A Letter For You

IMG_9531Last year I wrote you all a letter. Last week we sat chatting to friends, reminiscing about school days and later. How letters were sent home to the family. Not for the first time I have realised how incredibly lucky we are to have the internet and social media. When it is used the right way it is utterly fabulous. But, and there is always a but, let’s not forget the power of the written word and I hope the power of the pen and the old fashioned letter will never be forgotten. So today I thought about writing to you again. My letter would be interesting but not too long, I would never want to lose your interest or bore you, plus it would contain a whole host of snaphsots taken throughout the week. The envelope would be wonderfully fat when it arrived in your mailbox. One of those letters that you cannot wait to open. So close your eyes for a moment and pretend you are not reading this on a computer but instead it is in your hands, (hopefully it is legible, for my writing is not the best), but I can promise the paper is a delight, heavy and of the highest quality.

 

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My dear friend,

What a week, I hate to start by writing about the weather but it’s all anyone can think about, every other day we believe summer has finally arrived. The sun, when it shines, is really hot, but it seems to be rather shy this year. But it is the rain that has everyone talking, showers that fall with tropical force in deluge proportions, leaving my poor roses looking rather bedraggled. I seem to be constantly calling for Roddy to help me support plants which have succumbed to the weight of the water and the ground is awash with prematurely fallen petals, but still the magic of summer is a feast for the eyes, even the brooding grey skies overhead and slick wet roads cannot mask the beauty of this time of year.

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We’ve been in a permanent state of baby bliss. The puppies are six weeks old now, how the time has flown by, soon they will be leaving for their new homes and I cannot bear to think about it, each one has its own special character, if only we could keep them all. But we are keeping one for ourselves and Coco, who is going to England will be with us until the end of August, so we won’t be puppy empty nesters for a long while yet.

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However, as if they weren’t enough we also have six chicks which hatched last weekend and another four under a second broody hen.

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On top of all of this we have also rescued a baby redstart who came down our chimney and was flying around the sitting room. One of our goldfish is most likely pregnant, and the mosquito fish have just birthed another load of babies. With all the rain the frogs and toads are croaking louder than ever, our hedgehogs have made themselves known, they’ve survived their winter of hibernation and have increased their family size as we spotted two youngsters last night. The owls are hooting indicating that they too are in family mode. It gets more and more like “My Family and Other Animals” and Gerald Durrell’s life here every day!

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In between downpours we’ve enjoyed some wonderful evenings on the terrace, apéros with puppies has become a regular thing and it means there is never a dull moment or a lull in the conversation. I think I have finally perfected my Crème Patisserie, the simplest of recipes that can be whipped up in a few minutes and turn any tartlet into quite a delicious sweet surpise at the end of meal. Topped with an abundance of fresh fruits, it’s hard to beat quite frankly.

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Now of course it is brocante season here, every weekend we have a choice of at least three or four within a small area; what a wonderful dilemma to have, which one or two to visit. I don’t mind if I buy or not, it’s the atmosphere of just wandering around, chatting to some vendors, the setting always tends to be lovely and some local is always selling surplus fruits, homemade jams, freshly pressed juices. Villages tend to turn these events into special occasions, out will come the giant half oil can which becomes a makeshift barbecue. Around midday the delicious smell of roasting meat is all around. Some people pull up a few tables and eat together, a bottle of wine will be produced, some salad, always real cutlery and glasses. Those selling their wares will eat beside their stalls not minding in the least if they are caught mid mouthful, one cannot help but enjoy a great feeling of bonhomie, it is always an adventure and fun and it’s a part of the season I always look forward to immensely, summers here just wouldn’t be the same without these weekend forays into the world of vintage secondhand goods and everything that goes hand in hand with a visit to any local event.

