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….
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
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
Time is running away with me: Having two blogs was not enough and I have now set up another one (to promote our fledgling business) and also two websites. I am proud of myself but, as will be a constant, I am now back to my old self and I am moving forward: I will not be beaten,
Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to a lady whose blog I follow I have shared below a post that she wrote that inspired me because it made me realise that we are not alone in finding this adventure hard; and if you want it to succeed that you have to do what you have to do to make that happen; and trust me we will!
One of the things that I have struggled with is not being able to use my iniative to get us an income (although why I think that when I am still editing the book that links to my other blog that has just achieved 25,000 views and counting (not bad for four months!) I don’t know. But hey that is me: the income is not coming in so I don’t feel as if I am achieving!) But now I am back and firing on all cylinders I have decided to use what has always been under our nose: Our beautiful garden. There is a new craze ‘Gamping’ where people can camp out in other people’s gardens. I get it: there are no lines and lines of tents, no screaming kids, just you, your tent and tranquility. Well definately tranquility in our garden!
I have often thought about setting up a glamping facility here, but the bureaucracy and red tape has always put me off: in fact I have always allowed things to put me off. Well not any more; I am going for it and in the last week I designed a website and put it out there. We are targeting a specific market: motorcyclists: because they are not too fussy and just want somewhere where there bikes are safe, good food can be provided and they can have a laugh; and also people who just want to get back to nature who can rent the whole pitch to themselves. Watch this space but currently the stats are good for views and I have not even started to fully promote it yet. You can take a look at
I have also completed forms that we should have completed eons ago, and did I say that making this better has now reached 25,000 views?!
But despite all this I have made every effort to get out into the garden. Spring has sprung and we have had warm balmy days (for February) of over eighteen degrees. Now we have decided on the ‘gamping’ we need to make sure all the logs are cleared and split and set out to dry (we haven’t even started ont he oak yet!). So we have been trying to clear the ditch of the pine, an d pull up all the sycamore and clear the brambles. There is tons to do but we will do it.
Believe it or not we are making headroads, I love it, although it is hard work, but Rich hates it; so I have to motivate him with a kick up the proverbial; because I mean it: we are making this work!
But the garden is coming back to life, and as always this time of year gives me hope. Lets see what happens now!
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I used to think of me as an explorer, until the day that faced with the choice of going somewhere on holiday my only desire was the arms of my parents, the familiar smells of my childhood, the sound of the river water rumbling and echoing in the valley, the wake up every morning to a birdsong melody… And in the midst of these memories I found HOME.
HOME is a place your heart call for, is a place you love dearly and passionately.
Is where people that glue your happiness are.
Is a place that overwhelms you with memories.
A place you could recognize by a sound or a smell any place, anywhere, anytime…
It is the smell of spring, and the colours of autumn.
The cold and rainy days, and the long and warm summer ones.
As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon there are 80km an hour winds blowing around our house. They blew in on Friday and then subsided only to come back with a vengeance last night. I took this picture of our two chairs on Friday evening and now one is on it’s back!
The reason I took the picture was because the chairs had been positioned there last Sunday, for us to enjoy the warm sunshine after an afternoon of working in the garden. (We’re winning the battle with the tree trunks and gradually clearing the brambles)
It really was such a beautiful day, and as we sat there with a panache (shandy, a drink of lemonade,beer and a dash of lime) in the warmth it reminded me again of how all things change, and things go from bad to good and back again. As Rich said ‘there is nothing like warm sunshine to make you feel that all is right with the world again.’
I wrote only recently of how I thought that spring was going to come early (Spring and winter) and I was right. Although The Hooley is blowing it is not cold, in fact we’re into double figures and the forecast is we will hit fourteen degrees by Saturday, with sun and clouds all week. That is warm for February over here, and it is good to not have to light the fire really early every day, and to be able to leave the expensive electric heaters off. (They tax you on your use here and then tax you on the tax!)
So, after the lovely warm Sunday, winter tried to take a hold again; and all week we have had rain, mizzle (a Cornish word meaning a mixture of rain and drizzle, which is like a mist that makes you really wet!) Despite it all we have persevered with the garden because we have plans for the summer (more of that to come later: I told you I’m back!) I’m back! But some of the days it was just too wet, so I have been busy setting up a website, and finally took hold of all of our paperwork, four years worth!! All is filed away in relevant folders, every plastic docket is labelled, and every folder has an index.
