Wind and rain.


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The wind has picked up and the rain has come in. Our house on the hill is being battered by the elements, it sounds as if the ‘ little people’ are throwing shingle at our shutters.

I give thanks for the warm covers over me, the Welshies snuggling around me and my husband beside me.

Count your blessings, I am, as the rain sings me to sleep


Belief. Life’s messages


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This is the Table beside my blue wing back chair.

It is a place I sit often to write, manage our life, and just look at life; and this table holds many things I use: my journal, my diary, my iPad, my book, books I am reading, currently Mark Nepo ‘The Book of Awakenings’, and ‘The Road Less Travelled and Beyond’. It has become a little sanctuary to me, as I look out on my garden, often with a Welshie sitting opposite me.

I took the picture of my table last night because today is my birthday, and as I placed the flowers that RD had bought me on my table (where else would they go?!) with my cards, ready to open this morning, I realised how much this table encapsulates my life, and just how blessed I am.

I have no religion, or ‘God’. Perhaps my ‘God’ is life. I truly believe that life does show you the way, if you have faith. But as with all faiths sometimes it is hard to hold on to them. I will do another blog to show how life has shown us over this month to believe in it, and ourselves, but today I want to share a gift I was given by our client.

I have often written about the awful people we have worked for, but yesterday our client paid their bill and then gave us a tip on top! A tip that will enable us to buy wood for the rest of the winter. But it was not the actual tip that was the biggest gift, it was the fact that it reminded me that there are good and kind people out there. It bought tears to my eyes because of that, because of their kindness, and because it gave me a lesson, and it gave me faith.

I think I will chalk that up as one of the best gifts ever, along with my son turning up at Christmas: spiritual gifts not material ones.


You can read our other story by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect

Having the opportunity


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I have been really busy since New Year helping H with a job. It’s coming to an end now, so now I have some time off.

My blogs have suffered, as has my social media interaction, but that will all be boosted again now.

My book seems to be doing pretty well, in fact it was positioned at 185,00 on Amazon best sellers rank on and off over the past month. Given how many books they sell I am taking that as a good thing; add to that the three 5 star ratings I have received this month and I am hopeful.

But I cannot sit on my laurels, promotion is the key so to add to my Twitter, Facebook (as Rosie Joseph) my Facebook page ”Making This Better’, and my Facebook Group ‘Making This Better’, I now have an Instagram page of the same name with followers going up each day. So after working with H all day I have been coming home and interacting with others all over the world.

I always knew, all those years ago, that my story would help others, our story would help others. What happened to us changed our lives, and I know some people will find it hard to believe, but for the better. If it hadn’t happened then I would not be sitting in my cold winters garden in France writing this blog.

But more than anything it is the wonderful messages that I get from people from all over the globe saying how my book has helped them; how they find themselves reading it and nodding and saying to themselves ‘that’s me.’

But you see I give them hope, because I am here now helping others, I am proof that you can come out the other side. Every message I get brings tears to my eyes, because I was there once, and I know their pain, and the messages are so wonderful, and grateful. The reviews on Amazon say it all really.

What has that got to do with this adventure? Everything. If we had not come here I would have been so caught up in the ‘rat race’ that I would probably never had time to write my book; and If I had, it may have had a less open perspective, given the crap I was putting up with in England.

In addition it shows that trust can grow, because RD and I had to trust each other to take on this adventure, and we had to work as a team to do it. As a result I know that we are changing other people’s lives, from what they tell me. We are giving them hope.

That’s got to be a good thing hasn’t it?


You can read our other story by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect

Winter Sunshine and Welshies.


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As I have said before I am trying to take the opportunity to spend time outside with nature, and my two beloved dogs.

It has been bitterly cold this past week in our rural area of France, and the thing with old stone houses is: they may look pretty but they are bloody cold if left without any heating in these kind of temperatures.

I have been working with RD this month, assisting and bossing him about. (I do the snagging in our business because I am a picky bitch!) So we have been freezing cold as we have not been lighting the fire until later, with the house eventually becoming warm and toasty just as we are going to bed!

But the job is coming to an end, so today I am at home, literally keeping the home fires burning. So the fire was lit this morning, and the house is warm, I have filled the log cabinet and RD can relax when he gets home.

Although cold it has been beautifully sunny and I have taken the opportunity to sit in my garden, at one with nature. Well as one as you can get it when accompanied by two Welsh Terriers!