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It’s Roddy’s birthday tomorrow and I have planned a few surprises and a celebratory meal under the shade of our lime tree on the terrace as always. I am praying the weather gods will look on me kindly. There will be some bubbles to drink of course, a salad fresh from our potager to start with, and some sliced hard boiled eggs from our hens who are laying abundantly. I think I’ll follow this with some chicken marinated in garlic for a few hours and then cooked on the barbecue with a healthy sprinkling of fresh herbs from the garden. I will also pick up some asparagus grown nearby which is still in season and ridiculously cheap right now and some baby Île de Ré new potatoes, a real Charente Maritime speciality, simply boiled and served drizzled with a little butter and some chopped mint, their taste is incomparable. Then a little cheese and a birthday cake of course which I will make in the afternoon, nothing fancy, just a simple sponge filled with whipped cream and strawberries. It sounds like an enormous meal, but remember this is France, the portions are small, and you don’t have to eat a vast amount, a simple taste of cheese, and the smallest slither of cake. It’s the French way that allows one to enjoy so many different flavours and to really savour a long meal with friends without feeling over full and not in the least bit guilty afterwards.

IMG_0353 Once more the sun is shining but I know the rain clouds won’t be too far away;

IMG_0475it’s not just here, all of France is suffering the same strange conditions. It is catastrophic for the poor farmers. Only today we have seen the worst floods in our area anyone can remember for many a year in the summer. There are ruined crops, sunflowers are literally floating dead in fields that now look like enormous lagoons. We passed fire brigades trying desperately to pump out water from the fields to salvage what they could. Roads have become rivers and fields have turned into lakes.

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And poor Roddy driving down a country lane near to us ran into a flood yesterday evening. A tiny stream had risen to epic proportions, he was the first car to encounter it as it burst its banks. The car and Roddy found themselves floating, lifted up and dumped to the right of the road in a field; the power of water. Thank goodness he managed to open the boot (trunk) and climb out of the rear of the car and remarkably walked away unscathed, but very shaken. He knew if the car had rolled he would have drowned. I cannot bear to think about it. The car is a total right off, and unfortunately he was driving my car not his! A local farmer helped him and called the police who immediately closed the road and it remained that way until lunchtime today. They said the same would have happened to whoever happened to be the first to pass as it burst its banks, no one would ever have guessed it was so deep. Endless paperwork with the insurance company now follows, but all that matters is that Roddy is ok.

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So one way or another it was quite an eventful week. I hope that wherever you are life is calm and most of all have a wonderful, happy and healthy weekend.

Bisous (as the French would say)
Susan xx

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110 thoughts on “A Letter For You

  • Oh no!…So glad that Roddy is OK!!!…We have had a rainy season here too. Since the winter, we have only had our sprinkler system on for the grass just once and that is very unusual…love your letter…i try to send cards with a note rather than emailing to send notes of gratitude and “thinking of you” … the art of the note writing is certainly disappearing…I have tried to teach my granddaughter that a written note of thanks is so much nicer than a “text”!
    Have a great week with hopefully more sunshine.

    • Hello Shirley, thank you for your comments! I am so glad you both enjoy the blog and found favour with the letter argument. I sometimes wonder if the art of handwriting is also going to disappear….. things are changing too fast for me… sigh

  • Dear Susan,
    How lovely to hear from you! I enjoyed every word and picture you included in your letter and so appreciate the time you took to write!
    First, Oh, so sorry to hear about Roddy’s scare. What a blessing that it is only the car that was the victim though, of course, that is very unfortunate. I know you will agree with our philosophy not to get too down about what we call a “fixable problem.” Yes, it is annoying but not tragic so we just groan and carry on and know that fixable problems of varying magnitudes are a part of every day life. Here in Washington DC, it seems that almost every day we are getting flash flood warnings so know that your rain problems are happening here this spring, too. Very odd and disconcerting.
    The puppies are gorgeous and how they have grown! So happy to hear that you are keeping one to join your family. How did you pick? Please tell!
    Happy Birthday to Roddy!! My eldest’s birthday was yesterday and he was 32, born 6/6/86! How can that be?!? My husband and I feel so young at 61 and 62 and our own 32 feels like yesterday for us. Time is a strange phenomenon. We do not always feel so young, of course, especially after a day in the garden!! However, we have recently been doing our early spring traveling which has taken us biking in Holland, sightseeing in Belgium, visiting beloved family in Germany and hiking in Switzerland so we are very energized by a lot of time in nature. The bike trip in Holland was especially wonderful since almost the entire visit was spent riding along farm land and, like your home, new life was bursting forth…dozens and dozens and dozens of lambs, ducklings, and swans sitting on nests kept us company along our rides. I cannot recommend this trip more highly, especially seeing the tulip fields and taking a riding break with a day at Keukenhof Gardens. So beautiful!
    Thank you, again, for your lovely letter!
    AnneHH xo

    • Hi Ann – your trip sounds fascinating! How i wish I had the time to do that, I must be patient and wait, I suspect. I adore biking and a holiday on two wheels sounds so enticing, Did you camp or stay in rooms? What fun!

