My Family and Other Animals

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“Daddy look, Geraldine has got so much bigger!” Gigi’s comment hung in the air like a query of birdsong.

“Yes, she’s had a real growth spurt this last week,” Roddy replied from behind me, and I turned around.

“Who are you guys talking about; who is Geraldine?” I demanded, wondering if someone had smuggled in another pet without me knowing. Until that moment I was happily minding my own business weeding the driveway but overhearing this exchange I was suddenly on full alert, as I had no idea what anyone was talking about. Gigi turned and looked at me with that expression, the ‘Mummy you are so silly’ sort of look, as then she proceeded to very matter of factly state that Geraldine was a garden spider who lived in the hibiscus beside the house.

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Yes, of course Geraldine was a spider – how could I not have known that. Silly me. I mean everyone names their spiders who just happen to live outside in the garden, right?! Read more

Hidden Doors and Secret Passages

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What secrets lie behind those closed doors? Where do all the tiny passages lead? Why not ditch the car and don some sneakers, forgo the heels (they are a nightmare on the old cobbles) and start exploring. The smallest doors in life sometimes lead to the most interesting of places!  Read more

Rory’s Story

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I was born under the hood of a rusty broken Citroën 2CV in a thunderstorm one miserable afternoon, three years ago. My mother was Estelle, the darling of the farm, and my father was the thug from the bakery behind the church, or so I was told. Sixteen of us called the Citroën in the hedge ‘home’ that autumn, until during a rainstorm in November one day a car drew up, containing the humans I live with now. I left home without a suitcase 20 minutes later, bearing nothing more than a handful of fleas and the name I had been born with, Phillipe de Courtois Barthélemy d’Aquitaine. My proper life had begun. Read more

You Know You Are On a French Beach When…

IMG_2487September started with a whimper, bringing damp conditions and cool temperatures to our area, a bonus for our parched garden but not appealing to the last of the visitors still enjoying the scenery. It seemed that the conditions had set in for good and we heard mutterings about the arrival of an early cold autumn until one fine morning we woke to bright sunlight and the sound of a garden full of sunbathing birds; our Indian Summer had arrived! Summer itself may be over but we’re not quite ready to give up the sun loungers, bikinis, suncream and sand just yet, so read on because today, for a spot of fun, I am taking a humorous look at French beach etiquette! Read more

French Markets, Autumn and Old Fashioned Cookery

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Oh Sun it is so nice to see you once more, and also to welcome your twin, warmth; I am so happy to make your acquaintance again. For I can no longer kid myself that we are in the last few days of summer. There is no hiding behind whichever theory one chooses to believe, for whether we follow the meteorological calendar or the astrological one, either way it is now autumn and the signs of the new season are all around, in the garden, on the streets and at the market.

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Black Eyed Susan

 

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Days like these, when it isn’t really summer but it’s not quite autumn either; we’re in that in between-season, the nomansland of the calendar. Did summer really go by in the blink of an eye? Is it really over? There are days when I am quite sure it will go on forever, our doors and windows are still open, the sun is still hot on our backs and the leaves have not yet started to fall. But when the wind picks up it has that slight chill; the mornings and evenings have turned a little cooler and the rain, absent for so many weeks, has made its return. Read more