Islands on the Skyline

For a week we have swapped the gentle flatlands and mild temperate climate of the Charente Maritime for an altogether more rugged terrain, the Pyrénées. This is another side to France, where deep in the mountains slate roofs replace our familiar red terracotta tiles and granite replaces the pale Charentais stone. Standing amidst houses that have hugged these slopes for hundreds of years, there is not a soul in sight; nothing stirs but the village cat, perched incongruously like a small snow-leopard in a tree. When the snow falls, it doesn’t make a sound; it’s a strange anomaly in the vast space stretching out to the valley floor below my feet. This is the closest to silence as one can get, high up close to the sky.

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Today’s post is coming from Roddy, who thanks to a dodgy knee can no longer enjoy the thrill of racing downhill. Instead, he spends his time walking and taking photos. I, of course, am off to the pistes to re-enact various Olympic events with the children, but I know you are in good hands.  Read more

Winter Greens, Snow and Blue Eggs

P7340830The weather gods have thrown everything at us this winter and this week we had the tiniest sprinkling of snow. On Tuesday morning the garden and the rooftops looked as if someone had dusted them with icing sugar, and just for an hour everywhere appeared to be picture-postcard perfect. Unlike much of France which is blanketed in snow our little flurry of charm didn’t last long and has become but a fleeting memory captured on camera. In the meantime the cold has continued, our lemon trees are wrapped in thermal blankets, and the fire is burning constantly. Read more

Seasoning Vintage Furniture

P7340782I have a little obsession at the moment that involves wood, velvet, deep dark gunmetal grey and a very specific shade of pink and it all started with a thrift shop and a piece of secondhand furniture. Read more

Town or Country ?

24059214_761930727335667_1180675717313672991_nWhich sets your heart beating a little faster? A rural home so beautiful yet bought for a price that will make city dwellers cry or an elegant pad overflowing with period features near the shops and the buzz of urban life where you can pretty much get anything you want in a jiffy? Read more

A Church on Every Horizon


P7340322Every day during term time I drive the same route. I leave our village and take the long straight road that cuts its way through open farmland, climbs a gentle sloping hill and then slithers down into the valley where in an ancient village a narrow bridge across a small river forces cars to cross alternately in single file. Each morning on my return trip I notice the upstairs window closest to the road in the old stone house on the corner by the river-wall will be open wide letting the air in – come rain or shine. The seasons may transform the landscape, as it changes from fields of sunflowers in summer to bare ploughed soil in winter. But these simple routines never change. Read more

In Need of Some Winter Cheer ?

P7340238Before we go any further today, I made you a cup of coffee. I am not sure how you like yours, so I just made two the same. I have to admit, no matter how hard I try and no matter how many years I have lived in France I simply cannot give up my milky  cappuccino style coffee. I don’t usually go the whole way and sprinkle cocoa powder on the top, but I thought as you were joining me we would push the boat out and do it properly! Read more

How 2018 is Shaping Up


As the New Year gets underway, motivation tends to be strong, and our goals are often set to the highest levels. Hand in hand with this time of year are New Year resolutions, whether they’re meaningful and well thought out, or overly ambitious ideas dreamt up whilst enjoying the fizz of champagne bubbles. Perhaps you don’t make any resolutions at all but simply embrace la nouvelle année with positive thoughts and a renewed energy?

Whatever your plans for this year, I thought I’d take a look at the things that are often at the top of everyone’s list, and then, somewhat lightheartedly, ponder on the year ahead. Read more