      I hope you are right about the fixable bit – we learnt the car is a write-off so we have to wait for the insurance to tell us more now. Having one car has certainly changed our lives for the moment.

      Have a wonderful week XXX

  • I see you’re “enjoying” the same weather as us which has everyone totally perplexed. Fortunately, no floods – glad Roddy is okay.

  • Very scary for Roddy! I can’t imagine how I would have reacted in that situation with the water taking over. Lucky he is so intelligent and quick thinking. The puppies are adorable. Can’t wait for a focus on the one that will be staying with you, and to know his/her name.

    • Ellen, Roddy says to tell you if he was intelligent he wouldn’t have got into the situation in the first place!!! 🙂 All will be revealed in due course about THE puppy, no doubt. It’s going to be fun seeing who we end up with too. XX

  • Thank you so much for the pictures and letter. Hope Roddy is recovering from scare! Love the puppies & to have new baby chicks too – !!! We have had extra rain too & have to “feed” my plants as they will need it.

  • So glad to hear that Roddy is ok but it’s a cautionary tale to us all about the power of the elements.
    Thanks for the lovely letter and photographs.

    • Yes, all of the family have lost no time in reminding Roddy that he should be used to water and its power! His boating world has not been kind to him either with their comments 😦

  • Glad to know he is safe! (And I must ask if Gerald Durrell is well known in England? Started watching the PBS show here in the US. Delightful! And yes, your courtyard filled with so much life and love looks much like his in Corfu.)

    • Hi Sue! Gerald Durrell is a national treasure in the UK. Everyone I know of our generation grew up with his books, and I think Roddy still has his 40 year-old Penguin copies somewhere. He had a wonderful zoo too in Jersey which is, of course, exceptionally famous world-wide.

      I agree with your sentiment about container gardens, too – are very appealing for just that aspect – you could be anywhere in the world in a courtyard filled with hot colours! Have a wonderful week! XX

  • Oh gosh I think the whole of Europe is suffering from this very odd weather we all appear to be experiencing! Glad to hear Roddy is ok , what a shock . Your pictures are wonderful as always and those gorgeous pups look like so much fun .
    I hope the weather improves for us all especially at your end as we arrive in La Rochelle soon .

  • The first half of this post was total cute overload with the puppies and apéros and then — thank goodness your Roddy is all right! Sorry to hear about the car, though, and what a terrible fright. I wish I understood why this flooding is happening. We’ve had some heavy rains but nothing on a flood scale.

  • Oh! So happy Roddy was fast thinking and well! Your tarts look so good I want to go straight to the kitchen and start cooking. Have a wonderful birthday celebration. Enjoy the puppy kisses, oh how’d I love a puppy kiss. They are just too cute.

  • I am so glad to hear that Roddy has survived to celebrate his birthday tomorrow. Please wish him the happiest of days and many happy returns to come and especially a year that brings everything he hopes and wishes for and a scattering of dreams come true that he didn’t even realise he had dreamed. That should cover it! I’ll add my own plea to the weather men upstairs that you won’t be eating in soggy conditions and shall raise a glass to you all in your Durrellesque idyll. Thank you so much for writing such a lovely letter …. your handwriting is quite decipherable and the piccies, as always, a dream! Xx

  • Everything looks absolutely splendid!! the puppies, garden, chicks. I love your comments on the lunching at the brocante, it is one of my favorite parts of the culture that surround these markets. Thank you for sharing all of this beauty!!