I have also driven Rich (it easy to lose your motivation when you are down): So he has set me up a temporary light for my other light in my kitchen (been without it 2 years, so I keep forgetting to put it on now!) started to sort out our large wooden barn structure so that it is more efficient for storage and to work in;
And also started to strip the lining paper off our stairwell (a pig of a job) and has painted our fireplace; turning ugly to beautiful:
I think I told you, I’m back!
Where the weather is concerned Spring is winning this battle, and she is coming early: the crocus are now abundant in our garden, the narcissi and daffodils have buds and even in this hooley the rain is lashing on the windows one minute and the sun is shining the next. Persephone is coming back early this year.
I did say to Rich that we should go for a walk, but he has just brought me a cup of tea and said ‘enjoy your walk and when you get back I ‘ll have a nice cup of tea waiting for you!’ Bastard!
So just like nature I have realised that you have to use all that you have to survive in life, and that my lesson was to understand that one of my greatest gifts is my strength and fortitude. I needed to get back the old Moisy, that did what she had to do, and sometimes fucked people off! I understand now, let’s see what this year brings.
I am off for a walk in my garden now, and will be settling down for a film and roast chicken dinner I think.
Have a good day.
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I have said for a few weeks that I thought we were going to have an early spring. Despite it being only January my clematis have buds on them (they are being cut back tomorrow) and the narcissi and daffodils were standing tall. In fact the winter had not really been that harsh so the crocus were few and far between but that may change now!
We have been working in the garden, clearing the logs from the trees that were cut down last year; cutting back the brambles,and generally making some final headway for our plans for the future in our garden.
At times the sun has been really warm, and I said to Rich that I thought we were going to get an early spring, and I still do, despite this happening this week..
There is nothing like a Welshie in the snow to make you smile..
Harley, ever the poser. Wiglet, ever the Wiglet!
But there is still a battle going on, today the temperature had risen from -2 to 8 degrees; the snow has melted here but not in other areas, but tonight we are due to go back to -2.
I don’t care what they are, as I sit in our new seating area, with a Welshie asleep beside me, and the fire burning I am counting my blessings: not least the amazing supportive friends and family I have, including the cyber community that I interact with.
So tomorrow we are back in the garden, it’s all part of the big plan now, we’re not going anywhere. As a dear reader said to me people would give their eye teeth to live where we do, problems an all. She was right, and I am thankful.
So, enjoy our winter garden, and the beautiful sunrise I caught this week; and look forward to seeing the spring photos soon.
Have a good weekend folks.
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My faithful followers of this blog may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging recently. There have been a number of reasons:
That I have been disenchanted with life (mainly people in it); that I have come to realise that I will have to lower my integrity towards people to survive, because I know that some people will take joy (sadly yes) if they read what I am going to write; and I have had to consider whether I was going to give them that joy; and mainly because I know that people love my positivity and I have felt very negative due to experiences since living here, that have now come to a head in the last couple of months.
I have come to realise that I have always tried to look at the positives to such a degree that I have not considered the negatives; and perhaps now I need to.
For the first time in a long time I wrote in my journal, and I reflected on our life here and realised that whilst I always try to look at the positive was I ignoring what life was showing me, by not acknowledging the negative as well? Our well ran dry, our water heater was not working properly, resulting in a huuuuuge bill, our roof blew off, our truck engine seized (despite being only 6 years old), work had been difficult and my! Have we had some humdinger employers! And many other things, not least Tinky Tiny Tilly never coming home. (But if you look at the balance Wiglet the PIglet came to live with us instead.)
On the Monday before my birthday I asked Rich if he wanted to stay here in France and he answered honestly that he didn’t know. So I set to writing my journal, and asked myself some honest questions. I know that people read this blog for its positivity but I always said I would say it warts and all.
As I lay there in bed with Rich snoring and asked myself if at that precise moment in time if I had won the lottery would I stay: The answer was no; but I have to emphasise it was at that precise moment in time.
So I started to consider other options in my head: moving to Spain, where it would be warmer and (my understanding is) the cost of living is cheaper. I considered moving back to England! The main problem with that was that we would want to live somewhere remote, and would never be able to afford to buy unless it was a shit hole! But I considered it, expressly Wales, where there is more countryside and less people. Then I considered Ireland; my dad was Irish, I have relatives there, the countryside is similar to France, and the properties are cheap. But most of all the benefit of Ireland was that they speak English.
I knew that to be realistic we really needed to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper because all of the things to consider would get lost in our heads.
But as always, even though I had lost my belief a little bit because it has been so hard, I believed that life would show me the way.
So on my birthday when I mentioned to a dear friend, who is there in the background, that I was considering our options they messaged me and immediately asked what’s up! They then pointed out to me how lucky we were and that they would move here in a heartbeat. They don’t know how much that simple comment meant.
