The mini bus of life

When I started this blog the aim of it was to help those who were questioning their lives and where they were going to, perhaps, make a drastic change, or to listen to what life was saying and question where they were going. I have always been honest and told you about our adventure warts and all, and also about what drove us to make that change and live the life we are now living in France. (For those new to my blog please look at the posts under the reflections tab.)

So I have been promising this post for some time it is my theory on life, and how I look at my life now and choose to live it.

As we all know whether people like it or not we are on a journey (I am sick of all that crap about the J word, or that people shouldn’t be saying they are on a  road, you ARE on a road between being born and dying, and what type of journey you choose to take will depend on how you look at what life really is.!!)

So..Picking up on the fact that we are on a journey I have come to think of my life as a mini bus, it has 14 seats and as I go along the road I need to decide who (really who if I only have 14 seats) would I have on my mini bus who will influence my life, the decisions I make and the life I choose to live; and, most importantly for me,that they are people that do not judge me!

For those readers in far flung countries who don’t  know what a mini bus is it is a van with 14 seats, some at the front where you get on, and then rows of two seats with some at the back double doors for an emergency exit.

Your mini bus of life meanders along the road of life with many stops. At some people will get off because their adventure, or life, is going in a different direction to yours. They are not bad people they just need to go down their own road, and the road of life is not a straight road with no avenues or lanes along the way, there are many. Now  this is where people don’t get it, they get upset when those people get off, get offended, try to keep them with them, keep them happy, when in fact if they really looked they have been going in a different direction for a long time and some of those people have not been making them happy, for some time!  But when people get off a persons mini bus of life the person gets afraid and starts to question what they, themselves, are doing, think that it must be something about them, when it isn’t! Let go people because, believe me, someone else is doing the driving!

With regard to this I always stop and evaluate who is on my mini bus now, (sometimes I have considered having a very small trailer on the back!) but I have resisted temptation because you cannot keep everyone happy all the time, and, in all honesty, you will drive yourself nuts if you try. You need to look at the people on the mini bus and if they are right for you at this time of your life, if they are not  then drop them off at a stop; you never know you may let them back on at a later stage in life when both you and they have grown as people and learnt from what life has shown them.

I know from things that have happened to me over the years, and as I have got older over the past few years in particular, that over time I have let the wrong people influence my life; I had a great big red bus full of people that did not give a crap about me, and only had their own agenda. People who wanted to tell me how to live my life, and even who to live my life with! When I was younger I let them do this, I listened because I wanted to keep them happy, but now I realise that no-one has the right to tell anyone how to live, seriously, it is their life. So needles to say I don’t have people like that on my mini bus.

In addition since moving here some people have never contacted us again, and I realise that our decision to have an adventure possibly touched a nerve with them because they live each year as they lived the last; go on holiday at the same time, to the same place, with the same people, and if you choose to take an adventure such as ours then you need to understand that those people will get off your mini bus, because you frighten them because they want to stay “safe”. In these instances is for the best that they choose to disembark.

The people who mean the most to me have seats at towards the front, the people who influence my life and care about me have seats in the middle and those who are starting to get on my tits have seats at the back double doors so that if I need to I can pull the handle and let them fall out the back onto the road (and sometimes the oncoming traffic!!)

In addition I always leave four seats empty, why would you fill your mini bus full when you do not know what life will show you, and who life will send your way? It is very true that you have to let go of the old to make room for the new! You also have to leave room for people who come back into your life, for me others have got back in touch, some over fourty years later (Trish), who is has a firm seat on my mini bus; others, my dear friend Russell have not only got back in touch but have seat at the front of the mini bus. When he sent me music to listen to that had not been released when we had lost touch, It was clear that  he still knew what I would love, knew over the 18 years that we lost contact that I would love Mary J, David Gray, and so many more. I have written of the music he sent me before because it truly made me realise that we have always been friends, he just had to get off my mini bus for a while. I look at it that he got off at stop number 18 and got back on at stop number 36 (18 years later!) Also another dear friend who has recently become close again after many years, because life points you in the direction of the people you have to let on your bus, and this time I have got on her mini bus.

