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A house is not a home….

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Sealsea- (2)

 

Three years ago yesterday i moved out of my beautiful house, by the sea, to start this adventure. I loved this house, have always said it was the most beautiful house I would ever have the privilege  to live in. Edwardian, with so many original features….

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I had put my heart and soul into it, worked so hard on it renovating and decorating and making it into our home.

We were so rushed when it came to moving day I do not even remember closing the door for the last time, but I do remember sitting in the pub that night with tears rolling down my face. When my book comes out you will understand why the house,  for Rich (and now, as time has gone by I realise  for me also),  had become contaminated; it could never be the home we thought it would be; and as three years have passed I have come to realise that.

So then we found our house on the pinnacle of the rolling hills that are Ambrieres les Vallees, and we fell in love. For me it was bittersweet, it was not the house I had left, it was not the house that had taken part of my soul. But over the three years, despite the well running dry, the crappy cesspit (literally, all over the cellar floor sometimes!!) and the mold on the walls; it has shown me this …….

 

I sit in my bedrom and I look out at this my favorite tree and I feel at peace

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And over the years I have realised that a home is about love, companionship, laughter, and tears; it is not the house, it is the people in it. I look at my husband, and he is happier here. I know neither of us could go back to a house where you could reach out and touch your neighbour, surrounded by people and noise. We are too used to the peacefulness that surrounds us; and I have finally come to realise that I do not miss my old home, it was ONE of the most beautiful houses I lived in; but this is the most beautiful home. It has not taken my soul it has replenished it.

 

A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight

 

The late great Luther Vandross..

 

Have a good Sunday folks.

 

Moisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Les Rats….It’s rural living folks!

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They do say that you are never more than six feet away from a rat no matter where you are in the world. How accurate this is I don’t know, but I do know that it would have been naive of us not to think that rats may visit our garden, especially because we had chickens.

On the first night we moved into the house Harley was going mad at something in the garden. The house had not been lived in for three years, and the garden had been occupied by three goats (hence the name for the goat’s shed) and anything else that chose to live here! We only had Harley at that time, we moved here in August and Wiglet, aka the serial killer, did not come to live with us until the October. Had she been here then what Rich discovered would not have lived to see another day, but as it was only Harley the huge rat that Rich found when he went out to get Harley by torchlight, managed to get away. Although we did not see a sight of it after that, the following year Wiglet came bouncing down the garden so happy with a huge, dead rat in her mouth. “Thanks for that!” I said!

Over the years we did not see any more rats because our dogs are hunters and, especially when the serial killer moved in, the rats were deterred. But where there are chickens there are normally rats and after putting too many left overs in their enclosure in April we believe that a whole family moved in.

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We thought that we might have a problem after the chickens appeared to have stopped laying, and it appears that rats will steal the eggs and attack the chickens. They knew that they were safe from Wiglet (aka serial killer) because she could not get in the enclosure, although at times she would go mad trying to get in there, and she would also spend hours staring at something hiding in the twigs from the trees we had cut down, with her little tail wagging as if to say “I am so pleased to see you, come and play little rat!” She has dug holes all over our garden trying to flush them out and we planned, after we moved the chickens of course, to let her into the old Chicken Hilton and have a field day.

Over the summer Rich had seen the rats, I never had because I normally have the dogs in tow, but he said that they were getting more and more blase, and would  come out into the chicken enclosure in daylight. One day he counted seven going back into the Hilton tail to tail because (you guessed it!) Wiglet had come out to play. So we hatched our plan: we were going to put the chickens somewhere safe and let Wiglet have a day in the henhouse catching rats. For her it would be like a day at Disney!

I told you she is the most beautiful loving, vulnerable little dog but her mother and father were hunting stock and she is a born and bred hunter!