  • Thank God Roddy was saved. He will never forget that near miss. I want to remind you that the Owls can snatch up a tiny puppy such as yours and enjoy feeding it to their babies. We have a family of owls in our terrace some times and must take our Puppie out on Leash to protect him from being a meal for the owls. We also have had damage in the basement from a hard downfall of rain as well as some of our neighbors. It turned out to be a good thing as we removed lots of things and sold them in a garage sale. Peace,

    • Roddy has had more than his fair share of near-misses, Alice. I hope this is not the last. I would much prefer more near misses, if you get my drift…..

      Puppies are always accompanied outside – we do not have any owls here capable of puppy removal, but we do have several raptors that might have a go.

      So happy you found some good fortune in your bad luck – hope it all comes back together for you XXX

  • I was really enjoying your letter until I came to the story of Roddy’s lucky escape, my goodness, what a shock for him and you all. So pleased to hear he is OK and able to enjoy his birthday celebrations.
    I still send hand written cards for birthdays etc, as I agree with you, it is so much nicer to receive mail rather than a text or email, but it seems to be a dying art now. Mum kept lots of cards from when I was tiny, even cards from my early birthdays, so they are really old now! It’s so poignant to read the messages on them from people long gone, I treasure them, along with the old black and white photos I have.
    Happy birthday to Roddy, and hope the weather holds for his dinner party too. xxx

    • Old letters are one of the strongest memories one can have of your past. Both the ones one has received, and the ones one has sent. We have boxes of them too – it is only too easy to stop and read one and then lose an hour of the day revisiting the past. It’s funny too how many words of wisdom there are in them, and how many hints at a future one has yet to experience.

      Thanks for the kind words – all went well, as you have no doubt heard XX

  • As ever, piccies superb. We are having the same sort of weather here in the SW France. No floods that I know of tho’. Hope the birthday bash was celebrated in brilliant sunshine but, either way, I’m sure it wouldn’t have spoiled the celebrations.

  • Hi Susan. I always look forward to your posts! It is also Jim’s birthday, tomorrow. I can’t believe my ‘toy boy’ will be seventy. Happy birthday Roddy from us. I sorry there will be no apricots to swap this year. After two fruitful years there is not one on the tree after a hard frost at the wrong moment. What and where do you get mosquito fish. I’ve got some goldfish in an ancient tank but not convinced they’re very efficient! Love to all including the puppies. Diana x

    • How funny that the two of them should share a birthday! Gemini photographers the two of them…..we have lost all our apricots and peaches too. It was a strange spring again, but so different to last year. Hope something else comes through later for you.

      Mosquito fish – if we did not have friends with them then we would have gone to Gamm Vert where they have some in their pond. Perhaps if you have a GV near you you could try there? Big kiss for Jim and make sure you come and see us sometime this year, please? XXX

  • The images in this post are glorious – all of them…and please do send me one of those pups:) I really miss letter writing and receiving, although am glad to report that I do receive letters every now and then and I send them. I have also kept files of letters from special people including children and they are precious. Although the internet is fantastic in many ways….we do miss out on so much. Have a beautiful day…and weekend ahead. janet xxx

    • Hi Janet, I consider our generation blessed – not just to have had a written correspondence adventure, but also for perhaps having so many letters still about – in boxes, in drawers, in files and so on. Between Roddy and I we must have hundreds to re-read. He found a box last year containing all the letters he sent to his mother from boarding school (they lived outside the UK) and he was in stitches for hours re-reading them, muttering and shaking his head. The internet in no way makes up for them. I have half a mind to start a letter club, perhaps. For a small annual subscription one receives a letter from France (with goodies and photos), a dozen times a year. What do you think? Would that be so much more fun than getting sore eyes from an electronic blog?? It would certainly get my creative side working harder. I’m running too far ahead of myself I think, but I consider you all family now, almost…. and family get sent letters 🙂 There would still have to be a blog of course, or something, so everyone could still chat…… it’s late at night, so apologies for the strange thoughts….