I know that some friends who I love very much have dropped me off at a stop because I am on a road in France now, and I get that, it is not because they do not love me, or still care for me, it is just that right now they do not have room for me on their mini bus because they are letting others on instead. I understand.

The point I am making folks is do you have a bloody great red London bus full of people? Do you think that having lots of friends and people around you makes you happy? Do those people affect the way you live your life? Are you going out to places when you don’t really want to? Doing jobs for them when you don’t want to? Spending money that you don’t have because you feel that you should be able to match up to them? Staying where you are to make them happy? WHY?

Really folks, look at your mini bus of life now and ask yourself who really matters to have a seat? Keep you mind open to letting others back on when necessary. But remember you only have 14 seats!!!

Something to think about.

 

Moisy

 

The Cucumber Saga continues

Now for those who have been following my blog you will understand why we now have a whole part dedicated to the growing of cucumbers.

For those of you new to my blog, welcome, and you may want to look at some of the posts in “The Good Life” tab, and also “Ooh Barbara it’s gone Pete Tong!” and you will understand my obsession with cucumbers.

I love cucumbers, but the ones in the shop taste nothing like the home grown cucumbers that you used to be able to buy. So after successfully growing them once I intended to grow many when I moved out here. But last year I planted courgettes by mistake (someone in the supermarket had a huge laugh swapping all of the labels around!!) Then, this year I bought two cucumbers and before I had a chance to plant them they died!! So I thought “Sod it!” And I went out and bought a cucumber for the huge sum of five euro that already had tiny, tinky (or as the french would say petit, petit) cucumbers growing on it; and guess what? Success!!!!!!

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I now have seven cucumbers growing on my plant, and have already scoffed this wonderful specimen that I picked a week ago. In fact it was so delicious that my husband, who’s throat I normally have to shove salad down, made himself a ham and cucumber sandwich without any prompting from me. That is how delicious home grown cucumbers are.

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I am so proud!

But seriously my plan to revert back to growing peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers in pots on my terrace, that reaches over fifty degrees all day on hot days, is working. So watch this space for more updates.

As some of you know we also have a mass of cherry trees, some which come to fruit sooner than others and Rich went and picked these last week, all of which have been shared with our neighbours.

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So next year I will be one step ahead and have enough jars to make cherry jam. I am learning fast that French people let nothing go to waste, and I love that concept. Nothing goes to waste in our house, the chooks have the leftovers, the vegetable peelings go on the compost, along with the middle of toilet rolls and tea bags, and we eat what we have got. Only the other day I could hear my dear friend in my head when I reached for a basil plant saying “What are you buying that for when there is  basil available in my garden?!” I put it back!

But I do also have mint growing in pots and in the garden, and my little herb garden just outside the door made from an old sink from my Edwardian house that I brought over with me from England,  has chives, rosemary and trailing thyme. I also have sage in another part of the garden which was in the herb garden by was struggling in the heat and had to be moved ..

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We have seven peppers currently forming on the pepper plants and I am hoping that, due to the heat, I will actually succeed in growing red peppers this year. The tomato plants are starting to have tiny little tomatoes on them, and we have a variety of both large tomatoes and cherry (or cocktail as they are known in France).  Add to that the three to four eggs a day that we get from the chooks and we are on our way to a “Good Life”, just so long as we don’t get sick of eating eggs! My next foray in cooking something new will be a fratata, with chorizo, onions, and peas.

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In the autumn we will have a ton of walnuts from our huge tree and cobnuts from the host of cobnuts that line our chemin. None will go to waste this year, we will share them with friends and neighbours.

This is one of the many things that I love about living here, it makes you think about everything you use, and how you can work with nature, who will give you all you need if you let it.

Some readers have asked for some recipes they will be coming, watch this space; and they may well involve cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and cherries!! I will this year also make an attempt at cooking a walnut cake.

Moisy

 

 

 

The Hedgehogs, the Welshies, a ditch, and pyjamas!! Oh the mad English!!

As you know we have been really busy and the Thursday a couple of weeks ago was no exception. We were working hard with a friend in her garden in over twenty four degree heat, not getting home until 6pm; we returned to the house which looked like the “before” house on a programme where obsessive compulsive cleaners come to clean; the kitchen was full (and I mean full) of rubble, dust everywhere, I could stand it no longer so we set about taking wheelbarrows full of rubble up to our dumping spot (you all have a dumping spot in your garden in France!!)