As part of the numerous birthday wishes on FB a number of people said how I was living the dream; another friend excitedly posted that she was on the move, and when I responded she said that she was following my lead. My dear friend Mary has already ventured on a big adventure and all of these people have been inspired by us; I felt a responsibility to them. And being a girl who always believes that life shows you the way I then started to wonder if this was life trying to make me think. Add to that our impromptu invite to the lovely neighbours, Rich’s FB site that I have set up for work resulting in him getting some work from it, I started to think that perhaps it was.
On Sunday we went for a windy walk down our lane and visited a farm where Marc’s uncle lived and loved until he died last year. It was sad, with the doors blowing in the wind no longer loved; but when I looked at how that man had lived it reminded me that I had come out here for the simple life, and this was it. What did I want?
On the walk Rich and I stopped and looked over the rolling hills and Rich looked at me and said ‘I can’t go back to England Mois, I cannot be surrounded by people.’ And I agreed, we had at least made a decision on something.
As the week has worn on we have come up with some other ideas to make some money that I am now busy working on (let alone my blogs, and my book) and I am looking forward to what they may bring.
As I have always said life will show us the way.
We have both decided that we are not beaten yet; I mean, bloody hell, if you look at all of the obstacles that we have overcome to get to here we can do anything if we put our mind to it!
I have been honest in describing what happened to me re my mental health in England and in all honesty I think that I was still ill when I came over here. So I then became overwhelmed with the volumnious amount of paperwork that need to be completed; got sucked in by people who I thought were going to help me when in fact it was the opposite and I lost my mojo – which is that I take no crap from anyone.. But now I am back, I have lowered my level with regards to integrity and compassion, you get to piss me off three times and then your out! I can look after myself and others who are kind to me and I will not be beaten.
But part of this consideration is also that I have acknowledged that we are on an adventure – it was never set in stone – and if part of the adventure is to move to pastures new then life will show me that, and I need to not be afraid of it and stop beating myself up that I have to make it work here: to stop thinking that there are no other options. There are always options and right now I choose this one. Who wouldn’t?!
Then on Monday a darling friend (I have written of him before and the wonderful music he sends me) sent me this for my birthday; with a beautifully written card with it.
He also said to me on Messenger:
‘Remember Moi, we are the good ones, we too are the sensitive ones! We are on the bus, if the wheels fall off we just have to put them back on again!’
He is right, I am on the bus, my wheels on firmly back in place and let’s see where this baby takes us.
Watch this space folks let’s see what happens, and whatever it is I will Face Everything and Rise.
I have just used this quote in my other blog, but I love it so much and it sums up this post!
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Both sides now – Joni Mitchell
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It’s been a strange couple of weeks, my sister turned sixty (60!!!) on the 18th of January and it made me realise as I turned 56 last Friday the 25th just how time is of the essence. But more of that in future blogs.
One of the best things about living here is that we are blessed with wonderful French neighbours; out of all the arseholes we have met over the years on this adventure none of them are French!
Our neighbours knew that things had been difficult for Rich and I, and my darling friend Martine knew it was my birthday, so a couple of Sundays ago they rang our bell and invited us for aperitifs at their house on the 18th (my sisters birthday). It was so lovely of them, and it made me feel better because I couldn’t get to see my sister on this landmark birthday (that is all part of the adventure, but I am sad I missed it).
On the evening of the 18th our neighbours and friends Marc and Nadia picked us up, and when we got to Martine and Michel’s home the assortment of aperitifs was amazing: mussels, stuffed cherry tomatoes, olives, little hot dog balls, spinach in pastry, so many things!) Out came the champagne and I found myself, in my basic French, conversing with my French friends about politics, and language.
We laughed about the hot dog balls being called knackers! Explained the dual meaning of that word in the English language which made them laugh, and this led to a conversation about the word for testicles in French! They have a fantastic sense of humour and really are lovely people.
Fast forward to my birthday, I had given myself a gift of a day of doing nothing: no logs, no new FB sites, no ironing, washing, writing, no promotion of my book and blogs on social media, nada! In the early evening I did venture out to the postbox and Marc called me. We were invited to their house for champagne, and when we arrived there was a big bunch of flowers waiting for me. The time flew by, as it always does with them and it really made my day. Hubby cooked me a Mexican so hot I couldn’t eat it, and it was the day I wanted, with some added extras along the way.
But I am at a crossroads……
Is it my age?
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I have been neglectful of this blog recently because my other blog https;//makingthisbetter.com has taken off again and I am now on target to achieve over twenty thousand views by the end of this week!