      • Good morning and thank you for this. I think a letter club would be a wonderful idea…in fact – I believe that it could possibly be the start something very special. Hmmmmmmm…I will wait to hear more.
        I returned from a month in the States 10 days ago where I had a fabulous time with friends and family…and many of them still have the letters I sent to them from years ago. I used to do a quick watercolour on the envelopes which again I find that some people have framed. You are so right the internet in no way makes up for them. A relaxed summer here…some time in Crickhowell, Wales in July and then Portugal again September into early October. Next year is my French year….more about that later. Sending you and the family loads of hummingbirds hugs. Janet xxx

        • Oh, so it piques your interest then? I shall ponder further and maybe get back to you for ideas then, Janet. Thank you. I love the idea of a painting on each envelope. Perfect! I shall add that to the list perhaps…

          Look forward to hearing more about the French year – will you be coming past for coffee then? 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this long letter. I was awaiting it a very long time but since you had to add photos, I know it took a bit longer… 😉
    I’m a sucker for REAL notes, cards and letters and I’m (quietly) proud to say that this week was a ‘bumper writing week’ with five written ‘news’ so far. 2 anniversaries, a wedding anniv, 2 letters. Another letter will be due tomorrow for one of my sisters with something I couldn’t share with her husband. No big secret just a surprise for her….. I rather like to add a photo or two to my mails or sending a mini video on WhatsApp, it feels so quickly like a real exchange – makes me happy and gives my life so far away from family and some friends a joyful, colourful kick.
    Now for Roddy – goodness graceous me…. the poor man! One wouldn’t expect that in your area. We had – much earlier in the year, in January – floodings like never before and only today we discussed the heaviness and increasing number of days with extreme rainfalls, storms and winds as a ‘new’ frightening and uncontrollable event. Karma can be a bitch – and we all pay the price for having handled badly our sole and unique world over the past decenies.
    Is Roddy still using his email address I had for him some months ago? I’d like to send him a J.L. card – another friend of ours is having her birthday too tomorrow….. You deserve an extra glass of bubbly to celebrate his survival and his still being around for another b’day celebration. This is SO scary! And as we always say in such circumstances: Thanks goodness it’s only money. Of course, this can easily be said when one hasn’t got any…. it hurts less but the costs of nerves, untold hours of managing the insurance matters, the missing of ‘one car less’ etc etc is always (too) high.
    And then the puppies: I’m so madly in love with them, all of the black flecks of cuteness on ears, heads and tails – a overload of puppy love is rushing through my veins. Your outdoor meals – that’s another matter we will miss terribly if at one stage we will have sold our home – since end of April we have had every single meal in our veranda, large green (English!) parasol and a smaller one open, banana plants and camellia, greenery and flowers surrounding us and our table – the joy of summer – a joy that comes at no extra cost but with an extra portion of joie de vivre…. Have invited guests to our place on Saturday and will be going to friends (with a swimming pool!!!) on Sunday – days where all the sorrows and problems can be forgotten for a few hours – enjoy them to their fullest extent.
    I now put your pixs in my photo album (it’s all in the mind!) and let you go on with your life. MERCI BEAUCOUP

  • A very nice letter and much relief re Roddy. How frightening!!
    But…what, no recipe for your perfected Crème Patissiere?

  • I’m with Lindy above…what? No recipe for a perfected dessert? Please update! I love your letter and even though I am a cat person, I have always had a soft spot for Evie and Bentley. And now those babies…I’d never get anything done with all that cuteness around.
    Thank goodness Roddy is quick thinking. I wish him well on recovering that mind altering experience. Roddy, I wish you a fabulous birthday…May the Karma gods shine brightly down on you and your family. 🎶🎶Happy birthday to you!🎵🎶🎵
    🎉🎂🍾🥂

    • Recipe forthcoming, I promise, Liane. I cannot believe that I missed that! The puppies are indeed a complete waste of time. I get nothing done either…..it’s impossible to pass them by without saying or doing something to one of them, and then they all join in. None of us will be happy to see them go – there might even be a few tears 😦 Roddy says to thank you for the birthday song 🙂

  • “An eventful week.” What an understatement! Roddy’s story was terrifying … I’m so grateful he’s ok. I hope your insurance company comes through for you. But how devastating to think that the same scene is playing out in fields and roads all over France. Hopefully the weather will soon settle down and some of the crops will be salvaged. On a brighter note, how lovely to read about all the reassuring signs around you that life does go on. Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely letter. And please tell Roddy that some lady in Minnesota wishes him a very bon anniversaire! xx

