks we would like to thank everyone who sent us cards and festive messages and we would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. We spent a few days over Christmas in England with family and we are now back on The Somme ready for some rest and relaxation and make plans for 2019. The weather is damp and relatively mild but we know January can bring its winter blasts!  Regardless of the weather we get a chance in the winter to go out, dust away the cobwebs and visit places we don’t get time to explore in the summer.

2019 we hope promises good things. The renovated bathrooms are nearly finished, we know we have lovely people booked in to stay with us throughout the year as they make their own pilgrimages to this special place and we have a new arrival at No.fifty6… And as you know there is always something going on here…

CWGC Visitor Centre


In Spring 2019 CWGC will be opening a Visitor Centre at it's European HQ in Beaurains, a short drive from us. For the first time visitors will be able to see the Commission’s team of skilled craftsman at work. Taking a tour of their workshops and observing them as they continue their century long task of caring for some of the world’s most impressive and recognisable monuments and memorials. We will keep you posted as we hear more about opening dates etc.

The proposed CWGC Visitor Centre

Personal Pilgrimages

Richard Scott and Brian came in December and made the best of very changeable weather. Richard has been coming to the Somme for many years and Brian was on his second visit. Despite no family connections, both men feel a special connection to the place. After a wonderful long circular battlefield walk in the rain which they loved, Richard and Brian decided over dinner to teach David to jive. They were very patient with David’s lack of rhythm.

Mark Fruenfelder made the journey from Melbourne, Australia with his 2 adult sons to view the battlefields. David took them on a personalised tour taking in Australian aspects of the War. Mark said the experience “blew him away.” 

 Treve De Noel/Christmas Truce Service Pozieres

On a very cold, icy 15th December we attended the Christmas Truce service in Pozieres church. This annual event really heralds the start of Christmas festivities for us. Poems are read, the choir sings in 3 languages – French, English and German and it is a time to reflect on the year and how important striving for peace is. The Digger Cote Association acted scenes in period costume with sound effects to great emotional effect, covering John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields and the story of a nurse working in Etaples.

We live streamed the second half of the evening via Facebook so that this special event could be shared with a wider audience. 

Christmas Trees in the Streets of La Boisselle.

We do have some new village Christmas lights but after its success last year, Christian Bernard, our Mayor, offered everyone in the village to have a real Christmas tree, as long as it was on the roadside and was decorated so that the village was illuminated for Christmas. Many families took part – including us- and they did look pretty. The Mayor took photos of them all and will declare the best-dressed trees at the Wishes of the Mayor Event in January. Last year we were lucky enough to win a pencil! We love our Community. 

Bathroom/Bedroom Renovations

Greg our lovely builder has been cracking on with the renovation work to the guest bedrooms and bathrooms. 3 of the 4 upstairs rooms are now done, the landing flooring has been replaced (after removing all our books and models!) and Florentine has been started but there is about 2 weeks work left to do. Everything will have a fresh new look for our first guests of 2019.

New bedroom flooring

Practical Matters 

Our room tariffs for 2019 are on our website. After holding our rates for a couple of years we have increased our 2019 single room rate. Providing value for money is important to us but we have to cover all the bills too.   A single occupancy room is €65 per night and a twin/double room is unchanged at €98 per night. Our rates include breakfast. Our dinner rate will be €27 per person for 4 courses and drinks with your meal. 

The local Tourist Tax which must be accounted separately is 40 cents per adult per night and will appear separately as an addition to your bill. The tax which is imposed by Le Pays Du Coquelicot aids tourism in the area. 

Also a reminder that we do take payment by card (visa/mastercard) as well as Euros cash. We are thoroughly modern here you know! 

Our 2018 accounts will be winging their way to the accountant this month, we have always done things properly. 

French Residency

We passed a milestone in December when we submitted our dossiers and had an interview at the Prefecture in Amiens. As a result we now have a receipt to say we both have permanent residency rights – called a Carte de Sejour Permanent – as we have permanently lived here more than 5 years and are not a burden on the state. The receipt is an official document but it will be replaced by an official card when they are ready at the Prefecture. You would not believe the size of the dossiers of proof! This was a huge undertaking for us but also hugely important to protect our future rights…

Animal Postscript

While we were away for a few days at Christmas our lovely neighbours Chantal and Jean looked after the hens and rabbits.   The hens are laying machines as we are still getting 5/6 eggs a day.

