The weather gods have certainly been playing with us this winter and I daresay they’re not done yet. They’ve been tossing us around like a bunch of wet socks inside a washing machine, and we’re never sure quite what they will throw at us next. Read more
Finding the time to ‘stand and stare’. It seems like only last week I was lamenting the end of the summer holidays and somehow the children and I were trying to get back into the school routine of early mornings; bundling everyone into the car on time, usually while someone is carrying their shoes and someone else has a drooping backpack half-open with books threatening to make a bid for freedom. We’ve just about got organised, the daily drill has almost fully fallen back into place and now here we are eagerly looking forward to the two week autumn holiday known as les vacances de la Toussaint. Read more
When we first moved to France, I think we all secretly harboured a desire for a sort of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ existence, for a life that would be one long dreamy ride through quiet backwaters and along sun-dappled valleys until one returned at night to the warmth of a fire in an ancient fireplace set square in the crumbling wall of an old farmhouse. Read more
Lost and Found
It was Claire who found the camera, her 13 year-old bright eyes spotted it halfway across the beach at La Cible one morning in September as we had a mother and daughter cycling-expedition on the Île de Ré. We were recent summer arrivals in France, and the island had become one of our favourite spots to explore on a weekend, our custom was to cycle from the car-park at La Cible, through the old fortifications and onto a lunch on the quay in St Martin de Ré. Read more
Life is all about choices. Imagine you’re in France on holiday. You’re strolling around a local town and it’s just past midday; everyone is feeling a little peckish, and the restaurants all around you are filling up with diners – where do you go? The choice is endless……but then in your mind you recall a few wise words, whispered by a french friend many years ago, “Always go where the locals eat.” Read more
During this long hot summer we’ve had plenty of friends from abroad visiting us; not surprisingly at some stage the topic of conversation has been food, in some form or another. Almost without exception this in turn has lead to discussions about French school lunches. Despite everybody proclaiming to know that the French system is indeed excellent, everyone, without exception, has been both astounded and fascinated when I explain exactly what the children eat for lunch and how the meal is taken. The quality of school lunches in France is just so high it’s about time I explained a little more to those of you who have never stood outside French school gates!
I might be slightly unusual, but I miss the noise of the children. I miss the mess, I miss the chaos and the endless trail of wet footprints throughout the house. But now it’s the weekend and the weather is as good as any day in July or August; everyone’s at home and I’m back to picking up soggy swimming towels and hanging them out to dry; the mat outside the front door is once again littered with flip-flops waiting for someone to trip over them – everything is right in my world again! Read more