But seriously the time I have with my dogs is never going to be enough; and being someone who always gets caught up in ‘the doing’, I need to remind myself daily to take a moment and enjoy the simple things in my life. Like sitting in the winter sunshine, with my dogs.

We pretty much know that our time here will be limited, and that we are likely to move to pastures new. So I need to enjoy this beautiful place whilst I can, so that I have memories to take with me, and no regret.

Enjoy it all, no matter the weather, breathe it in….


You can read my other blog by clicking on the link abive. It may surprise you.

Making This Better my book is also available in all good bookstores including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books and so many more.

Kindness on a cold winter’s morn.


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This was our sunrise on this cold morning in France.

Over the summer a little feral cat appeared in our garden. Needless to say she was chased off by the Welshies; but as winter drew in we found that when our bin was full, the bags would be ripped open, she was clearly looking for food.

Me, being me, bought some cheap cat food from the supermarket, we were broke but not so broke that we couldn’t help the little cat. But she disappeared and the tins have been left in the cupboard.

Today, when I let the Welshies out for their ablutions they proceeded to bark frantically at the gate.

When RD went out to investigate in the pitch black with his ‘Christmas Present’ torch (gifts are practical now!) the little cat was sitting on the gatepost. It must have been so cold and hungry it took the chance of aggravating the Welshies to see if it could get any food. Needless to say a bowl of food was dispatched and put under my car so the little cat felt safe to eat it.

I truly believe a little kindness from us all could start a wave in the world, instead of all the evil.

And all this before we had our first cup of tea!

Have a good day folks, do something kind.


It may surprise some of you if your read my other blog Making This Better, it may help some of you too.

Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect

New Life


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As some of you might have guessed my dear old Mil Mol’s passing had left me with writers block on both my blogs. I needed some time to just allow things to be.

I have thought for a while that we were going to have an early Spring; the clematis in our garden are sprouting new leaves in anticipation of summer, and even in late December I noticed that the primroses were coming up early, and as I walked around our garden I could feel that Spring was just on the cusp, as if she was standing behind me waiting to step into view.

Today it is sunny and cold, with the temperature not rising above six degrees, but the sunshine is warm, and has heat in it, reaffirming that new beginnings are on their way. And as if to underline all that I felt, as I was driving home today a hare ran across my path. As you know from previous posts I love hares. I will take it as a good omen that prosperity is on it’s way and that there will be rebirth.

Hares also serve as a reminder to trust your instinct and know your worth. I shouldn’t be surprised given that today I asked life to give me some indications re something we are deliberating over;it sent a Hare to remind us of the lesson we learned: knowing our worth.

Molly dying made me stop and think, as I believe death should: it should be a catalyst to make you reassess. I haven’t done any of the journal writing I said I would in my previous post. I know I must, I know I want to, and given that a hare is often a symbol sent to you to make you stop and reflect, then clearly life is trying to tell me something.

I love France, and most things French, but this is not my last adventure, I know that.

I should go and write my journal now, the hoovering can wait!




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Inspired by my fellow blogger and cyber friend Kat I have included this picture. It pretty much sums up how we feel right now: incredibly sad.

There is a pervading air of sadness in our house since Molly died, she was here so long. This picture of the weeping willow weeping into the lake, all of which has been painted by the Hoar Frost, reminds me of a time of silence, and is pertinent to how we feel. Right now we need silence and solitude, just with each other and our remaining pets, who are also showing signs of grief.

But it is also pertinent because the Hoar Frost eventually thawed, and the willow came back to life in the spring; as we will too, once we have processed and sat with our pain. I know this.

I have been reading blogs today, and I was inspired by one to write a letter to myself about what I hope this year will hold, and what I hope for, and where I hope to be by the end of the year. For me that will be a good exercise because (as with all endings) I have been reminded (again) that life is short and to seize the moment. But I also know that what we think we want is not necessarily what we need.

It was not just a New Year, it is a new decade, and R/D and I had already decided to reflect on where we were ten years ago, and all the things that happened to us in our life. Not least moving here, and falling in love with Welsh Terriers. It is a poignant reminder that at the end of this decade they will not be here with us, another reminder to cherish every moment.

We will also reflect on what we have achieved, what we thought we wanted back then, and see how much of what we thought we needed we didn’t need at all. I will share some of that on here.

So today I am going to take the Christmas decorations down, it’s time to move into something new, and I am going to open my new journal (how apt that the other one ran out just as the new decade came into being!) and do my form of meditation. But not before I found out my journal from ten years ago and read what I wrote then.