But, as is life’s way  nature beat us to it…

As I lay in bed one night with Rich snoring beside me, I could hear the hooting of a Tawny owl (probably the one that loves to sit in our cherry tree and look at us.); I have explained in previous blogs that one of the beauties of living out here is the owls that you just see every day (you may want to visit my post: what is is about you and owls!) There are Tawny owls, Barn owls and the cute little Pygmy owls that come out in the day..

pygmy owlIn addition I could also hear a lot of screeching! Husband will sleep through anything but I lay there knowing that the rats were getting their come-uppance! Our cats had also been very interested in the chicken enclosure and I imagined them sitting on the stumps of the trees with a glass of wine watching the entertainement!

Over the next few nights as we lay in bed we could hear Barn owls, and their babies and a lot of screeching, and squealing, coming from the garden and I knew that the rats had become too blasé, and the owls had spread the word and were now having a a feast.

Gradually we saw less and less of the rats, any food that the chickens had not eaten remained uneaten (although we have drastically reduced the scraps that they have.) Over the past few weeks we have seen no rats at all, although their warren of holes are still evident as Wiglet digs them up! One day Harley did spend an age staring into a hole wagging his tail in greeting, but it was a false greeting because that rat would not have lived to see another day.

So nature took over, the owls killed the rats, as they were meant to do, and I lay in bed listening to the life that goes on outside when you live in rural France.

I know that as the trees that we chopped down gradually get cut into logs, and I turn the twigs into kindling, the rats will have nowhere to hide, and if there are any about trust me Wiglet will have her day!

There is no going back to the Chicken Hilton for them because the dogs are now in there all the time. It may only be a matter of time before I am back in a scene from ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jane’ and Wiglet presents me with another dead rat. Good!

In addition Rich found a cache of hidden chicken eggs under the hay in the old suite of the Chicken Hilton that was once occupied by the chickens; the poor chicken was laying and was hiding them from the dreaded rats! The fact that they had not been eaten is also evidence that the rats have been scared off – straight into the jaws of Wiglet!

It’s all part of the adventure folks!

Moisy

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The chickens have been evicted from the Chicken Hilton!!

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As some of you know eighteen months ago we bought six chickens (the girlies) and Claude the Cockerel home to live with us. They needed re-homing and for six months they were all really happy. Sadly in the October one of the girlies died and in the spring we believed that we may have rats as the girls stopped laying eggs and some became eggbound, and despite our best efforts another three died. We were left with just two girlies and Claudy boy.

chickens in their posh enclosure

As some of you may know (See a murder in the hen house) one of the chickens was killed by the serial killer  of all things small known as Wiglet…

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I know! How can you not love her? But last month she murdered one of the last remaining girlies, and almost killed Claude, but the boy lived to see another day, so then we were down to two chickens.

As you can see the chickens had a massive enclosure that took up a large part of our garden and they also had half of the old goats shed as their home – it was huge, and poor hubby was trying to squash his many garden acoutriments into one half of the shed whilst two chickens chose where to sleep each night because they had so much room! It just didn’t make sense, and at times Claude and his girly just looked lost.

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So this weekend Hubby set about making them their own retirement home – we thought that the remaining girly was too old to lay eggs but we were wrong (and that will be my next story). So, as you do, on a limited budget, you make use of what you have. Off Hubby went oo his barn and found out some old wood we had ripped out of our kitchen and an old bathroom cupboard we had in our bathroom (no surprises there!) which had legs on it and set about making the chickens a new pied a terre.

Firstly he had to make them safe from said serial killer so he shut the chickens in the Chicken Hilton whilst he built there new enclosure. But Wiglet the Serial Killer leave it? No  would not leave them alone and kept digging to try and get into them! After numerous attempts by hubby to block the door: He locked it, put wire inside it, wire outside of it, put a piece of corrugated iron against it, followed by an old door, all whilst he was trying to get on, he gave up and he caught the serial killer, who is a little bugger, and locked her in the newly built enclosure; so he could get on and build the chickens new house.

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It was a big job to take the old enclosure down as to stop said killer getting to the chickens when they first arrived we had  put huge pine logs against the double fencing, and they had to be moved..