In addition the blog has helped me tighten my book and I am editing like a fury into the evening every evening.It will be published this year; even if I self publish.
But both of my blogs are important to me. I think that the other blog has taken off, and taken over, because sadly January is a month when most people find that their problems are compounded: perhaps it is because it is the new year and they can see no change in sight; perhaps it is because Christmas,and all the hype that goes with it, often makes people feel as if they should be happy; that they should put their problems to one side for a week or so (delude themselves that everything is happy) but inevitably reality kicks back in to bite them on the arse again in January, or even Christmas evening! Or perhaps it is because people feel that at this time of year they should consider change, should reflect, that they find that they have no option but to do just that; and they are afraid of what they may see. Hence the visits to a blog that may help them.
But this blog too can help them, it is real, it is reflective, and I noticed how some are also finding their way here from makingthisbetter, and I am glad, and they are welcome.
So on to why I thought that I would share with you this rose on this blog, my first blog, the blog that got me to where I am today with regard to my writing: This rose currently sits on my windowsill in my living room, and it overlooks the front of my garden and the wonderful view. I bought this rose on the second but last weekend in November last year! I kid you not! Seven weeks ago!
We had no money, every penny counts (still does), but as I was leaving the supermarket a lady was there who represented a society for people with arthritis. They were asking for you to either buy a brioche (a form of sweet bread) from them, or a rose bud, and the money would be used to help people with arthritis who could not work and were on a low income. I could not afford it, but something made me buy this rose for two euro. I looked at Rich and said ‘I have arthritis, and I know we have nothing but surely we should all try and help other people.’ (Correction there we do have loads: each other to start, a house over our head, water, hot shower all of our blessings: you may want to read my ten consecutive posts around counting our blessings here is the first one Counting my blessings: Day one ) and I bought the rose.
And here is the rose: still alive, bloomed and still looking out over the view seven weeks after I bought it! I think that it is saying that it just loves it’s life looking out over the French countryside and it will stay as long as it can, it will keep going.
I did not realise the symbolism of a white rose, of which there are many, but two of them are hope, and new beginnings.
Every time I look at this rose I smile, because I know that it is a message being sent to me to tell me not to give up. For me it symbolises a number of things:
Hope – because it is still alive today, and it proves that anything is possible.
To enjoy the moment, enjoy life, whatever it holds; if you look at life there must be something positive in it. Only recently Rich and I have talked about the human brain being pre-disposed to see the negative and how every day when I wake, before I get up I say thank you:For Rich, for Tom, for my family, for my beautiful dogs, my cats, the roof over my head, running water, having a hot shower – back to the counting my blessings posts……!
But more than anything at what is a difficult time (there is always good and bad) this rose tells me to keep going.
And trust me, I will!
There will be more posts this week folks. I promise.
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Over the years I have shared with you the mental health problems that I experienced after working many years for the NHS – it is often said of that institution that it can chew people up and spit them out – or burn them out as it did in my case; that is true, and that is why you will not find me to be an overly excited supporter. Sadly I have seen it warts and all!
In the same way that I do not think that infidelity or heartbreak should be hidden under the carpet, I do not think that mental health should not be discussed either. But this post is slightly different this post is about how I have now come full circle and realised that the parts of me that have been suppressed are in fact exactly what I need to survive out here for now; perhaps that has been part of the lesson to know that the my strength is an assett!
Over the past few months I have come to realise that when I first came to live here I was still ill; it had been less than a year since I had first become ill, and looking back I had been optimistic to think that I was back to firing on all cylinders.
But add to that moving to a new country, the house not being what we thought (everything leaked, the cesspit, did not only not conform it was inside the cellar and leaked into the cellar, the heating did not work, you may want to see some of my old posts) and our son not talking to us it was a tough time.
Despite all of that we had the excitement of a new life to keep us going. It was all new and I accepted whatever life offered: I embraced the autumn and the winters, and as time went by I learned that, to quote the Tao, where there is bad there is good and where there is good there is bad. I understand fully that there cannot be one without the other. But…..
Over this year, and mainly towards the end, I have realised that I have turned into my mum! She was always a caring and giving lady, and followed the life rule of ‘don’t do unto others as you would not want done unto you’. But, sadly, other people do not have the same adage: so you keep doing good things for them and they keep takng them! I have found (as I have written about before) that the saying ‘people see your kindness as a weakness’ is a truer adage. This philosophy towards life, and the constant disappointments, eventually over time made my mum ill, because people were unkind to her often and she could not understand why, when she was only kind to them.
