It’s been a month of frantic activity in the garden. The last two weeks of March saw the children wearing shorts, we dined al fresco, dusting down the chairs and grabbing any cushions we could find. Our usual outdoor accessories were still carefully packed away, not quite ready to come out of hibernation. Read more
The potting shed or the summer kitchen; in my mind it has two names and two jobs but today it is wearing its gardener’s hat! One of the best things about old houses in France is that they very often come with a host of outbuildings and the moment I saw our house, this little old structure captured my attention.
I am itching to get on with spring, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas. I’m planning which vegetables we will grow this year, dreaming of picking tomatoes warm and ripe from the sun and peas and beans, peppers and aubergines. I’m quite desperate to get out into the flower borders too and put some new ideas into action – alas, so far I’ve really been reduced to writing down my thoughts on paper. This typically involves lying in bed while I imagine the end result, which I then realise “won’t work” when I come downstairs in the cold light of dawn to stare out of the window through the sheets of rain; with my plans scuppered, I have to come up with other arrangements, and although I am no artist, I have most definitely now learnt to appreciate the benefits of taking photos and sketching diagrams on paper!
Before we go any further today, I made you a cup of coffee. I am not sure how you like yours, so I just made two the same. I have to admit, no matter how hard I try and no matter how many years I have lived in France I simply cannot give up my milky cappuccino style coffee. I don’t usually go the whole way and sprinkle cocoa powder on the top, but I thought as you were joining me we would push the boat out and do it properly! Read more
Some seventeen years ago, when we were starting out on the journey of schools with our children, meeting mothers and parents at the school gates for the first time and starting a completely new phase in our lives, I remember one mother who I had quite recently met bringing her daughter over to spend an afternoon with Izzi. It was a beautiful summer’s day and the girls played in the garden for hours. When the girl’s mother came to collect her in the evening she gave us a huge bowl of raspberries; they were from her garden and she had just picked them and I remember thinking, how I would love to be able to do that some day. And I still think of that moment quite often – it’s what has inspired me to always grow an excess amount of everything. Read more
I wanted to make a feast. I had an insane urge to cook and create and make everything homely and perfect. Why? Probably because I’ve been away more than I’ve been home this past month, and apart from the Auvergne there haven’t been breaks or holidays, long or short. It’s just been a long litany of hectic days away, tennis, business, children, and anything else you can think of. I just haven’t been home. So often have I left the house at 6.00am or 7.00am and returned around 9.00pm. Roddy has held the fort quite perfectly, obviously, usually accompanied by at least one or more of our children. But I’ve been on the road with the others; I have driven more kilometres than I dare to count and let’s just say I am a dab hand at filling up with diesel, again and again and again! Read more