    • Hi Heide – the insurance company is the next hurdle indeed. Having worked in insurance I know how they work and just hope they see this as an unfortunate accident and that’s the end of it. The police that turned up didn’t even bother to take Roddy’s name or write up a report – they just muttered how unlucky he was. I hope that is a good omen. Roddy replies also with a thank you to the kind lady in Minnesota! XX

      • If the insurance company gives you any trouble at all please let me know and I will personally fly across the Atlantic and picket their office until they relent. I can’t imagine a more clear case of “wrong place at wrong time” and very much hope the insurance company sees it that way too. (As you say, good omen the police did!) My best to you all ….

  • So glad Roddy is OK… a wee whisky might help!…that was scary. Happy Birthday tomorrow Roddy. We have had wall to wall sunshine since we came home…just love it…we just had one heavy shower tonight but that is all…we never have it like this..you put your washing out at night and it is dry by the morning.How strange you are having all that rain. We also have Brocante here but call them Table top or car boot sales but the weather usually spoils them. Lovely to hear from you as usual. Love to you all.

    • A wee whisky did indeed help!!!!! He says to say thank you for that, too 🙂 Happy you are having wonderful weather, and hope you find something special at a ‘brocante’! A big kiss for Ronnie XX

  • I always love your posts, the pictures, your children, & live in the village. I rejoice that Roddy survived unscathed—H-Birthday to him as you celebrate his presence. I wish you lived near me! I love the puppies too.

  • Thank goodness Roddy is here to celebrate his birthday tomorrow – enjoy it. The power of water is terrifying – we had a low level bridge near our last house and unfortunately several didn’t survive during the years we were there. A car can always be replaced.
    The puppies are gorgeous.

    • That’s awful – I hope many made it through the water over the years too to even up the score. We did doubly enjoy Roddy’s birthday all the more, I might add! Have a wonderful week, Gill, and thank you for the kind thoughts XX

  • So sorry to read about your car, but SO happy to read that Roddy is safe and ready to celebrate his birthday tomorrow! Thanks for much for the letter. I love betting mail and this was the best sort. I see it’s baby time in your part of the world, too. I mourn for the farmers, though. Having grown up with grandparents who farmed and still owning the land with my brother, although we have tenants, makes me much more aware of the problems of farming than probably most people who living in the city.

    Anyway, thanks again. Enjoy your marvelous food and being with your loving family.

    janet

    • Hi Janet! Car is dead, but Roddy is alive – I think that’s the best way to look at it. I sympathise with your thoughts about the farmers, obviously – we shall have to wait a while to see the final outcome of the rain here but I am sure it will be a terrible harvest for some. I see acres of drowned sunflowers everywhere – it’s not good for sure. I hope you have a fab week too with food and family and decent weather 🙂 XX

  • As I am in the paper manufacturing and design business…I say Yes! to paper notes! There is nothing like that smallish, handwritten address with a personal note inside. After all, most of the mail is either bills or junk: so it’s a treat to get that “real” note.
    What a story about your husband. Terrible. We’ve had a lot of rain here all spring, but not flooding conditions, just that awful greyness that never ends. Now it’s become sunny and lovely…finally. We leave for England on Monday and am hoping there will be some nice weather!

    • Ah, as you’re a person who deals with paper I can see your point of view only too clearly. And isn;t our mail today just that – junk….. I cannot imagine how much forest we throw away each day for absolutely no reason.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts, Roddy is amazed at how many people have thought about this….. XX

  • Oh Roddy, how terrifying. I cannot imagine the feeling of being trapped in the car. That will be a story to tell.
    The puppies are too cute for words. I do wonder how you chose, the one to keep.
    We are having a mini drought, such a strange year weatherwise….would love to have a bit of your rain.
    I also echo the request for the perfected recipe.
    That was a lovely letter, with lots of news and wonderful images. We are looking forward to retuning to France and revisiting some favorite places and discovering new ones.