By 11pm we were finally showered and ready to sit down with a glass of wine, dinner was in the oven, and watch one of our favourite programmes. Given the time, and that our neighbours have kids, Rich went out in his pyjamas (comprising of a pair of shorts and T shirt) to get the dogs in; they were nowhere to be seen in the garden! So he came running back in to get a torch (remember if you choose a house in rural France you need a torch because it is very, very dark!) and collect me in my pyjamas (consisting of a pair of cropped white trousers with white hearts on them and a pink vest top)  to help him.

As we got outside we could hear a commotion going on in the ditch just outside our garden. (In rural France there are no main drainage systems unless you are in a town or city so most gardens have ditches at the side for excess water to drain away). Now picture the scene…..

…we had been remiss and not cleared our ditch since living here so it was waist high in nettles, grass, that sticky grass and brambles; and where were our Welshies? In the bloody ditch trying to get a hedgehog!! There was snarling and barking and grunting going on, neither of them had their collars on (because we take their “clothes” off when it is time for bed). So out of the garden we went and Rich, my hero, plunged into the ditch, nettles brambles and ticks and all!! My role was to shine the torch.

Both of our neighbours were still up and we live in a hamlet that is literally a circle, so they were looking at us out of the window and I can imagine the conversation now: “What are they doing now?!”

“They are running about in their ditch”

“What have they got on?”

“Their pyjamas!!”

“Why?”

“I don’t know they have their dogs in their with them! Perhaps it is a cultural thing!”

“Oh ze mad English!!”

In the meantime Rich had managed to get both dogs, who had moved a large log to get out of the garden under the fence, and we brought them in where I made them both sit and told them, in my best stern voice, that they were very very naughty.

Harley looked distraught, but Wiglet looked like she couldn’t give a shit!!

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With that I opened the door for one of the cats and out she ran again, with Harley in hot pursuit followed by Rich and I. In my best stern voice I shouted “Do you want me to get cross again?” It worked! They both stopped looked at me and ran in,  straight up the stairs to bed. Rich looked at me and said “you frightened me then!!”

So we went in and hit the wine, turned the dinner down and decided to watch the programme on +1!!

What happened to the hedgehog? It snuffled away.

What happened to the ditch, we cleared it out the very next day!!

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And when we went to lunch with our neighbours? They thought it had all been hilarious and very entertaining, and they had wondered what the hell we were doing!

All part of the adventure….

Moisy

 

 

 

A wonderful afternoon in France

This weekend I found myself looking at the sun going down and thinking “Wow! I live in France!”

Our French friends (some of whom are also our neighbours) had invited us to lunch. Rich and I had no idea what to expect so we dressed up (a rare thing these days for two people who spend most of their time in old holey tracksuit bottoms covered in mud!) and off we went with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation.

In many ways France reminds me so much of Ireland; first we went to the home of  Martin and Nadine (privacy has been respected here) M and N invited us in and offered us a drink and aperitifs, even though really we were not staying at their house but going on to the home of Manu and Edith (privacy again respected.) But despite this out came the aperitif dish with nuts, small cheeses, and olives and out came the drink of whisky and a fruit flavoured drink for the ladies. (Always I am offered a sweet fruity alcoholic drink.) After that we were then whisked away to the home of M and E.

It was a beautiful hot sunny day, over twenty eight degrees, so we were invited to sit on the patio and out came the champagne and more aperitifs, of crab balls with cheese inside, melon, small square cheeses (the ones available in England, they are very popular in France), there were mussels, garlic, peanuts, and cherry tomatoes. After drinking two bottles of champagne it was into the the conservatory to sit at a beautifully laid table and out came various coleslaws, cous cous, and bread.  After that came  ice cream as a mouth cleanser (no not sorbet), it was in a glass with the deadly calva (home made apple brandy) pouted over it. I could not drink the calva, seriously I would have been on the floor!