Mellow New Year


The biggest green eyes in the world


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Pat a cake, pat a cake

Bakers man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Pat it, and prick it

And mark it with C

And out it in the Oven for Molly and me

Molly Kitten was born in our cupboard on the 1st of May 2000. We told Tom he could pick a kitten from the five born, and he picked another one. But this naughty kitten picked us, and she would come out of the cupboard and do naughty things to make us laugh, needless to say Tom changed his mind.

Molly died in my arms at twenty minutes past midnight last night. She saw in the New Year in my arms, held close and loved, just as I promised her she would be.

I know she was loved from the moment she was born, until the moment she died, she was my beautiful girl. All her life I have recited the above nursery rhyme to her, whilst she let me pat her paws; and at the end, during the closing days, I would stroke her and whisper it to her as a comfort.

She had many names, not least Cowbag Kitten because she was so naughty; but through her long life she was also known as Princess Tippytoes, Madam Pomfrey, Shark tail, and most of all my beautiful green eyed girl.

When we brought new kittens home she would immediately become their surrogate mum. I know Tilly was coming to take her home, we lost Tilly nearly two years ago. Last night Daisy lay behind me on the sofa as I held her, and Diddies lay close by. Everybody loved her so.

When RD was gone during ‘The War’ Molly would lay one side of me on the sofa, with our old Westie, Snowy the Dude, on the other side of me. It was as if they were hugging me, telling me I would be okay. I know that dog will be part of the contingent who came to take her to rainbow bridge.

She never liked the cold, my Mil Mol Hol Pol. She was never happier snuggled somewhere warm, or in the hot sun in summer. When she was two years old she jumped out of our bedroom window onto,our flat roof and landed in two inches of snow, the look in her face as she turned to me and meowed, as if to say WTF is this?

She was a prolific hunter, especially birds, so when we moved her to live by the sea and a seagull that was bigger than her landed on our balcony one day she just stopped in her tracks, and looked at Rich and Meowed loudly, as if to say ‘why have you bought me somewhere where birds can eat me?’ It didn’t stop her climbing up the roof to take a look at their nest though, resulting in both her and me being dive-bombed by angry seagulls.

She was fourteen when we brought her to France, she retired to the continent and spent her last days in front of the fire or laying in the baking sun. She loved milk and cream, and food, and ate up to her last day.

She didn’t want to go, she wanted to stay forever, because all she had ever known was love, and all she ever gave was love. But I whispered to her last night to let go, go with them and wait for me, until I arrive one day.

We have to bury her today, I know that what is lovingly wrapped in a towel downstairs is just Molly’s shell, her spirit has gone, but I will find it so hard to leave her in the cold.

Farewell my beautiful green eyed girl, I promised you that you would die with mummy and daddy and you did. The kitchen was empty this morning without you there to meow hello.

I lied I will cry, I am crying now.


For Auld Lang Syne


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This is a song that has always made me tear up when I sing it, but I had no idea what the words meant!

Auld Lang Syne literally translated means old long since, or days gone by. Being an empath the poignancy is not lost on me: the days that have gone, those that we have loved and lost, bringing in the New Year remembering them, but looking to the future.

I sat in my sunny garden yesterday, in the crisp cold air, and wrote my journal for the first time in a long time, and in it I wrote…

‘Dylan, and Oscar, and Sophie died this year. Sometimes our garden seems full of memories, of the ghosts of all the animals who were running around in it. Let us not forget  Tilly Kitten   who was also here then.

Then there were the chickens, the last girly died this year and Claudy the Cockerel was found a new home and a new girlfriend. Our garden became very quiet when they left, no more clucking, no more barking from Wiglet.


But life reminds us constantly that change is the only constant, and all we can do is evolve with it; carry our sadness for those who loved us, and who we loved but now we can no longer see or talk to. I have a strong feeling that there is a contingent here of animals passed, all waiting for Molly, whose time is imminent. She sits on my lap now, whenever possible, and I treasure every moment. Here she is, on my lap, early this morning.

For me the ending of the year and the ringing in of the New is a time for reflection, I don’t anticipate, as I know that life is doing the driving. I don’t look to the New Year believing it will bring me untold joy, happiness and wealth; I just know that it will bring me what I need (even if I don’t realise it at the time).

