The Story of How We Bought Our Home

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The phone suddenly burst into life with a jolt of energy, and picking it up, I heard a distant voice asking, “Susan? Susan?  Is that you? I think I may have found something………”and my heart gave a lurch of excitement; the dread I had been feeling for a week lifting tantalisingly off my chest. There were more words on the other end of the line, but I was already gone, drifting back to France and the sound of cicadas. Read more

Cold Weather and January Days

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I’ve heard quite a few local sayings about the weather this week: “If it’s mild at Christmas, then the vegetable crop will be poor in the spring.” “If it’s cold at New Year, then it will be warm in June.” They both basically mean the same thing; it seems we need cold weather now to ensure balmy spring temperatures that will lead to a bountiful crop from the kitchen garden in a few months time. Read more

Slowly the Festivities Begin

HDRtist HDR - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. It’s purely wishful thinking as it hasn’t snowed, but we do get snow here occasionally-  my opening photo is proof, even if it’s from two years ago! However, the weather has changed and the nights have been cold, several dropping to below freezing; we’ve been waking to views of frozen fields and ice glittering in the weak morning sun; these proper winter dawns have been followed by beautiful clear crisp days when you can see your breath in front of you and when noses turn red with cold, and when the indoor fire’s welcoming glow has beckoned us back indoors. It’s all beginning to feel just a little festive. Read more

Thankful for our French ‘Hygge’ Lifestyle

 

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As I set the camera on timer on a carefully balanced tripod in the corner of the kitchen during supper, no one raised an eyebrow; the family are all quite used to me snapping away by now, they automatically assume “it’s for the blog” and ignore me! But Roddy did ask one thing, “What’s this post about?”

“Hygge” I answered.

“What?” exclaimed everyone.  Not one person around the table had a clue what I was talking about so I explained a little.

“So are we moving to Denmark now?” was Roddy’s comment afterwards, and from there the conversation moved on to short days, gathering darkness by 3pm, and the fact that Denmark is actually on the same latitude as the north of Britain. This all led to talk of the Scottish Islands and my ancestors, and so on and so forth. ‘Hygge’ was long forgotten, the camera had blinked and taken it’s automatic photo, but no one had even noticed. The candles continued to flicker and faces remained animated with the fast paced chatter around our kitchen table.

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No Milk and Sugar, We’re French!

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Some things fit neatly into perfect stereotypes. A vision of France, for example, might include the Eiffel Tower, the gardens of Versailles, or the Arc de Triomphe. For many people it would also include typical scenes from French towns and villages, views of pretty houses, and the quiet streets that those houses are on. France has never been a country to quickly develop, outside of the cities. Perhaps this is the reason so much of this large country is still a little lost in a bygone age, where many lives continue to be spent working the same crafts and métiers as previous generations. Read more

Wild Food

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It has long been my opinion that gathering wild food is good for the soul; it’s mentally stimulating, it boosts confidence and it’s intensely satisfying. Above all, it teaches everyone, especially our children, so much. Foraging in the forest, scavenging along hedgerows or digging in the tideline on the coast are all lessons they will certainly never learn in a classroom, and the best part of all, finding wild food is easy. Read more

The Good Life

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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