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

French Contentment, Where Less is More

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Simplifying is all the rage now.

When we first moved to France, one of the things Roddy and I were looking forward to most was living a slightly simpler way of life. Not because we had read the latest magazine articles and wanted to be up to date, but because we both firmly believed that it was the way we wanted to raise our family and live our lives.  Read more

Everything’s Coming up Roses

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If anyone followed me around in the car this week they would think I had gone quite mad. I have been stopping, hopping out and taking photos even more than usual, and I don’t just raise my camera and shoot away – I cross the road to my chosen subject and smell. I breathe in the most heavenly perfumes, wonderful old fashioned scents, and if I draw a blank and there is no fragrance I am extremely disappointed. Read more

A French Girls’ Lunch

P6090048Do you ever get those days when you have invited a couple of friends to lunch, but you’ve drawn a complete blank about what to eat? You don’t really have time to cook for hours in advance but you want to make an effort. I can assure you even if you don’t get days like this, I do! But when I’m struggling to find something inspirational to cook, I always consider what is in season and go from there. I’ll see what we have in the garden, and what is available at the local market, because using only what is grown locally makes everything so much easier and the produce is so much fresher. Read more

Outdoor Living

 

P6080854It would be most unusual to find a house in the French countryside that did not have some seating outside; somewhere to read, to eat or drink, or simply to rest a while and pass the time of day.  Taking a stroll in any garden always fills me with a sense of calm and so it is only natural to want to linger and perhaps find a quiet spot to sit and spend five minutes in complete peace. It gives us a time to think and reflect or just to be at one with nature. Read more