A Lot to Talk About

11202555_438802416315168_3122986598779026001_nIsn’t it funny how one thing leads to another, and how an organised event can turn into something quite unplanned? Take last weekend for example the girls were all taking part in the Rochefort 7kms run in aid of Breast Cancer. It was for ladies only and limited to the first 6000 entries. We imagined chaos, obviously with huge crowds of more than 10,000, runners and spectators. Parking would surely be a problem; we planned to leave super early and get there well ahead of schedule, that alone is a rare feat for us!

But I had not taken into account that the French do organisation extremely well. Extra parking made life so simple that there wasn’t even a queue. Rochefort was packed but somehow it felt just fine, there was space to move and the atmosphere was electric. Music was playing loudly and a DJ was getting everyone motivated; there was a 20 minute warm-up, with fast upbeat exercises – rather like a fitness class as 6000 pink t-shirts filled the Place Colbert in the town centre.


The fountain water turned pink and then they were off.


I cycle, I ski, I play tennis, I walk for miles but I am not a runner; however I felt a pang of regret as I would so loved to have been doing this. In fact I more than half-heartedly said I would take up running to do this next year alongside my girls. But for this year I walked the course, and it took me to parts of Rochefort that I had only ever before driven through by car. Places I thought I knew quite well, but as we all know what one sees when travelling at motoring speed is quite different to the view on foot.


The balconies alone were enough to get my heart beating just a little fasterP7810665P7810666P7810670P7810732

This wonderful tiny terraced house looked as if it could be unimaginably pretty inside


and what about this grand old dame?

P7810735There were apartments that I imagined abounded with original details in the well proportioned high ceilinged rooms. Just the front doors were enough to set my imagination running wild.


But flip the coin and there was the other side. The abandoned properties. Incredible architecture from the 1700’s now standing forlorn and unwanted.


I know the arguments only too well. These wonderfully regal beauties cost a small fortune to renovate and then continue to be vast money pits to run. A modern home has the latest insulation, double glazing, underfloor heating, low emissions and low running costs. Relics of the past are quite the opposite, they tend to be drafty and cold in places, they cost an arm and a leg to heat and the monthly bills are enough to make even the hardest person’s eyes water. But aren’t they so worth it.


The history, the nostalgia, the elegance of a bygone era?


Our cycle rides and walks take us through villages and open countryside. It’s always a time to reflect and appreciate what nature has to offer. There is beauty to be found everywhere if one opens ones eyes and looks.P7810611P7810613P7810608

My daily school run in the car is never dull. The outgoing journey is always enlightening, we take two neighbouring boys in the car with us each day, best friends of our children, the conversation is infectious, it is humorous and fascinating and it is NEVER dull. My return journey is by contrast usually a time of reflection with a skyline that has most likely not changed that much for centuries.

I pass through the same village every day, the house by the river where the windows are flung open rain or shine. The church, enormous for a community of less than 600 people


and this little cottage. Yesterday was the first time in over four years that I have ever seen the shutters open and the glass of the windows on display. Someone has either moved in or is here to stay for a while.


Perhaps meeting this old versus new problem somewhere in the middle would be the perfect solution. I’ve always had my eye on a pigeonnier. I dream of having one in the bottom of our garden; alas it is just that, a fantasy, because we don’t have one. But imagine if we did. Just like the one I spotted whilst taking a stroll through a nearby town. I was killing time, waiting for one of the girls and as the sun was shining and by chance I happened to have the camera in the car I decided to go exploring.


Imagine, it would be small and the circular walls would certainly be a challenge. But for a holiday home for two, or with a tiny extension, enough for a family of four. Modern technology on the inside combined with antique furnishing and vintage accessories. I dream on, perhaps one day!


Daydreaming is great fun after all, it costs nothing and does no harm! Which reminds me (I have to ask as I have been doing a lot of thinking) – do you like these slightly long, wordy and photo-heavy posts once a week or would you prefer something shorter, less photos, more of a diary which I would post three or four times a week, because being much shorter with less visuals would mean I could do this far more regularly. It’s just a thought and it is over to you, your choice. So please do let me know what you want, and whilst you are pondering that, imagine what you could do with this charming home.