Then on to the main course of beef steak cooked on the BBQ, a selection of vegetables consisting of green beans, thinly sliced potatoes, carrots and peas which had been cooked and then fried in butter (delicious), with a pepper sauce available as you wished; this was then followed by meringue, ice cream and macaroons in all different flavours (which are Richard’s favourite so he was in his element.)

They are really lovely our friends and thanks to my wonderful French teacher I could converse quite well with them (we took some of the printed leaflets from the French lessons to help Rich.) Due to this we got onto the subject of speaking French and much hilarity was had when I recalled the first time I had met Martin and told him that we had five cats and commented on the weather by telling him I was hot. This may sound innocent except chat (cat) is pronounced Cha, you do not pronounce the T. If you do pronounce the T you are actually talking about your fanny (vagina!!!) Also if you want to say you are hot you simply say it is hot, if you say I am hot you are actually saying that you are hot stuff and want sex!!! So when I first met my neighbour I told him that I had five fannies and wanted sex!!! Add to this he was wearing his “petit, petit shorts” (the ones we all rib him about) and God knows what he thought. Much hilarity was had about this and also at the fact they kept pumping Rich full of macaroons because he said he loved them!

After a wonderful afternoon it was all back to Martin’s house (in the small hamlet where we live) for a game of boules. It is the second time I have played and the second time I have been in the winning team. In fact Martin asked if I had played before because I was doing well and I really think it is because my Dad Paddy (bless him,I am sure he was looking down on me with pride) was very good at bowles.

As I sat on their veranda in the hot evening sun,  I looked across the rolling hills, whilst listening to our wonderful French friends chattering away with the family members who had now joined us and thought “Now I am truly living in France!”  It felt both wonderful and surreal.

A perfect day with the finishing touch of the  bright orange harvest moon that was hanging in the sky as the night drew in.

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Moisy

Oops we’ve done it again!! The renovation continues….

So where have I been? I give you three posts over as many days and then nothing! Nada! Here’s why…….

Do you remember the kitchen my lovely husband built me? (For those new to my blog look in the my home tag)……

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It was backed up against the pantry wall and we decided that our kitchen was just too dark because we only had small high windows letting the light in. So the Sunday after my last post about Eurovision (and perhaps due to the amount of alcohol we had drunk during Eurovision!!) we decided (as we do!) sod it!! Lets knock the wall down between the pantry and the kitchen and have a big kitchen with more light. Let’s strike whilst the iron is hot!

Did we care that we were also beginning the renovation of the spare bedroom, with the tons of furniture and God knows what in it? Not us! No! Why should we care…. Even though the clowns were screaming to be ripped from the walls and the room looked like this…

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So the boy went for it, hangover and all, and here he is starting the chaos!!

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And here he is after four hours hammering and drilling shoveling the debris…

We like to be spontaneous so we left the fridge, the ornaments, the shabby chic cabinet (which is now a little more shabby chic after lumps of concrete fell on it, trust me it just adds to the overall picture!) in place, gung ho! We say gung ho! (We must be bloody mad!!)

And here it is now after he got his kango out (Noo…. all you Kenneth Williams wannabees it is a large drill for those who may be thinking it was something else!!)

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Please note the Welshy posing for you, to add enhancement to the look!!

The boy did good, but we have had cement and rubble everywhere and at one point, because we were busy with clients, I had rubble in my kitchen for over three days, my house looked like a “before” house prior to the obsessive compulsive cleaners coming in to clean it, and I think that they may have run screaming from the scene!

But it didn’t end there because behind the wall were the open stairs to the cellar so Rich had to put a floor in to cover them, again the boy did good…

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But it still does not end there (No! I hear you cry) because for those who have been reading my blog you will know that Rich and I don’t want a traditional off the shelf kitchen, we want it to look as if it has evolved, we want it to look like a traditional working country kitchen. So we are not putting fitted cupboards in but we do have the table that Rich made (many moons ago .. see my posts for October 2015) which was kitchen worktop we had left over and that is being screwed to the wall, the bookshelves have been put on top and all will be shabby chic’ed to the max in a lovely pale grey. We have spent most of today moving furniture around to get it right and allow space and the maximum amount of light to come through the windows (as well as some cats that have also taken to coming through the windows to avoid the Welshies!!)