We do though, have a new arrival at No.fifty6. A few weeks ago we noticed a mummy cat and her 2 kittens living in our wood store in the garden. We helped this little family along with extra food and put out a notice to see if anyone had lost a cat – to no avail. We kept an eye on them and a few weeks ago mummy cat, decided to come into our private quarters and decided to stay. We took her to the vet for a once over. She had no microchip and was in good health apart from a small cut on her tongue. The vet said she had finished weaning her kittens so was unlikely to have anything further to do with them. Apparently cats say, “that’s it kids, you are on your own now”.  So mum, who is grey and white and we have called Grizabella (Griza for short) is now chipped and vaccinated and she has adopted us. She is not allowed in any of the guest areas but she has made herself at home in our bit. The kittens, both tabbies, do not want to come in and we can’t catch them, so for the moment they continue in the cosy woodpile and we continue to feed them.  Our friend Poppy made sure they were all looked after over Christmas.

We never intended having a cat, but Griza found us, not the other way round. And she is scared of the hens, so no worries there. 

Happy New Year

All that is left is for us to wish all our wonderful friends and guests past and future a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year. We look forward to connecting with old friends and new in 2019. 

 

Comments (21)

Rebecca says:

Congratulations on your residency! Lovely to read your news. What a fab place your home and B&B is :-)

Pip Baker says:

Happy New Year to all at No 56, great to see you have a new arrival, can't wait to meet her, it would be wonderful if the kittens stayed as well.

Jude, Dave & Ben says:

Happy New Year Julie & David.
We really enjoyed your newsletter...it was a great read & love the photos of Griza & the new bathrooms...they look fab!
Wishing you a happy, healthy & prosperous 2019...love Jude, Dave & Ben X

Dudley Giles says:

That's the way with cats. They adopt you - never the other way around!

Good luck with 2019.

Bob Wheatley says:

Happy New Year. We are so looking forward to our first visit in July.

David Harvey says:

Happy New Year! Congratulations in being adopted by Griza, oh and by the Prefecture as permanent residents.

The Weatherall Boys says:

It's always a pleasure to receive your updates it's like we never left #56. 2018 health wise was quite terrible for me "the old man" major heart operation then one has to expect an ole sailor wasn't going to get away with my Jack Tar life for ever. Back on deck now and heading to the GBG AGM 18-20 Jan. Trust you are both well my sons Darryn & Jarrod still mention their time on the battlefields with their ole man and the time we had the pleasure to meet the Countess on our wanders across the Somme. We wish you a prosperous 2019 in the year of "The Pig" Dennis (AKA Old Sea Dog) Weatherall

Sandra Gibson says:

As usual,another enjoyable news letter! Congratulations on getting your permanent French Residency. Welcome to Griza who looks adorable - can't wait to meet her and hopefully her kittens too. Our little rescue cat fully recovered from her poisoning and now has us completely under her little paw!! Derek, David and I wish you both a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2019 and look forward to hopefully seeing you again in Sept.

The Devon Boys says:

Happy New Year to you both.

Sandy Biback says:

Thanks again for the best newsletter I get. Can’t believe how much your place has changed since Stephen and I were there with Peter. Suspect the first welcome is still that of wine! Happy New Year and hoping someday our paths cross again in real life

steve says:

bonne année
a vous

Terry Sponder says:

Hi Julie & David, thank you for another interesting news letter. We hope you had a good Xmas and New year. We hope 2019 is another prosperous year for you. Looking forward to seeing you at Easter.

gerald abbotts says:

Happy new year to you both, and of cause Grizabella, Hope to visit again soon

Steve Thomas says:

Happy New year to the both of you! Will be seeing you in 2019! Best wishes, Steve, Helen Georgia & Will..

Gary James says:

Well done on the residency status. How can you be a burden to the state? I expect the movement of books and models was a major undertaking. David, have you sorted out the Onyx Room yet?
Look forward to seeing you soon and the increased family.

Mike and Kathy, Bath says:

Happy New Year from Bath. Congrats on the residency. Hope to see you both in June.

Gordon & Joana says:

Just got up ..! Sooper newsletter, especially that about the residency ‘rights’. Our daughter has 3 cats - they’re not stoopid tha’naas, they know a soft touch when they see it! Love and Happy New Year to you both.

Heather & Malcolm Johnson says:

A happy and healthy 2019 to you both. We just knew that cat had set her eyes on you and you wouldn't be able to resist! :-)

Rob Kirk says:

A very happy 2019 to you both - from Elaine and from me. Our reunion in May is high on the New Year agenda! X

Chris Prince says:

Happy New Year to both of you. Loved watching Treve De Noel/Christmas Truce Service Pozieres it was very moving and special. Welcome Griza you couldn't have found a better place to live you will be spoilt and look after so well. You are Beautiful. The country side must be very pretty at this time of year with the snow all around. And Congratultions on getting your Permanent residency of France I know it will mean so much to you boht. Take care and love reading you Newsletters. Wish you all the Very Best of Life for 2019

Ashley Atkinson says:

Best wishes for 2019 - hope to see you during the year - Ashley

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