Now that’s certainly given you plenty to think about for the weekend and I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the blog, so we can all move forward or remain the same together. Which leaves me with nothing else to say except Bon Week-end. xx

92 thoughts on “A Lot to Talk About

  1. Hello. I enjoy reading your blogs as they are. If they were more frequent I know I would stop reading them and maybe even unsubscribe. The reason I know that is that there is another blog that I subscribed to after seeing one post but that arrives FAR too often in my inbox and I never open it now and inevitably will unsubscribe.

  2. I would enjoy ANY length post you choose to put together! I love seeing France again, your views (both photos and opinions) are so enjoyable!

  3. Me too, much prefer your excellent longer,heavy,once a week posts. Look forward to it and often repost. You are an excellent photographer, really give the feel of the places you enjoy. Thank you…

  4. A longer weekly missive is lovely to sit down and read through – oggling the gorgeous photos. More frequent (though shorter) posts would add to the number of emails arriving and probably not get the attention they deserve.

  5. I love your blog. I so much enjoy reading about your family’s life in France and I love the photos.

  6. As a mum to 5 children with a fairly biggish (monstrous) amount of ‘side jobs’, all you need is writing more posts, doing more replying, maybe sell a few houses for friends, running your home and a holiday gite, being chauffeur, accompagnying various house guests and members at any time anywhere, yeah, why ever not! NO, NOT…. We gladly, and very thankfully, drink in your weekly (or even less than) thoughts and stories. PLEASE don’t overdo it, you’re a sporty girl, an overachiever, but doing even more is simply too much.
    I bet, we all, your faithful readers and online-friends (and we are luckily REAL life friends!), are more than happy to find your postings whenever you manage to make them happen, with a largeish amount of photos to drool over, with pickings of news to keep us interested – we don’t want more, we don’t want to be overly greedy, and we want you to have time to also play with Evie and Bentley (and haven’t you kept one of the babies?), you have a brilliant husband too and more than enough work with house, gite, garden, chickens, pets, and all the other things you do! I couldn’t even imagine doing half of what you manage.
    As for the walking instead of running, I give you a high-five any time…. The things I see wandering instead of galopping, with luck having a camera or a smartphone with me…., boundless and timeless beauty, charm, little wonders, surprises, stuff you cannot possibly see rushing through life; they all make my life more beautiful if not taking any fat off my poor body…. 🙂 But you’re even a fast food burner, you’ll never be heavy, just as some other people never will be slim and svelte!
    I admire you greatly for having done that run, I’m in Switzerland for another few days and when I return, it will be high time to swing those rakes and bag the tons of leaves…. What an insanely wonderful (far too hot) summer and glorious autumn we have had. I could send you photos from all the places I have been – they would make your eyes water although you are surrounded by sheer beauty too.
    I have now, after many years of contemplating, comparing, thinking and taking stock decided, that a pigeonnier wouldn’t be for me any more. But studying the ads for rental accommodation in Switzerland on the one hand makes my eyes water every single day and on the other hand all I ever like are flats in old houses, all modernised on the inside and all costing a bomb (per month)…. So my heart and mind is still fully in the ‘old charming but beautiful and rather impractical worlde’ and my intellect and basic wisdom shrills: Get into something new for the next 10 years, then you’ll think about an old people’s home anyway – no stairs (have you noticed: All the beautiful appartments are on several floors, half-floors, with internal stairs which I couldn’t see any more?!), shower not bathtubs where one breaks a leg trying to get the ‘leg over’…., no lifts…. Gosh – real life really can be a bugger, isn’t it?

    1. Kiki, we are long overdue a very long catch up. If HH finds he has a few days off, you know where to find us if you would like a break, there is so much to talk about, hope life is good though in Switzerland despite the obvious challenges xxxxx

  7. Your posts are wonderful any way they come. It’s like having a friend in France. I really like your stories and lots of photos. Thx so much.

  8. They are perfect as they are! Just enough, not too much. And oh, how the photos make me lust after a trip to your little corner of the world. Thank you!

  9. Oh I LOVED this!! The pink fountain, the girls, the architecture!!! Your thoughts, feelings – brilliant!! Yes – spend money to insulate the old instead of starting new!!
    And your posts………… we are all so lucky to venture along with you……..I believe you should post how you feel that week………without a plan for our needs. You always get it right!!!

  10. Whichever option is most convenient for you, but I must admit, I do so enjoy all your photographs of the most interesting, beautiful things and your eye for details.

  11. Love your photographs! The buildings are so interesting & would love to have one of those houses!! Thank you so much!!