And we chose to do all of this in temperatures of over thirty degrees, as well as work, meet new clients and try and fight through our garden due to hedgehogs and Welshies(look out for the upcoming post, that is another story!)

We are knackered!!

But the light in my kitchen is brilliant and although I don’t have time to decorate in the near future I love the space I have. Rich now has to block the wall up that was over the stairs that lead to the cellar before the winter and we all freeze to death.

Why don’t I have time to decorate the kitchen because I have also spent three days over the last few weeks stripping the clowns from the bedroom wall and have this chaos to deal with before friends come over mid June!!

 

My job also includes finally starting to shabby chic my floors as I have done for someone else, because I love the look and if I don’t do it now I never will

I promise I will be posting again this week, I have a reflective post that is dear to my heart and it is on it’s way.

Have a good week

Moisy

 

 

 

A little aperetif before Eurovision

Our dear friend has nagged Rich and I about not eating lunch, so much so she started to feed us, bless her. But she has got us into simple French food and more often than not we have,  cheeses, saucissons(dried sausage), bread, and more than anything olives.

We bought this little bowl for our olives, they are all mixed together with some additionsl olive oil, currently infused by my own fair hand with garlic and parsley, dipping our bread into the oil, thre is no need for butter.

We have been busy today, so we fell into old habits, and ate just now, in our garden in  the evening sun. We were,of course, joined by the cheese loving welshies and the toothless cat. All washed down with a good Bordeaux, costing less than two euro. Life does not get better than this; and what better start to the evening of bad music, nutcases, political voting, and over the top performances, all of which make the Eurovison so fantastic!! Cannot wait. We don’t care who wins,  it’s all about the music, and for Rich who has the biggest tits!!

Happy Eurovision everyone.

 

Moisy

 

 

 

The naughty French class

Hi to all

In the last eight months my French teacher has been holding our French class at my house. Life never seems to amaze me that like minded people (like minded like me and a bit mad with no agenda) have radiated towards the class.

Before I go on with this post I need to be really clear that my French teacher Carole is absolutely  superb, in the way that she constructs the class and helps us all. She teaches us about French culture in the Pays de Loire (because it is a farrrrming community) and how to cut corners, because that is how people naturally speak. But more than that she has the patience of a saint!! She must have come to our class and thought Oh a class of adults, all women, should be an easy and lovely class to teach.

But no!!! We are aged from our thirties to our sixties (and trust me the one in her sixties is the naughtiest one of all. I love her!!) and you would think we would be well behaved, but we are like a group of teenage schoolgirls, and trust me I know I went to a convent!

Carol likes to start the class by asking us all what we have done in the last week and we have to reply in French. We are now banned from saying we took the dog for a walk, mentioning the Queen, or tyres (pneu), because it is all we kept saying! Also, due to the nature of the question, since we started we have learnt the French for b******s, because someone had their donkey castrated and they were left all over the field! For arsehole, because I had the hump with Rich and wanted to tell them exactly how I felt! Slapper because that is what someone thought of someone in their village, during that conversation we also learnt the words for whore, arse, sod off, disgusting, go f**k yourself and f**k off, and shut your mouth.

Poor Carole, she tries hard to keep the lesson on track, but we pay for her to teach us and so she obliges!! With all of us giggling all the time. But I have to say we do learn.

One week we had to say what we would pack to go to various places, and Carole gave us a realistic list. Jan took her lipstick and high heels everywhere, even to the jungle, because as she said she may have to charm the natives! Y took a condom everywhere even on a walk, and I wore my bobble hat everywhere even to the spa. Poor Carole she looks at us with despair as we all sit there giggling uncontrollably.

So this week it looked as if Carole was on to a winner.  We all sat there being good, Jan and I in the easy chairs which seem to be becoming the naughty corner. The task was to use the French word for so, for example I broke my arm so I called…. I went to…. I asked etc. We were doing well when Y got “I dirtied my trousers…..” That was it, poor Carole, Jan went pooh I though I could smell something, your not getting in my car not without putting something on the seat!Y was in tears and could not finish the sentence, I was sobbing with laughter. as was everyone else. In fact Y and I could not look at each other throughout the rest of the lesson without starting to giggle. So we did learn j’ai la lourir – I have the giggles. (I hope I have spelt that right because i was laughing so much. )

I love our French class, I have made some wonderful friends from it, and we all support each other, and the French teacher, who is also our friend, she is second to none.