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Along with the fact that the grass had grown through the fencing, effectively pinning the wire to the floor. (She still got through in the end though! Took her seventeen months but she found a weak spot!)

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Hubby did good though and in the end the chickens downsized, as you tend to do when you get older, and moved into a pretty little beach style cottage, placed in the sunshine, with a little plank up into it (easy access for when you get older) and some lovely new hay.

It is fair to say that they are as happy as happy can be in their new home.

We did make a discovery though, the poor girl had not stopped laying, we found broken eggshells in the Chicken Hilton and five eggs that she had hidden under the straw – all an indication of rats!

And that is another story from our adventures of living in rural France!

Have a wonderful weekend folks – remember this is the sequel to the prequel so keep reading in to have hope that things can get better

– makingthisbetter.com

Thanks for all your support and please share my posts and comment when you can, I love the interaction.

Moisy

 

As I sit here…..

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As I sit here this morning, with my first cup of tea of the day (I am English after all!) I have found the urge to write.

The picture above is my garden at this present moment that I am writing this. The view from the valley as you can see is totally obscured because there is a thick fog and autumn has finally rolled in. A complete contrast to just weeks ago..

For the first time this season we have condensation on our windows, and single figure temperatures outside, but our house is warm. The roof on our kitchen has finally been replaced (more of that to come in another post) and add to the mix our new front door and the difference it has made is immeasurable. I smiled to myself today when I looked at our doors, and there was no condensation on them.

Sadly they are nowhere near as pretty as our old door, but it had to go, it was beyond repair (and trust me I tried) the oak had split from the hundred years of driving rain and wind it had endured so it could not be saved. We have re-used it (as you would know we love a bit of old and vintage, and will repurpose where we can, you only have to look at our Etsy shop) as a feature in our garden, it now plays the part of a secret door into a fairy kingdom.

I know we’re mad! But helps in life sometimes!

I love the autumn, One of the biggest things for me about living here is the changing of the seasons. I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again; it is a constant reminder that things change, and that although they will come back again they will never be the same as the one before. Nothing in life ever is. For me the autumn is the most poignant because all the things are dying off, it is the end of something that you will never get back, and it is a reminder to treasure every moment.

As some of you may know I am sharing a story from long ago about Rich and I, it has taken off. It is a sad story, but remembering where we are now, it is a story of hope. It too is a story of something dying and then coming back again, but in a different way, it was never going to be what it was before. Perhaps it is apt that I decided to share it in the autumn!

For those who have read my blog over the years you will know it made us stronger, and gave us the courage to take this adventure; and despite the hardships we have had along the way they have never broken us, almost sometimes, but we have always got through.

We have learnt that money really does not buy you happiness, and material things may give you comfort but they don’t make you happy. Because despite having no water, no roof, a leaking cesspit, dodgy cars at one point, and at times been down to the last six euros to our name, things have always come through, because we are happy in our minds. We have the ability to laugh, sometimes at each other, every day. We lost our egos.

So yesterday we read a passage from the Tao and the explanation asked a question, to think about what you thought made you happy and then ask yourself if that were true. It was designed to help people realise that the material things they bought did not really make them happy. So Rich and I both thought about it independently and both came up with the same answer, independently: it was to sit in our garden and look out across the valley.

We love our life, we love the simplicity and we both agreed that even if we had enough money to not have to worry about spending it, we still wouldn’t go out for meals, our greatest pleasure would be to sit in our garden and look at the view, with each other. (And all the furries of course!)

We are blessed.

Have a food day folks, enjoy the small things.

Moisy

If you want to learn more about us you may want to check out:

Makingthisbetter.com my new blog

PetiteFrenchfancies @etsy is my shop full of eclectic (of course) things.

You can also find me on Instagram as moisfrenchadventure, and Pinterest as moisfrenchadventure.com

Dylan gets dropped!