Now I have always been a kind of fiesty girl and when I was younger and my mum cried I used to tell her to just tell them to ‘fuck off!’ But I was young then, and over time and during my career I developed a high level of empathy; but sadly too much and that is what made me ill. Slowly over the years I have taken on the attribute that my mum had, I became an empath; it was bad enough that I was taken advantage of in England but since living here it has taken on a whole new level! Add to that the philosophy of the Tao: that we should see the good in everyone, and be kind to everyone that I tried to adhere to and on this adventure, and I was on a hiding to nothing! With the exception of literally a handful of people, I have had to learn a lot of hard lessons. I have learnt that most (not all) people are also surviving and to do that they will treat you with suspicion if you are kind, and they will do what they need to do to survive; and if that means fucking you over: then so be it. God knows I have seen that often enough.
I understand that it becomes a vicious circle: because everyone else has been stabbed in the back they become wary, and then they stab people in the back and so it goes on and on in an ever decreasing circles; I am not saying that I will automatically stab people in the back, I’m just not that sort of person, I am a more upfront person who says it to your face! So now, as I have said in previous posts, I am not going to lower my tolerance level and if my gut is screaming at me about someone I am not going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore!
But you see the crux is that I am not an easy person to get to know. I am kind, anyone who reads my other blog and the comments that I share with others will know that I also try to be measured and I have learnt to see both sides of the story; but I can also be very direct, and not give a shit if I get pissed off. I have tried to suppress that part of my personality but now I don’t want to; now I am inspired, now I am going to do what we need to do to survive and if that means fucking people off then so be it. Bring it on! Where my life out here is concerned I need to stop. We need to survive and I need to go back to the Moisy that I used to be: If you put my back up against the wall I will come out fighting and I will not be beaten.
I have learnt a lot about the narcissist and how they target people with high levels of empathy and integrity; in fact I think that it is fair to say that I can probably spot one at a fifty mile radius now; and this time I will not be so quick to give them the benefit of the doubt if the alarm bells are ringing. Correction: There is no benefit of doubt with a narcissist you just have to detach yourself and walk away. Or shall I? Fuck it! Shall I have a game?
As I write this post and reflect I have come to the decision that sadly I need to just be fiesty old me; those who really love me still will, those that don’t won’t! I forgot my own lesson of the mini bus of life! So I have stopped calling people to see if they are okay, I am back on my mini bus with the right people, and given that there is fourteen seats, six of them are empty – remembering my philosophy that is about right! The mini bus of life
So as I told my sister of yet another horror story of people we had encountered the other day I found fiesty old me talking to her; I judged them (correctly, but something that the Tao does not advocate): I knew that they were trying to get something for nothing because they thought we would do anything for the money. they were wrong! Not anymore! They got told no. Or as I said to my sister they can fuck off!!
But really what I did was use all the skills I have learnt over the years when considering them: The tell tale signs, from their behaviour, that all was not well in their mind, or with the family set up (they tried to hard to appear happy!) ; the boastfullness of their character; the fact that they wanted to tell me many stories of what they had acheived, and what they had got, and I could see it. Was it judging? Maybe. But for me it was listening to the warning signs and not giving people the benefit of the doubt any more.
What has this got to do with being on an adventure? Perhaps part of this type of adventure is finding yourself again, and this time using it!
As my sister said ‘Thenk God! The Bitch is back!’
Yes she is; it has only taken five years, and she feels good!
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I am sharing this well written post by a man who had an affair. Even Twelve years later it has made me re-think some of what Rich has told me, and I have realised some of what I didn’t believe was the truth.
I truly believe some of you will find this helpful.
This is a response to a comment I got. I just knew it would be too long to comment to so I am making it here.
Couple questions: I’d like your thoughts, acknowledging up front that this is not an attack on and you do not speak for all men, but you can offer a male perspective – being a man yourself and knowing other men in that “bro” way the women aren’t part of.
Re: Full disclosure – It seems that a very large percentage of cheaters (male only as I have no experience re female) don’t give full disclosure. They give the bare minimum. Some claim to not remember even the simplest things, such as “Where did you go to have sex?” “Were you with her on (an important day – betrayed spouse’s bday, anniversary, cheater’s bday, Xmas eve)?” I find it impossible to believe…
I have recently started to follow a new blog and it inspired me because every year the lady who writes it picks a word to live that year by. I have included a link to her blog below, it is inspiring.
After all of my pictures recently, and things I have learnt over the last year I have decided to pick ‘Dawn’. Because every dawn, every sunrise offers new opportunities, offers you the chance to leave things in the past and move into the new.
And living here every dawn, as I stand with my beloved cup of tea, makes me smile.