Hope this made you laugh!

Moisy

Adventures, sad bits an all

Hi

A few weeks ago my dear friend who was also my neighbour in England contacted me to say that my old, beautiful house is now being let out as a holiday let. It made me feel really really sad.

I have said many times before in my posts that one of the hardest things I did was leave my house, I loved it. I put my heart and soul into it, it was a lovely family home.

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I was surprised about how upset I was, and it brought me quite down. I looked it up on air b&b, and although I liked some of the changes that had been made it no longer flowed or looked loved. The only good thing was that all of the people that stayed there loved it as well.

So as Rich and i sat there on that Sunday afternoon, I realised that part of the adventure was learning to let go. I could not go back, much as I love my friend next door and my friend Mary who also lives in Herne Bay, I could never be so crowded in again. I loved that house but not having people in front of me, behind me and either side of me. So I had to let go, life is about moving forward and the here and now.

Taking on this adventure I now see life as chapters, and chapters have to come to an end to enable you to move on to the next. Closing that chapter may be poignant and difficult but who knows what the next one will hold.

So here is to my new house, and who knows I might manage to get started on that bedroom soon!

 

 

Happy Friday

Moisy

 

 

Where have you been? I hear you say!    

This is now our second summer of living here and I am starting to realise that life comes “back to life”in France when the weather warms up, believe me,it really does, in every way! The shrubbery and grass grow like mad things, more and more people need help with their gardens and maintenance projects in the gardens, and time just runs away with you. (Add to that the odd glass of wine in the garden in the evening!)

I could not believe that I have not written my blog for so long, or, indeed, responded to any of the comments that people have made. My apologies to all and thank you so much for your lovely feedback; I love that you love my blog, even with all of its irreverence at times;  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to welcome all of my readers, new ones and faithful followers, I feel that I have let you down to have left it for so long.

I know that some of the people following my blog are considering taking the plunge, opening the gate and living their life as an adventure, you are all welcome, and I will always try to tell you a true story, not rose tinted, but real;  sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes inspiring.  I also know that others are on the adventure, be it in France, Spain or other places in the world, and I hope that my blog will make you laugh, cause you to empathise and even, sometimes, to stand up  and think “do you know what? I did not go on this adventure to mix with arseholes and all their crap, so I am going to leave them behind, and sometimes even address their bad behaviour and tell them to “sod off.” (Other swear words are available!)

So on to an update…………..

Good news, Richard’s business is finally gaining some ground; not only is he getting more work, we have sorted out various other things, and, most importantly of all, we have lovely, friendly clients who give wonderful feedback and appreciate what he does. Finally! (See previous posts about some of the awful people we have worked for since moving here, “it’s time someone said something”).

I have been helping Rich in planning, and sometimes in what he is doing, and I also have the role of  the unpaid secretary of the house. We are knackered but it is all good, and we look forward to developing the business further as the time goes on, to pay into French taxes (no I am not mad!) and really live in France.

But, there is a but…. I don’t know whether it is an English thing, or just that people who are hard workers feel awful if they turn work down and allow time for themselves,  and those of you who have read my blog  know after my post recently (see for some people I know, a little bit more about me) I of all people should know better, and not push myself too hard, or Rich. It is a hard habit to break and I have had to remind myself of a quote from the 9th verse of the Tao

“To keep on filling

Is not as good as stopping.

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,

Better to stop pouring.”

From the book “Change your thoughts change your life.” By Dr Wayne. W. Dyer

So many people have got in touch recently saying how they are sick of living in the “rat race”, feeling as if they are stuck “in a rut” and I think it is important to remember to let old habits go if you take on an adventure, it is after all about seeing where life takes you, and not just moving to another country and living the same life as you were before.

So instead of worrying we both practice not worrying and we believe that things will come our way, if we just let go and let them sometimes. Although we need work to live, we have learnt that we have not come over here to work for people who are rude, and we choose if we want to work for some people depending on their behaviour. We believed that nice people would be sent our way and they have been.