Officially one of the longest serving puppies

Dylan's Welshie World

Back at puppy class after a weeks break and Dylan was raring to go. Watch out world!

After all it’s only ten days until the Bronze Good Citizen test. Or is it?

Boo was missing tonight – seems she’s has started her second season and will miss the test. But Mollie the Cavapoo was back with a bang and bouncing around.

There was a new addition to class – Binks, a gorgeous Chocolate Spaniel, who of course took an instant shine to Dylan. Don’t they all!

Aslan, the Leonberger looked most put out!

The trainer was in no mood for such puppy shenanigans though. It was straight down to business. And that business was practising sit and stay.

None of the puppies could sit and stay for the required minute.

Hell Dylan didn’t even sit. Hell Dylan didn’t even acknowledge me. Hell Dylan was bouncing around like Tigger.

Finally she…

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The Wind – The Godsend that clears my mind

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For mental Health Week in England I thought that I would share with you one of the things I have always found therapeutic and that  I especially love about living here – The Wind.

As a lot of you know our garden is full of trees, we have at least four Oak trees, a big old sycamore, two Silver Birch, some pine trees, our gigantic Walnut tree, Cob nut bushes, cherry trees and never least what I call my tree of Tao.

I have said many times how I love to watch this blow and sway in the wind, almost as if it is reaching out to me and saying believe me everything will be allright.

Today is one of those sunny, blustery Autumn days that reminds me of why I love this season so much. I felt the need to clear my mind and sat in the garden with the trees blowing around me as I read my passage for the day from the Tao.

As always as the wind blew through my hair it was as if it was blowing out the cobwebs and confusion and clearing the way for me to reflect and see clearly. Add to that the leaves swirling in the wind as if my thoughts had materialised and were being blown away, no longer required, discarded, and I knew that I had done the right thing, to sit in the garden and let nature show me the way.

I bring this up on Mental Health Awareness week because the ability to reflect is very important to me, and sometimes very painful. But reflect I must because I know that it is the only way that I can learn and grow.

So if you are feeling anxious, down, or confused in some way – You know what I mean- when there is something on your mind but you just cannot put your finger on it – then just go out in the wind and sit somewhere away from others and let it clear you mind for you.

I am blessed I only have to step out of the front door….

Have a good weekend folks, enjoy the Autumn, whatever the weather.

Moisy

Changes have blown in on the autumn wind…

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It’s been awhile since I have blogged on here, we have been busy with the roof, and I have been even busier with my new blog. The response to it has been phenomenal, thank you all.

But as I have said the Moisfrenchadventure blog is my ‘home’ because it is my first blog and it is about the here and now; and our life together, now.

Sadly one of the changes has been that our two little Amigos, also known as the Princess and the Pea because they were so close, are now at each others throats, literally! We cannot even have them in the same room together on leads and blood has been drawn on a number of occasions; we are at the point that they cannot even go for a walk together.

I feel so sad about this, as I am writing this blog I am looking through the photos of the last year and them together and it is bringing tears to my eyes. Wiglet could do no wrong in Dylan’s eyes.

They played with mop monsters in the garden, Wiglet taught Dylan how to get the chicken’s tail through the fence and worried about her when she was riding with daddy on the mower.

They searched for rats and mice in the woodpile, and Wiglet taught Dylan how to dig her first hole. Wiglet was truly Dylan’s hero, they were inseparable.

But in the summer another dog was in the mix for a week, another Welshie, she attacked Wiglet first in our garden and Dylan got caught up in it and bit Wigs as well. They made it up, but the same dog then attacked Dylan in the rental property Karen was staying in and a week later the unrest began.

We hoped it would die down in the weeks that Dylan had been in England, but it hasn’t and in fact it has escalated.

I am so sad, it is the end of happy times, and I just hope against hope that as Dylan gets older they will be friends again.

But as I say everything changes, and we have to go with that, and autumn is blowing the changes in quickly now.

Goodbye Princess and the Pea, it was real fun while it lasted.