    I hope the car problems clear up quickly.
    Ali xxx

    • Dear Ali – thank you for your kind words. Roddy is fine and so are the puppies. We will survive! As mentioned, the recipe is forthcoming, and we hope you and Bob will come bye to say hello? Love to him and we must catch up via e-mail… XX

  • Thank you for your delightful, picturesque posts that I look forward to daily. I too am very happy for you & your family that Roddy is ok. Very scary. Enjoy your beautiful country and his birthday.

  • s thoughts are compressed into 140 characters or less what will future readers make of us? Thank Heavens for dogs who live in the moments and are not troubled by such thoughts. Enjoy them, they are only leant to us.

  • Thank you for your lovely letter I so enjoy hearing all about you and your families life in France. I live in Australia and can remember all the letters I wrote to my family in England over the years now it’s emails and Skype which keeps us so much closer. So sorry to hear about Roddy thankfully he’s okay.

    • Hi Avril, thank you for your message and I concur with all your words – Skype is a blessing indeed, really, no matter whether you write a letter or not, there is always something special about a video chat. Have a great week, and I hope your winter is treating you well XX

  • I remember years way back when I had penfriends around the world and had to wait weeks or even a month or two ere it was possible to ‘ooh’ or ‘aah’ and hasten to pick up a pen . . . . these days we oft decry the sometime ugliness and cruelty and ignorance displayed on social media and perchance forget what absolute and immediate joy and knowledge and warmth and sharing it can bring . . . so this has, from gorgeous puppies to a possibly horror accident with your beloved husband . . . thank you as ever for being there . . . .

    • Oh Eha, very true – there is something so special about a written letter, it’s so sad it’s a dying art. Facebook and other social media sites simply cannot give a long lasting glow like a note in an envelope. I mean, what is better than a letter with a photo in it that you can hold and put on your wall or in a bag? Special things, they are – FaceBook comments are not, ephemeral in the extreme and forgotten instantly. Thank you for being There too ! XX

  • i too adore a written note and have taught our children that is always nicer to receive than a text…i love all your beautiful pix, the puppies, all the new life around you…i so enjoy every post from you…descriptions of your home, family, puppies and life in the villages near you…so relieved that roddy is ok! that must have been quite frightening! we have also had a lot of rain and spotty flooding this spring…hopefully the sunny days will start to outnumber the soggy ones…! may roddy enjoy his birthday celebration and may the year ahead be full of all good things!

  • Oh my goodness! What a scary experience for Roddy. I’m so glad he emerged unscathed. And it will make everyone appreciate the birthday celebrations all the more.

    The puppies are clearly adorable.

  • Such a lovely letter. To me, staying in touch with one’s blog friends is like having pen pals all over the world. Such a blessing technology can be and not at times.
    Ah, now I know who’s stealing our much needed rain. Here in the south of Sweden we haven’t had a sniff of rain in weeks. Our farmer are also fearing crop loss and my back garden is nothing but a dry spot. Please send some rain a bit north.

  • So sorry to read about Roddy, thank God he is ok. Your letter would be lovely to receive in the mail, especially with a packed of pictures of your adorable pups! They are so cute! I cannot wait to follow along on the adventures with the pup you are keeping, the goldfish, the baby chicks and whatever animals I have missed.

    I hope the birthday celebration was wonderful and that the rain held off.

    Also, could you share your cream recipe for the tarts!

  • Hi Susan. Thank goodness Roddy ended up safe and unscathed. You have indeed had a wild week in ever so many ways. I want to apologize but I seem to have never gotten the information regarding the rental of your gite and availability. Possibly went to spam and I failed to look through before deleting. Would you kindly message me once more with details? Kindest regards and Happy Birthday Roddy! Phyllis

  • Thank you for the letter and wonderful photos. So glad Roddy is all right. Cars can be replaced, reports dealt with, thank goodness he escaped and can enjoy a birthday feast!

  • What a week!! So scary that Roddy got swept up by a flood!! Sorry about your car….at least he was ok.
    Our weather here has now turned to summer…with heat and humidity…though it isn’t as bad as other parts of the country….
    Enjoy your little pups and thank you for the letter and wonderful pictures!
    Nancy
    wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

  • Lovely interesting post again Susie and sorry to hear about Roddy’s incident, so pleased that he is unscathed. Look after yourselves x

  • So sweet! I love how personal you make your posts, sometimes I feel like I am right there with you. I follow your Instagram account as well, so please keep doing what you do!

