The Optimism of Spring in Our Garden

IMG_3237This is a time of year when we can literally feel spring coursing through our veins. It’s a season full of rebirth and new growth, a time of endless possibilities, and a time of innocent hope. Whilst our climate is generally mild here on the coast and the risk of a frost is pretty much gone now, March and April can be fickle months; we can be dining al fresco with windows and doors wide open one day, and the next be plunged into less favourable temperatures with chilly winds and in definite need of a coat. It’s also a time of year when you can bring spring inside too,  when branches of blossom can fill the house with colour and scent  Read more

Falling into Autumn

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It’s mid-October yet at midday  you’d be forgiven for thinking we were still in the midst of summer; but by evening there is a discernible feel of autumn in the air, a decisive nod of acknowledgement towards the cooler months ahead. However, if you rise with the lark the crisp early morning chill is unmistakable. I’ve put the heating on in the car for the school-run, I’ve found a scarf to wear over a t-shirt and when I return home I firmly shut the front door behind me. 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

Olympics, Blogging & French Life

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The Olympics in Rio have started and are now dominating the headlines. Being a very sporty family the games are a big event. My background is in horses and riding, having competed since I was a child, so I will want to watch everything equestrian-related. Then there is the sailing and of course the tennis. But we don’t want to waste these beautiful summer days inside watching television, thank goodness there are highlights every night!

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French Gardening and Summer Rain

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I am rarely the first person up in our family, I leave that badge to Roddy or the youngest girls. I prefer to remain in bed a few minutes longer where I like to lie and gather my thoughts; often Gigi will come in for a snuggle and I will plan my day, but yesterday I broke my own rules and I was up and out before the rest of the family had stirred. I wasn’t going anywhere special, there was no important meeting in my diary, I just wanted to capture the early morning light. I’ll do this every now and then; everyone wonders if I am feeling ok, but once in a while it’s fun to be the first to rise. I unlock the front door and open the french windows in the kitchen and let the cool morning air rush in.

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The Only Way is Up

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Here in the Charente Maritime houses and buildings have donned their summer clothing, pretty pastels and vibrant colours abound. Everywhere I go there are climbers, reaching upwards, the bigger the better;  these are the social climbers of the plant world, they twist and turn around anything they can cling to for support, or anything that will enhance their status! Read more