  12. Short or Long, whatever is easiest for YOU, but I do so enjoy the visuals, being a Francophile and Artist myself. When I post pictures of my art work I always write a story around them as I think the photo grabs the readers “eye” so to speak, but the lovely words are an extra-bonus-icing-on-the-cake to enjoy as well.

  13. Your blog is the one I most look forward to receiving. I feel as if we are kindred spirits. I will continue to follow your delightful musings and wonderful photos ( as well as your husband’s and daughters’) in any format which works best for you. Thank you for sharing life’s simple pleasures!

  14. Oh Susan, stories, musings, photos, it does not matter. I think all of your readers are just happy to see a post pop up whenever you hit the send button. We are in Sarlat at the moment and had done bit of research, but, the area is even more impressive and stomach clenching beautiful than we had imagined.
    Ali xx

  15. Well done girls, and I guess you won’t be able to get out of it next year Susie, you are committed now !!!
    Lovely photos of the area, it’s certainly wetted our appetite for June 2019, can’t wait to return to see you all again. We certainly missed our September visit this year xx

  16. I love the photos of the balconies, doors and windows! The detail of these in France is just wonderful, like you I imagine all sorts of wonderful interiors behind those doors and windows. I like your long photo heavy posts, they get me dreaming and imagining our life over there once we make the move!

  17. I love your posts with all of the photos and musings of everyday life in France. As I doubt I will ever get to visit in person, I’m enjoying being an “armchair tourist” and seeing France as it really is. Your photos and comments also remind me to look for the beauty in my own area. Also, thank your girls for participating the in BC run. As a survivor, I appreciate all efforts to improve treatments and find a cure. Blessings to you and yours.

  18. As you have been doing captures the serendipity of your adventures so I like it for that as well as knowing I can catch up with a briefer taste with photos to go along…when I’m too busy to put in too much concentration.
    So great to see your family growing up and moving forward..

  19. What a beautiful, unexpected tour of your village — and for what a wonderful cause. I’ll be curious to hear if that cottage continues to be occupied, and whether you meet the resident at some point. (If it were me I’d be dying of curiosity to find out why the shutters were finally open after such a long time.) Beautiful photos!

  20. I love every word, every picture, every idea from you. Long, short or in between. I look forward to each post and savor every thing. My Frech daydreaming is active and alive.

  21. Susan, Please continue as life allows. I would take more frequent, shorter posts or longer weekly ones depending on which is the best for you. I love the peek into your life in France and your lovely approach to all. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  22. Well done to the girls running for the breast cancer charity, what a great day it seems you all had. As a breast cancer survivor and ex registered nurse, I say a big ‘thank you ‘ to them and everyone who does these wonderful charity events. As for your blog, I think everyone has said it all, and said it much better than i could! I love hearing about your life, and the gorgeous photos that accompany it. xx

  23. I feel that I am meandering through the French countryside with you when your posts are longer and have many photos. I would love to see an update on your furry & feathered friends soon. With lots of photos, of course.

  24. Reminds me of the homes and apartments we saw in Luxeuil-les-Bains in September. Love, love, love. We’re well into autumn here. I do love living where there are seasons. I would also love if France and Germany would get some rain!! 🙂


  25. Any thing you send is fine with me.But i do enjoy the photos and cannot wait to explore this area and meet you next July.

  26. I agree with all the above and wonderful that your girls participated in the charity run for breast cancer such a worthwhile and wonderful cause

  27. Please thank your girls fore taking part in the Cancer ‘Fun Run’ . . . . for them it may largely have been that, but people like me who have been thru double breast cancer it is a warm encouragement . . .

  28. I suspect fully all of your readers will opt for no change in your format! I so enjoy sitting down with a cup of tea, or a latte, while reading through your latest adventures or musings. Your photographs touch that part of our hearts that are still filled with little girl excitement. Some things in life just aren’t meant to change!

  29. I do love reading your blog and am grateful for whatever size and whenever it arrives…I find your photography divine and your stories fabulous. I’ll vote for whatever you can let us have!

  30. Each of your blogs is different, with its own personality. I enjoy them all, and agree with your other readers that whatever works for you is wonderful and appreciated, and gives us a great inside look into living where you are. It’s great that the girls joined the run; thanks for the photos!

  31. Love all your posts and always look forward to reading when I see one in my inbox.. I would do whatever works best for you and your family:) I do love the photographs.. they are always so lovely and give us a visual glimpse to go along with the stories and news you share.

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