  • Bonjour Susan,
    A truly lovely post, as always! My best wishes to Roddy on his birthday. Hip Hip Hooray!!!
    * a special thanks to the angel on his shoulder, so happy he was able to exit the car from the hatch. Special toast of bubbly from moi to Roddy.

    We are having very much rain here on the east coast of US, farmers were joyous at first but now it may be too much.

    Those babies are so adorable, I wish I could pick one up and cuddle for a while. Puppies and kittens smell so good.
    I am anxious to know which one you all chose. That Had to be a hard decision.

    Enjoy every bit of today”s celebration for Roddy with that fabulous birthday menu. Wish I could join you
    Bisous to all, esp. Roddy…..from Patty.

    • Hi Patrica! I think Roddy is running out of angels, to be frank – he has had more than his share of narrow escapes over the years. The children love to hear about them – particularly the episode where he flew off a 600′ cliff in South Africa in another car many years ago – but they make me shudder…Roddy says thank you for the ‘bubbles’ 🙂

      Too much rain is simply that – too much rain. The sunflower harvest this year will be a patchy one, for sure. Our puppy decision is getting closer, it will be hard but then maybe we will let fate decide – that way there will be no arguments, anyway!

      Bisous back to you XX

  • Well this year’s birthday was certainly one to celebrate Roddy, glad you are ok. Love your letter Susan. I have a couple of friends with whom I correspond be ‘snail mail’, it’s the best. All ‘babies’ are cute, glad to see all of yours are thriving. Please send us all your rain especially to our poor farmers it is really desperate here. Take care

    • Dear Virginia, you and Harry are most welcome to today’s rain, and tomorrow’s. I shall send a week’s extra too. My gosh, it simply does not stop!

      Thank you for you wishes for Roddy too – he sends his regards and is very happy to have celebrated his BD from a chair and not a bed.

      Babies are still thriving, and I agree about snail mail – hence my post about it of course. I think our generation may be the last to have used it as a standard means of communication. It’s a dying art….you take care too – hope to see you this way again one day. XX

  • Susan
    We are experiencing unprecedented rain this spring also here in Maryland. The sun seems to just visit. And our poor little historic mill town of Elliott City has again suffered from torrential floods for the second time in 2 years. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it.
    I’m so glad to hear your husband made it out of that scary situation. Standing water is treacherous.
    The pups are adorable and if I lived closer, I would have to have one.
    Love your blog! Keep writing.

    • I feel so badly for you Nora, we have torrential floods in France too. Just last night I read the most awful stories of homes flooded where we used to live much further south in between Pau and Biarritz, it seems we escaped very lightly here. So sorry for the inhabitants of Elliott City. It is a nightmare for anyone affected. xx

    • Nora, I am a “sort of” neighbor of your’s in McLean, VA, and wanted to say how sad we were to see Ellicott City get hit with devastating flooding again this year, including loss of life. The world seems upside down when this happens, especially to an historic town that has been there so long. Keeping all of those who have suffered in our thoughts.

  • I am so glad that your husband was not injured. My mother always says, things can be replaced – people can’t, and having insurance (no matter how bureaucratic the process) will see things right in time. In Sydney our Summers, whilst terribly hot are also rain season and as a result we have very high humidity.
    The birthday lunch (now behind us) sounds delightful. Too often I over-complicate menu’s…this one sounds just perfect.

  • Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your kind letter expressing thoughtfulness concerning your family, especially your husband. Thank God for his safety. Your pictures you display are beautiful and I so enjoy them. I marvel at your country life in France. Please continue to share it with your readers. Also, are you working on another short story’s? I, for one, think a book of short stories by you would be worthy to write and publish. Hope less rain is due in your area. I live in NE Ohio and every day ‘s weather is a mystery year round. Love those puppies.

    • Thank you so much Sandy, I always have short story ideas in my head! I am planning one for a couple of week’s time when I shall be away and so I thought it would make sense. I also have one or two other plans for books in the pipeline, watch this space! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, always so much appreciated. xx

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