Last year we started the New Year not knowing if this was still the life for us. We believed that life would show us the way     and it did: we went forward with our own business and used all we had learnt in our careers, and it has been the best year yet, where work has been concerned.  We are still broke but we are the ones in charge of our lives p, and for the first time ever since living here we go into the New Year with some work. Where emotions are concerned we have learnt a lot this year, mainly remembered the people that we really are, we had lost them somewhere along the way, their back now.

I wrote how I finally came back to being me; and as a result my other blog has reached over 110,000 views in just over a year. This blog has more followers and views than ever before and I got my book published. The response from people all over the world has been so encouraging and I haven’t really started to fully promote it yet. So all good. I have met some wonderful people via cyber-space, who have truly inspired me at times.

But we don’t hold on too tight any more. That is the lesson we learnt this year: don’t hold on to something so tight you stop other things coming to you, or you stay stuck. A lesson from the Tao but also a fantastic lesson in Mark Nepo’s book of awakening:

To catch monkeys holes would be cut in coconuts just big enough for a monkey to get his hand through, then the coconut would be filled with rice to entice the monkey. The hungry monkey would come along and put his hand in the coconut, but of course once his hand was made into a fist to hold the rice he could not get it back out of the coconut. The monkey would be so caught up in the food in the coconut he would not let go of the rice, and forget that other food would come along; and the monkey’s who would not let go, were the monkey’s who were caught. All this year RD and I have used the analogy to ‘not hold on too tight’ and today we read this particular chapter for the first time, and smiled.  It’s been our lesson and life has confirmed that to us as the year closes.

It has been a productive year, it has been a happy year, and it has been a sad year because of the beautiful animals who have left us. So at the end of the year I want to pay homage to those who left my life (and the lives of others, leaving them bereft).

In January I wrote how a friend had helped me make my decisiton to stay and try for longer. He was someone I had known for over fourty years. We were not constantly in touch, had lost touch at times, but he was always a kind man, who truly cared. When he died suddenly in March after a short illness I was shocked, and his words rang in my ears: about how lucky I was to live here in the peace and quiet, about how anywhere has it downsides. Of course it does, he was right, and I think about him often, I will be raising my glass tonight to Rod Claricoats, I have no doubt he will be toasting the New Year with my mum.



Sophie Loafy. Sophie died suddenly in July we took her in for four years she had a difficult life but for the last years of her life  she was loved, more than ever before. RD still misses her riding on his shoulder as works in the garden.



Osky Bosky as I loved to call him. His name was Oscar and he was a loved and faithful companion to a very dear friend of ours. A big cuddly apricot  toy poodle, who was always allowed his coat as nature intended. Oscar was diagnosed with cancer at a time that his dad was told a dear friend was also dying. I believe that dog held on to give his loved owner time to grieve before he had to leave him also. Whenever they visited or met us for walks (Oscar got on well with all the Welshies) he would be so genuinely pleased to see you. Smiling with his apricot lips, and looking so cute with that apricot nose. It always seems strange when his dad visits now, and Oscar is not with him. I picture him bounding round the garden with Dilly Dyls, smiling, as he always did. A truly beautiful boy.

Dyly Dyls, the little Welshie who was taken too soon. She blew in like a whilrwind, a little tornado running like the wind in our garden with her ears flapping. She went on a new adventure but sadly died soon after. Even now I cannot believe she has gone, and it still brings tears to my eyes. She was so loved, and has left a gaping hole in her mum’s heart.

And Molly? She is still here but it really is her last days, and we carry her and give her cat soup, and just cuddle her. I will cry, but I know it is time.

So add to that my mum and dad, and there is a wonderful New Years party going on up there, with all the animals we have loved and lost ruuning around young and free.

We have learnt that there has to be a balance, in everything, Good and bad, life and death, our love for animals reminds of that.

A mellow New Year, not Happy because there will be sadness as well as happiness. I believe that a mellow New Year filled with kindness, even if it is only you remembering to be kind, will be the best New Year. Just remember don’t hold on too tight.


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Endings and beginnings


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One of things I adore about living here are the sunrises and sunsets. They often inspire me for the day, or remind me why I am grateful for my life. So I thought I would share some from this year.

For me each sunrise is the start of not only a new day, but a new adventure, a new life, new opportunity……

As I sit here tonight,with my old cat on my lap, I know she will be leaving very soon, and it reminds me that each sunset means endings, the end of the day, and the promise of something new, but only for some. Each beautiful sunset that I see reminds me to count my blessings for each day. I do.