Moisy

Changes – Follow the trees and go where the wind takes you.

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As I sit here on a rainy autumn morning, I am inspired to write in the blog that got me out there. This is the blog that is the sequel to the other one really (makingthisbetter.com) – even though I started writing it first – because this blog is about our next adventure, and in it I hope it shows all the things we learnt on that bomb strewn road that we travelled for so long.

So I am sitting in bed with my second cup of tea, looking out at my favourite tree gently swaying with the breeze and going with it, instead of fighting against it, and I am reminded, as the seasons change, that change happens every minute of every day; and you just have to go with it, bend like the tree, and understand that fighting against it won’t change anything.

Autumn is, for me, a particularly poignant time of year, the leaves are dying, birds are leaving, winter (and harder times) are coming, and the year is drawing to a close. But you can’t fight it, so why not enjoy it, because it is the season where nature puts on one of her most stunning dresses, and shows us how beautiful everything is, even in death.

Even this week, after being extremely busy with Rich doing the roof, and me being main caterer and house maintainer, I have changed our lives again; I have set up my new blog, a serialisation of my book ( The book currently has the title ‘I don’t think I can do this’) and put it out there for the world to see, and our lives have changed again. In less than six days it has had nearly a thousand views all over the world and counting. I know it is not only a good story, and that it would touch the hearts of many, but that it would also help people. We both knew this could make a change to our lives, but we are strong together now and know that it won’t change what we have learnt.

I have to say that it has been an especially brave thing for my husband to do, because right now, where the story is at the moment in his words, he looks like a c**t! I did reply that at that time he was a c**t but the important thing for him to remember is that he is not one now, and it is always the here and now we deal with.

So changes are still happening, we had planned to get out in the garden this weekend, to try our our new log splitter (the things that excite us now!); and to continue with the mammoth task of cutting our wood. But the rain came yesterday and we had to get the final part of the roof watertight, because it is not yet finished; and ‘The Livermore’ and Dylly Dylly have decided to make an impromptu visit and are arriving on Monday, this time with A.N. Other in tow, to see if they fit in with the pack ( see more changes!); and today we planned on going to a vide grenier, but the rain put paid to that.

So, going with the flow, we have spent a morning in bed with the two Welshie snuggle bums, later I will do a little housework and then blog, there is a big story to tell….

But remember folks, this blog, moisfrenchadventure.com is really the adventures of Moisy and Rich here and now, going with the flow, so this one is the one to keep you grounded when the other blog takes your breath away.

A big thank you to you all for your fantastic support.

Have a good weekend, and remember go with the flow…

Moisy

Change – You’re never the driver..

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Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Times they are a changing. Bob Dylan

So I said very early on in the year that ‘Times they are a changing’ (to quote Bob Dylan). In fact at the beginning of the year I just found myself playing this song as I wrote at my desk; and change they are in many ways for us, in fact they have in many ways already.

It is fair to say that this adventure has changed so many things for us, but this blog is about all of the things that I didn’t envisage:

Firstly we didn’t envisage getting Harley five years ago, but fate made us change our holiday plans, book a gite with the person who bred him, who in turn contacted us when he needed a new home.

When we moved here with Harley our love affair with Welsh Terriers had begun but didn’t envisage getting ‘The Wiglet’, her other homes failed, or fell through and it was because we were destined to get her.

This in turn led Karen to get Dylan, and write a blog about her antics (Dylan’s Welshie World) which in turn led Karen back to her first love – writing.

As you all know we are changing material things, the gate, the roof, having water. There are other changes in the pipline and they will include, at some point, a new joint blog and again this will change our lives and others. I didn’t envisage any of this when this year started.