Another quote that comes to mind is “Yes, others might judge you as unmotivated and call you an ignoramus, but your reward will be the strong sense of inner peace that comes from a direct knowing that you’re here as a guest who’s always being provided for. Yes, you may seem to be missing something, but the something is really only an illusion. You’re no longer living inside of yourself with a desire to be someone else or to gain something that seems to be omnipresent in all of those around you – you’ve traded in striving for arriving.”

From the book “Change your thoughts change your life.” By Dr Wayne. W. Dyer

When I look at the things that surround me that cost me nothing, but are priceless, I know I have arrived.

 

 

I have also been busy for myself because I am in  the process of setting up an Etsy shop, I will let you know when it is open.  I am busy researching the items that catch my eye at brocantes and vide greniers, and the season for both is now firmly underway with a vide grenier somewhere every Sunday. I love it, love old things and love that others love them too; I have the ability to source little French things out  for people who may never get the chance to come to France and I will find it rewarding that by sending them a little piece of France that they can have in their homes, they will get joy from it.

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We have finished the chicken coop, and collected the chickens. They have half of the goats shed as their coop and I think that they are thinking that they live in the chicken equivalent of the Paris Hilton Hotel, because they don’t just have a bedroom they have the equivalent (in chicken terms) of a whole floor!

Happy chickens

We have bought them hay and put in cardboard boxes (so that we can throw them away and replace) there is sawdust on the floor and straw, and they are rewarding us with eggs every day and have been since day one. They love the grass and their coop being under the trees, and even lay in the sun sunbathing.

They love me and respond to my voice (probably because I was always feeding them something! )My neighbours think I am mad because I walk towards them going “hear chook, chook, chook, chook” and then proceed to talk to them in chicken (I know no shame!) when they talk to me.

But sadly the fly in the ointment is called Wiglet the Welsh terrier. She is a murderess of small things    (as you know in the nineteen months we have had her she has had a pigeon, a rat, numerous mice, a rabbit and tried to murder two of the cats.!)

 

She is like a thing possessed and just spends hours and hours running round and round the coop trying to get in. She has kept us busy, dug a hole under the goats shed and managed to get her head in with them, has pulled up the wire so we have had to tether it down, and double it up and Rich is just about to get some chicken wire, and we also have to put on her on a long lead sometimes when she works herself into a frenzy.

Harley is bored with them now and the only times he barks at them is when the chickens front him out!! Seriously! They front the Welshies, and Harley then looks at them like “You what? Your f*****g fronting me out chicken?! Seriously! I am a f*****g Welshie and now I am going to murder you!”

Wiglet then encourages him and here they are trying to get in the gate.

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But the chickens fight back, and have now started to peck Wiglet when she gets her nose to close and jump up and scratch her with their claws if she sticks her nose in the fence. We have ninja chickens! It could only happen to us!

 

The good life is still trying to get off the ground, (see my posts Ooh Matron we have gone all Tom and Barbara and Oh No! It’s gone Pete Tong.”) But still difficult as I bought some tomato, cucumber and pepper plants; then the frost came back and attacked one of the tomato plants, killed the cucumber plants before I had even planted them, and then the one surviving tomato plants, that had not been touched by the frost, got broken by Wiglet with the lead we are using to tie her up. (I swear she did it on purpose!) But I am not giving up especially with the cucumbers. In fact I might do a whole series of posts called the Cucumber Saga!! I have bought a huge one now,(cucumber that is!)  with established cucumbers already growing so look out for future posts. All of the plants will be potted in pots, as you know the potager turned into Armageddon and has now been put back to grass!

But more than anything in the past few weeks we have spent time with new friends (yes we have found the nice ones!) Last weekend we went to our small local bar and met some real characters, French and English, and had fun with our mad, and much loved, friend Jan. On Sunday we went to a BBQ at my friend Louise’s house and met more really nice people, and on Monday we were invited to dinner at our friend’s house. We can’t keep up!! We were knackered at the end of it.

We both feel that the adventure really is going now….. so look out for more posts, summer is on it’s way, twenty four degrees yesterday, raining today!

I would love it if you could share my blog with others, and also if you would use the star rating at the top of each post to tell me what you think…… but comments? Please comment, I love comments and so do the other readers.

