It’s such a British thing to talk about the weather. But actually it’s often a favoured topic of the French too and this April has given us plenty to think about. We’ve had pretty much all four seasons in as many weeks. We are too far south and too close to the coast to worry about frosts now but it’s been colder than average, hotter than average, drier than average and guess what wetter than average too! Read more
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
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!
Spring is awakening, it is a time of rebirth and growth and surely brings with it a level of optimism in us all. I have learnt to love winter, with its cosy evenings around the fire, steaming bowls of soup and hearty casseroles simmering in the oven. I even like the crisp cold days and the starkness of the garden as it lies in dormant hibernation. But then something happens; the nights start to lengthen out, February rolls into March, and suddenly I am thinking about warmer weather. January may see us making New Year resolutions but spring is when I find myself bursting with energy and making endless plans. It’s that time of the year to banish the winter blues and start afresh, even if the weather seems to have other ideas. Read more
This 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
Who knew that keeping chickens could take us to so many places? We’ve driven down roads scarcely fit for a car in search of eggs and covered two départements buying our chickens over the past two years and it’s turned out to be a far more technical business than I realised. Along the way I’ve expanded my French vocabulary as we have dealt with species, sexes, ailments and treatments. All of this for the love of chickens, our own organic free range eggs and the excitement of newly-born chicks. Read more
May is a month full of public holidays in France. I admit that I get just as excited as the children at the prospect of three days without school, or maybe my excitement is just the fact that the children are going to be home for three days. Either way, the extra 24 hours is always an added bonus. At this time of year there is so much to enjoy in the Charente Maritime. This is how I love to spend a long weekend.
One of the greatest things I have found out about blogging is that sometimes it’s an excuse to do all sorts of things I might otherwise never think of! During some gorgeous weather this week I played around with outdoor-dining, and for each meal I set the scene slightly differently. I cannot tell you how much fun it was, it felt a little like being on holiday! Read more
A lot has happened in our sleepy little corner of France this past week. Or at least a lot for a place where life ticks along at a slow pace that’s remained relatively unchanged for a century. On Thursday we had an earthquake (yes, a real earthquake!) measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was in between Rochefort and La Rochelle. There was some slight damage and schools were evacuated but there were no injuries. Read more
It’s Spring Break and two weeks of holidays for the children, but we’re not packing our bags and heading off on vacation. We couldn’t even if we wanted to, as life in the spring revolves around tennis tournaments. However, we’re more than happy to stay right where we are because nature at this time of year is putting on a spectacular show, rivalling the glitz and glamour of any theme-park.