I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. It’s purely wishful thinking as it hasn’t snowed, but we do get snow here occasionally- my opening photo is proof, even if it’s from two years ago! However, the weather has changed and the nights have been cold, several dropping to below freezing; we’ve been waking to views of frozen fields and ice glittering in the weak morning sun; these proper winter dawns have been followed by beautiful clear crisp days when you can see your breath in front of you and when noses turn red with cold, and when the indoor fire’s welcoming glow has beckoned us back indoors. It’s all beginning to feel just a little festive. Read more
In truth, we did invite the boys, but they didn’t want to come! Jack would rather stick pins in his eyes than spend an afternoon browsing in shops and Roddy, although an excellent companion when one needs a little retail therapy, had a myriad of things he wanted to do at home. So after plenty of grey and damp days the sun finally returned last Saturday and the girls and I set out for Saintes, leaving the male element to fend for themselves. Read more
As I set the camera on timer on a carefully balanced tripod in the corner of the kitchen during supper, no one raised an eyebrow; the family are all quite used to me snapping away by now, they automatically assume “it’s for the blog” and ignore me! But Roddy did ask one thing, “What’s this post about?”
“Hygge” I answered.
“What?” exclaimed everyone. Not one person around the table had a clue what I was talking about so I explained a little.
“So are we moving to Denmark now?” was Roddy’s comment afterwards, and from there the conversation moved on to short days, gathering darkness by 3pm, and the fact that Denmark is actually on the same latitude as the north of Britain. This all led to talk of the Scottish Islands and my ancestors, and so on and so forth. ‘Hygge’ was long forgotten, the camera had blinked and taken it’s automatic photo, but no one had even noticed. The candles continued to flicker and faces remained animated with the fast paced chatter around our kitchen table.
Searching through some old papers recently I found a letter. I sat there wondering if anyone wrote letters anymore apart from ‘thank-you’ notes, or is it a dying art? As I pondered this question the next day on my daily school-run with the children, I realised that as little as 20 years ago we would have written a letter and sent some photos to describe a holiday we’d had, for example, or a special occasion we’d enjoyed. This in turn led to me thinking about what letter I would write to you and which pictures I would include. Would it have been something like this, I wondered? Read more
Some things fit neatly into perfect stereotypes. A vision of France, for example, might include the Eiffel Tower, the gardens of Versailles, or the Arc de Triomphe. For many people it would also include typical scenes from French towns and villages, views of pretty houses, and the quiet streets that those houses are on. France has never been a country to quickly develop, outside of the cities. Perhaps this is the reason so much of this large country is still a little lost in a bygone age, where many lives continue to be spent working the same crafts and métiers as previous generations. Read more
When we started searching for our home we had a wish list: somewhere within 20 minutes of the coast, a large garden, a village location, and we needed enough space for a family of seven. Sounds simple enough, except it wasn’t. Roddy found and bought the house while I remained a 9-hour plane ride away with the children. Izzi was taking her final International Baccalaureate exams and couldn’t leave. After a flurry of emails, Skype calls and endless photos and videos criss-crossing the Atlantic, he returned home with documents in hand and a house purchase finally underway in France. Read more
We did and we didn’t – eat dog biscuits that is – more on this in a minute as it has in fact been rather a contradictory week. I love the spring and summer but profess to dislike autumn and winter. However, I then actually like winter when it snows because I love the snow, but we don’t get much snow here. As a result I inevitably tell everyone I dislike winter and the autumn. But isn’t it a woman’s prerogative to change her mind? Read more