Then I think of the sprititual changes that this journey would take us on: That I would read the Tao, then read it to Rich, and Karen, although at times  she does still have  ‘Tao Light Thursday and No Tao Friday’! The belief that we have got from reading that philosophy has changed our lives in the physical world, we stepped off that cliff and believed that the things we needed would come to us and they have. We understand that where there is good there is bad and vica versa but to not focus on the bad – see the good in the simplest things (Autumn and all it’s glory as I write this.) and be greatful for what you have each day because there is no point worrying about what you cannot change, and you may not have another day so just enjoy what you’ve got.

In addition, in fairness, I rarely make hard and fast plans, because I know from all the books I read that the best laid plans will never work out because you are not doing the driving.

When I first moved over here I started to write this blog which in turn led to my writing my book. It  was always my intention to share our experiences with others because people need help when they find themselves where we were once, especially those with a strong persobality like my own, boy it is hard to harness the wild horses in your brain some times!  But over the last month I finished reading Deepak Chopra, ‘The Seven Spiritual laws of Success’ and I took my lead from the end of the book and decided to serialise my book and get it out there. I realsied that, as Deepak Chopra says, I would be doing something that I was put here to do, something that I love (writing) and  in that  I would be helping people at the same time.

I realised that I could not wait forever for the book to be published when there were people out there who needed to read it, because it would help them cope, help them  know that they are not alone, help them know that they can get through it, and help them know that life can get better. So I have started to blog it; and the reaction has been overwhelming. Thank you all.

I know from the reaction in over less than two days that this is likely to change our lives again -not least the reassurance that I have given to my husband because he worries that I will leave him one day. (Yes, even now!) But the difference is that now when I reassure him it works and he is then fine and comforted.

I knew that I was taking a chance, that some would judge, but as I always say my dear late mother was right when she said ‘if they’re judging you they’re leaving some other poor bugger alone!’ I started to write because of my breakdown, I was sick of biting my tongue, I wanted to say what I wanted to say and, as with everything, I know that I have to step of the cliff and take that chance.

What does that have to do with having an adventure in France – everything – I have freedom now. I started to write this blog – which gave me the confidence to write my book, and in turn the confidence to serialise it in another blog; I started to read books that made you think outside of the box, to understand and believe that, much as we think we are, we are not doing the driving where our lives are concerned, and although it took a lot of lessons we are now seeing the benefits of that belief.

I would not have done any of this if we had not moved to France, stepped off the hamster wheel and see where life took us.

Who knows what is coming next – autumn……..

Moisy

If you want to read my other blog then it is called making this better @makingthisbetter.com But be warned, there is a possibility of tears and strong emotion.

Thank again

Moisy

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It’s out there – well part of it for now!

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I took your advice my new blog is set up, it may go a long way to explaining why Rich and I are so ‘resilient’ as we were told the other day!

I am out of practice setting up blogs – it’s been three years – but I hope that you approve of it’s design, and that it helps others. It is what it has all been about.

I will keep you in suspense no longer it is called ‘making this better’ @makingthisbetter.com; it had three followers already, and over twenty views and has only been open just over an hour!!

What I will say is that this blog is not about judging  – if it wasn’t for my husband’s bravery we would not be here today.

As my son said to me ‘Mum! You are not an easy person to come back to!’

Never a truer word was said!!

Moisy

I think we’ve broken her!

Oh no! The puppy class trainer is a broken woman! But ai can vouch for Dylan (Miss Mooddiebag’s naughtinees agter I found my chewed up shoes in the garden) …

Dylan's Welshie World

After tonight, I think our poor trainer has finally admitted defeat!

And strangely it wasn’t just down to Dylan- though of course, the little monster did pull quite a few moves out of the bag! Literally!

Following last week when we were told Dylan wasn’t ready to take her Bronze Good Citizen, the trainer had a change of heart and this week told us we would be taking the test after all!

Yay go us!

Though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s more that she’s hoping against hope we pull it off and move to the next class – and a new trainer.

As usual Dylan did her meet and greet and was most displeased that she got stopped before she’d had a chance to jump on every puppy in the room – most notably her favourite Aslan the Leonberger who was back this week.

The trainer wasn’t hanging about…

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