Finally, Summer Holidays Have Begun

img_1795Finally, the school holidays have begun for ALL the children. Until this week, poor Gigi had been trundling off to school each morning, trotting down dusty streets whilst her siblings all snored in bed. Mid-afternoon she would return in the heat of the day, the sun pounding on her back as she trod homewards, her footsteps echoing on the centuries-old pavements that many have trod before her. Sweating, her backpack heavy with books and her thoughts on the pool and not at all on homework, she’d remarked more than once how UNFAIR it all was. Read more

Building a Potager

P6600754My vision for our garden was always to create somewhere enchanting; somewhere that had a romantic feel, I imagined a place where one could float around while wearing a swirling skirt with a glass of champagne in hand. I didn’t want anywhere that would be taken too seriously, instead I wanted somewhere that would delight the senses, fuel the imagination and be easy to maintain. But above all else there had to be somewhere that provided edible treats. If you have ever eaten a warm sun-ripened tomato straight from the vine, you will know that the taste far outweighs anything bought in the chilled section of the grocery store.

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The World of French Schools

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From the moment we are born we start to learn.

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In the world of French school-life, this feels like the week we are in ‘no-man’s land’. School doesn’t officially end until next Friday, 7th July, and yet this week I have had two teenagers fast asleep until mid-morning as they enjoy well earned lie-ins, a 12 year-old slumbering on the sofa in the shade on the terrace while munching a croissant and enjoying the beginning of her holidays, and poor Gigi still getting up early and attending school as normal. A bit of a mixed bag, really. Read more

Summer Solstice

P6410392YESTERDAY EVENING, 11.45PM.

It’s dark. Outside it’s still 32ºC/90ºF, but inside it’s comfortable and pleasant without the need for air-conditioning – a good thing as I am not sure anyone in the village has any. Instead, we rely on old technology, whereby the two foot thick stone walls of our house keep us cool. I’m alone in the kitchen, the windows and doors are still wide open and I’m staring out into the stygian blackness. Roddy has fallen asleep in the sitting room; Bentley is with him as always and Evie is with me. She tried to stay awake to keep an eye on Rory the cat, her greatest mate, but she can’t quite manage it; thick eyelashes, black on one side and white on the other, gently close and she too enters the world of dreams. I’m thinking about the wonderful evening we have just enjoyed. I open my laptop, wondering how I can possibly convey this feeling of pure contentment – how I can explain such simple things which make a night so special? Read more

An Oasis in a French Village

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Walking down the hot dusty street, time passes slowly and for most of the day not a soul can be seen. But at certain times the village comes to life; first thing in the morning when the children arrive at school, and again when they leave in the afternoon. That’s when the pavements bustle with life, and excited gaggles of small people skip back and forth haphazardly on pavements. There’s also a cluster of activity around the boulangerie just before midday when each household chooses a victim to pop in and collect baguettes for lunch. This little spurt of movement happens again around 7pm, as the afternoon sun fades away into the welcome cool of the evening.  Read more

Where Opposites Attract

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They are a world apart, complete opposites, like chalk and cheese and yet they go together so well, existing side by side in perfect harmony. Where one might add a little glamour, put on her sparkling jewels, high heels and strike a pose, the other will stick to her tweeds, her sensible shoes, twinsets and pearls. Yet they are still the best of friends and neighbours, living contentedly side by side as the days turn into nights, the weeks into months and the years into millenia.  Read more

MY BUGS LIFE

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Today it’s Roddy’s turn to take over the blog, and he’s written about something completely different, but read on and I hope you enjoy it!

It all started with a spider two summers ago. 

Gigi came in from the garden with her hand over a plastic glass and said brightly,”Daddy, I’ve found a tiny spider outside and it’s very beautiful!” 
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