Thank you

 

Moisy

 

 

The Good Life continues, but we are trying a different format

I know! You’re shocked another post in as many days!!

Remember the vegetable plot? How excited we were after spending six hours (over two days because it was bloody hard work because Rich had put his back out) digging up my lawn, and  how we used logs from our garden (very rustic) to boarder it, we were so excited.

Do you remember how I lovingly put in my chillies and my cucumbers, that turned out to be a triffid courgette, with courgettes as big as marrows but no bloody cucumbers? How I planted my spring onion seeds and sweetcorn seeds? And then we had one of the coldest starts to the summer on record, followed by a heatwave and it turned into this!!!!!!!!

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Then you will not be surprised when I tell you that the  vegetable plot is no more! I have given up on it! The logs have been moved, the grass is growing back!! I need to be realistic!

I think it is a common thing when you move, to France in particular, you have this idyllic picture in your head …….

You will get land, lots of land (don’t! An acre is enough if you don’t have livestock, or plan to set up a farm, remember you have to maintain your land and trust me it takes us over two hours to mow just under an acre!) anyway I digress…. there will be vegetables growing, chickens  clucking around your feet, a sun hat on your head, a basket in your hand as you waft between rows of potatoes, runner beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, with your dress flowing out and gently blowing with the breeze. The reality last year was that the sweetcorn did not grow, or my spring onions, God knows what happened to them! Don’t get me started on the peppers, after hours of watering and feeding three plants I got three peppers! Whoop Whoop! No cucumbers, just monster courgettes, and about twenty tomatoes from six plants. It doesn’t help when your Welshie monsters keep jumping in the patch and peeing up your plants! So your idyll turns into something resembling Armageddon!

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Seriously I was crying with laughter when I reviewed this picture. I remembered all the scrabbling around on my hands and knees weeding, wondering why my cucumbers were growing so big, and only when they were the size of a marrow you would put into a show did I finally admit defeat and realise that my cucumbers were not to be. Apart from one, that grew like a fat round tennis ball, that was it!!

So we have given up, but not completely; my terrace reaches temperatures of over fifty degrees in the sunshine so the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are being put into big pots and put on the terrace, the peppers should even go red! Having said that I have already bought two of each plant and my two cucumber plants have died already and I haven’t even potted the bloody things up yet! But I will persevere because there is nothing like the taste of a home grown cucumber. Although I feel that I may be jinxed.

The chickens? Well we thought it would be impossible with two Welshies, one of whom likes to kill any small thing she can lay her teeth into, bless she was so proud when she killed a rat and brought it over to show me, add to her repertoire a pigeon, a rabbit and nearly two of the cats and you can see where I am going. But we are about to re-home six  chickens and hubby has been building them a big run, using the stumps of the trees we cut down for part of the perimeter. We have bought metal rods to hold the fencing down, and the large logs will also be used to stop the naughty, murderess from getting in to them. We hope!

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As you will see she is just casing the joint this afternoon, and you can also see that they have a log playground, until we find the time to chop them up for this winter!!

Also please note hubby dressed in his finest!!!

When we viewed the house there were goats in residence so we are going to use the existing goats shed as their coop, and, seriously, they will be the most spoilt chickens in the world.

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It is still a  work in progress folks, it will be higher on all sides and chicken wire is also being added, you will see it in it’s finest next week.

I had to re-home the chickens you see because I know them personally and have come to have a soft spot for them, so when I knew that they had to leave their current home I also knew that serendipity had stepped in again to say “you have them.”

As for eggs, well they lay well at the moment but I am not sure how well they will lay with two Welshies staring at them all day, with a look on their faces of “come and play with me little chicken, lets play kill the chicken, I will let you run away first!!” But we shall see, we hope that The Wiglet will get bored, we know Harley will.

I will name them, we won’t be able to eat them, as I said to my dear friend Jan “I cannot eat something I have named.” To which she replied “Then call one of them dinner, and one of them stuffing!!”

But it has always been our dream to own chickens, and whilst the idyll of the floaty dress, hat, and basket has been lost I do love to hear them clucking away.

Here is to next weekend, and a better harvest this year. You never know I may dress up after all!

Moisy