As we come to the end of eight weeks of confinement, tomorrow we shall walk just a little more freely, perhaps. Although if that is a good thing or a bad thing only time will tell. It will be strange, as the first week took some adaptation. The new classroom was our kitchen table and we couldn’t just nip out to the shops and buy an ingredient we had forgotten. Making daily bread became a ritual and flour became scarce. Our grocery shopping became a once-a-week online event which we collect at a ‘drive’ through. It was – and still is – a very hit and miss affair; we never know quite what we will get and what will be unavailable. But what perhaps frustrated us a little to start with has quickly become the new normal. It’s amazing how quickly one adapts. Read more

The Ups and Downs of Country Life


A week of non stop rain has finally come to an end. We had started to think about building an ark once more! Yes –  we needed the rain as it was incredibly dry, but once it started it just couldn’t stop; day after day, we woke to grey skies and puddles. And it turned much colder; the windows and doors remained closed, and once again we reached for sweaters and scarves. Every now and then the clouds would part and a chink of blue would appear casting a golden glow over the sodden ground and saturated stones.  Read more

Despite Everything Let’s Be Positive

P8270232In these challenging times getting out into the garden or even growing a few herbs on a windowsill can be very rewarding. The perfume from an old fashioned rose, buds forming on a bush you pruned for the first time and were terrified you might have killed, tomatoes grown from a packet of seeds, the birds singing, a frog croaking, the church bills telling us it is midday.P8270133 Read more

Fact or Fiction?


Sometimes, after an afternoon in the garden, within the safety of our guilded cage,  the light starts to fade away, the sun dips and the breeze flutters into silence. I stop what I am doing, and in the quiet I can hear a dog bark at the far end of the village, and a child playing at the other. The world grows large about me, spirits uncoil and gather me in their embrace, I’m tempted to take a walk in the empty streets. One can only imagine the tall stories the old walls would tell. I sometimes let my imagination run wild … Read more

Happy Easter

P8260941It’s Easter weekend. Normally the roads would be crammed with camper vans, tourists heading to the coast and especially this year when the weather is so exceptional. We’d be hand painting eggs and thinking of our Easter egg hunt tomorrow with friends and family. Eggs are hidden throughout the entire garden, the hiding meticulously planned and recorded by Roddy so that no chocolate gets left out for the dogs to find. This year it will just be us. Because don’t you agree, nothing should stop us from continuing with a little Easter celebration in whatever way we choose.P8260975

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The Potager Project

p6770535Our eldest daughter Izzi is in London, and Millie, our number two, is in the Channel Islands. The other three children are here with us, thankfully at home with a large garden. We all video chat regularly, virtual meals with a smart-phone propped up on a mat in the middle of the supper table have become the ‘norm’. Rules have been broken, phones that have always been forbidden during meals are now allowed, but only under these exceptional circumstances. I know we all moan about the internet, how it has changed things and how people are far too hooked on social media, but right now it is a true life-saver for millions of people. Roddy’s sister often ‘goes down’ to her local Yacht Club at 6.00pm for an apéro with friends – not in real life of course, but in our brave new virtual world.  So if you live alone, or if you are self isolating or feeling really low, never underestimate the power of a good chat – talk to someone! Read more

The Life of Pixel

P1060262Hi guys, I thought it was about time I introduced myself properly, being a well brought up sort of chap. It’s really not my style this sort of casual ‘Hi’ as a greeting, I’d like to shake your hand with a good old fashioned ‘How do you do?’ but of course social distancing and all that means it’s out of the question. So I’ve resorted to paper. If I can’t meet you in person the least I can do is present myself formally! Gosh I sound like a stuck-up old man, I’m not, I promise, but I do like to do things the right way. Actually no, scrub all of that – I like to do things MY WAY! Read more

Tips for Confinement


How are you all doing? The news seems to go from bad to worse, it’s not just scary but outright frightening. To forget about everything, we’ve been losing ourselves in the garden, self contained in our own little world and we’ve only ventured out to the shops just the once, as I wrote on Sunday. Certain supplies are running low though, most notably flour, I’ve been making bread every day and with three hungry teenagers at home it doesn’t go very far! So another trip is going to be called for this weekend, but that’s fine; that is what we planned, one time per week. Read more

Our Gilded Cage


Since I wrote here last week, our world has changed. France is now in total lockdown, and everyone has become a recluse within their own small enclave. In so doing we stand together, but safely apart. And yet, strangely, I find relief in this. For despite the fact that it is easy to become so overwhelmed that one feels helpless and at a loss, and despite it being harder to be upbeat and positive, we must do so – not just for ourselves but for everyone else too, and in the collective energy of so many doing the same thing, we can remain strong. Read more

Days Like These


Today, we have sunshine. Spring has arrived, the garden is calling, and new buds offer new hope, and a new season. I am trying to be incredibly positive although I find myself struggling to come to terms with all that is happening in the world. I flick between being very calm to moments of panic where I cannot tear myself away from the computer screen, scanning the news for the latest developments. Read more